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?
Here’s how it works:
- TBP maintains a file of fifty writing prompts from which the given prompts for a given week will be drawn
- The prompts are chosen at random by three participants who select a number between 1 and 50.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Indicate the time limit you chose (or, if you didn’t limit your time, indicate what time you did spend on the piece).
- 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!
- Remember to link back to the prompt!
- HAVE FUN!
This week’s prompts are:
- You’ll know when it stops
- That sounds like something my mother would say
- 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.