Matt’s “Writing Salon”: A prompt-writing gathering

On Sunday, the first day of October, I attended a gathering at the home of my friend and co-worker, Matt, for a couple of hours of prompt writing. In attendance, in addition to Matt and myself, were Naomi, Brent, Jacques, and Matt’s girlfriend, Ashley, who devised the prompts we used for the evening.

Here are the prompts, for each of which we had 15 minutes to devise a story, and then decide whether or not we wanted to read it to the group.

They held each other’s hands tightly in the rain, waiting, all 15 of them, until the music had stopped…

In all honesty, they didn’t anticipate the Verdi Requiem for their friend’s final farewell. Five of them were leaning toward Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Three thought for sure it’d be Martina McBride’s How Great Thou Art. And the other 7 were betting on John Berry’s Blessed Assurance. I, personally, had just prayed that no bagpipes or harpsichords would be involved, and simply beamed with the playing of taps. In all honesty, I melted at the way the trumpet player’s lips encircled the brass mouthpiece with an embouchure so exquisite that it excited me in a most inappropriate manner.

It turned out that after the break-in only one thing was missing… (I wrote to this amended prompt. The original one led off with “Despite the broken glass and mass chaos.”)

Well, only one thing was obviously missing… at first. But, as the days wore on, they found other things missing: her feather earrings and his fishing lure (which in retrospect looked a lot like her feather earrings). Then, the next time they had games night, they discovered that their Twister game was missing. It would actually be years before they realized that both their high school senior class rings had gone missing that day, too—rings they’d stopped wearing when high school had finally become irrelevant to her and his size 8 rings no longer fit on his size 10 fingers.

It turned out to be the cleaning people who had figuratively “cleaned the house,” filling trash bags with household items that were then “accidentally” diverted past the trashcans and into the trunk of their car. Their biggest mistake, though, was taking his only pair of jeans that still fit. As soon as he got home from work that day, he found them missing, which led to the filing of the police report.

Less alarmed than bemused, she noted that the gun had, in fact, been loaded after all…

And then she thought, “This is incredibly convenient,” remembering the calculating and deliberating last week about whether she could be sure that if she drove her BMW off the calling roadside cliff she’d actually end up dead as opposed to a quadriplegic for life, or perhaps worse, “locked in” to her body with no abilibty to indicated that the black ice really didn’t figure at all into the “accident.”

With that, she started a Facebook Live event, and when exactly 10 people had tuned in, she put the barrel to her head and just before pulling the trigger said, “I’m pretty sure this won’t hurt a bit.”

The Senate floor fell suddenly silent. In 200 years of existence, no one had ever spoken those words…

As the gay gentleman from North Carolina finished his sentence, the straight gentleman from Texas said, “They put what, where, again? That’s got to hurt. I remember the day I decided to be with Eve instead of Steve. I was a man on a mission, positioned to procreate with a rhythm so natural I didn’t even have to fantasize about Gina at the Gentleman’s Club to make it to home base. That said, however, if I gave some dude-on-dude action a try, I might gain a whole new constituency.

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