Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: Staple gun, manuscript, wedding

WRITING PROMPT: Monday Matchup #6
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Write a scene featuring a staple gun, an unfinished manuscript, and a wedding.

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: Staple gun, manuscript, wedding

  1. Mark James

    When vampires found out Sam had a brother who knew Sumskrit, the ancient language of combined Sumerian and Sanskrit, they’d offered a deal: a translation for immortal life. Riley said no. The vampires made him watch them hang a human upside down over a fire, and roast him face first. They said they’d do the same to him, then resurrect him as a zombie. The clincher on the deal was when they told Riley he’d want live brains for dinner the way a junkie wanted his fix.
    “Put the gun down,” Sam said. “You can’t use it on that.”
    Riley pressed the staple gun to the pile of curling parchment. “Look at all this. I’m drowning in paper. All I’m doing is taming it a little.”
    Sam was on the opposite side of a formal dining room the size of a small apartment, but he moved spooky-quick, plucked the staple gun from his brother’s fingers. “Is it worth you dying?”
    “I hate it when you do that,” Riley said. “I mean, I know you’re all fanged out, but could you act human a little?”
    Sam didn’t really need to breathe anymore, but he took a deep breath, let out cold air. “You know I don’t have fangs,” he said.
    “I’ve been looking, Sam.” Riley unrolled a sheet of parchment, passed his fingers over the tiny script. “But I don’t see the last pages. Why is that?”
    Sam heard his brother’s heart beating too fast, smelled his blood racing through his veins. “How come you’re scared?”
    The page slipped from Riley’s fingers. He edged away from his brother. “Are you kidding? I have two days left. After that, it’s over.”
    In two days, Riley would marry Leza, the most powerful vampire on the east coast. Being her feeder would keep him alive for centuries. “It’s your wedding, not your hanging,” Sam said.
    “Right.” Riley gnawed at his thumbnail until it bled. “Call it off, Sam. Find another way.”
    “How long do you think it’ll take you?”
    Manuscript pages covered the table where Riley had been working. It was long enough to seat twenty five for a formal dinner.  He cast a hopeless glance at the scattered paper. “It’s not even finished. I’ll be at that the rest of my life.”
    “That long?” Sam said.
    “It’s the Fountain of No Death for humans.” Riley threw up his hands. “I can’t even get the name right. You think I can just sit down and translate thousands of pages written in a language we’re still guessing at?”
    “If you do,” Sam said quietly, “the wars could stop.” He moved slowly, the way he remembered from a long time ago, rested his hands on his brother’s shoulders. “If we can keep humans young and healthy for hundreds of years, we’d need less. It would save lives.”
    “And you’d pen them up like pigs on a farm.”
    “Freedom is overrated, little brother.” Sam ran his cool fingers over the pulse at Riley’s throat. “In the end, the strong survive, the weak are conquered and morality fades into myth.”
    Riley sat at the table where they expected him to spend the next fifty or a hundred years, or however long his new wife’s patience lasted. But Riley knew a little piece of history vamps had forgotten. In his pocket was a tiny pill with an even tinier inscription, LFOD – “Live Free or Die”. He’d been told the poison was fast acting and painless.

  2. Sarah Scharnwber

    "It’s time to go." Aubrey tugged on Chelsea’s shirt. "You’re going to be late and he’s going to have a heart attack!"

    "Just another minute. I’m almost finished with this." Chelsea’s hands clicked against the keys filling the room with a tense clicking noise as they did. "He knows I wanted to get this done first."

    "But he’s waiting. Your mother is waiting. Your father, Gabby, Tina, Ariel and Beth are all waiting for you at the church! You have to go!" Chelsea grabbed the chair that Aubrey sat in and spun it toward her. "The novel will be there once you say ‘I do.’ Let’s go!"

    Aubrey stood up and looked at Chelsea. For a moment, she looked as if she understood, but then she walked across the room and picked up the staple gun that lay in a box of office supplies and held it up. "Leave me alone."

    "Or what? You’re going to staple me to death?" Chelsea chuckled. "We have to go. Now."

    Aubrey drew nearer to Chelsea, who stood her ground. "Go."

    Chelsea didn’t move.

    Aubrey shoved her against the wall and began pressing staples into Chelsea’s shirt and the wall behind it. She released twenty staples or more and returned to her seat. "I said I was going to finish this before I would get married and I meant it."

  3. Janet Taylor

    “Give me that durned thing, girl. You just messin’ it up.” Dad snatched the staplegun from me, ripping the cardboard Congratulations sign I was in the process of hanging.
    “I wanna help, Daddy.” I said.
    He didn’t answer as he secured the sign between two pine trees. A lit Marlboro Red hung from his lips, causing him to squint.
    Mama came out of the concrete, park bathroom, headed straight for us, her flowered bathrobe flapping open.
    “Where in the hell is that damned delivery truck with my Twinkies? How we gonna set up a Twinkie wedding cake without the sumbitch Twinkies?” She said, making a wide sweep of the scrubby little park. Her cigarette came within an inch of scorching a line across my tube-top bridesmaid dress.
    “I knew those idiots down at Fosters Grocery would fuck this up.” Daddy said, his voice low, ominous.
    He put the staplegun down and took a long drink of his Coors Lite. It was nine-thirty in the morning.
    “Now, Billy.” Mama said. “Don’t get riled up. It’s Tabitha’s big day. We gotta do this up nice and proper-like.”
    “Well, we have to now, don’t we?” Dad slammed his beer down on the sheet-covered picnic table. “Stupid slut went and got herself pregnant. Now I’m out nearly two hundred dollars for a damn wedding.”
    I stiffened. “Dad, come on. Tabby and Justin have been going together since eighth grade. They are both nearly twenty-one, now. Is it such a…”
    “You just shut your damn mouth.” He was in my face, the beer fumes bathing my skin, before I could blink.
    I had forgotten his snake-like quickness. His narrow mustache curled up, showing long teeth. His cool gray eyes narrowed.
    “You ain’t got nothin’ to say about what the fuck goes on around here, Missy. Not since you stuck your nose in the air and went off to New fuckin’ York.” His voice was a dangerous growl.
    He stormed to his Ford, and peeled out of the park, a red dust cloud following him.
    “Mama?” I said, shaking. “Why do you still put up with him?”
    “Now, Missy, you don’t know him like I do. He was real hurt when you run off to New York.”
    “He’s a drunken asshole, and I didn’t run off, Mama. I got a scholarship to one of the best schools in the country.” I stopped, pissed that a tear dared crawl down my cheek.
    I swiped it away.
    “ My manuscript..” I swallowed, watching his truck speed down the dirt road. “They are going to publish it, Mama.”
    “Why that’s real good, darlin’.” She patted my arm. “I gotta go help Tabby finish getting ready. There’s about a million Granddaddy Longlegs in that bathroom. She got one in her veil. “ She shuddered and walked away.
    She turned back to me, lit another cigarette. “You know, your daddy keeps every magazine article you write in a shoebox under the bed. Don’t tell him I told you.”

  4. Bruce Gayther

    Eric hunched over a blank sheet of paper, pen firmly gripped in his hand, praying for inspiration. He was hot and uncomfortable in his suit and the hard wooden chair at the desk in the church vestry didn’t help his comfort level.

    He’d been working on this manuscript for months now and nothing seemed to allow him to pass this insurmountable point. He had spent most of his working hours of late scrambling to finish his masterpiece but nothing emerged. Today, of all days, he had to resolve this block, so he shut himself in the vestry for some peace and quiet to get his thoughts together and get this done.

    He glanced nervously around the room, trying to take it in to gain a sense of inspiration. Through the dim light he studied the stone walls, the half burnt candles, the faint remnant of incense still hanging in the room. Nothing moved him. Even the thick wooden door with its ornate brass handle did nothing to generate any sense of nostalgia in his writing.

    He was lost.

    Suddenly his thoughts were shattered by the door loudly crashing open. In the bright expanse of the open door stood his wife to be, resplendent in her long, white wedding gown, a small bouquet of pink roses in her hand and her veil pushed back off her angry face.

    “Eric!” she exclaimed loudly. “What the hell are you doing in here?”

    “Well…” he began to reply, swallowing his words in embarrassment, mixed with a little fear.

    “Are you working on that manuscript again?” she screamed at him, the flowers in her hand losing petals as they shook with her rage. “Are you really doing that here, now?” she continued.

    “Well, I thought if I could just get a little…”

    “Eric!” she cut him off. “There is a church full of people sitting here who, when they arrived here, expected to see a nervous Groom waiting at the altar with the Priest.”

    Eric looked down at his unfinished manuscript, his face growing redder with awkwardness. He had just needed five minutes to get an idea down.

    “You’re not even worried about this, are you Eric” his raging fiancé continued. “You don’t even care that today – today, is our wedding day!” she screamed.

    Eric couldn’t look at her.

    “I am so sick of this manuscript” she continued. “so, you know what I‘m going to do?”

    He looked up, trying to avoid her eye, as he knew what was coming. He began to nod his head but didn’t get to complete one nod before she started again.

    “This is what I’m going to do.”

    She reached over to the desk, grabbed his unfinished manuscript and a staple gun that was sitting on the desk, spun him around in his chair and with three shots from the gun stapled the manuscript to the back of his jacket.

    “Now you can’t see it or touch it” she spat, turned away and stormed back defiantly into the church.

  5. Dare Gaither

    This was just what I needed.
    A weekend retreat to the mountains would give me
    plenty of solitude to finally finish my manuscript.
    I turned up the dusty road indicated by the weathered sign.
    “Mountain Vista Retreats – Your dream cabin awaits.”
    I looked forward to some peace and quiet.

    I drove up to cabin #4, my personal dream cabin,
    and got out of the car. A man in overalls knelt
    on the front porch. He appeared to be stapling a
    scrap of green carpet onto the wooden planks.
    He stood up when I slammed my car door.

    He rubbed his beard and eyed me with suspicion.
    “Dave Miller,” I said, “I’m renting this cabin for the weekend.”
    I offered my hand in greeting.

    “John Bryson.” He said gruffly, still holding the staple gun.
    “The new carpet will add another ten dollars a night.”
    He squinted at me fiercely, daring me to protest the increase.

    I just wanted to unpack and relax.

    He wanted the bill paid up front in cash.
    I began to wonder what I had gotten into here.
    As I counted out the bills to pay him,
    a young woman burst out of Cabin #1 and
    ran toward us.

    “Daddy, daddy….he’s gone!” She screamed.
    “Oh daddy, what do I do now?”
    She put both hands on her slightly swollen
    belly and began to moan.
    Daddy’s face turned deep red and his eyes bulged in rage.
    This wasn’t good.
    I inched closer to my car just in case.

    Suddenly Daddy swung around to face me.
    “You!” he yelled, brandishing the staple gun in my direction.
    “You’ll do!”
    “ Martha go get the preacher, we’ll settle it right now.”

    This was unbelievable.
    I’d heard of shot gun weddings…but a staple gun wedding!
    I didn’t even know the girl.

    I jumped in my car and slammed the door shut.
    I threw the gears into reverse and backed down the driveway as fast as I could.
    A barrage of staples assaulted my car grille.
    I kept backing.
    A jolt slowed me as I knocked down the Mountain Vista sign.
    My trusty Jeep took the hit and kept backing.
    This wasn’t the kind of retreat I had in mind.
    I made it to the road and floored it.
    I didn’t look back until I got to the interstate.

  6. Skye Ryan

    Sitting on the hard wooden bench in the jail cell, she rocked back and forth, arms folded tight against her bosom. Black traces of make up ran down her cheeks as the tears fell from her eyes. It was not supposed to have ended up like this. Reaching up an arm to rub across her running nose, she happened to glance down at the sparkling diamond on her left hand. Seeing it gleaming so sweetly in the dim light of the cell made her cry even harder. Stuck in a jail cell on the day of her wedding! Oh why, oh why did he have to do it? She had loved him so much! He knew that! If only she had not walked into his office and saw them together…maybe things would have ended different. Larry and her could have been in Aruba right now, enjoying tropical fruit filled drinks. But…no…she had caught him with his ex-girlfriend only a few hours after they had gotten married. The minute that she saw them, her gut instinct had been to hurt him. Hurt him and her, that witchy skank! She had grabbed the first item that she had seen and hurled it at both of them. A staple gun that had ended up hitting him in the back of his head and knocking him unconscious instantly. As she had watched him fall dazed to the floor, she had thought to herself, there goes my happy ending. The unfinished manuscript that she had been writing about their life together would never be completed now.


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