I’m Thankful for That

Trying to think of a Thanksgiving writing prompt for this week reminded me of my little sister’s list of things she was thankful for that she wrote in preschool: “Barbie, nail polish, and Aunt Suzie.” Aunt Suzie was happy, but everyone else in the family felt snubbed. Aside from the obvious things like family and WiFi, what are some more unexpected things that you are grateful for?

Creative Writing Prompt: I’m Thankful for That

Write a scene or story that includes a character being thankful for something unusual.

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


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55 thoughts on “I’m Thankful for That

  1. Avatarmegsylegsy

    ANONYMOUS BAGELS

    Thanksgiving always means things get busier- crime rates always go up over the holidays. This past week there’ve already been two robberies (one armed one decidedly amateur), six muggings and more drunken brawls than you could shake a stick at. Course they’re more NYC police department than mine but hey, when you walk past three guys beating the crap out of some poor kid what’re you gonna do, keep walkin? Get real, there was no way the public’d let it slide if I tried that.
    The problem is, they rely on me too much: taking more risks, not avoiding dangerous areas, getting careless. Even the cops seem to be slacking odd, getting lazy – after all, why do your job when friendly neighbourhood superhero can do it for you!? He has got special powers after all! It’s like, yeah that’s all well and good but being able to fly or punch through steel doesn’t make it hurt less when you get shot in the arm or stabbed in the gut or punched in the face.
    Some days I wish I could just jack it all in, take off for somewhere warm and sunny. Hawaii maybe. It’s not like I’d have to pay for the flights after all. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter where I go, there’d always be some goddamn punk who’s looking to start something and the whole thing would start up over again. It’s always the way, no matter where I go. A nerdy looking 5’6 Asian dude makes an easy target and most self-defence classes shouldn’t be able to teach you how to throw a guy clean through a brick wall. I even tried the “I’m Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee’s secret brother” excuse a couple of times but that massively backfired when they then asked for autographs – hey I’m not proud of it but what’re you gonna do.
    I guess in the big cities you get a certain level of anonymity; most people are too busy keeping their own lives together or watching someone else’s unravel on national tv that they don’t always notice me knocking seven bells out of the drug dealer next door. I did try going completely off grid once, tried to find some inner peace and discover my true self. Turns out my true self cannot survive for more than seven hours without wifi and running water. I am also shockingly bad at putting up tents.
    At least in New York a guy can get a decent bagel. I guess that’s something to be grateful for.

  2. AvatarJosephFazzone

    “I’m thankful for cat piss!” Grandpa exclaimed with pride. His gnarled leathery fist clutched his wine glass as he proposed the toast.

    Dylan and Celia giggled.

    “Hear! Hear!” Uncle Alan cheered.

    Everyone else laughed knowingly.

    Celia was still giggling when she asked, “Why would you be grateful for cat pee?”

    “Gross,” Dylan laughed. “Did you drink it?”

    “It was a long time…” Grandpa began ignoring the question as he blew dust on the candle “…Ago!”

    The room swam in darkness, a watery curtain pulls back, as light and clarity return. Gerard getting ready for his first day of his very first office job.

    “Keys, keys, where’re my keys?” Gerard ran around in a flurry, going everywhere and getting nowhere.
    He jumped on the coach, and a familiar jingle could be heard. “Ah ha!”

    Simmons stared at him as Gerard jammed his hand behind the cushions of the couch and fished out his keys. Satisfied, he opened the closet to get his grey coat.

    The hanger was empty. In a panic he remembered his grey coat was at the cleaners. He reached for his only other coat. The brown blazer wasn’t going to be a match, but it was too cold to not wear a jacket. It wasn’t on the hanger either. He looked down and saw it crumbled on the floor.

    He reached down, picked it up, smoothed out the wrinkles, and put it on. It was then he noticed the smell.

    “Simmons!” He growled in rage. “Dry cat food tonight!”

    Simmons appeared unaffected as he continued to lounge.

    He put the jacket and raced out into the biting cold wind towards the cleaners, hoping they would have finished it by now. Ducking into a small alleyway, and as he was about to reenter the main street, he was grabbed roughly and thrown against a wall. To his throat, he felt a knife.

    “Your wallet,” a vicious voice breathed against his neck. “Please.”

    “Of course,” Gerard trembled. He reached into his pocket.

    The mugger sneezed.

    “Bless you,” Gerard offered.

    “Thank you,” the mugger said. “Now give me the wallet.”

    He sneezed again.

    “Bless you,” Gerard said again.

    “Thank you,” the mugger repeated less venomously. “Look just give me…”

    He broke into a fit of sneezes.

    “Bless you,” Gerard said again, and again.

    “Thank you,” the mugger would say in return. The whole fit of sneezes scrambled his noodle, and the ‘Bless you’ that came with ever sneeze struck a note that severed the ties the mugger had made with the anger that was in his heart. He decided then and there to quit his ways and try and help me.

    “I’m sorry,” the mugger said, and walked away.

    Gerard stood in shock for a long moment while the events that just took place registered.

    He put the wallet back into his pocket, turned around, and headed towards the busy street. A young girl, brushed by him, the speed and force of her charge spun him in a circle. He landed in a very confused heap upon the cold damp sidewalk.

    “Oh dear,” the voice that will forever echo into his heart said. “Are you all right?”

    “I-uh-I think, so,” he responded shakily, “yes, I think I, uh…yes, I am.” He stared into her eyes and forgot everything from the moment before. “I’m Gerard.”

    “Amalia,” she answered with a grin, and then laughed lightly.

    “That’s, Grams!” Celia squealed.

    The spell broke as everyone giggled.

    “We went to a coffee shop, and spoke for hours,” Grandpa smiled as he nodded towards the empty chair to his left. “She was the best thing that ever happened to me, and it’s all because the cat pissed on my jacket.”

    “To Mom,” Uncle Alan toasted.

    Everyone toasted, and after a quiet moment of reflection, Dylan spoke earnestly, “Wow I hope someday a cat pisses on my jacket.”

    Everyone howled with delight.

  3. AvatarKerry Charlton

    This reminds me of our family dinners when I was in high school. I asked Mother if I could bring my girl friend home for dinner to meet the family. I thought it went well enough until I asked her to go out. She him-hawed about it and didn’t say yes or no. In the next two years, I tried it twice more and this time I had lost three girl friends by then. That was the end of bring girl’s home. I guess they weren’t used to Yankees throwing food at the table. What do you think?

  4. AvatarKerry Charlton

    OPERATION CLUELESS

    “There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces a Faux Pas.”

    It happened perhaps fifteen to twenty years ago and still, I feel embarrassed when I think of the Faux Pas. I had received a call from a Realtor who requested a meeting with a couple that had just purchased an older home in Olmos Park, a separate city within San Antonio of older more expensive homes.

    Mr. And Mrs Nugent, a couple in their early twenties wanted to redo the home and it was a fairly expensive project for them since the husband was still in law school His first name was Lyndon and I thought it rather strange he carried the same name as the former president. And that is exactly where my brain stopped that day.

    We signed the contract and started the project. During the two months we worked on the home, I may have seen the husband twice but his wife took total charge of what we worked on, and I didn’t consider that unusual. We were close to finishing up when I was asked if I had the time to meet Lyndon’s grandmother who was coming to San Antonio to visit and look at her grandson’s house.

    “Of course,” I said. I figured perhaps she loaned the money to finish the project and in a few days, I went back, walked the job to be sure it was completed and waited to meet her. Soon a limousine showed up and a half dozen well dressed women piled out and walked toward the house. I recognized Mrs Steves immediately, a well known lady from old San Antonio society but when introduced, I realized she wasn’t the grandmother.

    A lot of noise and introduction later. I had met all but couldn’t hear well enough to remember. Lyndon’s grandmother asked me to give her a walk through, which I did. She was a delight to talk to and I left an hour later to go to an appointment . A few days later I took a carpenter to the house to hang pictures for them. One photo caught my eye of a couple leaning over a crib with adoring looks at their grandchild obviously.

    “Who’s the baby. I said?”

    Well, that’s Lyndon, my husband.”

    I saw the ex president next leaning over the crib, then blurted out,

    “That’s Lady Bird standing next to him, isn’t it?”

    “Well, you ought to know, you spent an hour with her last week.”

    I stood there dumb founded and said nothing.

    “You didn’t recognize her, did you?”

    I still didn’t talk.

    “Lady Bird said you were so nice and patient with her and she enjoyed your company. Wait ‘till I tell her.”

    “Do you have to?”

    “Oh yes, she’ll get a real kick out of it.”

    I left and would have drowned myself in the San Antonio River, but it wasn’t deep enough. I got a call to return to the house a few days later and when I did, Lyndon’s wife handed a copy of Lady Bird’s book, .Wildflowers Across America’.to me.

    “Be sure and read her message.”

    .

  5. Avatarellevee

    It was like liquid crystal falling over my skin. Cool, refreshing. Cleansing.

    Water.

    It seemed attracted to my arm hair, coalescing onto the straw like fibers. I withdrew my wrist from the cascade, brought it close, studied my magnified pores. The little holes sat still under the soft drops of clear glass, as if separate from what went on in my head. They couldn’t be mine, so still, so quiet.

    And yet here they were, their oils effortlessly beading up the water, following the laws of physics. Like animals, like galaxies, like everything else that was good.

    The last binge had been too much. Normally the meth was saved for later, on an empty stomach. I’d tried, I did, to decline, reject, say no. But I couldn’t, not this time, and found myself stuffed with the Thanksgiving dinner across from _him_. My brother. The man who’d taken it all.

    After the goodbyes, after gritting through his intent stares, his lingering hug, I raced home, the bluish gems calling, brushing its palm over my neck, whispering _let me numb you_. Waiting was on option but I couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

    So into my body, the meth flowed. I woke up a day later, throat sticking to itself. Salty vomit caked my face to the floor, it’s crystalline clumps scratching my cheek as I dragged myself upright.
    Something thumped in my torso, fluttering high and light. The images in front of me swayed and blurred. I knew what was going on. Six months of failed nursing school had at least taught me that. This wasn’t part of an overdose. This was dehydration.

    I bumbled to the sink, tried pushing my face under the faucet. Deafening clangs of ceramic and metal nearly split my head in half. Too many dirty dishes. I swallowed. Big mistake. The water tank mockingly gurgled behind the laundry room door as I tried to breathe. It gurgled again and then a eureka moment. I scuttled into the laundry room, threw open the washing machine, and turned it on as I bent under the wide sheet of sweet cascading water.

    Now, that same cascade fell over my hand as I prepared to wash my clothes. I was three months clean and actually felt it, actually _saw_ it. This liquid that saved me. What wasn’t numbed anymore bounced around in my head, thumped, screamed, clawed. It was hell but I was dealing with it. Finally.

    I looked at the beaded water on my skin again, peered at what they showed me, what they magnified. Surely if my pores could be that still, my head one day could be too.

  6. AvatarJennifer Park

    10.

    It was foolish of Jennifer to think that she had finally found a job she was good at. Having murdered a cop in a Truth-or-Dare meant that she was immune from prosecution for three years, but—and she hadn’t known this—that meant that she was now a legal untouchable, an extra-judicial, i.e., incapable of swearing to the truth under penalty of perjury, i.e., unfit to serve as an officer of the court, i.e., no longer allowed work as or for a process server…

    It wasn’t fair. The cops had raided her apartment on suspicion of creative writing, of massive creative postings. Something she had never done even when she still had been a writer. Then they rummaged through not her own belongings, but her ex’s garbage collection, and demanded a confession… for what? For knowing how to use obsolete equipment to commit highly technical crimes? For knowing how to press on lettered bumps rapidly enough to capture a burst of narrative lucidity?

    As Jennifer stared out her apartment window at the apartment windows across the street, lit vaguely warmly by the setting sun, Rhett fretted about, trying to concoct a suitable dinner with which to comfort her. “It’ll be ready in five minutes.”

    Jennifer didn’t answer.

    And Rhett wasn’t expecting her to. He was mostly talking to himself.

    There had been a time that Jennifer would have looked at these windows and poetic, rhapsodic descriptions would have flooded her inner neural pathways. Now, there was nothing. Emotion, maybe. A simple emotion for which “sad” was an ample descriptor.

    It was not a soulless dejection of a lost moment.

    It was not a tinge of heartache buried deep in a mound of numbness.

    It was not a…

    No, it was not any of those feelings.

    Just sadness.

    And the smell of the skirt steak sizzling on her burner, the only one of the four that worked, with chopped up asparagus shoots being tossed around in its quickly evaporating juice. It smelled delicious.

    It did not smell of rich sweetness of curdled flesh, echoing how her heart muscles convulsed.

    It did not smell of loving comfort that was going to horribly backfire.

    It did not smell of a cavernous hollow filled with vengeful…

    Just delicious.

    Vengeful…

    Vengeful…

    “Come and get it, Hon!” Rhett’s nervousness about whether his offerings would lift her mood was evident in the sudden thickening of his accent.

    Jennifer stood up thoughtlessly, and trudged toward the dinner table.

    There was the meal.

    Sumptuous. Full of love. Painstakingly made.

    Delicious.

    Delectable.

    Vengeful…

    Jennifer shook her head. That was not what she meant to think. She wanted to gaze into Rhett’s sweet, little compound eyes and smile gratefully.

    She was grate-ful.

    She was grateful to have this sweet, little boll weevil in her life.

    But the word would not leave her alone.

    Vengeful…

    Vengeful…

    Venge… ful…

  7. Avatarrenkor

    Grateful to you brother
    You don’t hate me
    Although you barely like me
    Maybe in the next life
    We’ll be great friends
    Thank you for the lesson
    Of no second chances.

    Indebted to the parents
    Whose narrow views of me
    At present
    Matter less than before
    Because there was a time
    You were a part of my small
    But powerful fan club
    My life and whatever
    I have achieved
    I owe to you alone
    The desolation at the end
    Of this journey
    Is the only fate possible
    When one cannot receive
    All the love in the world
    That is given.

    I am grateful to so many
    Who shaped me
    When I knew no form
    And with form
    You taught me emptiness
    Happiness is surely a luxury
    The greatest reward is humility
    And if one has just that
    One is closer to truth
    Perhaps
    But it cannot matter
    There is no goal
    Just immeasurable appreciation.

    How else to be nowhere
    And still everywhere
    To glimpse the possible
    Behind the struggle
    So damned grateful
    If I die tomorrow
    Not a sheep
    But a deep thinker
    Thank you
    Forever thank you.

  8. AvatarKerry Charlton

    A TIME FOR RAIN, A TIME FOR SHAME
    A TIME FOR PAIN, AND A TIME FOR GAIN

    / As you reach my age, you realize this is what life is all about. Squeezed in there with the rest, are the people, famous and wealthy, downtrodden and poor. But this story is on a different plain. It’s people who make the world turn that is interesting. I hope you might be amused by some of it.

    Some where back in time, I rebuilt a home in San Antonio, and the owner asked if I would join her husband’s grandmother and give her a tour of the home. I thought that unusual but showed up on time, as she arrived in a stretch limo with every big wig woman in San Antonio. That should have been clue number one. She was a charming, wonderful woman. The next day, Susan asked me if I had a good time with ‘Lady Bird.’
    My jaw dropped to the floor. I stammered until she told me she had talked to her and told her I didn’t even recognize her.. I started to apologize but Susan stopped me. She said,

    “Lady Bird said how pleasant and charming you were and she is sending something in the mail to you”. A few days later, her book on wild flowers arrived, auto graphed with a note of appreciation. One for the dummy here
    .I am particularity fond of women who do and also those that don’t. We had taken a new label record company, believe or not, Playboy Label. They sent their best effort across the country to introduce it. Since we were already in Playboy’s saddle, she arrived in our office first. The label;s main singer had already released an album. She had two execs with her when she arrived who were totally ignored. Barbie Benton in the flesh she was. Gad what a charm, radiant, beautiful woman.

    Well, what else would you expect from me? The meting was brief and just long enough to enjoy her company. An hour later she was ‘Gone With The Wind.’ Sad, sad and more sad.
    My wife spent high school and junior high, growing up in a small town in east Texas named Kilgore. She studied voice from the fifth grade through high school and sang in the range of a coloratura soprano. .At the same time, an older boy went to the same schools until late high school. They became good friends, went to the same church only he went to ,Julliard to study piano. I had never met him until my wife introduced me to him after one of his concerts. It was a privilege knowing Van Cliburn.

    By now, you know what I am grateful for, so lets do one more. One of our largest record labels we distributed, was London Records. The national sales manager called me and asked if my wife and I wanted to fly to Vegas. A most popular singer in England and getting a lot of attention from the media, was signed for a week at the original Flamingo Hotel. Of course we said yes and arrived on opening day and sat in the second row. When he came on stage, there was polite applause, but when he left, women had tears and begged him to sing more, so he added a song called Delilah.
    .
    Then the ladies went absolutely bonkers. It was however a pre-panty throwing event. After the last song, we spent an hour in Tom Jones’s dressing room with he wearing a towel and wet hair from a shower. One tart sat to his left, the other to his right. Why was it, I never had a camera when I needed it?
    Would you call this an essay or a story, you probably think bosh, but come by the house and I’ll show you a photo of Tony Bennett, my wife on one side and yours truly on the other
    .
    Happy Thanksgiving. .

    1. AvatarBeebles

      You don’t need a camera, your words capture these moments perfectly. Always entertaining, and often jaw dropping, Kerry. And don’t be sad, we all have our own style and it is that we must seek to perfect.

    2. AvatarBushkill

      There are memories and experiences in your background that make a helluva story. Keep sharing and wowing us. I, for one, love the connection.

      And in the spirit, my family entertained our pastor one night for dinner. I couldn’t have been but about fifteen and about as familiar with politics and the world as any mid eighties teen. The pastor, who officiated my brothers wedding 15 years later, brought his father and mother. I must say, having dinner with Dr. Koop was probably the highlight of my life at that point.

      And I didn’t even know it.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        There are very few people, living or dead that have or had the influence Dr. Koop had on the world and you had dinner with him,. I hope your family took a snapshot. .

    3. AvatarWilliam

      Moving as always! Thank you for taking us on a walk down memory lane. Sometimes we don’t know just how important a person or event will be in our lives until we’re looking back years later. Other times they slap us in the face! What a full, interesting life you’ve lived!

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Thank you William, but really, there are a lot of things I wish to complete. Raking all the damn leaves that fall from my trees. And my soprano wife to sing for me again. The voice is still there. One more, learn to play our piano. Still looking for a very patient, teacher. about thirty five. Erase the last part. . .

  9. AvatarPete

    It rained on Thanksgiving. A cold, driving rain that turned it dark by three o’clock. Uncle Jim said it didn’t matter to him, he’d planned on sitting on the couch and watching the game either way. I offered to help Mom clean up in the kitchen, where things were warm and the air thick with turkey and pie. Only Aunt Janine was blabbing so much it was hard to do much of anything with my ears working overtime.

    I tried to watch the game, but the Cowboys were losing their butts to the Packers. I got to my feet for the twentieth time and looked outside, down the street. Mom caught my eye and gave me a look, nodded for me to meet her in the hallway.

    I stepped over Uncle Jim, who reached for my leg. Ever since I was six he was always pretending we were fighting. I laughed, got the hallway where Mom was gnawing on her finger. I knew all this company was driving her crazy, especially Aunt Janine, who Mom always said was drove her to drink.

    “You still thinking about what we talked about?”

    I took a breath. “Yeah, maybe. I thought about maybe taking a plate to him.”

    Mom nodded. “I knew you was. You know, he probably won’t come to the door, though. You know how he is.”

    “Yeah.” I really didn’t know squat about how he was.

    “Hey sweetie, I’m sorry about your daddy, okay?”

    “Yeah.”

    Mom did some more work to her finger, her eyes darting up and down the hallway. “Tell you what, I’ll fix him a plate. He doesn’t answer you just leave it on the stoop for the dogs to eat, hear?”

    My heart clanged into gear. I’d been thinking about it, but with mom serving up some turkey, gravy, enough mashed potatoes to feed a horse, it meant I had to lace up my boots and go do it.

    Uncle Jim peeked in, asked me where I was going. “Over to Tick’s place, bring him a plate.”

    “You know he’s half-cocked, right?”

    I shrugged. “Probably hungry all the same.”

    “Okay, suit yourself. Go out there in that mess. We’re going to watch this butt whooping.”

    He thought that was funny. Mom shook her head and wrapped up the food. Aunt Janine was going on about how she’d read on Facebook about how so-and-so had gone and cheated on someone else, only she was smiling when she said it was a shame so it was hard to believe she cared. Mom shoved a plate in my hands and the look on her face said she’d rather face the freezing rain with me rather than sit in here and listened to another word of Aunt Janine.

    “Hurry back, ‘kay?”

    I nodded, then set out the door. It was cold and the rain felt like sand on my face. I ducked my head down and got down the street, hunched over to keep the warm plate from getting too wet.

    Tick had a lamp on inside that shack of a house he lived in at the end of the street, the smoke billowing from the tiny chimney. I knocked a couple times and held my breath. Uncle Jim was always saying he’d shoot anyone that came around. Said when he was little the old man pulled a twelve gauge on him. I didn’t much blame the old man if he did. I was just hoping he’d smell my mom’s turkey and think twice about blowing me away.

    “Who is it?”

    “It’s um, it’s Joshua. I brought you some turkey.”

    I heard his feet hit the floor. Soon all the locks were sliding and clicking and after a minute the door flung open a crack. The old man was a sight, his nose like a beak, red and splotchy and he had a lump on his jaw the size of golf ball. A wave of warmth hit me head on. The man walked away, door open, limping to the counter where he found a pair of glasses and fixed them on the perch of his nose. I only stood there, that plate starting to bend.

    “Why are you bringing me food?”

    “Well, tell you the truth, my family is getting on my last nerve. I was suppose to go with my dad today, but now he’s not coming. Mom’s about to blow up and let everyone know how she really feels and when she does it’s not going to be pretty, I can tell you that much. So if you’re going to shoot me, go right ahead.”

    “Always did like Sarah’s cooking.” The old man stared me down. His eyes fell to the plate in my hand. “Family huh? I gave up on them a long time ago. Might be hope for you after all,” he said, taking the plate.” “Come on in.”

    And with that first step, I became the first person in a generation to enter my grandpa’s house.

    1. AvatarKerry Charlton

      You wrote this from your inner soul.if I guess correctly. Heart felt prose, so real it jumps.from the prompt to the mind in a flash.
      I am.curious to know if it is taken direct from.your family.or from your imagination. There is a theme running thru that says your curiosity was not the only reason you went. Perhaps there was more of an inner relation to the old man in the old house. I tend to think so.

  10. AvatarReathaThomasOakley

    I’m thankful that for a good many weeks since January 28, 2015, I’ve been involved with this warm and welcoming writing community. Hopefully, some of the projects I foolishly committed to will soon be finished and I can be back here. Thank you all, for everything.

    Reatha

  11. Avatarrlk67

    “But doctor,” I said sullenly as I lie on the pale blue couch, “I have been telling you my problems for so long and I still feel lousy!”

    Dr. Shlenkman rubbed his chin and slowly lowered his writing pad. “Cecil, Cecil, Cecil. You know this is a process of discovery which may take years, even decades!”

    “Well, yes, but…” Decades? That’s long!

    “And your intuitive sense of self is still stymied by your abyssal retrenchment of amour-propre! You realize that.”

    I squirmed. “Yes.” Well, no. What did he say?

    “You know, Cecil, I’ve been thinking. Let’s try a different approach. Let us try to be thankful for what we have. Hmmm?”

    Thankful? “Um, I just think I’m in such a bad state that it’s hard to be thankful for anything.”

    Schlenkman began to pace. “Let me demonstrate. For example, I myself are so thankful that I get to meet you every week, Cecil.”

    “You are?” Never heard that before.

    “Of course, my dear boy. Why, you are helping me put my kids through college! My daughter had braces only because of you, Cecil. And did you see my Tessla out front?”

    “How could I miss it?”

    “All because of you, Cecil! That’s right! What you have done for me…I am so thankful from the bottom of my heart!”

    I smiled for the first time in years. “You really mean it, Doctor?”

    “Yes, yes! Now how do you feel about that?”

    I nearly jumped off the couch. “Like a million dollars! Oh, I feel wonderful! I feel so good, maybe now I can come less often!”

    The doctor was sweating. “Uh, er, let’s not be too hasty, Cecil. There’s still plenty of work to do.”

    “There is?” I felt deflated.

    “Much more. I told you, this might take decades. Centuries!”

    “But…but…” He waved me toward the door.

    “This was a good session, Cecil. I’ll see you twice a week from now on.”

    I was nearly by the elevator when he called to me again.

    “And don’t forget to be thankful!”

  12. AvatarWilliam

    A complete work of fiction, but tried hard to make it real. Happy Thanksgiving guys!
    *******************************************************************************************************

    November 27

    I don’t usually like journaling, but my sponsor kind of insisted. I have to make a gratitude list of ten things I’m thankful for. I don’t even know if I have ten things to be thankful for, but she insists I try, so here it goes.

    1) I’m pretty thankful for churros. Delicious little things. I’m eating a churro right now. Oh and energy drinks!

    2) I guess I’m thankful for Lucinda, even though she’s too hard on me as a sponsor. At least she cares, and I guess that’s something.

    3) I’m thankful for my health. I’m actually serious about that one. I’m pretty lucky that I didn’t catch anything out on the streets.

    4) I’m thankful for my family, and that Terrence let me move back in even though I’ve given him so many reasons to divorce me.

    5) I’m so so thankful to be back in my bed. A warm bed is soooooooo much better than sleeping in my car.

    6) I’m thankful that I’ve managed to stay clean, even with my dad’s suicide last month. All I want to do is use. Some of my best memories with him were us sitting around the table high. Some days I can’t get out of bed, but I’m not using today, and that’s something.

    7) I’m thankful for one month clean. Well, one month tomorrow, but that’s the longest I’ve been clean since, well, I can’t even remember when. I’ve never been prouder of a stupid keychain than I am of the one I’ll get at tomorrow’s meeting.

    8) I’m thankful for little Jerry. I can’t believe how perfect he is, even though I used for most of the pregnancy. Things could have been so much worse, as Terrence often reminds me, but he’s just so perfect.

    9) I’m thankful for my stepmom. Never thought I’d say that and mean it. I always thought she was trying to come between me and dad, but I realize now she wasn’t trying to control us. She was just trying to help. It couldn’t have been easy, watching us mess up over and over. I feel so bad for pawning her grandmother’s necklace. I’d apologize, but Lucinda says I have to wait for step eight.

    10) I’m thankful that I’m done with this list. Now I can go back to bed. Jerry is crying, but Terrence will deal with it. He likes Terrence more than me anyway. I can’t believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I don’t know if I’m ready to face the family yet. I guess I could fake sick, but Lucinda says I need to practice brutal honesty. I don’t know. Somehow I don’t think “All I want to do is use and I’m starting to think my dad had the right idea” will go over well at Thanksgiving. Well, not supposed to worry about that. Not supposed to worry about anything but right now. One day at a time. Just worry about doing the next right thing. Don’t use. Don’t react. Tomorrow is a completely new list.

    *******************************************************************************************************

    1. AvatarBushkill

      Very authentic. Beating addiction is an in-your-face decision all the time.
      All
      the
      time.
      There is no off. There are no cheat days. It is a commitment in the truest sense.
      Very well done!

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        Your story cuts to the bone, I have never been there but have two grandsons that have. And from sharing their pain and seeing your story, I wonder how many years and how many lost souls it is going to take to stop it. It seems to me, the punishment to those who cause if, is far too week. Thank you for writing it.

  13. AvatarBeebles

    ‘Amira,’ Jammal called and waited while the eight year old tottered on broken feet across the stone, through the hot breeze that kicked up the yellow dust and foretold the wind to come. The girl clasped her metal mug in both hands and sipped the water through a lip-less mouth.

    ‘’Um?’ she asked, watching her mother over the rim of the mug with polished eyes.

    ‘Help me, please, Amira, there’s a good girl.’ Jammal poked the toggles on her bag with the stubs of her fingers.

    Dutifully the girl placed her mug on the ground and pushed the toggle through the eye of the fastener. The cloth bag slumped open to reveal their meagre possessions: a spare tunic for Amira, a headscarf, a toothless comb and a picture of Farid, faded and crumpled: all the items of value Jammal had rescued from the house in Raqqah had been traded for food, or stolen by soldiers, militia, anyone with a gun.

    She scooped the headscarf onto her wrists. ‘Here put this on. The dust will get in your eyes.’

    Amira sniffed, a hollow cavernous sound. She wiped her sleeve across the two wide holes and took the scarf. Together they draped it over her and secured it.

    ‘How far now, ‘Um?’

    ‘Not far, mahbub. Al Quasayr lies just over the water.’ Jammal pointed her fist at the horizon where the scorched sky melded with the mirage. Jammal nodded to herself, convincing herself she was right to say it. ‘Yes, beyond the water.’

    A boom. A roar and rushing wind.

    Amira screamed. She threw herself into Jammal’s waiting arms, kicking the mug, the water taken quickly by the thirsty earth. They cowered in the lee of the rock as the F16 jets split the sky above their heads. In heartbeats they disappeared over the hills.

    The silence settled, but the girl and her mother remained locked together, eyes shut. Jammal shook with the memory of the shelling, the screaming of men, women and machines. She pulled her sobbing daughter close, held her as she had held her writhing body, blackened and cracked, the pain of her own burns buried in the grief that she thought her daughter would die. They had taken Farid and Amira was all she had left. She could not die, she could not.

    She had not.

    The Red Crescent had found them.

    Soflty Jammal began to sing and the wind pitch rose, sending the smaller rocks skittering, bringing the dust. In well-practiced coordination, Amira and Jammal pulled their shawls up over their heads, not a note dropped.

    In their makeshift tent Jammal ran her palms along her daughter’s cheek, ridged and silvered. She touched her own melted face, puffed and pushed like dough where the Doctors had done their best. Pausing to kiss Amira’s head, Jammal gave thanks for their disfigurement: the fighters only stole their possessions. At least Amira would be spared that.

    No point in moving now. They would see out the storm.

      1. AvatarKerry Charlton

        It is not difficult for me to realize the pain, the fear and the hardship./ The haunting continues to bother me. And how did it start? Well, from seeing the newsreels from the German prison camps I was nine then and still do not think it was necessary for a child that age to witness it. I am certain my Father thought it necessary that I watch the news then but it is my nightmare, not his. Writing is amazing here. I will never be able to write this way and it saddens me, that I don’t have the ability. .

  14. Avatarcosi vs. don

    Ahh! Sorry I’ve been such a slacker over here! I’ve been busy writing my ongoing Ambrose and Elsie story and my NaNoWriMo story as well. I’ve been thinking about you guys over here and I finally decided to drop by with pumpkin pie, magic cookie bars (without coconut), and a prompt story. So, here we are! 😀 Hopefully you enjoy at least one out of the three items I brought.

    ****

    Hildreth’s mind traveled down a myriad of paths, some safe and others risky, as he sliced the turkey.

    Elsie smiled at him. “You’re lost in your thoughts.”

    “Sorry! Force of habit.” He smiled back at her, a happy and easy smile. “You know how I get.”

    “Oh, do I ever.”

    He laughed and resumed his slicing business.

    “So? What’s on your mind?”

    “Hmm? Nothing really. Just daydreaming.”

    “Well, I wish you wouldn’t daydream when you have such a sharp knife in your hands. I really don’t want to rush you to the hospital with a slit hand on Thanksgiving.”

    “Oh, don’t worry, Els. I’ll be careful. I am the ultimate master of carefulness.”

    “Uh-huh.”

    “Tsk! So much doubt. Oh, it pierces my…hmm. What’s more dramatic? Heart or soul? Should I go with both for maximum impact?”

    “Idiot.”

    He laughed. “Anyway, I was just thinking about all of the things I’m grateful for.”

    “I assume I’m somewhere on that list.”

    “At the absolute top, Elsie baby.” He stopped again. “Second place will surprise you.”

    “Master Shinowa?”

    “Hm. You’re right. He should be in second place. Surprisingly enough, that vampire is there instead.”

    Elsie startled. “Ambrose? Why?”

    “Because.” Hildreth lowered the knife. “If it weren’t for him, our lives would be different. I don’t know if we ever would have met without his direct interference. If it weren’t for him and his all around obnoxious behavior, I don’t know if we would have realized how much we truly love each other.” He laughed. “Oh, gaaah! That sounded so sappy and cheesy. And it wasn’t good solid cheese. Just gloppy, tacky Velveeta fake cheese. Sorry, Els!”

    “Don’t be sorry for what’s true. As for myself,” She gave him an admiring look. “I don’t think I need to say what I’m thankful for. It should be obvious.”

    “Oh, humor me. Even though, I do have a good hun—”

    Elsie interrupted him with a kiss. “I’ll tell you anyway.”

    He looked lovingly at her.

    “It’s you. I’m thankful for just you and for everything that you are.”

    “I love you, Elsie.”

    “I love you too.”

    1. AvatarBushkill

      I think I’ve missed some back story on these guys if others on here are familiar with them. I like vampire add in as the dark figure, too. Honestly, I kept waiting for him to cut himself. You had me set up for that at the beginning and I just kept hanging on. nice work. nice staging.

      1. Avatarcosi vs. don

        Thank you, Bushkill!

        I considered cutting him, but I decided to be nice to the poor guy this time around. 😉

        There is a ton of backstory between Elsie, Hildreth, and Ambrose. Elsie rescued Ambrose from a bad situation where he was prevented from biting anyone and he was exposed to daylight with no real shelter. It didn’t kill him, but it made him very weak. Elsie took care of him and they fell in love. Then, Hildreth came around with the intent to kill him. Elsie told Hildreth to get lost and the story just develops from that point on.

        Ambrose and Elsie started off as one shot characters in one of the writing prompts over here. I wound up liking his character and using him for several other prompts. Then, Hildreth appeared and married Elsie.

        At a certain point, I realized I wanted to expand on their story. I wanted to take it from patchwork prompt stories into something big and cohesive and fill in all of those blanks. And that’s what I’ve been working on for the past couple years.

        1. AvatarBushkill

          Awesome! thanks for the backstory. I’ve taken from some of my other stuff at times, and have a post in this thread that takes the MC from a short story I’m nearly finished and outlines a sort of thanksgiving dinner for them. Great fun in seeing my characters in that light.

          1. Avatarcosi vs. don

            You’re very welcome!

            It is a lot of fun to take one’s characters out of their normal story environment/situations just to see what they would do and/or say. 😀 I’ve done several one shot stories with Ambrose and Elsie in completely non-canon moments and I’ve had a blast writing them.

        1. AvatarKerry Charlton

          Cosi, you need to dig out the prompt from these guys in the pizza parlor. I could go back hundreds of prompts to find it but it might take a month or so. Glad to see them back.

          1. Avatarcosi vs. don

            Thank you, Kerry!

            I fortunately had written up the whole list of prompts that Elsie and Ambrose have showed up in. and here they are in date order:

            Ghostbuster for Hire (January 28, 2015),
            Doomed Love (June 25, 2015),
            Hallucinations Galore! (November 10,2015),
            Forbidden Basement (December 3, 2015),
            Books and Characters (February 9, 2016),
            Wedding Crashers(March 1, 2016),
            All In A Day’s Work (March 15, 2016),
            Cat Got Your Tongue (April 26, 2016),
            and Love Boat (July 5, 2016).

  15. AvatarLaedschen1980

    Laurent holds on to the empty bag of his M&M. Someone took his pressure gift and ate it all.
    Laurent felt anger rising inside his chest. They should know not to touch his stuff. He taught the new guys in their early days to fear him. Already his pure physical appearance was enough to quiet down the biggest mouth in the yard.
    Laurent has been in jail for almost half of his life. Too much time had past to remember how it felt to go down the street. He sometimes wondered if he could ride a bike, as his beloved BMX. He would be thankful for his BMX right now. He could use it to smash the people who stole his M&Ms.
    He crumbled the M&M pack in his fist and stored the wrapper in his pants. Angrily, he left his cell and joined the others in the outside court. Laurent cracked his gigantic neck and lifted his shoulders a little before he moved through the crowd. He will find the bastards, and they will need to relearn how to eat and speak after he finished them, but they will remember not to touch anything that belonged to him.
    Laurent looked everyone deep in the eye. He learned how to read people. He felt the nervousness in all of them. One guy tried to play hard on him, well a fast step closer to him, and a rise of his fist and the guy melted like butter. Laurent had to laugh, but couldn’t see guilt in any of the eyes. He went to his work out bench and started his routine. Laurent continued to look around, wondered if anyone was missing today or something else suspicious.
    Maybe he should talk to Ugly-Face, named so after the guy’s face met Laurent’s fist for asking him who he was to define rules in the common area. Laurent looked the guy deep in the blue eyes but only saw the same idiocracy that got him in here. Never learned to close an argument with words; he used what he knew best.
    “A fist is sometimes better than a thousand words,” his dad used to say. Mostly, right before his mother, sibling, or he got the hand.
    He felt the empty wrapper in his pants. Now he had to wait another two months until his brother would send him a package again. Another two months until he would find a little something from his mother. At least, that was what he hoped. She must still love him and pack his favorite little sweet treat. When the police arrested him for smashing a beer mug on top of the majors head, she called him crazy. It was the last time he heard her voice.
    He looked around the court one more time. His eyes passed Ronald and his drunk gang and met the guilty eyes of the guard. His anger found a valve. Ronald was thankful.

    1. AvatarBushkill

      Perhaps he can express his profound disappointment in such a way as to receive meritorious rewards from the offending guard. Fear can be a very powerful motivator.

  16. AvatarBushkill

    And the real thank ful story:

    What is there to be thankful for? All of it, really, but I will take a moment to pontificate about providence. Not a sleepy town in New England, either. The serendipity of well laid plans and convenient happenstance that amount to some spot-on good fortune.

    It didn’t start that way. It started with anger and resentment. Yup, good ‘ol fashioned jealousy. My in-laws moved back to PA and settled five minutes from my brother in-law and nearly three hours from my wife and I. Our kids would miss the intimacy of having grandparents show up at their plays, concerts, and sports events.

    Such is life.

    We spend the holidays on the road because no one would come to us anyway. The in-laws are past the point of extended trips and a night on a couch, too.

    But here is where it starts to turn. A headhunter contacted my daughter and set up an interview. The company hired her. The company that is thirty minutes from her grandparents. The very grandparents
    I lamented about, now house her until she can get out on her own.

    It’s helpful, too. My son is in college just down the road and his grandparents often help with picking him up until we can get down there after work. Unless you’ve schlepped hours from home to get a kid before the dorm closes, you don’t know how big that is.

    The kicker (and this is where that providence thing comes into play); I have twin girls. That’s a different story about providence, fortune, and serendipity. In this story, Twin one applies for a job in the neighboring town to Twin two’s employment.

    And gets the job.

    So, now I have a second daughter living with the previously-but-no-longer distant grandparents. And it is fortuitous indeed. Neither elder is in best health and my girls are good at taking care of things and people and each other.

    And their brother is just minutes away. They pass his college on their way to work each day. The work that, while in different towns separated by a river and a bridge might be a traffic-burdened, ten-minute cross-commute.

    Yes, they can carpool. From the same house to very nearly the same spot on the map, they can be together adulting and twinning. And being there for their elders who couldn’t be there for them.

    So I am thankful my wife is more patient than I, and her vision of family is more encompassing than mine, too.

    I couldn’t have drawn up this stage of my life (or my kids’ lives) to look so well-orchestrated if I had been allowed. I haven’t the skill.

    Yes, they are apartment shopping. Twin one’s job will cover a significant part of rent and security deposits under certain circumstances for a few months. Again, outside my understanding of the world.

    I just live here.

    We will celebrate Thanksgiving down there this year. First time for that. I don’t think it will be our last.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. AvatarBushkill

    Thanksgiving Writing Prompts 11-25-19 #1
    Note: I penned this for the first of the five Thanksgiving day writing prompts. I’ll need to get cracking to get another one done, but I’m game. This story contains the leading characters in a short story I’m hoping has enough legs to get noticed somewhere. Time will tell.

    Bree sneered, “Nice outfit, Mia. Did swim team practice get out early?”

    Mia didn’t care, she’d stopped caring after Ocksca died. It only made the dinner stranger. Ocksca smiled at her, his gaseous and incorporeal state incapable of forming a reply. His smile warmed her, though, and beat Bree’s bitterness.

    Their father glared down the length of the obsidian table, willing his children to silence. It worked. Even Mia, who hadn’t spoken and wasn’t, biologically, part of the family bit off a retort, shuffled closer to the table, and sat up straighter.

    Their mother cleared her throat, “Now, Mia, why don’t you start. What have you been up to? We don’t see you much anymore.”

    Mia shifted awkwardly. Bree mocked the swimsuit, but it wasn’t even that; it was a dance costume. The type of dancing wouldn’t be a pleasant topic of conversation at a family-friendly event. “I’m looking for someone.” Mia raised her eyes and stole a glance at Ocksca. She offered nothing else.

    Out of shadow, a voice like stone on stone smashed into the evening meal. “You people make me sick!” Karenna stayed in his corner, covered by shadow and hidden from view. He spat, “This is gluttonous waste and a further taint of the human stain on our Erghenny culture.”

    The reproachful look of their father rolled off Karenna like water off a waxed coat. The shadow sneered, “I am going to end this charade!”

    He stood, light dancing away from the shadows he hid in. Ocksca looked at him, hurt in his eyes and sadness tugging at his smile. Mia saw it, nobody watched Ocksca like she did. She aspired to be like him in everything she did.

    Mia pointed accusingly at the shadow, the implants in her skin warbling in colored waves across the vast exposed areas of her body. “You did it, didn’t you?”

    Karenna cringed, and shrank back from her. She pushed back from the table, wrapping her arms around herself and ripping free the two halves of her arc-sword. The blade hummed to life and pulsed in iridescent blue.

    “You killed him, you barbarian!”

    Ocksca stood now, too, nodding and pointing. Bree lurched to her feet, spilling the chair on her way to intervene. She reached for Mia, “Stop! You are ruining everything! Stop, Mia!”

    Mia lowered her arms in front of her and angled the blade toward Karenna, Right hand forward on the hilt and left hand on the rear.

    Karenna laughed, “Little pup, you are out of your league. I’ve killed scores like you, I’ve—”

    Mia lit her implants. Color washed over her skin in undulating waves of light. It burned at the dark, chasing shadow from the room. Karenna stumbled back as she advanced. When she got close enough for the tip of her sword to touch his coalesced shadow, she ignited her hair. Brilliant yellows and oranges spilled through each follicle and fell like rain in drops of multi-colored light.

    Mia smiled, “I’ll dress the turkey?”

    1. AvatarWilliam

      Wow! A lot going on here! It’s obvious you’ve spent a lot of time on the world and the characters. It was kind of hard for me to get a clear understanding of the world with just this 500 word snapshot, but I am excited to learn more! Well done!

    2. AvatarBeebles

      I can feel the love you have for these characters. I took shades of gormengahst from it, family rivalries and intrigue. Intriguing indeed. And no I don’t know if I spelled GG correctly. Such a strange world but they still have turkey – like it!

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