Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: Lie detector, bird, old friend

WRITING PROMPT: Monday Matchup #5
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Write a scene featuring a lie detector, a dead bird, and an old friend.

(Lullaby bird via)

Want more writing prompts and exercises? Brian Kiteley has packed more than 200 wildly original ones into his 3 A.M. Epiphany. Check it out here.


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6 thoughts on “Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: Lie detector, bird, old friend

  1. clark

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  3. Edna James

    “I dun told you, you ole goat. I aint had nuthin to do with it.” Harvey was sweating bullets. His friend Joe was sticking his rusty, old .22, right in his ribs. Blame fool might just shoot him dead from the twitching shakes he had from that parkin…sum thin or another. He done up and lost his old timers mind, that’s what he done.

    “You best start spilling your guts, you old fart, afore I do it for you! Better than that, you park your ole boney butt in this chair.”

    Harvey flopped where he was told too and before he knew what was what, his soon to be ex-friend, was hooking him up to some new fangled contraption. “What in Sam Hades are you doing? Your gonna fry me with that thing!”

    He got no answer, but Joe, he just grinned real big from his toothless pie-hole.

    “Now, you best get busy flapping your gums. I’ll know if your liar, because this is a lie detector. So, yes or no?”
    Harvey yelled, “I didn’t touch your stupit bird. It dropped dead cause it’s older than you are, ya idgit!”

    “Yes, or No?” Joe asked again.

    “NO!” Harvey screamed and the machine next to him started squiggling on the paper.

    Joe squinted at the paper, then his friend, and just dropped to his knees, crying his heart out. The bird was the last gift, his deceased wife Rose, had given him.

    “Joe?” Harvey whispered, “I’m sorry ‘bout Tweety, but he was up in his years. You gotta know I’d never hurt you or your bird. You’re my only family.”

    “I’m sorry; it’s just that he was all I had left from Rose and he was my only friend.” Joe sobbed.

    “I’m here and I’m still your friend; even though ya did try to kill me.” He stifled the laugh, cause he done seen the durn gun didn’t have no bullets in it. “Now let’s go bury Tweety nice-n-proper.”

    Harvey stood and pulled his friend up off the floor. He felt bad for his old buddy and weren’t mad at him. It just broke his heart to see the ole fool in such a mess.

    He grabbed an old cigar box and some paper towels on the way out, to serve as the final resting home for Joe’s bird.

    May he rest in peace.

  4. Tom McCranie

    "Tommy and the Lie Detector"
    (Abridged version)

    "Tommy! Did you do this?" Nancy yelled from the side yard.
    For adults in northern Louisiana, it was a hot humid day in the summer of 1948. For 9-year-old Tommy and his 7-year-old sister, Nancy, it was a blessed day—no church and no school—a play day. However, Tommy had been restricted to the house and yard, because the day before he had climbed on top of the house—Nancy had told on him.
    Still peeved, Tommy ignored his sister and continued to work on the fort he was making in the cool of the crawl space under their house. Then he heard, "I’m going to tell mama right now!"
    "Tell mama what?" growled Tommy. Since he didn’t want any more restrictions, he reluctantly abandoned his fort and crawled out from under the house with red dirt on his face, hands, and feet as well as covering his blue jeans and the front of his once-white-tee shirt.
    Nancy was almost in tears as she stood looking at him. "You killed a mockingbird."
    "Did not,” Tommy responded as he stood and looked around. “What mockingbird?"
    "That one right there," Nancy said pointing toward something on the ground.
    "I never touched it. I was in the backyard and under the house."
    "Mama is going to be mad. I’m telling."
    Tommy’s face turned red as he curled his hands into fists and started toward his sister. “Don’t you go telling on me again, I ain’t done nuttin’.”
    Nancy raised her fists and shook her hair out of her eyes.
    "What are you two fussing about now?" Patricia asked as she walked by on the street.
    Without changing her stance, Nancy greeted their 15-year-old neighbor, “Hi Miss Patricia. Tommy killed a mockingbird."
    "Did not." Tommy closed in on his sister.
    "Stop it you two. You aren’t going to settle this by arguing and fighting," Patricia put her hands on their chests to hold them apart as she spoke. "We’ll use the lie detector."
    "What lie detector?” Tommy asked squinting at her in disbelief, but dropping his fists.
    Ignoring him, Patricia said, "Nancy, get me a needle and thread."
    Nancy ran into the house and soon emerged with the implements.
    "Sit here in the grass. Tommy, and hold out your hand palm up," Patricia commanded as she threaded the needle. "When I hold this needle over your wrist, if it swings along your arm, it means you are lying. If it swings across your wrist, you’re telling the truth.”
    “Are you sure?” Nancy asked.
    “I’ve seen it work plenty of times. Just be quiet and watch."
    Tommy extended his hand as directed, while Patricia held the thread so the needle dangled over his wrist. All held their breaths while the needle circled. Slowly the circle elongated and the needle started swinging across his wrist.
    Tommy jumped up. "See, Miss Smarty Pants, I told you I didn’t do it."

  5. Nathan Honore

    Jimmy had shot the old BB gun out of the garage a million times before. He even shot his new (adult) bow at a tree once. The arrow hit his target (a tree) dead on. However, the tip was not sharp enough to stick. Therefore, it ricocheted off the tree into the siding of his neighbor’s house. Nobody ever found the hole, and Jimmy never tried that again. If only the same thing had happened with the BB gun. He had never been caught and nothing bad ever happened. That is, of course, until he had an audience.

    "I’m going to go the garage and play with the BB gun," Jimmy declared to his older brother Jeff. Jeff was the acting babysitter and acted accordingly telling Jimmy, "After me you do." Jeff turned off the History channel, which wasn’t that interesting anyways. But they were teaching you how to be a human lie detector. Still, shooting a BB gun in the city seemed much better to both of them.

    Jeff climbed the rickety, paint-stained ladder while Jimmy submissively held it still. The Daisy BB gun had been their fathers as a child and was very old. Their dad often referred to it as an "Old Friend." The sights were off and could not be adjusted. Getting the BBs in without pinching fingers was the worst part. After a finger pinch free loading, Jeff decided to use the ladder as a sniper’s perch. He took aim at a bird, happily enjoying it’s bath. He took a few shots, but only made a few splashes in the birdbath. The bird remained blissful.

    Of course, Jeff made Jimmy reload the gun. And of course, Jimmy pinched his fingers. But then it was Jimmy’s turn. He was going to show his older brother who was boss. He was going to win his approval. The ladder seemed more unstable than ever as Jimmy slowly climbed. Remembering which way to adjust for the crooked sights, he took aim. The trigger was squeezed ever so gently.

    "Squawk!!!!" squawked the bird.

    Jimmy gasped, smiling, yet terrified. He jumped down the ladder and ran to the bird. It was as dead as it could be; on it’s back, legs up. Jimmy looked to Jeff, hoping he’d have the answer. Jeff stoically grabbed a shovel, scooped up the bird and put it in their neighbor’s lawn. Grabbing the BB gun, Jeff took Jimmy by the shoulder and said," Nobody ever finds out about this. We didn’t use the BB gun and you didn’t shoot the bird." Jimmy gulped loudly, a little teary eyed. "Now, let’s go back inside and figure how to lie so a human lie detector wouldn’t be able to tell." It was one the closest moments they would ever have. Nobody ever found out.

  6. Mark James

    Collin liked his dinosaurs. I knew that because knowing things about my clients was what kept me above ground and working instead of underground and unemployed. The dead bird hanging from his ceiling was a Pterodactyl. Never mind how you say it; hasn’t walked the Earth for over a million years.

    “Good of you to come, Mr. Loree,” Collin said. “Please, sit down.”

    I glanced up at the bird, saw how its heavy clawed wings spread from wall to wall, angled down, like he was about to rip into lunch. “Okay with you if I stand?”

    “He does have a certain effect on one, doesn’t he?” He said it like he was talking about a snapshot of his pet Rottweiler.

    “It’s different,” I said, and waited. Men like him came to the point the way a good woman comes to your bed—slow, in their own time.

    “I’m afraid I’ve run into a bit of difficulty.” He stared at the ceiling-high bookshelves behind me like he was seeing all that leather for the first time.

    “Like what?”

    “It’s a rather delicate matter,” he said.

    I leaned against the bookcase closest to me, picked up a book thick enough to crack a man’s skull, leafed through the thin pages. “Why’s that?”

    A low squeak told me he’d gotten up, all five feet of him. He was one of those men who always looked like they had more growing to do. “It seems I’ve killed an old friend,” he said.

    I flipped another page, didn’t look up at him. “You’re not sure?”

    “What’s that?”

    My ears were my built in lie detectors. He was stalling. “Is your friend breathing or not?”

    “Well, yes,” he said. “You see, that’s the complication.”

    Collin was worse than the tiny print in his book. I laid it down, let him stand there a few seconds before I said, “Mr. Collin, you’re paying for my time. It’ll cost you less money if you just tell me what you want.”

    “To win a bet,” he said.

    “What do I have to do with that?”

    His voice changed from scared to excited, like it was fifty years ago, and he was eighteen again, and five minutes away from not being a virgin. “We made a wager that one of us would contact a man like yourself and – – ”

    “Is this some kind of joke?” I said. “Because if it is, tell me now.”

    “Neither of us thought the other would go through with it, but I did and, well, a man’s got to keep his word. So now, I’ll have to ask you to,” he coughed, “take care of the matter of my old friend still being alive.”

    I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Where is he?”

    “He’s here in the house,” he said. “Hiding. We thought it would be great fun for you to find him.”

    “Mr. Collin, I’m leaving.” I slid my hands into my pockets. “You’ll get a bill. If you don’t pay me, in certified funds, inside of twenty four hours, I’ll come after both of you.”

    I slammed the door on my way out.


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