Week 4 of Odd Prompts: 2023 Edition

The thing about a creative brain is that it is endlessly curious about all manner of things. This means that most creatives have a bin full of abandoned projects somewhere in the corner of their brain, lurking in the shadows. It takes discipline to learn how to give an end to match the beginning. Which is partly why this prompt challenge exists. Not simply to spark a start, each week with a prompt. No, it’s also to teach a creative brain the good habit of finishing what we’ve started.

ZoeI told her that getting those tickets meant the world to me, and that if I didn’t get them…Leigh Kimmel
Fiona GreyThe white tiger had to stand on his hind paws to use the ATM.Becky Jones
Becky JonesThe clouds drifted slowly across the face of the moon.Fiona Grey
PadreThe dragon departed with a flick of his tail.Cedar Sanderson
Leigh KimmelAll this hullabaloo, all this frantic preparation, and then nothing.nother Mike
nother MikeThe clerk in the convenience store just muttered when the werewolf walked in, “Full moon again.”Zoe
Cedar SandersonThere was a short, dry coughPadre

We aren’t going to keep track of what you do with your prompt. Or if you come back and post in the comments what you’ve done with it. That’s up to you to build those mental muscles of completion, taking what you are given in a spark, building it into a little flame atop a candle, and then watch it keep burning. Because like a candle, the mental exercise will keep burning on, even when the match had long gone out.

SpareThe Otter Bonsai
SpareTwelve men walked through the door to lay their bones before the hero.
SpareThe island rose with delicate grace.
SpareThe task seemed simple, until she started it. Then the calculations seemed endless.
Spare“I do not ask you you consider me human or even human-like. I simply ask that you call me ‘NON-human’ rather than ‘IN-human. I have learned there is a subtle and yet terrible difference.”

There are always spares, if you were uncertain about this week, and what you’d be able to do. That’s all good. Setting yourself up for failure is building a habit of failing, and none of us want that.

So! Ready to have fun and build a new habit?



  1. My prompt was given to me by nother Mike.

    The clerk in the convenience store just mutters when the werewolf walks in, “Full moon again.” As usual, the customer that the clerk is helping screams at the sight and runs out the door, but the clerk just rolls her eyes. “Johnny, what have I told you about opening food before paying?” The werewolf—Johnny—looks up, halfway through a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and grunts, clearly annoyed. “Don’t make me tell you again, Johnny. No money? NO FOOD,” the clerk says, getting more frustrated by the second. When the werewolf only snorts in reply, the angry clerk throws down the money she’s counting, and makes her way around the counter and over to the feasting beast. “I SAID, NO MONEY? NO FOOD.” The creature drops the bag of food in rage, standing up to full height. With an upset grr, Johnny steps towards the undeterred employee, taking a swing at her face, clearly underestimating her abilities. This perfectly ordinary clerk isn’t just a clerk, though. She’s a ninja! With a “hiYA!” and a front kick, the not-so-ordinary convenience store worker knocks Johnny to the ground. “And next time? You’ll pay for it.”

    “And that’s the end, sweetie!” The man closes the book and picks his sleeping daughter up, laying her on her bed and tucking her in. As she tosses and turns in her sleep, she mumbles the words, “And next time? You’ll pay for it.” The father laughs a proud, accomplished laugh, and shakes his head as he closes the bedroom door. He turns around to the startling sight of his wife, with her arms crossed and a steady glare on her face. “Tom,” she says. “Have you been telling your TWO YEAR OLD DAUGHTER werewolf stories again?”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Leigh Kimmel prompted…

    All this hullabaloo, all this frantic preparation, and then nothing.

    [hum… sometimes emergency training feels like that…how about a true confession?]

    So, back about 1980, the software company I was working in had a crisis. I have to admit, I wasn’t at the home office when it happened, but either a customer or perhaps one of the staff had a heart attack. And no one knew what to do. That lack of preparation was the crisis.

    The president of the company was irritated, and decried that we would have CPR training. He brought in a professional training group, and told them to have at it. So, for a week or so, everyone got treated to training, with a dummy that we got to check and then do our presses and blowing on. And for about a month afterward, at any time and place in the headquarters, you might find that dummy lying on the floor. And you had best go through the steps, yell for help, check out the patient, do the presses, do the blowing, all of that.

    By the end of that month, we were all reasonably well able to perform the CPR of that time and place. This was before “Staying Alive” became the popular CPR tune, so we just counted and tried to hit the timing. And no one had yet heard of AEDs. About 400 employees, and we had all been run through the basic training and plenty of practice. So the trainers and the dummy disappeared.

    The thing is, it’s been forty plus years, and in all that time, I’ve had one opportunity to even think about using that training. At a church concert, one of the men standing in front swayed and collapsed. But… a nurse and a medical doctor in the church both raced up and took charge, so even though I stood and watched, carefully, I certainly didn’t feel as if I needed to try out my aged training.

    All that hullabaloo, all that frantic preparation, and… for years, nothing.

    Looking back at it, I’ve also gone through quite a bit of first aid training in Boy Scouts. Bleeding, broken bones, not breathing, heck, snake bites and other odds and ends, I know… or at least knew! What to do. And I’m glad I got the training, even though I don’t remember any chances to really use it.

    I have to admit, I sort of wish there was a periodic, or occasional, refresher available. Something to help get the latest ideas and tools in, and to remind me about just what to do if something happens. I mean, Japan has fire drills and even earthquake drills, so why not occasional first aid drills?

    Then it would be all that hullabaloo, all that frantic preparation, and… yearly reminders (or maybe five year reminders?) to help keep the skills sharp, because nothing can turn into something critical in the blink of an eye.

    Even if nothing is a lot safer for everyone.

    [sorry, I ran into a serious thought along the way…]

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  3. Cedar prompted me with “There was a short, dry cough.”

    I was tempted to go back to Drak and his adventure in the swamp, rescuing the girl, but the prompt reminded me of Lord Dunsany, so I decided to see if I could pull him off. It’s probably a little too close to some of his stories, but I think it came out ok.

    It was said, in those days, that there was no finer thief in all the world than Hasheiff. Only a few of his exploits were known, and only a few more were suspected. But those that knew things knew he was the master.
    When the crown jewels of the queen of Ramathin were stolen, despite a tripled guard under threat of death, the nodding heads in the marketplace all agreed that Hasheiff was responsible. When the emerald and sapphire necklace of the princess of Far Thandoo was taken from her locked tower (along with her lacy small things, because he could), everyone knew that only Hasheiff could have scaled the sheer wall, slipped into her room without waking her or her pampered pet puppy, and vanished with the goods before the dawn. When the ruby eyes of the idol of Moombarr vanished in the middle of the Great Dusk Festival, it was suspected, but never proven that he was the culprit.
    And so it was that when Vanay the Fat conceived of his plan to filch the vast treasures of the mummified kings of Gowarran from their desert tombs, he knew that he had to have Hasheiff to succeed.
    We need not discuss, dear reader, the efforts that Vanay went through to find Hasheiff. The palms he greased to find his lair, the cut outs he went through to establish contact, or even what he promised to make it worth his while. But he knew he had him when he saw the quiet gleam in Hasheiff’s eye as he laid out the proposition. Now here was a challenge worthy of the greatest thief in the world.
    Hasheiff led the way into the tomb. He easily found and bypassed the tripwire that would have brought the door high in the tomb wall down on them, cutting them off from any means of escape. He noticed the plate in the floor that would have opened a vent in the ceiling and filled the room with sand, suffocating them all.
    Young Jaraf got too eager at the first sight of gold and ran past Hasheiff, only to discover another tripwire that activated a blade that removed his head from his shoulders. Hasheiff shook his head. The young one had held such promise.
    Gannit of the Slippered Foot missed Hasheiff’s gesture and stepped on the pressure plate taking a poisoned spear through the chest. Again, Hasheiff shook his head. One needed to pay attention to the littlest details in these kinds of ventures.
    On and on they went, avoiding the traps that barred their way. Down and still down they crept into the center of the tomb. At last they reached the burial chamber where the vast treasures of the mummified kings of Gawarran had lain unguarded for countless ages.
    Hasheiff and the remaining theives pulled out their sacks and filled them with precious gold and jewels, then turned to head back to the surface. But before they could take single step, there was as short, dry cough. And Hasheiff realized that, first, the vast treasures of the mummified kings of Gawarran were not as unguarded as they appeared, and second, his hated rival Tharrak was now the greatest thief in the world.

    Liked by 3 people

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