Sunday writing chat prompts for 28 Nov 2021

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    • #8218

      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: suspicion, admission, detective, joke, inspire. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “book of inspirational quotes.” (10 min)

      3. Write about wrestling with technology. (10 min)

    • #8219

      Sam came home from a day of meetings with clients, presenting his ideas. He loosened his tie, got a beer out of the fridge, took off his shoes, and sat down on the couch, briefcase unopened at his side.

      Next home was Vicky, who let herself in, muttering, closed the front door, leaned her back against it for a moment, and showing no suspicion that Sam was even there, decided to change out of business attire. Off with jacket, blouse, unzip this and that and on her way to the bedroom.

      When she had moved in, they had split the walk-in closet into guys’ and girls’ sections, with the latter somewhat larger, and the former shared by Jim and Sam. Sam picked up his beer and came to lean against the bedroom doorframe while Vicky picked out something casual to wear through the evening. “Hi,” he said, when she briefly reappeared from the closet.

      “Eeep!” Vicky squeaked. “You made me jump right out of my clothes,” she added, pointing at the pile of textiles around her feet.

      “Good thing you’re not a detective,” Same joked.

      “I am consulting with a private investigations agency,” said Vicky. “Mostly about bad debt collection, so far.”

      “Seems like the kind of issue a business like that might have,” said Sam. “I hope you can inspire them, somehow.”

      “Well, yeah,” Vicky admitted. “People who hire private eyes often have shady motives, I guess. Or maybe I’m watching too much television.”

      Sam traded places with Vicky when she had picked up her things, and the were emerging into the living room when Jim’s key turned in the door.

      “Heeeeey!” they all said together as he walked in.

      Jim parked his briefcase next to Sam’s, ditched his tie and opened his collar. “Great news!” he said. “We got one of those bridge contracts.”

      “Oh good, a positive revenue source,” said Vicky.

      “Oh good,” said Sam, with a side-eye at Vicky. “You’ll find out all about the flaws in your production process.”

      “Neither of those reactions are going in my book of inspirational quotes,” said Jim. “Not that they’re wrong, it’s just… this is what I trained for. Writing proposals is fun and all (not), but building stuff is way more fun.”

      “Uh… where?” Vicky asked.

      “And… when? I presume there’s a year or two lead time before you’re on-site?” said Sam.

      “Boston, summer after next,” said Jim. “So we get about fifteen months to build the actual bridges offsite, though a lot of that work will have me commuting to a nearby vacant lot, and then showtime. Replacing fourteen bridges in twelve weeks worth of weekends, ready to go for Monday morning rush hour.”

      “Yikes,” said Vicky.

      “Yikes,” said Sam.

      “Don’t try this at home, kids” said Jim.

      “Can I have your office when you’re out of town?” Vicky asked.

      “I guess so,” said Jim. “Or I could make you two arm-wrestle for it.”

      Sam was pretty muscular. Vicky was not. “Full disclosure,” Vicky said. “My elbow locks. Makes arm wrestling much easier.”

      “Duly noted,” said Sam. “And entered into the Gantt chart.”

      “I’m gonna hafta learn all those project management chart things,” said Jim. “Sometime after I change and have a beer, I hope.”

      “Put some leisure time in the plan, right from the start,” said Sam. “To spend with your, uh, housemates.”

      “Do I put it under one project line item? Or do you each want one of your own?” Jim laughed at their business-school ideas, but Sam knew he respected them.

      “Go change,” said Vicky. “There’s beer when you get back.”

      “Much easier than that silly scheduling program we used on the proposal,” said Jim.

      “Go,” Vicky demanded, stamping a foot. The gesture lost a little something because she was barefoot and standing on the carpet.

      When Jim obeyed, Sam asked Vicky, “Do we get an entry on his chart for you-and-me, uh, recreating?”

      “Not really relevant to the project,” said Vicky. “Maybe under miscellany and supplies, for helping keep our boy sane and productive…”

      “Sometimes rest and relaxation isn’t all that restful or relaxing,” said Sam.

      Vicky and Sam were laughing about this when Jim reappeared in shorts and a t-shirt, demanding beer. “What?” he asked.

      So Sam repeated his remark about R&R not being R&Rful.

      “I hope it’s not too arful,” Jim said, placing the neck of his bottle into the opener. “That,” he said, taking a swig and then placing the cold bottle against his neck, “is absolutely divine on a hot day.

    • #8220

      “See, I’m not a serial killer.”

      “Says the guy trying to convince me he’s not a serial killer.”

      “Someone else questioning your sanity?” Laci said as she walked toward us between our cars. Confirming this was an old joke.

      “I still have my suspicions.” I laughed. “His spotless garage does not inspire confidence in his mental state.”

      “By my own admission this is weird, but in my defense, it’s expected now. You and Uncle Daniel have made such a big deal of it, people will be disappointed if they see my garage messy.”

      I turned toward Laci. “Just to be sure, you’ve had police detectives in to ensure there are no bodies buried?”

      “You too?” Alex hung his head. “I thought you were going to be on my side.”
      HIs sister and I just laughed before she answered my question. “We have the cadaver dogs in once a year just to be sure.”

      We were still giggling as Alex threw up his hands and walked toward the main part of his house. “I’m going to take a shower before the others get here. Coffee is ready in the kitchen.”

      I may have watched him walk up the stairs. Muscles flexing under his jogging shorts.

      “You have a little…” Laci dabbed at the side of my mouth.

      “Shut up.” I said to her as I closed the door to the backroom of the garage and followed Alex into his house. I could feel my cheeks growing hot. I haven’t blushed since I was a teenager.

      I heard her come up the stairs behind me, and then the rumble of the garage door closing behind us.

      She and I sat in the kitchen chatting while I could hear Alex moving around right above our heads in the shower. It would have been bad enough if it was just me, but I was sitting with his little sister.

      I had to force myself to pay attention to what she was saying instead of the way the water changed direction as he stood under the flow.

      Laci seemed to know exactly what was happening since she gleefully refused my suggestion to move into the living room. Honestly, she was acting like a pesky twelve-year-old instead of the nearly forty-year-old I knew her to be.
      It took forever for the shower upstairs to stop, and for Alex to move away to get dressed. Not that it helped my imagination any.

      Laci kept chattering on about some book she’d picked up with inspirational quotes. “Try harder.”, “One stroke… of luck is sometimes all you need.” The gleam in her eye told me she knew she exactly what she was doing.

      I nearly ran for the door when the bell rang, announcing the others were here.

      Ten minutes later, we were all settled into the huge Suburban Luke rented for the trip. Once we were on our way, Sharon fiddled with hooking her phone up to the stereo. “I made an epic playlist for this trip.” She told us. Frowning when it didn’t work.

      “Are we going to have a sing-along?” Laci piped up from her seat in the back. It seemed she was going to milk this little sister gig as long as she could.

      Alex groaned. “Laci, you know you can’t carry a tune, not even with a bucket.”

      “Since when has that ever stopped me.” She asked.

      Luckily, Sharon got the stereo working. It blared loud enough to drown out whatever Laci was about to say next.

      Sharon turned the sound down to a reasonable level. “Oops sorry. I didn’t mean to blow out your ear drums.”

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