A Roll of the Dice

“Creativity by its nature has to do with gambling, taking chances, insinuating yourself into darker corners that haven’t been explored.”

— Diane Ackerman, Writer’s Digest September 1997

Writing Prompt: A Roll of the Dice

In the spirit of taking chances, roll two six-sided dice. Whatever number comes up, write down the first word you can think of with that many letters. Repeat five more times. Incorporate these six words into a story or scene and see where it takes you.

If you don’t have dice on hand, you can roll a pair of virtual dice at random.org/dice.

If you’re feeling adventurous, take it to the next level: Add another die and roll 10 times. Note that your words could feasibly end up being 18 letters long. Find a list of 18-letter words here. (Or if you’re a DnD player like me and you’re willing to raise the stakes even farther, you could use a 20-sided die to select your words.)

Post your response in 500 words or fewer in the comments below.

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54 thoughts on “A Roll of the Dice

  1. TheOtherSideoftheCoin

    1. create
    2. pie
    3. place
    4. of
    5. cloudy
    6. park

    Virginia parked her car on the curb and sighed deeply. The cloudy sky hovered over the dilapidated house and she wished the threatened rain would just come and wash the whole place away.

    This was the 5th and last time she was visiting. No matter how many times she told her supervisor that the children should be removed immediately, the paperwork would mount up, the monster would talk his way out of the complaint, and she would be forced to wait and start again for a next time… and next time always came too soon.

    But not this time.

    Virginia closes the glove compartment and steps out of her car and in through the broken gate that’s been pulled off its hinges and left broken long ago. As she walks up the porch, she knows what to expect. Another accident, another illness, another lie.

    But the monster isn’t there. She walks in and sees the little six-year-old girl – passed out, black and blue, and the blood trickling down her legs. that was the last time little one…he’ll never be able to hurt you again…

    “Tragic, really. Who is she?”

    “No ID. Her or the child. I guess we’ll wait for the father to get home. He’ll be devastated.”

    In another place far, far away there is a park where it is always sunny. A park created for children like her. And Virginia brings her pies to all the children there and they eat and dance and play and no one can hurt them again.

  2. MarieNicole

    The 6 Words
    5 = juicy
    7 = buzzcut
    5 = laugh
    9 = headspace
    6 = pajama
    7 = jukebox

    The Story
    “Yo Juicy, I’m here!”

    Jacob. Darn him. I don’t know how many times I told him to stop calling me that. Especially in front of Nana. It’s not like she needs to know the state of my undies. I make a statement by walking away. I leave Nana alone at our booth choosing a playlist on our little booth-side jukebox.

    Nana. It’s our special celebration. Every year I take her to Mel’s, the neighborhood diner, to celebrate her favorite day of the year: May the 4th. What can I say, Nana and I share a special love for Star Wars. Last year she dressed up as Chewbacca. I will never get tired of looking at those pictures. Imagine it if you will: a 102-pound 87-year old lady in a Chewbacca costume. May the 4th indeed.

    “Juicy!”

    It’s pointless. He’s worse than the paparazzi chasing after the Kardashians. Are the Kardashians still sought after by the media? 

    I stop. Turn and glare at him pretending to need more ketchup and napkins at the service counter. “What?” I ask. It’s more of an accusation than a question really. That’s when I notice it for the first time. The hair. Or lack there of. When did Jacob go from his surfer-flung hair to the side to this-this, what is it? This military buzzcut? “You must be looking for a job… or are you hiding from the police?” I ask. 

    I know. I ask a lot of questions. My therapist says it’s a way of showing interest in other people. Problem is “Your questions don’t show a sign of interest, they’re more of an accusation,” he says. What does he know? I don’t pay him $175 an hour for his insults. I do fine by that on my own. 

    “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your grandmother?” Jacob flings his head to the side to swoop his no-longer existing surfer bangs. His hair remains intact. “And what do you mean job or police?” and yet another unnecessary fling of the head to the side. 

    I laugh. The kind of laughter that he knows is not with him but at him. Besides, he’s not laughing so that point is a waste of words. Or rather a waste of headspace since the words remain in my head without being expressed out loud. “I would, but she’d ask why you’re wearing pajama pants. Why are you wearing pajama pants?” Again more laughter. Only on my side. Again. I know he’s getting irritated because he keeps flinging his head to the side. Over and over, swooping the non-existing surfer bangs. This makes me laugh even more.

    He looks down at his pants and tugs at them. “These are the pants Luke wore in the Last Jedi. I bought them for this occasion.”

    Oh right. This occasion. That’s what I kept forgetting to do. “Oh snap! I meant to tell you. You’re uninvited.” Do I dare bang out my best Alanis? 

    “Don’t do this Juicy. Remember what your therapist told you about commitments.”

    Sigh. Why did I give him that detail on a drunken night of TMI? “You’re not a commitment Jacob. You’re a toy. We agreed on this. Remember?” He flings his head. His hair stays intact. “You know that right?” More head flinging. “Please don’t cry.” He flings his head and this time brings his hand to his forehead to move his hair which must be the same as an amputee scratching a foot post amputation. 

    “Who’s this handsome young fellow wearing such fashionable pants, and why aren’t you introducing me to him Julia?” Nana winks at Jacob and grabs his hand tugging him to our booth. She hooks her arm through his.

    I hang my head in defeat and follow Nana and Jacob to our booth. She laughs out loud from a joke he’s sharing with her.

    She turns to look at me before taking her seat to the sound of Frank Sinatra’ crooning “So juiciness runs in the family after all!” Nana whispers in her best Marilyn Monroe.

  3. phoenixfeather

    words:
    gift
    command
    glamorous
    summer
    organise
    tiny
    watch
    surprise

    Story:

    Commander Richardson raised one bushy, grey eyebrow.

    “A gift? You look quite glamorous today.” He indicated my wrist, which felt oddly cold and heavy. I wasn’t used to wearing jewellery.

    “Yes, from Mr. Dudley. For helping to organise the charity ball last week.” I wasn’t sure what answer he wanted from me.

    Commander Richardson’s stare was heavy and unnervingly steady. I did my best to return it.

    He barked a sudden throaty laugh, leaning back in his chair and breaking eye contact, finally.

    “A watch? Just for doing your job? Well, how about that,”’ He started laughing again, long and hard.

    I didn’t know what to say. Truth to be told, I was uncomfortable with the extravagance of the gift, but Mr. Dudley had insisted he had the watch lying around and I was practically doing him a favour by taking it off his hands.

    As Commander Richardson’s laughter quietened down, I swallowed and steeled myself for what I was about to say.

    “Commander Richardson, I can assure you there’s nothing…” I winced internally “Unprofessional going on.”

    Commander Richardson waved his hand dismissively, still wheezing slightly. “No matter. What those under my command do in their spare time is their business”

    He stared at me in that unflinching way again. I got the feeling, as I often did, that he enjoyed making me uncomfortable.

    “That’s not why I called you here. It’s about the…incident last summer.”

    The temperature in the room seemed to drop about 50 degrees. Suddenly embarrassment was the last thing on my mind. Commander Richardson’s eyes were cold and so furious I almost flinched.

    I wasn’t sure what to say. A million scenarios flashed through my mind. Had I forgotten some tiny detail? Had I not been as thorough in fixing my mistake as I thought I’d been? I’d been forgiven, or so I’d thought. I’d almost regained the security clearance level I was at before, though it took months of reproving myself as a loyal member of the team.

    Commander Richardson leaned forward and grinned. He reminded me of a shark. His meaty hand shot out and grabbed my wrist with the watch so tight it felt my bones might break.

    “Just remember that you answer to me and only me. You’re very valuable to the team, Miss. Thompson. You’re very valuable to me, personally. But if you ever let foolish, childish emotions get in the way of your work again-”

    He yanked my arm hard, twisting it so I was leaning across the desk. He whispered directly into my ear, flecking it with spit.

    “You’re fired. Permanently.”

    He let go suddenly and I hissed in pain. My arm burned. Mr. Richardson’s face was a deep red but he smiled again, leaning back in his chair with a gleam in his eyes.

    “Just no more surprises, Thompson. Okay? That’s all. Good work on the ball. The Duchess truly had a wonderful final evening.” He barked out a laugh again and waved me out of his office.

  4. RafTriesToWrite

    Happy is what I wish I would be in twenty years time today, I know it doesn’t seem much but I’ll settle for “doesn’t seem much”.

    Experiment is what I want to stop doing. I’ve been experimenting on new things so much that I never tend to finish them, or at the very least, see to it that I exert the effort to actually finish something rather than giving up midway and moving onto the next one. I just feel like I’m wasting too much of my time and energy on something that will never be complete.

    Give is something I haven’t been doing most of my life, it’s always been about me. I’ve been selfish. I know there are many ways to “give” but in my mind, the concrete satisfaction that I will only achieve when giving something to someone is if I actually give up a thing that I own, for someone in need. Like giving my sandwich to someone asking for food at the street, or give my spare change for someone asking money to buy food or to go home. I’ve never thought of my stories to be in the “giving” category, even though I’ve seen people through the comments that they actually liked what I gave them, which was what I wrote. It just doesn’t feel the same.

    Redirect is what I’ve been doing when my parents are talking about me being fat. They keep telling me that I just keep eating and that I don’t exercise. I’ve always brushed what they say because the words that come out of their mouths hurt. Only then I realized the saying “The truth hurts” to be true.

    Mission is something that I need to have in my life. I’ve felt that I’m just drifting on the ocean, waiting for a wave to come by and push me to a new direction only to come back to the same state of nothingness and just stay adrift once again.

    Complete is the last word that I needed to finish the prompt for the week. At first I thought this exercise would be easy. But as I rolled the virtual dice, it was harder to think of a word that fits the right number of dots that I’ve rolled than to actually write my response. So here you go.

    Random Words:
    Happy
    Experiment
    Give
    Redirect
    Mission
    Complete

    1. writer_sk

      Raf – I liked how you handled this, wrapping each paragraph around the word you rolled.

      I found the paragraph where your MC is berated by their parents to be especially painful. A parent should not say those things to a child and just love a child unconditionally. If the child is concerned with weight gain they should just make sure they feel good emotionally before worrying about the physical. That’s my philosophy for myself, adults and younger!

      Anyway the writing is good and shapes the character’s sort of tragic moment of self reflection.

  5. writer_sk

    4-camp, 1-a, 1-?, 6-trails, 2-up, 6-cooler

    The stars stretched out, an endless canopy of light tempered by the shadows of pine, birch and spruce trees painted across the horizon and blending into the backdrop of the late autumn Vermont sky. Delph and his girlfriend, Sam set up the lantern and got the tent ready, a wordless exchange borne out of comfort rather than due to any discord. Delph glanced at the spiral notebook, a meticulous record backed up on his laptop and an external hard drive that detailed his every move in building his evidence up in order to expose the large company for which he worked. That could be dealt with later.

    Sam had already gathered the kindling for the fire and they readied a Boy Scouts – worthy structure before lighting some paper beneath it. They roasted some hotdogs and shared a container of Sam’s cold broccoli and pasta salad while he took an icy Budweiser from the cooler, handing her a wine cooler.

    They sat at the crackling fire for hours talking about the past and the future with equal optimism and humor. They’d been together just a year and Delph planned to ask Sam to get engaged that Christmas or New Year’s. They’d met in college but started dating in graduate school.

    Sam finally broached the subject of the fallout after UniBiology was exposed. Through a generous mouthful of s’mores she asked, “Any plan for handling the media after everything?” She leaned forward and the lantern lit up her face in a sinister way.

    “Uh,” Delph could sense a vision coming on and he knew he’d rather receive it in a dream. He guessed it was prompted by her question. He walked away briefly. Before him was a series of hiking trails and he shined a pen light on them but they became a circuit courtroom and he felt the restriction of a dress shirt and tie around his neck. He shook his body of the image. It worked.

    “What just happened to you? So nervous…”

    He looked up at the sky which held no answer but figured he’d should just be honest.

    “I often receive psychic visions that are very accurate.”

    “Hmm, I thought so.” She smiled, a smidge of sneakiness crept into her expression. She grabbed them each another drink.

    “One more then we’ll call it a night?” She asked and he saw her take out the game of travel Scrabble they always played on trips. She used the cooler for a table and set it up. “We should get up early to get out on that lake,” she added.

    One game became two, one more drink became a pot of coffee and before they knew it the Vermont stars had faded and the black sky produced beautiful shades of blue and the first yellow light of daybreak.

  6. GrahamLewis

    I guess I should make clear it was pure fiction. The words “column” and “supporting” suggested an old house for some reason, and I just went with it. The only real-life derelict in the story is my mind.

  7. Kerry Charlton

    A ROLL OF THE DICE

    During my third year of college at the University Of Miami, my fraternity brothers invited me to go to Havana over a three day weekend. The president of our fraternity was celebrating his birthday and was paying for the trip, forty minute flight from Miami, Hotel Nacional de Cuba and since his last name was Firestone, no one seemed to worry about freeloading.

    Being pre-warned about the revolution still being fought between Batista, and Fidel Castro, did not dampen our spirit. Havana seemed set back in another century. The city moved slowly but the girls you danced with at the bars and hotels, moved considerably faster. I didn’t go that route myself and I think it was because I had met a dream walking or rather dancing.

    She looked Castilian in nature, large flashing blue eyes, dark hair, which twirled and wrapped her face as she danced. She twirled with an older man so I cut in despite the eerie feeling I had about danger. He was rather nice about it and offered her to me. She smiled,

    “That was foolish of you to cut in, you might have been knifed.”

    “But I wasn’t, you bring good luck.”

    “That was my Father you cut in on. You are gutsy, I do admit, you’re brash.”

    “I don’t mean to be, I just can’t do without you, that’s why.”

    “Oh and a charmer are you? Let’s see how you dance. This is a tango, get ready.”

    She felt like an angel had landed in my arms. We danced for the latter part of an hour before finding a quiet table. We exchanged names, hers was Maria Nicole Flammia. She liked my Irish name and we chatted a while then hit the dance floor again. I think I might have fallen in love with Maria after the first dance. But I knew it couldn’t last and her father came by to take her home. She started to leave. I blew her a kiss that she saw. And she stopped and hurried back.

    *Would you like to have lunch with me tomorrow and see this great city?”’

    I doubt that I slept that night and got up at daylight to wait for eleven o’clock.
    I stood outside while my fraternity brothers waited in the background to see what kind of canary I had captured. Soon an Irish green MG two seater pulled up and Maria jumped out and kissed me in front of them. I introduced all and we left to tour the city. I’m not sure but I think I could still hear the guys and their grumbling a mile away, Havana seemed a lot like Coral Gables which was built with all Spanish architecture.

    Soon we entered what I would describe as a fortress and learned her Father worked for Batista. These were dark days for the Cubans as Castro continued to gather more control. We ate a splendid lunch at the palace with her father and several others and then back to the MG again. As we drove away, she looked glum and I asked her,

    “Bad times for you Maria?”

    “Oh yes, my father says the cause is lost and Castro will bring communism to our island.”

    “I wish I could help you.”

    “We have an escape plan if it only works. You and your friends are in extreme danger, Kerry.”

    “I guess we were foolish to come.”

    “Oh no, then I never would have met you. What time do you leave the hotel for the airport tomorrow?”
    “Nine in the morning.”

    “We have a small beach house overlooking the bay. Will you stay with me tonight?”

    In the morning with tears that matched mine, she handed me her address in Spain. I had fallen completely in love and dreaded leaving. A tender kiss I gave her and our group left for the airport. Four days later, the island fell and Batista managed to escape. Hopefully Maria and her father did also. I wrote her for weeks and then months and all the letters came back. I shall never know

    1. GrahamLewis

      I well know the feeling, Kerry. I met a Greek goddess — her name was, really, Helen — during a 3-week stay in London back in the mists of time. I never heard from her again, had no way to get in touch, and sometimes wonder about it, and marvel at it. Better to have loved and lost . . . .

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Couldn’t have agreed more. Romance must be in the air and on my mind this week. I totally lost myself in writing and forgot to use my words in the story. But I wouldn’t take for the pleasure of writing this. Who know, your Helen and my Maria.might be reading it also.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, I’m never certain about all the details of your stories. That said, I so enjoyed this one. Brings back memories of a slightly later time in Miami when the world seemed filled with beautiful Cuban boys and the Bay of Pigs a bitter memory. Ah, had the dice rolled differently back then would I still be looking out at the first snow of the fall, remembering the nighttime scent of Jacaranda from the tree just outside my bedroom window?

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Reatha, I think I hit your romance button. That is a high achievement for me. Thanks so much for the kind words of a lost love. Those of us that are fools think we are in charge of our lives. Oh, parden me, nothing is further from the truth.
        I am going to keep on writing until I quit breathing.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank.youb writer,,sk. I feel strongly about this myself and think I might be able to do a novella perhaps. I am very familiar with the time period of course, but don’t know that much about Cuba but can research that part and the fall of Cuba, the boats that came to Miami and the ones that never made it
        What I do know about Cuba, I’d found from reading Hemingway but have a friend here in San Antonio that grew up there till about high kmschool

        We’ll see. Thank very much for you comments.

  8. jhowe

    A True Story… Really, it is

    The writer rolled the dice and randomly chose his words. Correction, he didn’t have dice and he didn’t want to bother with the virtual rolls, so he made up numbers that fit the story he wanted to tell. He started with seven, the most common of dice rolls and attempted to choose the first seven letter word that came to mind. He quickly discovered the word he selected didn’t work for the story, so he chose another: same result. He decided to write his story first and list his words later. His conscious kicked in – wasn’t that cheating? Would anyone be able to see through his ploy? No, he decided. How would they ever know? So he wrote his story with complete confidence.

    Random words:
    Decided
    The
    Would
    Most
    First
    Common
    Confidence

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Good writing John, you a master of the pun, wish I had the talent. I went a different route. Carefully chose my seven words and started my story. I did not realize I had trans-sent myself into the middle of it. Lost all sense of time and I was there again. I could have written several thousand words but stopped around 700. Then I realized I hadn’t included any of the seven words. But I refused to go change it and am waiting for the word police to come and carry me off. .

  9. Not-Only But-Also Riley

    I rolled three dice, ten times. I then found some random word generated and used whatever I got first. My words were:

    6 letters – needle
    9 letters – executive
    6 letters – grudge
    9 letters – committee
    10 letters – obligation
    12 letters – intelligence
    6 letters – forget
    7 letters – content
    13 letters – investigation
    13 letters – understanding

    And here’s my… I’m not sure what to call it. But, yeah.

    10 step plan for how to be an american

    1 start yourself at the bottom. don’t hold some grudge against the top, but hold a grudge at yourself for being born poor. why would you do that you? you need to have that understanding that it is your fault, and it is your job to fix it.

    2 realize your obligation to be not poor. get out there and work. and watch out for outsiders. they take all of the jobs, and are trying to work the system just like you, but for some reason, they aren’t allowed.

    3 find the needle in the haystack. this is the beginning of your rise to the top. find that opportunity that is practically nonexistent, and then use it to carry yourself to a point that only 1% will every really reach.

    4 work. now that you’ve found that opportunity, that needle, you need to put it to use. there is no committee that’s going to decide you’re good enough because you really are. you just have to pour every part of your being into working for someone born at the top. and cross your fingers a lot. you won’t become an executive, or something important overnight.

    5 become an executive or something important overnight. this step is self explanatory.

    6 share your rags to riches story. this way, you will fool other suckers into thinking they can work the system. but, as much as you talk it up, don’t let any outsiders in.

    7 forget that you were ever on the bottom. spit on them.

    8 upon further investigation, it seems that you never completed step 5, and it is impossible. you are still at the bottom. disregard steps 6 and 7.

    9 be content with being poor. and having significantly less opportunity. and, we actually might start hiring those outsiders and paying them significantly less, and making them work in significantly worse conditions. and you can complain about how they’re taking your jobs, if you want.

    10 salute the country, and the intelligence of our racist, sexist, heteronormative founding fathers!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Frightening indeed but more so for me. My father started out at the very top with barrels of money. Hit the depression and lost all five of his companies Moved our family into my grandfathers parsonage for six years and started all over and worked his way back, took 30 years. He made sure I didn’t repeat his folly. So I started out at the bottom, worked myself up and down three times. I did it three times better than he did. What is the point?

        Do your damn well best, get back on your feet again and again and you realize you are not in charge in the first place. Live day at a time like the sparrow, He will do the rest.

    1. writer_sk

      Good work. I like the tone and the list format. I thought you just could swap the word “significantly” because it was used a lot. Otherwise, I enjoyed this – well done.

  10. ReathaThomasOakley

    Roll of the virtual dice
    6–fiddle
    6–blinds
    5–Eliza
    3–sec
    5–house
    6–cooler

    “Eliza, dear,” Bess said to the girl fiddling with the blinds.

    “Just a sec, Grandmother, almost got them even. Mother said you always insisted on symmetry, everything just so.”

    “Let them be for now, please Eliza.” Bess wondered, yet again, about the formality. Charlotte must coach the child.

    “Oh, of course, I can finish this later.” The tall for her age girl turned, brushed her hands together, then wiped them down the sides of her tan slacks before she sat. Bess struggled to keep from laughing out at the outfit, polyester pants, pink cardigan, tucked in white blouse. Clothes likely purchased just to be worn for visits to ‘Grandmother.’

    “Now,” Eliza said, “shall we chat before Mother comes?”

    Good lord, Bess thought, is she forced to watch PBS, too?

    “Chat? Not exactly.” Bess had rehearsed, but still hesitated. “For some time your mother has attempted to discover the exact terms of my will—“

    “Oh, Grandmother!” Eliza jumped up, took three steps, and threw herself to the floor, elbows on Bess’s knees. “Please don’t say things like that!”

    “Uh, dear, not the knees, please.”

    “Sorry, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t thinking.”

    “No, I suppose not. Now, get up and sit back down.” Bess waited before continuing. “She’s not alone in that effort, but, fortunately for her, her brother lives away and has no children.” Eliza had the decency to look down. “My will is simple because there is no money.”

    “What?”

    “Well, almost none, nothing like what all of you are expecting.” The look on Eliza’s face told Bess she’d made the right decision. “When I sold my home and moved here I also liquidated most of my assets.” Bess took a deep breath. “And, gave it away.”

    Eliza sat for a long moment, then stammered, “To who, uh, what?”

    “To whom, dear, whom, not who.” Bess couldn’t help herself. “Never mind, that hardly matters. After your grandfather died I thought a lot about a person from my past who gave me much pleasure and decided to reward him.” Eliza sat forward in the chair.

    “I don’t understand.”

    “No? Then let me explain. There was this nice widower who lived next door. Your grandfather traveled much of the time, and Harry, that was his name, kept me from becoming lonely or bored.”

    “Grandmother!”

    “Oh, don’t act so shocked. I’m human, you know, and even though your mother would never admit it, your grandfather was an awful man . Plus, Harry introduced me to wine coolers. Delightful things, wine coolers.” Bess was pleased to see that her granddaughter was now breathing normally. “Harry’s passed on, but I’d met his son many times in the past, a fine man struggling a bit financially, Harry didn’t have much to leave, so I bought him and his family a nice house.”

    “A house, you bought this Harry’s son a house?”

    “Yes, dear, and helped him start his own landscaping business. Then, with one thing and another, such as college for his children, I went through most of my money, but I had so much fun.”

    “But, Mom and Uncle Rob. . . “

    “Your grandfather took care of them, rather well, I’d say.” Bess took something from the table next to her chair. “Eliza, dear, as my only grandchild, and namesake, I have provided for your education.” She handed an envelope over. “You just need to improve those grades.” She waited for some reaction. “Still want to straighten those pesky blinds?”

    “Granny,” Eliza slumped back into the chair, “I’m hoping you got some wine coolers, or something stronger, on hand, ‘cause when Momster gets here she’s gonna be pissed.”

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Oh boy’ you hit the throttle on this one. What a shock when someone;s grandmother admits to an affair of the heart,. Good for her if she hadn’t ….. been treated fairly. A classic last sentence which drew quite a chuckle from me. You’re on a roll ‘sister’. .

  11. GrahamLewis

    Just realized I edited out the word “returned” from the second sentence, which should read “I can’t say I had any idea what I might find when I returned after so many years.” My editor self wrongly overruled my writer self.

  12. tduong79

    1st: 5 -> paper
    2nd: 10 -> achievable
    3rd: 9 -> available
    4th: 9 -> pineapple
    5th: 9 -> principle

    One day while I was watching an anime series in a comfortable hammock at home, my mom again complained that I did not study at all and my future was going to crash. It was not the first time that my mom was grumbling about this. However, this time it stimulated me and suddenly there was something popping up in my head. That anime I was watching just knocked me with a brilliant idea.

    In that idea, I saw my future holding a bunch of papers, grasping, and elevating them as best as I could. It was what the anime characters exactly did in each episode. They were editors. Although the main topic was not about their jobs, it was still inspiring to see their lives circling in a publishing house.

    I had got that excited moment for a while, but not too long after I realized the problems I had to face with. Being an editor is not easy. In order to judge other people’s works, my works need to be flawless. The scariest principle is that it takes years to be an editor and I am definitely not that patient. I felt like what had popped up in my head before was like eating a piece of pineapple. It is so sweet and fresh at first, but the longer you keep it in your mouth the more it will irritates your tongue later.

    An editor position is not there, fully available for me after I graduate from the university. It is achievable, of course, if I am brave and determined enough to travel through a long tough way by undergoing a variety of related positions such as journalist, reporter or even office assistant.

    Now, I am sitting here and writing this piece of memory with a feeling of shame. I did not make it eventually. Putting it in another way, I was a coward guy losing my chance to pursue a pretty girl I deadly loved. After all, she walked away leaving me alone gripping an enormous stack of pain and regret.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      I enjoyed a lot about this, like how the last line related back to your dream job. The pineapple image was perfect. I suspect English is not your first language, so a few, easily corrected, grammar issues here and there, but, still, good job.

  13. Jennifer Park

    23. The Party

    [Like with the Madlibs prompt, I don’t trust myself to come up with truly random words, since I kinda’ have some ideas about what should happen next in the Darth Barbara Saga. So, after rolling the dice, I dusted off some DnD dice, and rolled some three-digit numbers. In my very old thesaurus, I went to the page with the three-digit number, and found the first entry word with the corresponding number of letters.

    5-007: those (this was in the introduction)
    6-440: madcap
    8-583: reassure (had to get to page 584)
    7-068: babyish
    10-215: distraught

    Apparently I misread the directions, and ended up with only five words. Hope that’s OK.

    And sorry I haven’t had time to read everyone else’s posts. I have a free weekend coming up, and hope to catch up!

    This follows “22. The Show”, under “Awry”.

    You can see a listing of the Darth Barbara saga chapters—all of which are posted under WD prompts—by clicking on my name above.]

    Barbara loved her new assignment. “I lob dis plaish!” she commed to the Ambassador’s oversecretary.

    “Ah doooo, tooo!” he responded.

    Even the ambassador was drunk, and could barely speak. He wobbled across the street to the next building on the party. Everyone followed him dutifully.

    By chance, the E’petimi-’oshtami—the dominant species on Ke’aottémazh—enjoyed and responded to ethanol pretty much the same way Earthlings did, and also enjoyed these insanely excessively madcap parties, spanning multiple sites across multiple streets.

    And, conveniently, they believed that their gods also loved to get drunk. The Union diplomats, in their angel-like guise, would have been happy to pretend to be drunk, but it was of course better to be truly drunk. Authenticity was how hearts and minds were won, was it not?

    This was the first assignment where Barbara felt like she could let go of her uptight control over her every movement and thought. In fact, it was her duty to do so.

    Barbara’s subsecretary, Sanniang, was the designated sober minion. Well, she was always the designated sober minion, because, well, she was a party pooper. For instance, she often yelled out things like “Look out for those…!” in a totally distraught voice.

    It was too late. The ambassador bashed into the inviting decorations that had become unmoored and were dangling in his way. “’S OK! ’S OK!” he failed to reassure Sanniang.

    “Oh, look!” Barbara exclaimed. “Babyish!”

    “Whut?” asked the oversecretary.

    “Babyish!” Barabara pointed her divine finger toward the incubators.

    Like the Earthlings, the E’petimi-’oshtami usually bore one offspring at a time, but these were clearly twins.

    Unlike the Earthlings, the E’petimi-’oshtami liked to have their babies sleep through drunken parties.

    “Awwwww… so coot!” Barbara approached the babies.

    The oversecretary and Sanniang both came to see the babies, too.

    “’S’OK! It… izh… OK!” The ambassador yelled again as he crashed through a table.

    “You’re babyish are so coot!” Barbara yelled to the drunken locals who seemed to be the babies’ parents. “Sooooo… coooot!”

    Except she said it through her comm, rather than through the translator. The drunken parents bit their lips—their version of smiling—not having understood what she was saying, but having understood the divine blessing.

    “Ah lov dish plaish!” Barbara reproclaimed. “Ah lov ma jobe!”

  14. GrahamLewis

    Tale of the Sixes. My words, selected at random from Google News stories, were:

    Returned
    Wild
    Columns
    Supporting
    Fascinating
    Is

    And here is the tale: Going Home Again

    One day, out of the blue, I felt an overwhelming need to go home. I can’t say why and I can’t say I had any idea what I might find after so many years. Nothing fascinating, I knew that much. Mother and I had been the last of our line, and after she died I just up and left the family home, never even went back after the funeral, left it as is (or I guess was), furniture and chinaware and all, even the key in the lock. I told no one, partly because I was in such pain, but mostly because I knew no one I trusted to tell. Except God, and He already knew. And didn’t seem to care.

    More than 20 years had passed, and first thing I noticed was how much damage time and nature (including human nature) had imposed when given their inevitable opportunity. The window panes had gone to shards, the orchard gone to wild overgrowth, and the roof gone to gaps and missing shingles. Once-white paint had gone gray, and tree roots had had their way with the brick walk of which mother had been so proud. The massive front porch, my favorite summer sanctuary, sagged in spots, its remnant screen rusty and torn, its floor pocked with debris and peeling paint. The ornate columns supporting the overhang stood at stiff silent attention, gray sentinels uniformed in pale green vines.

    Inside, in the pale slatted light of the late afternoon sun, I walked carefully on creaking boards, my footsteps alternately announced by creaking wood and muffled by a carpet of dust. Nothing of value remained inside, the neighbors having helped themselves to whatever they found useful, and their kids, as is the way of youth, having broken whatever remained. I didn’t dare venture up the shaky staircase, which seemed to cling desperately to the walls. I didn’t need to see up the second floor. The downstairs was enough.

    I saw enough to know that all was being reclaimed by time and nature, and that pleased me. Pleased me because the so-called civilized world had brought us nothing but pain, and once the house had returned to its elements I’d free to follow, to let go of life at long last.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      What a sad, well written, commentary. Not all journeys to the past end well. The phrase, Nothing of value remained inside, was especially moving. I’m not certain you needed the additional words in second sentence.

      1. GrahamLewis

        I agree I didn’t need those words — that’s why I took them out — but “returned” is one of the words I was supposed to work into the story. By editing it out I violated the spirit of the exercise.

        And glad you appreciated it — “liked it” might be a poor choice of words.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I agree with Reatha, about the sadness. Family matters get overwhelming at times. If you are the heir, what I would do is level the house, get the
          City to reevaluate and change the status of the property to become a small neighborhood park with a lot of trees and flowers.

          The city would have to maintain the park and you can transfer title to the city or a non profit. At least the children would certainly enjoy a park in their neighborhood.

          1. GrahamLewis

            Kerry you are such a nice person. I don’t think my MC would be remotely interested in such a thing. He’s bitter and angry at everyone.

            Not me, BTW.

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