Sunday writing chat prompts for 23 Oct 2022

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    • #8844

      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: veteran, economics, pawn, slime, seek. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “credible failure.” (10 min)

      3. Write about the day the weather turned threatening. (10 min)

    • #8845

      Jun was done weeping. She decided. She blew the slime out of her nose, and paused to wonder aloud how there could possibly be that much snot in her head.

      “Blow all you want, it’ll make more,” said Jenny, who was seated on the next barstool.

      “Yeah, I guess,” said Jun, and she tried again. “What’s your poison? I’ll buy this round.”

      Jenny responded with a remarkably involved critique of the various single-malt Scotches whose labels were just legible on the liquor shelf behind the bar. “What’s the fourth one in?” She asked the bartender.

      He was clearly a veteran of these little misery-fests, and so he got down the bottle and showed it to Jenny. “This one,” she said.

      “A shot of that for my friend, and, um, I think the Korean labels are in smaller print or something. I can’t read them at all.” She could feel the bartender trying to be nonchalant, examining the folds in the corners of her eyes. She tried not to roll those eyes, or to spill tears out from under the folds.

      “I can’t read them at all. And you’re the first customer who’s asked about them.”

      So Jun recited the names of a few Korean whiskeys and eventually the bartender recognized one, so that’s what she ordered. “Can I look at the bottle?”

      “Sure, why not?”

      Two snifters were placed in front of them. “Here’s to the <slant>Ark Royal</slant>,” said Jenny.

      “And to family. Can’t live with ’em, can’t even leave the planet without offending them,” said Jun.

      Jenny set her drink down after a sip, leaned over toward Jun, and put an arm around her shoulders. “Mine, too. I mean, I went to the Academy to seek my fortune, or a career, or whatever, and so now I got a plum assignment, and their response is to disown me.”

      “Exactly. Probably because we’re both in a bar with arms around another girl,” said Jun. “Or do I have cause and effect reversed?”

      Jenny let her go, and they laughed together through tears. “What is it you engineers say? Credible failure?” said Jenny. The bartender brought a box of tissues and set it down just far enough away from the rings left by water glasses.

      “You and me and <slant>Ark Royal</slant> and, what, a dozen of our fellow midshippers, against the world.”

      “Against the entire solar system,” said Jenny.

      They clinked their glasses again.

      “I’m a little hazy on the economics of the situation,” said Jun. “We’re, what, fifty-some kilos each… how can they afford that much dead weight on the overhead side of their ledger?

      “Not dead, just ignorant,” said Jenny.

      “That’s way more hopeful. We can fix ignorance,” said Jun. “Quoting Captain Watanabe.”

      “I always loved her lectures,” said Jenny.

      “Me, too,” said Jun. “And the fact that a petite Asian woman who looks like me can rise high in the ranks.”

      “I guess there have been fiery redhead Scots in the service since, when, the moon landings at least,” said Jenny.

      “Let’s have another shot of ignorance, shall we?” Jun asked.

      “I think it was going to snow tonight,” said Jenny. “Does that change anything?”

      “It makes for softer landings when we face plant in the gutter on the way home,” said Jun.

      “I like the way you think, girl.” She summoned the bartender, ordered a different Scotch, and asked for the row of Korean bottles to be brought close enough for Jun to pick one. “You’re fixing my ignorance of Korean whiskey tonight, that’s for sure,” said Jenny.

      “And I can now at least pronounce some of the Scotch labels in native fashion,” said Jun. “Are you sure what you talk up there is English?”

      “No,” said Jenny. “And some of it really isn’t. There’s some Gaelic lurking by the lochs and in the wee hillocks that pass for Highlands. Plus what we do to the King’s English is pretty much exactly what’s most offensive to the Saxons south of Hadrian’s Wall.”

      “Sounds like us and the Japanese,” said Jun. “Captain Watanabe excepted, of course.”

      “Of course,” said Jenny. “Where’s your coat?”

    • #8846

      At first, we didn’t speak as Dwayne expertly navigated us between the other couples on the floor. One song led to another and neither of us made a move to end the dance.

      I saw Harold, the slime bucket, slink out through the ballroom doors. Hopefully, he’d go home instead of seeking out someone else to dally with at the hotel bar.

      While it was a dumb move for his personal economics, it made me sad for his wife. She really was lovely, and she loved the buffoon despite how much he hurt her. I could only pray that he realized what he had, before she decided to stop being a pawn in his games and gave up on him.

      “You still dance like a dream.” Dwayne said as he swept me around the floor again.

      “I learned from the best.” And I had. Dwayne hadn’t been a typical university guy. Instead of swaying back and forth to the beat, he taught me to waltz and tango while we’d been together. He claimed his mom made him learn. Now that I knew who his mom was, it made a lot of sense.

      “Believing in my dad’s bitter rantings set me up to be a credible failure for any relationship I got involved in. He claimed to be a veteran in all family-oriented topics. But he was so wrong, and I am so sorry it was you who got hurt. By the time I pulled my head out of the sand, you were married to someone else.”

      Dwayne’s words caught me off guard. We’d talked about what happened before, it was all water under the bridge. Why was he bringing it up again now? Before I could ask, he continued.

      “We had it all. We were like the perfect sunny day but then I let Dad’s warnings cloud my judgement and rip us apart like a tornado.” His arms tightened around me as we slowed with the tempo of the music. “I’m the one who ruined our relationship and seeing you now makes me realize just what a loss that was.”

      I felt his breath expel as if he’d been holding it.

      “Even though I don’t deserve it, can you ever find a way to forgive me?”

      I raised my hand from his shoulder and ran my thumb over his cheekbone. “I was hurt and angry for a long time. When your mom reached out to me this last time, she did it personally instead of through the company. She explained part of what happened. For that I forgave you before I came to work at Garrison.”

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