TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #28

Photo courtesy of TBP



So I was planning to write a semi-autobiographical story today. I was going to relate a series of events that I saw unfold in front of my eyes a long time ago. I had gone to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Los Angeles for my enlistment physical. It was a real cattle call with a bunch of hippies, bikers, jocks, and nerds, standing around in their underwear waiting for someone to tell them what to do. To tell us where we should go. We were assaulted with cold stethoscopes. We turned our heads and coughed. We had our blood pressure tested with one of those machines that has an unpronounceable name. You know the ones; I can’t say it but it is spelled:

S p h y g m o m a n o m e t e r

I was doing OK and thinking about Alice. You remember Alice? This is a song about Alice. I was looking forward to some time on the Group W bench when about thirty of us were herded into a room with a stainless steel trough urinal on one wall and a couple of medical types handing us cups. The trough urinal had the flushing water running constantly to help keep the room habitable. Well, most of us knew the drill but there was this one guy, there’s always one guy right? He was a heavily tattooed guy with long straight blonde hair that hung halfway down his back. He was short and stocky like a fire plug.

“What’s this for?” he asked the low ranking sailor who was handing out the cups.

“A urine sample,” the sailor said, “you gotta pee in the cup and then take it over to one of those guys at the tables over there.” He indicated about four more medical types sitting across the room, as far away from the urinal as they could get.

“What are they going to do with it?” The guy asked.

“They’re gonna test it, and based on the results of that test, they will tell you which door to go through next.”

“Oh, OK.” That answer seemed to satisfy him.

He stood in line for the urinal and peed into the cup then he promptly spilled it on the tile floor and at least three guys slipped and went down. He ignored them and went back to the sailor with the cups.

“Dude, I spilled it.”

“Yeah, I saw. Just do it again.”

“I ain’t gotta pee now though.”

“Well you can wait till you do, but I can’t let you out of here till we get a sample.”

It was about that time that I noticed the guy had spider webs tattooed on his elbows because he was scratching his head and thinking about what to do. He recognized that he had a problem and he was feverishly working to solve it.

He got back in line at the trough urinal, as close to the drain as he could get. He looked over his shoulder and when the sailor wasn’t looking he dipped his cup in the flowing contents of the urinal and carried it over to those other guys for testing.

They sent us both through the same door.

So I was going to tell you that story but I probably shouldn’t. You guys want to hear another story? Or do you want to hear this one?

Thanks guys!

Here’s how it works:

  1. TBP maintains a file of fifty writing prompts from which the given prompts for a given week will be drawn
  2. The prompts are chosen at random by three participants who select a number between 1 and 50.
  3. Writers may choose one, two or all three of the prompts as inspiration for a story, poem, or stream of conscious scribbling. Writers may deconstruct one or all prompts and use only a word, or a part of the prompt (s). If you are feeling really adventurous, you might want to write around a prompt, tangentially. So it’s there on the periphery of your piece; but not seen or referred to directly.
  4. There is no minimum or maximum word count, but this challenge works best if you set a time limit. We suggest 25 minutes. If you think that’s too long, then shorten it. If you think it’s too short, then lengthen it.
  5. If you want to publish your first draft without editing, please do. If you are uncomfortable with that, set another time limit to edit and polish (or include editing in your initial limit, i.e., 30 minutes to write, edit, polish and post).
  6. Indicate the time limit you chose (or, if you didn’t limit your time, indicate what time you did spend on the piece).
  7. At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt, but if you guys don’t choose – we’ll have to!
  8. Remember to link back to the prompt!
  9. HAVE FUN!

This week’s prompts are:

  1. You’ll know when it stops
  2. That sounds like something my mother would say
  3. That girl from West View

At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt.

Cubing the Stories #9

Don’t you hate it when things are just going along swimmingly, and then you’re blindsided with a great big kick in the pants?

We’re about to be shorthanded at work again. Again! But at least this year we have a little bit more time before the madness of Christmas shopping season. And some decent prospects to interview. Fingers crossed the district manager doesn’t scare them off.

Still, Thursday’s Thursday, and Thursday means story cubes.

Here’s the plan:

  • I’ll roll nine story dice and supply a photo of them. You may interpret the images however you wish, and you may use any number of the images to create a work of fiction. Or nonfiction, if you’re feeling froggy.
  • There’s no hard and fast word limit, but I’ll roll a six-sided die and suggest a limit based on that roll.
  • At the end of your post, you may suggest a literary device to be included as an option in a future prompt.
  • Don’t forget to link back to the prompt here!
  • Have fun!!

Enjoy this week’s set of story dice!

Your suggested word limit is 20 wpc–words per cube.

Oh, and sorry about the leaning tower of Pisa again…maybe that one’s weighted. I don’t even know what’s on the opposite side.

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #27

First things first! Three cheers to Ms. Rose for the sporty Olympic banner at the top of the page! Well done, I always look forward to seeing what she’ll come up with next. Don’t you?



“You sure look pretty tonight Belinda.”

“Why thank you Todd. You look mighty handsome yourself. You’d better come inside.” She paused and batted her eyes, “Daddy wants to have “the talk” with you.”

Todd steeled himself and pulled open the screen. Belinda hung onto the front door, opened it wider and stood to one side so that Todd could pass. She led him into the den where her father was watching a college game.

“Good evening, Mr. Richards,” Todd said. “Belinda says you want to have a word with me.”

“I do indeed, Todd. Hang on just a minute.” He got out of his chair and crossed the room to turn down the volume on the TV. He was still wearing his work clothes and Todd noticed the white patch over the pocket of his grey double-knit shirt. The patch read “Dan”.

“I was at your game Friday night Todd. You played well, and it was great to see the Cougars win another one. Have you guys clinched a spot for District Playoffs yet?”

“Not yet, sir, but if we beat the Beavers next week, and if the Grizzlies lose then we’re in.  Grizzlies will be playing the Pachyderms, who’ve had a pretty good season, so it looks promising for us right now.”

Dan Richards nodded his head. “Where ya takin’ my little girl tonight, Todd?”

“It’s my grandparents’ 50th anniversary, Mr. Richards. They’ve rented the hall at The Lodge over in Pleasanton and there’s going to be a big party. Lots of ice cream and a big cake.”

Dan Richards nodded his head and studied the carpet as he rubbed his chin. “You know we normally have a ten o’clock curfew but since it’s a family hoopla and it’s all the way over in Pleasanton I’m gonna cut you guys a break. Just have her back home by eleven.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. I’ll bring her back safe and sound.” Todd walked across the room and extended his hand. Dan Richards accepted it and they shook on the deal.

“We better go, Todd,” Belinda said. “We got a drive ahead of us.”

Todd looked back over his shoulder as he left the room. Belinda’s dad was watching them go, he was beaming. He was proud of his little girl. Belinda snagged her bag from the easy chair, and Todd held the screen for her while she shut the big front door. He opened the door of his pickup and helped her climb in before running around the front and sliding behind the wheel. He drove slowly down the road, knowing that Mr. Richards was watching from the front window.

As they neared the stop sign at the end of the street Belinda popped open the glove box and pulled out the flask of Kentucky Bourbon that she had known would be there. She slid over close to Todd and pushed in the lighter on the dash as she dug through her bag to find her pack of Lucky’s. She had two cigarettes in her mouth when the lighter popped out so she lit them both and put one between Todd’s lips. Unscrewing the top from the whiskey she took a drink and handed him the bottle. She dropped her hand onto his leg.

“I sure hope there’s not too many people at the lookout tonight.” She said. “It’s been really crowded lately!”

Todd took a big slug from the bottle and handed it back to her. “Me too,” he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer as they turned towards the river. Away from the highway, away from Pleasanton.


Thanks guys!

Here’s how it works:

  1. TBP maintains a file of fifty writing prompts from which the given prompts for a given week will be drawn
  2. The prompts are chosen at random by three participants who select a number between 1 and 50.
  3. Writers may choose one, two or all three of the prompts as inspiration for a story, poem, or stream of conscious scribbling. Writers may deconstruct one or all prompts and use only a word, or a part of the prompt (s). If you are feeling really adventurous, you might want to write around a prompt, tangentially. So it’s there on the periphery of your piece; but not seen or referred to directly.
  4. There is no minimum or maximum word count, but this challenge works best if you set a time limit. We suggest 25 minutes. If you think that’s too long, then shorten it. If you think it’s too short, then lengthen it.
  5. If you want to publish your first draft without editing, please do. If you are uncomfortable with that, set another time limit to edit and polish (or include editing in your initial limit, i.e., 30 minutes to write, edit, polish and post).
  6. Indicate the time limit you chose (or, if you didn’t limit your time, indicate what time you did spend on the piece).
  7. At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt, but if you guys don’t choose – we’ll have to!
  8. Remember to link back to the prompt!
  9. HAVE FUN!

This week’s prompts are:

  1. She blinked her eyes rapidly
  2. Like a house afire
  3. She sighted down the barrel

At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt.

Cubing the Stories #8

Eight whole weeks already? My, how time does fly. And in just a smidgen over two more months, it’ll be time for NaNoWriMo again! I’m feeling it this year. I have absolutely no ideas yet, but I’m feeling it. I think I finished in twenty-two days last year, so let’s shoot for twenty this year. Did I seriously just announce that to the entire interwebs? Holy guacamole. Guess I’m stuck with it now. I should probably focus on my time management skills between now and then.

Here’s the plan:

  • I’ll roll nine story dice and supply a photo of them. You may interpret the images however you wish, and you may use any number of the images to create a work of fiction. Or nonfiction, if you’re feeling froggy.
  • There’s no hard and fast word limit, but I’ll roll a six-sided die and suggest a limit based on that roll.
  • At the end of your post, you may suggest a literary device to be included as an option in a future prompt.
  • Don’t forget to link back to the prompt here!
  • Have fun!!

Enjoy this week’s set of story dice!

Your suggested word limit is 60 wpc–words per cube.

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #26

Image courtesy of: carrizozoworks.org



A bit more of the old root beer story. To catch you up:
our protagonist, who has no name yet, had her car covered with root beer syrup and foam in a tragic accident. Insurance covered the damages but her sister Cindy kidnapped her car and had it repainted a reddish brown “root beer” colour. She and Cindy have gone for a ride in the newly painted automobile. They stopped at a market on the way and Cindy waited in the car while our hero went into the store. Cindy immediately asks what she has in the bag she brings back to the car with her. We pick up the story there.

Begin Quote
“What bag?” she came back.
“The bag from the market.” Cindy said.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
They drove for about an hour into the countryside.  Cindy had given up trying to learn more about their destination, or the bag.  They rode in silence for most of that time. Smooth jazz emanated softly from the door speakers of the root beer car and it was a pleasant day.  The silence between the two was not awkard or pensive.  It was natural.  She and Cindy were sisters after all, often they could intuit what each other were thinking.  Often they did not even bother to try.
That is the thing about siblings.  Familiarity and love could replace a need to entertain or fill silence with blather.
Just about the time that Cindy was going to demand a pit stop she pulled into a narrow lane that disappeared into the trees.  She put the car in park and set the brake, got out and went to open the gate.  Too late Cindy realized she had missed her chance to peek into the mystery bag.
They left the gate open and drove about 1/4 mile further up the lane.  As they crested a rise there appeared a ramshackle old cabin with a couple of small outbuildings.
“What is this place?” asked Cindy, previous urges for a rest stop now completely given over to curiosity.
“This is Mr. Wilson’s hunting cabin,” she answered.  “He doesn’t hunt much anymore and he loaned it to me for a few days.  Hope you don’t have any pressing appointments.  Mom agreed to take care of the kids.  You and I are going to spend two days in the country, no TV, no newspaper and no distractions beyond what is already here.”
“What is already here?” Cindy asked.
“A forest, a stream, fresh air, sunshine and quiet.” she replied. “What more do we need?”
“Maybe a root beer colored car and some ice cream” Cindy quipped.  “We have the car but, if that was ice cream in the bag it is undoubtedly liquid by now.  We’ve been driving forever.”
“Not ice cream, something better.” She reached for the bag and smiled.  ” Come on, I’ll show you the cabin.”  They went into the cabin and it was a single room shack.  The old room reminded her of one of those western themed restaurants with all the old stuff nailed up on the walls.
End Quote

Thanks guys! Don’t forget to stop by this weeks edition of “Cubing the Stories” – April has some good propellants available for you there! You can tell her that TN sent you…

…but then she might just throw you out. So it might be best to tell he that Ms. Rose sent you!

Here’s how it works:

  1. TBP maintains a file of fifty writing prompts from which the given prompts for a given week will be drawn
  2. The prompts are chosen at random by three participants who select a number between 1 and 50.
  3. Writers may choose one, two or all three of the prompts as inspiration for a story, poem, or stream of conscious scribbling. Writers may deconstruct one or all prompts and use only a word, or a part of the prompt (s). If you are feeling really adventurous, you might want to write around a prompt, tangentially. So it’s there on the periphery of your piece; but not seen or referred to directly.
  4. There is no minimum or maximum word count, but this challenge works best if you set a time limit. We suggest 25 minutes. If you think that’s too long, then shorten it. If you think it’s too short, then lengthen it.
  5. If you want to publish your first draft without editing, please do. If you are uncomfortable with that, set another time limit to edit and polish (or include editing in your initial limit, i.e., 30 minutes to write, edit, polish and post).
  6. Indicate the time limit you chose (or, if you didn’t limit your time, indicate what time you did spend on the piece).
  7. At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt, but if you guys don’t choose – we’ll have to!
  8. Remember to link back to the prompt!
  9. HAVE FUN!

This week’s prompts are:

  1. It’s just not that simple
  2. I love you too, I guess
  3. make it a double

At the end of your post, give us a random number between 1 and 50. Your numbers will be used to choose the prompts for the next TBP On-line Writer’s Guild prompt.

Cubing the Stories #7

You know, just when I got used to the lovely cooler weather in Colorado, it was time to come home to the steam oven that is north Louisiana. I work inside, and when I went back yesterday, I didn’t stop sweating for my entire shift. Granted, I do work under a skylight, but dang y’all, it’s hot here. 

Fortunately this evening saw a cold front come through, dropping us within sneering distance of Colorado temps. And I do mean sneering: did I mention it’s hot here?

But I’m a Louisiana gal; I’m used to being hot. I’m not used to being whacked with seasonal allergies in August, but it seems that I was gone just long enough to get the pollen out of my system. Don’t worry, it’s back now. 

When’s the next vacation?

Here’s the plan:

  • I’ll roll nine story dice and supply a photo of them. You may interpret the images however you wish, and you may use any number of the images to create a work of fiction. Or nonfiction, if you’re feeling froggy.
  • There’s no hard and fast word limit, but I’ll roll a six-sided die and suggest a limit based on that roll.
  • At the end of your post, you may suggest a literary device to be included as an option in a future prompt.
  • Don’t forget to link back to the prompt here!
  • Have fun!!

Enjoy this week’s set of story dice!


Your suggested word limit is 40 wpc–words per cube.