Category Archives: WD Weekly Writing Prompt

The Middle Aged Bed Wetter

In his dream he was hot tubing with Carol from accounting, the water wrapped around them both like frothy, warm blankets. Suddenly the water ran cold and itchy like icy wool. Scott woke to the realization he had just pissed himself. With the exception of a few legendary nights in undergrad, Scott hadn’t pissed himself since he was a kid.

Scott had regressed in a great many ways since finding his wife in bed with his business partner. Scott was lamenting the ruin of his lesbian fantasies when he noticed he was wearing spiderman pajamas.

What the…what did I do last night? Why do my legs look so short?

A wave of disorientation came over him as he stood from the bed.

Is this my…why am I…parents…why is my dresser so big?

Scott’s breath rattled in his throat, wet and heavy. His old NFL bedding was bright and new. A Pre-reboot Battlestar Galactica Viper Launch Station, complete with choking hazard, launch-able Viper. Scott’s eyes tickled with the expectation of what be buried under a pillow on his bed.

His hand lifted one of several pillows and his heart exploded nostalgia, and sci-fi exuberance, and kind of “I wish I hadn’t dismissed the possibility of a God, because this is some time-shifting craziness” type of fear.

There it was. The newest, most awesome toy any three year old boy could own in 1974. J.I. Joe with Kung Fu Grip.

He grabbed the toy. Real or not he wanted to play with the action figure again. There was one last test to confirm he had gone bat shit crazy.

The walk to the bathroom was a long ten steps. The wooden step stool was at the base of the sink just as like when he was a kid. The Mexican tile he thought outdated and garish seemed fresh and daring.

Scott slowly opened his eyes and was met by a young boy he knew only from pictures. He spit expletives at the mirror but it was no use. All he could see was 1974. He had broken his mind somehow.

His mother barged in suddenly. None to pleased at the language she heard he three year old son using.

She was magnificent. Vibrant, young, beautiful, and alive. She wouldn’t die for seven more years.

Scott didn’t know what would happen if he screwed with the her timeline. Would he blow up the world if he stopped his mom from getting in the car on April 12, 1981? He sure as shit was going to find out.

The smile he wore stole away all her anger and she gave him a big hug. It was the happiest moment the three year old had felt in forty-three years.

Jimmie G.

 

 

The Gruber

A Gruber is a fell and foul creature, covered in boils that explode into puffs of yellow farts when popped.

A Gruber’s eyes are covered in scales so it to see only what it wants to see, and its ears are stuffed full of nettles so it does’t have to be bothered with what others have to say.

A Gruber has hot coals attached to its feet so its always hopping about impatiently.

Gruber’s have fierce claws and thick arms covered in spikes, which makes them  ill suited to warm hugs.

Gruber’s are always complaining but their hoarse voices come out in clouds of mumbles.

Which is for the best as Grubers never have anything nice to say. Nor are their words in response to anything you may have said, but rather, they are dead retorts to arguments hatched long ago.

A Gruber is not without hope, there is a magic kiss for every toad.

A Gruber has one too, of sorts. Though you needn’t brush your lips against its slimy, disgusting skin.

That magic kiss as it were, that can wash away the Gruber’s ugliness to reveal something beautiful is a simple incantation. Two words that dull the edge of broken glass.

I’m sorry.

This simple spell can undo so much. The magic of these small words is more powerful still when fault is not so clearly defined.

Grubers are everywhere.

Mirrors are their favorite places to hide.

Jimmie G.


An “I’m sorry” to my daughters for sometimes being a big a-hole.

WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Flash Fiction

 

Terminal Green

Gabe checked the clock again. Only fifteen seconds had past. Work days usually flew by for Gabe. He loved the mundane normalcy of 9-5, Monday-Friday. Today was quieter than most, like Christmas on a weekday. Everyone but Gabe had gone to the memorial. That would be a change to his routine, and he didn’t handle change well. Gabe liked the cozy blanket of predictability. But today Gabe had a chill he couldn’t shake.

The blue pills will chase away the chill of anxiety. But those would have to wait until he got home. Blue home, pink work. The pink would have to do for now.

Five o’clock finally arrived like an old man using a walker. Gabe popped another pinkie and started his sign out. Don’t sign out properly and get a call from Charles. Gabe had never received a call from Charles, and never wanted to.

As the screen went black Gabe swiveled his chair around to exit his cubicle.

Beep. The computer was powering back up. Gabe swiveled around. The terminal screen was up. In the middle of the screen blinked a green, pixilated cursor. Gabe saw his perplexed expression mirrored in the screen.

Gabe was about to execute the three key Force Quit combo when the cursor blinked out five characters.

HELP!

Gabe hit the Force Quit combo several times. Gently at first, then more forcibly. The cursor blinked out another cry for HELP Gabe struck the keys. Frustrated, he held the power button down. Charles may well be calling me tonight. The cursor refused to go away. It stubbornly blinked out H-E-L-P-!

Gabe popped a few more pinkies and bent under his desk, searching through the coiled, slithering cables, for the beasts head. Charles will definitely be calling. Fuck it. He choked the cable before ripping it out of the socket. H-E-L-P-! was sucked into a flash of light, screaming, then disappeared. Gabe had heard that scream before.

A couple more pinkies. 

Gabe stood from his chair to look over the empty cubicles. His eyes landed on Shelley’s chair and stayed there a while. Then he heard a beep. Then another, and another, and another, until every computer in the office had joined in a chorus of deafening beeps.

The glow of a hundred green, blinking cursors, combed through every hair on his body. Over and over, every computer blinked out the word HELP!  Racing toward the end of each line until every screen was full of the word. The word then began scrolling an pulsing. Beating on his heart until it cracked open. Picking at the scabs of his guilt so his confession ran like blood from his fingertips.

When Gabe’s office mates came in Monday morning it was not the word HELP they found looping on every screen. What they did find were two empty bottles of pinks and blue. Fifteen messages from his parole officer, and a single sentence looping over and over.

Please forgive me Shelley. 

Line Jumper

Capital Investments…reduced…8%. Doug couldn’t go through the presentation again. He was feeling his way through the talking points now. Radio turned off, whit knuckling his way down the West Seattle Bridge and feeling his way through the most important presentation of his life.

I’m screwed. 8% isn’t enough. Not for Mr. Gromitz. 

The line of cars on the bridge trying to exit onto I5 north was always long and today was even longer. Just as Doug reached the the maw of the onramp he saw a car trying to line jump in his rear view mirror. Effing line jumper. Wait your turn a-hole. Just like everyone else. 

Doug pumped the brakes to stay close to the car in front of him. This dance continued for a few steps as the line jumper cruised, looking for a weak spot. Pump. Pump.  Trying to hold the chain taut. But this a-hole was persistent. He rolled up with his two seater, small dick, tinted window Benzo, and started honking at Doug! As if Doug were the a-hole for waiting in line like EVERYBODY ELSE! Doug screamed, in his head.

Doug pumped his gas trying to close the gap one last time before heading into the maw but a-hole Benzo guy rolled up and forced his way in, hitting the side of Doug’s Cindy Lauper era Honda, and pining his own car against the guard rail.

Oh this mother effer! MOTHER EFFER! Doug sprung from his car mid expletive. “You couldn’t wait in line like everybody else could you”, he admonished the man through dark glass.  Doug continued, “think because you have a Mercedes Benz you can do whatever the ‘f’ you want? Huh? You stupid jerk face! Roll down your window and face me jerk man. Stupid line jumping jerk man!”. Doug continued to hurl ineffectual curses. He did not have a “potty mouth” as he would say, and therefore found it difficult to express the deep anger he often felt.

Seeing his reflection in the window helped Doug to see the folly in rejecting the mother of all expletives.  His two middle fingers shot up into he air as ominously as the Fat Man and Little Boy fell down to earth, and riding torrents of miss-timed comebacks his very first F-bomb exploded on the a-hole in the red Benzo’s window.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck”, reverberated off the window.  Doug’s protracted “Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!” seemed to go on for years until the brick wall of Mr. Gromitz’s eyes crushed the hanging ‘U’ like a dummy without a seatbelt.

That’s when Doug said “Fuck” for the second time in his life. Followed by “me”.

Jimmie G.

Writer’s Digest Weekly Writing Challenge.

The Confrontation 

Daydreaming on your way to work, you get into a car accident. Frustrated because you will be late for an important meeting, you curse and yell as you get out of the car. When you go to confront the other drive, you find out it is your boss. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer)

A King, four presidents, and a fish.

“I hate to bother you, but I have something important to ask.” The lilt of his accent was hypnotic. He seemed trustworthy and roguish, strange in a very familiar way.

I was like scared, and kinda shaking, and all “what the fuck?!”, but I didn’t say any of that. Instead I just said “sure?”.

The man asked his question in a whisper. I could sense his hurry. He put his hands on my shoulders, looked me straight in the eyes and asked, “How can you hold a king, four presidents, and a leaping fish in the palm your hand? You will have thirty seconds to answer”, he added. My hair stood on end, thirty seconds. There was danger on his words. He turned to look at something only he could see. “Your time starts now”, he said.

“Well” I said absent-mindedly. My hands dove into my pant pockets and began fiddling with change. In the palm of your hand. 

My mind fragmented in a thousand directions but at the center were the hands of clock ticking. Not being right sat in the pit of my stomaching blowing cold wind into my lungs.

The world fell away from view and thats when the answer came to me. Not in a thought, but a memory.

I remembered crystal blue waters and humid air that warmed my nostrils, faces on the side of a mountain, and the smell of thousands of fish.

When the world came back in view my arm was stretched before me. In my open palm lay three quarters.  One from Hawaii, with King Kamehameha on the back. The faces of four presidents lay on the back the other. The third coin depicted a salmon leaping from the Washington Sound.

The man smiled. “Only three seconds. Thats the best time ever” Three seconds.  Impossible. I went to those places, and a thousand others too. 

He simply smiled again and led me out of the cafe. Just in front was a black taxi cab, the kind that litter London. “Deposit your quarters in the meter. Be quick about. They’ll be here in any second” he warned.

I dropped the quarters in the meter and the world fell away again. Three men, dressed in black suits were yelling “halt” and racing toward us. We jumped in the cab and threw the meter up and the next thing we were in London.

“Well”, said the man with the funny accent,  “this is my stop. Been sometime since I’v been home. Want to have a go with the Taxi?” Again my response was “sure”, but with conviction this time.

“Right then. When you want want to go home just come back here, before August 14, 1946. Thats when I die”.

“Will do” I said, “hey, whats your name?” His smile made the hair on his lip dance a bit, “Herbert” he said, “but my friends call me H.G.”.

And that is how I became the proud owner of a time machine.

Jimmie G.

In response to the Writer’s Digest Weekly Writing Prompt; When a stranger taps you on the shoulder.  (500 words or less)

Continue reading A King, four presidents, and a fish.

A few moments of forever

Scan. Check. Scan. Scan. Check. Scan.

Thats the rhythm of my life. Scan molecular integrity and check for non-human life.  The monotony of it can dry out your eyes. I don’t look for explosives, contraband, or weapons. If I see those I flag the traveler for ISA to apprehend later. My only concern is non-humans.

Karen was a bit down the line when I first spotted her. God. It had been, I don’t know, twelve years? She looks great.

Scan. Check. Scan. Check. Scan. Check.

She was wearing red. She looks great in red. I should have forgiven her then. It seemed so silly all these years later. I remember being so mad at her, but now, God. She really does look great. I don’t know if seeing how great she looked made me smile or if seeing her smiling back did me in. But I sure was done.

Scan. Stare…stare…stare…stare…

What a great story right? Twelve years apart and then we randomly run into each other on an orbiter station. ON VALENTINES DAY! I felt like I imagined an entire life for us in the few moments it took for her to reach the scanner.  You know that point in a relationship just before you first say I love you? When you exhaust every combination of words other than I love you, but none of them are satisfying? It’s like having a name in the tip of your tongue. You know the names that are wrong, but you can’t remember the right one and its like a nail in your brain. Until finally it hits you. That relief of finding the exact right word. The comfort it offers. Thats how I felt when I saw her in the line, and the word that was the exact right word was forever. I wanted to be with her forever.

As soon as she moved behind the screen the alarms sounded.

A silhouette of her lingered after the blinding white light subsided.

I never knew she wasn’t human.

Jimmie G.

The Writer’s Digest, The Writing Prompt Boot Camp: Two weeks of Craft, Creativity, and Discipline. The PDF is free if sign up for the WD newsletter.

Day 2: The One That Got Away

You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?

Its not you, it me…

So long writers block. I realize its not you, it me that has been the lazy muse. Lounging about on my ideas, squishing them into the dark recesses of the sofa. I can vacuum them later, but by that time they aren’t ideas anymore, just dead pieces of inspiration.

So I bid you adieu writers block. 42 years I have stood behind you doing little more than adding graffiti to your wall.

I might not paint a mural, but I can at least do a self portrait every day. Maybe stitch together a quilt of smaller stories, if mixed metaphors can be allowed.

I’m tired of waiting for something to excite me into writing. Starting today I’m starting a month long exercise of writing myself into excitement.

Jimmie G.

This post is the first for the two week challenge designed by the crew over at The Writer’s Digest. Its called The Writing Prompt Boot Camp: Two weeks of Craft, Creativity, and Discipline. The PDF is free if sign up for the WD newsletter.

The Last Jinx.

Garrett ‘s pocket began to tickle his side, a charming spell he cast on his cell phone because he was tired of missing calls. It was his mom. Shit. She knew his schedule to well for him not to answer. “Hey mom, what’s up?” Garrett couldn’t resist the “vulgar” greeting.

Silence hung in the air. Garrett felt like shit. “Sorry mom. I know you don’t like that stuff”, Garrett offered. Fear clung to his mothers words when she finally spoke. “Its dad” she said, someone cast a spell and he’s frozen solid”.

Garrett was now the silent one, although his teeth were a symphony of cracking knuckles as his molars ground against one another. “Mom”, he asked, “is dad holding anything at all?”

“Yes, a small box with an open lid. What is it Garrett? Can you help?”, his mother asked.

I’m the only one who can help. “Yes, I can fix it. I need you to get as much of the family gathered as possible, especially the cousins. As many as possible mom. Its very important”, Garrett stressed.

Garrett had jinxed his brother’s jinx. Epic fail obviously.  He had put a glamour spell on the box, making it look a small hinged box of black velvet. The kind of box one in which one might find a ring. His brother’s girlfriend was the intended target. She was meant to be frozen solid. With only one way to break the spell. Laughter.

Not just any type of laughter. Garrett had labored three months crafting this jinx. The only laughter that could melt this ice was humiliation. At least it wouldn’t take long. Garrett had plenty of that to spare.

He started by letting everyone now that dad was okay. The disappointment in the room hung in the air like a fart in a car. Its gonna be a tough room. 

Garrett readied himself as though he were inviting someone to punch him on the nose.

“Uncle Ronny is staying in the guest bedroom, where he likes to wear, well, nothing. A couple of weeks ago Beth walked into his room and saw what a prodigious man Uncle Ronny is. I tried to side track talk of how endowed he is by chastising Beth for walking in on people.  It didn’t work”.

Garrett explained how just this morning his little daughter Beth, only five years old, walked in on him peeing. She din’t offer an apology, nor did Beth hurry to leave. Instead she stood looking at her father a moment and gave him that punch to the nose by saying, “Daddy. You have a baby penis”.

Waves of laughter melted the ice in torrents. The gurgling sound of wet laughter came from his father. Beth’s laughter was like a desert sun over winter Alps.

That was Garrett’s last jinx and the last time he told the Baby Penis story. Though he would hear it for the rest of his life.

Jimmie G.

This post is in response to the Writer’s Digest Weekly Writing Prompt, Frozen Solid. The ending is recycled from my recent post Movie Night Ruined my Future Son-in-Law.

The phone rings. It’s your mother and she’s upset. “What’s wrong?” you ask. “It’s your father. A spell has been cast upon him and he’s been frozen solid.” You pause, knowing two things that your mother doesn’t: 1) This is your fault and 2) you’re the only one who can fix it. “Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll take care of it.” Write this scene.