Sunday writing chat prompts for 7 Nov 2021

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    • #7723

      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: violation, understanding, quaint, husband, pole. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “I need help.” (10 min)

      3. Write about losing an important item. (10 min)

    • #7724

      Tuesday. Sam skipped lunch again. He’d made a point of not going out dancing after midnight, which helped with his sleep. That, in turn, made him less likely to overdose on coffee, which left him hungry. But Tuesday lunchtime was the only time he knew where Vicky would be, and she had befriended him again, so there he was, on the bench near the lecture hall.

      “Hey,” she said, five minutes later, when he was considering giving up this violation of his regular eating habits.

      “Hi,” said Sam. “I was kinda hoping you’d be here.”

      “Every Tuesday, whether we need it or not,” said Vicky, with a nervous syllable or two that might have been a laugh.

      “So you asked me about Jim,” said Sam. “Are you still in touch with him?”

      “Oh yeah, I see him now and then. He’s in engineering school, hardly ever on our side of the campus. Though I gather engineering and business schools have a joint understanding, where you do five years and get a BS and an MBA,” said Vicky. “For the entrepreneurial engineer types.”

      “Not including Jim, I gather,” said Sam.

      “Yeah, dunno, I haven’t gotten into that with him,” said Vicky. “So how’s what’s-her-name?”

      “I think we’re avoiding each other,” said Sam. “There’s a chance to see who’s already signed up for which shifts when they make up the schedule, and I think she’s signing up for the ones I don’t. Or something. It’s a free country, I guess.”

      “Any idea why?”

      “Welllll, so as I said last week, she kinda invited herself out for a beer with me after work, one thing led to another, and then she was asking out loud ‘What am I going to do with you?’ Not sure why, exactly.”

      “Hmm,” said Vicky.

      “Was that a good hmm or a bad hmm?” said Sam.

      “I was thinking about this girl Charlotte I, like, thought was kinda quaint? Or something? And this and that and instead of talking the morning after about how soon we could figure out how to move in together, she was allowing as how I wasn’t husband material. Like, duh, but that’s not how the lesbian script goes. Cute girl, dinner, date, dance, dang! domesticity, dump is the usual sequence. She skipped the domestic part. It’s, like, I dunno, she’s not gay or whatever. Color me surprised.”

      “So…” said Sam. “So you’re saying maybe I’m not straight? Or at least she thinks so?”

      “It’s one way to read those tea leaves,” said Vicky. “Or, y’know, write to the North Pole like when we were kids. Ask Santa to bring you a girlfriend who gets you.”

      Sam smiled at Vicky.

      “Oh, no no no no,” said Vicky, laughing. “I’m gay, remember?”

      “I wouldn’t have to explain my dad,” said Sam. “That right there will save a year of Serious Conversations.”

      “True,” said Vicky. “I always thought he was kind of a creep.”

      “Well, he’s helping fund my schooling, so he’s not all bad. I do need a little help making ends meet without mortgaging my future.”

      “True again,” said Vicky. “Anyway, I thought maybe you should look Jim up. He might have some insights. I’m just a girl who doesn’t do boys.”

      A couple days later Sam was working the early afternoon shift, when the restaurant is mostly dead, but some people come in for a late lunch, or a snack and a coffee, and very occasionally an early dinner. The bar didn’t open until five. And Sam turned around and there was Jim, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the relative darkness indoors.

      “Jim Larkin,” Sam said.

      Jim startled, nearly dropping the phone he was squinting at. “Sam Phillips. Well, well, well. I just ducked in to see if maybe I could read my phone if I got out of the bright sun.”

      “Sit. I’ll bring you some coffee or something. We’re really slow at this hour, so I can chat a little if you want.”

      “Sounds great. Cinnamon roll too?”

      “Back in a sec,” said Sam. He pulled a coffee, started another pot, asked the kitchen to warm up a cinnamon roll, and brought the coffee to Jim. “Cream? Sugar? I don’t know if I ever knew how you do coffee.”

      “It’s… probably a bad habit I picked up after we knew each other,” said Jim. “A little sugar.”

      “I saw Vicky the other day,” Sam said, just by way of something to talk about. “She says you’re in engineering school. We, Vicky and I, are both in business school.”

      “When we grow up we can found a company,” said Jim, with a twinkle in his eye. “Sell ideas for cash or something. I’m a little hazy on the details.”

      “Could work,” said Sam. “That ‘and then a miracle happens’ step in the business plan needs a little more detail.”

      “Yeah, I always lose sight of that little detail.”

    • #7725

      This was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life. Walking away from a child that was mine, yet not really.

      I donated sperm to my brother and his wife so they could have a child. They’d already adopted a spitfire of a little boy named Alex, but when the opportunity came for her to have a child of her own by artificial insemination, I couldn’t say no when they asked me.

      His wife had gone into labour a few hours ago, and as much as I wanted to be there to support my brother, I found it hard to be happy for him when my own life was in shambles. If I was already a husband and father, it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal. But my fiancé left me when she found out what I’d done for my brother.

      She claimed it was a violation of trust when I did this without consulting her. Maybe she was right, but I would do anything for him. She was an only child and had little understanding of how close we were.

      Tonight though, I reached my limit. I drove for hours, finally settling at a quaint looking hotel with a bar. It was on the other side of the river from the university and for me was as good as well have been on the North Pole. It gave me the separation I needed from the birth of my biological child. If I didn’t see them for a few days, maybe I could quell the inner caveman feeling of “mine”.

      “God, I need help, or I’m going to ruin my family.”

      Two seconds later, a pretty woman with the university insignia on her jacket sat down beside me. “You look like you’ve been beaten up by the world the same way I’ve been.”

      “It’s been a week, that’s for sure.” I replied.

      She signaled the bartender and he slide a beer across the counter toward her.

      I glanced at the beer. “So, I don’t need to ask if you come here often.”

      “I work here on the weekends, tonight I just needed to get out of my dorm for a while.” She took a long pull on her beer. “It seems that I lost my boyfriend a few weeks ago and found him tonight inside my roommate.”

      “Wow, that’s rough.” I said, playing with the damn edges of the coaster under my drink.

      “What’s your tale of woe?” She asked. “It looks like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.”

      “I helped my brother out with a sperm donation to get his wife pregnant. Their baby should be arriving any minute and while I know I have no claim, it’s hitting me harder than I expected.”

      “I’m assuming you didn’t get her pregnant the old fashioned way.”

      “No. We used the miracle of modern science.” I took a sip of my drink. “They are wonderful parents to the boy they adopted, I know this child will be well loved too.”

      “Well, maybe we can hang out and make each other feel better for a while.”

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