A writing group I used to attend in the pre-sickness and Pre-Covid days is now meeting on ZOOM. I re-joined this week and I’m glad I did. This meeting was “Fun With Writing Prompts” and here’s a couple silly little things I wrote.
The first prompt was three things:
- a person who doesn’t get the hint
- One half of a ripped love letter.
We wrote for a half hour. This is what I came up with:
The sign on the door said “Wilbur’s Taxidermy” and the man walked up clutching a ragged piece of paper.
He entered the shop and rang a bell on the counter. A rear door opened to a wave of foul, chemical soiled air. A man wearing a thick plastic apron, long rubber gloves and heavy protective goggles emerged and took up a spot behind the counter.
“Well,” he said.
“You must be Wilbur,” the customer said.
“Nope, Wilbur was the moron that I bought the shop from. Total failure. I never felt like changing the sign, though. Name’s Sam.” He thrust out a rubber-gloved hand.
“Uhh,” the customer said, “I’m not sure if I should…”
“Of course,” Sam replied, “Sorry, I forget sometimes,” and removed the glove.
The customer still didn’t shake his hand. “My name’s Glover, Richmond Glover, but everyone calls me Glover. I was wondering if you can stuff something for me.”
“We prefer to call it ‘preserving’ if you don’t mind. And yes, I can preserve something for you, Mr. Glover.”
Glover didn’t reply right away. He looked increasingly nervous, fidgeting and shifting his weight from one foot to the other. He took the scrap of paper and smoothed it out on the counter and looked at it. Sam the taxidermist could see that it was a hand-written note, torn in half.
“Well, Mr. Glover, I’m afraid I’m going to need some more information.”
“Ahh, yes, you see… this isn’t the usual job that you see every day.”
“I think you would be surprised at how… unusual… some of the jobs that I have done.”
“Not like this. I would like to preserve… I like that word… something that is very near and dear to me.”
“Very. Very. Very near and dear.” Glover looked again at the paper held against the counter.”
“Excuse me Mr. Glover. What is that paper? Why is it torn?”
“Oh this… it’s a lover letter. One I received a year ago. From someone… very near and dear to me.”
“Again, Why is it torn like that”
“They tore it trying to snatch it from my hand.”
“So this person had a change of heart regarding your affections?”
“That would be an understatement. But back to business.. how large of a specimen are you able to preserve?”
“Oh, I’ve done moose heads.. a bison head or two. How large are you needing.”
“About ten stone… that’s one hundred forty pounds.”
“That’s big, but doable. About how long?”
Glover moved his hand down from his forehead to just above his chin. “This long. What, about five foot three inches.”
“Is that length or height?”
“Both, really, I suppose. You haven’t asked what species it is.”
“Doesn’t matter, really. As long as it’s a mammal. Reptile skin, or fish, that’s another thing altogether.”
“And what condition is this thing that is very near and dear to you? Is it frozen? Fresh?
“Oh,” said Glover, “It’s fresh, very fresh. As a matter of fact, right now it’s still alive. And I might be able to use some help with that aspect of the job, too.”
“Mr. Glover… I think you are outlining a very, very expensive preservation job.”
“I promise, money is no object. No object at all.”
That’s as far as I got.
The second exercise was to write a hundred words. It had to start with the phrase, “There I was, just standing there, when what I wanted to do was forbidden.” It also had to contain the phrase, “A dark and stormy night.”
When I stopped writing I had about a hundred and thirteen words. Some quick editing and it was exactly one hundred.
There I was, just standing there, when what I wanted to do was forbidden. The bar was stretched out before me and I had a new drink I wanted to mix. Curacao and rum and other good stuff. It had a name. A Dark and Stormy. Night had fallen and the bar was crowded. When the barkeep was busy at the other end, I reached across, grabbed the bottles and started to mix.
“Hey! The bartender yelled, “You again!”
“This time it’ll be good, I promise!”
I stirred and shook like crazy while the bartender reached for her baseball bat.