Sunday writing chat prompts for 2 Jan 2022

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    • #8311

      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: roll, green, pigeon, storage, fling. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “We appreciate…” (10 min)

      3. Write about a favorite childhood toy. (10 min)

    • #8312

      Jim knocked on the door, and when there was no response, he found the key on his keyring.

      “Lotsa keys there,” Miranda remarked. “It kinda unrolls like one of those… unrolly things. You know, with people’s addresses on it?”

      “Uh-huh,” said Vicky, with some exaggeration to her skeptical tone.

      Jim pushed the door open, and called out “Mom? Dad?”

      Miranda was beside him in the front hall and there was a suppressed screech of mingled amusement and dismay from the living room.

      “Right,” she said. “We turn around and wait on the front porch.”

      “Wha?” Sam wanted to know.

      “The olds are having a fling,” said Jim.

      “It’s a thing I learned when we were kids, and I lived next door, and was in and out of this house as much as our own and when the ‘rents over here aren’t decent, you turn around and walk out again,” said Miranda.

      Vicky was laughing. Jim was not. Sam seemed to be still trying to piece together Miranda’s stream of consciousness into something his businessman’s mind could wrap around.

      “The pigeons raiding the feeder look green in this light,” Jim said.

      “Juuuust to change the subject to anything else,” said Vicky. She was still laughing.

      “They’ve almost used up the corn. I wonder where the storage bin is nowadays. It was a wee bit too close to the car in the garage when I was learning to drive,” said Jim.

      The door popped open, and a mussed and flustered Becca stood just inside, barefoot, mostly inside a wraparound skirt, tugging a tunic into place. Her hair was a fright. “Come in! Were we expecting you?”

      “Obvs not,” said Vicky, still laughing.

      “Maaaaaybe we should, like, phone you up in addition to adding a meeting to your online calendar,” Sam said, giving Jim the side-eye.

      “Nice to see you, Miranda,” said Becca, holding out a hand. Miranda took it, wondered what to do next, so she kissed the back of her own thumb. She’d read that somewhere… maybe?

      Becca laughed. “I want a hug,” she announced and helped herself to one.

      “It’s… afternoon,” she added, after a rather obvious look at the clock. “We have beer…”

      “We appreciate you seeing us on…” Jim started. “I was gonna say short notice, but…”

      Becca put her hands over her face, shrieked in laughter, bent over at the waist, and took advantage of the flipping upright part of the display to fling hair everywhere. It obediently assumed some kind of rude order, falling about her elbows. She shook her head gently to encourage it to move out of her face.

      “This is me, not being embarrassed,” she said. “Living room? It’s a little chilly out for…” And Becca put out a bare foot, wiggling painted toes.

      Miranda noted they were each painted a different color, in rainbow order.

      “So what can I do for you this week?” Becca asked when everyone was settled.

      Stephan put his head in the doorway from the dining room. “Hi everybody! I’m… uh…. Just off to the store… we could cook out? Any preferences?”

      “Surprise us,” said Jim. He smiled at his dad.

      “Sooooooooo I guess I should just kinda chatter for a while?” Miranda said. “Does that work?”

      Becca murmured her consent, and everyone else grunted likewise.

      “Soooooooo Jim ‘n’ Sam ‘n’ Vic are a thing. And Jim was in Boston building bridges what a couple summers ago now and we kinda sorta hooked up and it was nice and Vic ‘n’ Sam came up to watch out the hotel window with me while Jim twirled the closest bridge through the air with a few hundred of his closest friends. And so nowadays whenever I’m here visiting my othermother Sarah we all kinda sleep together the four of us right? And and and it turns out I’m pregnant and the baby’s due in September and we’re trying to figure out if there’s a way the kid could have four parents who don’t come to hate each other because… I dunno ancient history ‘n’ stuff.”

      Becca was grinning. “You do have a way with words, girl.”

      “I’m blaming head injuries,” said Miranda.

      “Which is kinda pertinent,” said Vicky.

      “And you’ve heard Sam’s monologue on the subject,” said Becca.

      “Yeah. I kinda mostly don’t remember the accident, but the rehab sucked donkeys,” said Miranda, stopping herself before she got more graphic.

      “So what is it you want to know?” said Becca.

      “When the girl wakes us up at 2am wanting breakfast and we’re all sorta shorta sleep are we gonna hate each other? I mean all’s forgiven mostly. But.”

      “But,” said Becca.

      “It’s like, I dunno, I had this stuffed elephant when I was a kid,” said Miranda.

      “I remember seeing it,” said Becca.

      “And Susie swiped him and loved his eyes and tail off and it always made me kinda sad, but I mean she was a kid and Ellie needed more loving than I could give her and then he was Elfanat and… Well, when we need something else to argue about there’s the Elfanat in the room…”

      “Yeah, like that,” said Becca. “Good analogy.”

    • #8313

      I heard her laugh before I stepped around the corner from the server room. My new home away from home on Wednesdays. We were under contract to provide on-call IT support for Haythen Construction plus be in their office once a week for maintenance and anything else that had to be accomplished onsite.

      They had over four hundred employees between workers in the field and project managers. There was always something for us to do.

      They brought onboard me to help them roll out a new payroll system that would more easily integrate with their current project management software. Their old system forced them to do a lot of tasks manually.

      I had the advantage. I knew she worked for Haythen. I didn’t track her down, but I recognized her name as soon as I saw it. I’d always considered her the one who got away.

      Not because of anything either of us did, it was bad timing.

      Back then, I wasn’t in a head or heart space to forge a new relationship, no matter how well we meshed, my past just wouldn’t stay in storage long enough for me to risk myself again. I hurt her with my reluctance. Before I could get my head on straight, and convince her she wasn’t just a fling, she’d moved across the country, to greener pastures, where she could lick her wounds without having to interact with me daily.

      I doubted she’d be happy to see me now, even though it’s been thirty years.
      Ducking my head down like a pigeon, I followed my boss out to meet the accounting staff before we started the software change. I knew I was the lowest person on the work hierarchy in the room. It was up to me to roll with whatever she threw my way. I owed her that.

      “Hey.” Eli said to the group gathered in the accounting alcove. “Before we get started, I want to say how much we appreciate how much prep work you’ve done to get ready for the switch. Because of that, we shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to get everything done on the system.”

      As he spoke, I peeked up though my lashes to see Fay’s reaction. It would tell me if I had a shot at making things right between us. I hated to think she thought I had treated her like a childhood toy, used once and then thrown her away.

      She was attentively watching Eli, not looking in my direction at all. Her hair was shorter. It brushed the top of her shoulders instead of falling down to her waist. The slight wave suited her.

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