OLWG #12 – The Bus

 This weeks prompts are at the bottom. The story here is just for practice.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

The tall man with the mustache, wearing a black ball cap and duster stepped up on the number 17 bus. He flashed his pass for Isaac and moved down the aisle. Isaac put it in gear and pulled carefully into traffic. He started heading the two blocks down to where he would pull onto the 387 ramp.

The tall man had headed right towards that nice Miss Ramsdale. She took the 17 downtown every morning. Isaac assumed that she worked near the Ferguson and Solvada stop, since that was where she got off the bus. Isaac watched all his regulars; he looked out for them and made up stories about their lives in his head. It helped him to pass the time as he drove his route every day. Sometimes he stayed up late and wrote his stories down. He had made Miss Ramsdale  a legal secretary in a firm located on one of the top floors of any of the myriad glass faced office buildings in that neighborhood. He turned his head slightly to eavesdrop and watch in the mirror.

Excuse me ma’am,” he heard the man in the duster say, “is this seat taken?”

Miss Ramsdale scanned the almost empty bus, “No, no, it’s free.” He sat down and pushed his cap back on his head.

“Nice day, isn’t it?” the mustache asked.

Miss Ramsdale looked out the window and ignored him. Isaac signaled to move back to the right; back towards the curb. He could see what was happening.

Mustache cleared his throat, “Ahem, I asked you if you thought it was a nice day.” He said with an edge in his voice. An edge that Isaac didn’t like, not one little bit.

Miss Ramsdale continued to ignore the man as Isaac braked hard, he spun to his feet, then ran the three steps to where Miss Ramsdale sat, pinned next to the window by the stranger.

“I’m afraid you need to get off my bus, sir.” Isaac said to the man.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” the man stammered as he stood, “I don’t want any trouble. I’ll just move to another seat.”

“You should have taken another seat when you boarded, sir.” Isaac intoned, “It’s too late now to try and make amends by simply moving. You need to get off my bus.” Isaac raised himself to his full 6’ 8” and looked down at the man.

“No need to make a federal case out of it, man. I’m going.” He made his way back to the front door and when Isaac opened it, mustache stepped down to the pavement.

Isaac looked in his mirror at Miss Ramsdale who sat looking at him with both hands clamped over her mouth and her eyes wide. He touched two fingers to the brim of his driver’s hat, nodded his head, took his seat and moved back into traffic heading towards the 387 on ramp.

As he merged onto the freeway he checked his mirror again. Miss Ramsdale’s hands had moved down to her lap but she continued to stare wide-eyed at Isaac.

She should thank me he thought as he worked his way through the gears accelerating to 65.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. Are we there yet?
  2. These kids today
  3. Scram

Go ahead and dive in,
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes!

OLWG #11 – Chekhov’s Editor

What was I thinking when I wrote this? This weeks prompts are at the bottom. The story here is just for fun.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

“A dark figure eased from the shadows and peered down the moonlit street. Glass, from the shattered hulk of a burned out staff car crouched at the curb, glittered like a gem stone; and the black shadow of a furtive search chopper rolled past like a ball.”

Daniel Wellborne shook his head and placed the manuscript back on his table, carefully squaring the corners, lining them up with the edges of the blotter centered on the desktop. Pulling open his drawer, he grabbed three aspirins and washed them down with a healthy slug of Maalox. Reading tripe like this all day was not good for his health. As a junior editor at the boutique publisher “Incidental Crib” though, it was his lot in life.

Samantha Sandburg, and Roland Hightower got to read the good stuff. They got the fancy corner offices on the top floor, the three martini lunches, and the flights to London, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro to meet with the talent. Meanwhile; he sat in this closet beneath the stair, eating fried potato sandwiches and, reading crap all day – every day. He needed a promotion, but to get a promotion he needed a real author. He needed to discover a new talent. He looked at the manuscript he had placed so carefully on his desk.

Anton Chekhov was the name on the cover page. Daniel considered the document and what he had read so far. The story wasn’t too bad. It probably needed a stronger love interest and maybe a car chase. The writing was OK, albeit a bit ostentatious. Maybe a letter to Mr. Chekhov was in order. Maybe Mr. Chekhov would agree to a voluptuous damsel in distress and a few automobile crashes. Maybe Mr. Chekhov could tone down the flourishes of his prose. Maybe he needed a pen name too. Who would read anything by someone named Anton Chekov. Maybe Mr. Chekhov would consider writing under the nom de plume of “Slate Sideiron”

Daniel grabbed two clean sheets of erasable bond letterhead, stacked them together, and rolled them into the Royal Typewriter he kept on the return beside his desk. He squared them up and placed the bail over the top of the worksheet.

August 5, 2017

Dear Mr. Chekhov:

Thank you for submitting your new short story to Incidental Crib 
Publishing. After reviewing your manuscript we have some suggestions 
that might help to facilitate our selection of same for publishing...

Blah, blah, blah


Daniel Wellborne
Incidental Crib Publishing

Daniel grinned and hoped that this Chekhov character could take constructive criticism. He was tired of eating potato’s on rye.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. Wait for it!
  2. Can I call you Brenda?
  3. It will tarnish

Go ahead and dive in,
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes!

OLWG #10 – My Celebration

Sorry that this is so short this week. I’m celebrating.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

Well, I got some closure last week. On Friday morning I went back to the VA for a simple outpatient procedure. They removed the mediport that has been embedded in my chest for the better part of the past year.  The port has been used to facilitate my chemo treatment which is now complete.

I guess it is official, my cancer is in remission and the prognosis is good. Thanks for all your positive thoughts and, thanks to the doctors, nurses, and staff at VA facilities everywhere.

I still have some recovering to do, but the hard part is over.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. unbelievable
  2. Well, my wife told me…
  3. I’ve dreamt that before

Go ahead and dive in,
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes!

OLWG #9 – Winter

I thought a taste of American Cinquain might be a nice way to introduce the prompts this week. I’m having fun, playing with poetry these days, in case you haven’t noticed and, today’s my birthday.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

hushed, monochromatic.
Everything is dormant and still.
Then spring.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. Come hither
  2. He had a really hard time shaving today
  3. Ra, the sun god

Ready, Set, Go – 25 minutes!

OLWG #8 – When I First Met Gertie

I had a lot of fun writing this story to introduce this weeks prompts!

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

It was dark and the fog was heavy, like a load of beach sand that covered absolutely everything. I was on Highway 101; stationed at a ramp just south of Bandon Oregon and I had had high hopes when I first got here. My optimism was fading though. I’d been standing with my thumb out for almost three hours; I’d seen only six cars and two big rigs. In all fairness to the good people of Oregon, it was late and the weather was kinda shitty. I probably wouldn’t of stopped either and I was beginning to think that maybe I should find a spot to sleep and stay dry. I could try again in the morning. Then I saw a set of headlights coming my way and decided to give it one last shot. I put my thumb out and smiled when the oncoming car began to slow. It looked like they were going to stop for me.

I’ve spent a lot of years crisscrossing the back roads of this great country and relying on the kindness of strangers for transportation. I’ve occasionally taken a bus or hopped a freight, but thumbing is my favourite method of locomotion. I like the people I meet. I like to listen to the stories that they tell. I like to collect their stories and I write ‘em all down. I also like the stories that result from their stopping to offer me a ride. I’ve always got my ‘C’ harp in my pocket and it doesn’t take much talking to persuade me to play some ‘cross harp’ blues. I like the old stuff; the Robert Johnson stuff, the Mississippi John Hurt stuff, Blind Lemon’s stuff. They just don’t write music like that anymore.

The car that stopped was an old, piss yellow coloured Volvo station wagon. In the driver’s seat was a woman with long curly red hair pulled back in a loose pony tail tied with a couple strips of rawhide. A toddler slept in a car seat in the back. There was luggage tied on the top and the back end was full of boxes, toys, and clothes. The kid had long dreadlocks and sat in an oversized Henley necked shirt. The woman wore a flowing gauzy fuchsia coloured blouse with flowers embroidered around a scoop neck. She was broad hipped and heavy breasted, definitely the hippy earth-mother type. In the light that was cast from the ceiling I watched the freckles that were scattered across her nose crinkle up as she smiled. I plopped my butt on the passenger seat, grinned back at her and stuck out my hand.

“Hey,” I said, and I waved at the kid; who immediately threw up a peace sign, “I’m Rick. Thanks for stopping.”

“Hi, Ricky,” the woman said right back at me then she took my hand and shook it. Her grip was firm and confident, “I’m Gertrude, Gertrude Starflower. The munchkin in the backseat is my feral child. I call him Wildfish Sunsparkle. I like his name because; if you think about it the sun is a star and a sparkle can resemble the petals of a flower. See, we have the same last name but we each have our own name. Still unique. Still individual.” She looked at me for some sign of understanding. I nodded my head and she asked, “how far you goin’?”

I told her, I was hoping to get to Santa Cruz eventually and she said that she hadn’t been to Santa Cruz in years and that she wouldn’t mind seeing the place again. She rolled down the window, pulled back onto the road, and after careful consideration announced that she and Wildfish would take me all the way there. Then she asked me to reach behind my seat and find the glass jar that she had stowed back there. I rooted around and found it eventually. Upon inspection it looked to be an old mayonnaise jar about three quarters full of a clear liquid. I brought it over the seat back, held it in my lap.

“Can you take the lid off for me?” she asked. I did and when she held out her hand I gave the jar to her.

She took a sip and swirled it around in her mouth before she swallowed it. Then she made an ‘O’ of her lips and sucked in a big breath of night air.

“Hooooo,” she whooped. “This is a good batch.”

“Good batch of what,” I asked. I was interested.

“Grain alcohol,” she told me. “I make it myself. I made this batch just before I started south from Seattle. It tested out at 190 proof. It’ll kill off some brain cells, but only the weak ones. Want a taste?”

This week’s prompts are:

Bipolar, alliteration, and selective (use all three)


Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes!

OLWG #6 – Susan

Well, It’s Sunday. You know what that means! OLWG time. Have fun with these prompts.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

Daniel looked in the mirror and practiced.
Should he try to look contrite? Apologetic?
He tried soulful and said to his reflection…

“It’s not you, Susan.
It’s me… It’s me.
You deserve better than me and,
I love you; so I have to set you free.”

What a load of hooie. She’ll never believe that.
I need another approach, but it’s gotta be something she’ll believe.

He tried pragmatic..,

“Susan, I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but
Nobody likes you. Not really. Some people tolerate you,
sure. Not too many though.
Hell, my dog doesn’t even like you so I’ve decided that I don’t like you either.”

Nah, she won’t believe that.
My dog likes everybody.


“Susie, honey, I think we both need to see other people.
We shouldn’t be exclusive. You should call that guy you met on the train,
the one who slipped you his phone number.
No, no, don’t worry about me. I’ll call your sister or something.”

She’ll probably kill me if I even think like that.
A Texas girl’d kill me for stuff like that. Sue would definitely kill me.

Honest! Maybe that was the approach to use. How does one go about looking candid?

Susan, it’s over between us.
My mother thought your lasagna was horrible.
She told me I couldn’t be engaged to a girl who can’t cook. She told me I had to make a choice.
You can keep the ring. It’s zirconium anyway.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. Everything was moving in slow motion
  2. adrift in a calm sea
  3. make it a double

Ready, Set, Go – 25 minutes!