Sunday writing chat prompts for 24 Jan 2021

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    • #7067

      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: picture, doll, control, rule, eavesdrop. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Look at the shadow.” (10 min)

      3. Write about deciding if something is safe. (10 min)

    • #7068

      “What’s that… sound?” Skud wanted to know.

      “Phone,” said Zun, She fished the noisemaker out of her bag and poked the green button on the screen. “Susan Carmondello,” she said, making her name sound like a whole sentence.

      There was a long silence, during which Susie thought she imagined overhearing Sarah’s voice talking into Zun’s ear. Not loud enough to eavesdrop, or even be sure it was real.

      “Um, woh,” said Zun, in response to whatever she’d just had poured into her ear. “I get the picture. Can we, like, talk? Face to face like?” she asked. She turned to face Susie and gestured by rolling her eyes. “Thanks, that’ll work fine,” she said into the phone.

      “Your mother,” she said. “Zee’s mother,” she added since after all there were four of them living together, and everybody was at the table for once. “The control freak? She wants me to… I dunno, apprentice with her or something.”

      “She provides a useful service,” said Susie. “And she’s, what, seventy? Somebody younger should take over the clinic eventually.”

      “My God, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a…” said Zun.

      “Miracle worker?” said Susie, grinning. Her hand strayed off the table to her increasingly rotund belly.

      As was often the case, Zun followed her lead. “You okay, Zee?”

      “The dollhouse is unsettled today,” said Susie. “You?”

      “That’s a good way to say it,” said Zun. “I have a… date, I guess you could call it, with Dr Sarah Hartley, my esteemed mother-in-law. Well, one of the four.”

      “Outlaws,” said Webb.

      “Well, I think of you peoples as my wife and two spouses,” said Zun.

      “Spice?” said Susie.

      “Uh… not going there,” said Webb. “Like Spice Girls, Old Spice, none of that goes anywhere good.”

      “Sorry,” said Susie. “I guess we hafta be wifes,” she said. “Somehow wives sounds… wrong.” There was that hand on the belly again.

      “We’re a full house,” said Skud. “Three aces and a pair of Susans.”

      “And we seem to be…” said Susie.

      “Great with children,” said Zun.

      “I hope we will be,” said Webb. “It’s gotta be strange, doing something so intensely gendered.”

      “I guess?” said Zun.

      “There seems to be more of me lately,” said Susie. “Just look at the shadow I cast.” The four of them were having breakfast on the veranda behind their house. Susie stood up, sideways to the sun, to demonstrate.

      “Anyway, Sarah,” said Zun. “I mean, I did pay attention when we were… casting shadows, shall we say? But it’s a little overwhelming, with her wanting me to take over the practice.”

      “Not to mention creatively unethical,” said Susie.

      “You do have a way with words. That’s my Zee,” said Zun.

      “So…” said Susie. She was sipping Skud’s lemonade.

      “Mmm?” said Zun.

      “You’ll remember my other mother’s wine,” said Susie.

      “Something something liquor is quicker,” said Zun, hand on the belly.

      “Indeed. I’d probably still be whimpering just far enough from Jim to…” said Susie.

      “So… can you peoples still drink the stuff?” said Skud.

      “That was the question I was coming around too, yeah,” said Susie.

      “Hm… Wonder if we could do something else with Lia’s yeastie beasties. Like making bread maybe? Does the whatever they make survive being baked?” said Zun.

      “How do you even decide if something’s safe?” said Susie.

      “This is a job for… Epidemiology!” Zun said. “Like it’s a superpower or whatever.”

      “But no help for us, here in our little family,” said Susie. “And I do small number statistics for a living.”

      “No,” said Zun. “No, it’s not. So we try to behave ourselves. I realize that’s hard.”

      “Harder for some of us than others,” said Webb.

      Susie took Webb’s hand.

      “Wheeeee!” said Skud. Everyone was looking at them. “I’m the rocket person, remember? Breaking all the rules, all the time.”

      “I guess somebody’s gotta do it,” said Susie. Her lip wobbled when she turned her head to look at Zie.

      “Yeah,” said Zie, taking her other hand.

    • #7069

      I stood off to the side, slightly behind the bleachers as I waited for practice to end. I needed to talk to Dean about Tamera’s visit.

      I didn’t know if that was Sarah’s end game or if she was going to do something else to cause issues. She wasn’t just trying to cause problems between Dean and I. Sending Child Protective Services in my direction on a wild goose chase seemed to create a more vicious picture of her motives than I thought possible.

      Since I’ve known her, Sarah was all about having control. She ruled the team’s parent group with an iron fist, but this went so far beyond that.

      I briefly considered she was trying to impress Frank by disrupting my relationship with our kids. Sure, Frank had initially been an ass, but he’d settled down once the hurt of our separation lessened.

      When practice finally finished, I motioned Dean over to the side of the field away from the parents. I didn’t want anyone to eavesdrop on our conversation. I felt like I was a ventriloquist without the doll as I told Dean about Tamera’s visit without moving my lips. I was crying by the time I finished my explanation.

      “But, you said Tamera would make sure they filed this as an unfounded claim.”

      “Yes.” I wiped at my eyes. “I’m so scared though. Look at the shadow she’s thrown over me. This is on record if Frank ever sued me for more custody.”

      “Well, here’s a bright spot.” he took my face in his hands and wiped my tears gently with his thumb. “They banned Sarah from attending team practices. If she comes to games, she has to stay on the bleachers with the other parents. If she doesn’t, I am required to make an official complaint about her recent behaviour toward me.”

      “What? Why?”

      “I can’t go into the specifics, it’s not my story to tell.” he said. “Suffice it to say, Sarah has lost her credibility, and it’s on official school record.”

      “That’s good I guess. I just don’t feel safe anymore.” I looked up at him. “She came after my kids. What kind of person does that?”

      “A very lonely, bitter person.” He wrapped his arms around me. “I suspect Sarah is at the beginning of a huge reality check.”

    • #7070

      Ethan flipped through the pictures a second time. Something didn’t feel right. He stopped on one of…..

      “I think the timestamp in this photo isn’t right,” he said aloud. “Look at the shadow… That’s not where it would be in the morning.”

      He went through them again, this time looking at all the timestamps. It could just be that they hadn’t set the date and time, but looking at the other pictures taken on the same day, those seemed right. It was only these two that were inconsistent. That was deliberate. Only question is, why?

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