One Shot

The click of the pistol’s hammer wakes you. A velvety voice lilts out of your vision, “Give me a good one liner and I just may let you live.” You can see two of your friends hiding outside the door, signaling to you that they are working on saving you. What do you tell the nice lady? Write this scene.

writing-promptsWant more creative writing prompts?

Pick up a copy of A Year of Writing Prompts: 365 Story Ideas for Honing Your Craft and Eliminating Writer’s Block. There’s a prompt for every day of the year and you can start on any day.

Order now from our shop.






You might also like:

488 thoughts on “One Shot

  1. Solid Shadow

    One Shot

    Ever get that sinking feeling that you’ve said the wrong thing at the wrong time, only to realize it about a second too late? That’s pretty much the story of my life. Somewhere along the line, I developed a smart mouth that’s gotten me into trouble more times than I can count. For as long as I can remember, my father has told me: “Keep it up boy, and one-ah these days you’re gonna get a foot where you don’t want it!”

    No kidding.

    Since I started working nights and going to school during the day, weekends have nearly become my sole source of sleep. So when I do, I’m legally dead. You can imagine my surprise, as I was stretching out across my couch, when I opened my eyes to the rather distinctive sound of a pistol’s slide being racked. I know what you’re thinking: “He jumped out of his skin when he saw a gun in his face,” but you’re wrong. I was far too scared even to twitch; I froze. I mean, who wouldn’t? What I wasn’t expecting though, was the naggingly familiar female voice coming from the other end of the weapon.

    “Give me a good one liner and I might let you live.” The unique bubble gum cadence, now carrying a deadly serious tone, could only come from one person on God’s green earth. I focused my eyes on the gunman and confirmed my worst fear: the annoyingly sweet, bubbly Brandi had a gun. And it was trained on me. I immediately felt like I was being held up by a girl scout for not buying a box of thin mints. You have to understand one thing about this girl–she’s so sweet and bubbly, she could do more damage to your teeth than crystal meth. But without the high.

    “We don’t have all day,” another voice insisted from across the room. I blinked a few times to clear my eyes and saw Crystal, Brandi’s best friend, standing there with her arms crossed and scowling.

    Being the smart aleck I am, I’ve told Brandi before that she kinda looked cute when she got angry.

    It was not well received.

    Now, lying here staring at these two pulling a Charlie’s Angels, and looking like a couple of pissed off Care Bears, I’d say I was right. So naturally, I was a little humored, and a lot confused. I mean, do you have any idea how hard it was to take these two serious?

    I slid up into a semi sitting position and asked the only question any man who’s been in this situation has asked, “Is this because I forgot your birthday?”

    “Do you know when it is?” She asked annoyed.


    “Then what do you think?”

    Well, since we’re only classmates and not dating I suppose that was an obviously stupid question– but hey, I just woke up.

    “Wait, is that gun…pink?”

    She smiled sweetly and got a little excited, “Yep, hot pink Glock 19 Gen3, 9mm custom.”

    I’m a dead man.

    “Why don’t you clean your house; it’s disgusting,” Crystal chimed in disgusted. “You’re such a pig.”

    “Sorry, the maid won’t be here until the day after never,” I explained to her, then turned back to Brandi. “This isn’t because I said you looked fat in those jeans the other day is it?”

    “I what!?!”

    “You are so incredibly cruel,” Crystal said with disbelief.

    “What-do-you mean I looked fat?”

    “Me? Cruel?” I responded astonished. “You broke into my house and put a gun in my face and I’m ‘incredibly cruel’?”

    “Yes, you are,” Crystal answered flatly. “And we didn’t break in; you left your doors unlocked.”

    “You know, you’re that special kind of crazy they created the witness protect–,”

    After a couple of minutes of total silence, especially on my end, Brandi asked once again, in a buttery smooth lilt, “I said ‘give me a good one liner’…”

    “Um, take my wife, please?” I said quietly, staring at the new hole in the floor next to me. “Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’? I’m not just the club president; I’m a member? I don’t suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it? Whoever said technology would replace all paper obviously hasn’t tried wiping their butt with an iPhone? Would somebody throw me a friggin’ bone here?”

    “Oh, my gosh,” Crystal responded, “those are, like, so lame. Please shoot him so we can go. I have a hair appointment in an hour.”

    “Oh, come on, they’re one liners. They’re supposed to be lame,” I responded, admittedly scared again. Frankly, if there’s only one lesson I’ve learned until now, it’s that I’ve been ticking women off my entire life. Why I figured now would be the exception, I don’t know, but I tried.

    Training the gun between my eyes with a scowl, Brandi placed two hands firmly on the gun and said with a tint of humor, “You are the weakest link. Goodbye!”

    “Wai-, wai-, wai-, wait,” I shrieked and threw my hands up to her. “Whoa!! Whoa! Whoa. One more. Just… one more. Please?”


    I took a breath and thought for a quick minute. What would I say; what could I say? By the looks of these two, my fate was already sealed. So I dropped my hands, looked deep into Brandi’s eyes, and said the only thing that came to my mind,

    “You know, you are kinda cute when you’re angry.”

    “Aaaahhhh!” I screamed, sitting bolt upright on my couch. I was sweaty, and panting, and more importantly, alone. It took only a second to realize that the entire experience was a dream, but it still took my body a few minutes to catch up. I’ve heard it said that dreams are supernatural warnings of the future. I’m not sure if I ever believed that until now, but if that were the case, then I’d say the warning was well received.

    I really need to start locking my doors.

  2. steelebob

    The click of the pistol’s hammer wakes you. A velvety voice lilts out of your vision, “give me a good one liner and I just may let you live.” You can see two of your friends hiding outside the door, signaling to you that they are working on saving you. What do you tell the nice lady?
    Immediately you begin to recreate the last few hours. Where did you go last night? A baseball game with the fellas. How did you get into this predicament? The woman was in her late 40’s, possibly early 50’s, but had the body of a 30 year old. Long, beautiful, auburn hair. She’s wearing the striped shirt you wore on Wednesday with the navy blue tie; she must have pulled it from the hamper. To the best of your knowledge, she wasn’t wearing any panties. You seem fully clothed, it doesn’t feel like you had sex last night, but at this point anything could have happened, you’re lying on your back, in your bed, a partially clothed woman is straddling you pointed a cocked .45 at your head looking for a joke. You couldn’t think of a joke right now if there was $1 million in stacks of $100 sitting on the table beside you, not to mention the gun. What are your friends doing, hit her on the head or something, don’t just stand there. Are you breathing? Remember to breath, remember to breathe and think of a joke, a one liner. A one liner, do you even know any one liners? Immediately, Henny Youngmand comes to mind. Take my wife, please. My wife says she wants to go somewhere she’s never been, I said, try the kitchen. No, you can’t tell her that. A one liner, a simple one liner,
    The woman tilts her head slightly towards the door, never taking her eyes off of you. “Don’t be stupid boys, I can see you in the mirror, and a one liner is your pal’s ‘Get out of jail free’ card.”
    Your breathing intensifies, you know that voice, but where do you know it from? You’ve heard her speak, her voice has that sexy appeal, not quite the two packs of Marb reds a day grovel, but it was certainly sultry.
    “I can tell you’re extremely confused, you obviously don’t remember me, do you?
    Your mind is blank, you’re dumbfounded, because by the looks of this chick, you’d remember her, even if the sex was terrible, you’d remember this body.
    “Nod your head if you’d like me to remind you.”
    You shake your head, of course, you must know.
    “My name is Denise McNultly,” you’re still clueless, “maybe you can remember, ‘Lady Leprechaun’?”
    You shake your head, ‘Lady Leprechaun?’ seriously? How the Hell do you know this woman, more importantly, how the Hell does she know you? Images in your mind pass through like a slide presentation on high speed.
    “Two years ago, you and some pals, probably those 2 dipshits pissing their pants in the hallway, went to the Funny Bone comedy club. Louis C.K. was headlining.”
    Nothing is clicking for you, you’re still in the dark.
    “I was a comedian. Any opportunity I could get in front of an audience to hone my craft, I jumped at it.”
    She was getting intense, so passionate. You continue to stare at her, Denise, trying to add things up.
    “That night, I was the local act, the one that gets 10 minutes on stage. After that person is a regional comic, they get 35 minutes. Their expenses are taken care of and they get about $500 to get the crowd warmed up for the big act, the name on the ticket.” Her expression gets more severe, she’s gripping the pistol so tight, her finger tips are white.
    “10 minutes, to try and make people laugh as patrons are still being seated, placing orders for drinks and food. 10 minutes for the booking agent to remember you for future gigs, possibly even the regional spot. I wasn’t 2 minutes into my set, before you and your crew began heckling me. You, especially, were harsh.”
    You’re barely putting the puzzle pieces together, heckling comics at the club was what you and your friends did. You obviously pissed this one off.
    “Back then, I weighed 230 pounds. I remember everything you said. The first joke I started to tell was about my dog,” she pauses, “you asked if I ate him. The jokes got progressively worse from there. I gave up comedy that night, and after binge eating for a week, I decided to lose weight. I joined a gym, I started eating healthy, I lost 100 pounds.”
    She smiles at you, for a moment, you think maybe she’ll put down the Magnum.
    “Honestly, I should probably thank you. If it weren’t for your cruelty, I’d still be fat ass. I saw you at the baseball game. When I realized who you were, I was going to walk over and thank you, tell you the story about that night. But, you blew it. A little girl walked past you, she was a little overweight, and she ever so gently brushed your arm as you crossed, do you remember what you said.”
    What did you say? Your mind is already a blur, you don’t remember what you said, it was obviously something bad.
    She tightens her grip again, clenching her teeth. So much for putting the gun down.
    “That cute adorable child, she even said ‘excuse me’ in the most polite, sweet little voice that I’d ever heard. And you said what?”
    Again, you don’t remember what you said. You’re a douche bag, you know this, everyone knows this.
    “You said, ‘maybe you should ask your mother for a wide load sign to wear’”
    I can’t believe you said that, really? How shitty can you be? I mean really.
    “Let’s have it, your time is up, your one liner…NOW!”
    You’re gonna die if you don’t say something, so you might as well go for broke.
    You look her straight in the eye and without flinching, “There was this girl and she was so fat…”
    Denise began laughing, uncontrollably. She slides off of you and lies down on the bed next to you, still chuckling a bit. She pulls a cigarette out of the pocket of your shirt along with a lighter and begins to smoke it.
    You look at your friends in the doorway, both are speechless, looking back and forth between you and Denise. You sit up and say to them, “April Fools, that’s for last year guys”.
    Your friends are literally in shock, completely stunned. Denise, enjoying her cigarette, continues to laugh and says, “that was better than sex.”
    You turn your head to look at her and reply, “wanna bet?”
    In her smooth, sexy voice, “close the door behind you on the way out boys”.

  3. acreasey

    Eyes focus on the gun barrel as my mind races to survey the scene.
    Gritty ceiling tile. Why did I notice that?
    Outside, my friends gesture, frantic. Straddling me, a curvaceous woman. Damn if I’m not aroused.
    Focus back on the gun – think quickly, buy some time; your friends will save you.
    But wait. How? How will they save me? If they had a plan, would they still be gesticulating so frantically? Stop gesturing, morons, and come up with a plan.
    My God, they’re still gesturing at me. Their eyes plead with me to come up with this one-liner. It’s like they’re counting on me to save myself. That’s bullshit. I thought they were my friends.
    And what kind of request is this? Come up with a good one-liner. What constitutes good? Who will be the judge? This shapely woman whose brow is starting to furrow with impatience? Is it too cheesy to say something about her being the judge, jury and executioner? Is that a one-liner?
    Whatever. Focus. Your friends are idiots, they won’t save you. It’s only you, you and your cunning mind.
    I gaze into the woman’s green eyes and say the first thing that comes into my mind.
    “The bathroom is the first door on the right.”
    Instinctively, I wince, eyes shut, waiting for the gunshot.
    Silence. Slowly, I open my eyes. The woman is gone.
    Damn, that ceiling tile is gritty.

  4. Justine_Lois

    Clad In Black Leather

    My apartment was a mess, I remember walking through the front hall, having to shuffle my way through stacks of old newspaper, clothes littering the surfaces of my floor, counters and tables. I remember hearing the dial tone of the phone I forgot to hang up and as I bent down to start shoveling my mess, the floorboards in the hall groaned and my body hit the ground with a profound thud.

    When you experience the odd in-betweeness of sleep and awake, things are fuzzy and dreamlike. It’s difficult to decipher what’s real and what is not. My head was pounding- a throbbing at the base of my skull radiating through my limbs. I was hunched over in a chair with my chin grazing my chest. I struggled to shake myself out of the fog that had settled, but my shoulders were taught, arms behind my back and wrists bound with rope. My mouth was dry and I could feel my taste buds, little rough spots against the roof of my mouth.
    I heard the scrunch of leather and the rhythmic ‘click’, ‘click’ of a woman’s heel. There was no other sound than that of her breath; the sweet smell of mint shrouded me with her exhale. It was intoxicating, a mix of mouthwash and gum. She stood in front of me, my gaze began at her toe, the one she had tapping against the wooden floor, ‘tap…tap…tap.’ The black leather started there, wrapped around her ankle, traveled up to her knee and well past her thigh. A tight pair of jeans was underneath all that leather, I could see the seam and the crotch, but the leather commenced. A long coat zipped from her navel to her neck, encompassed her arms, but stopped at the wrists. She resembled a more reserved dominatrix. Her face was soft, her lips were painted a deep red, her lashes were thick and layers of mascara made them heavy, and hooded. She looked so familiar, I had seen her somewhere, had been entranced by her.

    One arm was outstretched; a pistol pointed in my general direction. With the click of the hammer, I was fully aware! The burn of my wrists now radiated up my arms and I stopped struggling. Her velvety and minty breath seduced me, “Give me a good one liner and I just may let you live.” Her eyebrow lifted up and a smirk pulled at her lips. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the shadow of two bodies hiding behind the door- I was not completely alone. My God, she looked familiar! If I could just put a name to her face… A whiff of her perfume had me sniffing at the air, she’d gotten closer, and her mouth was at my ear.

    “If I have to repeat myself, my voice won’t be the only thing that echoes.” I was reminded of the pistol she carefully wielded. I thought for a moment, I don’t know many one liners, pick up lines are one thing, but to be put on the spot, with your life on the line and try to make someone laugh, that’s a lot of pressure.

    “I don’t know any.”

    “Then I guess you’re life is not that important to you, you’re not even trying.” She ruefully pouted, her leather armor scrunched as she stood. She began to pace and I mulled over where I knew her from while simultaneously concocting a one-liner that would spare my life. The pistol was alarmingly relaxed in her grip; her palms were crossed behind her back as she continued the slow pace, heel, toe, heel, toe, heel toe, turn and repeat. “You know, I’m quite disappointed in your lack of vigor. The last time we met, you had no problem taking control, being the alpha male. And now, you’re just this bewildered little boy wondering how he ended up tied down in his own home, and a filthy one for that matter. Honestly, how can you even live like this?” She bent down and gingerly picked up an unwashed pair of boxers. “Tsk, tsk Matthew.” So she did know me, we have definitely met before.

    “Are you going to patronize me for my lack of housekeeping or shall I continue my quest to please thee?” She swiftly turned on her heel, curled her fingers around my shirt and pulled me close; I could see freckles trying to peek through the costume make up.

    “The next thing out of your mouth better be what I asked for.” She took her stance in front of me, leather hugged her curves and I had to force myself to concentrate. And then it occurred to me, the freckles, the rounded hips, there was only one girl…one woman I could recall. Perhaps this was her twisted way of engaging in foreplay; perhaps I was in for a treat and not a ploy to fulfill some murder fantasy. Her finger tightened on the trigger and she counted down from “3,
    “Alright, Alright, Alright! The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” In a flurry of velvety laughs and clothes being flung from her body Annabelle was finally revealed to me. She stool, still clad in black leather from the waist down, but a neon bra encased her breasts and breathed a sigh of relief. The red wig was the last to go, glossy brown curls cascaded down her back and she crawled into my lap, leaning towards the back of the chair to untie the ropes. I whispered into her ear,

    “Leave them.”

  5. k.spicer

    One more before they change prompts.

    A small line of blood ran from the corner of her lip down to the underside of her chin as she rubbed her jaw in response to the right hook that took her totally by surprise. “Don’t you ever point a gun at me without pulling the trigger!” I said waving the pistol that I snatched out of her hand in front of her face. “I thought I taught you better than that.”

    Before I could even think I was doubled over and sucking for air from the foot she sent hurdling into my crouch. When I finally caught a breath and glanced up at her she was smiling and waving the gun back at me. “You taught me a lot of things.” She said. “How to take a punch was one of them.”

    This time she kept her distance and walked around me like some kind of feline toying with its prey. “So what is it you want, Candy?” My voice was pained and a little higher in pitch.

    She wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth and stopped long enough to point the pistol directly at my face. “I want you to squirm like the worm that you are!”

    “So you’ve got me squirming.” I said bringing my breathing back under control. “Now, what?”

    Lowering the pistol to an angle that coincided with my manly-parts Candy took on the appearance of the Grinch just after he stole Cindy Lou’s ornament. “You always favored your little companion, didn’t you?”

    “Don’t get any crazy ideas Candy…you kinda’ favored the little guy too.”

    “You’re nothing without ‘him’, are you?”

    “I wouldn’t say that.”

    “I would.” She said with a snarl. “And I’m about to separate the two of you.”

    “Come on Candy, we can work something out. You don’t have to hold a grudge forever.”

    “Who’s holding a grudge?” She said. “Maybe I’m just ridding the world of a parasite. Have you told your new girlfriend?”

    “Maybe you should mind your own business.”

    “And let her find out the way I did? I have a little more compassion in me than that…even if the little tramp stabbed me in the back, she doesn’t deserve to die of AIDS.”

    “I told you before that I’m not the one who gave you…”

    “Stop playing games with me you pig!”

    Her hands were shaking and I could see her finger tightening on the trigger. “Wait a minute Candy; you don’t want to do this!”

    “Oh, you don’t know how badly I want to do this!”

    “This isn’t funny Candy, now put the gun down.”

    “Funny? You want funny? How about your doctor telling you that you’re dying of AIDS? How’s that for funny?”

    “I’m really sorry for you Candy, but this isn’t helping. What can I do to change your mind?” I was simply trying to buy some time because I could see that I was running out of it quickly.

    “You want to change my mind…you think this is funny? I’ll tell you what you can do! You can make me laugh; yea, that’s it…make me laugh. I haven’t had a good laugh since they told me I was dying.”

    “Candy I’m sorry but…”

    “Not as sorry as you’re going to be!” She said. “Now, make me laugh!”

    “But how am I…”

    “Give me a good one liner, you pig, or I’ll blow your jewels off right now!”

    “Okay, okay…calm down Candy. I’ll do what you want; just don’t get trigger happy here.” I stared into her crazed eyes for a minute wondering what to say but nothing came to mind.

    “You’ve got five seconds.” She said. The bulging veins in her forehead told me she meant it.

    Sucking in a large breath of air and then exhaling it I decided to give her a one liner that would finally tell her what I thought of her. “Your name used to sound sweet to me, but like the real thing, too much Candy rots your teeth!”

    The sound of several gun shots rang out in my ears as I fell to the floor doubled over in a fetal position. Opening my eyes I could see my pants covered with blood and the carpet beneath trying its best to absorb all the dark fluid raining down onto it from my groin. Turning my head I could see Candy’s gritted teeth as she spit on me. “Wrong answer pig!”

    Those were the last words I ever heard her speak. I recovered after a long time and despite the hard looks from everyone there, I attended her funeral and paid my respects. The fact that the hospital confirmed that I was not HIV positive didn’t seem to matter at all to her family. They still blame me for her death. I guess it’s not enough for them to know that I can never be the man I used to be.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is dark and nasty. You told the tale with the dark intensity of the victim who finds someone to accuse. As they say, “I’ve made up my mind, don’t let facts get in the way.” Guilt by accusation is easily one of the worst of human sins. It plays to our selfishness.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.