Good Vibrations: Day 24 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story inspired by “Good Vibrations.” This story is about a feminist sex shop by the same name (the real ones are in California and Massachusetts).


 

She closed the door and turned the lock even though she really didn’t have to. No inventory left in the store. No store left. Her lawyer told her that she didn’t have to close up, there were ways around the new law. It just didn’t sit right with her. Good Vibrations was a feminist sex shop and calling the products “personal massagers” just did not fit that ethos. It sucked, because now her customers had less access to good information and good toys.

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Shakespeare: Day 23 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to use one of two Shakespeare quotes in our story. Content warning for self-harm, kidnapping, celebrity stalking.


 

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?” The D-list celebrity – actually probably like F-list – gestured cheesily with the knife. The photographer understood why her career was stalling. “Well, do we not?”

“Look, I am just trying make a living. I wasn’t even taking a picture of of of you. It was Jim Parsons behind you, I wanted. Okay? Just let me go. No harm, no foul.” Her face flushed red in equal parts embarrassment and anger. “I mean, I would take a picture of you, of course, but that wasn’t the assignment, you know? Not so much my fault.”

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Non-linear: Day 21 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a non-linear story. I went with the internal monologue style.


I have an apartment. Movers. Well, Craigslisters to move me. Because – ha! – I have no money. And no friends. Why didn’t I make him pay rent? Or pay for something. ANYTHING. He was getting unemployment. It’s not like he had nothing.

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Epistolary Stories: Day 20 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story through letters (or the equivalent). My day started out with big dreams of making this story a visual one, as it is getting late in the day, I’ve decided to keep it simple. So, dear reader, please imagine these as chats on your favorite chat program.


 

[[June 5, 2005]]

Hey, you there? How was Morocco?!

[[June 6, 2006]]

I know sometimes you go invisible, so just in case you are there, I wanted to say hi. I hope everything is okay and your trip was fabulous. I can’t WAIT to hear about it!

I miss you. Thailand is beautiful, but it’s a little worse for you not being here.

[[June 7, 2006]]

Finally done with my day. You there?

[[June 9, 2006]]

Hey, I’m starting to worry.

Can you just let me know that you’re okay?

(And by starting, I mean, I’m worrying. 😉 )

[[June 11, 2006]]

You there?

[[June 13, 2006]]

Hey.

[[June 15, 2006]]

hiya

[[June 19, 2006]]

ya there?

[[June 21, 2006]]

<<new salutation to check to see if you are online>>

[[June 24, 2006]]

Jax said she saw you the other day.

What is going on?

Can you just talk to me?

[[June 25, 2006]]

Look, you promised you would talk to me when…

Just talk to me. Please.

Please talk to me.

I am halfway across the world. I can’t just get on a plane and go face you right now.

This is why I made you promise. You have to talk to me.

[[June 29, 2006]]

I don’t understand. I just – Why are you doing this?

You just have to have one conversation with me.

Yeah, it sucks that it’s through chat, but

You just –

[[June 30, 2006]]

Remember when you said you didn’t want to ruin my trip?

That you wanted me to just go and have fun.

THIS IS RUINING MY TRIP!!!!!!!!!!!!

I kept swearing I wouldn’t guild you.

*guilt

but this is just cruel. you are just being fucking cruel.

i’m crying you konw just sitting here crying. i cried last night. i’ve cried wiht my friends.

you know what i snot helpful when you are doing fucking research in someone else’s countyr:

THIS! THIS IS NOT HELPFUL.

fuck you. you can go fuck yourself.

[[August 4, 2006]]

Don’t invite her to my welcome back party.

Shit. Wrong window.

[[December 13, 2006]]

Back in the States.

If you ever wanna woman up and have an adult conversation about our (non)relationship,

let me know.

Shifting Perspectives: Day 19 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to tell a story from shifting perspectives. I decided to move to a different story. This one is rather short (first day of work!), and captures a moment revolving around some unknown misunderstanding or difference of communication.


She texted her new friend for the … Actually, she wasn’t sure how many times she had texted. And called. She had her best friend text. A few times. She didn’t understand why the American girl didn’t text back or answer anymore. She had spent all day getting the tickets for the movie using her own money; she couldn’t give them back. She slumped down to the floor of her room, exhausted with frustration. Then she texted another time.

The phone went off. Again. Her friends were eyeing her from across the table. At least her phone was buzzing in the middle of the day rather than at two in the morning, when the feral dogs were particularly good at keeping her from sleeping if she happened to be awake. She couldn’t put it on silent; there was an important call for her research coming. Telling the girl she had shared an umbrella with to walk home one monsoon night how busy she was and that she couldn’t make the movie hadn’t worked. Asking her politely to stop calling and texting hadn’t worked. And when the guy had texted, a piece of her was suddenly violated and vulnerable. That was when she stopped answering at all. Do people here just offer their homes, movies, and constantly text after meeting someone on a rainy street once? Had she offended some cultural practice?

When the American explained the situation, she couldn’t believe that someone from her country was behaving this way. This was not normal, and the girl relaxed at that information. She took the phone and asked if the American would like her call the girl and make sure she stopped. They spoke the same language; it would be easy. She declined; she had already found the blocking function on the phone. These Westerners always doing indirectly what should be done directly. But she handed the phone back with a promise, should the American change her mind.

 

Theme: Day 10 Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is here. I did not have much time today (traveling), so I decided to just give a very brief start to something that I might revisit later.
——–
The zookeepers looked on and hesitated to go after the fallen child. They tried to block the parents from following her into the tiger’s pit, but they were pushed aside. The two men leaped over the barriers and ran. One grabbed the girl and then they were facing the lethargic but interested cat. They just needed to stall any attack long enough for the zoo to get a door open for them. The crowd murmured at their foolish bravery and waited with baited breath to see if they would survive.

Need: Day 8 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt focuses on character needs. Below is the start of a story that I will likely revisit it later. Like it if you would like to know what happens next.
——–
The winter had been too long and too hard. The sun promised daily a bit of warmth to unfreeze her bones, but those promises remained unfulfilled. She could not fucking take this anymore. Why did she ever think she could make a life where it snowed after a childhood of sunshine and sweat? She did not want to move back home, but she could not take another winter. Not like this.

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Old Friends: Day 6 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt from Elizabeth S. Craig was to write a story about an old friend needing to stay and what talking about old memories would affect main character. And all of this to written in an hour!


Jackie swiped the fob over the sensor and heard the door unlock. She checked her mail: junk, junk, junk, magazine she needed to cancel, and knitting catalogue to remind her of all those unfinished projects sucking up dust next to the television. She tossed it all in the trash, and then reached back in to grab the magazine. Might as well add it to the stack of the unread.

Up the front steps and around the corner, she flipped her key set and grabbed her apartment key with her teeth. She adjusted everything in her arms so she could actually get into her place.

“Hey, Jax.”

“Shit!” Of course, everything fell and scattered across the hall; her life was a slapstick comedy.

“Sorry, sorry. Let me help.” The woman started to pick up the papers closest to her. Making as neat a pile in her hands as she could.

“Prissy?”

“I go by Cilla now. But yeah. How are you?”

“What, what are you doing here?”

“I’m not gonna bullshit you. I need a place to crash. My whole … situation fell apart (I don’t want to talk about it), and I just need a couch for a couple of days to figure something out.”

“But how…”

“I called your mom. Well, actually, my mom called your mom. So I’m here. I won’t be in your way, just need a roof over my head.” Cilla – the name did not yet go with the face – had finished picking up her mess and was looking expectantly at Jackie.

“Yeah, yeah.” She fumbled with the lock but eventually got the door open. “Come in. You hungry? I was just going to order a pizza. There is a great little place that delivers a few blocks away.”

“Sounds good, except I don’t have any money at the moment, so I’ll need to throw it on my credit card.”

“No, no. My treat. Don’t worry.”

“I don’t feel good about that.”

“I was going to order it anyway, so just … it’s fine. Let me buy you dinner.”

“Okay.” Cilla paused. “You got a nice place here.”

“Thanks. I’ve been here for seven years I think, so collected some stuff and slowly, you know, put it together. Sit.” Jackie gestured to the couch. They sat there. Jackie looking at Cilla. Cilla looking everywhere but Jackie. Jackie turning to look out the window onto the fire escape. “Can I ask what happened?”

“Um, we aren’t really friends like that anymore, so I’d rather not talk about it.” Jackie was hurt. They’d been inseparable in high school, and now she was good enough to ask for a place to crash but not good enough to lend an ear. Prissy always told her everything. “Let’s talk about happier times, when I wasn’t begging for places to stay and waiting for my mom to wire me cash.”

“Okay. What’s a happier time?”

“Well, since it’s us here, how about that time we snuck out and destroyed Jason’s yard for him calling you a bitch.” Jackie laughed.

“I was a bitch though!”

“Yeah, but he said it like it was a bad thing!” They both giggled. “I think his parents are still find plastic forks in their yard.” The giggles had become cackles. “He deserved every single one.”

“Definitely.” She remembered that feeling of being two against the world. Prissy couldn’t stand that Jason made Jax cry.

“Remember how everyone always thought we were together; that we were hiding it? They thought they had discovered some big” she opened her eyes wide on the word “secret and kept trying to get us to admit it.”

“Did you keep count of the number of times they dared us to kiss?”

“I didn’t have to! That was your job.” She laughed again. “How many was it?”

“I have no idea anymore. A lot, definitely.”

“It would have been more if someone in this room hadn’t started asking for truth.” Jackie’s jaw tightened just a little bit.

“Yeah, well, the kissing got to be … uncomfortable for me.” Her heartrate stepped it up; she had just opened a door to questions she never thought she would have to answer.

“Uncomfortable how? I thought it got way easier every time someone said it. It was so expected.” Cilla knew. There was no way she didn’t know.

“I noticed you got more flippant about it.”

“And you got more … Oh. … Well, this is uncomfortable.”

“Luckily I haven’t yet ordered the pizza, so I am going to do that and when I get back, we can talk about something completely different please.” Cilla sat there, thinking, while Jackie ordered a pie. “They say they’ll be here in 45, but it’s probably going to be like an hour, hour 15. I hope that’s okay.”

“Jax -”

“Actually, it’s Jackie, now.” She nervously laughed. She didn’t know what was on the other end of her name.

“Jackie,” Cilla was nearly whispering and staring at her hands, “is that why you left?” She met Jackie’s gaze, and she was suddenly 16 again and they were Prissy and Jax, having one of their deep conversations about life and everything good and bad and complicated and wonderful and terrifying.

“I left for a lot of reasons. That just made it clear that I had to leave. It flipped a switch in my brain and it wasn’t a game anymore. You don’t just tell your best friend who clearly isn’t into it that you are in love with or whatever it was. you hardly admit to yourself that is what it was.”

“Because of me.”

“No, because I was suffocating there. I was … I couldn’t be me there. You were like the only person I felt like … You didn’t have expectations of me, but that … that was just a toxic subject. It wasn’t you. I … You were great. I just had to get out.”

“I wish you would have told me. It would have been fine. I wouldn’t have let anyone do anything to you. You could have stayed. I wish you would have stayed. I think my life would have been better if you had stayed. You made me … I don’t know … stable.”

“I was only stable because I so conscious of being stable, of being. I was just trying to survive long enough to get out. Leaving wasn’t easy, and it didn’t solve anything. Leaving wasn’t the answer I was looking for”

“Why not?”

Jackie laughed. “I don’t think we are those friends anymore, Cilla.”

“Maybe someday we’ll get back there. And I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”

“You’d have to stick around more than a couple of days.”

“Girl, as it stands right now, I’ve got nothing to give but time.”

Shame: Day 5 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt by Angela Ackerman is shame. Although the prompt focused on an action that makes the character feel shame, but I’ve always associated shame less with a single action and more as a collection of actions or thoughts (internal or external) that create the feeling.


 

He was the good son. He was not supposed to be like this. He was supposed to be successful and settle down and have a family and be the kid his parents talked about first when people asked how their kids were doing.

Hiding gave him an ulcer. He feared being found out and losing the most important people in his life. He feared not being found out, and the most important people in his life never truly knowing him.

His cure for fear was found at the bottom of a bottle, and when that didn’t do enough, in varying kinds of illicit substances. Anything to dull reality’s sharp edges. The self-medicating took a toll. He’d been fired, twice. His savings dried up. His plans and dreams and hopes withered.

The “I’ll tell them when it’s time” finally confronted him as a lie. He sat at his favorite barstool in his favorite bar, downing drink number four. His pain washed away after four drinks, and his instincts focused only on getting more drinks. A friend offered him some white pill procured with puppy dog eyes, a sad story, and a willing doctor. It went down easy with the rest of the gin and tonic.

He went to take a leak and woke up in the hospital. Bandages over veins where blood had been taken and a diaper where his underwear should have been. Brain still fuzzy, he had no idea what was going on. How had he gotten here?

A nurse came in, checked him over silently, and then said he could get dressed and go home. His confused look made her point to his pile of clothes on the chair next to him. “Don’t drink so much. You are wasting our time.” Her Irish accent scolding him about alcohol would have made him laugh if he wasn’t so close to tears.

The ride home was awful. He wanted to throw up the entire half hour but made it home and to the bathroom just in time. He crawled into bed and sobbed himself to sleep in the pillow. He couldn’t do this anymore.

The next morning, he barely ate, staring at his phone. He pushed aside the planning part of his brain and jumped in head first.

“Mom? Is Dad there? I need to talk to both of you.” He was already crying.

“Jake, is everything okay? Dad’s coming. Are you alright? What’s wrong? What happened?”

“I… Please don’t hate me. I have to tell you something, and I’m so scared.”

“We’re here. It’s okay. What is it?”

“…” He took a breath to calm himself down just enough. “I’m gay.”

The line was so silent he checked to make sure they were still connected. He couldn’t handle the silence and just cried over and over and over into the phone “Please don’t hate me. Please don’t hate me.”

“We don’t hate you, son.”

“We could never hate you. We’re just … sad.”

“But it’ll be okay. We love you.”

“Are you seeing someone?”

“No. I just have … I needed you to know. I’ve been running for so long, it’ll kill me to keep running. Please, just please don’t hate me. I know so many people that have lost their families. Please don’t make me lose you.”

“No. No no no never. Never, son. Look, we’re going to look for flights and come up there. Okay? We can talk and figure this all out together. Okay?”

“Okay. Yes.”

“I love you.”

“We both love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“We’ll call you when we have our flight details.”

“Okay.” His last word sobbed out, fear and shame bubbling up and out of his body. He thought about his friends with good coming out stories and flipped through his contacts.

“Hello?”

“Lace, I just came out to my parents, and they are coming to visit and I think it’s going to be okay but I really can’t be alone right now.” He raced out the words, just beating a new wave of tears.

“I’m coming over. It’s gonna be okay. You did it! Jake, you… I am so proud of you. I will be there in like 15 minutes.” He could hear her smile through the phone and allowed himself his own as he hung up. Tension he had gotten so used to suddenly left him, and he sprawled out on the couch, exhausted but suddenly somehow happy.

Magnetic Poetry: Day 2 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt by Therese Walsh is to write a 100 word story where the protagonist has opened a magnetic poetry kit.


“Momma! Mommy! Look what I made!” Momma paid the babysitter and asked if she was alright driving home. Mommy stepped out of her shoes. Dates were lovely, but heals were torture.

“Commmmme. ON! Jess didn’t even help me.”

On the fridge, a four-line poem framed in rejected words. Momma leaned into Mommy. “You just wanted to use the word ‘butt.’”

The girl squealed and ran. They laughed and chased and tickled her.

Later, Momma put a copy in the girl’s book next to the crayon drawing of a bat. Mommy leaned in close to kiss Momma, and whispered, “Butt.”


The magnetic poem I wrote on which the story is based is:

butt poem