Week 17 of Odd Prompts

Dare to dream, the sign said, and it’s fitting that it’s at the Mars and Moon rock exhibits. Where would humankind be if not for dreams, and some of those risky at that?

Sometimes a weekly challenge feels like insurmountable odds. Sharing words and ideas with strangers? Terrifying (hi, fellow introverts!), even for small dreams.

But it’s also how we get better. How we dare to dream bigger. How we achieve the unimaginable, the previously impossible.

So if you want to join a friendly crowd, grab a prompt below. Trade directly or play with a spare, and send an idea via email to oddprompts@gmail.com.

AC YoungFor this week’s entry I was inspired by the recent references to Clint Eastwood, so from a line that got away (said in the book by the character he played in the film, but never said in the film) : “The Major Smiths of this world don’t fall off the roofs of cable cars.”Becky Jones
Becky JonesThe upstairs neighbor was extremely quiet for a dragon.Fiona Grey
nother MikeThe pixie in the garden was wearing a bottle cap as a hat.Leigh Kimmel
Fiona GreyThe wooden statue of the wailing woman was weathered and worn. One day, it spontaneously burst into flames. Why?nother Mike
Leigh KimmelTwo songs about Superman: “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down and “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues” by Spin Doctors — how do they fit together?AC Young

Risk free, these spares are. Try one out!

Spare“The Baulk Cushion is at the top of your screens, the Top Cushion is at the bottom of your screens.”
SpareThe barbecue kit from Home Depot including a glowing silver sword…
SpareThe sushi was still squirming when they bit into it. And their hosts smiled, exclaiming on how good it was…
SpareThe Amazon Smart Home System worked fine, until it read Atlas Shrugged…
SpareThe clock let out a burp rather than a chime.

See you in the comments, where all the dreamers hang out.

Header image by Fiona Grey, US Air Force Museum



  1. This week Leigh Kimmel prompted me with: Two songs about Superman: “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down and “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues” by Spin Doctors — how do they fit together?

    A quick check of the lyrics: One is about Superman worrying what will happen should he no longer be good enough, no longer Superman; The other is about Jimmy Olsen secretly being in love with Lois Lane, and jealous of Superman as a result.

    If both premises are true, then that would be an interesting set-up for a bit of Superman fan-fiction.

    Jimmy Olsen was in a bit of a bind. His emotions were all tangled up, and he feared that they would be affecting his work before too long. The best solution would be to get well away from the sources of this confusion. But that wasn’t possible in this case. The woman he was secretly in love with was a colleague and a friend – and to get away from the superhero who appeared to have caught her eye, who she seemed to be fascinated – even obsessed – with, was impossible as long as Jimmy lived and worked in Metropolis.

    He’d used a large chunk of his savings on a session with a psychologist. It hadn’t helped one iota.

    Now he sat at the bar in the Metropolis Grand Hotel, carefully nursing his second pint, trying to forget it all for one evening. He had work tomorrow, so this would be his last pint.

    Meanwhile in Smallville, Kansas, a young man and his mother were talking in a farmhouse kitchen.

    “… I don’t know if Lois is interested in me because I’m me, or because I’m Superman.”

    “Clark, you’re so confident when facing the worst of men. Why are you so hesitant with Lois?”

    “I don’t know, Ma. I think I love her.”

    “Who does she want to spend time with after work? Clark Kent or Superman?”

    “Me. But I can’t have a drink with Lois as Superman.”

    “You must love her if she’s tying you up in knots like that! It’s you she wants to spend time with. So it’s you she cares about.”

    “But what if something goes wrong, and I’m no longer Superman?”

    “Clark, stop being so thick-headed! Couples go through injuries and illnesses all the time. If she cares about you it won’t matter. And she cares about you.”

    The next day dawned as next days always do. Jimmy, Lois and Clark went in to the Daily Planet as normal. That day Lois and Jimmy were assigned to cover the big political rally for the Mayor’s re-election campaign.

    After the rally, Jimmy and Lois were driving back to the office across Queensland Bridge, when there were a series of explosions ahead of them. The main cables for that section of the suspension bridge were both left snapped in two. The carriageway sagged, and a section ahead of the car fell into the West River.

    Brakes squealed as everyone tried to stop before the plunge. Not all were successful. The carriageway continued to sag, and the vehicles started to slide towards the jagged end of the road. Everyone started to exit their cars and run towards the bank.

    But not Jimmy. He was a press photographer. He got out the car, and despite Lois’ urgings hung around to snap the carnage. Only after taking full advantage of being on the scene of the incident did he turn to follow the crowd.

    Lois had stayed back with him, and side-by-side they jogged back. Then disaster struck. The next section of the bridge fell wholesale into the water below. Jimmy was only just safe, but Lois was a little slower. She jumped. She made it to the stable section, but only with her top half, and almost immediately started sliding backwards. Jimmy grabbed her, but he didn’t have the strength or leverage to help her back onto terra firma. She continued to slide. Jimmy knew that unless he had help, and soon, it would be hopeless.

    Then a flash of red and blue and yellow. Superman had arrived! Oh, he was jealous of the kryptonian for being Lois’ love, but right now it didn’t matter. Lois needed saving, and Jimmy couldn’t do it.

    Superman started by rescuing those drowning in the river. But then he took Lois out of Jimmy’s hands and carried her to the bank. Coming back he rescued Jimmy too. Then he returned to the bridge to rescue those still in danger.

    Jimmy turned to Lois. “I’m sorry. If I hadn’t snapped those photos…”

    “My fault. I should have trusted you to be able to get out in time.”

    Back at the Daily Planet, after work had finished for the day, Clark and Lois were up on the roof, looking down on the city below. Clark broke the silence. “I’ve spent so long worrying about what might happen; how things might go wrong and what that will mean for us. I don’t want to do that anymore. I just want to enjoy us. Will you marry me?”

    Lois was only mildly surprised. “Yes,” was the only answer she could give. She hugged him.

    A minute or so later Jimmy made his way up to the roof – he wanted to grab a few photos of the broken bridge for the morning editions. He surprised the pair, who broke apart. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t expecting anyone else to be up here.”

    “We weren’t exactly paying much attention ourselves. Clark’s just proposed.”

    Suddenly everything became much easier in Jimmy’s heart. Superman, for all he had helped out today, was way out of Jimmy’s league, someone he didn’t know and couldn’t compete against. But Clark, Clark was a friend. And while he still loved Lois, that meant wanting what was best for her. And it was clear from her joy at giving the news that what was best for her was a life with Clark Kent. Now he just had to find a woman who would love him as Lois loved Clark…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fiona Grey prompted…

    The wooden statue of the wailing woman was weathered and worn. One day, it spontaneously burst into flames. Why?

    Oho! A well worn wooden statue, burning…

    One splinter…

    Tourists came from everywhere to see the carving of the wailing woman, to touch for a moment that well-worn wood, all because of the claims that she could cure disease. And indeed, many visitors touched her, and found their pains and agonies fading. It was a true miracle.

    But, as all good things must, there came a day when one man, dressed in a business suit, turned up in the crowd, sneered at the pilgrims crowding around her, and reached out to slap his hand against the weathered wood.

    That’s when the wailing woman screamed, and burst into flames.

    When the police and fire officials interviewed the businessman, he frowned, and produced his business card with his other hand. The hand he had slapped against the wailing woman was wrapped in gauze, covering the burns across it.

    “Look, I was going to buy that piece of junk, and charge people to get their cures. Nothing wrong with making a little money, right? And then the darned thing burns up when I touch it!”

    His secretary leaked the promotion video he had made, where he explained that once he bought the wailing woman, only the rich would be allowed to touch her, and she would be installed inside a carefully guarded enclave to ensure that no one else could go near her.

    Then someone fed the press his promotion letter, that included the promise that everyone who invested in the wailing woman would get a splinter of the wood, sliced off with a blessed silver knife…

    That’s when the police laughed off his claims of the fire being someone out to get him. They wrote it up as self-defense… by the wailing woman.

    (it’s a start…)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very good. There’s an element of “purchasing the gift of the divine” about it (or whatever the underlying source of the statue’s power is), with a suitable punishment for the man’s arrogance.

      I hope the statue didn’t get burned up in the incident.

      Liked by 1 person

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