Odd Prompts: Week 33

Blimey – a tip of the hat to all of you, and can you believe it’s week 33 already? Time’s apparently on warp speed, making up for a few lost years and zooming into the AI-enabled future.

Let’s get on with it, then, because however you make art, a little shaping in the form of prompts doesn’t hurt. Editing is just the equivalent of breaking in a new Stetson; it’ll keep the rain off, but needs a touch of tweaking until the fit is right and it’s your tale to tell.

TosserThe HatPuller
Fiona GreyShe was guided by runestarsLeigh Kimmel
AC YoungShe was determined to be the planet’s first ever professional cello player.Becky Jones
PadreFinally homeward bound.Cedar Sanderson
nother MikeThe first field agents of the alien forces were in the toy stores…AC Young
Becky JonesThe dragon hid under the bed.Fiona Grey
Leigh KimmelThe gnome carefully returned his papers to his briefcase and walked out of the courtroom with the enormous pride and dignity of the Wee Folk.Padre
Cedar SandersonThe Tiki Bar on the side of the road with a free sign on it was more than they bargained fornother Mike
SpareLet the artificial intelligence play too, Timmy
SpareTehran is for lovers
SpareThe censors made a mistake when they let The 3rd Symphony be performed. It became hugely popular, sparking demands to hear the composer’s censored 1st and 2nd symphonies. Ultimately it brought down the whole art censorship system.
Spare‘Braindrops keep falling in my head’
SpareThe minotaur switched the GPS off.
SpareIt wasn’t a bird. It wasn’t a plane. It wasn’t Superman. Even less likely, it was a…

Here’s to the hands that shape the stories. We’ll see you in the comments. Until next time!

Header image by Fiona Grey



  1. This week we had a hat derangement. I ended up with nother Mike’s hat: The first field agents of the alien forces were in the toy stores…

    It took me a long time to decide which way to go with this one. It was tempting to go down the tiny alien spaceship route (there was an advert this side of the pond a while back in which an alien hijacked TV broadcasts, but when he landed and left his ship it was run over by an alien-lover late to the party). But I went down a different route.

    War in Space was the latest TV phenomenon. The show centred on a conflict in deep space between the Human Alliance and an alien empire.

    It was a surprise hit. The producers hadn’t planned on commissioning any toys to cash in on the series. That omission was quickly fixed.

    On the Human Alliance side, Colonel Scarlet, who was so often seen leading his men into the heart of battle, was essential. Also the Planetary Assault Battalion – the standard unit of the Human Alliance Army – formed of Aurochs tanks and Wildebeest armoured personnel carriers, with the associated men.

    Toys representing the opposing forces would be needed so the young fans could act out the battles. So the alien cavalry brigade – the aliens riding big armoured beasts taller than an elephant, and armed with weaponry including anti-tank missiles – was also commissioned.

    The battles in space were not forgotten. The Human Alliance flagship, the Jupiter, and the Nightfighter space fighters were opposed by the alien battleships – nameless for the fleet led by the Jupiter tended to destroy them eventually, but the aliens had limitless supplies to throw into the next battle – and their Quadblade fighters.

    But the favourite aliens were the field agents. These disguised themselves as humans and tried to infiltrate the Human Alliance forces in order to obtain their plans. Opposing them were the Human Alliance’s Space Intelligence, Section V. Naturally, the producers had ordered many sets of the alien field agents and of the SIV operatives.

    In the back of the big toy store in town the first set of deliveries had arrived. The employees descended on the boxes. They were full of boxes of the alien field agents. It was their first delivery of these.

    Up on the shelves they went. And word spread, customers came in specially that day. At times no sooner had the staff put the field agents on the shelves, than they were taken down again.

    By the end of the day the shelves set aside for the alien field agents were as bare as they were at the start. And the staff were not looking forwards to the next day’s deliveries – rumour had it that they were not only getting their first deliveries of the Planetary Assault Battalions, but also the alien Quadblades. And the day after was scheduled for the arrival of Colonel Scarlet and the SIV operatives.

    It was looking like the start of a very, very busy week at the toy stores.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. And I now have mine up on my LiveJournal at https://starshipcat.livejournal.com/1199568.html. I took it meta and ended up writing a significant scene in the ending of the third volume of a series that I have barely started, and I really need two other series at least partly written before it.

    OTOH, sometimes having the later books written and ready to go can serve as motivation to get those earlier books written, even if it means needing to fiddle with the later ones to get everything to fit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here is mine. Leigh Kimmel prompted me this week with “The gnome carefully returned his papers to his briefcase and walked out of the courtroom with the enormous pride and dignity of the Wee Folk.” I didn’t have a clear idea where it was going, so I plugged in the prompt and started writing.

    The gnome carefully returned his papers to his briefcase and walked out of the courtroom with the enormous pride and dignity of the Wee folk.
    “Well, that went about as well as could be expected. What possessed you to bargain with the fey in the first place?”
    “I was desperate. I thought they would claim my first-born child. Since I don’t have any children and don’t plan to have any, I figured I’d be clear. Or they would ask for something simple that I could live without. It was supposed to be easy, trading protection for something I wouldn’t miss.”
    “And once you got in, you couldn’t get out.”
    “So, what do I do now?”
    “You serve them for the two hundred years you bargained for. I can’t help it if you didn’t understand the contract. That’s why you are supposed to read everything. And never make a promise to them. It’s in all the stories.”
    “Not in any of the books I read in school.”
    “That’s the problem. You didn’t read anything outside of school and in school you only read the literature they made you read. None of which prepares you for cutting deals with the fey. Not even the few fairy tales you picked up by osmosis or in Disney versions helped.”
    “So, what about my protection?”
    “Oh, you’ll be protected from the cartel. Have no fear of that. They won’t be able to get you and the Cartel will be gone in two hundred years, as will everything else you’ve ever known. And you will serve Faerie, whether you like it or not.”
    “Oh. I didn’t think about that. So, I gave up my life for nothing.”
    “I wouldn’t say that. There is a great honor in serving at the Courts.”
    “But… I don’t know anything about it. My degree in Gender Studies didn’t cover this!”
    “I’m sure you’ll learn quickly. And I’m pretty sure they will appreciate your lectures on the dominance of the Patriarchy and modern gender theory. You’ll definitely see a lot of queerness.”
    “You really think so?”
    “Every court needs a jester.
    “Huh? I don’t get it.”
    “You’ll understand eventually.”
    “So, why did they send a gnome? I expected an elf or someone more… attractive.”
    “The gnomes are always their lawyers. They are the most down to earth of the fey.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Cedar Sanderson laid out the parameters…

    The Tiki Bar on the side of the road with a free sign on it was more than they bargained for

    [Tiki? Aha, the sculptures… right…]

    Rodney shook his head when he saw the first billboard. This road through the dry lands of Colorado sure didn’t seem like the kind of place to find a Tiki Bar, but that’s what the sign promised. He glanced over at Bonnie.

    “So, are you interested in stopping at the Tiki Bar?”

    She chuckled.

    “Sure, why not? We could use a break. And who knows, they might have some funny souvenirs or other odds and ends for sale.”

    They watched, and the small billboards they passed promised that they would find good drinks, cheap food, and music at the Tiki Bar. None of them explained how a genuine Polynesian tourist trap happened to get located in the middle of Colorado, but maybe the bartender would explain.

    So, when the Tiki Bar turned up, they pulled off and stopped in the parking lot. The dust, and the tumbleweeds standing beside the lot, didn’t make it very attractive, but the Tiki Bar actually had several carved Tikis outside the door. And a sign advertising free drinks! So they parked the car, and walked inside.

    Inside, the walls were covered with more carved tikis. Although there were several tables, round tables with fronds hanging along the edges. Rodney laughed and they walked over and sat down.

    That’s when the Tikis started chanting. Bum, bum, bum. The carved faces wrinkled, and the eyelids blinked. The mouths grinned, and the chant grew louder.

    Then he walked up to the table. A Māori, in full costume. He smiled at them. Then he set tall glasses on the table.

    And with a final thud, the chant stopped.

    “Nice to see you folks. Hope you don’t mind the background, the tikis like to greet everyone who comes in. Here’s your free drinks!”

    Rodney looked around the room. Somehow, he wasn’t surprised to realize that the door was gone. Now the room was surrounded by tikis, all smiling and looking at them. After a moment, he reached out and picked up a drink.

    The Māori started dancing a haka as Rodney started to drink. The tikis chanted, loudly.

    The Tiki Bar on the side of the road with a free sign on it was more than they bargained for.

    [hum not sure what to do with Rodney and Bonnie in the little Tiki Bar… although I have to admit, I keep humming, “There’s a little Tiki Bar on the side of the road…” maybe it’s a rock and roll song?]

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do wonder what the ‘catch’ is… and if it is worth it. Of course, it might that the Tikis just want ANY company at all, no matter for how short a time or how slight. Eternity is long time, and all that.


  5. Promptless, but something boiled to the surface. You might notice a bit of rhyming, but I make NO claims…

    We were underway to Brintha itself. It had been pure Hell. One damned battle after another, and if we were lucky our losses were under 25%. When we were not lucky, there MIGHT be a few badly scarred survivors. And it is not the visible scars of which I speak. Anybody can see those, and appreciate the horror. It’s the scars that are not visible that are the worst, for they are DEEP.

    The war in Klemptra had ended – and it was no picnic, as so many had told me. They slogged. They fought. They died. And they carried on until, at long long last the Great Lunatic finally gave up. I don’t know if the stories are true and I don’t care. Maybe The Great Lunatic killed himself, maybe he was killed, but Klemptra had peace. Desolation, and a dire need for, well, EVERYTHING – and a half a dozen of EVERYTHING ELSE, but blessed, blessed peace. If it was Hell, it was an Outter circle I, and my crew, desperately yearned for.

    And then, the unthinkable, the unimaginable occurred. The comms team decoded the message. It was too good to be true. I did something I once swore I’d NEVER do. I woke the other comms groups shifts and had them check. They confirmed it -TWICE. EACH. It was pure fiction. Pure science fiction. No, it was outright FANTASY… but some screwy-as-all-hell one-in-a-billion shot had miraculously paid off. They had had actually made a super-weapon and it WORKED. That was crazy, but it had work so well that even Brintha had cried “UNCLE!”

    I had the crew, as much as could be, assembled, and addressed them. “I do NOT expect you to believe it until we get there, but some of you might have noticed a course change. We are NOT going to Brintha after all. The IMPOSSIBLE happened, and I don’t know know – and fear I do not want to know how – but the ‘backroom boys’ came up with something beyond imagination and Brintha cried ‘Uncle’. We are NOT going to Brintha. Instead we are going… HOME!” If there was a dry eye anywhere on the ship, I am sure our doctor got a visit – perhaps not voluntarily.

    I don’t know where the engine room folks found the fuel, and I am NOT fool enough to ask, but they ran the engines flat-out and I swear they pulled MANY DAYS worth of fuel from dry tanks. Damn right I bought every last one down there a CASE of scotch. Expensive? Compared to the cost of WAR? Drown your engineers in whisky. It’s cheaper than war, no matter the price.

    Liked by 2 people

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