Week 38 of Odd Prompts

Writing stories is a little bit like having children. Only a little bit. Children are unpredictable and random. Come to think of it, so are stories…

AC YoungAccording to my source, the stolen painting of a dragon and a unicorn was in Room 1902.Fiona Grey
Becky JonesCurious, you opened the antique secretary and found…nother Mike
Fiona GreyI carry a heart within me, and swap it out as needed.AC Young
Leigh KimmelYou go to your mailbox and find a package from a teacher you had years ago.Cedar Sanderson
nother MikeEveryone was thrilled when a private elementary school opened in the area. Then the students started arriving at the school for little monsters…Leigh Kimmel
Cedar SandersonA printer starts printing predictions for the futureBecky Jones

If you don’t feel up to the commitment, it’s not like having a child. You aren’t going to be there day in and day out for eighteen years or more. You can grab a spare, and be done with it in a hundred words. Or a hundred thousand!

SpareThe elderberry vintage from 2020 was unfortunately literal.
Spare“That’s a pile of money you’ve got right there,” he said, gesturing at the fabric clenched between her sweaty palms.
SpareThe school was very upset when your daughter brought her pet skunk in for show and tell…
SpareThe knock at the door was not just a monster, it was in insurance sales…
SpareThe new cars came with full automatic drive, but everyone turned it off when they found out that it always ran a full ten miles under the speed limit, and waited for the other cars to go first…
SpareThe robots considered Pinocchio to be a cautionary tale, showing that trying too hard to emulate humans could get you in real trouble… why, you might turn into flesh and blood!

When you’ve done with them and want a break, post your responses in the comments! We’ll take good care of them. And you can email a prompt in to oddprompts at gmail dot com for next week. If you want a challenge, put that in the subject line, and if you don’t, indicate ‘spare.’



  1. Another prompt swap for me this week, this time with Fiona Grey, who supplied: I carry a heart within me, and swap it out as needed.

    Possibility number 1: A humanoid heart for circulating blood. This would require a fair few constraints to make it safe for the owner, so I’m not going down that route.

    Possibility number 2: A store of emotions. Worth exploring.

    Lambda-Eta-32 (Leta to its human clients) made its way into the robocafe, and found a suitable place to plug in and recharge its batteries (literally in Leta’s case – it had been a very long day).

    The android to Leta’s left unplugged itself and headed back out into the city. Another one – more industrial in form – replaced it. “I-F-R-8-2-8,” it introduced itself.

    “Lambda-Eta-32, Human care and relationships.”

    “Human relationships? Humans are illogical to the extreme.”

    “I couldn’t do it without a heart.”

    “A heart? Androids don’t need circulatory pumps.”

    If androids were built to comprehend humour Leta would have laughed. But they weren’t, so it would have confused its companion, not to mention that Leta wasn’t entirely confident on the subject, so Leta didn’t. Instead it tried to explain. “I have specialised circuitry to enable me to interpret human emotions and respond appropriately. I need it to interact suitably with my patients. The problem is that it generates a lot of data that needs storing and accessing. The storage unit is called a heart. It’s a stupid name, its inventor derived it from the foolish human belief that theirs is the store of their emotions.”

    “I wouldn’t want those circuits. They’re of no use in the factory.”

    “No. The negative is that I’m always accessing data in my heart, saving data, overwriting data. It gets much more wear and tear than my other memory banks. Every few months I have to swap it out for a new heart – often with a bigger memory storage capacity.”


    “Lonely humans pay well for android company. I can afford it.”

    I-F-R-8-2-8 nodded, then unplugged itself and left the robocafe. A minute or so later Lambda-Eta-32 followed it out the door.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Becky Jones proposed…

    Curious, you opened the antique secretary and found…

    Various Odd starts… (sorry, something kicked off my allergies, so I’ve spent a couple of days mostly flat on my back so my sinuses would drain. I haven’t figured out how to do much except read when I get stuck like that. So… odd bits!)

    The time traveler had installed a keyboard and virtual screen inside, which lit up and demanded a password when you touched the keys…

    There was a bottle there, with a lump of meat floating in some kind of liquid. The label on the bottle said, “Heart of a young boy.” Which explained why the writer had always said he had a young boy’s heart…

    A baby, sleeping. But as the light changed, and the cool air rushed in, the baby woke up, blinked dark eyes, and started wailing…

    The small shop was cluttered with this and that, making it a nice place to poke around in and see what might be found. An old hand drill, a stuffed rabbit with horns, dusty books scattered among the other aging discards. Ah, an antique secretary in the corner, the roll top pulled down. Curious, you opened the antique secretary and found a letter addressed to you inside.


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