Week 42 of Odd Prompts

42, the answer to life, the Universe, and Everything

Life grinds on, and in it’s wake bobs the odd debris of memories. We pick these up, turn them over in our hands, something strange dripping from deep within, and contemplate what was. Then we drop it, look at the distant horizon, and start composing a story to make some sense of it all.

Life needs meaning. Pick out a prompt, and use it to get you through this week. We all need motivation!

Cedar SandersonThe planet’s changing albedo indicated something strangeFiona Grey
AC YoungThe paradoxical pseudo-rose is a perennial which blooms in early autumn. Its fruit (called pseudo-hips or phips) develop in late autumn to early winter. The seeds germinate the next spring.nother Mike
Fiona GreyIt was only halfway through the sixpack that Micah realized his beer granted him the newfound ability to see ghosts and Fae.Cedar Sanderson
Leigh KimmelIn the department of same title, different songs: “Drive” by R.E.M. and “Drive” by Incubus — what are the hidden ties between them?AC Young
nother MikeSummoning a demon to wash the dishes was a mistake…Leigh Kimmel

For those who didn’t know they needed this little tether to imagination and purpose, for you there are spares. Don’t forget to come back and read the comments!

SpareDried cherries for fairies, prunes for gnolls, hazelnuts for…
SpareThe moon was remarkably busy that day.
SpareThe cheese rebellion was a very gouda time.
SpareThe man driving the car was wearing a patient’s gown, and a big smile…
SpareBeing a veterinarian at the young wizards school was challenging…

See you next week! We can talk about our stories, and ignore that ominous chewing sound coming up from behind us…



  1. This week I was assigned one of Leigh Kimmel’s Two Songs with the Same Title prompts: In the department of same title, different songs: “Drive” by R.E.M. and “Drive” by Incubus — what are the hidden ties between them?

    The Incubus song appeared to be about not following the crowd out of fear. The REM song had more ambiguous lyrics, and I couldn’t figure out any overarching theme. So I confess I just went with the Incubus theme.

    Bruce was terrified. Today was the day when he had to decide where he wanted to apply to for post-school training.

    He wasn’t worried because he didn’t know what he wanted to do. He was scared because all his friends wanted to go into the Engineering Corps, helping to keep the space stations and ships running. Bruce wanted to become a pilot – but engineers looked down on pilots – claiming that understanding how the critical systems ran required much more intelligence.

    Bruce wanted nothing more than to get behind the controls of a high-class spaceship. But he also didn’t want to lose all his friends, and he was sure that they would all abandon him if he followed his dreams.

    The day couldn’t be put off any longer. Bruce headed out through the front hatch into the corridors of the space station, and made his way to school. On the way he met up with Freddie and Freida and Godfrey. The other three were excitedly discussing their future in the Engineering Corps – confident that they would meet the minimum standards. Bruce couldn’t bring himself to join in.

    At school they were separated and sent into their own cubicles to fill in the forms. Bruce filled them in. He filled them in applying to become an engineer. He read over them again, and put the curser over the final button to send them through the aether, answers fixed irretrievably.

    In a sudden burst of unexpected courage, Bruce changed his mind. Before the fear could grip him again and he reverted back to engineering, Bruce swiftly changed most of his answers and submitted a form applying to train to be a pilot.

    The automated processes would collate everyone’s submissions, compare the requests against needs, and then assign everyone to the most suitable training programme. Those applying for a given course would be compared against the minimum requirements, and if there were more suitable applicants than needed only the best would be assigned. Courses with too few suitable applicants would be assigned the most suitable of the rejects. On the space stations everyone was needed to work to keep the stations running, so all were assigned to further training, even if only to menial jobs no-one sane would want.

    Bruce headed out to the school hall and found his friends. All of them excitedly trying to predict which branch of engineering they would be assigned to. Bruce stayed silent, not wanting to reveal that he hadn’t applied for the Engineering Corps, afraid of what his friends would say when they found out.

    Then the screens on the shortest wall flashed, and lists of names appeared. Everyone swarmed over to find their names and where they had been assigned. Squeals of delight and groans of despair could be heard from the crowd as Bruce found his way to the front.

    ‘Bruce Stewart: Pilot Training (Escort)’ he read. He was delighted. Not only had he made it into pilot training, but he’d been assigned to the Escort service. Escort vessels were essential to keep the trade and supply vessels safe from the pirates, and were the most powerful and manoeuvrable vessels that called at the station. Like all the pilot services, some years there wasn’t any need for more Escort pilots – he’d been lucky this year that an opening was available.

    He joined his friends outside the school and they all told each other their news. Freida was going into the Electrical Engineers, Freddie into the Structural Engineers, Godfrey into the Mechanical Engineers. Not all of his friends had made it into the Engineering Corps, and everyone commiserated with those assigned elsewhere. Then it was Bruce’s turn: “Escort Pilot!” he crowed with delight. His friends were delighted for him – somehow they’d known that his heart wasn’t in the same galaxy as theirs.

    Bruce joined the crowd rushing home to tell their parents. One more weekend, and then his training would begin.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. AC Young proposed…

    The paradoxical pseudo-rose is a perennial which blooms in early autumn. Its fruit (called pseudo-hips or phips) develop in late autumn to early winter. The seeds germinate the next spring.

    One bout of scribbling…

    Harold sighed as he looked around the greenhouse. Oh, they thought they were being kind, giving him this outlet, but he wished that his affliction would let him outside. In the years that he had worked here, though, he had managed a few triumphs. Along with the ordinary roses and other flowers, he had his pseudo-roses, both the ordinary ones that followed the seasons, and the paradoxical pseudo-roses. A perennial, but he had raised it to go against the seasons. Blooming in late autumn, when the other flowers were settling into their winter doldrums. Developing fruit, rose-hips, or in this case, pseudo-hips, or phips as he liked to call them, in late autumn and early winter. The seeds, of course, germinated the next spring.

    But his current goal was to cross-breed his paradoxical pseudo-roses and his best ordinary pseudo-roses, aiming to fill the seasons. Instead of blooming in spring or autumn, his one quarter pseudo-roses would bloom in summer, while his three quarter pseudo-roses would bloom in the middle of winter! Then he would have pseudo-roses blooming all year round!

    After all, a man who could not walk outside without suffering a panic attack so severe that he would collapse needed some kind of a hobby, and raising improbable pseudo-roses gave him something to do, here in his greenhouse.

    (Hum, I kind of like poor Harold and his pseudo-roses…)

    And a bit of doggerel…

    The paradoxical pseudo-rose,
    He ain’t got no clothes,
    But when it gets up your nose,
    In the fall, when autumn comes,
    You know the Phips is sure to follow!
    ‘Cause it’s a thorny flower…

    Liked by 1 person

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