This week Comicfan brings us two new prompts:
Prompt 108 – Creative
Cue – List of words
Use the following words in a short story: obituary, ice cream, red dress, fish, and apartment.
Prompt 109 – Creative
Cue – Poetry
Write a poem about your favorite person. Try to descriptive and give life to the person you are writing about. The poem can take any from a series of haikus, to free form, to an established pattern.
In response to Prompt #107....
“This one comes with a lifetime guarantee.” Those were the first words I heard as fingers removed me from my box and set me atop the glass display case.
“Very nice.” A different hand picked me up, examined me, tested my weight, traced my dimensions. Finally, fingers removed my cap.
“Do you have some paper? I’d like to try this one out.”
I settled into the right hand, found a comfortable resting spot against the bottom joint of the index finger, and went to work. Even fresh from the factory, I knew exactly what to do. The hand guided my tip along the paper, quickly curving out two words, then lifted me so that we could examine the work critically. Blue lines, boldly written, not unattractive, but I could do better.
“It’s heavier than I expected.” This came from the owner of the hand holding me. My tip re-engaged with the paper and we tried again, the same two words. This time there was a flare to the curves, a confidence about them. They looked elegant, commanding. I loved this person who spoke, loved the hand holding me and how naturally we worked together.
“Is this a gift?” The question came from the first person, the one who’d taken me from the box.
“A gift for myself. I made Vice President today.” We wrote as Vice President spoke. Two lengthy sentences, then those first two words written over and over. Oddly, I could read everything we wrote, except those two words Vice President liked most. The first started with a J, followed by a short wavy line, then a longer word started with “A” and longer squiggles after it. We looked at what we’d written.
“I’ll take it,” Vice President said
“Engraving is included with the purchase. Your name, perhaps?”
“Yes, that would be perfect.”
The early years were good. Busy. Vice President and I were together morning to night. The work day started with a review of the daily schedule which I meticulously maintained in Vice President’s leather day planner.
“10:30am - Meeting with lawyers”
“6:00pm - Conference call with Tokyo”
Once the schedule was done, we delved into the meat of the day. Meeting after meeting. Lots of note taking. We worked rapidly, smart and confident in our printed letters, our abbreviations. I functioned perfectly, always uniform in color, never streaking. No blotches. I took pride in the work we produced.
When not working my resting place was an inside jacket pocket where I heard the steady thump, thump of Vice President’s heart. V.P. didn’t often work with me in the evenings. I hung in my pocket on the back of a chair or sometimes a closet while V.P. recounted our day to the other person in the house. I’d met this person once or twice. The hand that held me was larger, rougher. It jabbed my tip at the paper, swiping at it so that I left behind short, abrupt swipes of blue. I did my best, as always, but I preferred the elegant cursive of V.P.
Every few months we would have an extraordinarily busy day. I always knew we’d be working extra hard when Vice President replaced my inner cartridge and we caught an early morning flight. At the other end of the flight would be a crowded conference room with interminable discussions that always culminated with us marking sheet after sheet of paper. We wrote V.P.’s favorite words, “J~~~ A~~~, Vice President.” It was on the first of these trips that I learned I had a name. I was “Closing Pen” and I had been acquired to sign “deals” and “transactions.” The others around the massive table in the room had their own “Closing Pen”, and I gathered the existence of these other Closing Pens is what had prompted my purchase in the first place.
We Closing Pens were discreetly flashed by our owners, sometimes examined and tested by others. I know Vice President was introduced to counterparts of mine who had real gold and diamonds. I sometimes feared I was too drab and would be replaced. But, V.P. continued to be happy with me and over the years we left our marks on many an “Agreement of Merger” and “Certificate of Preferred Stock.”
It wasn’t all work though. No, on the train ride home in the evening we would engage in another sort of writing. Fantastic tales populated with people and places far removed from the daily work life in which V.P. and I were engaged. These were my favorite times because I think they were also V.P.’s favorite times. Our writing was smooth, light and happy. It flowed. My only frustration was that our tales were only brief excerpts. They were scenes in a story that never had a beginning or an end.
Our other work not related to the day’s business came on the morning train ride. This is when V.P. wrote letters. A new letter was composed daily and always addressed “Dear God” or sometimes just “God-” In time, I gathered we were praying or perhaps confessing. I disliked the morning writing. It was tortured work; our words were dark. Vice President’s hand gripped me too tightly, pressed too hard. V.P. hated our morning work too. I knew because our last mark was often an “X” over the entire letter, sometimes angry scratches of my tip obliterating the recently inked words.
These train ride compositions, both the morning and the evening, were just between the two of us. They were shared with no one else. We were intimates. I vowed to always be there for Vice President, to so what I could to provide what human companions at work or home could not. I would not fail V.P. I came with a lifetime guarantee.
I’m not sure when things started to change, but I’ve always blamed Phone for the chaos that interrupted the perfect life V.P. and I had. Phone arrived without warning, shoved into the pocket that was my home. Until Phone’s arrival, it was a comfortable, roomy home. The loose jacket would swing and I would brush up against the warm curve of V.P.’s body, just making the slightest tap, tap against the soft, malleable flesh over the heart. V.P. didn’t like the softness or the curves. I knew this from the morning letters to God. Still, I’d always been comfortable in the pocket until Phone arrived.
Phone was squat and fat and loud. Okay, maybe fat isn’t a very politically correct term but try sharing a sleeping bag with someone six times your size and then tell me how correct you’d feel. Vice President ditched Phone after just a few months but then immediately replaced it with New Phone. New Phone was quieter and slimmer but still far too big to be sharing a pocket. Unlike myself, New Phone demanded attention with its constant vibrations. Vice President reached for New Phone at least as often as for me.
In time, I came to accept New Phone. A new New Phone arrived every 1-2 years (no lifetime guarantee), but I declined to name each of them. My pocket companion was simply known to me as New Phone. We had nothing to do with each other but its presence continued to concern me.
V.P. and I were working together less and less. Even during the long meetings we attended out of town, I was no longer the center of attention and there were far fewer pages to sign. The people with their own Closing Pens were also fewer because “only the banks and lawyers want original copies” and most parties to our deals were “willing to close on a scanned copy.”
Instead of passing around pens for examination and admiration, ugly, bulky New Phone was handled, palmed, fingered and thumbed. Vice President became Senior Vice President and instead of taking notes in meetings, V.P. did most of the talking while others took notes. Sometimes an entire day would go by, or two, without V.P. and I working together at all.
We still had our train dates, both the morning and evening, but even those weren’t going well. Much of the train ride was spent with V.P. tapping me against the paper. We didn’t get much work done. Vice President was alone in the evenings now. No one heard about our day. I participated only in fragments of Vice President’s life which itself seemed to be fragmenting.
We made lists. Lists for moving to a new house, for doctor’s appointments, for starting a new job. I realized we didn’t write our two favorite words anymore and tried to remember the last time we’d signed the J~~~ A~~~~~. It was months ago, at the bottom of a sheet of paper with the words “Motion for Decree of Divorce” on the top. I spent days in my pocket home untouched but even that felt different. I was still near V.P.’s heart but the curve was less pronounced, less soft. For much of the time I had the pocket to myself. Phone was in constant use. I resented Phone. He was the cause of my loneliness.
I’d been in the pocket for days, unused, when finally Vice President unclipped me, brought me into the light of day. Familiar fingers ran over me, much as they had that very first day. A sensitive index finger traced V.P.’s name tattooed onto my body. I waited to be uncapped, waited for V.P. to put me to work, but instead I was wrapped in paper and dropped into a box. Other items occupied the box, but I couldn’t see them. I only knew that I was far, far from Vice President. Phone had the pocket to himself.
Nothing happened in the box. Not for years. The box moved once awhile, jostling those of us in it around. During one of the longer, more kinetic journeys, the tissue worked itself away and I found myself positioned next to Watch. Like me, Watch hated Phone. He, too, blamed Phone for his new life in the box. Like me, Watch had V.P.’s name tattooed on his body. We discussed whether this commonality between us, this name of V.P., was the reason for our expulsion from V.P.’s life. We both concluded that that line of reasoning made no sense. Phone had conquered us in a complete rout; Phone had won the battle and the war.
The box remained closed for years and I wondered sometimes if I was finishing out my lifetime guarantee in a landfill. Yet, when the day came that the lid of the box opened, and I was lifted out, it was just like that first day we’d met over the glass counter. Vice President held me just like before I went into the box. The fingertips, the curve between index finger and thumb, all felt the same. A thumb popped my cap off and fingers helped me make a couple experimental swipes at a piece of paper.
“Probably just needs a new cartridge.” This voice was new. I’d never heard it before.
“Probably” Vice President agreed. Fingers traced my length, rubbing over the name engraved on my body.
“It has your old name.”
“Yes,” V.P. tapped me decisively on the paper. “I miss writing with a pen sometimes.”
I got a new cartridge a few days later, and then it was just like old times. No, that’s not accurate. We’re creating some new times together. V.P. takes me to work, but doesn’t use me there too often. I figured out he’s not V.P. anymore though. He’s COO, Chief Operating Officer. I can’t read his new name any more easily than his old one. Now it’s R~~~ E~~~~~~. He doesn’t wear jackets too often either. I guess Phone found another pocket. Sometimes I’m clipped to a shirt pocket, laying smoothly on a firm, flat chest, listening again to the thump, thump of Vice President’s heart.
Much of the work day is spent with me resting on his desk watching him write with a keyboard. Even though I’m not as busy as before, I like the fact that I’m within arm’s reach when he needs me.
We do most of our best work on the weekends. He’s writing quite a lot these days, just like he use to on the train in the evenings. Today’s tales have a beginning, a middle and an end, and I can tell he’s taking them seriously. I’m fascinated by the stories and always disappointed when he lays me down for the day. We write in the sunroom while his friend is painting. Once in a while his friend asks what the story is about and he’ll read our words right off the page. The stories aren’t just between the two of us anymore, but I think it’s better that way.
By my estimate, we go back 18 years now but the precise time doesn’t really matter. After all, I come with a lifetime guarantee.
Enjoy the prompts! We would love to see your writing prompt response here next time.