Killing Clichés

Write 10 sentences using a different cliché in each. Now, rewrite the sentence to eliminate the cliché and find a more clever and creative way to convey its meaning.

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

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162 thoughts on “Killing Clichés

  1. thejim

    Lawyer: The jury is still out.

    Judge: What do you mean?

    Lawyer: They’re not here, there out.

    Judge: Out where Out of this world? Out of time? Out and about?

    Lawyer: Let me rephrase your honor, so you understand. The jury, 12 people who are deciding the fate of the defendant have not yet made a decision on the outcome or a verdict.

    Judge: Oh the actual Jury is still out. I thought you were saying you have not decided whether or not you liked eating at Joes’ Sandwich shop.

    Lawyer: Yeah I am not sure about Joe’s. I may have to try it again, my sister ate there and she was happy as a camper.

    Judge: Why would a camper be happy? I mean they have sleep on the ground outside no toilet around maybe even eaten by bears. So apparently she had the ham on rye then didn’t like.

    Lawyer: Oh no, Last week she went in to eat there and the place was loaded with people from the Shady Tree Camp Ground they were laughing and having a good time they were all happy.

    Judge: The Shady Tree Campground? I’ve never heard of that before.

    Lawyer: Oh yes very popular with the kids now a day apparently everyone there is naked as a jaybird.

    Judge: Really no cloths on at all.

    Lawyer: Oh yes they wear cloths it is just made of Jay bird feathers.

    Judge: Oh a lovely shade of blue, just love the plumage. Looks like the jury could be finishing up real soon.

    Lawyer: So back to the Salt mines.

    Judge: Oh no. I quit that long ago. To much salt not good for you was real hard work I’m an old man now.

    Lawyer: What I was trying to say was; we need to start working again enough talking.

    Judge: Have you met the new bailiff, Steve.

    Lawyer: No, I don’t know him from Adam.

    Judge: Well I would think if you know Adam you would know Adam and Steve are twins.

    Lawyer: I have never met Steve before or even heard of him.

    Judge: Their Dad works here too Captain Smith.

    Lawyer: Oh, I know him He is always dressed to kill.

    Judge: Of course he is he has a gun he is an officer of the Law.

    Lawyer: I mean, his uniform is always crisp and clean very neat. I would bet he is the best dressed cop around.

    Judge: Oh Yeah put your money where your mouth is.

    Lawyer: No way that is dirty who knows where it has been.

    Judge: No silly I mean if you think that let make a little friendly wager.

    Lawyer: I knew what you meant I was just pushing your buttons.

    Judge: Pushing my what?

    Lawyer: Buttons, Buttons you know pulling your leg.

    Judge: You were just trying to get me all riled up and joking with me well I think you better remember who you are talking to.

    Lawyer: Sorry your Honor, I meant no disrespect.

    Judge: I ain’t one of those people who pretend to be something they are not.

    Lawyer: Thank you sir, I can tell.

    Judge: Those people are like pouring syrup on poop and calling it pancakes.

    Lawyer: What, Excuse me sir.

    Judge: You heard me.

    Lawyer: I just want to make sure I heard you correct.

    Judge: I’m not repeating myself, I guess you can just go back up there and read it again.

    Lawyer: Read what sir.

    Judge: Right up there. (Points up)

    Lawyer: Oh right Let me do that.

    ……………………………

    Judge: Wow you are a slow reader.

    Lawyer: That’s what I thought you said.

    Judge: Looks like the jury is back.

    # END #

  2. jhowe

    I rejoice at the response from my writers group to the story I submitted for comments. Boy, do they like to comment or what? What’s this? A lot of red for such a short story. Screw him; let’s go to the next one.

    Ok, what does little miss fussy britches have to say? She highlighted, ‘All dressed up and nowhere to go.’ In red. What’s wrong with that? She suggests: She looked fabulous in her black cocktail dress; too bad Joey was a no-show. A little wordy if you ask me.

    And what’s this? ‘Beggars can’t be choosers.’ Surely she can’t find fault in such a straight forward line. Even though they’d been friends for some time, Brandon looked at her shyly, seemingly transfixed. Could he have feelings for her? I thought the whole point of a short story was to streamline for crying out loud.

    ‘Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.’ I’m getting a little tired of red. Brandon’s intentions seemed honorable at first, but it soon became apparent he was a connoisseur of the flesh. Ok, I’ll give her that one. A little ambiguous but I kind of like the connoisseur part.

    ‘It ain’t rocket science.’ Ok, I’m particularly proud of that one. What could she be thinking? Confident at first, Brandon had to be coaxed and then shown how to operate the hook on a bra strap. That’s exactly what I said, only a lot shorter. Talk about picky.

    ‘The whole kit and caboodle.’ Now if that isn’t a classic, what is? Before long, Shelly’s entire body pulsed and quivered and her screams could be heard from blocks away. So she had a good time – that’s what I portrayed, to the tee, but much more concise.

    Ok, the coup de ville, or de grace, or whatever signifies greatness in the written word: ‘She wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers.’ Give me a freaking break; red highlights up the yin yang. Sherry relished his warmth as they spooned in the afterglow and she was delighted to find out Brandon wasn’t entirely finished yet.

    That’s it. I can’t read any more comments. There’s at least four or five more but I’m verbally spent. She took the classic crispness right out of my story and added a bunch of touchy feely, kind of sexy additions that will surely elicit the wrath of my readers, if I ever get any. But now that I think about it, I think I’ll go back in there and see what happens on round two.

    1. JosephFazzone

      To edit or not to edit. To listen to the criticism or not listen. To be cliche or not cliche! All great questions so brilliantly sewn into this little gem. I liked it a lot. The mind of the author taking his work and toying around with it to get it quite right. It sounds like the way I think when I edit my stuff. I really related to this piece, Jhowe! Good stuff!

    2. Fran Lolly

      Oh how reminiscent of the writing workshop days. You capture the struggle so well and with a very interesting internal dialogue. Thanks for the entertaining read!

    3. Observer Tim

      And this is why a man should be careful handing his carefully crafted sex scene over to a woman reviewer. 😉 I loved the originals and the changes and what they told of the makeup of the story, both authors, and the group. There are several levels of hidden depth in this, John. Very nice! 🙂

  3. BlueJay91

    I’m sorry if this is posted twice. The first time I tried to post it, my computer restarted for updates! The 10 cliches are listed below the story in order by paragraph.

    ’d rather be back in the heavy dust and the death shots that rang both day and night. My night terrors have turned into daytime horror shows, but I’d rather be grabbing my friends hand again and pulling him to the evac chopper. I’d rather be crying into a shirt plastered with dried blood. I’d rather be shooting a gun with the view of the Red, White, and Blue hanging over a heavy casket. My blood freezes when I remember my past, but I’d still rather be back there instead of sitting on this court bench like the common villain.

    The court room was small. From watching T.V., I always thought they where large and kind of beautiful with all the polished wood, but this room was the size of a classroom and stank of booze or maybe that was the gentleman to my left. He had been chewing off all his fingernails for the last half hour and as his name was called he stumbled his way out of our row and up to the front desk. The judge watched him with eyes as cold as the deepest depths of the pacific ocean. He shifted and raised his hand. The judge flipped through the stack of files. The courtroom was silent. Only the sound of the clock ticking could be heard. Mr. Richards raised his hand again and said, “Your honor, I-I know my record isn’t as white as the Bible’s pages. but I hope you can f-f-find pity on my case. This time, the cops got me on the day I heard my father had just passed away.” The Judge closed the records and said, “Mr. Richards, It has been made very clear to you that you are not aloud to drink and you have lost your privileges to drive.” Mr. Richards raised his hand again and said, “Your honor, it was a lawnmower.” Some of the braver people in the room snickered, but the judge had a stoic face. “Mr. Richards, you were highly intoxicated on a motorized vehicle on a busy downtown street. You endangered citizens and you broke you parol.” He raised his hand again, but his attorney grabbed his arm and whispered in his ear. Mr. Richards bowed his head and his attorney said, “Your Honor, my client is ready to make a plea bargain.”

    After Mr. Richards testimony, I tuned out most of the pleas and testimonies. At one point though a man was called to the front and agreed to plead guilty and waive his rights to a jury trial. The man sitting on my right pretended his hand was a gun and fake shot the defendant. I didn’t understand this man’s anger until I heard the judge say, “Mr. Ray, You plead guilty to forcing the victim, a minor under the age of fifteen, to perform…” When that defendant got to prison, he was going to wish he was deep in the ground where the worms and bugs ate his dead flesh. He would rather look forward to knowing pretty flowers would one day sprout next to his grave site, then spending one hour in a penitentiary with lifers. But for villains like Mr. Ray, that’s not the way the gavel falls.

    When my name was called, I watched my Lawyer, Mr. West, stand and make his way to the desk in a well-fitted navy blue suit. We had met a week ago and his office had been pristine, besides the papers and folders strewn about a lone table pushed in front of the floor to ceiling windows. I was about to begin talking that day when he had held up a finger and pulled out a clock from his desk drawer. He faced it to me and with each time the big hand moved a number, I saw money disappearing from my bank account. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the best investment I’ve ever made. Mr. West opened his briefcase and pulled out my file. I didn’t care how much I payed because I was told he could help prove my innocence in front a jury. I was told that when the key witness, my scorned ex-wife, was to stand trial, he would be a K9 dog sniffing out the truth, and this dog would sniff out the minuscule details to rip her testimony to shreds.

    Mr. pulled a document from my file, I signed it, and he handed it to the judge. The judge asked me, “Your lawyer is handing me the document you just signed. Have you read and understood this document.” “Yes.” It was the document that tied me to my retched hometown for the next 60 days or longer. Mr. West had explained to me that this case was going to feel as slow as waiting for the war to really end which was as slow as my cheating ex-wife and my legal separation. I had explained to Mr. West that I was not a murderer and I didn’t fucking care if I had to wait until the invention of flying cars to prove my innocence.

    Para: 1 I’d rather be anywhere besides here
    Para: 2 As cold as Ice & As white as snow.
    Para: 3 Pushing up daisies, Six feet under, & That’s the way the dice roll.
    Para: 4 I want a shark for my lawyer & Time is money
    Para: 5 As slow as molasses & I don’t care how long it takes

    Sorry I got carried away and went over the 500 word limit. This story is 853 words. 🙁

    1. Observer Tim

      So our MC is trying to avoid a murder rap, or was it really an accident? You painted the visual images well, BlueJay; I got the feeling I was really there. The only ways to pare it down that I can see would either stifle the MC’s voice or lower the impact of the story, neither of which is particularly desirable. 🙂

  4. ReathaThomasOakley

    West Augustine
    Part 2

    Mrs. Small only lived about a block away, as the crow flies, but I ain’t a bird, and Mama said I shouldn’t go sneaking through backyards, even though I don’t sneak. After I cut through Aunt Violet’s garden, relatives don’t count, plus it’s really Uncle George’s, but Aunt Violet calls it hers, some folks say Uncle George’s hen pecked, I walked up Magnolia Street, thinking hard on Mrs. Small’s mystery.

    “Hey, there, Annie.”

    “Oh, hey there, Miss Jimmie Mae.” Miss Jimmie Mae was a nice lady, but really old, musta been at least fifty, with one foot in the grave, what lived across the street from Aunt Violet. “I didn’t see you on your porch.”

    “Didn’t think you did, walking along, your head in the clouds.”

    “I’m considering things, kinda ignoring where I am. You shelling peas?”

    “I am, and I made fresh lemonade from them lemons your daddy give me. Want some?”

    “Yes, mam,” I climbed up her wooden steps. “Need some help?”

    “Many hands make work light,” she handed me the bag of peas. “I’ll get you a glass. What you doing out on a Saturday wearing your school clothes? Your mama’s gonna fit to be tied, you get that skirt dirty. You know cleanliness is next to godliness.” She went inside.

    “Yes, mam, but Mama’s off doing her Christian duty, and Daddy and Brother ain’t home, and I’m bored.”

    “So, when the cat’s away, the Annie mouse will play? Well, I’m glad for your company,” she said as she came back out and handed me the lemonade just the way I like it, cold, and sweet, and sour all the same time.

    “You ain’t answered, what you wandering around in school clothes for? And, what you got in that cigar box?”

    “Miss Jimmie Mae? You know Mrs. Small? She ain’t got no husband, but folks call her Mrs., like she’s married. Aunt Violet told Mama she must have lots of men cousins and uncles and her red hair is dyed. What do you think?”

    Miss Jimmie Mae took a handful of pea pods from the bag.

    “Well, first thing I think is some folks got too much time on their hands, second thing is you can’t tell a book by its cover…”

    “I got me a new book, and I can tell what’s inside by that cover.”

    “Annie, that ain’t what I mean. Here, look at this cowpea pod. Right now I can’t tell just by looking what I’m gonna find inside, if the pea is ripe or too dry or what, but when I take hold of this here end and pull the string right down, like a zipper, the pod pops open and I just shuck out the peas like this.”

    “That’s funny, I ain’t never thought about folks being like peas.” I watched Miss Jimmie Mae for a while and considered what she said and made a decision.

    “Miss Jimmie Mae, about the cigar box and my plaid skirt. You ever heard of Mr. Sherlock Holmes?”

    1. Observer Tim

      You have a great way with words, Reatha. I love how you subtly mapped in the clichés so they fit like natural speech (which they are, after all). It sounds like Miss Jimmie Mae (is that a take on Jemima?) knows about what’s going on, and that other people around town are saying less than they understand. You’ve definitely created an atmosphere of mystery here. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I always know I’m heading for a ride when I start to read you. Sometimes when I read, I think of ‘Scout’ and her daddy lawyer. It’s the same tone of writing when you flirt around the greatest novel ever written. Believe it or not I’ve shelled mountains of peas and shucked a lot of corn when I was a kid spending summers on the Jersey coast. Oh yeah, and I haven’t forgotten how to wash sand and worms out of spinich.

        1. ReathaThomasOakley

          My goodness, Kerry, what a compliment. I’ve just tried to write how I remember people talking. Never worked with fresh spinach as a child, but a pot of collard greens, cooked down with a ham hock or two, little pepper vinegar sprinkled on top, a side of corn bread…

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks, Tim. I was going to sit this one out, but realized my characters already speak in cliches. Didn’t rewrite the ones I used, but tried a little twist on some of them.

    2. JosephFazzone

      This was amazing. I love the dialogue, and how you get to know the two of them through such a simple activity, and light hearted conversation. The cliche tie ins were excellent, some of them felt perfectly dated for the vintage feel of the story. Awesome!

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you so very much, Joseph. I’m a strong believer in using dialogue to define a character, plus I think my narrative often sounds forced. Thanks again.

    3. Fran Lolly

      This is amazing, Reatha! The dialect is spot on, and, in my opinion, can be an extremely challenging feat. You do a marvelous job of characterization in a such a short piece. A very enjoyable read!

  5. Amaria

    Ok so I took another route with this prompt. I took 10 cliches and placed in the poem. So here’s my jumbled cliche poem:

    she decided to
    bite the bullet
    fall deeply in love
    like a baptism by fire
    they always say
    opposites attract
    perhaps true,
    but only time will tell
    if the butterflies in her stomach
    are real or just a fantasy
    but she took the plunge
    without a care in the world
    instead of walking on eggshells
    worrying about everything
    that could go wrong
    she tossed her cold feet aside
    to find out if he was truly
    more than meets the eye

    1. Observer Tim

      I like the figurative language; you increased the density of the clichés by reducing the volume of the other text rather than by putting more in. It’s a well-done exercise. Not much more I can say because I don’t really understand modern (i.e. post 19th century) poetry.

  6. Amaria

    This is totally off prompt and way over 500 words, but a continuation from my last post for the “Finish this Sentence” prompt.

    Ginger Part 2:

    Ginger started off the therapy session with a cold sentence. “I hate my mother.”

    Dr. Leveque stared across at Ginger. “Hate is a very strong word.”

    “That’s because I feel it strongly, Dr. Leveque.”

    “Why do you hate your mother Ginger?”

    Ginger took in a deep breath before continuing. “She’s a phony. She puts on the façade like she’s this perfect person. You should have seen her at the dinner party over the weekend. Twirling around like Miss America, laughing at that businessman’s bad jokes. I just stared at her. I wanted to dump the bowl of guacamole right on her head. But I didn’t, of course. Instead I drown my sorrows in Pinot Noir.”

    “Have you ever expressed your feelings with your mother?” Dr. Leveque asked.

    “No. She always dominating the conversation. Whenever I want to talk about things, like problems I’m having, she abruptly changes the subject. She begins talking about her life and problems, as if they are much more important than mine.”

    “Has your relationship with your mother always been strained?”

    “Mostly. Mom was that never close to me, even before dad died.”

    “I recall you said your father passed away when you were seven. What do you remember of him?”

    “He was kind and funny. He worked a lot as a college professor, but he did make time to spend with me and my sister Molly. He took us to the park every Sunday afternoon. We always had fun.”

    “What do you remember of his passing?”

    Ginger looked away. “Do we really have to talk about this? Can’t we talk about something else, like your new Manolo shoes?”

    Dr. Leveque responded, “Ginger, I know it’s a difficult subject, but talking about it may help.”

    Ginger sighed. “The night before he died, I woke up and heard shouting coming from downstairs. I tiptoed out of my room and went to the top of the stairs. Mom was shouting at dad.”

    Dr. Leveque asked, “What was she saying?”

    “All I remember is she said that he was going to ruin us all. I don’t remember anything else. I then heard mom walking towards the stairs. I ran back to my room before she saw me out of bed. The next morning, dad was already gone. Mom said didn’t anything. She just drop us off at school.”

    Ginger could feel Dr. Leveque’s eyes staring at her. She would not look up. “That night it was raining. Dad came home late. We already had dinner. I was sitting in the living room watching TV with Molly. Dad came into the living room. I remember he had a strange look on his face. He then left the room and called out to mom saying “I’m going out for milk.” I don’t remember if mom answered or not. He left and never came back.”

    Ginger wiped tears that was now falling from her face. “It wasn’t until later that night mom woke me up. She said dad was in a car accident. He didn’t make it.”

    “Do you remember how you reacted upon learning of your father’s death?”

    “I remember crying. Grandmom was there. She was holding me and Molly. Mom just stood at the doorway, not saying anything.”

    “Do you think your mother was in shock?” Dr. Leveque asked.

    “I don’t know. After the funeral, mom began packing all of dad’s things. Removing pictures and mementos, like she was trying to wipe away his memory. Before the next school year, we moved away to a new state. I was in a new school. She even changed our last names to her maiden name.”

    “She did? Did you ever ask her why?” Dr. Leveque asked.

    Ginger replied, “I was only seven, Dr. Leveque.”

    “How about when you were older?” Dr. Leveque asked. When Ginger shook her head no, Dr. Leveque replied, “You were never curious about the name change?”

    Ginger answered, “Mom always says that curiosity kills the cat, Dr. Leveque”

    Dr. Leveque took a deep breathe. “But satisfaction can bring it back, Ginger.”

    1. Observer Tim

      This is really well done, Amaria. I love the way you subtly told the real story within the context of the obvious one. Of course now my curiosity is piqued as well: what was her father up to that caused someone to need him removed? He obviously knew about it. And is his mother showing narcissistic personality disorder or mimicking it? I hope this means you’ll be exploring the answers to these questions over time. 🙂

  7. thatbillguy

    It was a dark and stormy night.

    Roiling black clouds absorbed the remnants of the quiet afternoon as the last sunlight faded under a purple and orange horizon.

    Against all odds, I was able to find shelter from a storm that was as big as life.

    Luck favored me, this night, when I stumbled upon a shallow, leeward cave high on a hillside, that sheltered me from the largest storm I had seen in my life.

    It was quiet. Too quiet; the calm before the storm.

    In my tight, rock bunker the air was still and silent as the very land anticipated the wind and rain filled devastation charging in from the East.

    It was always darkest before dawn.

    The night poured in with the raging clouds and the last vestiges of color disappeared from the firmament and the night became a tangible black, dashing my hopes of living to see the distant morning.

    I was a fish out of water, for all intents and purposes.

    The cavern walls closed in on me as the storm rumbled across the rolling countryside. This damp cavern was alien to me and for all the safety it provided, it let me know I didn’t belong and it made me feel unwelcome.

    I cried like a baby, this was the end.

    I slid down the wet and rough cavern wall, stirring up the rich smell of dirt. I drew in my arms and legs and rocked in that position as if I were in the final months before birth. My sobs drowned in the roar of wind and rain. In the noisy darkness, nature came for me.

    It was the eleventh hour.

    Here I lay on the cold stone, for how long I know not. The noise abated. My ears popped. The skies cleared. In my final moments, the last hour before a new day, nature gave me another chance. Another chance to be a part of her. Another chance to live.

    The End, by Bill.

    1. thatbillguy

      1. A dark and stormy night
      2. against all odds
      3. as big as life
      4. it was quiet, too quiet.
      5. the calm before the storm
      6. darkest before the dawn
      7. fish out of water
      8. for all intents and purposes
      9. cried like a baby
      10. the eleventh hour

    2. Observer Tim

      I like the way your longer descriptions echoed the clichés and amplified them, naturally forming the whole piece into a longer story. Notwithstanding the weather theme, it made the whole story more atmospheric (pun intended). Very nice, Bill. 🙂

  8. JosephFazzone

    Host: Friends! It’s time to play ‘Know Your Cliché’ or KYC or @KYCthegame or at FacebookKYC! Again not affiliated with KFC so don’t bother them. We’re also new to Instagram by the handle of ballbreath. We have for you today an amazing contest for you tonight. Our finalist contestant one, Don Yardwig and contest two, Clarence Cheistermeninger, did I say that right?

    Clara: “No, it’s Smith, Clara Smith.”

    Host: “Ah, yes, Mr. Smith, my apologies…”

    Clara: “Mrs. Smith.”

    Host: Yes, whatever. Moving on. We have these ten clichés and all we have left to do is plunge away and may the tufts of mists floating in the azure hemisphere be ever lined with a sterling resplendence! (He belches) Excuse me.

    Clara: Yes, whatever, moving on…

    Host: Point, Mrs. Cheistermeninger.

    Clara: Again, still Smith, it hasn’t changed yet. Why is this causing your cerebellum to expand to the point of explosion?

    Don: Why ya poppin’ what was droppin’ on your cranium?

    Host: Yes thank you. Well, let’s begin. First Cliché is a fish out of water, a fish out of water. Don, you may go first.

    Don: a guppy outta dat puppy.

    Clara: (sighs) Pisces vacates its abode.

    Host: Alright. Next one is be prepared. Clara’s turn.

    Clara: Build the roof before it rains.

    Don: Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool.

    Host: I’m sorry, that’s good advice, but that may be cliché as well. Next one is money doesn’t grow on trees. Don.

    Don: Never seen a dime dat sprouts on a vine.

    Clara: The coin shall never master spawning in the garden.

    Host: Pretentious, Clara.

    Clara: How dare you.

    Host: Cliché! This is getting us nowhere.

    Clara: That’s what I’m saying.

    Host: No, that’s the next cliché, and don’t be cliché and pretentious, I had tuna fish for lunch, and it’s now become suspect as to whether or not that was a good idea. It’s your turn Clara.

    Clara: This is getting us nowhere? Let me think. I’m going to say Oblivion discovered as we run the loop never seeing our destination.

    Host: A little longwinded, but…

    Don: We keep switching busses.

    Host: A need to catch my breath…

    Don: gotta jump to give da lungs a pump.

    Clara: I require the reinvigoration of atmosphere to my carriage.

    Host: No, seriously, I think I’m going to lose my lunch.

    Clara: I bequeath the contents of my appetite to the earth.

    Don: I may barf babies!

    Host: Hold on. This isn’t good. I’ll be back in a jiffy.

    Don: the flash ain’t got shit on me

    Clara: I shall return before yesterday.

    Host: You’re both idiots. This is a waste of time.

    Clara: these are squandered moments

    Don: the trick of this tick is a busted wallet.

    Host: Forget it. We’ll back after this commercial break.

    Clara: Anon we shall revisit our moment while pause to hear the sirens play.

    Don: Time to listen to the Jacks who got our backs, and then we droppin’.

    Host: Shut up! Just shut up! Where’s Ruben?!? Ruben!?!?

    (Host walks off)

    Cameraman: What happened?

    Grip: Bad tuna fish, I think.

    Clara: So we just sit here?

    PA: Yes, Mrs. Cheistermeninger.

    Clara: It’s, Smith! With all that converses in the ephemeral plane, you are all over compensated with bankrupt intellects, you know that?

    Don: Yeah, you dumb!

    1. Observer Tim

      This sounds like [a] the kind of games my sisters and I used to play as kids, and [b] my friends sitting around having a pun war. Of course the variation on the theme is what makes it real. You did it beautifully, Joseph, especially the part where things get out of hand. This is truly, truly strange in a really good way! 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I loved it a lot, especially the names you used. You have some real winners in here. Don’s got great advice, “Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool”. Perhaps Clinton should have listened to that one.

  9. Reaper

    I think this is one of the hardest ones I’ve seen on here. So, I just did the thing.

    Lovable Monsters

    His ideals and skills were both as useless as tits on a boar hog. Only one of them made him a marked man though. The other made him bite of more than he could chew at every turn. With a memory like and elephant he knew the lies in what he saw. The scary black man on the corner reminded him of a need for a weapon. Necessity is the mother of invention, and the gun it caused him to design was only to keep him safe. A quick buck is always more appealing than integrity though. If that did not decide him the accusations of being a stick in the mud holding back progress would have convinced him to sell out. Years later his moment of weakness led to him telling his son, “Do as I say, not as I do.” In the ultimate battle between the child and the corporation holding the patent he knew his son (the hero) would win because he was the good guy.

    As a man who regarded his ideals as highly as society did his skills, James did not fit in the ordered universe of normal people. Those morals that made him unique made others uncomfortable enough to desire his extinction. The brilliance that kept him alive through that jealousy also kept choking on the cloak of work he carried to defend himself from social interactions.

    One of his most useful talents was a recall that extended to times before his conception. Those reflections of times before his own, infused with the image of a looming citizen the ignorance of society taught him to think of as an enemy caused his desire for something to aide in his defense. Need drives truth, which pushes inspiration; the weapon’s only aim was to keep him safe; much as all weapons before it.

    Integrity is always for sale, if the rewards are instant enough. Even if he was pure enough to resist reward the accusations of hampering the forward motion of science caused stronger idealists than him to betray their scientific faith.

    In the years to come he would have a son, a boy he urged to live his father’s dreams instead of reality he bought in to. Knowing one day the young man would stand against those who crushed his own will the father held one belief tight enough that it bled, that purity of purpose and a righteous soul would lead to a victory of biblical proportions against overwhelming odds.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is definitely a “dive right in” story, Reaper. It’s fascinating to see how such thickly-laden idioms can be used to tell a coherent story, admittedly one of deep introspection. It’s also wonderful how the clichés come out in character’s voice; or is it that the character’s voice is defined by the clichés? This is truly thought-provoking… 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I couldn’t agree more with Tim. You know, I might refer to this work as historic. It amazes me how you can bend words into anything you want to. Writing this type of story with cliches would be an impossible effort for me and yet you make it look so easy. I know better.

    2. JosephFazzone

      Fantastic! So deep, and thought provoking. It makes me wonder what will happen when the child grows up. I actually feel sorry for the father. He seems so aware of his failings, and is accepting of it regardless of the disaster looming on the horizon. Deep! I really liked this!

    3. Fran Lolly

      Well-done, Reaper. It would be interesting to see this work fleshed out with some additional characterization. I think you could do a lot with this idea. Thanks for the great read!

  10. Observer Tim

    LATER THAT NIGHT…

    Another wad of paper hits the wastebasket rim and lands on the floor. I couldn’t hit the ground from low orbit. But this stuff is all wrong; I have to be poetic and original.

    Your lips are like roses; no, who wants to kiss a rose? Victorian guys, I guess, but I’m a Wanda guy. She’s my Sun? No, that’s stupid. Moon? Too bummy. Milky Way? That’s a breast joke. Andromeda? Perfect. She’s my Andromeda Galaxy. Sigh; yeah, she’s two million light years away.

    I get a text from Eric.

    >Mike RU w-Wanda?
    >No, she left an hour ago.
    >Im worried
    >I’ll look around.

    I go down stairs faster than a meteor. Where could Wanda be? I’m nearly at the bus stop before I remember she has a car; back to the parkade.

    There’s no reason I should find her; that would be like locking up after the burglars, but I have to try. I assume she’ll park by the walkover to the dorms and head there; on Friday night it won’t be busy until the bars close. It’s quiet as a gra– library. I run through the parking stalls looking for clues; instead I find Wanda lying on the pavement.

    Her tee’s torn open and there’s red marks on her face and torso; her breathing is sharp and gasping. Concrete slams my knees as I drop beside her.

    “Wanda! Are you okay?”

    She groans and opens one eye. “Do I LOOK okay, Mike? Bastards jacked my car and tried to grab me.”

    “But are you injured?”

    “I’ve been through worse.”

    “We have to call the police.”

    “They took my phone. But one of them’s got a knee-induced falsetto.”

    I help her lever herself up so she’s sitting. I start to run my hand up her back.

    “What are you doing?”

    “Checking for injuries.”

    “I fell on my face.” Her eye narrows. “Touch my chest and die.”

    “It’d be worth it.”

    “No it wouldn’t; I’m just like any other girl.”

    I look into her eyes. “No, you’re Irene Adler.” Her blush says she got the reference.

    “Sure thing, Holmes. Help me up, will you; we’re going to your room.”

    I start hyperventilating.

    “Down boy; I need a chair. And your phone.”

    The elevator takes Neptune’s orbit to get upstairs but I don’t care. Wanda’s leaning on me, and wearing my tee so she doesn’t show off her Hello Kitty bra. She makes some phone calls while I get soap and water to clean her up.

    “Wanda, did you really spend an hour in the parkade?”

    “No, I came back; I wanted to see you again. I got attacked getting out of the car.”

    “Really?”

    Eric and his girlfriend are there in twenty minutes, the police an hour after that; I wish everyone had been slower. They expect the sun will go nova before Wanda gets her car back, but she’s okay.

    She’s invited me for dinner on Sunday. I’m entering standard orbit around Wanda; all systems are go.

    1. Observer Tim

      Here’s the clichés; it should be obvious where they’ve been replaced. Mike is an astronomy major.

      1. I can’t hit the broad side of a barn.
      2. She’s my shining star.
      3. I go downstairs faster than a speeding bullet.
      4. That would be like closing the gate after the horses ran away.
      5. It’s quiet as a graveyard/churchyard.
      6. But one of them’s singing soprano now.
      7. No, you’re *the* woman. [See “A Scandal in Bohemia” – A. Conan Doyle]
      8. The elevator takes forever (Neptune takes 165 years to complete one orbit).
      9. They expect the earth will end before Wanda gets her car back.
      10. I’ve been caught in Wanda’s pull and that’s fine by me.

      This exercise was a lot harder than I expected.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hey Tim, it’s great work to fit them in a real story. I gave up on mine and just decided to write fluff. I don’t want to admit how long that took me. Then I worried that no one is going to have any idea what I wrote about.

        1. Observer Tim

          Thanks, Kerry. It took work for me to create clichés for the “out” crowd. But don’t disrespect your piece; it’s nice to see the slang laid on thick and heavy and to have to think while reading. You captured the post-war setting simply by using its figurative language, and without the crutch of period visuals. The only slang word I missed was “bazookas”.

    2. JosephFazzone

      I love the locking up after the burglars line! ANd the knee induced falsetto. hahahahah that was classic! I may steal it! She gets robbed and he gets a date! That’s a silver lining right there! Tim, great story! Totally enjoyed it!

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks Joseph; the word count stopped this story from getting a lot darker (Wanda really has endured worse). The knee-induced falsetto is one of my faves, and grew from the same seed as “alcohol-fueled humanity” which I see on the bus to and from work far more often than I’d care to. I was trying to find a way to sneak that one in, but couldn’t make it flow with the story.

    3. Fran Lolly

      This was thoroughly entertaining, Tim. You did a nice job with the prompt, but cliche requirements aside, I really enjoyed so many of the details. The characterization was great, from the dialogue to the details such as the Hello Kitty bra. Plus, I always appreciate silver linings…

      1. Observer Tim

        Thanks, Fran. I love writing for the details, and I’m always happy when they catch a reader’s eye. It’s amazing the effects you can produce with a very few carefully-chosen extra words. Isn’t that right, miss “this time”? 🙂

  11. igonzales81

    Two friends in a bar.

    “This is the worst day of my life.”

    “It’s not the end of the world.”

    “It really hit me below the belt.”

    “Maybe she got up on the wrong side of the bed.”

    “Maybe I should have quit while I was ahead.”

    “Now the cows have come home to roost.”

    “You reap what you sow?”

    “If you love her, let her go.”

    “And we’ll live happily ever after?”

    “Stranger things have happened.”

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    The two of us sat at the bar, smelling the cigarette smoke, stale beer, and dejection that pervaded the air.

    “You know,” my friend said, his bleary eyes fixed on some point beyond the sign advertising local craft beers, “I once got in an accident backing out of my driveway. Went to the hospital, was late for work, got chewed out, had to pay for everything.” He took a drag on his Morley, blew the smoke out with his words. “This so much worse than that.”

    “You can still get out of bed in the morning,” I sipped at my brew. “You can still watch football. That’s something.”

    He might not have heard me; it was hard to tell. “It’s not so much that she did it, it’s the way she did it.” His morose gaze turned to me. “I mean, who breaks up with someone on Facebook? No hint, no warning, just BAM! For all of her two-thousand plus followers.” His head sank to the bar. “Ow.”

    I frowned, shrugged. “Maybe she had an accident backing out of her driveway. That can dampen you mood.”

    Again, my words had no visible effect. “I should have dumped her,” he said, sudden vehemence in his tone. “Yeah, I should have seen this coming, and been the one to do something drastic and demeaning.”

    “Thinking like that might be why you’re in this situation.” I had to say it.

    That actually penetrated; his head come up, like that bull in that one cartoon. “What? Are you saying this was my fault? That I deserved this?”

    He was a little drunk and a lot mad, but a fight might be just what he needed. “You liked her. You were happy with her. I think you should be more interested in how she feels about all this.”

    “What?” he had turned to face me, one hand curled into a fist around his cocktail napkin. “I should try to talk to her? Try to make up? Maybe grovel and beg a little bit?” He snorted. “As if that would do any good.”

    “Dude, she just broke up with you on social media; she’s clearly sending a message. And it might work; after all, you once got in an accident backing out of your driveway,” I stood up, pulling out my wallet. “I got this.”

    “Hey,” he said, a note of pleading in his voice. “What are you telling me?”

    “Go to her,” I said, pausing in the act of turning away. “But don’t talk. Just listen.”

    1. Observer Tim

      Very nicely done, IGonzales. In the process you expressed exactly what figurative speech, of which clichés are an example, is for. The second version is much more interesting and detailed, but the first is a lot quicker to tell. This is the cat’s meow. 🙂

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      I could hear the two guys talking exactly as you present them in the first part. Cliches can keep a conversation going without getting too involved.

    3. Fran Lolly

      Great way to exemplify the prompt, igonzales. I especially enjoyed your description of the bar and the “dejection that pervaded the air.” I think we’ve all lingered in that sentiment, quite possibly amidst cigarette smoke and stale beer.

  12. Fran Lolly

    Visions of English class danced in my head. Gossip and frivolity bounced off the painted cinderblock walls while chalk dust settled around the latest writing assignment.

    “You guys are like kids in a candy store today,” said Mr. Brandeis.

    The chatter calmed, but adolescent saliva continued to drip on the fiberglass desktops, creating a toxic cocktail of misconceptions and falsities. Baptism by fire, I guess. I stared at the scuffed linoleum tiles as the dissipating voices pierced my tissue paper skin.

    “I’d like to introduce the newest member of the class. This is Beatrice.”

    Did you hear the pin drop? Silence.

    “Let’s have you hit the ground running and explain the main idea of our writing assignment.”

    Unprotected from the heard of mustangs running in my direction, I was ill-prepared for an impromptu class presentation on my first day (or any day, for that matter). Unfortunately, the odds were not in my favor.

    “I’ll take the bull by the horns, I guess. I usually avoid clichés like the plague. It’s not the end of the world if you use one. After all, one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bushel.” I gazed at my classmates dressed in matching styles of J.Crew, American Eagle, and Abercrombie. “ To each their own, of course.”

    I was a nervous wreck. Mr. Brandeis smirked, taking pleasure in my fingernail picking and foot tapping. As red as a beet, I tilted by head forward, allowing my frizz-laden curls to hide the unwelcome crimson veil.

    “Looks like you’ll be a force to be reckoned with, Beatrice Covington.” His sharp eyes carved a familiar pattern into my flesh while his pedophilic smile tortured my soul.

    I was scared out of my wits by the morning fire drill alarm. The high-pitched ring resonated through my head as I tried to steady my vibrating eyeballs. Like bats out of hell, giddy boys and girls exited the classroom. I appreciated a brief sense of relief as I watched my peers funnel through the door like granules of dirt swirling down an unplugged drain. I glanced at Mr. Brandeis.

    “Birds of a feather. Right, Ms. Covington.”

    I grabbed my bag and quickened my pace. Come hell or high water, I’d escape with the rest of them this time.

    1. Observer Tim

      Lovely and thoroughly cliché-laden, Fran. I love your MC’s voice; the strange thing is that even with all the hackneyed phrasing her gist still came across. And I especially loved the little untold story in the last line; it speaks to a previous thriller or adventure. Great job! 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Not only was your story stuffed with cliches but also talent. You captured the essence of the feelings a new student goes through. . I also picked up on her ‘True Grit’.

  13. ShamelessHack

    TEN CLASSIC CLICHÉS
    The All In The Family edition.

    Edith: A woman’s work is never done.
    Archie: That’s right. Now bring me a beer, will ya.

    Edith: Family is everything. Mike is family.
    Archie: Gloria is family. What’s standing next to her is an accident of marriage.

    Archie: Every dog has his day.
    Mike: Was today your birthday?

    Archie: A man should always listen to his wife.
    Edith: Archie, I…
    Archie: Dummy up, Edith.

    Gloria: Sixty percent of deaths in America are caused by guns.
    Archie: Would it make you feel better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windows?

    Mike: In today’s society, people throw things out because they don’t work.
    Archie: Well, you don’t work. Maybe we should throw you out.

    Mike: Man is just another stage in the great pattern of evolution.
    Archie: Maybe you are, but I didn’t come from no monkey you atheist pinko meathead.

    Gloria: Look Daddy, the baby’s showing already. I wonder when he’s going to start kicking?
    Archie: As soon as he finds out his father’s a Polack.

    Mike: You are totally incomprehensible.
    Archie: Maybe so, but I make a lot of sense.

    Edith: I love you, Archie.
    Archie: Oh, Jeez…

    1. Observer Tim

      I could hear the voices in my head, Hack. The writers on that show had a knack for turning conventional wisdom on it’s head; when they couldn’t do that they just turned on it. Of course you’ve pretty-much lost everyone under the age of 30 or so, but language and clichés are a moving target. Very nice. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I agree Larry, this isclassic stuff like “Soap’ and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.”
        One you wrote above, I’m going to tape to my sun visor………….. Archie: Maybe you are but I didn’t come from no monkey you atheist pinko mea head. The best line from All In The family,’..Archie’s talking to Sammy Davis Jr. ‘I can understand you had to be black but then why did you decide you needed to be Jewish.”

    2. JosephFazzone

      I totally heard their voices! The voices! Aiiieeeee!!! Stop the…okay no, it’s not as bad as I made out. Had you worried? It’s writing!!! I love the tongue in cheek responses from Archie, Hack! I applaud the potency of the herb you were uh meditating on. It’s most likely maximum strength as well.

  14. Kerry Charlton

    WORD MURDER

    I was cruising’ from Houston on the way to Taco Village in my flip top. It was raining so hard it would drown a buzzard’s shadow. On the side of the road I saw a Dolly in a skinny mini, thumbing a hitch. I slowed and opened the handle,

    “ Hey flutter bum, nice set of wheels,” she said. “agitate the gravel, petal to the metal.”

    “Okay, let’s burn rubber.”

    “Wow, have you got a bent eight?”

    “Sure I can blow off any machine. You sure have a classy chassis.”

    “Thanks, you’re full of apple butter. Want to do some back seat bingo?”

    “Well, I’m kind of jacketed right now.”

    “Are you sure?’

    “I’m not on the hook, let me think about it.“

    “Is that Jimmy’s Hurricane on the right?”

    “My haunt, do you want to refuel.?”

    “I’d love to but I’m skinny.”

    “That’s okay, it’s my thin one. Let me stable the horses.”

    “You’re real cool you know.”

    “Thanks, you have great running lights.”

    “I get them from my mom, glad you noticed. I’d like a tube steak and a slurg.”

    “Sounds great, make it two,”

    “What’s your name?”

    “Bill, and you?”

    “Sally, you know I’m really snowed with you.”

    “Really? You’re not some kind of warden are you?”

    “Depends on what you want to learn.

    “Interesting, how’s the tube steak?”

    “Great, is there any passion pit around here?”

    “Across the two lane, there’s a pair of Mickey Mouse flicks showing.”

    “Who cares, I’m ready, Bill.”

    “Lay dead, I need some due backs.”

    “Ok but hurry.”

    “By the way, your pink’s out of jail.”

    “I know, I’ve got my earth pads off also”

    “There’s a lot of people here, tonight, do you want the squak box?”

    “Not for me, are you ready to bingo?”

    “Far out, I’m flip.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Larry, reminds me of my “blue dots”, my “coon tail” , “skirts”, and “wolf whistle” on my first car. Oh yes, and my spot light with a red clip on lens when I needed it.

    1. Observer Tim

      I’m glad part of that’s in my history or it would have been Greek. It’s a good poke in the brain that time’s a river and the buzz now is not your parents’. Two thumbs and an ‘A’, Kerry! 🙂 🙂

      Or should it be said that this work is a solid example of natural temporal variations of the colloquy that can occur over in historically and linguistically brief duration, perhaps even within the span of a single human existence? 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Tim, please see above, some of the ones I left out. I wrote a story called “Bumper Bullets, Crinolines and Chrome.”It was published in The Storyteller Magazine, about highschool.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Thank you Fran. It wasn’t hard, although we didn’t quite talk this way. Gifrls were so unavailable, it made the chase that much better. And if you caught one, most of us didn’t know enough to go any further. I am serious about that last statement.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Reatha. Of course, you know i lived all of this in high school and college. No one has seen more of the fifties than I have.It’s still burned in my memory. RC Cola and a Moon Pie.

    2. Bushkill

      Good read. I am not from that era, but had a bit of fun with the language and trying to sort the context. made me want to bust out my 80’s preppy handbook for a snappy story of my own written in the patterns and jargon of a different time.

  15. cosi van tutte

    Just for the fun of it…

    When it rains, it pours.
    When trouble comes calling, it calls collect and steals your identity.
    Or….Trouble doesn’t come in ones and twos. It comes in thousands and millions.

    Cut to the chase.
    Quit tapdancing in the kitchen. Just tell me what you want.

    He took off like a bat out of hell.
    He took off like his grandmother was chasing him with a battle ax.

    The meadowlark’s cry was as loud as a horn.
    The meadowlark’s cry was as loud as a cellphone during a moment of silence.

    She went storming off in a huff.
    She stormed out of the room like a diva on a rampage.

    He’s a bald faced liar.
    He’s such a liar. He’s gone and lied the whiskers right off his face.

    This town’s not big enough for the two of us.
    This speck town doesn’t have enough space for both of our egos. Go find your own town to haunt.

    Make a statement without saying a word.
    Sometimes silence says everything.
    Or…..Sometimes a great dress and the perfect accessories is all the statement you need.

    The thief was as cool as a cucumber.
    The thief was as cool as a watermelon in an ice house.

    She was as busy as a bear in a beehive.
    She was as busy as a shoplifter in a poorly guarded jewelry store.

  16. keight

    As he confided in me, he started airing out his dirty laundry.
    As he confided in me, his secrets unfolded like washed dollar bills put in the dryer.

    She was a painter after my own heart.
    She painted what I felt like a translated caption in a foreign film.

    Bill’s actions spoke louder than his words.
    Bill’s face and body language were more convincing than his vocabulary.

    Her love for him was as plain as the nose on her face.
    Her love for him was more obvious than her giant mole.

    We woke up at the crack of dawn.
    We woke up at the butt-crack of morning.

    I feel like I am at the end of my rope.
    I feel like I am holding on to the last bit of what I have.

    He left Sarah at the drop of a hat.
    He left Sarah faster than a fart could be detected.

    “Keep your fingers crossed,” Grandma told Jenny while they watched the horse race.
    “Keep rubbing your talisman for good luck” Grandma told Jenny while they gambled.

    Let’s knock on wood that our house sells soon.
    Let’s find superstitious ways to cover our fear that the house won’t sell.

    That rat is as dead as a door nail.
    That rat is as stiff as a dead rat.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a great reworking of the clichés, Keight. For some reason “the butt-crack of morning” just sticks in my head. As I mentioned to Alan Paananen below, this is how new clichés get created – mostly due to the renewing cleverness of the next generation of authors. Great job! 🙂

      1. keight

        Thanks everyone! I actually started saying “at the butt-crack of dawn” because I thought it was hilarious, but I needed to change it a little because of the cliche. Thanks again for your encouragement, Shameless, Kerry, and the famous Observer Tim.

  17. Witt.Stanton

    I stared at the letter in disbelief. “Absence makes the heart grow stronger?” Gripping the back of the chair with a death grip, I felt my chest clench painfully. “No, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.”

    Sam moved behind me and gently massaged my shoulders. “I’m sure he doesn’t mean it. Maybe he’s just trying to say that he’s sorry.”

    “Oh,” I growled, “that’s a stretch. Five years, not a single phone call, or letter, or anything! And now this! The day before my wedding!”

    I heard him sigh in exasperation. “Emma. . .”

    “He said all’s fair in love and war!” I whirled around to face him. “That everything pales in comparison to me!”

    Sam froze in place, his jaw working. “Everything does pale in comparison to you, Em, and if this is war. . .” He had a dangerous glean in his eye. “Did he say when he was coming over?”

    “Tonight.”

    “Then let’s leave.”

    I thought that I had misheard him. “Sam, our wedding’s tomorrow!”

    He gathered item into his arms. “You are the rose in a field of thorns, you are my sun.” His mesmerizing grey eyes were locked on mine. “Run away with me.”

    I snuggled closer. “You’re such a romantic.” Just as I tilted my head up for a kiss, I heard glass shatter and felt Sam jerk forward, collapsing in my arms.

    Warm, thick blood ran down his back and onto my hands. “Sam!” I screamed, feeling sick with adrenaline. “Sam, it’s alright! Sammy! No, no no. . .”

    I sagged to the floor, trying to shield Sam with my body. He was limp in my arms. Tears were running down my face, and I scrubbed at them with the backs of my hands.

    Then I heard the front door slam open, and that all-to-familiar voice laugh, “Well, as they say, honey, all’s well that ends well.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Boy that was intense woven with the cliches. It’s a creative way to do this prompt, I for one, threw the instructions away and wrote what I wanted, sometimes it’s okay.

    2. Observer Tim

      I suppose he did say all’s fair. At least once this is sorted out she won’t see the other fellow for the next 10 years to life. 😉

      Man this is grim, Witt. It’s also grim wit. All in all an entertaining combination.

  18. AlanPaananen

    Seems like I just replaced cliches with even weirder cliches…

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    When you give a baby all the toys in the world, he grows up to be a brat.

    Back to square one.
    We got to do this on New Game mode.

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t
    It doesn’t matter what you do, you’re f*&ked.

    Different strokes for different folks.
    Different stats for different cats.

    Drink the Kool-Aid.
    Follow the rest of the lemmings over the cliff.

    Get the ball rolling.
    It’s time to get this primed.

    Jump on the bandwagon
    The hype train is pulling up and I’m getting on it.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat.
    This is a road with a thousand lanes.

    Watching grass grow.
    This is as exciting as watching the universe expanding.

    You have to break a few eggs to make an omlelette.
    You can’t go ice fishing without cutting a hole.

    1. Observer Tim

      Actually, Alan, I like your clichés better, especially the one about the hype train. That’s how clichés work, though; they start out clever and then everybody steals them and puts them to work. After a while they get tired too. You nailed the expansion process on this one. 🙂

  19. Bushkill

    “You know how there is never a cop around when you need one?” I stared at the officer in front of me. He looked little nonplussed at my comment.

    He tapped his cap with his pen and wrote in his notepad, mumbling under his breath, “Had trouble locating a uniformed officer.”

    I shook my head as a perplexed look took root on my face at his comment. Did this bloke really just reword my phrase in some sort of softer tone? This could be a miserable experience if I was going to have to deal with it for long, “Yes, officer, that is correct. He came in like a thief in the night with nary a care in the world. Like he owned the place! I had …”

    “The intruder entered the property stealthily and without concern at being caught.” The officer continued scribbling for a second longer and I waited for his pencil to catch up to his diatribe. He looked at me squinting, “You said he showed an air of confidence as well? What was the phrase you used again?”

    I tried to help him out by repeating it, but the officer and I spoke at nearly the same time and said the exact same thing. He paused, “Yes, superior confidence.” And continued to scrawl.

    “Look, officer, I mean no disrespect, but I can’t have folks just wandering into my place in the dead of night. I told him so and then …”

    “And what hour was that, sir? When the man broke into your home?”

    “2 AM”

    “And what happened then, sir?”

    “Well, I’ll tell you! I grabbed my little friend here,” I patted the pistol in my belt, “and told him to leave and that’s when shit really hit the fan.” I had positioned my body to show the officer where we were standing in the confrontation.

    “So you grabbed a firearm and then what, the defecation hit the rotary oscillator? What exactly does that mean, sir?”

    “It means that he threw shit at me and tried to get away.” I was becoming unnerved by the policeman’s incessant writing and his oddly rephrased shorthand of my statements. My voice started to rise and I was beginning to let my anger show.

    “So, this man threw feces at you?”

    “No. He threw a lamp at me. A lamp.” He was beginning to set my teeth on edge.

    “I am sorry sir if this is making you uncomfortable, but …”

    I lost the rest of his comment, dumbfounded by the weight of his mundane persona. He asked me again, “ And he left after you showed him the gun?”

    “You bet he left. No one wants to mess with an angry and armed person. Why I …”

    “May I see your permit sir? For your weapon?”

    I stood mute. I didn’t have it here with me. I had just moved and hadn’t gotten everything from storage yet.

    The officer smiled at me and turned to his partner, “Bookem’, Dano, and it’s off to the bighouse with this one.”

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Bushkill!

      This whole story made me laugh, but especially this whole exchange:

      “So you grabbed a firearm and then what, the defecation hit the rotary oscillator? What exactly does that mean, sir?”

      “It means that he threw shit at me and tried to get away.” I was becoming unnerved by the policeman’s incessant writing and his oddly rephrased shorthand of my statements. My voice started to rise and I was beginning to let my anger show.

      “So, this man threw feces at you?”

      “No. He threw a lamp at me.”

      And I love the fact that the officer’s last line is a cliché all of its own. 😀

      1. Bushkill

        Thanks, Cosi. I had the ending before I wrote the first sentence. I also love “defecation hitting the rotary oscillator” so it was a must to get it in here in some way.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Cleverly written Bushkill, I enjoyed it a lot. One of the best stories on the prompt. How about picking some lingo from a Mickey Spillene book and doing the same thing? I’d pay to read it.

  20. Pete

    Writing assignments really pluck my nerves. They force a creative like me into a box. But with only one day left before my paper was due, it was all hands on deck. Because I had no dog to eat my homework and no genie in a lantern.

    So where do I begin? I was twenty-five and back at community college. A formality, really, because already had a life plan in action. I didn’t need writing assignments to be a writer, but alas, everything happens for a reason.

    I put my nose to the grindstone and decided to dig deep and do some investigative reporting. I needed to find out, what makes a down-on-his-luck cop snap? So I headed to the donut shop for research. Well, all that glitters is not gold, because there wasn’t a single cop in the joint. I took a seat, ordered coffee, hoping that in due time something would come along.

    Everything happens for a reason, and life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. That’s why I had to keep my writing fresh. Give it pop, otherwise it’s as useless as a lead balloon, you know? Then a bulb went off. No, really, above my head.

    I was contemplating a lawsuit when in walked an angel. She was lights out, smoking hot. A knock out. She strode through the doors like a breath of fresh air, her walk a song in my heart played by the golden harp string hairs on her head. I wasn’t born yesterday, but I knew she was out of my league.

    Yet I had to make move, or risk living the rest of my life wondering what could have been.

    Ice water in my veins, not even close. More like a hunk-a-hunk-of burning love. She turned my way as I approached, and it was like I had two left feet. But if the shoe fits, wear it, and if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t buss his ass a hopping. So with that in mind I cleared the frog from my throat and freed my tongue from the cat.

    “Hey, uh, come here often?”

    Even rolling back in her head those eyes were like stars. But I’m a go-getter, so I brushed myself off and took another crack at it. Because it takes two to tango, and I was ready to mamba.

    “It’s not rocket science,” I said, as she studied the menu. She turned to me, and I gave her my best wink. I knew I had to raise the bar—not reinvent the wheel to win her over. She crossed her arms and with a lusty stare, a smile peeking from her luscious lips.

    “No, it’s not.”

    Well live. Love. Laugh. That smile of hers was something. Her teeth were like a picket fence. Only straight and without gaps. She said, “I’m Karma. Karma Cliché.

    She didn’t look French to me, but who was I to judge? “I’m John,” I said, hitting on all cylinders now. It fit like a glove, our connection. It was love at first sight. Well, second if you don’t count the eye roll.

    Karma let me pay for coffee and we took a seat by the window. She seemed to be really enjoying herself. I asked what she did.

    “I’m a poet,” she said, turning her gentle gaze from the window to me. After wiping the coffee from my nose I told her that it was fate, us here at this moment. Because I too was a poet. I gave her a taste of my work.

    “Shoot for the stars, even if we miss, we’ll be among the stars.”

    She smiled, said something about it being a scientific improbability. I was too taken by her presence—like that of a present—to notice. I told her about my cop research and it was her turn to spill coffee.

    “My, John, you really are special,” she said, and I offered my humblest nod. I was impressing upon her my life plan—to write those neat little slogans in boxes that you see on Facebook, like, “You have to look through the rain to see the rainbow,” that sort of thing (although that one’s not mine, but you get the picture), when she suddenly stood, as though summoned by a higher calling.

    I looked up to find a strapping cop, all square jawed and shaven, as tall as the day is long. Cliché took his arm and kissed him on the cheek.

    “John, this is my husband, Maxim.”

    I stood, a little taken aback. At a crossroads of sorts. When just then another bulb when off. I could kill two mockingbirds with one brick. I mean, I already had the girl in the palm of my hands, and now my assignment was staring me in the face.

    Win. Win.

    .

    1. cosi van tutte

      Wow!

      I am in awe of how many clichés you fit into your story.

      And just so you know, I love this line -> “Because I had no dog to eat my homework…” 😀

    2. Observer Tim

      Wow, you pretty much wallpapered this one with clichés, Pete. Excellent job; I bow to the master of beating dead horses until you led them to water and got them drunk. 🙂

      I share Cosi’s favourite line. “Because I had no dog to eat my homework…” Brilliant.

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      “I don’t need writing assignments to be a writer”. I know this person, have met him/her in hundreds of guises through the years. Perfect!

  21. Hiba Gardezi

    Between the lines
    Look for the tree that made the paper

    Grass is always greener
    True satisfaction is in wearing your neighbor’s underwear

    Only time will tell
    A secret locked up in the confines of the hourglass

    Actions speak louder than words
    ‘ Such nice company you are’ said the murderer to his victim

    You can’t please everyone
    Either the fried chicken will be happy or your stomach

    History repeats itself
    Every year the Winter takes over Autumn’s kingdom

    Early bird catches the worm
    The simple equation of life Hard work= Success

    Haste makes waste
    Don’t run so fast you leave your soul behind

    All that glisters is not gold
    Hansel and Gretel found in a house of sweet a woman of sour intellect
    Love is blind
    The first step to loving is letting your heart take over your mind

    1. jhowe

      Hiba, I think you captured the essence of this prompt beautifully. I’ll admit I don’t like the prompt, but you make me feel better about it. A little.

    2. cosi van tutte

      Hi, Hiba!

      I love, love, love your alternative clichés. Especially “Every year the Winter takes over Autumn’s kingdom.” Just so lovely and wonderful. 😀

    3. Observer Tim

      These are wonderful, Hiba. “True satisfaction is in wearing your neighbor’s underwear” made me laugh like I was insane. And “Don’t run so fast you leave your soul behind” can only be described as caressing my heart. Those are my two favourites, but they are all fantastic. You captured the writing exercise perfectly in a truly literate and sensitive manner. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Can I sign my name to this? I really loved all of it but ‘wearing my neighbor’s underwear’ shoul be cast in granite fo all te ages to enjoy.

    4. BlueJay91

      The 10 cliches are are posted below the writing and numbered to each paragraph..

      I’d rather be back in the heavy dust and the death shots that rang both day and night. My night terrors have turned into daytime horror shows, but I’d rather be grabbing my friends hand again and pulling him to the evac chopper. I’d rather be crying into a shirt plastered with dried blood. I’d rather be shooting a gun with the view of the Red, White, and Blue hanging over a heavy casket. My blood freezes when I remember my past, but I’d still rather be back there instead of sitting on this court bench like the common villain.

      The court room was small. From watching T.V., I always thought they where large and kind of beautiful with all the polished wood, but this room was the size of a classroom and stank of booze or maybe that was the gentleman to my left. He had been chewing off all his fingernails for the last half hour and as his name was called he stumbled his way out of our row and up to the front desk. The judge watched him with eyes as cold as the deepest depths of the pacific ocean. He shifted and raised his hand. The judge flipped through the stack of files. The courtroom was silent. Only the sound of the clock ticking could be heard. Mr. Richards raised his hand again and said, “Your honor, I-I know my record isn’t as white as the Bible’s pages. but I hope you can f-f-find pity on my case. This time, the cops got me on the day I heard my father had just passed away.” The Judge closed the records and said, “Mr. Richards, It has been made very clear to you that you are not aloud to drink and you have lost your privileges to drive.” Mr. Richards raised his hand again and said, “Your honor, it was a lawnmower.” Some of the braver people in the room snickered, but the judge had a stoic face. “Mr. Richards, you were highly intoxicated on a motorized vehicle on a busy downtown street. You endangered citizens and you broke you parol.” He raised his hand again, but his attorney grabbed his arm and whispered in his ear. Mr. Richards bowed his head and his attorney said, “Your Honor, my client is ready to make a plea bargain.”

      After Mr. Richards testimony, I tuned out most of the pleas and testimonies. At one point though a man was called to the front and agreed to plead guilty and waive his rights to a jury trial. The man sitting on my right pretended his hand was a gun and fake shot the defendant. I didn’t understand this man’s anger until I heard the judge say, “Mr. Ray, You plead guilty to forcing the victim, a minor under the age of fifteen, to perform…” When that defendant got to prison, he was going to wish he was deep in the ground where the worms and bugs ate his dead flesh. He would rather look forward to knowing pretty flowers would one day sprout next to his grave site, then spending one hour in a penitentiary with lifers. But for villains like Mr. Ray, that’s not the way the gavel falls.

      When my name was called, I watched my Lawyer stand and make his way to the desk in a well-fitted navy blue suit. We had met a week ago and his office had been pristine, besides the papers and folders strewn about a lone table pushed in front of the floor to ceiling windows. I was about to begin talking that day when he had held up a finger and pulled out a clock from his desk drawer. He faced it to me and with each time the big hand moved a number, I saw money disappearing from my bank account. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the best investment I’ve ever made. Mr. Wess opened his briefcase and pulled out my file. I didn’t care how much I payed because I was told he could help prove my innocence in front a jury. I was told that when the key witness, my scorned ex-wife, was to stand trial, he would be a K9 dog sniffing out the truth, and this dog would sniff out the minuscule details to rip her testimony to shreds.

      Mr. pulled a document from my file, I signed it, and he handed it to the judge. The judge asked me, “Your lawyer is handing me the document you just signed. Have you read and understood this document.” “Yes.” It was the document that tied me to my retched hometown for the next 60 days or longer. Mr. Wess had explained to me that this case was going to feel as slow as a my cheating ex-wife and my legal separation. And I had explained to Mr. Wess that I was not a murderer and I didn’t fucking care if I had to wait until the invention of flying cars to prove my innocence.

      Para 1: I’d rather be anywhere besides here.
      Para 2: As cold as Ice & As white as snow.
      Para 3: Pushing up daisies, Six feet under, & That’s the way the dice roll.
      Para 4: I want a shark for my lawyer & Time is money.
      Para 5: As slow as molasses & I don’t care how long it takes.

      Sorry I got carried away and went over the 500 word count. This is 835 words.

  22. cosi van tutte

    Sorry this one’s so long… 🙁

    Ephemena stood like a statue in the hallway and watched Jessamarina, her fair and lovely sister, kiss Dave Werts good-bye.

    “Oh, Dave. It will be forever until I see you again.”

    He lifted a beefy, manly hand and flipped his lustrous coils of raven black hair out of his eyes. “Fear not, my soft and luscious beauty. I will be coming to visit tomorrow.”

    Her large forget-me-not blue eyes welled up to the brim with tears. “Yes. It will be too many forevers until we meet again.”

    They kissed. Again. Heaven shined a perfect spotlight on them and the angelic choir filled the air with perfect harmony.

    Ephemena could feel her blood boiling in her veins. Would he never leave?

    And then he left.

    Jessamarina sighed happily and dried her tears.

    “Oh, honestly! What do you see in that lugnut?”

    Jessamarina smiled rainbows and starbursts of joy. “If you can’t see it, I can’t explain it.”

    “Well, I do wish you’d give it a try. I mean, honestly. Dave is not the sharpest crayon in the box. He’s not even the sharpest pencil in the box. He is not the brightest crayon in the box. He is not the brightest bulb in the box, on the tree, or in the chandelier.”

    Jessamarina’s lily white hands fluttered up to her throat. “Are you trying to say that my beloved is dumb?”

    “Let me simplify it for you. He’s as dumb as a post, dumb as a stump, dumber than a bag of hammers, and a whole lot dumber than a box of rocks.”

    ***

    “No. No. No. NO!”

    I startled out of my mad writing daze. “Huh? Wha? Who? Oh.”

    My Internal Editor stood before me.

    “Rats! I thought you were dead.”

    “Internal Editors don’t die. We simply get transferred. Now.” He snatched my notebook off my desk.

    “Hey!”

    “This here is all rubbish.”

    “No, it isn’t. It’s beautiful. Look at this here. ‘She smiled rainbows and—”

    “That doesn’t even make sense.”

    “I was being poetical!”

    “It’s rubbish. All of it. Cliched rubbish. You must rid yourself of the whole lot and begin again.”

    “No! I don’t want to.”

    He smirked and readjusted his pince-nez. “You never do. In the end, however, I always win and I am always right.” He chuckled. “I am an Internal Editor, you know.”

    “I could tell you what you are, but I don’t use vulgar words like that.”

    “Come now. Quit stalling. Rewrite or die!”

    “What the heck? You’ll kill me?”

    “No. I was just being melodramatic.”

    Well. I didn’t want to trash my lovely words. But I didn’t want to be killed by my Internal Editor. After all, there was a small possibility that he was serious about it.

    So, I let him have his victory.

    ***

    Ephemena stood like a statue—-

    “Kill that cliché.”

    “Fine.”

    Ephemena’s heart sank like a stone—

    “Cliché.”

    Ephemena watched Jessamarina, her fair and lovely sister—

    “I feel like you should kill that fair and lovely sister clause.”

    “Why?”

    Internal Editor shrugged. “I don’t like it.”

    “Sigh.”

    Ephemena watched her sister Jessamarina kiss Dave Werts good-bye. Rage filled her gut and spilled out of her kidneys—

    “I’m sorry, but what did she just do?”

    “Fine.”

    Ephemena watched Jessamarina kiss Dave Werts good-bye. He shouldn’t be kissing Jessa. she thought. Not her.

    She didn’t want to think of who he should be kissing in her place.

    “That’s a very awkward sentence. Fix it. Now.”

    He shouldn’t be kissing Jessa. she thought. He should kiss…She refused to finish that thought.

    “Oh, Dave. It will be forever until I see you again.”

    Internal Editor scowled. “Does Jessamarina have to sound like a clichéd romance novel heroine?”

    “Sorry if it bugs you, but that is how Jessamarina talks.”

    He lifted a beefy, manly hand—-

    “Does he keep an amputated hand in his pocket?”

    “Oh! Why do you have to be so picky?”

    “Does he?”

    “Ugh!”

    Dave brushed his lustrous coils of raven black hair out of his eyes.

    “I shouldn’t have to tell you what’s wrong with that description, but I will. It’s wordy and clichéd.”

    “If you say clichéd one more time…”

    “Fix it.”

    Dave brushed his black hair out of his eyes.

    “It seems like a self-centered thing to do after kissing someone.”

    Dave smiled at her. “Fear not, my soft and luscious beauty—”

    “Soft and luscious beauty. I may be sick.”

    “Good. Go be sick in the corner and leave me alone.”

    “Fear not—”

    “When exactly is this taking place? Middle ages? Biblical times?”

    Dave smiled at her.

    The love in his expression made Ephemena want to kick a cow.

    “Don’t worry. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

    Her large forget-me-not blue eyes welled up to the brim with tears.

    “Kill. Your. Cliches.”

    “SIGH!”

    Her eyes welled up with tears. “Yes. It will be too many forevers until we meet again.”

    They kissed. Again. Heaven shined a perfect spotlight on them and the angelic choir filled the air with perfect harmony.

    “Wait. Are you serious about the angel choir and heavenly spotlight? If you aren’t, you’ll confuse your readers.”

    “But I like that sentence.”

    “Kill it.”

    Ephemena looked away as they kissed again. He will never kiss me like that. she thought. I’m not Jessamarina. I am Ephemena. Plain. Dowdy. Ordinary.

    “I will see you tomorrow.”

    They carried on with love words and kisses and other assorted nonsense.

    Ephemena could feel her blood boiling in her veins—

    “Cliiiiiicheeee!”

    “I hate you so much.”

    Ephemena’s feelings murked up into irritation. Why is he still here? Why doesn’t he just go away?

    Then, he left.

    “He’ll be back tomorrow.” Jessamarina sighed happily and dried her tears. “I will see my love tomorrow in the morn.”

    “Oh, honestly! What do you see in that lugnut?”

    Jessamarina smiled rainbows and starbursts of joy—-

    “I don’t care if it’s your darling. Kill it dead.”

    Rainbows and starbursts of joy burst out of her—-

    “No. Just no.”

    “Fine.”

    Jessamarina beamed at her sister. “If you can’t see the reasons for my love, I will never be able to explain it to you.”

    “Well, I do wish you’d give it a try. I mean, honestly. Dave is not the sharpest crayon in the box. He’s not even the sharpest pencil in the box. He is not the brightest crayon in the box. He is not the brightest bulb in the box, on the tree, or in the chandelier.”

    I glared at my Internal Editor. “I like this part.”

    “I don’t. It’s just a grab bag of clichés. Fix it.”

    “I like it. It’s fun and it’s funny.”

    “Fix. It.”

    “Odious louse.”

    Jessamarina beamed at her sister. “If you can’t see the reasons for my love, I will never be able to explain it to you.”

    “Well, you should give it a try. Honestly! Dave is…Well. How can I put this nicely? Hmm. Dave is as sharp as a boiled noodle. He is as sharp as crayon wax boiling in the sun. He is as bright as a blackout in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.”

    Jessamarina’s lily white hands fluttered up to her throat—

    “Why are her hands so white? Is she a Tim Burton vampire? How do hands flutter?”

    “Shut UP!”

    Jessamarina lost her smile—-

    “Why? Where did it go?”

    “Do you have to take everything so literally?”

    He shrugged. “I am an Internal Editor.”

    Jessamarina looked surprised—

    “Too weak.”

    Jessamarina gasped in shock and horror—

    “Over the top.”

    Jessamarina’s smile dripped—

    “No. Please no. If her smile is really dripping, I…” He shuddered. “Just no.”

    “Fine!”

    Jessamarina’s smile turned uncertain. “Are you trying to say that my beloved is dumb?”

    “Let me simplify it for you. He’s as dumb as a post, dumb as a stump, dumber than a bag of hammers, and a whole lot dumber than a box of rocks.”

    My Internal Editor shook his head and muttered the dreaded word, “Cliches.”

    “Can’t I keep this sentence?”

    “Cliches.”

    “I killed off the other one that I really liked.”

    “Cliches must die.”

    “But—”

    “Cliches. Must. Die.”

    “It isn’t fair.”

    “Too bad.”

    Jessamarina’s smile turned uncertain. “Are you trying to say that my beloved is dumb?”

    Ephemena thought about him. His face. His hair. His…well, everything. She thought about him ignoring her. Never seeing her standing there. Kissing Jessamarina. “No. He surpasses the word ‘dumb’ in every possible way.”

    Jessamarina thought about it for a second. “Is that a good thing?”

    “Not in the least.”

    My Internal Editor patted my shoulder in his obnoxiously patronizing way. “Carry on.” And he disappeared.

    1. Pete

      This was brilliant. I laughed the whole way down The internal editor, such a hard ass. I loved the “I hate you so much.” line. So true! This wasn’t too long, it wasn’t long enough.

    2. Fran Lolly

      I thoroughly enjoyed this, Cosi. Such a great depiction of the incessant internal dialogue – and done in such a witty and entertaining fashion. Thanks for the good read.

    3. Observer Tim

      Hey, I’m not the sharpest hammer in the drawer, but I think that Infernal Editor has overstepped his bounds. Once he leaves, you should sneak some of the poetry back in. 😉

      I love the relative voices of writer and editor, and the changes in the story. I think your MC needs to call back the guy from behind the door with the Skittles and watch the two fight. That would be entertaining. 😀

      Sometimes listening to music helps me set the mood. The song on my player (Little Bo Peep Has Lost her Jeep – Spike Jones) was a perfect match for this. You have a great future in comedy. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hey Cosi, it was very hard reading this and trying to contain myself. Thank God ‘;m in Texas, we don’t have internal editors here, just rattlesnakes and buzzards. Prolific disaster, perfect answer to the prompt.

  23. Kerry Charlton

    THE LEGEND OF MARY CATHERINE COBB
    PART 10

    A quietness fell over the Arthurian room as a form appeared on the adjacent wall. Miss Sarah knelt before the moving image and held the crystal in front of her as if she were offering it to the wavering light..

    “Sarah, you have been keeper for sixty years and have been faithful to my pledge. Are you sure of what you do?”

    “Yes, I am an old woman but I know when I need the power and it is now. I want to avenge the death of my great, great aunt.”

    “Then you shall have it Sarah, use it wisely.”

    The light disappeared as Sarah approached John,

    “You are wearing the cross of Constantine are you not?”

    “It has been in our family for many generations, handed down to me by my grandfather.“

    “Is it always with you?”

    ‘Yes,”

    “May I see it a moment?”

    He handed it to her and she set it by the crystal. A beam of light from the gem bathed the cross for a moment.. Sarah placed the cross around John‘s neck.

    “Where ever you are, the crystal will know and help you.“

    “Do you think I will need it?”

    “Almost certainly.”

    John drove back to White Castle with the thought of Cathy running through his mind as if he had known her since childhood. He pulled into the front of Nottoway as he saw the caretaker start to drive off. A window of Joseph’s car rolled down to a frightened face,

    “I can’t handle the sounds emitting from this property John, if I didn’t know better, I’d say it really is haunted.”

    “Where are they coming from?”

    “Across the side lawn, I didn’t go there. I’m out of here, get another caretaker.”

    His wheels spilled a pile of dust as he left the parking area. John felt alone, almost abandoned. Beside his promise from Sarah’s crystal for protection, he had nothing to defend himself with. Behind the side garden a large camp fire burned. To one side a hangman’s galley appeared. Upon it with a noose around her neck, stood Mary. Beside her, Chester held a torch close to a rope holding the trap door firm.

    Behind Chester. appeared a dozen minions from the depths of hell itself, armed with swords and mighty stallions of war. Their bodies and skin had rotted, showing skeletal figures with pieces of flesh still attached. Their war horses showed a similar appearance but John knew of their strength.

    He felt the cross of Constantine heat on his neck as it began to glow. He walked unafraid toward Mary’s evil father.

    “You are a monster from hell and if you don’t release Mary, I’m going to send you back to Hades in pieces along with you scraggly minions.”

    “Brave talk coming from am unarmed mortal. I am going to hang Mary before your very eyes. You will see her pain and struggle for breath.”

    “You piece of filth, can you not hear the pounding of hooves in the distance?’

    “Bringing mortals will not help you.. Surely you realize that.”

    John felt himself being lifted onto a great steed, covered in armor, and thrust in his hand, appeared a great sword.. He recognized the image from the crystal as he held it with both arms and tilted it toward a frightened Mary.

    “With the sword of Arthur, I will save you.”

    “Nonsense,” Chester announced, “one man against a dozen of us? Surely you jest.”
    The sound of mighty steeds filled the air as six battle legends and their mounts surrounded John, three on each side.

    The knight closest to John spoke as he looked at the devil’s work,

    “I am the Grail knight, Sir Perceval, on my right, Sir Lionel, Sir Galahad. On the left, Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, and the red knight, Sir Ironside.

    Chester looked in disbelief, “The dead can not fight, we shall vanquish you and your imaginary knights.”

    With that statement, the minions charged as Chester’s torch lit the rope to the trap release. He mounted his horse and waved two cavalry swords toward John and plunged forward..
    .

    .

    .

    1. Observer Tim

      I’m drooling for part 11. This is going to get heroic, I can tell. It’s a direction I didn’t expect when I badgered you to write more, and is every bit as entertaining as I could hope. Great one, Kerry! 🙂 🙂

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Okay, Kerry, I went back and read the first chapters again. What a twist you’ve worked into the story. Now I’m not at all certain how this will end.

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