Defining Envy. The oversharing PA system. One of your favorite characters–in the flesh? [3 From WD: Prompts]


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You’re at a big box store, and the PA clicks on. You’re surprised to
hear it call your name—and even more surprised when it goes into greater
detail about something else.


In a scene, define envy.


You see him in a café and decide to follow him. Two hours later,
you’re sure—it has to be. It’s a character from one of your favorite
books, in the flesh.

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3 thoughts on “Defining Envy. The oversharing PA system. One of your favorite characters–in the flesh? [3 From WD: Prompts]

  1. Mandy Hartley

    It was a morning like so many others. At least it started that way. Laptop on the table and coffee by my side, deep breath in …… and then I heard that voice. It wasn’t familiar, but it broke through my concentration. Rung some forgotten bell in my mind. Where did it come from? Could it really be who I thought it was? I had never even heard his voice.

    The cafe was crowded and my table was wedged into the back corner. Leaning and craning my neck was getting me nowhere. I had no hope of matching the voice to a face from my vantage point. Sliding my laptop into my bag, I eased out from the corner, walked towards the counter and there he was. Red running shorts, sweaty grey t-shirt and a coffee to which he was adding lots of sugar. Even without the voice, I was sure it was him. There was simply no one else that it could be. It was Garp in the flesh, ordering a post-run coffee at my cafe.

    It wasn’t possible, but it seemed to be true. In the midst of a stall in my own writing, a character from a book I read fifteen years ago walked into a cafe in Oregon (where I was fairly certain he didn’t live) and ordered coffee. As I was trying to find some thread of logic, Garp looked over his shoulder, smiled and walked out into the sunshine.

  2. Mark James

    Who’s to say which one’s the character in whose book?
    Nice prompts, Zac
    And Martha – welcome back!!

    “I’m telling you, it’s the wizard kid.”

    “There are no wizards,” Raphael said. “Unless you count Lucifer.”

    Michael dipped his finger into the whipped cream floating on top of his brother’s coffee. “Look at him. He’s got the same glasses and everything.”

    “We’ve been at this for hours, Michael. Okay. It’s him. What do you want? A wish?”

    “Yeah,” Michael said. “Make a broomstick fly or something.”

    Raphael pushed back from their table, approached the boy sitting alone by the window. “Pardon me young man, my brother seems to think you’re a wizard. Would you mind doing a trick for him?”

    “What?” he said. “Did she send you? She’s got the Prime Minister’s own nerve. More tricks? Do you know I haven’t got paid for those books yet?”

    “But you were really good, flying around, wacking people with balls, taking out bad wizards,” Michael said.

    The boy touched the nearly invisible tape holding the bridge of his glasses together. “And see what I get? Can’t even afford a decent pair of glasses. No more tricks till I see some green, and I don’t mean frogs or lizards.”

    “How do you pay make-believe people?” Michael said.

    The boy shot up from his chair. “What did you call me?”

    Michael was nearly shocked into reaching for his sword. “You’re from a book,” he said.

    “So are the two of you.” The boy looked the angels up and down. “At least I don’t go around with great big wings hanging off my shoulders.” He swung his gaze to Michael. “Or a burning sword hung across my back.”

    “You can see our wings?” Michael said.

    The boy who might have been a wizard rolled his eyes. “They’re only bigger than London Tower on a sunny day. Of course I can bloody well see them.”

    Michael, who wasn’t used to mortals not being afraid of his true form said, “I thought all that accio stuff was really good.” When this was met with silence as cold as a century old grave, the archangel cleared his throat before he went on. “What happened to your wife? You got married at the end, right?”

    “Are you daft as well as transparent?” The boy’s glasses wiggled up his nose as he squinted at Michael. “Who would stay with an unemployed, penniless wizard?”

    “Michael,” Raphael said, “perhaps we’ve come at a bad time. He seems to be between books and – – ”

    “Wait,” the boy said. “If I remember things right, Lucifer’s your brother, isn’t he?”

    “Yeah,” Michael said. “Threw him out a while back. He’s got his own place now.”

    “Tell him she’s gone back on her deal,” the boy said. “She won’t write anymore of the books, and she’s left me – – ” He flung his arms Heavenward. “Like this. With nothing.”

    “If we get her to make things right, you’ll make broomsticks fly again?” Michael said.

    The boy’s next words made Raphael cringe. He knew that to his brother, it was better than a blood oath. “If you get her to do right by me, I’ll make a whole army of broomsticks fly for you.”

  3. Martha W

    Great prompts, Zac. But… you know I couldn’t leave her envious, right? lol.


    Callie watched her friend spin on the small riser by the mirrors. The train of the cream dress was bustled and swung in a pretty arch with the rest of the skirt. Sequins shimmered in the florescent light, giving Anne a look of fairies.

    “It’s perfect.” Callie said, flinching at the hitch in her voice. Damn.

    Anne stopped, facing Callie. She paused for a moment before stepping down and crossing to her best friend. “ Are you okay?”

    “Yep.” Never would she tell the truth and hurt her friend. “I’m fine.”

    “Sure?” Worry dipped the corners of Anne’s mouth.

    Callie felt terrible. Today was about her. “I’m sure.”

    A chime from the front door drew their attention to the handsome man coming their way. His dark brown hair fell to his shoulders, framing a tanned face with bright green eyes. Callie couldn’t pull her eyes away. Not even as he bent to kiss Anne in greeting.

    “Thought I’d find you girls here.”

    “Jim. You know it’s bad luck to see the dress.” Anne smiled up at him, lost to everyone around her.

    Callie stifled the sigh. The adoration on Jim’s face was a beacon for everyone to see and Callie wished with everything in her that someone would look at her like that. “What are you doing here?”

    “Rob wants to go out to dinner. You game?” he said.

    Normally Jim’s friend was two steps behind him, ready to get into whatever trouble could be found. “Where’s Rob?”

    “Right here.”

    Callie almost came out of her skin as the whisky-rough voice whispered in her ear. She turned to find herself nose to nose with the man. “You scared me.”

    He winked at her, his brown eyes warm with laughter. “Sorry, sweetheart.”

    Rooted to the spot, she stared back at him. Curious at the butterflies in her belly.

    Jim cleared his throat. “Are we going to dinner?”

    Callie was first to move away, taking a deep breath. “Sure.”

    Anne disappeared into the dressing room, calling for Callie after rounding the door. Callie fled, glad to escape the room.

    As Anne stepped out of her dress, passing it to Callie, she said, “So, what’s got you down?”

    “Nothing.” Callie turned her back to escape the hard stare from her friend.

    “Hhm.” Anne pushed open the dressing room door, heading back out to the lobby. “When are you going to date again? Mike’s been gone over a year.”

    Callie dropped her gaze, counting the floor tiles as she walked. “I want to find someone like Jim is for you.”

    “Then all you have to do is open your eyes.”

    “What?” Callie looked up at Rob’s interruption.

    He blocked her path, slid one hand behind her neck, pulled her forward. Slow and easy, he settled his lips on hers. When he broke the kiss, he stayed close enough their breath mingled. “Did you understand that?”

    She wet her lips, feeling the tingle from his kiss. “No. I think you need to tell me again.”


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