Week 50 of Odd Prompts

We approach the season of a mental reset. The new year is just any other day, but we freight it with expectations of new beginning, of setting goals, making resolutions. Reality is that we are the same person on January the first as we were on December 31. All that is different is the attitude we bring with us. How are you approaching the greatest annual prompt of all, to start something new?

Style Prompts?TrademarksBranded
Cedar SandersonThe old dachshund began his morning lament for the hundredth day in a rownother Mike
Fiona GreyThe gnome crept off the holiday card and stepped carefully onto the mantle.Leigh Kimmel
AC YoungThe frost had painted all the trees white.Becky Jones
Becky JonesThe egret flew gracefully away from the shore.Fiona Grey
Leigh KimmelJust when you’re getting used to the new system, they go and change it again.AC Young
nother MikeHis mother had sent a simple, handmade holly wreath for Christmas. When he touched it…Cedar Sanderson

The weekly prompts will carry on as they have for something like three years now. That’s a way to track your productivity. What were you writing then, what are you writing now, and what are you plotting next?

SpareFar up on the mountain, looking out over the rumpled blanket of fog
SpareHere comes Santa Claus!
SpareMeanwhile, down in the valley…
SpareAway in a manger…
SpareRiding six white horses…

Take a prompt, add a spare, cascade a few of those spares together. However you do it, let your imagination run wild for a few minutes this week. Don’t forget to show us what you’ve done down in the comments!



  1. For the third prompt of Advent, Leigh Kimmel gave to me: Just when you’re getting used to the new system, they go and change it again.

    It could be almost any system, but I invented an IT-related overly-beaurocratic system.

    Six months ago, we were taken over. Our new masters had imposed a whole new suite of processes and systems.

    The process for getting a new computer for a new starter was particularly annoying.

    I had to fill in the form on my computer, and everything had to be just right. If the higher ups spotted even one typo, they’d send the whole thing back and I would have to start again.

    Then the form had to be printed out. I had to sign it by hand, and take it through to the Section Manager. He had to sign it as well, at which point it would be handed to his secretary.

    The secretary would scan the fully-signed form, and e-mail it back to me. I would then need to forward it to Human Resources, who would check everything with a fine-toothed comb (I sometimes hope they’d break a few teeth sooner or later).

    If it passed HR, they’d e-mail me back. I’d then need to forward the signed form to IT, with HR’s e-mail as an attachment.

    Then in about one-to-two weeks the new computer would arrive.

    The whole process could take up to three weeks. Longer if I’d misspelt the new person’s name.

    Once I’d had the form rejected by HR because the new starter had called herself Bethan on one set of forms and Beth on another. It took a whole fortnight to sort that mess out. Initially HR refused to believe that I hadn’t made a mistake. Then they insisted on contacting Bethan and demanding that she resubmit the inconsistent forms, using the same name on both this time. Only then would they consider my resubmitted form.

    It was a complete pain in the backside. It was twenty-times worse than the pre-takeover system (and that was being generous). But it was the system we were expected to use. I was starting to get used to it.

    Then this morning I logged on to my machine to find an e-mail from HR.

    Our Lords and Masters were making various processes more consistent across the wider business. The system for getting a new computer for a new starter was one of the processes that were being updated. The was-new-but-now-old system was no longer in use. The new-new system would be provided to us in due course – when was anyone’s guess.

    The minor problem was that I had a new starter joining my section in four weeks. And he would need a new computer.

    I wrote an e-mail to HR, informing them of the timescales and requesting guidance.

    It’s now the end of the working day, and I’m still waiting for the reply. I’m not holding out much hope of getting anything helpful in a reasonable timeframe.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Please be sure to attach the equipment label supplied by HR to the equipment purchased by the company. Failure to attach this label may result in the equipment being removed from service. (I really appreciated getting one of those labels for the headphone set that the company had purchased. The label was bigger than every part of the headphones. I stuck it in my drawer and ignored it… no one took my headphones away, either.)


      • Noooooo! Not only do I have the giant label on the least useful pair of headphones ever – constantly falling off, the label sticker gets stuck in my hair, the plug detaches with the gentle whisper of butterfly wings from five states away – I had to sign paperwork for them. Who gets the paperwork? Where does it go? Why did it have to be hard copy? What happens if I try to turn in the headphones? Which three other people have to sign the paperwork within a two-day window or be required to start over?

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Cedar and I traded prompts this week. Here it is…

    The old dachshund began his morning lament for the hundredth day in a row

    [oh, ho! Some dogs do greet the morning with a bit of howling. So…]

    It all started when they took the puppy away. See, the old dachshund really enjoyed the company, and then, one day, they took his buddy away. So, the very next morning, when the sun rose and he didn’t see his little buddy, he lifted his nose to the sky and howled his lamentation. And then, day after day, he greeted each day with lamentations, loud and long and mournful.

    The family groaned, too. They marked on the calendar, and wondered how long he would keep it up. The days rolled by, ten, twenty, thirty. And still, every morning, the old dachshund sang his lamentation to the rising sun. And shuffled through the day, slow and angry.

    But today! The old dachshund began his morning lament for the hundredth day in a row. Then he paused, gasped, and stopped. He shook his head and looked around as something yipped behind him. Then he tried to turn, and almost fell over in his hurry. And charged forward, with a cheerful little yip! They had brought the puppy back, and all was right with the world again.

    The puppy submitted to having his face licked, and to being rolled over and sniffed from head to toe. He wiggled in happiness at finding the old dachshund still there, and they trotted off together to find their breakfast kibble…

    [okay, it’s short, but… Merry Christmas!]

    Liked by 3 people

    • Merry Christmas!

      The story behind my prompt: the neighbor has a long-haird dauchshund of some antiquity. Seventeen years is very old indeed in dog years. Every morning, before dawn, the dogs are let out. And every morning, the blind old dachsie sits on the porch and howls and barks for an hour, until they are let back inside again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Y’a know, if I couldn’t see, and probably had hip pains, too, and you shoved me somewhere and left me in the cold, I’d complain too. Poor old dachsie! I wonder if he’d do better if someone went out and sat with him?


  3. Just a short snippet: AC Young prompted me with “The frost had painted the trees white.”

    Lina stared out the back door. Last night’s frost had painted all the trees white. Winter was moving in. She hadn’t had a chance to really inspect the house and was hoping she could make it through the winter without any problems, or at least any big problems. She grinned to herself. Maybe she should call Tyler McKinney. She still needed to talk to Abbie about him and make sure he really was looking after the house.

    Sighing, Lina turned back into the kitchen and opened the fridge. There should be something in here she could have for lunch. She stared at her sparse supplies for a minute and then shut the door. Grabbing her keys and purse off the counter she threw her coat on, walked out the front door, and climbed into her car. She had shipped her car out from the East Coast, and it had finally arrived the week before.

    Driving the short distance into town, Lina contemplated the new direction her life was taking. She was still working remotely on cases for her old law firm, while simultaneously creating a law office in Hidden River. She figured that at some point she would have to give up the remote work as her workload here in Hidden River grew. And honestly, she wouldn’t miss the frenzy and stress of high-powered corporate law, even though it had been her goal throughout the entirety of her time in law school.

    The other piece of her life, the gigantic elephant in the room, was this whole magic thing. She still wasn’t sure that she wanted to explore that any further, but she knew that she would have to face the music… or fact the magic.

    She shook her head. “Just say it… I’m a witch,” she muttered. Movement flashed in the corner of her eye and she slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting whatever small animal had darted in front of her car. A small shape stopped in front of her car and sat down. Shaking slightly, Lina hit the flashers, got out of the car and walked around to the front.

    “Mew!” The small black and white cat rubbed against Lina’s shin. She leaned down and scratched it behind the ears.

    “What are you doing, running in the road, little one?” Lina murmured petting the tiny creature.

    “Mrrow,” the cat replied. It stood up, putting its paws on Lina’s legs.

    “Okay. Let’s get back in the car, and we’ll see what we can do,” Lina said, picking up the kitten who immediately snuggled into her neck.

    Lina climbed back into the driver’s seat and put the kitten on the passenger seat where it turned around a couple of times and then curled up facing Lina. Big green eyes gave her two slow blinks before closing. A loud purr filled the car.

    Liked by 2 people

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