That’s Not What I Meant

Image source. Art by Viktor Hertz.

Write a story that involves confusion over homonyms (words that have the same spelling but different meanings) or homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently). You can use any homonym or homophone you can think of, but here are a few examples to get you started:

  • bark (tree or dog)
  • air and heir
  • lie (untruth or reclining) and lye
  • coarse and course
  • bow (front of a ship, an act of respect, or a weapon for firing arrows)
  • bear (animal or withstand) and bare
  • rose (flower or past tense of rise)

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

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93 thoughts on “That’s Not What I Meant

  1. globehugger

    Margaret handed the hiking guidebook to Ray.
    “It says bear right here,” she said reassuringly.
    “Yes! Finally!” Ray exclaimed, smiling widely.
    Slightly bemused, Margaret returned his smile. This was turning out to be a strange date.
    For the few weeks that they had been dating, Margaret talked how much she loved to hike. She knew that Ray was not a hiker, but it was clear that he liked her. Maybe, Margaret thought to herself, I can convince him to go on a hike with me.
    Margaret was prepared on their last date. They had dinner at his favorite restaurant. Thai, even though she didn’t like spicy food. It was all a part of the plan.
    They finished dinner and looked at each other from across the booth. Ray looked at her and smiled. He thought it was sweet that she had suggested Thai, knowing it was his favorite.
    “Next weekend? I don’t know. I’m going on a hike,” said Margaret, looking at him apologetically.
    Ray’s face flashed an expression of disappointment and confusion.
    “I was just reading about the trail in my book,” Margaret quickly explained as she lifted the book from her purse. “It sounds great. Not too hard. Good for people who don’t hike a lot.”
    Margaret made quick eye contact with him to check his reaction.
    She flipped the hiking guide open to the trail and handed it across the table to Ray. Margaret felt her breathing still and her face flush as she watched him skim the page.
    A smile grew on his face. Ray looked up at her, beaming.
    “That sounds awesome! Can I come?”
    Margaret exhaled and grinned. “Of course!”
    And now here they were, at the intersection of Miller’s Gulch and Handy Lake. Ray grinning from ear to ear and looking down the trail, and Margaret watching him with confusion.
    Margaret took a quick drink of water and turned down the trail. Hearing the leaves crunch under her feet and the lodgepole pine creaking in the wind, her heart felt light. Maybe Ray was feeling the same thing. Maybe that’s why he was acting so strangely. Maybe Ray could be someone for long term. Maybe…
    “Hey, you missed it!”
    Margaret spun around. She hadn’t noticed but Ray hadn’t been behind her after the junction. Now he was far behind her, calling to her and signaling that she should turn around.
    Ray cupped his hands around his mouth so that his voice would carry to her.
    “Bear right here!”
    Margaret jogged down the trail to meet him. What was he going on about? When she finally reached him, she was out of breath and her abdomen ached from running with a backpack. She bent over putting with her hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath.
    Ray put his hand on her upper back and laughed. “You said ‘bear right here’ and then you just kept walking!”
    Margaret stood upright and looked into the forest, locking eyes with a giant brown bear.

  2. Annabeth Chase

    “Hand me the bat.’ I told James as I stepped up to the base.
    “Why do you want me to give you a bat? Are you going to kill it, Lucy?!” he asked with fear in her voice.
    “I mean the baseball bat.” I replied.
    Understanding he handed me the baseball bat. The pitcher threw the ball and I scored a home run. We won the game! Yes! Winning the final game, meant that our team would be going on a trip to Disney World. As we walked to my mom’s car after the game I told James, “I’m so excited for the trip!” I wasn’t looking at him and the next thing I knew I was flat on my face. A second later I realized that I had tripped over his leg. “Why’d you do that?” I asked, anger edging my words.
    “You said you were excited for the trip and I thought you meant you wanted to trip for some weird reason.”
    “I meant the trip to Disney World!” I yelled
    “Oh! That explains a lot.”
    I got up and brushed myself off. “Come on. Let’s get in the car.” I said. In the car I went on my phone and looked up things to do in Disney World. “Look at this ride! Isn’t it sick?” I asked him, showing him a picture. He stared at me.
    “Who’s sick?” he asked confused.
    “No one! I meant that the ride is cool.” I replied, starting to feel aggravated. “Why do you keep thinking of weird things for what I say?!”
    He stared at me and I knew he was keeping something from me. I’ve known him for a year now and I knew that look. “What?” I asked.
    “What what?”
    “You have a look on your face that means your hiding something from me.”
    “I’m not hiding anything.” he replied.
    “Yes you are.”
    He tried changing the subject. “We won the game!” he shouted with excitement.
    “James!” I cried.
    “Okay fine. You want to know the truth? Here’s the truth. I’m from another planet. We only have one meaning per word.”
    I burst out laughing, but he stayed calm.
    “Oh, you serious. I said.
    He nodded. “I’ll prove it once we get to your house.”
    Once we got to my house, he went to the back yard and did something that took my breath away. He started….flying!
    “No wires?” I asked.
    “Come on, L. When would have been able to put wires on and what would they have be attached to?” he reasoned.
    I believed every world. I was friends with an alien! It was the second best thing that happend to me all day!

  3. cstoner99

    My buddy Andres Torres is the king of the puns. Since the day I met him I have been assaulted by his own brand of hilarity 24/7 and it is easily the reason we became friends. One my favorite jokes he came up with was when we started working out together, he stopped a few months in and his reason was that he wasn’t strong enough or big enough to do the job. He was putting in his two weak notice. After falling down laughing for two days I realized that he was going to be my friend for the rest of my life. I have so many stories about his pun jokes I could write about it for the rest of the week, but I will just leave you with this. Why did the Mexican take Xanax? For Hispanic attacks.

  4. Katelynsc2000

    When I was younger, a person from my family died, and when my mom tried to explain it to me, she said “Honey, your aunt passed yesterday.” I, being little and not understanding, thought she meant PAST, so I said back to her, “Where did she go then?”

  5. allisonDela

    Anne has trouble with passed and past to where she has to remind herself on which one to use correctly. Anne reminds her self by saying easy sentences, “She PASSED the car”, ” Put it in the PAST”. Anne is now learning the meaning of these homonyms and homophones, While they slowly start growing on her.

  6. Hunter

    When I was younger over summer break I was playing Jenga with my father, and while we were setting it up we realized there was a small rock on the table, so my dad asked me to raise the game of Jenga so we could move the rock, and rebalance it of course me being childish intentionally took the word raised as raze so I knocked the tower.

  7. Sembrey Mays

    It was just a few years ago. I was getting ready to begin my junior year of high school, and my family had decided to volunteer to house a foreign exchange student from Estonia who was going to be attending my school in the fall. When she first arrived, you could tell she was already a bit awestruck. Immediately after introducing herself, her name was Evelin, she took a couple of stutters and shook her head. She then exclaimed how she had not been here for more than a few hours, yet was already amazed by America. On our way home from the airport, my family had to make a quick stop at a local Kroger to pick up a few ingredients my mother had forgotten for the next night’s dinner, and, of course, Evelin insisted on going in too. (You see, in Estonia, she explained, there apparently aren’t many stores bigger than a small town’s local bakery, yet here we were dragging her into a Kroger.) Once we finally got home, as my mother always does after any car trip of any particular length, the infamous “And we’re here!” shot right out. Evelin, sort of puzzled, looked straight at my mom in the front seat, straight back at me sitting beside her, and then, I suppose to feel included, quickly blurted out “Yes haha I hear too! Awesome it is?” The whole car sat in silence for a good few seconds, trying not to laugh, as my family and I all exchanged glances wondering if we should tell her what my mom really meant or not. In the end, we decided to just roll with it and move on, but I will never forget how funny that moment was, or how crazy it is to think about how many other languages are spoken around the world and how easily they can all be completely misinterpreted or butchered. And with that, I give props to Evelin (even though she’s still a running family joke–in a good way of course), for her courage to come to America and for her courage to at lest always try.

  8. DustinBrasher4

    I used to always have a problem remembering what the first 10 amendments were. Every year in school when I was younger I would always get the bill of rights confused and could never remember what amendment was what number. I knew all the amendments I could just never remember what number they were. I can still vividly remember to this day sitting in my 6th grade social studies classes and talking about the bill of rights, and my teacher called on me and asked me what was the second amendment. I instantly froze up because I had no idea what the answer was and my teacher could tell so she gave me a hint and said just the word bear. Immediately I knew that the second amendment was the right to keep and bear arms. To this day I will never forget what the second amendment is thanks to my 6th grade social studies teacher and her clever way to remember the second amendment.

  9. CVega26

    Cristian Vega
    Professor Kelly
    English 1301.41H
    1 July 2018

    A couple of weeks ago me and my aunt went out in the outskirts of Dallas to try and find some good garage sale deals, as we found out through numerous experiences that people actually sell interesting stuff at garage sales, such as the time we found a Babe Ruth autographed memorabilia card. While scouring the city for a couple of hours, we found one on a corner of a rather empty street, with seemingly no shoppers. Amazed by this, we stopped and proceeded to look around at all of the items that were being sold. While my aunt was looking at clothing, I happened to look at miscellaneous items, such as garage tools too used laptops. While walking around, I noticed a huge piece of steel. Words in context can’t even nearly describe how amazed I was when I found it, as it massive, as it somehow belonged to the foundation of a crane. In amazement, I yelled over to my aunt, “Tina, look! I found a massive steel!” My aunt ran over in a heartbeat, and then her joy soon turned to disgust. She looked at the steel, looked at me, looked back at the steel, then looked back at me saying, “Where is the huge ‘steal’ you were talking about? Is it an autographed card by Michael Jordan? A signed portrait of Michael Jackson? What is it?” After telling her I actually was referring to a piece of steel and not a magnificent ‘steal’, we proceeded to leave. This is, however one of the funniest moments of my life and is a great story to tell.

    1. willwelch21

      When I was a child my mom would always tell me not to scrape the bark off our trees outside because it would make them look bad. For the first couple of times hearing that I was confused, I wondered if she was getting confused because in my mind barking was something a dog did. After the second time hearing it, I mentioned that barking was something a dog did, not a tree. She laughed and informed me that trees have bark too.

  10. Writinglove

    “Excuse me, Mr, ahh…”
    “Mr. Turner. Call me Mr. Turner.”
    “Of course. Do you know where the bank is?”
    What a strange question, Mr. Turner thought. He could’ve just asked me where the shore to Fathy Lake was.
    “Why, it’s just down that way.” Mr. Turner pointed to the South, his tea companion’s eyes following.
    “Thank you. I am in need of some money. I’ll be back.” Mr. Samnel bustled off.
    “Oh, that bank…” Mr. Turner trailed off. He sighed and went back to sipping his tea.
    Mr. Samnel walked at a brisk pace, admiring the beautiful nature around him. Presently he arrived at the bank. He stared into the water, seeing tiny little fish dart around in circles. He laughed, then went merrily along on his way.
    After 5 minutes of no sign of human activity, he stopped, as the trail ended. Mr. Samnel sighed and turned back. He became lost after a while, too immersed in watching the birds and the clouds to notice that he was off trail and was standing in front of a building.
    Slowly his eyes came to rest on the sign.
    THE BANK OF FATHY, it read.
    With a delighted smile, Mr. Samnel headed inside.

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      I can’t lye, I don’t no what’s wrong with what I’ve written.
      I’ve re-read it more than too thymes now and it steel won’t post.
      I don’t want two cut it into pieces and post it won by won.
      After a phew minutes of deciphering, editing and changing sum words, I tried posting it won more thyme.
      Butt it steal won’t post.
      I hope this does knot happen again.
      Oh the grate and mighty gods of writing, may your powers save me the next thyme I right, I leave the wrest to you.
      A men.

  11. AzyWng

    Not really a story so much as a single scene, but, well, here goes.

    Hebert was being fired upon from barely meters away.
    Bullets zipped past overhead. He had to blink away the dust that came down from the ceiling.

    They were getting closer. He couldn’t leave cover to try to fire back or they’d kill him for sure – he wasn’t some action movie hero, taking on small armies and then graduating to bring down bigger ones until the final evil mastermind lay in a pool of blood on the floor. Hebert was just another merc-

    Another few bullets flew past. The table he was hiding behind, while tough, wouldn’t last forever. And if the enemy was using suppressing fire the way he knew they were, soon enough they’d – more bullets began hitting the table, from nearly every direction. Herbert crouched even lower.

    Right. Had to focus. Couldn’t get distracted.

    Thankfully, he hadn’t come alone. “Tanner!” He cried. “Gimme cover!”

    Tanner grinned. Just like they’d practiced, Tanner took a breath to steady himself, then…

    Herbert’s breath stopped in his throat.

    Tanner’s hat slid across the ground, landing at his feet. Tanner was still smiling. “What? You said ‘Gimme cover!’”

    Everything came to a stop. Even the dust seemed to cease its descent in disbelief. Tanner’s smile slowly faded as the eyes of everyone came to rest upon him. Herbert merely sighed, shrugging at the squad of grunts who were no longer aiming their weapons but merely chatting amongst themselves, grateful for the sudden end to the fight.

    “The sad thing is that he’s the only one who actually responds.”

    I used to be in my high school’s JROTC program – and the hat part of the uniform was referred to as a “cover” (You know, since it covers the top of your head?). Since I happen to have played a number of shooters, the homonym sprung to mind.

  12. writer_sk

    “Dearie, bring me the pictures, they’ll go right on this shelf.” Ms. Pinkiss looked at me over half glasses.

    I sauntered into the backroom at the antiques shop. To my left were two interesting glass pitchers and to my right three framed small photographs. I took the pictures and wheeled back around as I heard, “No, no, no, for God’s sake…”

    I returned with the pitchers and left her happily arranging the antique photos and rummaged around in the clock section. Every year our area hosts this collective antique and vintage sale. You go around the neighborhood and into people’s houses and shops antiquing. It’s very well-attended.

    “Could you place those two lamps we spiffed up next to the chaise? I perched the ugly 70’s lamps on a table next to the chaise lounge. Nearby a bust of the town’s mayor Jan Chase looked at me, saying with her eyes, “Those ugly lamps are mine.”

    When everything was set up I sat in the lawn chair with a cup of hot tea and my book. Ms. P fussed around before perching herself in front of the TV inside with her cigarettes and pink seashell ashtray.

    A long and unusual cast of characters saturated the scene looking for rare pieces and interesting finds. They inquired about marbles, monkeys and mosses, bunks, trunks and junks. We made six hundred by the time Ms. P. sent me down to the deli to get us a couple of sandwiches.

    I loved the deli and hoped the mysterious Than, short for Jonathan, was working. He was talk, dark and handsome with a hint of “boy band.”

    I took off my raincoat. Here, just outside Seattle, there was always a chance it might rain. I owned the coat in three colors.

    It turned out today was the day. After I ordered the to-go sandwiches and sat down with a cup of coffee, Than approached my booth. He said hi and we both acknowledged I was a regular there. He motioned to sit down with me and I noticed a small tattoo he had on his arm. It was yellow but partially covered with other symbols.

    “Cool tattoo, what is it?” I asked, taking a nibble of my scone.

    “That’s my son.”

    “Oh, wow.” I had never dated anyone with children. I’m 22 so I’ve only had a few boyfriends.

    We spoke about the success of the big antique sale as I collected my sandwiches and we exchanged phone numbers.

    I walked back and Ms. P. had taken my spot out front. Her nephews had arrived to help and she told me through piggish bites of sandwich that I could take off for the day.

    I headed home and got ready for my date. My small apartment was illuminated with a mid-day sunbath and I hummed as I watered my plants and fed my cat.

    My black dress was trimmed with pink and with it I wore boots and a raincoat. The wind picked up and a light rain dusted my face as I pulled the hood tighter. Inside we shared cocktails, tapas and tacos.
    After he walked me home, Than brushed my hair aside revealing a tattoo on his other arm of a moon.

    He smiled, “To match my sun on my other arm.”

  13. Quill7


    George put down the phone and ran a hand through his hair. What should he do first? Call 911 or get to Bea? He shook his head, grabbed his keys and dashed out to the car. Time was wasting with him just standing around thinking. Bea was probably bleeding to death and he could be her only chance.

    When he pulled into Bea’s driveway he saw her car there. “Funny.” He thought. “How could a bear get down here and inside?” George climbed out the car and practically ran to the front door. “Maybe she’s out the back.” He sprinted through the house and burst through the back screen.

    “Bea! I’m here! Are you alright!?!” He cried out. Bea looked up from her book. She was sitting in her usual spot on the back porch, reading.

    “George? What are you doing here?” She asked, a look of concern on her face.

    “Bu….but shouldn’t you be bleeding? On the floor?” George panted. Bea walked over to him.

    “Are feeling alright?” She asked. “Maybe you should sit down and explain this to me.” Bea led him to a seat and sat down as well. “Now, what are you talking about? Bleeding? Me?”

    “Yes. You must have pocket dialed me and I heard you say, help…..a tack…buy…bare!” George glanced around. “You said you were attacked by a bear! So I came right away. But you haven’t been attacked….” He rubbed his head as if all the confusion was giving him a headache.

    “You thought what?” Bea threw her head back and laughed. “No, I was talking to a friend about decorating my reading room. I asked for her help. She was at the store and I needed her to buy a tack and a bare canvas to paint and hang up on the wall.” Bea wiped her eyes. Quite amused at the whole thing. But George was down fallen.

    “Oh, well I better get on home.” He stood,his shoulders slumped. Bea put a hand on his arm.

    “It was an easy mistake. Anyone could have made it.” She encouraged. He nodded.

    “Next time I’ll call before racing off to save someone from an imaginary bear.” George sighed. Bea punched his shoulder.

    “Hey, why don’t you help me with my decorating? We can do it together.” She suggested.

    “Sure. As long as you don’t have any more bears or bares.” He said, a sly grin on his face. Bea chuckled as they walked inside.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll leave the bears where they belong. In the forest!”

  14. Denise G. Monello

    Ivan came into the library and poured a scotch.
    “Tough day?” I said.
    “Yup and unsuccessful,” Ivan replied.
    “No luck getting him to talk?”
    “I used my muscle–Dennis won’t say anything.”
    “As much as you like using your muscles–if that didn’t work, I don’t know what will,” I laughed.
    “Anyway, did you hire the new cook-server–whatever you call it?” he asked.
    “I did–you’ll like him. He’s a bit old-school. His name is Michael.”
    Michael called us into dinner. I introduced him to Ivan.
    “A pleasure Mr. Grammar,” Michael said as he sashayed back to the kitchen.
    “I don’t know what I’m missing Anna–this case is so hard.”
    “Nothing is too hard for you, Ivan.”

    Michael placed two tiny cups of soup before us. “Mr. Grammar, if I may, they have an excellent haberdashery in town. I would suggest them for a new leather case.”
    “Leather case? Why would I want a new leather case?” Ivan questioned mid-slurp.
    “Sir, you mentioned the case was hard. I assumed it was one of those box type styles.”
    “I meant ‘the case’ I am working on is ‘hard,’ not the one I carry,” Ivan stated with a smile.
    “My apologies,” Michael solemnly replied.
    “No worries–misunderstandings can happen.”
    Michael stood at attention. “Will that be all sir?”
    “Yes, that’s it,” Ivan replied dismissing him.

    “Anyway Anna, I’m not sure who I could talk to find out anything else. I have to go down the list of witnesses again.”
    “Does your client have any ideas?”
    “Dennis March? He’s too cordial to incriminate anyone else. I like cordial for the witness stand but not for the investigation.”

    At the sound of our spoons hitting the dish, Michael appeared. He placed down a small glass. “For you sir.”
    “What’s this?”
    “A cordial. You did say you liked a cordial.”
    “No–Michael, I was referring to someone who was ‘cordial–’ gracious, amiable–not ‘cordial’ the drink.”
    “My apologies again,” Michael dropping his head to his chest.
    “No harm. I can use one.”

    Michael entered the dining room again, carrying a steaming platter. “I hope you enjoy,” he said laying a tray of black crustaceans atop a neatly arranged mound of linguini. “I spotted some mussels your freezer–the Mrs. mentioned ‘you do like your mussels.’ I thought it an appropriate choice.”

    “I appreciate your trying to please us, but you really shouldn’t be listening in on everything–and you’re only spot-hearing.”

    Suddenly Ivan turned to me. “Anna, that’s it,” he shouted.” He darted from the table, made a call and left. I ate my mussels.

    Ivan returned later in the evening. He asked Michael to join us and eagerly began his statement.
    “Dennis had someone working for him as nosy as this guy–and he spot-heard things too. Days before the murder, his butler overheard Dennis ask his wife about the ‘addressed mail’ to ‘Taylor.’ He dismissed the conversation as irrelevant–so did everyone else. In actuality, Dennis asked her, ‘Who was the nicely ‘dressed male’ he saw with her? Was it his cousin–the ‘tailor’ from the haberdashery?” So I did some digging, and it seems Mrs. March was carrying on with the cousin–tailor. That’s why Dennis didn’t give him up.”

    “Go on,” I urged.

    “There was another dismissed conversation by the nosy, spot-hearing butler. He once heard the nicely dressed male cousin tell Mrs. March, ‘To tell ‘some other’ friends of her husbands of his handiwork.’
    What the nicely dressed male cousin said was Mrs. March ‘would meet her end by his hand–he would ‘smother’ her–should she tell her husband about them.’
    And after a grueling interrogation, the ‘addressed mail’ to ‘Taylor’ did ‘some other’ Mrs. March. Case closed.”

    1. writer_sk

      Excellent job w this prompt Denise. I just used words my husband mispronounces in mine but I love the depth you went to and the “spot hearing” was dead on.

      Great use of the funny waiter.

  15. dustymayjane

    True story about my own son and I some thirty-five years ago.

    “I have a secret Mommy.” Joey looked like an angel with a little devil mixed in. He smiled crookedly and dared his mother to ask what the secret was.

    “You do? Well I suppose you can’t tell me then can you?” His mother drove down the street towards home with her face close to the windshield. The frost had barely thawed and only a small circle was cleared. Her smile warmed the cold winter air and Joey liked that she picked him up early. He had missed her while at his grandparents’ house.

    Joey looked at his mittened hands on his lap and wondered if he dared. Grandma had told him out right. She never said it was a secret. Oh, how he wanted to share the news.

    “I know what you’re getting for Christmas!” That ought to get her curious, he thought. The knowledge was burning a hole in his gut. He’d never had to keep anything from his mother before and he knew she was going to like the gift.

    His mother looked at him sideways. Her lips pressed together while she tried to fight the urge and give Joey permission to tell the secret.

    “Secrets are supposed to be kept secrets Joey. And Christmas presents are especially secret because when we get to open them, the gift is in the giving as much as it is in the receiving.”

    Oh, dear. She wondered if her parents had actually told Joey or was this one of his stories. She had hinted for a new winter coat. The down parka with the fur collar in the window of Stuart’s Department store would be perfect while she did her morning deliveries. It gets so cold in Minnesota.

    Joey understood and as difficult as it was, he respected his mother, keeping the secret to himself.

    The car’s tires crunched over the snow in the driveway. Their boots filled with it as they made their way into the house. Bags and backpacks were dropped on the table before coats, mittens and boots were shed and left on hooks and rugs to dry.

    Joey and his mother watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the eighth year in a row and then each of them headed to bed and dream of waking early to celebrate another Christmas with family and gifts and togetherness.

    As they dressed for the day ahead the phone rang and Joey stood next to his mother in the kitchen listening. After his mother hung up the phone, she noticed Joey was looking forlorn, as if someone had just told him Christmas wasn’t real.

    “Joey, honey. What’s got that smile turned upside down?”

    “How come grandma told you she was getting you a ring? I thought it was a secret for when we open presents.”

    It took his mother a moment to figure out the little mystery but when she did, it broke her heart.

    “Did you think Grandma was going to give me a ring for Christmas? For my finger?”

    Joey’s lip hung low and tears plopped off of his cheeks. He shook his head yes and wiped at his nose. “That’s what she said. ‘I’m going to have to give your mother a ring tomorrow.’ She told me that yesterday.”

    “Oh Joey, you are so sweet. I would love to get a ring.” She held up her hand to see how her finger had not worn one for a while. “But I thanked Grandma for the ring, because she called me to remind me to bring the lefse today. She gave me a ring as in a phone call…it rings when we get a call.”

    Joey felt foolish but knew just what he was going to do next year. He’d buy his mother a ring. I real nice one that he could wrap up and put under the tree. It was really fun to give.

  16. Teserk

    This is inspired by one of my favorite jokes…

    The bear and the rabbit were once the very best of friends. Inseparable, they did everything together.

    Until the event.

    That day started out pleasantly enough. A breakfast of berries and wheatgrass. A round of hide and seek. A relaxing stroll through the coniferous forest. It was nearing lunch time when the pair stopped for a quick potty break.

    The rabbit was done, lickety-split, and sat patiently, waiting for his friend.

    “Hey Rabbit,” came the bear’s voice from behind a stand of evergreens. “You ever have any problem with poo sticking to your fir?”

    “What a strange question,” the rabbit thought. He glanced at a nearby tree, the small pile of round droppings at its base. He never had a problem with his poo sticking to anything. And what did a tree have to do with it?

    “Ah, no Bear. I don’t,” he replied, thoroughly confused.

    “Excellent,” the bear said. “Those berries haven’t agreed with me, and I was worried about cleaning up.”

    The rabbit had but a moment to contemplate the implications, when the bear stepped from behind the fir and scooped him up. The rabbit’s protests became muffled as the bear vigorously wiped his butt with the rabbit.

    The horror the rabbit experienced dare not be described in detail. Suffice it to say that a friendship died that most terrible of days. The bear’s despondent voice called out from the grove as the rabbit stumbled away, smelly and defiled, “What? I asked first! You said you didn’t have a problem!”

  17. ShamelessHack

    It was a dark and stormy knight.
    Wind rattled the window pains.
    Suddenly a crash was herd from the attic.
    Jean turned to Gene and said, “Someone’s up their.”
    Gene looked at Jean and muttered, “If you say sew.”
    Jean said, “Ewe must admit it was loud.”
    “Shore was.”
    The two walked up the stares.
    Gene pushed open the attic dour and peared into the darkness.
    “What do you sea?” Jean asked, her body shaking with fir.
    “Oh, know!” Gene’s faze was white.
    “Well? What do U C?”
    “What the hack are they?” asked Jean.
    “It’s words or freezes that sound the same, butter spelled differently.”
    “You’re Messerschmitt me.”
    “No, I’m cereal. And homonyms half the same spelling butt different meanings.”
    “Then what are they dung in our attic?”
    “Hiding from young Japanese.”
    “Y? Water they have raid of?”


    In case eye awe fended any won with this story:
    Be leaf me, that snot what I Nintendo to dew.

  18. ReathaThomasOakley


    “Yes, dear?” Arlee picked up the remote and silenced Steven A, in the midst of another rant. Doesn’t know what he’s talking about, he thought.

    “Do you ever wonder why I married you?” Marge perched on the edge of her club chair.

    “Well,” Arlee chuckled as he turned toward his wife of nearly fifty years, “I always thought it was because I asked you.”

    “Oh, you silly,” Marge smiled, then frowned even though she’d read how frowning deepened those pesky lines between her brows. “I mean, do you wonder what set you apart from all the others?”

    Careful, he thought, this could be a trick question. “I suppose I have given that some thought.” He paused, noticed she was holding what looked like a bookmark, then continued. “Why did you chose me, Marge?”

    “When I was a little girl, I used to go around singing, Some Day My Prince Will Come.”

    “Then your dad got a Polaroid.”


    “Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” Good one, Arlee thought.

    “When I met you I was certain I’d found my prince, plus, I admired your wisdom and powers of discernment,” she continued to frown, “and still do.” She handed him the narrow cardboard. “Do you think this covers everything?”

    “Marge,” Arlee switched to his reading glasses, “the Ten Commandments?”

    “Yes, dear, I’m trying to decide if I’ll be sinning if I tell you something. Oh, Arlee, I’m so conflicted.”

    “Marge, please dear. . .”

    “Oh, yes, well, yesterday, at the doctor’s–”

    “Marge! What did the doctor say? Marge, should I call the children?”

    “What?” Marge laughed. “No, no, I’m fine. It’s just what I did.”


    “Remember how Robbie told me to write down everything I’d want to ask the doctor, then write down what she says, so I don’t forget?” Arlee nodded, it was his idea, but knew she’d be more likely to do it if their son insisted.

    “Well, yesterday, at my annual wellness exam, oh, Arlee, I think I might have sinned.” Her frown was back. “When the doctor left the room I wrote down all the questions she’d asked me for the dementia part, even the time to put on the blank clock face,” she paused.

    “Marge, I’m getting a bit lost here.”

    “Oh, Arlee, I know, that’s why I did it. Recently, you seem to be getting rather confused, lost.” She reached over and patted his arm. “I wrote everything down so I could give them to you to study, so you’d pass your exam. Would that break a commandment? And if it does, which one?”

    “Marge, sweetheart, I can’t imagine you ever sinning,” he handed the bookmark back. “Don’t worry anymore. I think I’ll do okay without a crib sheet.”

    “Thank you, Arlee.” She stood. “You know, I’ve often wondered, why did you decide to ask me to marry you?”

    “Well,” he picked up the remote, “from the first time I saw you, I knew I’d never find anyone else as lovely, or as perfect,” Steven A came back into view, “plus, I knew with you as my wife I’d never, ever be bored.”

  19. GrahamLewis


    Prince Alfred grew up in a tyrannical court dominated by his father, King Allucious the Righteous. Allucious, who in the deepest inner hearts of his subjects was better known as “The Self-Righteous,” tolerated no dissent, defining “dissent” as anything that displeased him. People were imprisoned and often summarily executed for not bowing properly or allegedly making critical statements about Alucious or his government. Or, sometimes, because the king was having a bad day.

    Alfred watched all this in self-protective silence, vowing that when and if he survived to take the throne, things would be different. To his apparent surprise, he did survive, his father having taken a mysterious tumble down the castle stairs as he and Alfred were on their way to the royal breakfast. After a few days of stunned inaction, the Elders of the Court crowned the Prince “King Alfred the Just.”

    Alfred immediately decreed a reign of openness and justice, and demanded an accounting of all prisoners on death row, planning to pardon most of them. In the interim he imposed a moratorium on executions. More than 1000 people were released in the next few days, leaving maybe a hundred hard-core common criminals and political prisoners. Rather than waste time sorting through them, Alfred ordered that everyone on death row be pardoned.

    The Royal Executioner, a stubborn and illiterate man who enjoyed his job, either never heard or pretended not to have heard the decrees staying execution. So he prepared to continue business as usual. “When,” he asked the new king one morning, “should I dispose of these scum?”

    Alfred, tired of arguing the obvious (and thinking that if the Executioner were not careful he might be the one exception to the ban on executions), looked the old man in the eyes. “I’m sick of this,” he said, “and want no more backtalk. I have given orders and I expect them to be executed without hesitation.”

    The Executioner smiled. “Understood.” He bowed, and went to the death chamber where, one by one, all the prisoners were beheaded. When called to the palace to explain, he said, simply, “You said ‘execute them’ and I executed. I was only following orders.”

  20. Reaper

    Just Breathe

    How was he supposed to do it? How many scientists and great minds were working on the problem already? What was a private detective supposed to do? The money though, it was too good to pass up.

    He looked at his cigarettes. Then he threw them in the trash. A small step in the right direction. How much would that help though? There was a million dollars on the line. Half up front, the rest upon completion. Maybe he could spend half the advance planting trees? That would work. It wouldn’t be enough though.

    Time for the internet. His fingers twitched, itching to grab one of those cancerous cylinders. He hated researching anything without the acrid sting of smoke sliding down his throat. Resist, he told himself. Too much to lose.

    Hours upon hours spent on web searches. He never realized how much information existed in cyberspace. When one was looking for something other than personal information on missing persons or criminals in hiding. The amount of it in the world made his head swim.

    So did what he found. Give up meat? Hell no, he would find a different way. A different car. Could he afford an electric? Maybe, but would that really reduce enough carbon to make a difference? Everything he found brought him to a simple conclusion.

    One person could make a difference. Not enough. Working together, maybe. How many could he get involved before his funds ran out? Saving the environment, the planet; it was harder than it seemed.

    He turned off the computer. Enough for the night. He would look into it again tomorrow.

    The phone woke him. How late had he worked? How much had he drunk? His head throbbed. Damn phone.

    He fell out of bed scrambling for it. After retrieving the device he checked the screen. Unbroken, good. He jabbed the answer button. The client’s voice came through. How quickly did this ass expect him to get rid of smog?

    “I just got the mail.”

    Well, that told him how late it was. “What’s that got to do with me?”

    “It had a finger in it.”

    “A… finger?”

    “My son’s finger, you bumbling idiot.”

    “That sucks. Who did that?”

    “Probably the animals that kidnapped him.”

    “Yeah, true. Wait, someone kidnapped your kid?”

    “Yes, and you were supposed to get him back.”

    “I was? I don’t remember this.”

    “What the hell do you think I hired you to do?”


    “Find the kidnappers, get my son, bring him home. How is that so hard? This is what you do.”

    He pressed his palm to his forehead, covering his eyes. His thumb and forefinger gently kneading his temples. Then it came to him. He inhaled sharply. “Wait… you said save the heir?”

  21. Not-Only But-Also Riley

    See This Free Sea

    On the beach, the world away from world, an isle,
    I’ll not remain idle, but be beckoned to the deep end,
    depends on how the waves take me, grab me and raise,
    rays of sun bombarding my face, and still I use my real eyes,
    realize the world for what it is, the sand that can heal,
    he’ll never understand what the beach does, how it frees,
    freeze this world and still I stay at this beach.

  22. creaturescry

    General O’Nan had one of those boxy battered faces that read like an old war map. It was the kind of presence that shook the enemy and made the men respectful of his authority. But one man, a Captain nicknamed one shot, didn’t react at all. He snorted at the little man as he trotted at his side, he was a rather pathetic sight. One shot, the man who only shot once throughout the entire war. A commander’s Idiot son who jumped the ranks for no reasonable reason at all. But he had to work with the little twerp if he wanted the war to be over sooner.

    “Did you get the men to bear arms?” General O’Nan asked as he followed One shot through the woods, “because we need to move out before dawn.

    “Yes sir,” Captain One shot replied with an nod, “but it was a lot harder than expected.”

    “A lot harder?” he scoffed, “It shouldn’t be that hard at all!”

    “Well you have the experience,” he laughed, “and the surplus.”

    The two had been marching for an hour through the woods before they reached the Camp. General O’Nan was still shocked at Captain One shots struggle to get men to carry their weapons. Then again he was the man who literally fired only one shot during the whole war and missed. He was about to make some kind of snide remark at the moron when the Captain interrupted his thought.

    “Here we are,” Captain One shot said nervously, his shoulders tensed up, “I hope it’s to your liking.”

    General O’Nan followed his gaze and nearly fainted from the genuine shock he felt. Dozens of bears, the big grizzley kind, stood in row with severed human arms in their mouths. They were tethered to the ends of leashed and held by the men, none of which were missing arms. How could someone get one simple textbook order wrong? And why didn’t any of his men try to correct him? O’Nan sat down on the ground with his legs crossed, the war was in the enemies favor now.

    “You do know I meant give the men weapons One shot?” O’Nan said in a raspy voice, “and not have the men give bears arms!”

    “Oooohhh,” Captain One shot sighed, “that makes a lot more sense now.”

    “Where the hell did you even get the arms?!”

    “Well the men didn’t want to donate theirs,” he tapped his chin thoughtfully, “so we went to the enemy and borrowed theirs.”

    General O’Nan’s face brightened up and a smile spread across his face, “are they dead then?”

    “Dunno, but there was sure a lot of blood, and the grizzlies were hungry.”

    “Alright then, the first division bear squad must be ready to move out before dawn.”

  23. JRSimmang


    After the sun went down on the first night, I curled up into a tight ball and slept on the sand. I could feel the fingers of heat pulsing through me, sucking me dry. Normally, people can last three days without water.

    In this heat, I would have been lucky to see the next sunrise.

    I slept fitfully that night, eyes wild and heart racing at every rustle, at every shift. And, when the sun rose, I considered myself to be lucky, only to realize that I had awoken in the same place with no prospect of survival.

    I wandered into the heart of Her. This vast expanse of goldenrod and deceit. Twice I was fooled into thinking that water lay on the horizon. My skin was parchment, and the sun was transcribing a novel. I could follow its spiteful words, trace the path of my feet along with the arc of its daily travel.

    I didn’t keep track of time, only that the sunset left me confused. Where was the sun? I thought. My constant companion has abandoned me.

    Again, I slept, tossing myself at the mercy of the still hot sand. This night, I found an overhang devoid of danger, into which I crawled and lay.

    Three days, and I could not get out of my temporary, permanent Purgatory. I watched the sun come up, welcoming and transparent. My eyes had grown accustomed to its heat, its brilliance, and I was comforted by the stories it was telling this day.

    Ahead of me, into the brilliant horizon, this day, I see my Deliverer. He is clothed in white and surrounded by a halo of divinity.

    He is coming toward me, hands outstretched.

    He offers me a ewer of, if it ever smelled so sweet, life.

    “Come,” he says. “I will take care of you.”

    This desert mistress, her shrieking inculpability, will forever remain my passionate love. I take his hand, and he leads me to a house.

    I greedily slurp and slosh at the water I have been given. I feel pain in my face, arms, shoulders, and neck that I had not felt before. That is how I realize I am coming back to life.

    “You have traveled far,” he asks.

    “I have,” I respond in a voice that is not my own.

    “You will heal.” He near-whispers. “Soon.”

    His home is nothing more than a shack, but it is shaded and there are camels nearby. “Sit,” he says and points to a stool in the middle of the two room home.

    I sit, and he leaves.

    I am alone for several hours, in and out of sleep, when he returns.

    “I am full of eating,” he announces.

    At this mention, my stomach grumbles. “I hate to impose more than I have already, but is there food enough to spare?”

    He smiles, then sits next to me. “For you?”

    “Yes,” I almost plead.

    “You,” he pauses, “are my course after the main course. My dessert.”

    I am sure this is a mirage. I am sure that She is my mistress, still, and She has not finished having Her fun. I glance out the window, and my constant companion is retreating against the night.

    Perhaps, this is how all stories end, out of the desert and onto the plate.

    -JR Simmang

  24. rlk67

    “I heard you’re not writing on this website anymore.”
    “You hate the prompts.”
    “Wha..?! I do not!”
    “I heard you say it.”
    “You heard me say I hate the prompts on this website?”
    “When did I ever say…?”
    “Yesterday?! I did not!
    “Don’t deny it. It’s ok. Some of these prompts are a bit challenging.”
    “But it’s not tr–”
    “We all feel that way. We’re all one. We…understand.”
    “But I never said that!”
    “Yes, you did!”
    “Tell me exactly what I said.”
    “Well, you told someone there was a new prompt and like usual, you were DISGUSTED.”
    “I WHAT?!”
    “I heard you.”
    “I never…oh, my.”
    “No, YOU see. I told someone that I told my mom about the new prompt and like usual, we DISCUSSED IT.”
    ” oh. ”

  25. kimcatwil

    This is based off of my boyfriend’s true childhood story, which I think is hilarious, and he will probably never live down.

    “I’m bored,” Tyler complained. “We’ve been playing cops all day. This is getting old. I’m going home.”
    “Yeah, me too,” his brother Eric added. “Let’s go home and play the new NES game we got last week.”
    Crap, Billy thought to himself. It had been at least a week since any of his friends had bothered to make the long trek to the end of the road where he lived. Although he loved his secluded home in the woods, it left him socially isolated. When friends did come over, he did everything he could to make them stay.
    “Wait a minute,” Billy said, “We can play something different! What about zombies?” The disinterested looks on their faces said enough. “Umm.. okay… how about vampires?” Tyler and Eric looked vaguely intrigued, so he kept going. “I could be the vampire, and you guys could be the vampire hunters!”
    “I dunno,” Eric said, “It’s not like you have any vampire stuff here anyway. Come on Tyler, let’s just go home.”
    “Wait!” Billy cried. Trying not to sound TOO desperate, he reeled it in a little bit. “I have vampire stuff! I think I have a cape from my Halloween costume last year! And I probably have weapons to kill vampires too! Hang on, I’ll go check.”
    Billy ran inside to the kitchen where his mother was preparing dinner and started rummaging through the fridge.
    “Okay Billy, what are you doing?” his mother asked after Billy had given up on the fridge and begun searching through the freezer.
    “Do we have any steaks? We’re playing vampires, so we need a steak to put through his heart to kill him!”

  26. Poetjo

    The Last Letter
    Bea thought long and hard about the letter she was about to send her husband, Randall. She was on her first solo holiday, to Greece and she knew that she would love the single life. She’d gotten a huge inheritance from her Aunt Teddy and she didn’t want to have to share it with her husband, an anal retentive perfectionist. She wouldn’t have to share the money with Randall if he wasn’t her husband anymore and since he was a relatively healthy fellow, she knew she had to take matters into her own hands.
    Her husband Randall fancied himself a grammar Nazi and had to retire early from teaching at the local university because spelling and punctuation mistakes drove him into anxious fits and he always said that the older he got, his students seemed increasingly stupid. He’d darn near overdosed on his anxiety medication after he had to read through forty term papers on the feeding habits of the bald eagle and one student referred to the eagle as the ‘bawled’ eagle twenty-two times in his essay. Bea smiled as she sipped her tea, remembering how she slowly got his anxiety medication as he collapsed.
    That’s when she got the idea that it would be quite lovely to be widowed. She was surprised how easy it was to research drugs that mimicked Randall’s anxiety meds. She ordered the new medication online, using a false name. She filled the bottle of his anxiety medications with the replacements and packed her suitcase for Greece. A week later, here she was in Greece about to send the last letter Randall would ever read. She put her reading glasses on and started reading.

    Deer Randall;
    How are ewe? I am fine. I love visiting Grease – it’s a very interesting place to sea. I could live hear for years and still not do everything I want to do. I know I’m the air of a very rich ant, but it’s hard for me to get used to being able to afford such a fancy trip! I know I’m aloud to spend this money, since it is mine, but I have a hard time altering my life to fit my new circumstances.
    Last night, we had ate different kind of appetizers for dinner. I didn’t know which one to eat first, so I decided to not have any and just wait for my stake and potato. I knew if I skipped the appetizers I could have desert and I couldn’t wait for pi! As you know, my favourite pi is blew berry and it was really grate! After dinner, I drank a couple of bruise and went to bed weigh to late. Ewe no how I knead my sleep!
    When I woke up this morning, I had quite a headache (one two many bruise!) so decided to search out the doctor’s office but it turns out patients are bard from her office on Tuesdays. I thought my head would feel better if I sat in the sun so I went off to the beech and fell asleep and forgot to use sunscreen. Ow! My skin was so burnt, it was beat read! I learned my lesson though – no more beeches for me.
    So, that’s bean my holiday so far. Eating stake, going to the beech, having some bruise, and seaing lots of knew things. I hope everything is okay at home and I’ll see ewe soon!
    Love ewe forever,
    yore Bee

    Bea laughed out loud at the ridiculous letter. She folded it carefully, put it in a pristine white envelope and slid her white leather sandals on. She checked her make up in the mirror as she hoped she’d run into a young Greek hunk on her way to the post office. She grabbed her floppy sun hat and practically danced out the door. She was going to send this letter ‘priority post.’


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