Classic Comedy

To get the story straight, Dave, we think, has become a chicken. Just the worst of luck with that guy. Tom is claiming he married the futon that’s now covered in yogurt, Carl is on the chandelier with the dog and you just walked in after getting groceries. What the heck happened here?

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


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253 thoughts on “Classic Comedy

  1. Lions45

    I placed the grocery bag on the floor and fumbled with my keys. I finally found the right one. But when I opened the door to my apartment, I wished I’d never left the place. I slowly walked in as a chicken approached me, and to my surprise, it started talking. “Hey, Rachel, guess what? Tom is cheating on you! For a futon!” I dropped the bags of groceries that I was holding and the mayonnaise spilled out from one of my bags. I slowly walked into my boyfriend’s room, and saw Tom cuddling the floral print futon in our room. To make matters worse, the futon was covered in blueberry yogurt. We didn’t have blueberry yogurt, and that was one of the reasons I went to giant. “Tom, what’s wrong with you?” I stared at him, utterly horrified. “Oh, hey, Rachel. Listen, I don’t think our relationship is going to work.” “What?” My jaw dropped. I was pregnant, and I was going to tell Tom at the big party in Carl’s apartment on Friday. But if he was going to break up with me after doing it with me about 56 times, then I saw no other choice then to break the news. “Tom, I’m pregnant.” Suddenly, I heard an ecstatic voice from above. “Rachel, you’re pregnant? I knew it! And imagine, all those times, I just thought you were drunk!” I looked up. There was carl, hanging from a chandelier, who knew perfectly well that I was sober, and didn’t live in our apartment. “Carl, what are you doing here?” Then it hit me. we don’t have a chandelier. I looked back up and noticed that Goggle was swinging with him. Goggle was a rescue dog. “Goggle!” I shouted. “Why shouldn’t I be here my roommate is?” Then I remembered. The chicken! It had a familiar voice. But it couldn’t possibly be Dave, could it? Then I heard Dave’s voice again. “Heyo, Carl!” And that was enough. I fainted. When I woke up, I was in bed with Tom, and everything was normal. The futon was perfectly clean, and I realized that the whole thing could have either been a joke or a dream. But at that moment I looked back. Our futon was white with floral print. The futon in the room was red with yellow stripes. I looked up. No chandelier. Instead, the ceiling was blue with green and purple polka dots. Suddenly, I heard an evil voice whisper something in my ear, just before I died. “I’m right behind you.”

  2. miguelcador

    And that, kids, is why you should never try to read a wizard’s mail. See, it all had started a few weeks before, when our new neighbor moved in. His name, according to the nameplate he’d hung on his door, was Professor Marbury, doctor in Magical Studies and Ways.

    This, of course, seemed really funny and exciting to the four of us. Our brand new crazy neighbor. We hadn’t had one since Mrs. Stampton, the crazy hedgehog lady down the hall happened to trip and fell down on one of her beloved pets, and it had been two years since that incident. By the time Marbury arrived in our building, everything around us was… how to describe it? Lame.

    Of course, we had our doubts about the guy’s abilities, so we decided to keep an eye on him permanently. For the following week, shipments of weird (like the bad kind of weird) smelling boxes were delivered to his house, but nothing else really occurred until one afternoon a short, bald forty-something year old guy arrived at Marbury’s place and left about half an hour later 4 inches taller and having grown hair, Braveheart kind of hair.

    After that, this kind of “miracles” kept happening: ordinary-looking people with no talents walked in, top models, actors and singers walked out. A few days later we agreed that the best way to actually know what was going on was to try out ourselves. After a long debate, we voted that Dave, because of his sometimes disgusting sweat problem, was the most suitable to go in.

    Now, we don’t what happened when he was inside that apartment, Dave just wouldn’t tell us. Apparently, Marbury made his clients keep the secret, so that nobody would steal his methods. After finding out how much a visit to his “clinic” actually costed, we decided that we would try to discover what was going by other means.

    After much consideration, we resolved that our first move would be finding out what was in those boxes that kept arriving almost everyday. When the wizard was out, we took the nameplate off his door and put it on ours. Then we, called the delivery service and told them that it was urgent that the next shipment arrived that same afternoon.

    Unfortunately, they listened to us. The package came and, when we opened it, a ton of birds came out of it. Then, a beam of light of a color I’d never seen before appeared in our living room and then…well, let’s just say that the birds had been in there for too long and needed to “relieve themselves”. I went to the store to get cleaning products and I guess Marbury found out while I was outside. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    1. miguelcador

      English is not my first language, so I know there are going to be mistakes there, but I am working on that. If you have any feedback I would prefer it to be on plot, content… Thanks!

  3. pathanb

    I got a couple six-packs, a few buns and a pack of frankfurters. I wasn’t sure if the guys preferred hot or mild mustard, so I bought both. When I reached my home I had my hands full, so I rang the bell instead of trying to reach for the keys in my pocket.

    A chicken opened the door.

    “You’re the man! Coronas, not the cheap crap Tom buys!”, said the chicken in Dave’s voice.

    “Da-Dave?”, I stammered.

    Man, you look totally out of breath. You should have let me come help!”, laughed the chicken in Dave’s voice, then absent-mindedly pecked a dust bunny off the carpet.

    I just put the stuff down right there and then. All I could do was keep my legs from buckling.

    “Da-Dave?”, I stammered again. “What happened to you?”, I asked in an almost pleading voice.

    “Oh, I’m just excited Tom got married! I’m sure you knew and kept it from me, you devil! Nobody tells me anything!” said Dave, against all odds seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was, now, a chicken.

    I turned to Tom, grasping desperately for a shred of sanity. I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.

    Tom was still, technically, on the sofa. He had unbuttoned his pants, was lying face down, and was moving rhythmically. To round up the absurdity of this scene of furniture molestation, both he and the sofa were covered with yogurt.

    For some reason, all my dazed brain could think about this was that I didn’t, in fact, have any yogurt in the house.

    “…Tom?”, I asked, hesitantly, a man whose sanity balanced precariously on a tightrope.

    “Oh? Oh! OH!”, said Tom, buttoning up his pants in a hurry. “Sorry man, didn’t hear you coming. I didn’t mean to make it weird. You know how it is when you are first in love though, right?” He grinned sheepishly.

    “Sandra, this is John, a very close friend. John, this is Clara. As of today, she is my wife.” Sandra the sofa, playing the part of furniture very seriously, did not make any comment.

    “She is rather shy, isn’t she? The girl’s a keeper, Tom!” came the voice of Carl. I had forgotten of Carl! I slowly looked up, where the voice was coming from. Carl was resting rather comfortably on the chandelier.

    I don’t have a chandelier. I’m not a billionaire, an old lady, or a weirdo.

    I was at a loss for words. I tried to regulate my breathing. My head felt light again.

    It didn’t work. I must have fainted.

    “I don’t get why people stop taking their meds…” said the wiry orderly. Do they really prefer to be nuts?

    “You never can tell with those damn schizos.” Maybe he ate his car keys and thought he was taking his pills”, said the stocky orderly.

    “Yeah, you’re right. We should be happy he didn’t hurt anyone.”

    “Nah, he isn’t dangerous. He just started talking to those cypress trees again.”

    “I wish I knew what he saw. Must be tripping balls when he’s like this!”

    “Yeah… not sure it’s as fun for him though. Anyway, let’s load him up Dave.”

    “Right you are, Carl. Might want to hurry too, Tom and Sandra stayed late tonight at the clinic just to process our guy.”

    The men raised the stretcher while I struggled against the straps holding me in place and bit on the rubber mouthpiece.

  4. shannon_bree

    The tiny teddies were laced. I had laced them myself.

    I knew it would take about 25-45 mins to take effect so I stepped out to get some groceries, snacks, viewing indulgences.

    And what was it that I soar when dared step back inside?

    Tom, without a slither of shame, engulfed in the beauty of the futon. I couldn’t blame him, of course, it was indeed a nice futon so nice that he was to be married to her, the darl the very next morning.

    ‘Tomorrow morning, how truly magical’ I offered as I raised a celebratory glass of yogurt to the bride and groom to be. Futons don’t really drink in my experience and according to Tom, dairy does exquisite things for the upholstery.

    Groceries still in hand I continued down the rabbit hole that was once my lounge only to be halted by the most magnificent chandelier I had ever seen. Much to my dismay, my awe was short lived as the glass rendition of Cupid holding a bow and arrow turned out to be Carl, covered head to toe in gold paint holding the neighbors dog.

    Noticing I was standing beneath them, Sir Buckley merely raised his nose in a much too delighted manner at finally being atop of the food chain. If only, he knew.

    I made my way to the kitchen reveling in all that my eyes had just consumed, delighted in all that had proceeded to unfold.

    I delighted and shut the blinds, for these stories are mine and mine alone.

    And as for Dave, well he has always had a bit of cock in him, admittedly I never thought chicken but birds of a feather or so they say.

  5. Edwin Simpson

    A little late but here’s my response to the prompt 🙂

    “I have absolutely no fucking idea. I swear! We thought we’d go to this hypnotist thing for a laugh, you know. The girls suggested it.”

    “Right. Go on.”

    “Well, it was about half-eleven this morning. Liz came round with Grace and Bella. Said they were going to see ‘Henry the Hypnotist’. Said her cousin went and said he was the real deal. We all scoffed at it a’course.”

    “Ok, so you went to see this hypnotist. What then.”

    “Well, he hypnotised ‘em didn’t he!”

    “But specifically?! What on earth did he do to make them act like this?”

    “Let me remember…Dave went first. Henry got him to sit on a chair. Told the audience that he’d make Dave act like a chicken, and, well, he did. Muttered a few words in Dave’s ear while swinging this pendulum in his grill and that was that, Dave was cluckin’ n’ struttin’ all over the stage. Henry let him at it for a minute or two, until the laughin’ died down, you know.”

    “Ok. Tell me about Tom.”

    “Well. Henry points to him. Tells him to get up onto the stage and sit on this sofa they’d just rolled out. He did the same thing that he did to Dave, except this time he said Tom was gonna be the sofa’s ‘usband. And, well, he was. Started kissing the thing, it was dead funny at the time. He even—“

    “Well it ‘aint dead funny now so wipe the fuckin’ smirk off your face.”

    “Right. Sorry.”

    “Ok. So, Carl?”

    “Well, now, Carl was the last one before the show finished. Henry’s assistant had bought on a dog, not sure of the breed. Anyway, he did his little trick again, saying that Carl was gonna start chasing the dog. And he did. Wouldn’t stop until Henry snapped him out of it.”

    “And that was it?”

    “That was it. The show was done, we came home, and as soon as I opened the door all hell broke loose. It was Tom first. We walked into the living room, I was about to sit on the sofa and he nearly attacked me. He says “What the fuck d’you think you’re doin’, that’s my wife. I was confused as hell, and then he shouts at the sofa: “and you, where the hell’s your wedding ring?”. I tell you mate, it was strange, he looked a bit mad. Runs into the kitchen, grabs some yoghurt from the fridge—it must ‘ave been sitting there for a while cos it was mouldy, that’s what the awful smell is—and he throws it on the sofa before attacking it. I ran out to fetch Dave and Carl, but Carl was chasing Molly, poor thing was terrified, I don’t know how the hell they got on the chandelier, must have happened just before I opened the door for you, and Dave was pecking away at the staircase.”

    “Ok. Ok. We need to find this Henry! Call the girls, they’ll help.”

  6. pvenderley

    “Aw, hell no!” I cried as I surveyed the complete mess my friends had made of my apartment. “You are not doing this, not tonight!”

    Dave wrenched the bag of groceries out of my arms, feathers flying from where he’d shoved them into his hair. “My babies!” he clucked frantically. “Where are my babies?”

    “Come on, guys! I’ve got a date coming here in half an hour.”

    Carl laughed and kicked out a leg to start swinging on the chandelier. “Dude, this is no different than when you got the guys to greet my date, dancing naked to ‘Electric Avenue.'”

    “It’s completely different! We didn’t mess up your apartment!”

    Carl tilted his head to the right. “Maybe not. Help me down.  Wait! Take Lucky first.”

    My chihuahua wriggled frantically as Carl handed her down. Once safe in my arms, she started yapping furiously at all three of my friends.

    “Yeah, yeah,” Carl said, hopping onto the table. “Ferocious. So: second date with Jill?”

    “No,” I replied. “She wasn’t that into me.”

    “Damn. We liked her,” Tom said, sitting down on my futon with a squish. Yogurt dribbled onto the floor, and Tom spread it around with his hand like a baker evening the icing on a cake.

    “That’s my suit you’re wearing, isn’t it?” I ask. Tom licked his fingers, and grinned evilly.

    “Anyone we know?” he asked. I shrugged.

    “Aw, man,” Carl groaned. “It’s Frankie, isn’t it?”

    “And that’s our cue. We’re off,” said Dave. “Call of Duty.”

    “Oh, hell no. You gotta clean this mess up.”

    “Oh, hell no, sir! Frankie freaks the shit out of us,” said Tom.

    I tried to block the way out of the apartment, but Dave weaved right, and Tom deked left, and all I got for my efforts to restrain them was their laughter echoing down the hall.

    “Shit. Look what they did to the futon.”

    “You shouldn’t be settling like this,” Carl said.

    “What? I sit on it. I sleep on it. Gets the job done.”

    “Not the damned futon. Frankie.”

    “Why? Frankie’s a nice girl…”

    “No, she isn’t.”

    “And she likes me well enough.”

    “You don’t have to settle like that,” Carl repeated.

    “And she’s hot.”

    “Dude. That’s what you look for in a one-night stand. That’s not what you’re making this.”

    “Whatever. You gonna help me clean this place up?”

    “No. I’d piss on your futon if I thought that would drive Frankie away. But she keeps twisting her way back into your life, man. And wrapping you around her fucking little finger.”

    “Get out, then.”

    “Dude, she’s not…”

    “GET. OUT.”

    Carl sighed. “OK. But do me a favor, all right? Don’t fucking come bothering me once she starts screwing you over again.” He slammed the door behind him. Lucky charged it, barking with all the venom I felt. I picked her up and scratched her behind her ears. Together we surveyed the mess of my apartment — feathers on the floor, yogurt on the futon, and a crack in the ceiling above a gently swaying chandelier.

    “You think she’ll mind if we go out tonight?” I asked Lucky. My dog looked at me with dark brown eyes, and said nothing.

    1. Observer Tim

      I won’t disparage your first submission, but this one is definitely stronger. The byplay between the characters is realistic, especially considering the strangeness of the situation. I wonder what’s so disturbing about Frankie that the guys bail at just the thought of her coming over. All in all, nicely done. 🙂

  7. DreamingofWords

    I know I’m late but I’m trying to keep this resolution so hopefully better late than never! The prompts have certainly gotten weirder since the last time I was here….

    “I can’t leave you guys alone for one hour. One hour, you guys, how the hell did you manage all this? What is all this?”

    I set down the shopping bags on the floor then kicked them away. “Explain,” I demanded. “Now.”

    The furniture had all been either turned over or reorganized so that our living room now resembled a labyrinth. The chandelier was shaking and creaking cantankerously at the weight of Kyle, who was dangling from one of its arms, a bright pink chihuahua licking at his white knuckles.

    “Well,” started Tom, in a cackling voice that spoke volumes to his current state of mind. Tom was lying on a futon that was soaked in what looked like yoghurt, his hand gently caressing the plush velvet that now smelled strongly of…I don’t even know what, but a part of me was wondering if it was legal. “I fell in love.”

    I blinked then turned to Dave, who looked like a chicken, as in he had feathers. And he was clucking. “Are you at all coherent?”

    “Bawk?” He asked from his place atop the kitchen table, staring at the Rotisserie chicken I had in my hand with fear and anger reddening his face, which was hard to see beyond the feathers. I looked around him at the torn linen of my green pillowcase.

    I waved the chicken at him, and he started squawking harder.

    “Oh for Pete’s sake,” I muttered in defeat, crossing my arms as I looked at my last chance, giggling hysterically as he swung from the chandelier, the chihuahua looking down at him yipping like a maniac.

    “Kyle!” I snapped at him. “Just one sentence, man. That’s all I need.”

    Kyle kept swinging and he only giggled harder and faster, staring at me in frantic eagerness.

    I grabbed the broom that was leaning against the wall and poked its butt into Kyle’s ribs. Kyle threw his head back and laughed more, swinging himself crazily, causing the ceiling to rattle and me to worry about its reliability, since it was starting to ripple with the chandelier’s violent movements.

    I put down the broom after another jab, but only because I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t hit one of them over the head with it if I didn’t. I looked at the fuchsia chihuahua.

    “You got anything for me?” I muttered, running a hand over my face then snapping to attention as a rumbling voice chuckled.

    “You want answers, sweetheart, you get me down first.” The little dog’s mouth opened and closed jerkily.

    I stared for about a minute or two, then shook my head. “I’m now talking to a dog, and the dog is talking back. Okay, time to book another therapy session.”

    The dog huffed. “You want answers or not?”

    “Fine,” I sighed. “What’d you got?”

    “Get me down.”

    I crossed my arms. “You first.”

    The dog growled at me then gave in. “Long story short, Tom bought Janice a cheap perfume from some guy on the street, he dropped it, it broke, and somehow the fumes did…this. Tom fell in love with the futon, decided Kyle should marry then from atop the chandelier, and he agreed but then they realized they didn’t have rice to throw so they threw yoghurt instead.”

    I massaged by temples, which were aching with the level of stupidity it had taken for this to happen. “…and what about Dave?”

    I was almost sure I saw the dog raise an eyebrow. “No one ever knows anything about Dave.”

    “Point,” I said, then raised my arms out to him.

    He leaped and I caught him with a grunt.

    “So why do you look like someone dropped you in Kool Aid?” I asked him.

    The dog growled in my arms.

    “Don’t you have bigger problems?” He snarled.

    I looked around at me three roommates then headed through the labyrinth to my room.

    “Nope, no I don’t.”

    1. Observer Tim

      This is pushing the envelope of weirdness, Dreaming, which is saying something for this prompt. I love the way your MC takes it in stride and decides the whole silliness is just not worth bothering about. The banter with the dog is particularly well done. 🙂

      The only things my red pencil sees are tiny editing things that, since they occur inside quotes, could be dialect. (e.g. “What’ve you got?” to the Chihuahua).

  8. Liz Johnson

    [To get the story straight, Dave, we think, has become a chicken. Just the worst of luck with that guy. Tom is claiming he married the futon that’s now covered in yogurt, Carl is on the chandelier with the dog and you just walked in after getting groceries. What the heck happened here?]

    I could hear the chattering whispers of the children. Something odd fluttered across the air as I entered the hallway. The clattering came from the dining room. The lights that exiting the room shimmered and flickered across the hard wood floor.

    I followed the sounds as they distorted and swayed through the air. I stepped through the arched doorway to see the shadows of a body on the wall. Carl…

    Dropping the groceries at the doorway, I rushed to the center of the room to see my six-year-old son atop the chandelier, gasping tightly to the fixture with one arm and to his small puppy with the other. He was laughing with childlike glee until his eyes rested on my face.

    “Carl! What is the meaning of this madness?” I scolded as he slowly levitated back to the ground, his puppy still tucked in his arm.

    “Mamma, we were only playing.” He gave me a sheepish grin. Obviously my facial expression had not changed from stern for the grin quickly became defensive. “Dave started it! He made Tom fall in love with the chair!” The small child with puppy in tow hopped up and down as he pointed to the den.

    I quickly moved through the dining room to the den that was light by candles littering the corners of the room. Tom laid on his side across the brand new futon I had purchased earlier in the week. He was shirtless and had a large red sheet covering the futon and himself and he cooed and spoon fed its’ cushions yogurt.

    “Thomas!” The sixteen-year old’s eyes widened as they found mine.

    “Mom!” He dropped the yogurt as he covered the sheets higher on himself. “It’s our honeymoon!” He squeaked and he attempted to cover his futon bride.

    I turned to Carl who was giggling only a stride behind me. “Undo this!” I pointed to his older brother who was now apologizing for my intrusion.

    “But Mom- “

    “Not another word, unless it’s to undo this!”

    The boy grumbled as he swirled his hand above his head whispering to the white magic. Wisps of color churned about his fingertips as he chanted. He then blew on his hand letting the wisps shimmer through the air onto Tom. Tom’s eyes because clear of their glassy glaze. He blinked and stared at my angered expression.

    “Ma, gosh.” He looked down at his hands and the mess across the room. “Dave—“ Tom ran his fingers through his hair. “He’s in the kitchen. He insulted my w— the futon…” Guilt caressed his face.

    I turned and headed for the Kitchen. There roosted was the chicken Dave. His feathers rustled about as he circled the frozen hen I had in the sink.

    With a sigh and a flick of my wrist, my thirteen-year-old son landed on his bare butt on the counter.

    “Mom!” he panted embarrassed by his nudity.

    “Clothing never makes it to the transition back. All three of you are grounded for life.”

    1. Observer Tim

      I hope she relents later; I’m assuming she probably will. This is why children should only be taught magic when they have enough maturity not to use it. 🙂

      You did a great job capturing the mother’s voice and the children’s responses. The only things my red pencil spotted were a number of word choices that could be caught on an editing pass (e.g. the den was lit by candles).

      1. Liz Johnson

        Would have used better diction. I had to shrink a lot down during revision. Far too many word but I was still happy with the result. 🙂

        Well, as happy as any writer can; one can always find something wrong in their own image. :))

  9. Kazuma29

    Well I never thought it would happen, but this day officially got weirder. How in the world does it get this crazy after just being away for 30 minutes, is beyond me. Anyways, back to the situation at hand. So Dave, as a newly turned chicken, was laying eggs all over the living room. Such disrespect. Dave was already a dick, but being a chicken really got to him, I guess.
    “Dave, please, go to the backyard to lay your eggs. If you’re gonna be a chicken, at the very least, be a respectful chicken, alright?” Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. This just made him get flustered, and ran away out in the street. Great, now we have a runaway chicken, put that on a t-shirt.
    “Umm I think Tom got married to the futon.”
    Carl said what? So, at this point I’m just wondering why I’m still sane. Maybe I’m not.
    “Ooook. And when did this all happen?”
    “I don’t know. I think like five minutes before you got back.”
    “And who asked who? The futon doesn’t seem like much of a talker.”
    “Tom did. But the futon said no at first. It’s all a real funny story…”
    Ok. I need to sit down.
    I sat down, turned on the TV, just to take my mind off things. I put on the news as there was going to be a special report tonight.

    “This just in, a chicken has been sighted at local bank robbery earlier this evening. Witnesses say that the animal was armed and dangerous. We have a testimony from one of the witnesses on the scene. Back to you Jessica.”
    Oh God no.
    “Yes that is correct Samuel, here we have Lilly Rooster with her experience.”

    Aaaand that’s the story of how I became a Buddhist.

    I’m striving for Nirvana, fingers crossed.

    1. Observer Tim

      I don’t think reincarnation normally runs this fast, but then I guess time is an illusion too. Becoming a Buddhist is a perfectly natural reaction when the world slips this far off the edge. Nice one, Kazuma! 🙂

      The story seems a wee bit staccato to me, which is fitting for the level of weirdness, but could probably be improved by making it longer.

  10. charkhanolakha

    Here’s a small slice of crazy.

    Well, there’s nothing wrong with being a chicken. It’s a strange world with many different paths, and if David enjoys the feel of the ground beneath his claws, then that is his decision.

    I should have suspected when he would wake every morning with the sun, and start crowing at it, but I guess I just refused to see it.

    I mean, my son, Dave, a rooster? No, no. He just enjoys the beauty of the sun rise.

    Tom has developed a special relationship with the futon, and he claims that’s yoghurt, but I’m getting it reupholstered anyway. Tom has been upset about that, change terrifies him, and he likes the futon the way it is. But I keep telling him that even if the skin changes, the stuffing is essentially the same.

    But even as a child, Tom was a little insecure. He hid his beautiful eyes with his hair, and his lithe form in baggy oversized clothes. He is scared that if the futon becomes new, shiny their relationship will be altered.

    Carl, ah, Carl, my youngest child. He is terrified. Terrified of the floor. He feels like if he stands on it long enough, he will grow roots that will delve into the floor, and floor will grow roots that will delve into him and claim him, and he will be trapped in the spot for eternity. Or until someone mistakes him for a tree and chops him down, and turns him into a futon. I know that is a fear he has, because he refuses to look at Tom.

    I am pretty sure he jumped directly from the landing to the chandelier today. He will hang out there the entire day, until he absolutely has to come down.

    I wish he would leave the dog alone though. He is scared of roosters too, and the noise, clickety-clack, their feet make on the ground. So he keeps Spot with him at all times, because David has always been scared of dogs.

    As for myself, I find the click-click-beep of the cashier machine soothing. I can sit at the supermarket and listen to it for hours. I stay away though; I feel like my human voice, voicing its troubling thoughts will detract from the soothing quality of the machine’s monologue.

    1. Observer Tim

      More like a small slice of extremely crazy. 🙂

      This sort of reminds me of my home when growing up; I and my sisters had/have various allergies and the like, and the way my mother balanced everything and still managed to maintain a household was masterful. I can really see an analogue of that going on here.

      Very nice take, Charkhanolakha.

  11. AlanPaananen

    I’m not quite as fond of these stranger prompts, but here’s my attempt at it.
    When I stepped inside with my groceries, I stopped short at the doorway when I saw Carl sitting on the chandelier. Something about this didn’t register correctly in my mind as a natural or normal occurrence. I watched him dangling his legs and cradling his pet Chihuahua in his hands.
    With a nod of his head, Carl greeted, “Sup?”
    A number of specific questions materialized in my mind: how did he get up there with his dog? Why did he get up there? And when? It all came out of my mouth in a big hustle of words, “When what how did you why are you with your dog what the fff—“
    “It’s no big deal, I get a good view from up here.”
    “A view of what?”
    “The wedding.”
    “What wedding?”
    “The one that happened just now while you were gone.”
    “What? Right here in the entrance-way? Who got married?”
    “Tom. Can you believe it finally happened?”
    “I didn’t know Tom was engaged to anyone. Still, how…” I gestured up at him, still struggling to ascertain the line of thinking that would lead Carl to hoist himself on the chandelier.
    Looking around, Carl wondered aloud, “How did I get up here? Hey, do you mind taking my dog for me?”
    Holding up my hands, I showed off the big bag of groceries and said, “My hands are a little—“
    Without much forethought, Carl beamed and said, “Here, yo quiero Taco Bell.” He then let the poor mutt go, yipping all the way down.
    I had no choice but to abandon the groceries and catch the dog. With an agitated sigh, I let the dog down on the floor and snapped at Carl, “Come on, that commercial’s like fifteen years old now. Do you even know what that phrase means?”
    “Nope. Thanks for catching Ricky Martin for me.”
    As much as I wanted to chide Carl for the naming conventions of his dog and his seeming obsession with everything from the late 90s, I stared at the spilled groceries on the floor with even more distress. With a sigh, I started gathering up the food.
    In the midst of gathering everything up, I questioned Carl on even more pressing matters, “So, who did Tom marry…just now?”
    Carl’s hesitation didn’t help make this any less weird, so I just asked, “Is Tom here?”
    “Good, I’ll just ask him.” Carl never was a good source of critical information anyway.
    Once I got all the groceries back into their bags, I carried them to the kitchen and started the tedious task of transferring it all into the fridge. I opened the fridge and was shocked to find it stuffed with beer. I had to take fifty bottles out to fit in the food with actual nutritional value.
    When I pulled out some packets of chicken breast to put in, I heard Dave clearing his throat behind me. I turned and beheld a live chicken staring at me. Defying all the commonly-held beliefs I had regarding chickens, this one opened its beak and spoke in Dave’s voice, “So…was that chicken parts I saw you put in the fridge?”
    “Yeah.” Realizing that I was addressing a talking chicken, I sputtered, “What…what…how…what?”
    “Oh yeah, about my body. Total freak accident at the lab today. Remember that mutagen I was writing my paper on? Well, I decided to go through the procedure to see what would happen. One thing kinda led to the other…”
    “So, what, you mutated into a chicken?”
    “Unfortunately, yes. It’s nothing like the original formula, which was supposed to make me shoot fire out of my eyes. So, now that I’m a chicken, there has to be some changes. I can’t abide by us eating…that. I mean, that’s a piece of breast from one of my kind. What kind of sick f*cker eats dead breasts?”
    “Look, just because you’re a chicken now doesn’t mean the rest of us humans can’t enjoy chicken!”
    “You don’t see me eating a dead human!”
    “Well, no, that’s murder.”
    “So is that!” Dave pecked his head in the direction of the fridge. “This is so offensive in so many ways.”
    “Dave, you’re an animal now. Humans eat animals. You of all people should understand the finer details of how the food chain works. It’s nature.”
    “Oh no, we live in a manmade world now, and I’m living proof that we can play God. If I can become a chicken, we can find alternate forms of sustenance. I’m campaigning for everyone to become a total vegan, and no more chickens are to be killed!” Dave suddenly darted out of the kitchen in a flurry of flapping wings and feathers.
    Once the groceries were properly stowed in the fridge, I sought out Tom to ascertain what was really going on with him. I found him in one of the rooms, lying on a futon covered completely in a thick white mess. It took me a moment to realize that it was all yogurt, and not the other kind of white material that suddenly came to mind.
    Once again, a myriad of questions manifested in my mouth and came out in a jumbled mess, “So…what…who…I heard, what?”
    “It’s true, all of it,” Tom said.
    “So, who is the lucky gal?”
    “Dude, you’re looking at her,” Tom gestured at the mess around him. “Say hello to the lovely lady Futonco.”
    “Futo…what? You married the mattress?”
    “Hey, she’s a futon, and don’t you forget about it!”
    “It’s not even a real person!”
    “Oh no, she’s more than that to me. She’s so soft, and she understands me,” Tom started swirling the yogurt in gentle circles all over the futon…or his wife, rather.
    I had the sudden image of having Tom and the futon standing at the doorway with a priest. I had my doubts that the state would make this a legal marriage, but then again, this is California. With a sigh, I decided to just accept it all, and focus on the one last mystery in front of me. “What’s with all the yogurt?”
    “Oh…it’s a thing between us. I guess you could call it a fetish. Futonco loves it. Oh yes, you like it when I do this, don’t you, my little cotton wonder…” Tom started smearing the yogurt all over the place. It felt too awkward to linger.
    At that moment, I made the conscious decision to ditch Omega-Mu-Gamma and find a new fraternity chapter.

    1. Observer Tim

      A new fraternity sounds like a very good idea. 🙂

      I love the detail and the slow play-out of this, and the dialogue is well-handled and realistic for college kids. Kind of totally blows the word limit, but the story is good and clever enough to warrant it. Fantastic job!

  12. cosi van tutte

    And this is just for the purely random fun of it 😀

    “Mom! Mom! Mom!”

    I put the bags of groceries on the kitchen floor. “What’s the matter, Carl?”

    “Dave turned into a chicken again!”

    I sighed. “Didn’t I tell you boys not to fight?”

    “He started it. The Sappy Slappity Silly Sally Cartoon Hour Show was on and he wouldn’t let me watch it and he stole the remote and he tried to watch his stupid Barbeque Masters show, which is the stupidest show ever. The Sappy Slappity Silly Sally Cartoon Hour Show beats up Barbeque Masters and eats it for breakfast with lasagna and noodles and ice cream and—”

    “Okay, Carl. Calm down. Where is your brother right now?”

    “I got so mad at him I turned into a great big dog and I started barking at him like this RAUFF! RAUFF! RAUFF! and he stuffed the remote into his mouth and turned into a chicken and flew up into the lights and I can’t get the remote from him and it’s not fair because the stupid barbeque show is still on and he keeps turning the volume up and—”

    “Carl. Calm down. I’ll take care of this. Okay?”

    “But it’s not fair! It’s mean and it’s cheating! He knows I can’t turn into a bird too and he does it every time and he sits up in the lights and he laughs and he laughs at me.” His face crinkled up like he was either going to cry or turn into a dog again.

    I kissed the top of his head, which calmed him down as usual. “I know how he is. Go to your room and color. I’ll take care of your brother. Okay?”

    His little face brightened up. “Can we have cake and ice cream and lasagna for supper tonight?”

    I ran a mental inventory of our lasagna supplies. “Yes, but you need to stay away from your brother for the rest of the day. Okay?”

    “Okay!” He ran upstairs.

    I walked into the living room.

    On the tv, an anime character with long blonde hair clasped the sides of her face in an exaggerated fashion and wailed, “Oh, no! Tsukino-kun has acquired a new barbequing skill!”

    A teenaged boy with spiky blue hair twirled his barbeque tongs faster. “I told you: Don’t call me Tsukino-kun. IAM TSUKINO-CHAAAAAAN!”

    A frizzy headed chicken on our sofa threw its head back and chortled, “Bawk! Bawk! Bawk!”


    I walked over to the tv and shut it off.

    “Baawwwk!” The chicken transformed back into my oldest son. “Mooom! I’ve been looking forward to this episode.”

    “I don’t care. I told you two not to fight with your brother when I am not home.”

    “But Tsukino is about to—”

    I reclaimed the remote. “I don’t care what Tsukino is about to do. No fighting when I am not home.”

    “But, Mooom! Carl turned into a dog. A dumb, stinky dog. And he kept barking when I was trying to watch my show.”

    “That’s no excuse. Go empty the groceries.”

    “It’s not fair. You always side with him.”

    “I’m not siding with anyone. Groceries. Empty. Now. And no tv for the rest of the day.”

    Dave slumped his way to the kitchen all the while grumbling about life’s unfairness.

    “Boys.” I transformed into a Himalayan cat, jumped up on the couch, and fell asleep.

    1. Observer Tim

      Why did I sense that end (or something like it) was coming? This is crazy and imaginative, and reminds me of a sequel to the “Animorphs” books. I think you totally nailed the mom-to-kids dialogue, though my expertise in that area is forty-five years out of date. This is a really good morning smile. 🙂

  13. Doug Langille


    Let’s get the moral of the story up front, shall we? Never try to hypnotize a gypsy. Never host a bachelor party the night before the nuptials. Oh, and never invite your ex. Got that? Good.

    I heard the commotion as I walked down the hallway and gripped the bag of groceries even tighter. Barking. Glass breaking. A man crying.

    My hand hovered near the door to my apartment, keys trembling. I was getting married today to the love of my life. Jamie would be beautiful. Everything would be perfect, with the only hitch being the one intended. I willed my frozen hand to unlock the door.

    My jaw ached as I clenched and entered the foyer. I wasn’t getting my damage deposit back. That much was certain.

    Dave waddled over with his hands tucked into his armpits. Clad only in droopy underpants, he clucked and pecked at my shoes. I gingerly stepped over him but still managed to topple him on his side. He squawked a complaint and vomited in the umbrella plant.

    My feet crunched on the pretzels peppering the living room carpet with a dull yet somehow satisfying pop. The odour of curdled milk wafted to my nose amid the stale beer, puke and flatulence.

    I looked across the room and quickly shut my eyes. The flash scene of a buck naked Tom, slathered in yogurt, riding bareback the folded cushions of my futon. God, I hope that was yogurt.

    Annie, the aforementioned gypsy ex-girlfriend, sat astride one of the kitchen chairs, arms dangling over the back, and cheered him on. “Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.” She looked at me and smirked.

    Behind her, on the kitchen table, lay spread-eagled, an unconscious Carl. The remains of my rental-grade chandelier decorated his tracksuit like he’d been accosted by a Bedazzler-wielding teenager.

    Carl the Magnificent, my ass. My dog, Benji, stood between his legs and licked his crotch. Better him than Tom, I thought.

    I squeezed my way into the small galley kitchen and unpacked my morning haul. Eggs, bacon, some bread, and a tin of coffee. The java would have to come first.

    With all burners on the go and the smell of greasy protein disguising the rest of the stench, I set to make the toast.

    Dave wandered over and Annie reached across me to grab the heel. She ripped bits off and tossed it to the chicken.

    “Tom wore himself out finally?” I asked.

    “Sorta,” said Annie as she flicked another crumb. “It’s cuddle time now. He’s the big spoon.”

    “I’m sorry, Annie. For everything.”

    “You should be.”

    We stood there for a bit in relative silence. I made more toast as she watched.

    Annie’s voice was calmer and her body slackened. “Is she worth it. Jamie, I mean?”

    I looked at her thoughtfully. “Yes. Yes she is. I love her.”

    “You be good to her.”

    “I will.”

    Annie and I propped Carl in the corner chair. She wiped the table and I filled it with breakfasty-things.

    “Okay, Annie. Can you wake these jackasses up now? The wedding is in three hours.”

    “Sure. Remember what I said.”

    And with that she sauntered to the door, speaking something in Romani I didn’t understand.

    1. Observer Tim

      When will they ever realize that alcohol and spells do not mix? This is an imaginative and unforgiving take on the prompt; I love the matter-of-fact yet offhand way you presented everything. All in all a really good story. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I would say that Tim, slightly understated the slick, crisp sentences you stacked on top on each other. The laptop came sparkling alive as I read this. I know it’s funny, it’s supposed to be but oh what a human interest story you’ve wrtten. You’ve been starving this web site for your stories. Happy belated New Year, now for my sake and the web site, you better not disappear again!

  14. Charlotte Beskeen

    My first time posting here too…

    The grocery bags were chafing my fingers by the time I’d reached the front door. Tonight was going to be the night I would charm Tom’s new college girl into accepting all of us. Maybe I would get her drunk too. Dave would be out on the lounger helping himself to my whiskey, Tom would be along soon, skimming the hedge by a fraction in his gleaming Cadillac as he parked in his usual spot. And Carl, poor, nervous Carl would have found solace in the garden with my dog, Rooney.

    Hauling my shopping in I called a cheery hello and closed the door quietly. The air conditioning hummed mechanically. The tumble dryer was making amiable clunking noises, just as I’d left it an hour ago.
    A chicken walked out of the living room with alarming composure for an animal that was destined to end up in a fridge.
    It stopped in the hallway underneath the side lamp and gave me a cool look. Then I’d noticed Dave’s biker skull ring sitting loosely around it’s left foot.
    ‘Everyone’s arrived. We’ve started on the Rioccha. I hope you don’t mind.’ He said in Dave’s honeyed Pittsburgh slur.

    A whirligig of questions wheeled around my brain. ‘What on earth had happened to Dave? And could chickens drink wine?’ It was an impossibility I would not entertain. A dream that had got out of hand. I would let it play on for the time being.
    ‘Whatever. Help yourselves. ‘ I said weakly. Make Candice feel at home, ok?’
    Forgetting the shopping for a second, I opened the living room door, half expecting to find more trouble of a similar nature. I was not wrong.

    Tom had arrived after all. But the Cadillac wasn’t outside. He was lying on the sofa, hugging the arm rest tightly. Something that looked like greek yogurt dripped whitish from the covers.
    ‘Hey, fella.’ he said, his eyes misty. ‘ Me and Candice tied the knot earlier. She’s such a great girl.’ He sighed and buried his head in the arm rest again.
    I help a yelp from above and saw Rooney and Carl clinging to the chandelier. In one white knuckled hand Carl, held onto the chandelier the other locked around the dog’s neck in a vain effort to stop him from falling. Rooney whimpered frantically and paddled the air with his back paws. Any moment the chandelier would come crashing to the floor.

    My senses snapped to. ‘Tom! Stop making out with the sofa! Get me a step ladder before they fall and hurt themselves. Quickly!’

    But Tom, it seemed, did not hear me. He was making soft cooing noises into the cushion, now sticky with yogurt
    After I’d extricated the dog and the teenage boy from the chandelier, both bathed in cold sweat, I made a beeline for the kitchen and poured myself a bourbon. It had all been my fault, I realized. Never again would I be complacent in the face of madness.

    1. Observer Tim

      Your MC has got to invest in some new friends, either that or some lower-proof alcohol. Either that or he’s going to have to stop going grocery shopping while stoned. The line between fantasy and reality is quite blurry here, which is the sort of thing I love and the sort of thing this prompt all but forces. Nice one, Charlotte, and welcome to the site! 🙂

      My style advisor tells me that you don’t really need the “I was not wrong” sentence when you are going to immediately follow it with a description of the strangeness and trouble being referred to. Also, the paragraph spacing could be more consistent to give the story a more consistent look.

      Once again, welcome, and I hope to see more of you in prompts to come!

      1. Charlotte Beskeen

        Thanks very much! I found it really fun to write and a good exercise in editing and streamlining my narrative. A request for more of these, please 🙂

  15. JosephFazzone

    This story starts way before I was born, but it really isn’t the point, so I will start it here, the day I found the note.

    Me, and my roommates always thought this house had a cool vintage vibe, but lo’ and behold, it’s charm wasn’t realized until the day I discovered that loose board by my right nightstand that revealed the lose panel, which revealed the cigar box with labeled ‘The Marksman 5¢ Cigar in bold crimson red letters with a fine black trim.’ They depicted two hunters also wearing the same color red and one is apparently shooting off into the distance, at what is debatable. I carefully pulled out the box which accumulated a great deal of dust over the years.

    Inside was a worn out buck knife with the initials TPK engraved in the bone handle. Underneath that was the dusty grey moleskin diary. As I opened the diary, some old black and white photos of a grimacing peppered hair curmudgeon fell onto the floor. Written inside was a letter.


    So nice to sort of meet you, my name is Toby Patrick Kent. I am writing to you from the year 1922. Things are well, thanks for asking. Listen, if you are the prankster type like I am, maybe you and I can make a little partnership. I’ve always scoffed at the idea of ghosts. Truth is, I don’t believe in them. What I do believe in, is a good prank. Here’s the deal. As I advanced in my years, I began to concoct this story, and I basically complained about my beloved knife being lost, stolen by a ghost, and if ghosts are real then maybe I can get it back from the damn ghost that stole it in the afterlife. I even named the damn thing Jocan which means Joke in Welch. I always told them it meant noble warrior. Still with me? Yes, this knife here in the box. I will give you a few details that only I and those who knew me would know. I was a craftsman in my earlier years. Now I’m too old to do much but crap and plot. Lucky for you this is experience came from the latter. I don’t plot where I crap, or crap where I plot. It’s bad for business. This knife handle is made from the leg bone of my dead dog Roger. It’s not actually, it’s the leg of an elk, but I always told people that, so anyone who knew me knew that. I bragged about the stupid knife a lot. As I said, I’ve been dreaming about this wonderful ruse all my life. It is sad that I won’t be there to make it work. Oh, and if anyone of my family happens to find this note. Put it back! This isn’t for you, this is about being silly. I apologize about lying about the dog’s leg being the handle. Use these photos of me, to describe me, and if you have any other questions, well, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do for you. I wish you well in our prank. Ghosts don’t exist, silly, or do I?

    Wishing you the best of luck,
    Toby Patrick Kent

    I had a great big smile on my face when I read the letter, and began to build the frame from the great foundation the great Toby Patrick Kent had laid. I had to honor his memory. It began with series of random complaints to my roommates about odd bumps in the night, weird feelings, it being too cold, too hot, too breezy, or too still. I began to complain about hearing some strange whispers down the hall saying something like Jocan, Jocan. They began to pester me for details, but I wouldn’t give them much. As I intensified my irrational grumblings, ole Dave set out to disprove every one of them. It became an intense competition of nullifying my increasingly disturbing list of complaints. Carl and Tom had done some research, and found out who used to own the house. On a perfectly glorious stormy night, I woke the household to the most terrifying scream I could ever muster. My dog joined in for a howling chorus, added bonus. I told them, “I saw him! I saw him!” When they asked who, I told them it was the old man with a bone handled buck knife.

    They were freaked out, but then there was this internet hoax story about a ghost and a bone knife. Carl found it, and showed it to the others. I maintained my stance that I was not making this up, and that’s when Tom decided we should make a bet. The stakes were agreed upon, and we continued to investigate the truth as to whether or not I was experiencing a haunting. We decided it would be best to go back and see who had owned the house before us. The internet is so handy. We were able to trace back owners to our good friend Toby Kent. So my plan at that time was to eventually get the knife more and more the focus of the paranormal visits when Tom strikes gold by finding not only a picture of him, but his known relatives. I hadn’t figured that part out. Dave contacted one of them Face book, and they were eager to meet with us.

    I could have kissed Toby if I ever met him. His granddaughter Kara, and oldest living cousin Margaret, not only corroborated the possibility of a haunting, claiming he was a bitter angry man, and he cursed the day his beloved Jocan was stolen. They had pictures of him with it, and even had pictures of the actual knife. That was unbelievable. I was blown away. I escorted the ladies outside, and one had stifled a giggle. Kara told me that he had written about the prank in the will. They never believed anyone would go for it, but they were only too happy to execute her beloved grandfather’s silly wish. She told me that he was the funniest, sweetest, warmest man she ever knew. He had the fiercest look, but the heart of a teddy bear. I was choked up, and reaffirmed on my mission.

    I placed the knife in the cigar box, and then dug a hole near an old gnarled oak tree in the backyard that I spotted from the kitchen window, and planted it there. We had rain the next day; it was as if Toby was crying tears of joy to aid me in disguising the recent digging. All was set. It was early in the morning. We were all in the kitchen having breakfast when I froze in horror staring out the window. I told them what I saw after a few agonizing minutes of remaining frozen while they tried to rouse me. They wait was worth it. I told them I saw the old man, and he was pointing at the old tree.

    We marched out there in our socks, getting muddy for our pains, as we approached the tree. I pointed to the spot I had seen the main point to. Carl ran off and returned with a shovel. It took a few minutes, but finally we found the old cigar box. I could feel their blood run cold with fear when we opened it and found the knife. I told them that I felt that we needed to return the knife to his family so he could rest in peace. They all agreed. It was time to collect my bet.

    I wish I had planned out the bet better, but oh well; it was worth it to be a part of something so grand. Dave became a chicken for the day, clucking, plucking, and complaining that his back hurt. Tom got married to our futon and we filmed it and doused him with yogurt since we didn’t have any rice, and posted in on Youtube, Carl managed to spend the afternoon in our chandelier, we even let my dog chill up there to keep him company. It was a glorious afternoon. That night, Kara and Margaret, and I let the other’s tell the story of what happened. They gave me a few secret smiles as they humbly thanked us for the return of Toby’s precious knife secretly when I walked them out, I gave diary and the pictures to Kara. She gave me a smile and a wink. It was tough to contain my grin.

    There wasn’t a trace of old Toby after that day, but we’ve retold the story over and over, and it’s gotten grander in the telling. A news crew came by, and we’ve seen our story go up on various internet sites now. Old Toby Patrick Kent and his knife, it sure had a fun title. When some of the fire from the story waned, I was visited by Kara. She gave me the knife back, the diary, and a separate note from the twisted old TPK.

    My friend, you thought our time is at an end? No, it’s just beginning. There’s the telling of a story, and then there’s the legend itself. Here is the knife, and here is the diary and pictures, and I would ask you then to add your own verse to this tale. Thanks to you I live on, let’s live on together, and hope our new friend shares our quirky humor. We shall make another friend and coconspirator in the future!

    Your friend,
    Toby Patrick Kent

    1. Observer Tim

      Sure it’s way over the limit and incredibly elaborate, but it’s a compelling read, Joseph. May Toby Patrick Kent and his first accomplice live on! 🙂

      My red pencil wants to talk about lists and commas. The comma is a separator in a list, taking the place of a conjunction. So “Me and my roommates” doesn’t need one, nor does “Kara and Margaret and I” unless you lose the first one to “Kara, Margaret and I”. An “Oxford comma” is placed before the last conjunction in the list (Kara and Margaret, and I) but is only really needed when the list is comprised of single and compound items (My roommates, Kara and Margaret, and I). There; now the pencil will hopefully shut up and stop bugging me.

      1. JosephFazzone

        Thanks Tim. I appreciate the red pencil. I am here to become a better writer, and to read some amazing stories. Thanks to people like you, I feel like I have accomplished both goals. Still have my work to do. Thank you.

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        I echo Tim’s comments, and while I’ve ceased obsessing over the word count myself, I do think there are some places you could tighten with fewer words without losing the narrative. It was a very creative frame for the prompt.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I didn’t think the story too long and I appreciated all the background and detail. Most of my stories run 550 to 600, so I’m not a stickler. Sure I could have pared away to 500 but to lazy to do so. Love stories about old houses and ghosts, as you know now. I thought this excellent.

  16. writrsblock

    I’m 13 and this is my first tome posting on this site. Enjoy:
    Dave decided to cook a snack for everyone while I was gone shopping, but it turned into a food fight. The others started throwing ingredients around. Tom grabbed the jar of jelly and advanced on Dave, but Dave didn’t want anyone bothering him while he was cooking, so he slammed Tom on the head with the tub of yogurt, splattering its contents all over the futon. When he became conscious, he kept screaming,” I saw her first! She’s my wife! Stay away!” while hugging the futon the whole time.
    Humphry, the dog, was scared of the smelly mass of cheese dip, which was part of the now-burned snack of nachos; so he retreated to the chandelier. How he got up there nobody knows.
    “Where did the hot sauce get to?” Dave yelled from the pantry. Carl called back,” Here, I think this is it, Dave.” Carl handed him the would-be hot sauce. Dave began to eat his nachos doused with the hot sauce, and then Carl realized that it was not the sauce, but that it was cough medicine, and snatched it away. But it was too late! Dave was somersaulting over furniture, in wild, drugged pantomime, cackling like a chicken.
    Carl was despairing over this new result, when he suddenly became aware of Humphry, whimpering with fright. Not even thinking to get a ladder, Carl climbed to the dog’s aid. Now that he was up on the chandelier, how would he get the dog down, much less himself?
    That’s what happened to cause this pitiful situation, a chaotic caper of a harried afternoon snack.
    The end

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a clever and strange story, WritrsBlock. The description of the situation as an unfolding series of events is a nice effect and a good technique. Wonderful job! 🙂

      Toward making your work even better, please remember to break up the quotes into separate paragraphs; that tells the reader that you’ve changed who is speaking. It doesn’t matter how short they are.

      That said, welcome to the site and I hope we see more from you!

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, writrsblock!

      This is a very enjoyable story.

      And just so you know, I love the part about the dog retreating up to the chandelier and “How he got up there nobody knows.” 😀 Also, great ending line!

  17. bethrose77

    One morning I looked in the fridge and found nothing but an old takeout container of Chinese noodles and an unidentifiable meat It smelled like skunk poop. I read the side. “Mr. Ping’s Chinese Surprise.” If Mr. Ping’s Surprise wasn’t a surprise then, it certainly was now. Cursing my roommates for their procrastination, I left to go grocery shopping. When I returned, my roommate, Carl, was on a ladder in the middle of the living room, trying to retrieve our dog, Larry, who precariously balanced on the chandelier. “What the…”
    I tripped over a shoe. Groceries went flying everywhere. A chicken rolled across the floor. A bag of carrot sticks exploded in my face. A yogurt container launched into the air and splatted all over the futon, where my other roommate, Tom, was huddled, now screaming. “DAVE! DAVE!” Carl twisted around on his ladder. “Why are you screaming?” Tom was pointing at the chicken: “DAVE’S BEEN ROASTED!” Carl said, “Dave is not a chicken. Dave is fine. He’s right there.” I staggered to my feet. “Oh. Thank goodness you’re safe. DON’T TOUCH THE LAVA!” He said as I made a step into the living room. “What lava and why is the dog on the chandelier?” “I put him up there to keep him safe from the LAVA!” I withdrew my foot. I used the best calm voice I had. “Tom. The floor is not lava. You can come off the futon now.” “NO! She saved me from the lava. We’re married now. I’ll never let you go, Mary.” He kissed the futon and rubbed it. While he was distracted, I moved to the futon and sat down. “Tom…” “GET OFF MY WIFE!” He screamed. I jumped off. “AND DON’T TOUCH THE LAVA!” I hurried to the kitchen. “Come here, Larry,” Carl coaxed. “Good dog.” The poor pooch looked absolutely terrified. Carl began to move onto the chandelier with the dog. I moved forward to stop him. “Carl, you can’t-” “DON’T TOUCH THE LAVA!!!” I jumped back. “Okay, okay. Carl, let me know when the drugs wear off. And be careful.” I began to gather up what groceries I could (without touching the lava) and moved to the fridge. When I opened the door, I realized I had forgotten to throw away Mr. Ping’s Surprise. I picked it up. It was empty.

    1. Observer Tim

      DON’T TOUCH THE LAVA! This was a strange piece BethRose, packing a lot of crazy into a small space. Note to self: get rid of the Chinese noodles before leaving the house. 🙂

      My critique is structural: the latter part of the story would have been an easier read if it were broken into paragraphs. This may be an artifact of your writing platform, though.

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, bethrose!

      This story made me smile from beginning to end. Especially this part: “GET OFF MY WIFE!” He screamed. I jumped off. “AND DON’T TOUCH THE LAVA!” 😆

  18. igonzales81

    Game Night

    The first thing I saw was the chicken. It was sitting on the porch swing, staring straight ahead. Smoking a cigarette.

    “What the…”

    The chicken looked at me. “Don’t ask.”

    It sounded like Dave. And those were Dave’s cigarettes. I got that bad feeling I sometimes get when coming home. “Not again.”

    “Ohhh yes, again.” Dave’s eyes widened, and he stood abruptly, to reveal a freshly laid egg. I could have sworn he blushed.

    I’d stepped out to get chips and guacamole, and I came back to this. I pushed open the front door, expecting to see the unexpected. I was not disappointed.

    Tom lounged on a futon—which hadn’t been there when I’d left. Next to him sat a puddle of yogurt, strawberry by the look of it. Tom was just starting at the TV, oblivious to the slowly spreading pool of pink.

    “Tom, what’s with the yogurt? And what’s with the futon?”

    Tom glanced at me, looked back at the TV. “The futon is Alice. She wanted yogurt.”

    “Alice? You’re wife?” I didn’t know what was weirder, the fact that Alice was now a futon, or that Tom always brought his wife along to watch the game. She hated football. And me. And just about everything else.

    I turned away, fighting down the urge to smile.

    And I bumped into a foot, hanging in midair. It took me a second to realize that it wasn’t just a foot; it was Carl, lying atop the chandelier, cradling Buddy, my chocolate lab. Carl peered down at me, eyes wide in a pale face. Buddy whined.

    Two questions immediately came to mind. I went with the most pressing. “Carl, why are you holding my dog?”

    “It’s the floor,” he whispered. “It’s out to get us.”

    “The floor.”

    He nodded. “You can tell by the way it creaks.”

    It was time to get to the bottom of this. I set the bag on the counter and started for the bathroom. The floorboards creaked, and a whimper came from above.

    I could hear the water running before I reached the door. For a second, I contemplated entering without knocking; this was my house after all. But I knew who I was dealing with.

    I knocked.

    “Come in.”

    The door swung open. There was my sister, crouched next to the tub, filling it with hot water while she tossed in objects pulled from a canvas sack. Lizard tails, cobwebs, strange-smelling powders: it all went into the tub, which she stirred with a wooden spoon.

    “Again, sis?”

    She shrugged. “Your tub’s bigger than mine.”

    “And my friends?”

    “Dave was smoking in the house. Alice was being Alice. Carl made an ungentlemanly pass at me.” She shook her head. “Your friends are weird.”

    “You don’t say.” My sister was a real witch; I’d learned that while very young. She could also be a witch with a capital “B” when she wanted. “I’m going to watch the game down at the bar,” I backed out of the room, closing the door behind me. “Just put everything back the way it was when you leave, please.”

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a clever and entertaining take on the prompt. I love the sister’s explanation as to why she was using his tub, and her total disregard for the consequences. All in all, this is a hoot! 🙂

      My one critique is that you didn’t really need to telegraph the strangeness so much in paragraph where he opens the door, given that we’re going to see it immediately thereafter. Something like “I pushed open the door, wondering what was coming next.”

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, igonzales!

      This story is awesome.

      And I totally loved this whole part: “…it was Carl, lying atop the chandelier, cradling Buddy, my chocolate lab. Carl peered down at me, eyes wide in a pale face. Buddy whined.
      Two questions immediately came to mind. I went with the most pressing. “Carl, why are you holding my dog?”
      “It’s the floor,” he whispered. “It’s out to get us.”
      “The floor.”
      He nodded. “You can tell by the way it creaks.” 😆

  19. CDyer

    I was only gone an hour – we needed more mushrooms.
    Oranges fell and rolled across linoleum as I walked in the room.
    Apparently, Carl’s acting out after returning from the vet. He accidentally left Dave, instead of our to- be neutered canine pet. Dave will no longer be crowing -how unlucky can a rooster get? Tom with a large yogurt and ladle on his thigh, proclaims marital devotion to the futon, reclining to the strains of Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights.” The dog, still surgically free, strains to extricate himself from Carl and the chandelier trapeze. Me? I’m heading straight for the trash. No more of these shrooms, they’ve kicked everyone’s ass!

  20. rayner

    (This is my first time posting here. I’m sorry if it sucks.)

    Everything had been normal when I left for the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. Both Dave and Tom were sitting on the futon in the living room – Dave eating a bag of slightly burnt popcorn, engrossed in an action flick, and Tom texting his recent girlfriend in between bites of vanilla yogurt. Carl was standing on the dining room table, even though I told him countless times not to, fixing a light that had blown out, while Barnaby the family dog slept on his pillow bed nearby. I was only gone for a few minutes. Apparently, a lot could happen in a short space of time. When I returned home with nothing on my mind but getting a start on dinner and scrubbing the dining room table until it gleamed, I nearly dropped the bag of groceries I was carrying. Pecking the slightly burnt popcorn that had spilled on the floor from the bag was a real life chicken with an unusual color of feathers: auburn, the color of Dave’s hair. (But that couldn’t be Dave, could it?) Tom was in nothing but his boxers licking vanilla yogurt off the futon, and Carl was lounging on top of the chandelier with Barnaby’s head resting on his chest. What the hell was going on? I walked into the dining room and put the grocery bag down on the table.


    He didn’t answer me. Was he asleep? Probably not as I couldn’t hear him snoring.

    “Carl,” I said a bit more loudly.

    Both he and Barnaby stirred but I still got no response.

    Slightly vexed by Carl ignoring me, I went to the kitchen, grabbed the broom out of the pantry, and prodded him a couple of times in the back. He woke with a jolt. Barnaby also woke and looked around with bleary eyes.

    “Oh, hey, you’re back,” said Carl, not at all annoyed that I’d woke him up with a couple jabs to the back with the broom handle, ‘did you get everything you needed at the store?”

    “Carl, what the hell is going on? Why’s there a chicken in my living room? Why’s Tom in his boxers licking yogurt off the futon? And why are you and Barnaby on the chandelier?”

    Carl looked at me sympathetically. Why?

    “You forgot again,” he said, “Dave’s always been a chicken. The futon is Tom’s wife, Ava. I wish they would go into the bedroom if they’re trying to make that baby. And Barnaby and I always lay up here to take a nap.”

    I stared up at him in disbelief. None of this made sense. Dave wasn’t a chicken. He was human, a boy barely in his teens. I think I would know if he’d been a chicken this entire time. Tom wasn’t married to a futon named Ava. He was seventeen, too young for marriage and still in high school. And who takes naps with their dog on dining room chandelier?

    Carl was messing with me. He had to be. But the look on his face told me he was being genuinely serious. But none of this made sense. When I’d left everything had been normal.

    “Are you being funny?” I asked.

    Carl shook his head. “When have you known me to be funny, Molly? This is real. You’ll remember again, I promise. Go start dinner and don’t think about it.”

    Then he laid back, crossed his arms across his chest, and closed his eyes. Barnaby rested his head on Carl’s chest again. I didn’t want to start dinner. Everything about this was abnormal. This wasn’t my family. Nobody’s family was like this.

    “Molly, go cook dinner and don’t think about it,” said Carl as if he knew I was still standing there staring up at him.
    I grabbed the grocery bag off the table and went into the kitchen still thinking about it.

    1. Observer Tim

      Very nice, Rayner. You painted a really discordant scene here by providing both the normal and the changed situations. Now I’m wondering which one is the weird one: Is Molly insane or are her friends messing with her? This begs a sequel, but it actually kind of fits to be left hanging. Nice job, and welcome to the site!

      Putting the “before” in a heap and making the “after” a full scene is a good sign that you’re ahead of the game on structure and style. If I’m going to be nit-picky, the line with Carl should be “I’d woken him” or “I’d awakened him”. Red pencil is now satisfied.

      And no, it doesn’t suck, it’s good. Don’t apologize for your work. Grr-grr. 🙂

    2. Kinterralynn

      First off – never apologize for your writing! It does NOT suck at all! I found this intriguing and mysterious. I want to know more… like is Molly one of those people that hallucinates her reality?
      This was well written and I encourage you to keep writing and writing and writing some more.

    3. Jeannie Marie

      I think it’s fantastic. This was a difficult prompt and you aced it. Only criticism I have is it’s over word count which, for me, is one of the hardest aspects of writing and something to be mastered. It’s difficult to stay within a parameter when telling the full story takes more words. I feel practice each time you write is essential. Otherwise I loved it. Well done!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I thought for a moment, I was watching a segment of the ‘Honeymooner’s’ from the fifties. Oh, to be a fly on the wall and figure out what really was happening. Write every day of your life, if only for a few minutes. It’s like riding a bike and will become tptally natural to you and give you joy and peace.
        Looking forward to your response next week.

  21. jhowe

    There’re three major things wrong with this story; I wouldn’t read it:
    • It doesn’t follow the prompt (at all)
    • It’s too long
    • It lacks taste

    The Princess and the Farmer’s Son

    The farmer and his son, who was almost a man, toiled in the mid-day heat in a field that fronted a magnificent castle that gleamed in the distance. The boy looked at it longingly as his father cuffed his ear.

    “Load the cart boy,” he said, popping another strawberry into his mouth. “I have a delivery to make.”

    The strawberry crop that year was better than ever and the man could afford to eat a few of the profitable berries. “To give me strength,” the farmer had said. Soon, the farmer began to squirm and ran to the outhouse faster than the boy had ever seen him run.

    “Apparently strawberries do not agree with me,” the farmer said upon his teetering return. “I think you will make the delivery today.”

    The boy was thrilled beyond words but he kept his face passive. “But father, you always deliver.”

    The old man turned around and ran again, calling over his shoulder for the boy not to dilly dally. “Ask for the cook,” he said. “She is the only one you have to talk to.”

    The royal cook was a stout woman with a permanent scowl etched somewhere between the folds that defined her massive face. The boy showed her the goods in the cart including the small wooden pail filled with ripe red strawberries.

    “Oh my,” she said. “These will make a lovely pie for the family.”

    From the corner of the boy’s eye, he spied a lovely sight. A young woman in a sheer white gown walked toward them, the sun at her back. He felt an unfamiliar stirring but did not stare.

    “Oh, strawberries,” she said, or rather sang it; quite nicely in the boy’s opinion. She took up the pail and started popping them into her mouth, stems and all.

    “My lady, I was going to make a pie,” the cook said. But the princess only scoffed and grabbed the boy by the hand.

    “Come with me, boy,” she said and led him to her bed chamber. She rudely shooed away the maid and shut the door. The boy stood, awkward and trembling. She ate a berry and held one to his lips. He opened his mouth and her finger slipped in with the berry and she moved it in a seductive manner. This she did many times and finally held one between her teeth and offered it. Their lips met as they chewed and juices dripped down their fronts.

    “Oh my,” the princess said. “Now I will have to change my gown.” She shrugged and it fell to the floor, revealing her forbidden treasures, the likes of which were never before imagined by the boy. “I see you are enjoying yourself,” she said as she helped him out of his tunic and britches.

    The boy felt an unwelcome rumble in his gut and thought he had surely inherited his father’s adverse reaction to strawberries. Not now, he thought. He soon was able to put it out of his mind and concentrate on what the princess offered. When the coupling was over, not even a minute later, the princess confessed that she needed more and that she expected a more prolonged encore performance very soon. The boy held back another bout of cramps but was soon ready again.

    Afterwards, they lay together under the covers of her bed. The princess asked if he could manage one more session if she allowed a bit of rest. The boy quickly agreed as his stomach lurched and he fought yet another spell.

    They snuggled together and the boy started to doze with the princess pressed to his back. He dreamed of a hideous serpent, slithering and hissing as it emerged from its dark den. With a start he awoke and fought a great pain and felt the eruption and heard the screams as the princess kicked at the covers and ran naked from the room screaming. Horrified, he heard muffled laughter from the hall and stood. The chamber maid came in and looked down as he quickly dressed, a stifled smile on her face. She gathered the soiled bedclothes and skipped from the room, humming.

    He ran down the hall and remembered the cart. The cook waited, her face oddly shaped. Was she smiling? She reached into a pocket of her apron and pulled out two coins, changed her mind and pulled out another. She pressed the coins into the boy’s hand.

    “I’ll see you next week,” she said, and she surely was smiling.

    “But ma’am, I don’t know if…”

    “Nonsense,” she said. “I’m in charge of provisioning. I’ll see you next week.”

    The boy pushed his cart down the path and a figure blocked his way. The boy was shocked. It was the king himself.

    “Are you the young man who shat upon my daughter?”

    The boy could not face him and his forehead turned hot. He felt it best not to lie to this man. “Yes sir.”

    “I question your methods but I applaud your results. No one has been able to humble that girl until now. You have done me a great favor.” He reached into his robe and handed the boy a large gold coin. “Begone now, and as the cook said, we’ll see you next week.”

    The boy pushed the empty cart down the road toward his father’s house as the sun began to set. He would be late for dinner and would likely receive the farmer’s wrath but he didn’t care. He started to think of places to hide his new gold coin, and of taking a bath.

    1. Beebles

      How can I not read it, with that introduction. Congratulations, fairy tales are reknowned for being gruesome, but that was a bitch. “Are you the young man who shat upon my daughter?” I just sat and laughed at that line for ages.

    2. AHaughee

      you had me at “I wouldn’t read it.” 😉
      ok this is something small that i noticed and liked – how you transitioned from speaking about the cook to being right with her. that is something i need to work on…knowing what details to skip. it flowed perfectly without wasting unnecessary words.
      nice twist on the fairy tale. the princess who is a…tart.. and gets what she deserves!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I loved this tale, one to read to the grandchildren when they’re of age, well, maybe not. A gold coin and three pieces is a pretty good day’s work for a farm boy.

        2. AHaughee

          You know..I can’t necessarily blame her. Maybe all that work on the farm made him all jacked. Maybe it was just a good opportunity and she couldn’t pass it up. Instead of the “slut princess” she could be the “come-hither-six-pack princess”

  22. Observer Tim

    Warning: Foul language

    I hate chickens. They’re goddamn scavengers, and like all carrion birds they’re fucking evil. I watch the scrawny hen pluck Dave’s eye out, flick its ugly little head back, and down it in one gulp. Then it says to me, in Dave’s voice, “Yum.”

    Tom – Lieutenant Tom Shattuck – our fearless leader: Tom’s holding that seat cushion like he wants to fuck it. I’ll cut the douchebag some slack though, because it’s all that’s keeping his intestines inside him and not on the dirt roadbed. He still gurgles and coughs occasionally, so he’s probably alive.

    I’m hallucinating. I have to be; ever since we hit that IED – politico-speak for fucking landmine – things have gone to shit. Dave is dead, or he’s been reincarnated as a fucking chicken; Carl’s arm is being fought over by a couple of wild dogs while the rest of his body dangles from the doorframe like it’s some kind of fucking chandelier.

    And me? My legs are trapped under the HummV, smashed all to shit and crushed flat. Even if somebody gets the thing off me I’ll bleed out in a matter of minutes. Wish I fucking would; I’ve been lying here almost an half an hour now.

    It’s not like anybody on our side’s coming. We were off-route, checking out one of Ell-Tee-Shitsack’s fucking hunches when we hit the bomb. The Dishrag base is maybe a mile away, and they have to have heard it go off. Speaking of fucking scavengers; once they see the Hummer they’ll know it’s us and their guys will be out to grab weapons, bullets, rations, anything worth taking.

    But I’m ready for them. I got five grenades tucked into my fatigues where they can’t be seen, all wired to the same fucking string. There’s a sixth one under my gut, to make sure I don’t get tortured or beheaded on camera or any of that shit.

    Finally I can hear voices, nattering in Arabic or whatever the fuck they speak in this province of Hell. My head’s spinning from loss of blood but I should still have enough strength to start the fireworks. One of them laughs and I can see movement coming towards me. Suck on this, assholes!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Tim, this is the most powerful story on the theme, ‘War Is Hell’ that I have ever read, even eclipsing ‘The Flyboys’ about WWII against the Japaanese. In case no one else realizes it, I do. And why is our nation sitting on it’s ass and waiting for this battle to be fought on American soil? All rules are forgotten in modern war and it’s about time we reaized it. We are not fighting fathers, sons and brothers on the other side, we are battling with evil and insanity.

    1. jhowe

      Thanks for this. Lots of grit and power. I think Elmore Leonard would write like this if we got him really pissed off. Man, you really hit on all eight this time.

    2. AHaughee

      Your use of present tense makes the piece feel more alive. I like how the first and the last sentence are both short, powerful statements. It ties the piece all together, I think. Plus anything that ends in “suck on this” is pretty epic!

      1. AHaughee

        I also wanted to say that you are really, really great about leaving feedback. You do it for everyone and you take the time to really think about each person’s piece and leave a detailed reply. You’re awesome!

  23. Kerry Charlton

    BB and Anita

    Spring of 1960, a white Rolls approached the Eiffel Tower. The world’s most famous Masquerade party pulsated through the evening.. My mission, introduce to the world, a fabulous young woman from Sweden. Dressed in a formal tux, a wolf’s head lay planted on my shoulders .She wore a French mask, and a white off the shoulder ball gown that left nothing to imagination..

    The announcer asked for our name and then introduced us,

    “Mr. John Chamberlin and Miss Anita Ekberg.”

    In full swing, the party froze in place. David Niven removed his chicken head from his costume and stared across the ballroom floor. Carl Reiner swung from a massive chandelier, holding Lassie in one hand , grasping the silk cord in the other. A young Tom Jones from Wales insisted he was married to a futon that became a resting place for the world famous Bridgette Bardot.

    Frankly I was not only stunned by BB but also by Anita who seemed to be having trouble with the top of her gown. When I forced my eyes away from her dress, the six foot chicken wobbled across the ballroom floor, looking like a decayed yellow dinosaur in miniature. David’s face labored under the delusion he
    might sweep Anita in a swoon but she held steady in polite conversation.

    Out of the corner of my eye, BB stood over a prone Tom Jones who had been decked by a sucker punch from staring at Anita. So far, so good, but when Anita saw Cary Grant wander her way, I let her rip. She met him on the dance floor with a tango beat. She moved like a panther in heat, but Grant was out of his league. He did a great stand up look in his movies but not on the dance floor. I moved quickly and cut in. I wasn’t sure I hadn’t blown it but he was gracious as always, the perfect gentleman..

    Carl Reiner a genius of comedy in his own right, introduced Anita to Lassie. She happened to be a boy dog, became aroused as she pet him and was led off quickly. Carl stayed with us to chat a bit. Anita enjoyed his quick wit, but then all hell broke loose. BB dragged Tom Jones by his hair and threw him at Anita’s feet,

    “If you want to gape and drool, do it here.”

    She raised her hand to slap him across his face, but Anita caught it, backed her off and sent her sprawling across the dance floor. Then all the press arrived as the two beauties descended into a wild and woolly cat fight. Anita took time off to pose, threw BB over her shoulder and proceeded toward the massive punch bowl at the side of the dance floor.

    I couldn’t believe her intentions but she settled BB’s ass gently in it. A thousand flash bulbs lit the room as Bridgette struggled to remove her butt from the bowl. We ran from the party, climbed in the Rolls and laughed ‘till our tears dried up. I knew my job had landed in the toilet. I took one more run at getting fired,

    “Anita, I have a bottle of Jack in my room, want to kill it with me“

    . She surprised me and said yes. Five in the morning the call finally came. Anita with a sleepy slur answered,

    “Jason‘s calling from New York, says you’re in shit’s trouble.”

    I picked the phone up with a large frog stuck in my throat,

    “Jason, I can explain.”

    Anita watched as I nodded and said, “yes“ several times. I passed the phone to her,

    “Yummy,” she repeated three times and said goodbye.

    “What did he tell you?”

    “We’re due in Rome tomorrow for a press party, and preview of La Dolce Vita. We have a free day today. He said I’m world famous on newspaper fronts from here to China.”

    “What was all the ‘yummy’ business?”

    “He kept asking me, how you were doing.”

    1. cosivantutte

      Hi, Kerry!

      I don’t know how much of this story is fact versus fiction, but it feels 100% true. I loved the part where Anita plops BB into the punch bowl. I could just imagine the photographers going nuts. 😀

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Cosi, I’m glad you enjoyed this. As far as being true, my lips are sealed. Certain people are still walking around. I was 24 at the time, so was Tom Jones.

    2. Observer Tim

      I love your little slices of show-business, Kerry; they’re far more entertaining than what passes for news in the tabloids these days. It seems modern stars have forgotten how to misbehave. This is a riot in the good sense of the term. 🙂 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Tim, the movie stars of this time period, didn’t play for keep but rather let their hair down and had a lot of fun doing it. You went to a newsstand in the fifties and sixties and thumbed through two dozen ‘silver screen’ magazines all trying to out do each other. What a fun time it was.

    3. jhowe

      There’s not too many people sexier than MS. Bardot, so Anita musta been a real bombshell. You did it again, KC. Love your historical fiction. Or as you and Cosi eluded to, maybe a little factoidism?

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Now that you’ve seen Anita’s picture which road would you take? You have to treat Swedish girls as well as Italian girls with much finesse, so which one and don’t tell me both! Thanks for stopping by.

        1. jhowe

          Thanks for the Anita pic. I’d heard of her but must have forgotten her pretty face and other attributes. Since you, in a round about way, chose Anita, I’ll take BB and help her with the spilled punch.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you AHaughee. I appreciate your comments. I had in mind, the masquerade ball fron the Pink Panther while writing this. I could have nailed the scene with a few more words but I was already over.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Reatha, I’m glad you’re amused by this. Okay, I’m going to confess, there’s not a word of truth in this story. But what the hay, it was a lot of fun to write.

  24. cosi van tutte

    And here is the continuation/conclusion of my story from last week’s prompt. Sorry it’s a little on the long side.

    Lord Eina sang archaic love songs to a sofa covered in grape yogurt while cats and dogs swung around on onyx chandeliers. Jack stood in the doorway, weighted down with bulging grocery bags. “Tsk. It would be nice if someone could help me.”

    Help me. Help me. The words echoed in the air like a d-minor chord being banged on a piano over and over. The yogurt curdled into cottage cheese and burst into flames.

    Lord Eina looked at the burning yogurt and sang, “Watch it buuuurrn! Oh, baby! Baby! Watch that lactose intolerant glop BUUUUURRRRN!”

    The cats and dogs laughed and shouted, “Yeah! Burn! Burn! Burn!”

    The couch bounced up and down. “Burn, yogurt scum! Burn! Burn!”

    The chandelier spun in circles. “Hooo-yay! Burrrrrrn! Wheeeeee!”

    Callie entered the room. “Like, ohmigosh! This place is soooo lame. Jack. You totally need to get out of here. Like, now. Before you catch their lameness and turn into like, I don’t know, a raccoon or some junk. Besides, it’s like–ugh! Way too hot in here. It’s like on fire.”

    “Well.” Jack flapped a hand gesture at the couch. “It is on fire.”

    “Ohmigosh! Like how totally stupid are you? Like I meant the room was on fire. Like…No. Just like. Bye.”


    Jack opened his eyes to smoke and flames.

    The room was on fire.

    His first instinct was to stand, but then he remembered his training. “Stay low.” He burst into a hard coughing fit, which made his chest hurt more than it already did.

    Must escape…Asree. “Asree!”

    Another coughing fit. He decided to stop talking.

    Asree laid beside him. Her color had drained from gray to unhealthy beige, but she was breathing. I’m going to get you out of here. he thought. I promise.

    Jack raised his head and glanced around. The smoke sandpapered his eyes, making it hard to see beyond the smoke and the flames.

    Something cracked and fell heavy next to him.

    Eina did this. He wrapped one of Asree’s long arms around his neck and crept forward. If I get out of here alive, I’m going to kill him. If I can get out of here.

    He thought about the metal door.

    He thought about the fire heating the metal door.

    He thought about backdrafts fireblasting his skin right off his body if he managed to open the metal door.

    He decided to stop thinking.

    The flames heated the marble floor to unbearable temperatures. His hands and knees burned as he crept along.

    Another coughing fit hit him hard. He released her arm and doubled over.

    Coughing hurt.

    Breathing hurt.

    Blinking hurt.

    Hands hurt.

    Knees hurt.

    More heavy sounding things fell from above. Several chunks just barely missed hitting them.

    We’re not going to get out of here alive. he thought. I should just lie on the floor and let it slowly roast us to death.


    He raised his head. I am Lord Deama. I will not surrender. I will not let Eina win this time.

    He grabbed onto Asree and dragged her forward.

    The air was black and orange and thick and hot. Jack’s sense of direction warped. He couldn’t tell if he were going straight or backwards or twirling in circles. But he kept moving.

    Then, for one small second, the smoke shifted and he saw the glass doors straight ahead.

    It was like looking at Heaven’s gates.

    The smoke drifted back into place, concealing any evidence of their escape route. But it didn’t matter. Jack had seen it. He knew that it was there and that was enough.

    “Hold on, Asree.” The smoke had roughened up his voice into something painful and unrecognizable. “We’re getting out of here.”

    Jack stumbled up to his feet. The pain from straightening his burnt, blistered knees almost made him sick. He clenched his teeth and tightened his grip on Asree. “We can do this.”

    He staggered forward. One step at a time.

    He kept his thoughts from how slowly he was moving.

    He thought about fresh air.

    He thought about freedom.

    He thought about blasting Eina into the Nagelleesh Nebula. That thought made him very happy.

    And then…the doors were there. Right in front of them. One sheet of glass away from fresh air.

    And the door handle had fused into the frame.

    “Rrrrraaaahh!” He kicked the door.

    He thought about Eina and kicked the door over and over and over until he kicked a hole in the glass.

    A foot shaped hole.

    Not any bigger than a foot.

    “What the—-ARRRRAAAAH!” He went bonkers, kicking and tearing and pushing the door until it just plain gave up and went broke.

    Jack climbed through the jagged hole in the door and carefully pulled Asree through it.

    He dragged her towards the forest. He made it to the half-way point before he passed out.


    She opened her eyes.

    The full moon shone bright overhead.

    A nameless yearning filled her heart and she didn’t know why. I want. I want. I…I…

    I. I am. I am. Her heart raced with panic. My name. My name is. My name is! She sat up. Who am I?

    She looked down at her fingers. Slender. Average length. Well-trimmed fingernails. Ten fingernails. Ten fingers. She frowned. Something’s not right.

    Someone beside her launched into a coughing fit.

    She startled as he sat up and coughed a couple more times. “I thought our kind healed a lot faster than this.” He looked at her. “It seems like you healed faster than me. That isn’t fair. I did all the hard work.”

    “Who are you?”

    “Lord Deama.” He smiled, baring sharp fangs. “I don’t know why I haven’t reverted back into Jack Jilhouse yet, but I don’t care. I’ve been Jack Jilhouse for far too long.”

    “Do you know who I am?”

    The expression in his large cat-like eyes softened. “You’re Asree.”

    She shook her head. “No.”

    “You are.” He touched her face with his long, thin fingers. “And you are just like me.”

    “No!” She rose to her feet. “I don’t know what you are, but I’m not. I’m not. I’m not!”

    “You are.”

    “I’m not. Why am I even out here in the middle of the night with someone like you? Did you lure me out here with your alien magic?”

    He sighed. “No. I don’t even have magic. And, just so you know, you were the one who lured me out here.”

    She shook her head.

    “You led me to this place and I found you here. Lord Eina knocked us both unconscious and left us in that building’s reception area.” He frowned. “I never would have gotten us out of that place with the metal door.” His frown deepened. “But then he blew up the building. What kind of game is he trying to play?”

    “I don’t understand any of this.”

    “Of course you don’t. You’re just a stupid serf.”

    She blinked in surprise. “I’ve heard that before. You’ve called me that before.”

    He stood. “What else do you remember?”

    She closed her eyes and tried to remember something, anything else. Memories flashed before her eyes. “My mother’s name was Bridget. She had red hair and she always wore it in a long braid. Father…Patrick.” She smiled. “Always had a pipe in his mouth. Never smoked it. Said it was his good luck. We lived on an island. Raised sheep and cattle.”


    She opened her eyes and was surprised to see that such an alien face could show so much hurt. “What’s wrong?”

    “This planet. It’s wrong. It’s all wrong.”

    A name came to her mind and she knew it. She knew that it was her own. “My name is Cayleen Inneshae.”

    He turned away from her.

    She glanced around. “Where are we, anyway?”

    “Too far away from home. And I don’t know how to get back.”

    1. Observer Tim

      Wow, Cosi, this has got it all. I’m glad you didn’t try to ramrod the prompt into the story other than as a dream. 🙂

      You did a great job dealing with the physical intensity of the situation, and then with the confusion of waking up a human for Asree. I wonder how many more of their kind are on Earth, and whether there are other people from even stranger worlds.

      My only quibble is the word ‘bonkers’: it seems out of place, though I can’t think of a suggestion to replace it.

      1. cosivantutte


        I was initially stumped as to how I could get m past the metal door without cheating. And there were a lot of ways I could have cheated it. Then, I decided to go with the simplest solution: Have Lord Eina move them into the reception area. It saved me a lot of trouble and jist seemed like something he would do.

        1. cosivantutte

          Sorry. My Nook has a major mood disorder. It posted my reply before I was done.

          Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun with this whole long story and I have a feeling that these characters will show up again in a future prompt story. We’ll see. 🙂

          As for your comment about the word bonkers, yeah. I probably should have phrased that a little differently.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Cosi, this is marvelous. As I read about the escape my heartbeat quickened. Keep these characters and bring them back!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Great as always, but my favorite line was at the beginning, “…it would be nice if someone could help me” while all the madness is unfolding.

  25. jblearnstowrite

    Hi, this is my first post in this website. 😀

    The Reality Engineer

    I stepped inside the portal and into Reality 553.

    I found myself in the living room of a three bedroom apartment. Two bags of groceries were inexplicably cradled in my hands. The living room was a scene that looked like it was plucked out of an acid trip. An obese looking white chicken stood in front and stared at me with eyes that eerily looked human. Above the chicken hung an elaborately designed chandelier and on top of it sat a man and a dog. The man had his arm over the dog’s neck and was whispering to it in a conspiratorial manner, his eyes shifted left and right. On the floor, by the far corner, lay a third man tightly embracing a yogurt drenched futon.

    The damage to this reality was far greater than what I expected.

    I dropped the groceries on the couch and pulled out my Gadget. I ran my thumb across its screen bringing it to life.

    “Senior Reality Engineer Lewis Deck. You are now logged in,” my Gadget said.

    Just then, the chicken in front of me spoke. “Who are you?” It asked in a baritone voice.

    That surprised me.

    “Hey, I asked you a question,” it said.

    I cleared my throat and replied, “I…uhm…I’m Lewis Deck. I’m here to…fix things.”

    The chicken cocked its head to the side. “I’m Dave. I live here. The guy above me is Carl and that’s his dog Buster. The one making out with his futon is Tom.”

    “Nice meeting you, Dave,” I said while at the same time entering a command on my Device to run a full diagnostics check-up on this section of reality.

    “So, Lewis, what exactly are you here to fix?”

    “Reality,” I replied, my eyes on my Device as it finishes up its check. The Device’s report said that Dave’s apartment was the epicenter of the damage. Good, at least I no longer needed to venture out.

    Dave continued talking in front of me. He said, “Reality, huh? That kinda explains things. Did you know I woke up this morning looking like a chicken? I wasn’t always a chicken. Truth.”

    “Cause of destruction?” I asked my Device.

    “Analyzing…” my Device responded.

    “Please let it not be an Eraser. Please let it not be an Eraser.”

    “Analysis complete,” my Device said. “Eraser detected.”

    “Oh fucking nanowart,” I pocketed my Device and pulled out my disintegrator gun. I unlocked the safety and it responded with a low, electrical hum.

    “Hey, hey, what’s that? That looks dangerous, man.” Dave was now wildly flapping his wings.

    “Shut up, Dave. Back off to that wall,” I said, pointing the gun at him.

    Erasers are a nasty bunch. They seep into any reality and blend in perfectly, looking like anything or anyone, all the while emanating a destructive wave that bends and disrupts the reality’s flow. The disintegrator gun has a built in module that allows it to detect Eraser waves.

    The gun scanned Dave and flashed a green light. I pointed it then to Carl above me. The gun again flashed green. Carl’s dog was also in the clear.

    “I think you better leave, man,” Dave said. “We don’t want any trouble.”

    “I’m here to get rid of the trouble, Dave,” I replied. I walked further in the apartment towards Tom (who was by then sticky with yogurt).

    Most often, Erasers mimic organics. It’s much easier for them. I gripped the gun with both hands as I pointed it to Tom. The guy continued with his torrid kisses. The gun vibrated in my hands as it scanned Tom’s biological structure. Ten seconds became thirty then thirty became a minute. My forehead was beaded with sweat. This was it. I positioned my finger on the trigger…then the gun flashed green. Clear. Weird, I thought. I was sure it was Tom. The gun took a long time scanning him. Tentatively, I lowered the gun. All organics were cleared. I was about to turn around when I heard a low, grumbling sound coming from the futon. I faced Tom and was surprised to see his face being sucked by the white mattress. His lips, his eyes, and his nose were all a puddle of jelly being drained by the yogurt drenched mattress. I pointed the gun at the futon and it screeched before leaping to the ceiling. Its body vibrated with some sort of energy, slowly transforming the once harmless looking bed.

    It grew in size and changed in color. The Eraser was enormous. It stood on all fours and was covered in black fur. Its muscular legs ended with clawed paws. Its head, as large as a basketball, was occupied by a solitary eye – red and menacing. A crack slowly appeared on the lower half of its face, splitting open into a huge, gaping mouth populated with sharpened teeth. My gun flashed an alarming red.

    “Thanks for the warning,” I said to it sardonically.

    The Eraser lunged towards me, arms stretched out, claws directed to my face. I dove to the side and crashed my left shoulder on the wall. Pain filled my left side. I raised my gun and targeted the Eraser but the beast was far too quick. It swiped at me with a claw snatching the gun from my grip. It slid to the corner where Tom’s faceless corpse lay. The Eraser raised its head and howled. It leapt, ready to deliver the killing blow. I forced myself to roll to the side and then reached in my pocket for the electrical net bomb. I activated it and tossed the bomb toward the Eraser. It landed and exploded into a shower of sparks which formed a net around the Eraser’s body. The beast roared in pain.

    I stood up and sprinted to my gun. I picked it up and fired shot after shot at the Eraser disintegrating the anomaly part by part until it was no more.


    I took one long drag from my cigarette, kept it inside for a second, and then blew out a thin stream of smoke. Beside me Dave sat on the floor having been restored back into being a human by the Reality Corrective Specialists. The damage the Eraser did reached as far as three blocks away. The RCS visited building after building to correct every bit of damage done by the Eraser wave – a very tedious task.

    “That’s some intense job you have,” Dave said.

    “I’ll have to erase certain parts of your memory in a while,” I replied. “For the stability of this reality’s sanity.”

    There was a pause. Tom and his dog lay unconscious on the couch. Their memories were corrected earlier. Dave requested his to be done last.

    “I want in,” Dave finally said.

    I dropped my cigarette and stepped on it with the heel of my boot. “In?”

    Dave nodded. “I want to do what you do.”

    I started to make my way towards the portal that led back to HQ.

    “Hey,” Dave called out. “I said i want to join you guys.”

    “Yeah, I heard you,” I said, stepping into the doorway. “Come on then.”

    Dave smiled then stood up. “This is going to be sick.”

    He stepped into the portal beside me and together we entered the in-between.

    1. Observer Tim

      What a fascinating universe (multiverse) you’ve created here, JB. The story is strange and imaginative and well-executed, and the overall concept is one that bears exploring. Great job; welcome to the site. 🙂

      I spotted a couple of minor technical things for you to look at (feel free to ignore them): First, I think “looked eerily human” might be stronger than “eerily looked human”, especially if the effect is subtle. The other one is to take a good look at sardonic/sarcastic; both can be used here, but the words you chose seem to fit sarcastic better to me.

      But once again, nice work!

      1. jblearnstowrite

        Hi Tim!

        Thanks for the suggestions! I read on the difference between sardonic and sarcastic and I think you’re right, sarcastic would be a much better fit in my story in terms of the tone used by my character.

        Looking forward to contributing more! 🙂

    2. Beebles

      i thought this was really good jb, I started and couldn’t stop. A great take, well structured and thought out and more than competantly delivered I thought. As for critique – I liked the description of the chicken – subjective old world ain’t it – but I wanted a more descriptive word than gadget and there were a couple of other word/phrase choices, but non of it detracted greatly from the strength of the writing. Welcome, we are all learning.

      1. jblearnstowrite

        Thanks for reading my work, Beebles! 🙂

        I really didn’t put much thought into what to call the reality engineer’s gadget so I just used that. Haha. I’ll think up of a much better term when I expand this story further. 🙂

    3. jhowe

      Hello jblearnst write. Whatever methods you use to learn to write are working. I want some of that. Excellent story. Thanks for sharing. See you next week.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I enjoyed it also and couldn’t put it down. Your imagination is in full force here. Wecome to the site, looking forward to reading more from you.

  26. Amaria

    In hindsight, maybe I should have done last week’s prompt. This post is quite bizarre, but so is this prompt. This story is mostly dialogue.

    “The Dream”

    “So Ginger, how was your Christmas holiday?”

    “Okay I guess. My sister got engaged.”

    Dr. Leveque nodded. “That’s lovely.”

    Ginger shrugged her shoulders. “I guess so.”

    “And how have you been adjusting to the medication?”

    “Okay, but I did have a strange dream the other night.”

    “Oh. Tell me about it.”

    “Well I was walking into my apartment with two grocery bags when I saw a chicken walking around my living room.”

    “A chicken?”

    “Yeah and when it spoke it had Dave’s voice.”

    “It spoke with a human voice?”


    “And you said it sounded like Dave? Who is Dave?”

    “My ex-boyfriend who joined the army.”

    “I see. What was he saying?”

    “He kept telling me we needed to protect the eggs I laid. But I told him I didn’t lay any eggs. I was a human, not a chicken.”

    “No I suppose you couldn’t. Why would he…,”

    “Then I spotted Tom siting on my futon, which was covered in yogurt. So disgusting. But what was more disgusting is that he was licking the cushion and whispering “I love you”.

    “He told you he loved you while licking the futon?”

    “No, Dr. Leveque. He was telling the futon he loved her. Or him. Or it. I’m not sure. Anyway, when I asked him what the hell he was doing, he said he and futon just got married.”


    “That’s what he said.”

    “And Tom is?”

    “Oh, my ex from high school. He got kicked out Princeton. He married a girl whose family owns dairy farms.”

    “I see.”

    “It was probably for the best. He was never that smart.”

    “Yet he got into Princeton?”

    “He had connections. But that’s not all.”

    “There’s more?”

    “When I thought the dream couldn’t get any weirder, I looked up and saw Carl sitting on top of chandelier with his dog. I always hated that dog. It’s the reason why we broke up.”

    “So Carl is also an ex-boyfriend?”

    “Yeah. It’s weird because my place doesn’t even have a chandelier. Although I seem to remember his parent’s house had one. And his mother would shout at the maid about cleaning…”

    “What happen next Ginger?”

    “Oh, nothing. I woke up.”

    “Okay. Well that was a very interesting dream.”

    “And you think it means something Dr. Leveque?”

    “Well you have a dream about three ex-boyfriends after learning of your sister’s engagement. What do you think, Ginger?”

    “I suppose it might be connected.”

    “I know from our past sessions that you and your sister don’t get along. Perhaps her engagement has stirred up feelings you haven’t dealt with.”

    “I don’t care what she does. I think the guy’s a creep, but I don’t have to live with him.”

    “So you don’t think there are feelings of jealousy?”

    “Jealous? Please. She made my childhood hell. I could care less what she does with her life. She can get married and have a hundred kids with that bozo. I’m happy just as I am.”

    “Are you really Ginger?”

    “Really what?”

    “Happy as you are?”

    “Why wouldn’t I be?”

    “Because you are here.”

    1. Observer Tim

      And this is why I hate Gestalt therapy (or something fairly like it). You did a great job managing the conversation, Amaria; it has a sense of reality about it. I’m guessing from the doctor’s part that the working relationship is fairly new (first visit?). Ginger has some pretty serious unresolved relationship issues, but then a lot of people do. The whole effect is very enjoyable; I’m glad you stuck with this prompt. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I admire you response to the prompt, I usually head sideways and don’t look back. You just sterngthened my thoughts about most doctors. They are absorbed in themselves and know enerything they say, needs to be written in gold. Your story illustrated this feeling.

      2. Amaria

        Thanks Tim. I wasn’t sure where to go with this prompt.
        I actually wrote about these 2 characters in the “Ocean of Crabs” prompt months ago, with Ginger discussing another strange dream and Dr. Leveque wishing she was somewhere else. So technically this is not the first visit, but it’s safe to say Ginger is in the “early process” of her therapy. Funny thing is, I’m not even sure of Ginger’s problem and I am the writer. 🙂

    2. AHaughee

      This was a great way to handle all the stuff from the prompt – ya it was a weirder one this week! The dialogue structure makes you really focus on the direction of the piece without distractions :0)

  27. Beebles

    I have the bag of groceries cradled in one arm and walk up the drive manipulating my keys with my free hand. Inside the hall, I swing the door shut with my foot and I just catch a glimpse of a head peaking curiously around the kitchen door.

    My mouth drops open. ‘Dave. You’re a chicken?’


    ‘You’re a chicken.’


    ‘You’re a chicken, a chicken. A CHICKEN!’

    I cannot contain my excitement. The groceries fall to the floor and I run the length of the hall to throw my arms around my friend.

    Ooooh, you did it! You did it! You are a chicken! I am so proud of you!’

    I take his head in my hands. A single beady eye watches my every movement.

    ‘I know how much you wanted this. Does Carl know? CARL!’

    I push my way into the drawing room. Sure enough Carl is draped over the fronds of the chandelier. Sparkles lies on Carl’s ample stomach, doggy paws and genitals to the ceiling.

    ‘Carl! Carl!’ He is fast asleep.


    I retrieve the broom from the kitchen and give Carl three good prods.


    ‘Carl, Carl. Dave is a chicken.’

    ‘Gonna do the whaaa?’

    ‘Dave is a chicken, Carl’

    Carl opens a bleary eye. Then he sees Dave.


    ‘Yay!’ he screams. ‘Dave’s a chicken. Way to go!’

    Carl pushes off from the ceiling and the chandelier begins to spin. Sparkles wags his tail furiously and barks at Dave each time he comes round. Then it all happens backwards as the chandelier reaches the apex of its spin and accelerates the other way.

    ‘Hey Anna! Dave is a chicken.’

    Anna is over by the window. She doesn’t respond. I can’t say I blame her. She and Tom had a falling out and now he is on one of his benders. We haven’t seen him in three days.


    ‘Yeah, quite right, Dave. Let’s celebrate with a cup of tea.’

    I retrieve the groceries from the hall. Dave is pecking at the table leg and the kettle has only just started to hiss when I hear the unmistakable sound of Dave’s car horn out front. He insists that it is the overture from The Barber of Seville, but I know it’s The Marriage of Figaro. It’s always been too much fun to settle the argument properly.

    Dave is heading for the front door, but I guess he’ll never get it open in his condition, so I go.
    Sure enough its Tommy boy. His bashed up Pontiac is skewed on the drive and the lanky student is pouring himself from the driver’s seat, a half empty champagne bottle in his hand.

    ‘What’s up Nigello?’ He waves and weaves.

    ‘Where have you been?’ I feel like his mother.

    He throws his arms wide. ‘Vegas! Hey come on over, I got something to show ya.’

    He beckons and opens the rear door as I approach.


    There is a crumpled grey futon stuffed into the back seat. I look at him questioningly.

    ‘Say hello to Dorothy!’ He raises his hand to display a gold wedding band.

    ‘You didn’t?’ A sense of cringing inevitability is creeping into my gut.

    ‘Shertainly did. Dorothy and I were married last night by an Elvis Costello looky likey.’

    ‘Cripes.’ I scratch my head. ‘ Look, Tom, Anna is inside.’ It had taken a great deal to get her here, after what happened. And now this.

    Tom looks crestfallen. ‘Shit.’

    ‘Yeah, shit. I think you better go talk to her.’

    He hands me the bottle and I negotiate him into the drawing room. He goes over to Anna and sits while Carl, Sparkles and I make ourselves scarce. As I close the door Tom lays his head on Anna’s blue velvet cushions and delicately entwines his fingers in her tassles.

    ‘I got something I need to tell ya …’ is all I hear as I close the door.

    I tiptoe out into the front yard. Dorothy is still wedged on the back seat. Typical Tom; shacking up with some cheap futon from a furniture store in downtown Vegas when he could be making an honest sofa of Anna.

    Dorothy is still wearing some of her plastic packaging, ripped off in last night’s passion no doubt. There is something on it.

    Eeuuugh, I hope that’s yoghurt.

    1. thejim

      I like the fact that it is just normal, as if Dave was learning how to juggle and finally got it, Tom is just dating , Carl is asleep in a chair. The approach as if the Chicken, Futon, and chandelier are normal. I like this a bunch!

    2. Observer Tim

      Nice to see someone else grab the surreal and run with it, Beebles. I love the way the MC just treats the whole thing as normal. He probably should have given Tom a bit of grief for driving under the influence of alcohol (and whatever else the furniturvert has been ingesting); after all, we must appease the demons of social correctness. The strange thing is that it’s all somehow believable out on the edge of reality. Nice. 🙂

      1. Beebles

        Thanks Tim. Yes Tom was going to get a lecture but in the interests of word count I omitted it, so just to be clear: Don’t Drink and Drive kids, or take drugs, or have relations with furniture while driving … I note some common themes in the writing this week.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Aww Beebles, you;re the king of weird in this prompt. why try to reach normality, one person’s is one thing, another’s is something else. Sounded perfectly normal to me, an early evening at my fraternoty house in college, perfecxtly normal, futon and all. mmmm!

    3. jblearnstowrite

      This is very well written, Beebles. 🙂

      I loved how it got me thinking as to what really happened. Was Dave working on some sort of potion/chemical that transforms humans into animals? I felt pretty bad about Dorothy being replaced like that. Lastly, the ending was perfect. 🙂

    4. AHaughee

      oh my god. lol. you went there. and i laughed. loved the tone and the lightheartedness. i reread to try and get a question answered – was the chicken transformation something dave had been working on for a while?

    5. ReathaThomasOakley

      One problem with doing comments later is that others have already written my thoughts. I just loved this! So many funny lines and concepts, like Anna’s identity.

  28. jhowe

    The writer hesitated at the door, poised to knock as the cute intern rounded the corner with a tray of Starbucks concoctions.

    “Hi Steve,” she said, bubbles practically emitting from her pores. “Dark roast, two sugars?”

    “Thanks Sheila, I’ll take Roberta’s in for her.” He watched as the girl sashayed down the hall, steeled himself and rapped on the door. He was prompted to enter and handed the producer her caramel latte.

    “Have a seat Steve,” Roberta said. “What’s on your mind?”

    Steve sipped his coffee. “Well Bobby, it’s the show.”

    “I assumed that,” she said frowning as she leafed through papers on her desk. “Can you be a little more specific?”

    “We’ve been working together from the start,” he said, “And I appreciate your confidence in me, but I don’t want to be responsible when we jump the shark.”

    Roberta bristled. “It’s a goddamn sitcom Steve. It’s what we do.” She looked up; her dollar store reading glasses trembled on her nose. “You’re the lead writer. I need you to make it happen.”

    “You want Dave to turn into a chicken?” Steve deadpanned.

    “Christ Steve; probably not a real chicken. Shit, come up with something!”

    “I can come up with some cockamamie scenario but it’ll be crap and you know it.”

    “We have a contact Steve. You write what the fuck I tell you and you get paid.” She looked at her watch. “I suggest you go to your little room with your little ego thirsty co-writers and get it wrapped up.”

    “Ok Bobby, you’re the boss.” He picked up his cup and stood. “But just to be sure, you want Tom to actually marry the futon or can he maybe jilt it at the altar?”

    “Get the fuck out of her and do your job.” Roberta’s face was way too red. “Or do I need to get the lawyers involved?”

    The small group of writers sat quietly, staring at Steve. His speech had been halfhearted at best.

    “We don’t have a dog on the show,” one of them said. “We gotta write one in somehow.”

    “The dog will be the least of our worries, Mike,” Steve said. “Getting the little bitch up on the chandelier with Carl will be our challenge.”

    “Can we work on our resumes in our spare time?” Mike said.

    “Look guys, we all know the show is tanking.” Steve stood and paced. “It’s not our fault but we’re on deck to take the blame.”

    “We don’t have to take this shit,” Mike said.

    “We do have to take it,” Steve said. “We’re all under contract. But we don’t have to take it lying down.” He started to smile. “If we’re jumping the shark, let’s make it a fucking whale shark.”

    “How so Kemosabe?”

    “Don’t pull any punches. Give the chicken a Mexican accent, coat the futon with yogurt, make the dog a male with big balls hanging down, whatever you can come up with.”

    “This could be fun.”

    “Hell yes it’ll be fun,” Steve’s eyes shone with a fervor that’d been missing for some time. “Who the hell knows, maybe it’ll be a hit.”

    The next day Roberta caught Steve in the break room. “Are you ready? Deadline’s in two hours.”

    Steve took Roberta’s face in his hands and kissed her square on the lips. “Thanks Bobby. It’s ready and it’s good.”

    1. Observer Tim

      Ah, revenge of the writers. I can think of a few TV shows that suffered from that near the end. Of course it’s Bobby’s own fault. This could be the bit of strangeness that saves them, though…

      One typo made me gasp – “Get the fuck out of her and do your job.” – please tell me you meant ‘here’. Of course either way it still fits into the bizarreness of the story.

  29. ReathaThomasOakley

    Classic Comedy
    1915 (nine years after last week)

    Horace knew they were talking about him, but if he crossed the road they’d win, so he muttered, “Louts,” straightened his shoulders, and kept walking toward the three men lounging against the fence.

    “Horace, long time no see.”

    “Afternoon, Dave,” Horace looked directly at the skinny man shuffling his feet in the dirt. Just like that scrawny ole rooster, Horace thought, gettin’ a dust bath, hoping for worms. He smiled at the image. “I been busy.”

    “Yeah, we heared yore Missus is in the fam’ly way, agin,” the youngest man giggled and spit a brown stream almost at Horace’s feet.

    “That any concern of yores, Thomas?” Horace struggled to keep from saying what he’d heard about Thomas’ new bride, that when he was working turpentine she was as accommodating as a five cent bed. But, he never knew how to talk about Sue Ann, like a queen bee, he thought, happy in her hive, a new baby about every year, him just around to make sure she ain’t never unhappy…

    “What you sayin’, Carl? I didn’t catch…”

    “Wool gatherin’, was you,” Carl asked with a grin. “We heared you got yoreself a new, fancy hangin’ lamp for that fancy house, shipped all the way from Atlanta.”

    “It’s called a chandelier, Carl, that’s the word.” Since he’d married Sue Ann he’d learned lots of new words, had lots of new things in his house he never knew he needed, like the ugly thing looming over the dining room table. For a moment he imagined Carl, and the others, hanging from it while he ate.

    “Well, boys, I gotta go, bidness to take care of,” Horace said and wished again he’d driven rather than walked to town.

    “Yeah, you go tend to whatever it is you do there in Palmer’s office,” Dave snickered as Horace walked away.

    Just before he turned the corner to Main Street, Horace took off his hat and was wiping his forehead when two old women and a girl came around the corner.

    “Oh,” Horace stammered as he recognized Sarah’s aunts. It had been years since he’d seen them.

    “Horace,” the tall one said as they kept walking.

    “Who was that man?” The girl asked.

    “That was Mr. Horace Hightower, richest man in town, lives in the finest house,” the short one answered.

    “He don’t look rich, just looks sad.”

    Horace stood with his hat in one hand, his handkerchief in the other, staring at the back of the girl who looked exactly like old photographs of his mother.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks, I watched Charlie Chaplin’s first moving picture from 1915, and the “comedy” was his character taunting this hapless guy who could be Horace.

    1. AHaughee

      The aside about Thomas’ new bride made the character feel very real. I really enjoyed how something we usually see as a beautiful thing (the chandelier) was strange and ugly to them. Enjoyed it!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          My heart goes out to Horace, things make no one happy but relationships do. Oh, well maybe there’s one thing, winning one billion, three hundred million greenbacks. I would have to live on a remote island off the coast of Iceland and still, they would come.

  30. Hiba Gardezi

    It is one of my resolutions to post a prompt each week. Speaking of which belated Happy New Year and I love you guys!

    “ ‘No.’ Tom gives me the fiercest look.
    ‘Tom! Why are you acting this way?’
    ‘No. I- I can’t’
    ‘What is up with you?!’ I snatch the rolled up futon out of his hands. ‘This’ I say ‘is dirty. Let me clean it.’
    He bursts into tears.
    ‘How dare you? My baby isn’t dirty!’ His face turns red and he looks pained ‘She is the cleanest hottest babe the world has ever seen!’
    ‘OOKAYY!’ I pat his head ‘Tom. Bro. I think we need to talk’
    ‘Yes, t–a-l-k. Talk.’
    He seems to calm down. ‘She always smells like talcum powder’
    ‘How nice.’
    ‘She’s so soft’
    ‘Like, like a bed’
    ‘How unusual’
    ‘Futon is, is one of a kind.’
    ‘Yeah, like you can’t get her from that cheap Japanese store downtown’
    ‘You totally get me man’
    ‘Good. Now since I get you, let’s talk about why there is a chicke-‘
    ‘A chicke-‘
    ‘Why there is a chicken-’
    ‘The chicken is Dave’
    ‘Are you crazy! Stop it alright? Let a guy come home normally with groceries for once.’
    ‘But its true! That chicken is Dave! ’
    The chicken stops and looks at us.
    ‘How? Tell me how in this world is that chicken Dave?’
    He breathes in.
    I breathe out for him.
    ‘Hey! You weren’t supposed to do that. Now I have to breathe in again’
    I let him do it.
    ‘There was an earthquake’ I don’t speak ‘and the dog and Carl up there’ He points to Carl and the dog on the chandelier.
    ‘Yes I was just getting to them’
    ‘Yes they jumped up onto the chandelier’
    ‘I see.’
    ‘And Dave chickening out like he always does became well, a chicken.’
    ‘I was lying on my darling Futon you see and ever since we’ve all been stuck the way we were. Carl and the dog on the chandelier, Dave the chicken he always was, and I have fallen deeply in love.’
    ‘Tom there was no earthquake’
    ‘There was’
    ‘I would’ve felt it if there was. I was just in the grocery store opposite the street.’
    ‘There was no earthquake’ a voice booms. ‘I was shaking the house’
    ‘Who is that?’
    ‘A giant.’
    ‘A giant?’
    ‘A giant.’
    Through the window I see a giant
    The end.”

    ‘What?! That’s the worst story I’ve ever heard!’
    ‘Yeah, tell us another one daddy!’
    ‘That can’t happen in real life!’
    ‘I hate it!’
    ‘Who jumps onto a chandelier?’
    ‘No, no’ I yawn ‘Daddy is sleepy now. Good night’

    1. jhowe

      It’s good to have you back Hiba. I was wondering how you was going to wrap this up. Nice one. You can be as silly as you want when you’re telling a story to a kids.

    2. AHaughee

      Ha! This brought me home. The more ridiculous the story, the more our oldest likes it! My mind went the same way with this prompt – this ridiculousness HAS to have something to do with kids!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Welcome back, we’ve missed your stories. When my granddaughter Josie was very little, I made up ridiculous stories, she intently listed to. I thought I had her fooled until at the end, she always said, “Oh Pop Pop.” Your story brought me back to those innocent days. Now she thirteen with an IQ somewhere in space and no one except myself would dare trying to pull a fast one on her. Thank you for the memories.

    3. cosi van tutte

      😆 x three thousand

      Great story, Hiba! It’s great to “see” you again and in raring good form.

      As always, this story had a lot of lines in it that made me smile. Including this one: “She is the cleanest hottest babe the world has ever seen!’


  31. Observer Tim


    It takes Cindy and me a good fifteen minutes to transfer all the groceries from Dave’s SUV to the kitchen and put them away. Shopping duty’s a bitch; man, can university students eat! But that’s life at Pi-Seven-Pi.

    Cindy tasks me with returning the keys to Dave so I head into the common room to look for him. Carl is hanging from the chandelier while Woof stands among the crystals licking his toes. Woof wags her German Shepherd tail and meows when she spots me; she knows where the food comes from.

    “Yo Carl, where’s Dave?”

    Carl points to the corner of the room where our rubber replica of the Capitoline Venus is being head-butted in the naughties by a petulent rooster. I walk over and address the rooster.


    “As if. Dave’s feeling up the statue from the inside.”

    “Thanks Lacie.”

    I speak into the goddess’s navel. “Dave, I’ve got your car keys.”

    The voice comes back, “Thanks Megan, just pass them in through V’s–“

    “I told you I’m not touching this statue ever again, Dave, and I mean it. I’ll put them in your room.”

    “Okay. Take a nap if you want, I’ll be up later.”

    “Not for all the tech support in India, Dave.”

    I’m about to go up the stairs when I see they’re blocked by Tom, who’s in the process of manhandling a queen-sized futon soaked in what I hope is yogurt.

    “Don’t you have a bed, Tom?”

    “Yeah, but this one’s occupied.”

    “By what?” I gave up asking ‘who’ a while ago.

    “Captain of the basketball team; we got married last night. He’s hot!”

    I decide to help him push. A pair of feet stick out.

    “Tom, I’m pretty sure Ed Washington has male feet. And he’s black. These are Dana Yamaguchi’s feet; alpine violet’s her nail polish colour.”

    “That bastard JOP! This marriage can’t be legal; they lied about the groom’s identity!”

    He storms off, leaving me to undo the bungee cords around the futon. It falls open and Dana inhales deeply.

    “Nice ink you’re wearing, Dana. I guess they did do the whole dragon.”

    “Those bastards! I volunteered to be the prize on date night, not to be kidnapped and wrapped up in a smelly futon and ogled by horny coeds.”

    “I don’t do girls, Dana, and neither does your buyer. Let’s get you some clothes so you can go back to your dorm. Shower too, if you want it.”

    “This is pi-seven, isn’t it? I’ll pass on the shower; I don’t need to be covered in runny oatmeal.”

    “That was last week; this week is virgin’s blood.”

    Her jaw drops.

    “Just kidding! It’s ordinary water with a hint of rose perfume.”

    “I’ll skip it anyway.”

    So we crawled over the futon and up to the spare clothing room. It’s just another Saturday morning at Pi-Seven-Pi.


    Note: The capital Gamma is backwards, so it looks like a seven. Their motto is Paradoxotita genna paradoxotita (Strangeness begets strangeness).

    1. jhowe

      Strangeness definitely begot strangeness in this one but it was a good strangeness. The Tom/Dana exchange was exceptionally enjoyable. I’m having trouble coming up with something for this prompt but I see now it can be done.

  32. Reaper

    All right. Back to weird, wild, random crap. If anyone knows how to move all the posts from this story to a separate page on blogger, send me a PM and let me know. I thought it was easy, but boy was I wrong. Anyway, no for something completely different.

    Jeffrey and Charlie Meet the Cleavers

    They never feel the prick of insertion. Too small they say. I will show them all.

    I hobble back into the house, weighed down by a bag of food in one arm and the stumbling, peroxide blonde in the other. She jerks at the scene that greets us, but not very far. To be fair, I stumble too. What happened here. Something is wrong.

    Dave is frozen mid strut with his face thrust forward in a cluck of challenge. He is covered in honey-mustard and feathers. He looms over the plucked carcass of last week’s dinner. Dave has the worst luck, so we all know he is going to lose. Everything is normal there.

    The blue flannel covering the futon is coated with yogurt, some of it crusting and flaking at the edges. Like the world’s first G rated bukake. Tom is sprawled out in the middle of the makeshift bed. He wears a ring, having married the futon. The mattress wears no ring. It is not that willing to display its commitment. I know them to be wed however. I performed the ceremony myself. Nothing out of place there.

    Carl balances precariously on two blades of the ceiling fan portion of the chandelier. The dog stands on the slat directly opposite of Carl. The canine stands in trot position, as Carl is obviously attempting to push himself upright, so he can run the animal down. The fan slowly spins, making the contest that much more epic. Just like I left them.

    Cleetus sits at the dining room table. He holds a butcher knife in his right hand and a cleaver in the left. His hands are raised, poised to start pounding them and demanding food. He wears a grin on his face and a look of anticipation in his glassy eyes. Also right as rain.

    So what is out of place?

    I settle my nerves and let the uneasy feeling pass. No need for performance anxiety.

    Most people would miss the tense fishing line holding everyone but Tom in place. My date doesn’t miss it. I think it is the reason she tries to run. Too bad she missed the prick. So she stumbles.

    A few minutes later, I am stitching up the gash in her throat, until it is an almost unseen scar. I promised Cleetus a girlfriend. One as pretty as his mother, with all of her teeth, who would never leave him. Cleetus is a demanding ass, so I could not hit her in the mouth.

    When I reach for the formaldehyde I realize what is wrong. It is not where I put it. Have the feds been invading my privacy again?

    1. jhowe

      Ok, I get it now. All through it, I kept thinking, ‘what the hell?’ Then the reveal came and it was brilliant. That’s quite a hobby the MC has. I enjoyed last season’s series very much, but it’s good to have you back with these little gems. I hope nobody asks you to explain what bukake means.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      I’ve been thinking about this since I first read it, reminds me of an old black and white movie with the mad man creating his own little world. Very well done.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hey Reaper, sometimes I wonder what part of your mind, this comes from I think I have it figured out, It the comedic part of your brain. Am I anywhere close? Now I am finding these stories funny, am I slipping up somewhere?

  33. pvenderley

    “Honey, you’ll be so proud of me, I actually remembered the reusable shopping bags today!” I pause to take in the scene, and allow my face to contort into a mask of disbelief and confusion. “What the…”

    I focus on Dave first. Dave has his shirt over his head and is flapping his arms around wildly. He’s making some sort of noise that sounds almost, but not quite, like panicked clucking.

    Tom is stretched across the futon, pantomiming a smoking a cigarette. He caresses the cushions lovingly, asking: “Was it good for you, baby?” Then he slips on something, falls on his rear onto the floor, and bursts out laughing.

    I don’t see Carl at first, but I hear him. He’s up in the rigging, singing the theme song from Phantom of the Opera. The producer shouts in disbelief as he drops down below the lights in a safety harness, shining two flashlights in my eyes.

    I turn to Dave again. He’s scratching at the carpet with his feet. OK… he’s a chicken, maybe.

    Tom is licking — licking! — the futon. “Tres probiotic,” he says. “Ready for round two?”

    Carl has brought out a stuffed dog from the props department. “Here’s my dog Spot!” he cries aloud.

    The buzzer sounds behind me. The guys look at me expectantly as our host chokes back his laughter to ask: “Do you have ANY idea what they’re supposed to be?”

  34. Witt.Stanton

    “You’re right,” Dave groaned, tossing the script onto his desk. “I have the worst luck.” He leaned back in his chair and eyed the dog, who was sniffing at his office trash can.

    Tom smirked, reaching down to grab at the dog’s collar. It had a crumpled piece of paper in it’s mouth. “I’m legally wed to a couch. Top that –” He muttered a curse as the dog strained forwards, as if trying to jump onto Carl, who was perched on the edge of the couch.

    “It’s like the mutt knows that you’re allergic,” Dave said. He felt a grin spread across his face as Carl entered yet another fit of sneezing. “Lucky for you, the stunt man gets to do the scene with the dog.”

    “On a chandelier, no less.” Tom added, unable to resist. Unusually flushed, Carl jumped towards the desk and hid behind Dave, using him as a shield. Dave tried to bat him away, but Carl refused to budge.

    “Chicken,” he muttered under his breath. Dave heard him, unfortunately, and took a deep, calming breath.

    Before he could retort, the door slammed open. Dave’s agent, Witt, carried in a bag full of groceries. “I brought food,” he practically sang, dropping the bag unceremoniously onto the desk and moving to pet the dog.

    “Good day at work?” Carl asked glumly, keeping a wary eye on the dog as he moved to shake Witt’s hand.

    “Not bad,” Witt said, “Not bad at all. But that’s not why I’m here.” He gestured to the scripts, and the three actors followed his gaze. None of them said a word. “So, what do you think?” Witt prompted, trying to break the silence.

    After a beat, Tom said, cautiously, “About those. . . We, ah, didn’t really find our parts to be. . .our type.”

    Witt stared blankly at him, then broke into a grin. “Oh, of course. You guys can switch, if you really want to. I’d thought you’d love the yogurt part, Tom. But whatever suits– ”

    “Ah, not exactly,” Dave broke in nervously, “You see, Witt, these scripts. . .are too. . .weird.”

    Carl tried to help him explain. “We don’t connect with our parts, Witt. You understand, right? It’s just not for us.”

    But he didn’t understand.

    Taking a menacing step forward, Witt glared at his actors. “The show must go on,” he growled, “whether you want it to or not.”

    1. Observer Tim

      This started out fun-loving and a bit cynical, but took a very nasty turn at the end. Why do I get the feeling Witt the writer/director/agent is not going to be an easy person to work for? I find myself curious as to what happens next. 🙂

  35. AHaughee

    formerly ajhaughee83…I’ve been locked out of my original account forever and had to make a new one..

    Warm caramel macchiato slid down my throat and brought a smile to my lips. I rested my head on the headrest while I waited for the light to turn green. A silent car, enjoying coffee when it’s hot, a moment alone. This was absolute bliss. Jason had called me three times while I was at Publix. He wasn’t used to flying solo with the boys. I didn’t answer. You have a masters degree, figure it out. I take care of the kids and do everything for the house every damn day. Surely my husband can get along for an hour without me.
    Pulling into the garage, I felt the weight of my chains once again. My moment was over. Forward – just keep moving forward. My mantra everyday. I loaded both arms with stuffed plastic bags and headed into the house. Hearing the usual commotion in the living room, I decided to pop my head in and get some help unloading these bags.
    I was not prepared for the scene in front of me.
    Our toddler was stripped naked, hopping around, clucking like a chicken.
    Tom spilled yogurt all over the futon and was smearing it around saying, “It’s my bride’s dress!”
    And Carl managed to use the lasso Nanna insisted on getting him for Christmas to rope the chandelier and bring it crashing to the ground. He and the dog were currently sitting on it, licking peanut butter out of the jar.
    His name left my mouth like the most vulgar expletive.
    Scanning the house for any sight of him, I caught a glimpse of his Gator jacket next to the back fence. There he was, chatting with our neighbor, drinking a silver bullet.
    When a hurricane roves over, there are several distinct phases. First come the strong winds that pick up to incredible intensity, blowing sideways, taking down trees, power lines. Looking through the taped up windows you see horizontal rain. Next is the famed eye of the storm. But it is far from calm. It is an eerie stillness with no wind, no clouds, not a hint of rain. There is a tangible charge in the air that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand. Finally the gale continues again and you are left without power and stuck in your house until the roads are cleared of debris.
    At this moment, I was the eye. A powerful calmness filled me.
    Opening the sliding door, I smiled at my dear husband. He gave me a brief wave before turning back to his conversation. How sweet of him to acknowledge me.
    He didn’t notice when I walked over to the hose, clutching my sweater around me against the frigid air.
    “Oh, darling,” I said, getting his attention. “Just wanted to thank you for watching the kids.”
    I clicked on the jet nozzle and blasted him with arctic water. Jumping back he tried to run away, but it was no use. And look at that. Poor guy dropped his beer. After a solid minute, I stopped the hose and marched back into the house, locking the door on his shouting.
    Now he can enjoy an hour outside without the kids.

    1. Observer Tim

      Clever take AHaughee, though I’m wondering if those blessed moments of peace are worth the price of the effort of restoring order. This has a nice spirit of fun and revenge about it. 🙂

      Sorry about your name; you’re not the first who’s fallen victim to the gremlins of WordPress.

    2. Beebles

      Hi AJ – God did I feel for her. The defining moment for me was with the words ‘Oh Darling’. I could see her clear as day. What would have capped it off for me was if the neighbour had been a ‘hot chick’, but i understand that wasn’t what it was about. i like the new look by the way, there are few people who can loose their 83 and still pull it off, though excuse me if i still use the J 🙂

      1. AHaughee

        A “hot chick”..oh lordy. You crack me up. There are always plenty of hot chicks wanting all kinds of things that appear on here! I’m going to start writing in hot six pack dudes in mine just to start evening it out!

        1. Beebles

          apologies. poorly worded for charater pov and brevity. it would have been the ultimate insult for her to have found him talking to another woman amongst everything else, but this story is not about his desertion of the relationship but his lack of respect for her. def a week to keep my gob shut.

          1. AHaughee

            no worries, beebs. you thought what you thought when you read it. can’t fault you for that! and thanks for teaching me what a gob is 😛

      1. AHaughee

        i have no idea! every time i tried to log in it said my account was locked. so i waited a while to see if it was only temporary but no luck. must have angered the writer’s digest gods somehow…maybe wrote your instead of you’re or something 😛

  36. Trevor

    Word Count: 571

    An Ordinary Day

    It was just an ordinary day. Me and my roommates, who doubled as my closest companions in the world, were hanging out on our worn leather futon, laughing through a marathon of How I Meet Your Mother reruns. It was about midway through Season 2 that Dave, my best friend since high school, announced from the kitchenette adjoining the living room that we were out of Pepsis. Tom and Carl, being the self-proclaimed drama kings they are, cried out in mock anguish and begged me to hurry to the store to replenish their soda supply. My caffeine addiction made the decision easier.

    But when I returned home, a carton of Pepsi cans in each hand, I was greeted by a VERY unordinary apartment.

    Dave was running around the apartment, shouting in high-pitched clucks. Feathers were sprouting from under his T-shirt and his legs had condensed into thin orange sticks with sharp talons at the ends. Carl was hanging upside down from the ceiling fan, a frightened cocker spaniel clutched tightly in his arms. And Tom, in the most jarring of the oddities before me, appeared to be hugging the sofa in a very loving manner, all dressed up in a tuxedo. And if that wasn’t peculiar enough, the futon was covered in what I could identify as strawberry yogurt.

    I dropped the Pepsis—and laughed as I realized what was going on.

    Of my group of fun-loving buddies, I’m the one who’s the most serious-and shy. The one who would rather watch Doctor Who than go out clubbing. The only one to leave the party before midnight. The guy who needs to work up the courage just to say Hello to someone. So, in an effort to loosen me up and break me out of my shell, my friends started doing something that, in hindsight, was a bit unorthodox.

    They started drugging me.

    Don’t worry, it’s not like Roofies or anything. It was a pill that Carl found out about during a biology class. Whenever ingested, the person digesting it will lose their inhibitions and, in simpler terms, loosen up. It’s like getting drunk without the hangover. And I must admit, it worked wonders. Any party I went to under the influence of a pill would turn into a great night for me. I hung out with the guys that once intimidated me and flirted with the girls I thought were miles out of my league. My friends’ crazy plan had actually pulled through.

    But then, after a while, the guys decided to start having some fun with me. They found stronger versions of the pills, the kinds that induced the weirdest of hallucinations, and gave them to me without me knowing. Usually, they’d slip it in my drink when I wasn’t watching. The stuff I’d see looked like something from Alice In Wonderland, from flying cats to clowns juggling hamsters.
    I guess I should’ve known earlier that my friends had played their little prank again. I’d started to feel the numbness in the grocery store and I could’ve sworn that an old woman on the bus had been making out with a Chihuahua. Whether that was a hallucination or just average city life is up for debate. But now, I knew beyond a doubt that I was in for another wild trip.

    Grinning, I leaned up against the wall as I watched Tom do the waltz with a couch cushion.

    1. Observer Tim

      I’m not so sure I would be comfortable with friends who would test hallucinogens on me. This reminds me of mental illness stories – funny on the surface with a very serious dose of creepy on the inside. It’s a great concept, but the overall effect could be amplified (one way or another) by a slower reveal of what’s really going on (my preference would be through dialogue, but that’s just me). I’m assuming the 500 word limit got you. 🙂

    2. Reaper

      This seemed effortless. You’ve always had talent but in the time I haven’t been able to read much you have really blossomed. Amazing stuff Trevor. I loved the idea of not knowing if the old lady was a hallucination or just life.

  37. Coates

    “To get the story straight, Dave, we think, has become a chicken. Just the worst of luck with that guy. Tom is claiming he married the futon that’s now covered in yogurt, Carl is on the chandelier with the dog and you just walked in after getting groceries. What the heck happened here?”
    ” Not now!” I screamed.
    “NOT TODAY!”
    “Today is the first day for me to show this house as a new Realtor.”
    “Dave!” I yelled grabbing his arm.
    “Get in the bedroom closet.” Dave clucked, but obeyed.
    “Tom, get that futon cleaned NOW and get in the master bedroom closet.”
    ” We were just about to cut the cake.” He whispered.”
    “NOW!” I said.” Tom stomped into the closet and slammed the door.
    “Carl.””Will You and your imaginary dog please come down and go into the spare bedroom closet until I come for you?”
    “No.” ” Said Carl as the dog began barking.”
    “Oh Yeah, I have Popsicle.
    ” OK!” Carl said as he and the dog walked away.” DING! DONG!

      1. Coates

        I stuck the bag of groceries in the fridge and cleaned the futon. DING!, DONG!, DING!, DONG!
        Opening the door I was faced to face with a man that looked like he could be a serial killer.
        There was a potential killer in front of me and where were my three crazy brothers? Oh yeah, I had banished them to the closet.
        “Why me? Why now?” I mumbled.
        “Crazy Cat.” No one had called me that in a long time.
        ”CRAZY CAT!”. it’s me
        I knew exactly who that was. He had made my life miserable for years.
        “Hi,” I said slowly.
        “Are you here to buy the house I asked?”
        “Crazy Cat, It’s me from eighth grade!.”

    1. Observer Tim

      I can see how having these guys around will really help him sell the house. After all, it’s got a built-in entertainment centre, provided the buyer likes the Three Stooges…

      Clever and entertaining take, Coates. 🙂

  38. Pete

    “Alright welcome back to the Clark Tillman show. Right now we have a delightful segment brought to you in part by Lucky Strikes. In a cigarette, taste makes the difference, and Luckies taste better!”

    “Okay, as advertised, we have the lovely Alice Spencer. Let’s give a hand for Alice, folks. Welcome to the show.”


    “Thank you for having me, Clark.”

    “Now Alice, you know the drill. For this segment we have our own bumbling actors, although, these guys I’m sure have never worked around a dame like yourself. Bill, Ed, Ralph come on out.”

    “Okay, okay, you guys are too kind. Alice, guys, let me set the stage. Alice, you’ve just walked in from the A&P store to find that Dave, played by Bill here, has well, become a chicken.”

    “A what?”

    “Says here a chicken.”

    “Oh dear.”

    “Oh dear indeed Alice. And that’s just the least of your worries because Tom, played by Ed here, is claiming he has married the couch.

    “Oh for heavens sakes. Married the couch?”

    “That’s just it sweetie. Married the couch.”

    “What I always wanted in a man.”


    “Now, now, hang on, Clark.”

    “Oh what is it Ed?”

    “Well, I’d rather marry Alice here.”


    “Sorry Ed, not in the script.”

    “Well how could I marry a lousy couch?”

    “Geez, Ed, I don’t know. I reckon just the same as Bill could be a chicken.”

    “A chicken?”

    “Yes gorgeous. A chicken.”


    “Now Clark, what do you suppose happened first? Bill became a Rooster or I married this here couch?”

    “Oh now, come on Ed, don’t start up again. The script says that Dave is introduced first.”


    “Yes, Ed. Played by Bill here.”

    “Does Alice have any eggs in her grocery bag?”

    “Now why in the world would that amount to anything, Ed.”

    “I thought I was Tom?”

    “You are Tom in the script you numskull.”

    “Why didn’t you just say that then?”


    “I think we’re getting off to a slow start here, fellas. Now, Ed, or Tom married the couch and slathered it with yogurt.”

    “Wait. Yogurt? You mean that health goo?”

    “Yes Ed.”

    “I heard it’s nothing but bacteria you know.”

    “Well, it says–”

    “That the commies introduced it to us to stunt the kids’ growth. You here about that Ralph?”

    “I think I did read something about that.”

    “Read? Was it in the funnies?”


    “Okay, fellas. Well there’s always Ovatine, our delicious sponsor. Anyways, back to the script, where it says that Carl, played by you Ralph, is up in the chandelier—”

    “Now hang on a sec, Clark.”

    “What gives, Bill?”


    “Alice if you leave now I believe you might live to forget all this. Now what is it, Dave?”

    “You’re telling me that Carl is up in the chandelier?”

    “Yes, with the dog.”

    “A dog?”

    “Correct. Can we get on with it?”

    “This I gotta see.”

    “You will. You all will if we could just—”

    “Say, what kind of dog?”

    “It’s uh, oh I don’t know, a small dog, Ralph.One of those little yappy things. I can’t see why—”

    “A terrier?”

    “Sure Bill, a terrier. Now—”

    “Hang on, my mother has a terrier and let me tell ya, there would be no getting that pooch up there. No sir.”

    “Then a poodle, Bill. One of them little guys. Now, Alice, my dear, you walk in and find this mess, with Dave clucking around–”

    “Boss, I ain’t so sure that Ralph should be getting up on anything on account of his arthritis.”

    “And with that we’re out of time. Folks, thanks for tuning in tonight. I’d like to thank the lovely Alice for playing along. And remember, Lucky Strikes. Be Happy, Be Lucky! Good night!”


    1. jhowe

      That’s one way of tackling this prompt, and a good one at that. A brilliant, comedic, zany game show. Even though I wasn’t there, I sure felt for the poor host.

    2. Observer Tim

      Just exactly Whose Line Is This Anyway? I love the improve show (I say that because the local boys are just finding out their parts as the skit begins), and obviously the sense of live TV. Entertaining and strange, Pete. 🙂

      1. Pete

        Thanks guys, I was trying to go the Jack Benny or Abbot Costello route of old radio programs, because I pretty much had nothing for this prompt. Glad you got a kick out of it!

  39. onlythismuchnofurther

    To get the story straight, Dave, we think, has become a chicken. Just the worst of luck with that guy. Tom is claiming he married the futon that’s now covered in yogurt, Carl is on the chandelier with the dog and you just walked in after getting groceries. What the heck happened here?

    I’m not much surprised. I hardly feel the scene at all. It would take something more threatening to rouse a response from me. I feel I’ve worn the poker face too long. Need to be strong. I attribute my defenses to those who’ve too much a need to own and control. I can almost sense them tallying up legalistic assumptions with my every move. I need the unexpected to keep my heart somewhere beyond the hatred.

    I put the groceries on the stoop outside and walk in to all the chaos and noise. There are minor blips in time. I swear I just saw Dave clothes draped over a chicken on the other side of the couch. I know for certain no one has actually turned into an animal, but it doesn’t stop me from seeing it. Though as soon as I saw beyond the couch it seemed he was pecking at my feet. I peer down to see this strange, distorted chicken staring up at me.

    It asked in a middle-eastern-tinted English, “When does off us wear us?”

    Oddly enough, I perfectly understood the question.

    The scenes flash quickly from a high speed to a sluggish crawl. I am beginning to feel a deep hatred for this whole place and for these people. I see that Tom is speaking to the couch, now covered in yogurt. He’s going on about how he will love it feverishly and apologetically assuring it when he says ‘til death do us part’, he’s not being morbid.

    I taste the yogurt in my mouth as I watch it spread around under his erratically-timed, and extremely exaggerated hand motions. He has the look of someone hurriedly searching the cushions for their keys, except he’s also giving some mix of a maniacal massage and cover of wax to them.

    Carl’s feet are dangling before my face. I thought I saw an explosion. Did anyone hear that? It’s music. How’d that terrible dog get up in that chandelier? What is suspending it? Carl is an audacious asshole. It would be him on the chandelier. It supports him, like everyone else does. He’s an ungrateful pretentious prick. The only thing redeemable I see in him is this breech in his lifelong sobriety. Eventually his flesh gave way, under the weight of his heaps of accusations dealt out like bad hands from a worse dealer. Hypocrite is too light for this zealous idiot. I reach for his shoes because I want to drag him to the law men.

    Officer, beat this man for he cannot be reasoned with even in the most emphatic tones. He has no remorse and cannot regulate his devilish indictments against fellow man and country. He’s a priest of poison, sir. A cell cannot hold the clashing cymbals of his nonsense. I will say in his defense; he is on some kind of natural hallucinogen. He’s far worse in the clear. Thank you for your dutiful loyalty to our national order and I do proclaim your next three traffic stops will be the most beneficial to you in your life path. Good day. I am extremely pleased with break in the clouds. You help balance the ethereal. When the grand color of your rage should flare…

    I leave this asinine rambling with the man in blue from within my untrustworthy chemical balances. That damn shoe is swinging right in front of me. I neglect the posturing of the dog and yank on the cursed foot of this zealot.

    Carl, you are damned twice over. You have turned from your high state of obedience before the Almighty and now you will drink sulfuric flames with a worm gnawing at your flesh henceforward. The glory departs from you like a doe from the scent of predator flesh!

    I pull his leg once, swiftly. He has fallen and there is a red all around him. It seems an estimated ten minutes before I here all the sounds of the metal, glass and his bones compiling onto the hardwood. I began to think of the cost of the hardwood. It’s only two years aged. The salesman was pushy and I would have rather done laminate. I am an honest-working American. I feel a sudden sadness.

    I see the neighbor girl I long swooned over, leaving her yard to sneak to the asshole’s house up the street. Ford. He used to flick my ears rosey and I swear his slant-eyed stare and ginger hair resemble that red-headed weasel from whatever Christmas movie it was. I am sad and the weight of it all goes down my throat as water-filled bladders. I loved her in everyway. Her innocence. Her chest. Her scent, which always was like that of fresh laundry. I once felt her hand in non-intimate way and the softness of it seem to restore order to my tormented, perverse body. I would marry her still on any condition. I’m sure she’s only become more irresistible.

    I am looking at this mess of blood and ignorance at my feet. The hardwood. The neighbor sneaking off to get felt up by some better frame of man. She’d had a child by a friend of mine her senior of high school. I’m sorry for her and jealous it wasn’t my thrill which caused her the intense trial of early motherhood in a small community. The jealousy burns. I’m fighting. Things are going south. Where’s that foreign chicken?

    I look around me, as the music returns, it’s more a noise at this point. There’s no obvious rhythm. I taste something spicy on the rough of my mouth. When did I eat this? It is a remnant of some pepper? The lights are dim and bright in a confusing arrangement. The room’s dimensions make absolutely no architectural or worldly sense at all. I am clearly suspended in several dimensions, and how the hell put on Fleetwood Mac. I could shoot them. It had to have been Carl, that religious scribe.

    Feathers are drifting all around me. I’m chewing on the edge of the hutch now. The wood splinters are dampening in my saliva and go down like wet grass. Tom has pulled the couch up to the bedroom, where It is suspended in the too-narrow doorway. He’s naked and pouring mouthwash all over himself. The doorbell rings and I know it is two in the morning sometime in 2014. The enormity of two-thousand years roars past me like a speedway vehicle, some demon behind the wheel who needs speeds to remind him of his spirit. What criminal vagabond is approaching my deliciously-furnished refuge from the insanity outside. Who dares approach, some delinquent in the night. Dingdong ditching. I will be no minor’s sucker tonight; I comply to authority. This cherry oak is melting in my mouth. Carl is such a dick I call him Chad. He isn’t worth hate’s pain. I was hoping to relax tonight. This apostasy they call music is pulling the life from the night.

    1. Reaper

      This reads like a very dark, modern day spirit quest for a man who has live more than one life. My mind kept wanting to rebel at the words and the wording then catching itself and saying, “No, this is perfect.” I have no words beyond wow.

  40. Kerry Charlton


    PART 7

    Highway One from Baton Rouge left the Mississippi River meander through Louisiana while John drove to White Castle, his mind lost in thought from his visit with Miss Sarah. He felt a strange uneasiness as Nottaway appeared as the bend of the Mississippi which had meandered back to the plantation.

    . Twilight had descended upon the majestic house as it appeared in his windshield. Only Joseph the caretaker remained with him as the home was closed but it was his day off. The plantation loomed in it‘s anguish and past tragedies that John had revealed.

    When he entered the main door, the house had minimum lighting to see by and damp cold circled around him. He climbed the two flights of stairs to Chester Cobb’s study, his heart beat matching cadence with the sound of his foot steps. The door had been locked by John but as he approached, it swung inward to the darkened room. Temperatures dropped again till frost showed on his anxious breath. Through the darkness, his eyes rested upon a large man sitting at Cobb’s desk.

    John knew within a heart beat and broke the deadly, cold silence,

    “Chester, I presume?”

    “No one addresses me by my given name, sir.”

    “Get used to it ghost, you are but an imaginative puff of cold air.”

    “You shall not live with this insolence, sir.”

    John side stepped quickly as a large knife that Chester had thrown, flew by him and embedded itself in the door behind him with a thud..

    “You’ll have to do better than that ghost”

    John threw the blade back toward Chester’s body but it flew through him and crashed into the glass balcony door behind the plantation desk..

    “I’m stuck in a hopeless duel ghost. Are you so intimidated by me, you’re afraid to become real, in case I might vanquish you?”

    “ Not at all rude one, are you proficient with any weapon hanging in my study?”

    ‘Pick one of the Calvary swords ghost, if you dare too, hand me the other.”

    “You insolent toad, do you refuse to call me Squire Cobb?”

    “I have little respect for scoundrels, ghost. Let’s see you become real, on equal terms and hand me the sword..”

    Cobb did so, or he appeared to be human, threw the weapon to John’s feet, while he drew his sword and waited.

    ‘Oldest trick in the world‘, John thought, ‘be aware.’

    As he bent low for the sword, Chester rushed forward and held the sword high prepared to strike John. What he received was a judo kick to his kidney but John’s foot passed through Chester’s body with no resistance.

    “ This is what you call even terms, you bastard?”

    Chester went into a rage and prepared to charge again, when suddenly the room flooded with a light brighter then John had ever seen before. Out of the center of illumination, Mary stepped, and both Chester and John froze at her appearance.

    “Father, I saved you once from the dismal side of hell for your evil deeds but never again. You’ve broken the covenant you agreed to. You shall pay with your soul. Hark your ears, can you not hear the dark ones coming for you?”

    A whirlwind of demons entered the shattered balcony door with a sound not from the living world. John stood in amazement as a small whirlwind surrounded Chester, eliminated his tortured screams, picked him up and forced the ghost through the broken glass of the door.

    Chester’s study fell into deadly silence, then Mary began to weep and rushed into John’s arms,

    “I warned him over and over but he wouldn’t listen. I had no other choice, he is a monster and would have slain you as he killed me. God forgive me.”

    [ To be continued.]

    1. Observer Tim

      What does it say when I look upon a duel with a cheating ghost to be one of my more normal reads of the day? It means I’m reading something by Kerry that utterly ignores this ridiculous prompt. Nice job, Kerry.

      In my eyes, you could have run the swordfight a little longer (and hopefully will in the clean-up and assembly); I sense the 500-word limit attacking your story.

      God doesn’t need to forgive Mary for dispelling a restless evil spirit; he may need to forgive her for being a restless spirit, but that seems less of sin.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Tim for your review. I had a problem making the sword fight longer but you have given me a great idea for chapter 8. Suppose Chester has managed to escape the demons before arriving in hell and has come back to finish the job he started to do in the dead of night battling with both John and Mary. It could be a much better fight with one ghost battling not only John but his daughter’s ghost also. Ideas from you?

    2. Reaper

      I liked the fight. While I could have read more of it I also felt it was the perfect length. Both because it felt tense and fast like a sword fight should have, and because with one side unable to be touched I feel too much more would have either ended badly or become comedic. Very intense, you got my heart going here.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Reaper for your careful thoughts, as love is hopeless between a ghost of the past and a present day lover, I am going to wrap this story in two more segments. So much pain and drama rests at Nottoway , I have to find a way to heal this and end it the way i’d like to. All the help and suggestions are guiding me in this. Look to the next chapter later on this week.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Joseph, I’m getting close to ending this. two more parts. It’s going to be like losing old friends. I will leave a hook, in case I want to reopen it later. KC

  41. thejim

    Emily walked in unexpectedly with a bag of groceries. Carl was on the chandelier with the dog, Dave, has become a chicken. Tom is claiming he married the futon that’s now covered in yogurt. Emily quickly ran to the kitchen and put down the bag of food and ran to the bathroom, passing by Carol and Bob playing cards at the table. Trying to get her head around what she thought she saw. She looked in the mirror. Her first instinct, as always, is to run away, to just cover her head and image that bad things never happen. Not this time she thought. She tried to smile, but couldn’t. She checked her makeup and adjusted her plumage. No one will take my man from me. Everyone has had a good time on that slut mattress. She snickered as she walked down the hall and besides she does not know, Tom is lactose intolerant.

    Before she made it to the end of the hallway she stopped. Was that Bob and Carol? she thought. That is strange; I don’t think I have ever seen them playing cards before. She peered around the wall to see Bob laughing and having a drink of beer from a glass. He picked it right up with his hands and drank it.
    Never in her twenty years has she seen such a thing. She hastily went out of the hall and dashed into the living room, she motioned for everyone to quietly come out side.

    “What is going on Emily” Carl said and he landed on top of Scruffy’s back.

    Yeah what’s all the secrecy? Dave said as he wiped the abiotic fluid out of his eyes.

    “Shhh… Carol and Bob are in the kitchen playing cards.

    “What is she blabbering about”? Sandy said as she wiped yogurt off of her fabric with a throw blanket.

    “Listen, I think there is something strange going on with Bob and Carol. Bob was drinking out of a glass, with his HANDS!

    Tom stammered outside, he tripped as his hoof hit the threshold, “Sorry I had to get another drink.”

    Just then Bob looked up from his straight flush and notice everyone was gone.

    “Come on Carol, I think we have been found out.” Bob grabbed Carols hand and they ran out the back door. Quickly he pulled out his inter-dimensional portal pad and tossed it on the ground.

    Where to bunny? Bob said quietly.

    Let’s go back to the place where that crazy gopher that wears a vest is in charge. Carol said with a smile.

    With a flash of light and a wisp of wind Bob and Carol Rabbit disappeared, never to be heard of again.

    1. Observer Tim

      Wonderfully surreal, theJim. I wonder where the local Bob and Carol have got to. I like how, out of all the odd things, that’s the only one she really finds strange. Nice job. 🙂

      There’s a little fuzziness with the verb tenses in the first paragraph, but nothing earthshattering.

      1. thejim

        Thanks OT, Yeah I wrote kind of fast and when finished I thought I would change the tense it but did not go back and proof it as well as I should have.

    2. Beebles

      This made me do what the characters were doing – double take. I thought, did I just read what i thought i read? I love the little insights, the lactose intolerance, the hoof. All this and inter-dimensional travel too. That was an excellent wierd read.

  42. Bushkill

    Classic Comedy (501)

    There was a howl from behind the door. It hung in the air, frozen, as the front door swung inward. My keys swung from the lock in almost perfect time to Carl who is hanging from my dining room chandelier. Opposite him, and hanging from his collar, is my dog, Donnie. It looked for all the world like Carl was teaching him how to be Superman with a brief stop-over in Tarzan. Donnie looked happy.

    I wasn’t amused.


    The refrigerator door was open and the light inside was flickering like a corner-riding five and dime in the shady part of town. Oscillating on the top shelf was the jello mold for tonight’s party and perched inside the rotund was my gerbil, Gil. His cheeks bulged as he chewed on the gelatinous goodness.

    “mmmmmmm”, I heard, emanating from the futon. There, surrounded by the remains of more than a dozen recently deceased containers of yogurt lies Tom. His shirt and one shoe are off and his pants are around his knees. Thankfully, sort of, but any kind of thanks at the carnival seen from twilight zone before me is small thanks indeed, his boxers are still where they should be. As I watch, mostly in horror, but with a shade of humor beginning to encroach, Tom flips over, covered in yogurt of many hues, and looks straight at me, “I love you, maaannn!” He draws out the last word and his glassy-eyed stare leaves me a little alarmed. He hugs the futon with abandon.

    I go to the kitchen to put down my groceries and begin clean up.

    The kitchen scene is even more surreal in the fluttering light of the fridge. My fish are jumping between the twin basins of my sink. The sink itself is filled with mostly water but there are donuts too and the fish appear to be leaping through the holes in some sort of contest.

    I must have made some audible cry because the cat stood up from his perch next to the aquatic sport and meowed at me before rubbing against my chest. I tried to push him away, but the coiled snake in the pot behind him took offense and reared at me, sending me backpedaling across the kitchen to the stove.

    The cat, now off balance, yelped once and fell from the counter to walk, with dignity, from the room like it had planned the whole thing. I turned from the Olympic fish to lean on my stove and stared directly into the eyes of Alan, my pet armadillo, who was quite comfortably luxuriating in my basting pan.

    I’m pretty sure that’s when I passed out. The next conscious thought I had was of smelling salts and the none-to-gentle voice of the EMT calling me back from the brink.

    As I blinked up at him he just shook his head and said, “Happy New Year, Butch” and with a pat on my shoulder he motioned for his team to carry me away.

    1. Observer Tim

      That is some kind of strange trip, Bushkill. I love the menagerie this guy keeps in his house, or perhaps the hallucinations he keeps in his head. You captured a sense of total confusion very well. 🙂

      I think the first paragraph could be strengthened by recasting parts of it to remove the repetition (hanging, swinging).

    2. Reaper

      This was very well done, the strange is perfect. I was going to mention some repetition though it but that got covered. There are some past tense points that kind of bump me out of the story since most of it is in present. As odd as this world is it seems perfect because of how you put it together.


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