Weekend Writing Prompt — Word Tricks

F0D50403-556E-4427-B54C-A850AF4FCC83“It’s not just a river in Egypt, you know,” Donna said.

“What?” Rick asked.

“Denial. It’s not just a river in Egypt,” Donna repeated.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Rick said.

“That’s the problem, Rick, you never do,” Donna said.

“Then explain to me what the hell you’re taking about,” Rick said.

“I’m talking about a divorce,” Donna said. “Do you get that?”

“‘Divorce’? Is that another one of your word tricks, like ‘denial’?”

(77 words)


8FB80D63-A8AC-4CCD-9964-8382E7176E8EWritten for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, where we are challenged to write a poem or piece of prose using the word “denial” in exactly 77 words.

My Little Red Wagon

CB21C71B-0FF1-4FA9-AC7E-B7A77EADA22AWhen I was a kid, about eight or nine, my ma used to regularly send me to the small grocery store about a half a mile from our tenement house. She’d give me a list of things to pick up, like bread, milk, juice, eggs, chocolate, etc.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the strongest or most coordinated kid around, and I would incur the wrath of my ma on those occasions when I would accidentally drop the one of the heavy paper bags and break the eggs or the milk bottle.

My father and mother had gotten divorced a few years back, and she had taken up with the married lawyer who represented her in the divorce case. But since he was married, they had to meet on the down-low. So when I was at school, she would take my younger brother to the park in the afternoon once or twice a week and she and the lawyer would meet there. My ma would put my brother on the carousel and the lawyer would give the kid who ran the ride a few bucks to watch my brother for an hour while he and my ma engaged in some afternoon delight.

I managed to find out about their weekly assignations from my baby brother, who wasn’t as dumb as he looked. One night, the lawyer stopped by at our apartment and I confronted him. I told him I knew what he and my ma were up to and threatened to out them to my father. As lawyers are wont to do, he asked if I’d be interested in some negotiation.

I thought about each trip I took to the grocery store for my ma and the trouble I had balancing the heavy bags on my walk home. “I’ll keep my mouth shut,” I said, “if you buy me a little red wagon that I can use to haul the full bags of groceries from the store to home.”

The lawyer readily agreed and a few days later he delivered my shiny, new wagon.

Post script: I ratted him out anyway, and he was ultimately disbarred when it came out that he was screwing not only my ma, but many of his female divorce clients. Oh, his wife divorced him, too.


Written for Paula Light’s Three Things Challenge, where the three thing are “lawyer,” “carousel,” and “chocolate.” Also for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (bread), Your Daily Word Prompt (negotiation), Word of the Day Challenge (trip), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (wagon).

Murder He Wrote — Part Two

7EA72AEF-4548-4769-98D3-9D05EBB29BB8This is part two of a story about a crime of passion. It stands alone, but if you care to, you can read part one here.


As soon as the shock of Brian’s threat to kill her passed, Emily began laughing hysterically. “Emily, please stop laughing at me,” he pleaded. But she didn’t stop.

With tears streaming from his eyes, Brian ran from the living room into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Even with the door closed, he could still hear Emily laughing.

Brian braced his back against the door waiting for her mocking laughter to stop, which it finally did. After a few minutes of silence, Brian sat down on the edge of the bed, barely breathing, wishing he could just disappear. Then he heard her heavy footsteps as she walked by the bedroom toward the kitchen. He held his breath.

The refrigerator door opened and closed. Pressure was released as another bottle of Pepsi was opened. He heard her walking back to the living room, where she planted herself down onto the couch.

“You bastard,” Emily called out. “I missed the first half of my soap.”

Brian knew he didn’t have it in him to kill Emily. He couldn’t even kill a cockroach or spider. He’d trap them and then open up a window and toss them outside. He took a deep breath, gathered himself, and marched from the bedroom to the living room and positioned himself between Emily and the TV.

“What do you want now?” Emily asked.

The tone of her voice knocked some of the confidence from Brian, but he cleared his throat and said as calmly as he could, “I want a divorce.”

Once again, Emily burst into laughter. Brian looked at her sprawled out on the couch like a beached whale. What was left of his confidence was replaced by raw hatred.

“You want a divorce?” Emily said when she finally stopped laughing. “First he wants to kill me and now he wants a divorce,” she said as if addressing some imaginary third party in the room. “The impotent little mouse gets fired, comes home, and announces that he wants to kill me. But he doesn’t have the balls, so now he wants a divorce. What a brave little mouse he is.” Glaring at Brian, Emily demanded, “Now get out of my way so I can watch my soap.”

“Emily, listen to me,” Brian pleaded. “I’m serious.”

Emily looked up at Brian. “And what is my brave little mouse going to do if I refuse? Threaten to kill me again? Now move so I can watch my damn soap.”

Deep down inside Brian knew that Emily wouldn’t agree to a divorce. Why would she? She pretty much controlled everything in their lives. Emily repositioned herself so that she could see the TV.

Feeling nothing but contempt, Brian’s eyes darted frantically around the room, unable to focus on anything in particular. He was looking for something, but he had no idea for what. He was having trouble deciphering the noises swirling around his head.

Unable to organize his thoughts in any rational way, he turned away from Emily and almost mechanically started walking toward the kitchen.

As if in a trance, Brian went to the cabinet with the pots and pans. He searched until he found a heavy skillet, which he picked up and held in both of his hands, not sure why he’d reached for it.

“Brian, what are you going to do now?” Emily appeared in the kitchen door, her shrill voice breaking his trance. “Are you going to cook something?” she said mockingly.

“I, I, I’m going to, um, make some pancakes,” Brian stammered.

“Give me that, you idiot! What do you know about making pancakes?” Emily said as she reached for the skillet. “First you get fired, then threaten to kill me, then ask for a divorce, and now you want to make pancakes.”

“I’m warning you, Emily,” Brian said as Emily moved to take the skillet from him. “Keep away from me.” His voice was cracking and he began sweating profusely.

A grin came to Emily’s face and her smile evolved into a subdued chuckle. “Is this another death threat, mouse?”

“Damn you, Emily. Quit calling me that”

“Well stop acting like one,” Emily snapped back.

“Shut your mouth you over-stuffed cow!” Brian’s tone surprised even him.

“How dare you speak to me like….”

“Shut your goddam mouth, Emily.”

The sting of Emily’s hand striking against Brian’s face was fiery. Without thinking about what he was doing, Brian raised the skillet and started swinging it in a wide arc toward Emily’s head.

“Brian, what? Brian, NO! Bri….”

The skillet hit the left side of Emily’s face with crushing force. Her body went limp and she fell back across the kitchen table. Brian lifted the skillet over his head and brought it down on his target a second time. And a third. And then a few more times. Until his rage subsided.

Covered in blood splatter and brain matter, he dropped the heavy skillet, walked over to the kitchen sink, and puked his guts out.

#writephoto — When Another Door Opens

DB92B21A-4E32-4A93-BB6D-9C19649A11BCAllison looked out of the airplane window shortly after takeoff. The sun was setting over the midwestern city she was leaving, probably forever. She let out a heavy sigh. Her eyes welled up and she struggled to hold back the tears. It was hard for her to face the fact that she was leaving her old life behind.

When she discovered ten months earlier that her husband of eight years was having an affair with her best friend, Allison was devastated. She was more angry with herself for being blind to the betrayal by the man she thought loved her and by her closest friend. She knew that she could never forgive either of them. And she also knew she needed a complete break from everything. It was time to start over with a clean slate.

She moved back into her parents’ house until the divorce was settled. She received half of the proceeds from the sale of the house that she and her husband bought together shortly after they got married. While the net proceeds after paying off the mortgage and the real estate commissions weren’t that much, the amount was sufficient to cover the cost of the one-way plane ticket and a few months rent in a new city halfway across the country.

She didn’t know anyone there and didn’t have a job. But as her father told her, when one door closes, another door opens. Allison certainly hoped that would be the case. She pulled her iPad from her carry on bag, opened it up, connected to the airline’s in-flight WiFi, logged into WordPress, and started typing on the tablet’s virtual keypad.

“Hi,” she typed. “My name is Allison. Welcome to my brand new blog.” She paused, and for the first time in a long, long time, Allison smiled. Then she resumed typing. “I’m 31 years old and I’m starting my life all over again, which is why I’ve named my blog When Another Door Opens.”


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

Father Outlaw

BF6A98C8-7823-4480-829A-A6E54B1E14E2“Damn,” Dan said after hanging up the phone. “Hon, I gotta go. I should be back in a few hours.”

“What’s up, Dan?” Judy asked.

“That was Ted, my father outlaw,” Dan explained to his new fiancé. “He wants to talk about something.”

“Your father outlaw? What’s that?”

“Ted is Elaine’s father,” Dan said. “When she and I were still married, he was my father-in-law, but now that she and I are divorced, he’s my father outlaw. Get it?”

(79 words, exactly)


Written for this week’s Weekend Writing Prompt from Sammi Cox. The prompt is “outlaw,” and the post must be exactly 79 words.