Writing Challenge #36

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WEEKLY CHALLENGE #36

  1. WRITE:  We all people watch from time-to-time and create a story about them in our heads as they pass by.  So, this week’s challenge is to write one of those stories out.  Write a flash fiction, or vignette, about a stranger who has recently crossed your path while you were out and about.  Maximum word count is 300.

2. COMMENT: You MUST comment on FOUR other entries to qualify. If you do not, your entry will be disqualified from the challenge. Give and take… Keep the cycle going.

3. IMPORTANT In order to qualify, you MUST vote for your TOP TWO choices. If you don’t vote, you cannot win this challenge (even if you receive the most votes!). To vote, you need to reply to the email that goes out for the Weekly Challenges. In that email, if you scroll to the bottom, you will see all the information you need to vote for this challenge.

You must join our mailing list in order to receive the weekly voting email. 

4. DEADLINE: Tuesday, January 10th at 11:59 p.m. PST. Voting booth will open for this challenge on Wednesday, January 11th, and the winners will be announced the following Wednesday, January 18th.

CONGRATULATIONS: To the winners of Challenge #34… Dave Allen, Marcia Yearwood and Anisa Claire!

THIS CHALLENGE IS OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS!

Have fun!


Author Notes

44 Comments for “Writing Challenge #36”

Jay Heltzer

says:

A bench, peppermint hot chocolate, and 60 minutes of nothing. All I craved was an hour of peace after dropping my kid off for his piano lesson. No phone. No Facebook. No work. Just…stillness. Until…

“Yeah, thats not going to work. I’m going to be in Singapore till Thursday, and the board needs my vote. Can we move it till next week?”

My quiet zone was invaded, as he audaciously stormed in, yelling into his left hand fastened to the side of his head. Each bit of news he heard from his phone whipped him around from one direction to the next, like a Wall Street windsock.

He exuded wealth – elegant designer suit, polished Carlo Muti loafers, impeccably coiffed hair with blonde highlights. An apparent robust muscular frame filled the suit. Not only did he have time to make million dollar deals, he also crafted his physical success in the gym. His jacket hung across his wide shoulder blades like a bodybuilder. There wasn’t an ounce of weakness in anything he presented. Power. Powerful words. Powerful appearance. Powerful disturbance of my peace.

The storming superstar paced back and forth, stalking the sidewalk across from me like a caged millionaire. I desired zen. He desired strength, control and a constant need for everyone to see how amazing he is.

I didn’t covet what he had. If I wanted my hair to look like an art project, I would buy paint. Shiny clothes aren’t my style, I wear a uniform with a name tag at work. Fancy isn’t my thing. I need sneakers, broken-in jeans, and a cotton fleece pullover, fitting like the best pajamas.

I was about to give up and find another seat of salvation when he exited from where he zoomed in from. Breathe…sip…repeat.

says:

You have described one of the billionaires I view in the news. Shiny shoes, impeccable hair, suits and ties. Full of balloon juice when they pop. Phony. Nice description. Good luck in the contest.

Lin Morris

says:

I can understand the frustration in your character as a man who appears to need everyone’s attention while demanding respect comes over to your section and distracts you from your tranquility. Your billionaire reminded me a little of the typical stereotype and brought forth the usual perspective of those who observe them as they do as they please. Sorry if my review wasn’t much help but I think you did a wonderful job.

Anisa Claire

says:

Not my best entry, but this is the moment that stood out to me most recently, so I decided to write it out.

The air is saturated with the zingy smell of punchy perfume. Its so thick, my nose screams in agony. I try my best to not react in a noticeable way, but can’t almost stop my face from contorting. I find myself wondering if this lady standing in front of me can’t smell or if she’s a lifetime smoker who doesn’t realise how powerful her scent is.

After she leaves, I step up to the cashier and the fragrance still lingers in the air, almost as if she was still standing there. I am happy she has left but am left wondering what caused her pump on so much perfume before she left her house.

says:

I can smell the perfume. I hate when women (or men) do that! Worked with one once who left a trail behind her all the time. You could go in the mailroom a half hour after she’d been in there and know she’d been there before you. I can relate to this story. Good one.

says:

Good write, Anisa! I see those people all over – they have no idea how they appear/look/sound/smell to everyone around them. Not sure whether to admire or pity them for their total lack of self-consciousness.

Jay Heltzer

says:

Ugh. I smelt the stench as soon as you referred to it. I think the smokers, despite their best chemical efforts, still manage to let the nicotine seep through to our noses. Bleh. Nice pungent write.

Lin Morris

says:

Great job. I like how your depiction of the character is focused on the sense of smell versus the usual approach of sight to this prompt. I don’t have an adequate sense of smell myself but I can relate to the description of the negatively overpowering “aroma”.

says:

Airport Guy

He stood by the desk in the waiting area of Gate 6. I could tell by his light blue collared shirt and ID tags he was an employee of the airline. I took a seat in front of him.

I didn’t realize he was watching, as I sat chatting with my daughter and granddaughter.

A voice from behind me chimed in on our conversation. I turned and got a better look at him. He had short, light hair, pale blue eyes, a genuine smile and appeared to be in his early forties. He was obviously interested in my daughter. They talked while I sat wondering about the possibilities of this chance meeting.

When Jenna took Sara to the ladies room, he changed his strategy.

“Are you going to Disney with them?” he asked.

Work on the mother. Smart move. “It’s more like they’re going with me.”

“I took my son on the Disney Cruise. Where do you stay?”

A Disney person. I liked him. “The Boardwalk. Do you belong to the vacation club?”

“No. Is she doing the dating scene?”

Down to business. “Yes.”

I liked playing cupid. I found out he was a single dad and lived close to us.

My girls returned. They talked more. When it was time to board, Airport Guy disappeared. We got in line and joined the chaos. “Is he a flight attendant?” Jenna asked.

“I don’t know.”

“He went on the plane.”

“He did?” This could be interesting.

As we boarded, a flight attendant was helping passengers. The pilot stood near the aisle, waiting to personally greet us. He smiled at Jenna and winked at me.

“Welcome aboard, ladies. I hope you enjoy your flight to Orlando.”

Yes, it was going to be an interesting trip.

Jay Heltzer

says:

Such a cute story. Love interactions like this. I had to read it several times though to determine how many guys there were. Was the ID tag guy talking with your girls? I thought it was a different guy. Then I didn’t know if ID guy was the pilot or not. Its a little unclear. Its also more like a people chatting story rather than a people watching. Great interaction amongst the characters.

Lin Morris

says:

The Brave Wanderer in Need
One day as I am going to the local mall to hang out with a friend, I see a woman sitting at the streetlight I am stopped at, holding up a sign in search of money for food. She wore many dingy looking layers a large backpack slung over her back and very skinny. Despite all this, I began to wonder what life she leads. Is she just bumming for extra cash, was she evicted from, or kicked out of her home? I do decide to give her a little cash as I am about to turn, but as I go along my mind is plagued by what ifs and how’s of the woman’s place there. As I look back in my memory a little, I noticed that while some were willing to give her money, would anyone stop to listen? I think momentarily it is none of my business, but on instinct and against the status quo better judgment, I walk towards her on foot and though I am afraid to talk to strangers or be center of attention I call out. Later these words I shout will lead me to gaining a friend who despite the worst hardships like her boyfriend in jail, moving from New York to the bay area with nothing left months later but her backpack and keeps pushing forward in ways I am too afraid to. All thanks to catching her attention and shouting.
“Hey, Miss? Want to come with me to McDonald’s? I am starved. What your name?”

Anisa Claire

says:

Hi Lin,

Welcome to the site! First of all, I really liked the ‘but will anyone listen?’ line. That’s a powerful statement. Great story here. I think it could possibly be split up into a few paragraphs, but otherwise, it’s a strong start.

Anisa

Jay Heltzer

says:

You’ve captured all of our stoplight thoughts, as we see the homeless around our cities. Now you’ve expanded it with charitable help and friendship. Very nice. As one paragraph, with long sentences, and not much punctuation, it becomes tough to digest. See if you can break this up a bit more into smaller bits. Great job.

says:

You never know what story a person has to tell, particularly the homeless. What happened to them? Why? You took this story a step further and asked why? You offered something to them other than a handout. Good writing.

Lin Morris

says:

Thank you for the compliment, while the story is true, at the time it still felt like a handout to me but the girl was really sweet and I was happy to talk with her.

Lin Morris

says:

Thank you for the kind and constructive feedback, I will make sure to improve my punctuation and hopefully make it easier to read.

says:

A Witch-Link to Salem, Massachusetts

I am mesmerized by a witch. Not a witch dressed in a long black dress, flowing cape or pointed hat, nor does she flip a wand to zap me into a frog. Virginie Esmor is a present-day witch who dresses in elegant black slacks, vibrantly patterned, silk over-blouses and shapely clogs. Long, red-beaded earrings dangle from her ears to her shoulders. An assortment of twisty snake bracelets ringed by tiny silver stars and occult charms remind me that she is an ordained witch.
Virginie owns an eclectic craft emporium filled with exotic tapestries, jewelry, pottery, soy candles, luscious smelling creams and lotions, and sparkling crystals crafted by local artists. Many of those artists are cult friends.
Amidst of fountains washing waters over smooth rocks and pebbles, I am intrigued by the hand-waving conversations of Eugenie and her friends and associates concerning recent ‘witch-happenings’ attributed to The Pagan Resource and Network Council of Educators. P.R.A.N.C.E. has been instrumental in the reconstruction of the Witch Village in Salem, Massachusetts and has hosted the ‘Witches’ Hospitality Tent’ every year, manned by Eugenie and her ‘witches.’ Located on the Common during Salem’s Haunted Happenings, Prance gives Pagan/Wiccan tourists information and a warm welcome to the ‘Witch City’.

During this eclectic event, I park myself on a bench in the Common with a bag of sweet potato chips to munch on and an iced green tea and watch witches.

Back at Eugenie’s Emporium, perhaps buying a friend a handmade gift – at times I feel uncomfortable in the aura of witches, particularly when Jim-bo, a long-limbed Indian sits in a trance in a room furnished in surreal and Wiccan accessories, preparing to tell fortunes. It is my prerogative to leave. I am not a witch.

Jay Heltzer

says:

How fun. When I was in college, I worked at the local Renaissance Faire and the wide cast of characters that would visit would dress in every way possible. I loved seeing the witches and sorceresses the most. So exotic and impressive to wear all that goth black in the warm Southern California spring sunlight. wonderful job.

Lin Morris

says:

I really like your post. I never got the chance to meet modern day witches and the way you wrote the post allowed me a look through your eyes of what they are like. I will admit I got a bit confused when you mentioned more than one character you observed but realized it helps to complete the story as most people prefer to observe the entirety of their surroundings instead of one portion. Great job!

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