Week 21 of Odd Prompts

Welcome to the world of the wonderful and weird, the crazy ideas that cause us to put forth artistic endeavors, and the courage to share it with other like-minded writers, artists, and generally odd folk.

How’s it work, you ask? Any way you want it. (I hear that’s the way you want it.) But here are a few suggestions if you’re here for the first time or want to shake it up.

Option: Send in a creative prompt idea to oddprompts@gmail.com. You’ll be entered into a direct trade. Great for people building a writing habit, maybe want a little accountability, or are looking for feedback.

Option: Same thing, but put “spare” in the subject line so we know you don’t want a trade. Great for those pressed for time, commitment-phobic, or observers who just want to see what happens (popcorn not included).

Option: Forget all that, grab a prompt, and jump on in! Anything goes: Writing, digital art, photographs, etc. Stories can be posted on your website or in the comments (unfortunately technical limits of this site do not allow for graphics in the comments directly, and not everyone has social media).

Got it? Good. Now go do whatever you want.

For our trader types:

PrompterPromptPromptee
Cedar SandersonHe dragged himself up on the muddy bank of the river, lifted his head, and saw…Leigh Kimmel
AC Young“Someone’s been practicing their spells in the woods again. The bluebells are all red.”Becky Jones
Becky JonesThe gnome poked his head back out of the window. “And, how did you want that? Full or half-sized?”nother Mike
Fiona Grey“Oh, that’s just Glenda, the theater ghost. Don’t worry. She just wants to make you sneeze.”AC Young
nother MikeThere was a bloody pair of scissors in the backseat of the car, along with the werewolf who got them bloody…Cedar Sanderson
Leigh KimmelSomething in the air, like the smoke of a distant fire.Fiona Grey

And here are our spares, frolicking in the beauty that is emerging in the northern hemisphere, pre-cicada invasion.

SpareThe elephant liked to gallivant, the antelope liked to slide a slope, the…
SpareThe jigsaw puzzle murder was the one case retired DCI Annato had never been able to put behind him.
SpareMisheard: “If wishes were dishes…”
SpareThe doctor left a stack of money in the bathroom…
SpareIn the waiting room at the vet, your cat’s cell phone starts to ring…

Now go off and do odd things. And please, do post the results in the comments. Can’t wait to see them!

18 comments

  1. This week’s challenge was set by Fiona Grey; “Oh, that’s just Glenda, the theater ghost. Don’t worry. She just wants to make you sneeze.”

    My first thoughts on reading this went to “The Phantom of the Opera”. But the Phantom wasn’t a ghost, and I don’t know the Paris Opera House at all. So, on reflection I went a different route, taking the prompt more literally and setting the story in another theatre entirely – The Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon.

    Emily was very pleased with herself. For her first performance as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company she had been cast as Ursula in Much Ado About Nothing at The Swan. It wasn’t the role of a lifetime – she dreamed of playing Beatrice one day – but it was a start.

    It was during their first rehearsal on the actual stage that she saw it. But ghosts didn’t exist, so clearly it was just a trick of the light. Or perhaps it was an illusion as it seemed to persist and even move around independently of the beams from the overhead lights.

    All was otherwise fine until the end of Act III Scene I – the scene where Hero and Ursula persuade Beatrice that Benedick is in love with her. Eliza, who was playing Beatrice, exited stage right, then looked back and up and smiled. “She’s here.”

    Gemma, playing Margaret, followed Eliza’s gaze. Upon seeing it her face went white. “Ghost!” she screamed in an ultra-high pitch.

    Eliza chuckled. “Oh, that’s just Glenda, the theatre ghost. Don’t worry. She just wants to make you sneeze.”

    Emily asked the obvious question, “Sneeze?”

    “Oh yes. She haunts every new actor and actress. Keeps going until they sneeze on stage.”

    “I refuse!” Emily had enough professional pride to be horrified at the thought.

    Eliza smiled. “I wouldn’t advise it. A few years back a young actress playing Catherine in Henry V managed to make it all the way to the Opening Night. Glenda wouldn’t give up. She appeared on the stage, invisible to the audience. Eventually Catherine sneezed right in the middle of Henry’s ‘broken music’ speech. It completely ruined the mood of the scene.”

    Many of the actors and actresses laughed at the picture.

    “Please tell me you’re joking.”

    “I’m afraid not, dear Ursula. Glenda will keep upping the ante until you sneeze on stage. Best to get it over and done with and sneeze during the rehearsals. Once you sneeze for her she’ll leave you alone.”

    All went well the rest of that rehearsal. The next day Glenda reappeared.

    Emily managed to resist the desire to sneeze until Act III Scene I. Then “O! do not do your cousin such a” [SNEEZE]. A loud sneeze erupted from Emily’s nose, followed swiftly by another. Glenda had got her actress.

    “I think Ursula’s done Beatrice a wrong with that line,” the play’s director chuckled. “Let’s skip the rest of the scene and start again with Don Pedro et al.”

    The rest of the rehearsals went without too many issues – notwithstanding Glenda’s exploits as more new actors and actresses sneezed.

    The Opening Night came around, and nothing went wrong. The curtain call came with rapturous applause. The reviews were generally extremely good.

    Come the end of the season, Emily was very proud of herself. She wasn’t going to set the world on fire playing Ursula, but if things continued to go as well she had an excellent chance of playing Beatrice herself one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Becky Jones prompted…

    The gnome poked his head back out of the window. “And, how did you want that? Full or half-sized?”

    Hum, this calls for some setup…

    Gil looked at the address. His boss had recommended these folks for uniforms, or at least a new outfit, for him to wear to work. But… the sign said doll clothes? What the heck?

    It was a small shop, with a door, a display window filled with dolls in various costumes, and another window open to let the morning air in. Monster, his three-headed dog, sniffed at the door, then looked back at him. He seemed to think it was a good place to go. So Gil shrugged, and pushed in the door. There was a tinkling overhead as the edge of the door hit a bell on a spring.

    Inside, there were all kinds of outfits, and a counter…. but the counter was low. Too low. What?

    Then a very short person popped up behind the counter and grinned at him, and said, “Thank you for dropping in. What can I do for you today? Would you be looking for a nice outfit for your dog? Three hats, maybe?”

    Gil tilted his head, and bit his lip.

    “Err… no. And no offense, but would you mind telling me what you are?”

    The person laughed. A long, bushy eyebrow lifted and tilted. And a very bright blue eye peered closely at him.

    “Well, now, I don’t suppose I could convince you that I’m one of the merry munchkins from munchkin land, now could I? Not with that three-headed dog walking proud by your side.”

    Gil chuckled, but shook his head.

    “So, I’ll admit, I’m a gnome. My name, well, that’s something I choose not to share with most people, but you can call me… how about half-size? Sure, now, half-size gnome, that’s a good name for me.”

    Gil nodded. Gnomes… okay. He got out his card from the agency and said, “Do you know my boss? He said you had clothes that would be good for work.”

    The gnome smiled.

    “Ah! Yes, I’m sure we can take care of you.”

    He bustled around from behind the counter, and quickly set to taking measurements.

    “Would you be wanting Victorian tights, perhaps? Or a doublet?”

    Gil chuckled.

    “No. Just something for a cook. A chef’s white pants and shirt?”

    “Ah, something like Gordon Ramsay? Yes, we can do that. With a bit of extra so it doesn’t get stained quite so easy… yes, no problem.”

    Minutes later, he told Gil to come back in a week, and they would have his clothes ready.

    Gil thanked him, then asked, “So, what’s with the doll clothes?”

    The gnome chuckled.

    “And would you be asking that if you knew what people will pay for those doll clothes? Besides, I find the children easy to talk to. They seem to like finding someone their size. Although the ones who think I’m somebody named R2D2 are a bit strange.”

    Now Gil laughed.

    “Just tell them you’re Yoda, and that the Force is with you.”

    The gnome tilted his eyebrow again, and said, “You would be meaning to say with you, the Force is, would you not?”

    They both laughed for a minute at that.

    Gil left, and started walking away from the shop. Gnomes, right here in the middle of the city.

    Then he looked back at the shop.

    That’s when the gnome poked his head out of the window. “And, how did you want that? Full or half-sized?”

    Gil laughed, and shook his head.

    “I’ll take something that I can wear. You may be half-size, but I’m full size!”

    The gnome waved, and Gil walked on. Chuckling.

    (I may have to go back and pull up more of Gil, the cook)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. […] that’s a very good thing. But now I’m back and I present here my prompt response for Week 21 of the More Odds Than Ends weekly challenge. My prompt came from AC Young: “Someone’s been practicing their spells in the […]

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  4. For Cedar Sanderson:

    He dragged himself up on the muddy bank of the river, lifted his head, and saw a tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, so barren that lichen and fungi and moss would not attach themselves. No cobwebs were suspended between its branches. The tree stood in isolated splendor, and though surrounded by other trees in full leaf, bearing ripe fruit, hosting nests of birds and animals, the tree still exuded a sense that the fruit of the tree had been good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.
    He recalled having fallen into this stream of consciousness, and swimming against the current, his ability to empathize with others diminishing as his ability to distinguish that which was self from non-self, losing his perception of object permanence, fearing to close his eyes lest he open them to a void. When his lungs had nearly refilled, the stream tossed him up on the shore.
    Just as he began to grasp an idea of a thought of a hint of a clue as to where he was, he found himself surrounded by cherubim, who, murmuring indistinctly yet comfortingly, gently lifted him back into the stream, and pushed him back downstream.

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