Jump-start your weekly creativity with . . . shoelaces.

Thanks to Jessica Strawser for filling in as PromptMaster on Friday — and to everyone who wrote a story in response to her post!

Feel free to take the following prompt home or post your response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below. By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional around-the-office swag drawings. If you’re having trouble with the captcha code sticking, e-mail your story to me at writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll make sure it gets up.

The shoelaces – they weren’t meant for that at all.

(Image: Suat Eman)

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5 thoughts on “Jump-start your weekly creativity with . . . shoelaces.

  1. Zac

    The nefarious bridge strikes again! What’s the word for April?

    Yep, we had a nice little getaway in Chicago. We did nerdy things like browse bookstores, look at the Devil in the White City related goods at the Chicago history museum, and attend a taping of NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! (And journalist and author Michael Lewis was the guest on the show, which added greater unnecessary depths to the nerddom.) Altogether awesome, Chicago gales that blow your car off the road excepted.

  2. Mark James

    Martha . . . we’ll have to tie a shoelace err. . . string around your finger. . . .

    I tried to get everything, but his fingers were too long. “You okay?” I said.

    “Besides all the rope? You didn’t have to tie it so tight.”

    He was right, but now was a bad time to tell him. “Bait has to look good.”

    “How long till he gets here?” he said.

    I looked out the window, saw the sun hanging fat and orange over the bridge. “Maybe a half hour.”

    “You’re too nervous,” he said. “Tell me.”

    I could hide what I was thinking from him about as easy as an elephant could hide inside a dollhouse. “Your fingers,” I said. “Azril’s Finder wouldn’t be that sloppy. If he notices, he’ll stop at the door and – – .”

    “And we’re both dead.” He blew away wisps of jet black hair that had settled on his face, turned his head side to side, his green eyes scanning the walls, the floor, the ceiling.

    “We’re in his kill room,” I said. “There’s nothing here. Just what we brought with us.” I knew I was in trouble when his eyes stopped at my feet. “Whatever you’re thinking, I don’t like it.”

    “You like being barefoot?” he said.

    I looked down at my sneakers. “Shoelaces weren’t meant for that. These are brand new.”

    “I’m tied up like turkey for Thanksgiving, and you’re worried about shoes?”

    I unstrung my laces, and got to work binding his fingers into two clumps.

    When I got to his right hand, I saw the thin line of blood on his wrist. “Forget it.” I got out my knife, grabbed the rope around his hands. “I don’t know how I let you talk me into this.”

    “Because I’m right. Put that away. It’s just a little blood.”

    “We’ll find another way,” I said.

    He wrenched out of my grip. “He’s the most powerful vampire in the whole state. We sprinkled Communion wafers in his coffins. He knows we’re after him. It’s tonight.”

    I paced in front of him, ignoring the splinters that poked through my socks with every step. Kam and me were the best Vampire Stakers in the country. But I’d never risked my little brother like this. “We’ll come back tomorrow, set up a trap down in his blood pit, under the leftovers.”

    “Look out the window, Brant. He’s digging his way out of dirt right now.”

    I knew he was right, but it felt wrong. I checked the net in the bucket hanging over the door for what felt like the hundredth time. The bucket was full of holy water. When Azril opened the door, the net would fall and eat into him like I’d dipped it in acid, then I’d stake him.

    I settled into the corner behind the door. “Kam?”


    “You know how you took my convertible to the Drive In and got Coke and
    popcorn all over?”

    “I cleaned it up.” His voice sank. “Most of it.”

    “We get out of this, and your cut’s mine. Leather’s expensive to clean.”

    I heard the smile in his voice. “Love you too, big brother.”

  3. Martha W

    Hey Zac! Hope you had a great weekend away! It’s always good to recharge your batteries every now and then… *grin* I totally want a pair of those shoes!

    *sigh* Not the best tonight but hey, it’s here.


    Katie rushed up to Billy, skinning her knees as she dropped to the ground and started yanking furiously at his shoelaces. He yelped and leaped back from her. "Get off me, you loony."

    She scooted toward him, brushing her hands over the tops of his shoes, knocking off the dirt. "No, no. I need them. You have to help Billy."

    "What you want ’em for?" He was forced to keep moving or her fingers gained another hole.

    "Billy, please." This time she didn’t move. Just hung her head, fat tear drops disturbing the dust as they fell to the cement. "He’s gonna-"

    Billy stopped dancing around, bent and grabbed her arm. "He’s gonna what?"

    "He’s gonna pull my pants down, says I wear little baby underwear." She looked at him, still crying. "He’s gonna embarrass me in front of the whole school."

    "Are you talkin’ about Tommy?"

    She hiccuped. "Yeah. Can I have your shoelaces? That’ll keep ’em up."

    Billy shook his head. "They ain’t meant for that. But I’ll help you out. Go on to class, Katie."

    "What are you going to do?"

    "Just get."

    She stood, her eyes red-rimmed, staring at him. "You’re gonna get in trouble. Don’t do that. Just let me use the laces."

    He sighed, girls were too much work. "Go on. I won’t get in trouble."

    Katie watched him a moment more. "See ya after school."

    "See ya."


    Billy leaned just outside the double doors, waited for Tommy to come out. The loud clang of the metal handle against the wall, announcing his arrival. Billy straightened. "Hey, jerk face."

    Tommy stopped in his tracks, turned slowly toward him. "What did you call me?"

    "Jerk face. You like pickin’ on girls?"

    The curl to Tommy’s lip was all the answer Billy needed.

    "Katie told me what you said." A crowd was starting to gather. Good, he thought.

    "Katie lied."

    "You didn’t say you’d pull her pants down in front of everyone?"

    "Oh. Well, then, Katie didn’t lie." He snickered, like he’d just gotten to the punch line of a bad joke.

    Maybe he had.

    "I’m not sure I can let you get away with scaring her."

    Tommy puffed up like a blow fish, trying for impressive but only making it to ridiculous. "You’re gonna stop me? I don’t think so." He turned and looked around. "Where’s the fraidy cat at, anyway?"

    "She went home."

    "I’ll see her there then." Tommy started to walk away.

    Billy tapped him on the back, clipping him with a right hook as he turned. "No, you won’t." Looking at the bully sprawled on the ground, the other kids cheering him on, he leaned over close. "That was for my sister."


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