Sunday writing chat prompts for 26 Sept 2021

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    • #7612

      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: aviation, explicit, insistence, manufacturer, charismatic. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “Was that tonight?” (10 min)

      3. Write about being too tired to stay awake. (10 min)

    • #7613

      “So what did you have in mind?” asked April. “And I bet this is…”

      “Stephan Larkin, meet our research administrator, April Burke,” said Becca.

      “Pleasure,” said Stephan.

      “I was pretty much out of ideas when we got the grant in, so I’m hoping somebody else has an idea or two I can mooch off of,” said Becca.

      “Dietary issues?” said April. “I’m usually not the charismatic take-charge type, unless everybody else has been through a train wreck.”

      “None,” said Stephan. “No train wrecks, and whatever the dining car is serving will be fine. Just to be explicit about what-all I’m declining.”

      “Allrighty then,” said April. “There’s, um, a place that opened a couple years ago, like Persian or something? We never went there at the insistence of my partner, who thought lambs are cute and therefore inedible.”

      “I reserve the right to future train wrecks,” said Becca. “This last minute rewrite has wiped me out. I told April I wasn’t exnihilating any dinner for anybody, because nothing is all I have left.”

      An arm snaked around Becca’s waist from each side. “Aw, thanks guys,” she said. There were plenty of tables available when they arrived, so they let Becca go after pouring her into a chair.

      “Now that the grant is in for another couple years, maybe I can think about the paper for the conference in Tahoe next month,” said Stephan. “Did you sign up for that?”

      “When’s the deadline?” asked Becca. “Was that tonight? I don’t think I can do anything further until Monday at the earliest.”

      “You seem to have a deadline-driven life,” said April. “I can identify with that.”

      “Next Friday,” said Stephan. “Might be good to make airline reservations soon, though.”

      “Do you get to decide which manufacturer to fly?” April asked.

      “Does it matter?” said Becca. She was trying to keep her hair from falling into her food. The pen she had liberated from behind her head had let it loose. She watched April watch it move and decided not to fix it until it needed fixing. Which would be any time now, as plates of a lamb-based stew-like dish arrived on the table.

      “I kind of have a hobby of reading aviation accident reports,” said April. “I mean, a girl’s gotta stay busy doing something, right?”

      “I imagine some of them are fascinating,” said Stephan.

      “It gives me something to chit-chat about when it’s an engineer sitting in the hot-seat in my office.”

      “Interesting hobby. And for what it’s worth, your hot-seat isn’t all that hot,” said Becca.

      “Because you were prepared, and had followed the rules,” said April, grinning in a way Becca thought ominous, at someone who was not present at the table.” Her grip on her fork reversed into a stabbing posture.

      “Here’s to meeting deadlines,” said Becca, holding up her wine glass. “This is tasty.”

      “And large,” said April. “Especially on an empty stomach.” But she clinked her glass against theirs.

      “I…” said Becca, “am a lightweight.” She set her glass down, still a third full.

      April followed her example.

      But in the ensuing discussion, speculating on the logistics of importing genuine Persian lamb from Iran for the restaurant trade, somehow both glasses were emptied.

      Stephan paid the check and left a nice tip. He walked between April and Becca into the street, put them both into the back seat of the car, and when he was unable to get April to respond to his queries as to where she would like to go, shrugged. There was a guest room at their house. It would do if needed. Becca had belted herself into the middle seat and April’s head was resting on her shoulder, with a lock of hair not her own across the face.

      “Are we there yet?” Becca asked when Stephan parked in their driveway. She yawned.

      April stirred, and let herself be stood up. “You’re staying with us,” said Stephan. “There’s a guest room.”

      “Okay,” said April with a smile. She turned her head to look at Becca.

      Becca returned the favor. “We can just put the bed together in here,” she said.

      When Stephan finished cleaning his teeth he went looking, and found Becca and April fast asleep in the guest room. He turned off the light and closed the door, smiling.

    • #7614

      Despite his explicit need and insistence to do the right things and marry the supposed mother of his child I regretted letting him go. Listening to him speak reminded me of how charismatic he was. This guy, with his smooth voice, could sell ice to a Yeti.

      He was still working for the same manufacturer as he’d been when we broke up forty years ago. Some sort of aviation parts company. I never did understand it all.

      The next afternoon, a notification sounded on my phone. Dinner with my friends. Damn, was that tonight?

      Obviously, I couldn’t go which really sucked. Some of them knew Devon and would have loved knowing I’d been able to get back in touch with him. But then, I didn’t really want to air his dirty laundry. I know they’d want to know what happened to him, I was so used to telling them everything because, well there was not much in my life to tell. But this wasn’t my story. Best to stay away in case I inadvertently betrayed his trust. Especially since there was usually wine involved. Which again, considering the strength of painkillers I was currently taking, alcohol was a no-no.

      I made my apologies and my friends immediately asked if there was anything they could do for me while I was laid up. I promised to let them know and then spent the rest of the day altering between sitting and standing, completely a slave to making my back the least uncomfortable.

      By suppertime I was too tired to stay awake but in too much pain to sleep. The only thing that brought a smile to my face was a delivery of flowers from Devon via Cindy.

      He didn’t have my address, so he had them delivered to work addressed to Cindy with instructions to deliver them on his behalf. He’d paid attention when I told him how great she was at looking after me.

      He’d always been good at improvising to get what he wanted. Unlike me who say things more as black and white. I wasn’t always the creative one to find a way around obstacles. Probably why accounting suited me so well. Creativity in bookkeeping was never a good thing.

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