Week 5 of Odd Prompts

Writing prompts are a great way to overcome adversity, whether it’s inertia or structural errors or needing a break from the usual weirdness of the world. So if you’re looking for something to get you going again, try one of these!

With no further fanfare, here are your trades. And you can join too, all by emailing an idea to oddprompts@gmail.com.

AC YoungIn the Sussex Arms…Cedar Sanderson
Ray KrawczykThe frozen bodies mocked me from the side of the road where they had perished, their features composed as if in sleep.nother Mike
nother MikeWhen Greg woke up, he was on the wrong side of the airlock…Ray Krawczyk
Fiona GreyThe rental came with unexpected collateral.AC Young
Becky JonesShe walked from sunshine into a howling blizzard in ten steps.Fiona Grey
Leigh KimmelShe’d been through blizzards before, but never like this. The snow was blowing in a rainbow of colors.Becky Jones
Cedar SandersonThe self-cleaning house sounded like a good idea…Leigh Kimmel

Not sure you want to take the plunge? Grab a spare to see if you like it, or suggest ideas and watch what happens in the comments section.

SpareOb-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on (no twist!)
SpareA centaur walks into a bar.
Sparea floppy drink
Spare“smoked like a fish, drank like a chimney”

It’s that easy! Unless, of course, the creative ideas start flowing, and won’t stop, and it becomes a habit. But there are worse things, no?

Header image by Fiona Grey



    • I was NOT aware of another being in the mix. And while I did submit the RADARgloves spare, it was more as I simply do NOT ‘get’ the whole RADAR Love thing. I’ve heard the tune…and..uh… WTH? But what one could one do with, for example, Gunn-diode equipped gloves IS an interesting idea.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A quick sketch…

        “Darn it, the globbies have crushed the radar antenna again! How are we supposed to get a shuttle down if we can’t keep the radar working?”

        Harold nodded, and finished wiring up his gloves. Gunn diodes, along with a layer to sense the radar reflections and give him tactile feedback. He was fairly sure it should work, letting him bounce a low level radar pulse off a globby and feel the return.

        Then he walked out, and lifted his gloved hands.

        He turned, and stretched his fingers. Yes, there it was. That globby, the one by the path. He waved his hand in the air, feeling the smooth back of the globby. He stroked the air, and the globby slowly stretched, and stood up! Then it moved toward him, and he reached over and stroked the knob they all called a head. His hand, in the gloves, was still quite a distance from the globby, but the radar gloves made it feel like he was touching it. And the globby seemed to sense the radar touch, too.

        The globby stopped, and he could feel a low level… that must be a radar pulse, coming from the globby. It… through the glove, it felt like a purr.

        Almost automatically, he stroked the knob on the globby. The purring seemed to grow stronger.

        Dang it, with radar gloves, he thought the globby acted like a cat! All it took was radar gloves to reach across the distance between human and globby.

        Now if he could just convince the globbies not to sit on the radar antenna.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. This week I was challenged by Fiona Grey: The rental came with unexpected collateral.

    I think I took this one down a bit of a dead end…

    Diamond North Airport Rentals was a new start-up that hired cars out at their local airport. They received a lot of custom because they didn’t ask for a deposit, nor did they impose a fine should there be an accident. Instead, for collateral they asked customers to supply their DNA, which DNAR could use as it pleased, even if the car was returned undamaged.

    But the company was delighted at all the custom. For they were building a private DNA database.

    Once it reached a certain size they could charge for access. They were thinking of charging police forces to review the database to see if they could identify a criminal. Medical researchers could be charged to review the database to extract the data that could either confirm or deny the validity of their hypotheses.

    Over time DNAR hoped to make more money from their side-business of the DNA database than they would make from the car hire main business.

    All that was necessary was for enough customers to pass through the airports who weren’t too worried about where their DNA ended up – and for no-one else to put the pieces together and destroy DNAR’s reputation.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Prompted by ‘nother Mike

    When Greg woke up, he was on the wrong side of the airlock…

    When Greg woke up, he was on the wrong side of the airlock…

    He swallowed the rising urge to vomit. His vision swam in and out of focus. He noticed red droplet floating inside his helmet. Reflexively, he grabbed for his tether.

    His tether… he’d just finished attaching it to the pad eye next to the airlock. Why was he outside his ship? He searched him memory. Boarding? Yes, they had stopped a suspected smuggler. The smuggler had dumped the cargo during the chase, and his ship, the SGC Vaillancourt had disabled their engines by putting holes in the bell. Until those holes were patched, that smuggler wasn’t going anywhere under power. But, during the chase, the Vallaincourt had collided with some of that cargo.

    Which didn’t explain the explosion that blew him forward, to the end of his tether and slammed him against the side of the ship.

    He coughed to clear some of the blood in his helmet that he’d just aspirated. He reached for his helmet to apply first aid to his head wound. No, wait. He couldn’t take his helmet off out here. He needed to get inside.
    He began reeling himself back along his tether to the airlock. Along the way, spacer habit made him scan his status display. Radio out, comm laser said it was up, fusebox good, maneuvering unit good, shit, oxygen depleted, life support in rebreather mode only. Maybe thirty minutes of air remaining if he took it easy.
    Too bad nothing is easy in space.

    His progress along the tether brought him in sight of the airlock and the source of the explosion. The primary Tokamak ring was blown out. It had vented 10,000-degree Kelvin plasma along the plane of the hull. There were spots burned clean through the outer skin. Unfortunately, one of those spots was the lower part of the reinforced frame of the airlock. There was no way that lock was going to hold air.

    Greg thought about what had to be going on inside the Vaillancourt right now. They were probably in damage control mode. APLFCC, Air, Power, Life Support, Flight, Communicate, Crew. They were probably frantically rushing to seal the holes in the skin of the ship. Then they’d spin up all of the emergency generators. They would have power for life support and flight controls, to call for help. And then they’d do a head count to check for missing crew.

    He wasn’t going to get any help from the Vaillancourt, the second crewman never made it out of the lock. For that matter, Greg wasn’t sure he made it into the lock. If he had, he was probably trapped in the lock with no way to build pressure, no way to re-enter the ship. If he hadn’t made it into the lock, well, lucky him. Who was it again? Verbena? He couldn’t remember.

    Twenty-seven minutes.

    Greg looked over at the smuggler. It was a small craft. Probably a repurposed lunar shuttle, bought cheap, brought up to barely flightworthy status, run out to Neptune to pick up a cargo of contraband and run hard in-system. It was atmospheric, so, probably planning to make for Mars or Earth.
    Any port in a storm.

    He fired up his comm laser and flashed a message at the smuggler. “Spacer in distress. Request you open outer air lock.” Then he fired his grapple at the smuggler. It made solid contact close to the orange and white hashed painted border for the airlock. He spooled in the grapple line until he hit the end of his tether to the Vaillancourt. He said a quick prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino, the patron saint of airmen, astronauts and those afflicted with mental handicaps, and disconnected his tether.

    The grapple spool brought him to the surface of the smuggler’s ship. He used a gecko glove to pull himself to the pad eyes at the airlock, and fastened another tether.

    Twenty-two minutes.

    The airlock controls showed pressure in the lock. Universal design had airlock doors opening in as a safety measure. There was almost a ton of air stacked on top of the hatch. He’d never be able to force that door open. He swam to the viewport in the door and looked inside. As he watched, the inner door swung open. A crewman inside fumbled with it for a second, securing it in the open position. The man did a double take when he saw something at the observation port in the outer door, then made a shrugging motion.

    Twenty minutes.

    Greg geckoed his way up the hull of the smuggler until he could see the laser receiver. He aimed his comm laser at it and sent, “Spacer in distress. Please open the airlock. I am low on life support.” A wave of nausea, dizziness and disorientation washed over him.

    A line of text flashed across his heads-up display. ‘Sorry about your luck.”

    Panic made him breathe faster, gulping the air in his helmet and he breathed in some more of his own blood. It tasted like a bloody nose.

    Fifteen minutes.

    He aimed his comm laser at the Vaillancourt. “Greg here. I am alive, injured and low on life support. I have declared a spacer in distress, and the smuggler has failed to offer aid. I am going to attempt a hostile boarding of the smuggler.” He knew that they probably weren’t even at the communication stage of damage control, but it would sit there in the buffer until they were.

    He used his comm laser to communicate with the smuggler again. “This is a Chaffee class shuttle, right?”

    Fourteen minutes.

    The reply came after a short delay, “Yeah, so what?”

    “The Chaffee class doesn’t have any pressure bulkheads.”

    Thirteen minutes.

    Again, a short delay, “So?”

    “So, either open up I spill all of your air.”

    This time Greg used the short delay to prep a piece of boarding equipment.

    The delay was shorter this time, “You wouldn’t dare.”

    Greg thought about informing him of the penalty for ignoring a dutchman or a spacer in distress, but he didn’t have the time left to hold a class on astronautical law. He geckoed over to the airlock, saw that the inner door was still dogged open, and applied the shaped charge to the outer door. Clambering back around the curve of the hull he detonated the breaching charge.

    Ten minutes.

    He felt the hull ring and saw a cloud of condensate blowing out as the air inside the shuttle rushed to escape to the area of lower pressure. The condensate stopped, then was replaced by a stream of boiling liquid. Greg averted his eyes and said a prayer for the smuggler.

    With tons of air pressure rushing to escape from the hole Greg had just blown in the outer door of the airlock, the gust had picked up anything unsecured, like an unfortunate smuggler, and threw it at the breach. Once there, the pressure differential would have avulsed a wound in the smuggler and atmospheric pressure would have acted like a vise, pushing all of his blood, and possibly his viscera out the hole.

    Five minutes.

    With no time left to lose, Greg clambered to the hatch. There was a long stream of unpleasant, frozen matter extruded through the hole. He quickly produced a knife, and cut that away, then undogged the hatch. He found the unfortunate soul stuck to the inside of the hatch. His abdomen evacuated by the pressure differential. His face frozen in an eternal scream. Greg paused to scrape him off the inside of the hatch to drift away in space.

    Another tool from the breaching kit applied a quick patch to the hole in the airlock door. He dogged it shut, then freed the inner door from its catch the smuggler had used to lock it open, closing and securing the inner door.

    Another wave of dizziness consumed him, making him fight back the urge to vomit. He pulled himself along to the flight controls and found the life support panel lit up like a Christmas tree. The repressurize panel was flashing an urgent red. He slapped at it, and felt the joints on his suit soften as the pressure equalized.
    He lifted his faceplate and took a deep breath. The air wasn’t clean, exactly, but it tasted better than the used-up air in his suit had. He pulled himself down to the pilot’s couch and strapped himself in.

    Locating the radio, he sent on the distress band, “Space Guard Cutter Vaillancourt, this is Specialist North. Check your comm buffer for an earlier message. I was forced to take the suspected smuggler by force when they would not honor my spacer in distress call. One casualty. My EVA suit is damaged, comm out, oxygen spilled by the same explosion that damaged the Vaillancourt. Smuggler vessel has atmosphere and appears operational on maneuvering jets. I am ready to lend assistance, but I think I have a concussion and could use medical aid. Over.”

    Now it was just a matter of waiting to be rescued. Or to rescue the crew of the Vaillancourt.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ray Krawczyk contributed…

    The frozen bodies mocked me from the side of the road where they had perished, their features composed as if in sleep.

    A sketch…

    There were those who laughed beforehand, and even afterwards, saying, “Hey, it’s just a little snow.”

    Just a little? The meteorologists forecast it as the storm of the century, if not longer. Every news station warned people to stay home, if at all possible.

    So, middle of the afternoon, on The Interstate, the cars and trucks were bumper to bumper with the snow coming down. And of course, there was an accident. So no one could go anywhere.

    Except some fools decided they should walk out of it. Couldn’t be too far to get to some shelter, right?

    Which meant when the snow finally stopped, with measured snowfall higher than high, and drifts above that, the army got called in to help with the clean up.

    So I was there. With a snowblower, cutting a path through the packed snow. And watching, because there were people in the snow. Frozen solid.

    When I saw some, I stopped the rig. Hit the brakes, and waited for everything to settle. Then I looked at them.

    The frozen bodies mocked me from the side of the road where they had perished, their features composed as if in sleep.

    It wasn’t supposed to happen, right here in the heart of America, but when the snow falls, there’s no stopping it.

    I reported them to the sergeant on the radio, and shook my head. Then I pressed down on the gas and kept going. Behind me, there were medics, food trucks, and all the rest of the emergency supplies that folks needed. So for now, I had to leave those bodies frozen in the snow. There’d be another convoy later that would pick them up, and carry them on.

    But for now, all I could do was tell the sergeant where I saw them.

    And say a little prayer for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, my… I suppose showing off your cat pictures would be a bad idea, too? The intern’s name isn’t Laurel, by any chance?


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