Sunday writing chat prompts for 17 Oct 2021

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    • #7665

      The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

      The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

      If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

      This week’s prompts are posted below.

      1. Use the following five words: biscuit, clash, policy, suffering, solve. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Give or take.” (10 min)

      3. Write about cancelling an event. (10 min)

    • #7666

      “Oh, excuse me,” said Sam. He had pushed through the door from the kitchen into the employee lounge and there was Jen, one of the wait staff, mostly naked, mid-change.

      “No prob,” she said, pulling her black shirt around her and buttoning it up. “You’re Sam, right? I have a sister named Sam.”

      “I usually change off-site and come in wearing my black duds,” Sam said, trying to think of something, anything, to say to her. “I’m not sure what the restaurant’s policy is.”

      “I guess it’s a little racy,” said Jen, “but I kinda don’t wanna be in public with their brand all over me.”

      “It’s a clash of values,” said Sam. “They wanna make money. You be you.”

      “That’s clever,” said Jen. “Black trou and I’m done,” she added, zipping up.

      Ohmygod she’s flirting with me, Sam said to himself.

      She flipped her hair out of her shirt, bound it into a pony tail, and sat down to put on matching black shoes. “Problem solved.”

      Well except the image is seared into my brain, Sam mused. The phrase delight in suffering echoed through his mind. “When’s your shift over?” was what he did say out loud.


      “Me, too. I know this place where I get an employee discount…”

      “I’d wanna change out of my work blacks,” said Jen.

      “Maybe someplace else then,” said Sam. He still wasn’t quite sure how he’d been maneuvered into asking her out.

      “I’d still wanna change,” said Jen.

      And so all through the dinner shift, permutations of Jen’s business plan morphed through Sam’s consciousness, while the woman herself worked the other side of the room. He was studying business plans in college, so it seemed an interesting application of his schoolwork.

      “Can we get another batch of biscuits?” Sam was saying, when Jen bustled through.

      “Did somebody grab your biscuit?” Jen said, and she was gone. He thought he heard her chuckling around the corner.

      They reconciled their accounts side by side, punched out, and collapsed onto the couch in the employee lounge for a moment. “Whoosh,” said Jen, pulling the tie out other hair. “What now?”

      “Change,” said Sam. “I’ll wait outside.”

      “Stay,” said Jen. She transformed herself into a college kid in less than a minute. “Where to?” she asked, mid-morph.

      “Uh, there’s a brew-pub like in the next block, give or take?” Sam said, trying not to watch how her outfit went together. Trying not to… respond inappropriately. Which, since he knew her a little, wasn’t really all that hard.

      “Beer good,” Jen said. She turned around for him when she saw him checking her out. She laughed.

      “I love the sound of your laughter,” said Sam. “It’s in like three octaves at once.”

      “My voice breaks when I’m nervous,” said Jen. She put an arm through his elbow and snuggled up beside him as they walked.

      Sam tried not to… pay too much attention, except to her words. She was quiet for the moment.

      “Beer good,” Sam grunted, trying to imitate Jen’s statement. “Beer in front of us is better than beer in the abstract.”

      “What was it Dorothy Parker said?” Jen wondered, aloud. “I’d rather have a bottle in front of me, than to have a frontal lobotomy.”

      Sam swallowed quickly before he laughed beer into his sinuses.

      Jen did her three-octave laugh again, turned her rotating bar stool sideways, folded in half and flipped up, hair going nuts, with a huge grin on her face.

      Her effervescence was contagious. Sam asked, “Where have you been all my life?”

      “DC,” said Jen. “Over the river and through the woods.”

      “We’re not at Grandmother’s house any more,” said Sam.

      “D’you, like…” said Jen. She paused, grin squelched for the moment. “Live nearby?”

      Sam nodded. “I kina insisted on having my own apartment as part of the deal where I’d work his way through business school, in return for parental funding to make up the difference. Dad wanted me to do something practical.”

      “Nice,” said Jen.

      “Wait’ll you see it before you pass judgement,” said Sam.

      Jen stopped him on the street, tugged him around to face her by pulling at his elbow, and looked into his eyes. “I’d like that,” she said.

      “I’ll just cancel all my late night plans,” said Sam. “Oh. I have no life. I keep forgetting.”

      “Maybe we can fix that for each other,” Jen suggested.

    • #7667

      Even though Brian wasn’t even close to my type, I found myself thinking about him often over the next few days.

      It didn’t escape me how, now, I felt ashamed at my initial reaction over his hair.

      Gee thanks therapy.

      ‘Old Sarah’ the pre-therapy version of me, wouldn’t have given him another thought as soon as she saw his hair. No matter how attractive she’d found him when he was shoveling her driveway. She would have written him off completely for that one tiny fault.

      His long hair would clash with her idea of attractiveness and that would have been the end of it.

      Old Sarah had a policy list a mile long. Everything had to be perfect. If not, she had to solve the problem or eliminate it from her surroundings. She refused to be caught suffering the presence of fools.

      I took a tea biscuit from the batch I’d made this morning. It was savoury with oregano and parmesan cheese. I didn’t indulge often, but since I was re-evaluating my life, I figured I could sacrifice a few simple carbs for the cause.

      Life was filled with give or take.

      As I worked through my misconceptions, it was shocking to me how my family perceived me as a taker when I thought I’d been giving.

      It was a rude awakening.

      In fact, I’d only agreed to go to therapy in the first place because Samuel requested it. I assumed it would validate what I’d been saying all along and force my family to listen to me. Instead, for the first time in my life, I could finally hear and understand how I was hurting them with my unyielding expectations.

      No one in my family knew I’d continued on with the counsellor after the mandatory sessions were complete.

      After the peaceful afternoon with Amanda on Christmas Day, I was glad I had.
      I was also considering cancelling the brunch I’d planned to have on New Year’s Day. I’d always made a fuss when people tried to refuse the invitation. It was a tradition I started and was the only person who seemed to want to continue it. Plus, Kamila was married now, I’m sure she’d rather stay snuggled in bed with her new husband. Sam still barely talked to me, and Amanda had made plans to have a sleepover with her friends.

      Taking another bite of my biscuit, damn it was tasty, I picked up my phone and clicked on the icon for family chat.

      ME: I’m going to cancel this year’s NYD brunch. I think we all deserve a sleep in that day.

      I smiled as the little pictures bumped down, showed the text was read. I could almost hear the gasps of astonishment. Usually, this would have been a “Why haven’t you RSVP’d?” text.

      My mother was the first to respond. It was with a rueful smile that I realized, Mom was usually the only one who responded to my group texts.

      MOM: Is everything all right?

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