PROMPTED
Some short stories that were prompted by Jason Rekulak's book, The Writer's Block.
Piece Full Kitchen
     “What the hell are you staring at?” I asked.
     The thing just sat there. And stared at me. Like it didn’t understand what I was saying. The way it sat there, dumbly, was driving me crazy. I tried to ignore it and just cut the carrots but every time I looked away I could feel its prying eyes on me.
     I reached over and picked the damn thing up. “If you don’t stop watching me, I’m going to poke your fucking eyes out, skin you alive and throw your sorry ass in the pot.”
     I slammed that bastard’s potato face onto the counter and felt a little better.
     The carrot that I was chopping had finally stopped pointing at me.
     I was about to put the large pile of carcasses into the pot of water when I noticed a face tucked in the corner that was bright red with laughter.
     “Really? Are you laughing at me?”
     I grabbed the pepper and chopped its fat, red body right in half. The cut was quick and clean. A few seeds spilled out before it knew it was dead.
     “Ha ha, who’s laughing now?” I asked.
     I happened to notice that same potato that I had spared earlier was watching me with a new set of eyes.
     “That’s it. You die.” I grabbed the potato and lifted my cleaver. Before I chopped its dirty body in half, I made sure it heard me when I said, “I’m going to chew down extra hard on your provoking pieces.”
     “Mommy, I’m hungry.” Jake, my 6 year old walked into the kitchen. He knew better than to watch me when I was in the kitchen. He looked slightly alarmed when he saw how large the pile of vegetables that I had chopped today was.
     I calmly cut the potato. There was no satisfaction in this act of self-control.
     “Soup will be ready in a couple of hours, Honey. There’s some fresh applesauce in the fridge.” The boy needed to get out of my space.
     He opened the fridge and pulled out the large container of blended apple cadavers that had been simmered in their own juices. He dished himself a small bowl and ran out of the kitchen.
     I felt better after he left. I just wanted to be left alone in the kitchen.
     Chopping had taken a lot longer than I intended. There was skin, juices and body parts scattered all over the counter. It looked a grenade had gone off on all the vegetables.
     I felt a sense of calm wash over me as I scooped up the pieces and put them in the giant pot of water. I was just about ready to clean up when I felt unsettled again.
     I slowly turned around and saw Puck, our orange tabby, sitting in the corner of the room watching me.
     As soon as he caught my eye he ran like the dickens. He shot out of kitchen and I heard his kitty door swinging back and forth.
     “Weirdo,” I said.
 
 Prompt: Short Fuse
Polyester Outlaws
     “Here, put this in the fryer,” James, my nineteen-year-old co-worker said.
     I took what looked like it might have been a mouse. If mice were flat, dried out pieces of whatever it was that I was holding. I dropped it into the fryer because I didn’t want to hold it any longer.
     “Ha, you did it!” James said smiling at me. “You’re pretty bad ass Mr. B.”
     I glared at him.
     “I thought you were a bore when you were teaching,” James said.
     As if I cared. Upset that a part of me did.
     James was always a tough kid, the one that the others were afraid of. He had his one friend, Billy, and that was it. After the accident James never made another one. Mostly because the kids didn’t believe it was an accident. Hell, the whole town thought James pulled the trigger on purpose.
     I knew how it felt to be chased out of town. Once they turn on you, there’s no going back.
     “It was the sweater vests,” James said.
     “What?” I asked.
     “That made you look gay. This look is a huge improvement.” He motioned towards my brown, polyester outfit and smiled his mischievous grin at me. The one that drove me wild.
     “Why do you still pretend that I’m not?” I asked.
     He knew the story well. With Billy and I.
     He looked away. I wanted to devour him. His skin was creamy, soft on his hairless arms. His shaggy hair seemed to give the middle finger to his polyester ensemble. Which actually did fit him quite well. The sleeves hugged his young muscles and his buns looked like they were ready to come out.
     Unemployment had its way of forcing fast food on me. I was at the counter ordering when I saw James working in the kitchen. I knew right then that this is where I had to be.
     I pulled the rat thing out of the fryer and put it on a plastic serving platter for James to do with it whatever it was he wanted.
     He picked it up and put it to his pretty, pink lips. Then he laughed and threw it in the trash.
     I saw a glimmer of innocence that was still in his clear, blue eyes.
     I wanted to capture it like a butterfly in a jar.
     A jar sealed tightly, without any air holes.
     “We should do something after work, Mr. B,” James said and looked at me.
     My heart did a flip.
     “Yeah, sure,” I said.
 
Prompt: Write a story set in the kitchen of a fast-food restaurant.


Click Stop
     “Yeah, that’s good, pout for me,” he said as he snapped the lens shut. He licked his dry lips.
     Snap. She is lying on her side. Arms behind her back. Panties and bare chest. Her brown, messy hair partially covers her face. Her eyes are closed.
     “Don’t overdo it,” he warned. He took another picture.
     Snap. Her big, brown eyes look fearful. Tears stain her dirty cheeks. No make-up, she is a natural beauty.
     “Ooh yeah, that was the money shot.” He walked over to her and stood above her. He zooms in and shoots another.
     Snap. Her cheek is bruised. She looks disgusted.
     He realized that she was looking at the fat gap between his underwear and his t-shirt. “Bitch,” he said and took another picture.
     Snap. Her eyes are squinting. Her head pulled back. Anticipating a hit.
     He felt himself rise with excitement. “I don’t know what you’re so afraid of,” he said.
     Snap. She looks into the camera. Her swollen lips are round, full with words. Her eyes no longer pleading.
     He was confused. “What did you say?” he asked.
     “It’s gonna hurt,” she said quietly.
     He laughed. Then grabbed himself. “Yeah, it probably will.”
     Snap. Her shoulders look contorted. Her brown eyes empowered. She is smiling.
     “What the fuck’s gotten into you?” he asked.
     Snap. She is looking up.
     “Not you,” she said.
     She sat up.
     Snap. Her eyes fierce. Blurry movement. Her arm swinging right to his groin.
     He doubled over and said, “I’ll get you, you bitch!”
     She knocked him upside his head. He fell onto his back.
     She was on him. The camera fell away.
     The button of the camera got pushed as it tumbled.
     Snap. Blurry shot of a white man lying on the ground. His eyes are wide open, looking terrified. His face bloody. The woman on top of him raising her arm in the air. Blood dripping down her fingers. She holds a large lens. Her vicious eyes are focused on his face.
 
Prompt: Write a story about the images on a roll of film – using only 12,24, or 36 paragraphs
Caged Heart
Dear Maggie,
     It’s been three days since I’ve last seen you. And each one that passes is more painful than the last. The wounds are just getting worst, not better.
     I’ve been wanting to write you sooner but wasn’t able to get a hold of a pen until today. Hope you don’t mind this shitty paper. It’s all that I could piece together.
     This place is a mad house and I wouldn’t recommend anyone come here for a vacation. I got more rest when I was on the battlefront. And I only went there to get away from you. I swear, the places I go to for you leave something to be desired. I’m so tired of running away.
     It was such a treat to get a glimpse of your lovely face. Thanks for coming. I know that it wasn’t really your idea, but I appreciated it all the same.
     When will you look at me again?
     I can’t tell you how much I miss your eyes. The shades that you wear really bother me. Are you still blue?
     I would do anything to protect you. I guess I proved that already, though, didn’t I?
     I just remember that it was so hot that day. Who’s idea was it to have a bar-b-que in the middle of the summer? But the sun and all those beers weren’t what set me off. It was seeing him treat you like that. All grins and tickles. I couldn’t take it anymore. How did you put up with that for so long? Don’t you know that you deserve better than that wisp of a man? A man should at least be able to grow a beard.
     I’ve watched you go through boyfriends. Geez, you really attract some weirdos. I was able to chase most of them off, but not Gary. He just wouldn’t go away. And he always had that big, stupid grin.
     And to think that you were about to marry him. I couldn’t bear the thought of that bastard raising our son.
     At least he didn’t die. Just a few scrapes and bruises. Hell, he got a few jabs in on me too. I would’ve killed him, though, if it meant that you and I could be together.
     I know there was probably a better way for all of this to turn out but I just didn’t like any of those endings. I know how much you hate attention and that was quite a scene. But Mags, who cares what those people think? We love each other, right?
     When I get out of here, I’ll come for you straight away and we’ll be together. I’ll come get you and take you far away.
     And now that Mom and Dad are gone they can’t say anything anymore.
 
 
Prompt: Tell Your Story in the Form of a Love Letter