Three prompts, three and a half pieces – a poem, a flash, and a short story.
“Working From Home”
On my lunch break, I stand on my porch with a cup of cocoa
in my hand. Just one more look at the scenery before I have to go back in.
I think back to the days of cubicles – pods –
in which we sat all day and
died all day. I wave to the alligator
sunning himself on the other side of the lake as I think of another grocery list item – pears.
“Use each word from the quote as the last word in a line of a poem.
‘Cocoa in pods and alligator pears’“
– prompt used for this CW piece.
[Source: prompt: Monty, quote: ‘The Tropics in New York‘ by Claude McKay]
“You will always be her daddy.”
On Kimmy’s first day of grad school, I promised to take her on a road trip across Europe upon graduation. She squealed with joy.
Three years later – before I lost her to adulthood permanently – with a car full of bags and snacks, we hit the road. Soon after, we came to a standstill while the lane to the right kept on moving.
“See anything?” I asked Kim, drumming my fingers.
“Lane merge,” she explained.
“Use the zipper method, Idiots! One from the left, one from the right…” I groaned.
“You’re so smart, daddy.” Kim disarmed me with her smile.
(does not adhere to the ’99-words’ rule, but I just felt inspired to do a zipper-esque piece)
Zebras are almost as if they were stuck in the past –
Black and white on a safarI –
Penelope explains with a grin and adds they are a must-see.
I nod and continue to moP.
Eggs – she would like for breakfast. Quail, not ostrich.
One day I will quit! I sweaR.
“In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about zippers.”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
[Source: Carrot Ranch]
“New Year’s resolutions in February.”
Kayley looked at the calendar and sighed – yet another Valentine’s Day all alone. Before she could succumb to self-pity, she took a deep inhale and decided that next year would be different – she would spend the Lover’s Holiday with someone she would be madly in love with, and he with her. But she had to start right away. Kayley exhaled. She argued that the Lunar New Year had just begun, so she was well within a reasonable time frame to start a New Year’s resolution.
In the bathroom, Kayley undressed and looked at herself in the mirror. Double chin, protruding stomach… She knew enough. Not wanting to become even more upset, she put her clothes back on and smiled at herself. “You can do it!” she said out loud before dialing her mom – Diane.
“Hi, Sweetie!” her mother answered on the third ring.
“Hi, Mom!” Kayley said and paused. Deciding to lose weight was one thing but telling someone else about it added a level of accountability Kayley did not know she wanted. Quickly, she reminded herself of her goal – getting a bouquet of red roses and going out to dinner with her beloved on February 14th next year – just like every other beautiful girl.
“Everything OK? What’s up? You’re not moping around, are you? Sweetie – ” Diane asked with a hint of concern in her voice.
“I’ve decided that it’s time I lost some weight,” Kayley blurted out and immediately felt lighter.
“Oh? That’s good, Honey.” Diane just wanted for her daughter to be happy and she would do anything to get her there. Keeping her accountable would be much easier than some of the things she was prepared to do for her child.
The two women spoke for a few more minutes, talking about the neighbor who invited Diane over for dinner that day and Aunt Jodie who had posted a photo of her and her new – fifth – husband some Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.
As soon as Kayley got off the phone with her mother, she programmed her daily caloric goal into her smartwatch to stay on track.
“Time for a snack!” Kayley thought, proud of the resolution she had come up with.
She walked up to her beautiful fridge – a Christmas present from her mother – and asked for “a small container of yogurt.” Diane had been on a ‘save the planet’ kick for a couple months and thought that people spent too much time with the fridge doors open, staring at the items inside, figuring out what they wanted to eat. Once approached, the fridge’s interface would power on and the door would brighten and become see-through. Then, once you ‘ordered’ what you wanted, it turned into a vending machine and passed the item of your choice to you through a smaller door. Electricity was saved, the fridge’s temperature did not decrease by much, and your toes did not get frostbite.
Kayley took her Greek yogurt with her to the living room, logged 100 calories into her watch, and turned the TV on. There was nothing there that caught her eye, so she settled on re-runs of Friends. They used to make her laugh before, maybe they would be able to cheer her up again.
After an episode and a half, having finished her yogurt, she realized that she felt more alone than she had before turning on the TV. Why was it that she did not have a group of friends to be silly with? Kayley pondered that question for a moment before arriving at the realization that Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross, and Joey had one thing in common that Kayley did not – they were skinny.
Frustrated, Kayley walked to the fridge. “Chocolate chip ice cream,” she said to the fridge even before it illuminated its insides.
“You have reached your set caloric intake for the day,” some generic female voice announced.
“What?” Kayley asked out loud, wondering how the fridge knew about her resolution.
“Please remember to work out and come back tomorrow,” the fridge replied before switching off.
Aggravated, Kayley went into her office and graded papers for a couple of hours before realizing that she was starving and could not take feeling that way any longer.
“Chicken breast,” she requested from the fridge, feeling proud that she did not binge the entire container of ice cream earlier.
“You have reached your set caloric intake for the day.”
“But, I’m starving!”
“Please remember to work out and come back tomorrow.”
Kayley kicked the fridge and decided she would go out to eat. The fridge could have her chicken.
After putting her orthopedic shoes on and a puffy jacket, Kayley unhooked the door chair and then grabbed and turned the doorknob. The door remained closed. Puzzled, Kayley pulled with all her might, wondering if it was the cold that affected the lock.
“The door has been locked for your own good. You have reached your set caloric intake for the day.” Kayley was not sure where exactly the voice came from. It might have been the fridge or the speaker. She looked around, almost as if she thought she was in a hidden camera kind of show.
Once her surveillance scan did not flag anything suspicious, Kayley pulled out her phone and selected the food delivery app.
“Your access has been temporarily disabled,” the message on the screen said.
Kayley’s heart began to race. “WTF is going on?“
She selected her mom from the address book and hit the green button.
“Your calls have been temporarily disabled,” a message flashed on the screen shortly before disappearing.
Kayley tried her mom and even Aunt Jodie a couple of times but the result was always the same – ‘temporarily disabled.’
“You have reached your set caloric intake for the day. Please remember to work out. Your fridge, door, and phone access will be enabled again tomorrow. Good luck,” the smart speaker announced.
Kayley slumped to the floor. “What have I done?”
“Write a story inspired by the word ‘interface.'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use these prompts to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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