Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Prompt - Three Word Salad





  1. Tim and I were walking around Times Square, on our way back to our hotel. We had just seen a revival of that old chestnut of a Broadway musical, On Your Toes.

    “I just loved the Slaughter on 10th Avenue ballet sequence,” I sighed. “It still holds up beautifully, even after all these years!”

    Tim snorted. “That show is such an old dinosaur! Dated! I can’t believe you talked me into seeing it.”

    I was really irritated at his comments. “Tim, you can’t appreciate anything, can you? Everything gets a negative label from you.”

    “Not everything,” said Tim.

    “Not everything? Like, what doesn’t?” I threw the proverbial snark-ball back at him.

    “Well, take for instance that billboard up there.”

    “Which billboard?” I glanced up at the billboards on top of the tall buildings. “The beer one or the celebrity-in-underwear one?”

    “Neither,” said Tim, “but check out the one to the left of those two.”

    “What about it? I asked. “It’s just a bunch of people at a party. We don’t even know who’s being advertised. So?”

    “So,” said Tim with a smile. “It’s got neither a negative nor a positive label.”

    “Huh? Then what is it, O Wise-Ass Man of the World? There’s no words on it. So if there is no positive nor negative label from you – what then?”

    “Merely unlabeled.”

  2. "270, 272, 274..." Errol counted the rooms. "Here it is!"

    Jasmine examined the door. "So?"

    "Look, it comes between 274 and 278, but it's not labeled."

    "It's probably just a janitor's closet or something. This is dumb. You said you'd found something interesting to do while it's raining out." Jasmine pouted. "This is the stupidest vacation ever."

    "I found us a mystery," said Errol.

    "It's a door."

    "It's a mysterious door. Why doesn't it have a number sign?"

    "It probably fell off and they didn't bother to fix it 'cause they're lazy buttheads who run a stupid dumb hotel of super-boredom." Jasmine reached for the handle to jiggle it.

    "I already tried that. It's locked-" Errol said, but stopped when the doorknob moved under Jasmine's hand. He gasped excitedly. "You did it! You're like... the hidden key to the Mystery Door!"

    "Don't be stupid," said Jasmine. "The cleaning lady is probably in here already."

    She pushed the door open. They both stood for a moment, staring at the wall of scaled flesh that filled the doorway. A slitted reptilian eye blinked once at them, slowly. Then the jaws opened, revealing row upon row of daggerlike teeth...

  3. Wow...Scattercat - great Halloween story!

    Thanks Deb!

  4. OOOH, Scattercat! Scary and fun!! Great story.

  5. “We’re at the hotel kids!” The tires of the Sienna chewed gravel slowly as dad turned into the drive of the “surprise” he’d promised us.

    In return for our general cooperation during the cross-country road trip dad had forced upon us, he’d guaranteed to make it fun. This was only the first day. I’d be the monitor of the fun-o-meter. My brothers were a pretty hard bunch to please.

    “Are you freaking kidding us?” This from Mark, the “nothing impresses me” eight year old. I looked at his face in order to determine whether he was being sarcastic or enthused. Enthused, definitely enthused.

    I ducked around Aaron (I was positioned between the two as referee), the seven year old, to get a look for myself at the anomaly in our presence.

    Aaron was still as a statue, mouth gaping open. I followed his rapt gaze to the enormous green stucco building just ahead. A building in the shape of a Stegosaurus. Yep. A dinosaur. I groaned.

    The “body” of the beast lay low to the ground and was covered with what appeared to be the plates of his skin, punctuated every few feet with a darker green vertical plate. The doors to the rooms. Clever. I rolled my eyes.

    The spikes of the Steg were also darker green but were fashioned from what was probably metal tubes of ducting that stood upright on the roof and were pinched at the top to make a pointy tip.

    I had to hand it to dad. The fun-o-meter was winging toward “home run”. The boys flew out of the mini-van and ran around in circles like dogs dancing for treats. Boys. I’d never understand them.

    I disembarked from the transport and looked around. Fake “tar pits” off to the left displayed bleached bones and struggling victims sticking up out of something black and ooky while over-sized tigers and life-sized Mastodons looked on.

    Dear god, would this sort of nonsense be my fate for another week?

    Dad came over with a huge smile on his face, clearly happy he’d scored a hit. He put his arm around my shoulder and handed me an unlabeled envelope.

    “This is for being such a good sport, kiddo,” he grinned.

    I scrunched my eyebrows, completely surprised, and slowly tore open the white paper. Inside was a photo of my boyfriend Jason. I looked up at dad, still confused.

    “He’s inside the lobby.”

    I danced in a circle.

  6. I have to say that you see odd things when you work at a hotel. Rendezvous. Deliveries. People dressed to impress others and people...barely dressed.

    Recently one of many strange packages arrived. I should say that it was found. The package was unlabeled, but on our pallet of deliveries from the FedEx guy. One of the airlines lost an entire flight's luggage and half of the plane was staying with us. Loads of angry customers. Hurrah for us.

    We sorted through all the luggage as best as we could when we'd received it. There were, of course, many packages that customers had to pick up themselves. Over the course of the week, the luggage and boxes were claimed until there was just this one left.

    We have a policy that any items that are left at the front desk for more than a week became hotel property. (It's not a storage facility, after all.) Since I'd taken a few extra shifts recently, the manager let me take a peek before we gave it to Goodwill. Usually there's nothing you'd want in there - clothing, hygiene stuff - anything important or valuable gets picked up.

    When I opened the package - a small thing, about the size of a shoebox - I was hoping to find some spare cash tucked in the toes of a pair of old shoes. Instead, I found a piece of toast shaped like a dinosaur.

    It did not go to Goodwill.

  7. Thanks R.J. - you know me, ever the romantic. When I'm not decapitating wicked men! LOL

    Cari, very nice!!! toast, huh? LOL

  8. Thanks for the compliments. I like this because I don't have to count words for these. (I'm very tired of counting words...)

    I like the toast one. But *which* dinosaur was it shaped like? Allosaurus? Deinonychus? Coleopteryx?

  9. Brontosaurus. B/c that name is now toast.

    Ouch. Waay lame there, B.

  10. "Order! Order! Order!" I shouted excitedly at Jack who held the room service menu. "I heard that Madonna stayed here last week. Someone in the lobby said that."

    Putting out my hand to admire my new wedding ring, I wished we could have stayed more than one night in the hotel, but even one night... was amazing. Who knew how Jack had even managed one night in the secrecy-shrouded hotel simply known as "There"? It was "the place" to be. Her bridesmaids had been super jealous when she'd told them.

    "I don't know what to order," Jack said, gesturing at the menu. "It has names but no descriptions."

    "It's totally too hip for descriptions," I said, snatching the menu from his hand. Okay... that was weird. No prices... sure, but the names weren't even that descriptive.

    "Is that why? It's too hip... really?" he asked skeptically. "Jen, we're not going to have any idea what we're eating."

    "It's an adventure."

    "It's weird. I know you wanted to stay here, but don't you find it odd that everything is so generic? Everything is either white or black or unlabeled. I feel like I'm drowning in the sheer mediocrity. The beds aren't comfortable really, either. It's odd."

    I frowned at him. Sure... the place was a little weird, but it wasn't that bad, and this was our first night as a married couple. "This is supposed to be fun, Jack." There was just a hint of a whine in my voice, partly because he was right.

    Sighing, he said, "Well, you're the adventurer. You order. I promise I'll love it, because I love you." He leaned over and kissed my temple.

    It made me smile. It didn't matter. We were together. That was all that mattered.

    "Beef AuPain?" I asked, pointing to an item on the menu.

    "Great. I have no idea what it is. Sounds painful."

    I hit him. He could be so sweet and dorky at the same time.

    "Hopefully, it's not something weird like horse, but really, it could be ferret or... a dinosaur for all we know," he said, smiling.

    "If it's ferret will you still eat it?" I asked, picking up the phone.

    "Yes, just make sure they have ketchup," he said, getting up to go take a shower.

    "Hurry," I said.

    "You got it." Sure enough... the water turned on within seconds. It was nice to be loved.

    I went to dial room service but there was already someone speaking on the connection, and they didn't seem aware that I could hear them. Weird. I waited for an appropriate time to let them know.

    "How are the subjects in room 214 doing?" the voice asked.

    "Male has gone to take a shower. We're about to drop the water temperature to see his reaction," another voice replied.

    Jack gave a shout from the bathroom, and I felt my breath catch. What on earth? A shiver went up my arms that had nothing to do with the coldness of the room... though the room did seem to be abnormally cold.

    "How are they dealing with the complete lack of product placement and absence of comfort?" the first voice questioned.

    "As with other subjects, they've chosen to disregard it when told that a famous celebrity stayed there," came the reply.

    There was a snort before the voice said, "They're such a sheep. I noticed that 125 hasn't located the 'strange smell' after more than 48 hours. They're much more dedicated then previous subjects put through that test. How is room 326 coping with the low freqency noise disturbances?"

  11. OMG - Wendy - that was so creepy (in a good way!)

    Deb - keep on decapitating wicked men (in a good way, too!)

    Cari - dinosaur toast - way yummy! But I think I saw something like it on ebay! hehe

    And speaking of toast - B.N. ... 'nuff said, lol

    Finally Scattercat - you might have something there about being tired after counting words. Maybe you've come up with a new treatment for insomnia, since counting sheep doesn't really seem to work too well. (OK, B.N. - sounds like I'm toast now too - and not in a good way.)

  12. That was so much fun... both the reading and the writing. All the stories were really good... and very different. I was thinking about Scattercat's after I'd gone on to a different site.

    I wish I'd found this site a long time ago.


    "Dinosaur Bastards!" he shouted skyward.

    The rumblings he heard in Raciana were coming to roost on McCracken's mud farm. The footprints had obliterated three-quarters of his "crop" and he knew the harvest wouldn't yield near enough to keep the land. After the desolation left by the Blight of 2018, and the town folk took to eating mud, McCracken was assured his plantation would keep him in the high life.

    But, he found himself in their caste. Hungry. Cold. And in dire need of a bath. Crawling out of the depression left by the Lizard, he realized he couldn't stay here. He needed to get to Archaicia, near what was left of Old Chicago. He grabbed what he could carry which amounted to an old double barrel shotgun, a box of shells, a Redbook Magazine and an unlabelled bottle of murky liquid.

    The gun, he called Ol' Bitter, after the late Mrs. McCracken. She always did her business with a loud crack of noise, and smoked like the dickens when she was through as well. The shells were left over from the second Armageddon. The one lead by President George Clooney and his Hollywood Rabble. McCracken hid in his barn until that came to an end. When the dust had settled, Clooney and his ilk high-tailed it to France for amnesty and baguettes. After the conflict, it rained for twenty straight days, turning his land into a massive mush pit. That's when his farming skill came to fruit.

    The Redbook? Missus loved the pictures of the fine ladies and the decorating tips. He figured it would come in handy in the woods when a pine cone just wouldn't do. All McCracken knew about the bottle is that the wife told him it would help him out when he was in a bind. Survival.

    Once he arrived in Archaicia, McCracken would have to lay down tracks to the Archaicia Beanery and Hotel. The Beanery was formerly the Palmerhouse. How the high and mighty had fallen! McCracken got down to his belly, crawling like a damn snake. A legless lizard, he thought, deserved to crawl. For him it was just a ways to a means.

    The hotel loomed on the near horizon. All he had to traverse was ten odd yards to safety. But he suddenly sensed rain, as the sky had all at once lost its illumination, looking ominous and threatening. Thunder rolled like the growl of a cavernous stomach trying to recall what filled it last.

    In the clearing, McCracken stood erect. The thunder turned into a rancorous roar. Over his right shoulder he gathered just a mere glimpse of green as he felt himself being taken up into a slimy and rather fouls smelling mouth. Ol' Bitter flew off to his right and the box of shells splayed uselessly to the left. The Redbook slipped from grasp, just when he was sure he would be in dire needed of it. The bottle stayed put in his vest pocket.

    He was surprised as he slipped past the molars unscathed. Just when he was positive he would choke the Lizard on the way down, McCracken slid into the massive stomach chamber.

    He had never encountered a stink as odoriferous as this since his banana and string cheese diet left him bound and gagged. The gurgle of its gastric juices sounded like quicksand devouring its prey. Something wasn't agreeing with this monster. An epiphany told McCracken that he would be the offender.

    Panic eased up his spine. The inevitable hadn't settled in on the farmer. He reached for the glass flask in his vest and unscrewed the cap. He was in a bind. Ol' Mac caught a whiff of the milky elixir. He remembered it from his youth. Extra strength quick acting laxative.

    McCracken decided to pour the contents out all over the rancid Tyrannosaurus’ innerds.

    Then, he held his nose, and waited.

  14. Wendy, I want to know what happens next??!
    OMG Walt, I laughed so hard! Great fun!!