642 Things to Write About

What can happen in a second?
The sun is out and the sky is a deep rich blue. The usual dank urban odors are overwhelmed from the warm breeze carrying the smell of wild flowers from the park across the street. The city is vibrant with energy. People of all ethnicities bustle along the busy sidewalk. A woman holding the hands of two smiling children says good morning.

You have on your new running shoes and love how they feel like slippers. Your new playlist is already pumping you up and you turn up the volume. You stretch and admire the new wall art on the building by the park. The next song comes on and you are ready!

You step into the street and the 7:34 M10 bus smashes into you without even time to brake.

The worst Thanksgiving dish you ever had
Everyone else seemed to be enjoying it. I mean, I like lima beans, so why wouldn’t I like stuffing? I was nervous because I don’t like the soft bready texture and it smelled like, well, the inside of a turkey.

Uncle Ralph took a big bite of turkey. He is so gross. Gravy ran down his face and dripped onto his fat belly. He was like a bad accident. I couldn’t look away. I slowly brought the fork full of stuffing toward my mouth while staring at Uncle Ralph.

Just as the bite of stuffing was at my lips, Uncle Ralph started turning purple. He dropped his knife and fork and lifted his obese body off the chair by pushing up from the table with his meaty hands. The rest of the table was in a panic. Uncle Ralph held his neck with one hand and was punching himself in the chest or belly (he’s so big it was hard to tell where one ends and the other starts).

Suddenly Big Earl knocked the chair over and got behind Uncle Ralph. He wrapped his arms around Uncle Ralph’s belly (or chest).  Thankfully Big Earl is really big. He linked his fists and performed the Heimlich Maneuver.  Once, twice and a third time. Uncle Ralph was frothing and as purple as purple can be and there were juices and saliva pouring out of his mouth. A fourth heave and bam!

Uncle Ralph coughed up a large stream of Thanksgiving dinner all over the table. It was brown and chunky and runny. It looked exactly like the stuffing that was still hovering just millimeters from my lips. I dropped my fork and ran from the table dry heaving. I stumbled to the front door, grabbled my car keys and went out for Chinese.

A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.
“Don’t die.”

“Why bother?”

“You can beat this! There is so much to live for!”

“But the pain is so great. And I’m clearly a goner. Look at my droopy stem.”

“No, don’t say that! You can do it. Fight the pain. Grow tall again!”


“Of course!”

“Is this a joke?”

“Listen houseplant. We’ve been together for years. I love you.”

“Where are the hidden cameras?”

“Life is worth living. No matter what! If not for yourself, then for those that have been with you your whole life and love you to no end. To no end!”

“You are a sick man Jack. Your secretary is standing at your office door.”

“You stay with me houseplant! Do not die. What is it Alice? I told you to leave us alone!”

The houseplant shakes his leaves, “Freak.”

Alice walks away muttering, “I’m sorry Dr. Kevorkian.”

Write Facebook status updates for the year 2017.
It’s complicated. Nothing but pictures from here on out.

You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.
I pulled into the International Space Station and traversed the portal to the AstroBar. Natasha the Russian Cosmonaut was there with a bottle of vodka. She winked at me and invited me to sit down.

Something you had that was stolen
I was just trying to get my life back together. Focusing on my kids. Hoping my ex-wife wouldn’t hate me. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do and I was excited for the future, I was scared. Really fucking scared.

I saw your picture and read your words. You gave me a smile when I needed it most. I read more and more of your words. We talked on the phone. 

You had already stolen my heart before we met. I didn’t realize it right away because I really hadn’t ever used my heart to its fullest and deepest capacity like I did with you. I didn’t even know it had that kind of power. 

And then we did meet. We loved each other like no others. I knew you had stolen my heart when it ached so much without you and raced so fast at the thought of you. I was so happy you had taken something from me and replaced it with something so much greater.

And now you are gone. But you still have my heart. Stolen goods. That I’d never take back even if you tried. My heart will always be with you my beautiful thief.

The long lost roommate
His name is Fingers. Well, his real name is Mike but everyone called him Fingers. That’s a whole other story. We lived together for a year in Chicago. It was a walkup tucked between the old bus barns behind the Weiner Circle. If you see the Weiner Circle in sober daylight every day like we did, you will never eat there again either. 

Fingers used to say Colo-RAD-doe. RAD as in radical. ColoRADdoe. This is well before I knew I’d move to Colorado. ColoRADdoe. It always made me smirk but I never called him out on it. He was going on big raft trip with his brother to ColoRADdoe and he was very excited.

I smirked. And I was jealous.

Now I live in ColoRADdoe. Smirk. I wonder what Fingers is doing now? And I wonder if he still says ColoRADdoe.

What a character holding a blue object is thinking right now
I am the happiest mother fucker in the world. Okay, well, me and an entire nation are tied for happiest mother fuckers in the world. Outside of Cleveland and maybe the south side of Chicago. They aren’t happy at all. I can’t believe they won! 108 years! I’ve been waiting 49. 

This old Cubs hat sure is dirty. And it smells pretty rank too. Its beautiful. I think I’ll put it back on my head and wander around with a shit-eating grin on my face, like I have been already since game seven.

Tell a story that begins with a ransom note
The note said, “Bring five hundred dollars by Tuesday or your cat dies.” So that’s where Whiskers disappeared to! Well, shit, it’s Thursday. One month later! Who the hell mails a ransom note?! Especially when I rarely check my mailbox. Oh well. I hated that cat anyway.

You have just swallowed your pride and done something you didn’t want to do. Your friend wants to know why. The two of you are driving around an almost-full parking garage looking for a space for the friend’s oversize pickup. Write the scene.
“I’m embarrassed for you.”

“I’m embarrassed for myself.”

“Do you want some cheese?”

“Haha. Real original.”

“So tell me why you’ve betrayed your very own deepest moral compass and personal ethics with this, this, this travesty.”

“Keep your eyes in front of you and slow the fuck down Mario Andretti. This parking garage is jam packed.”

“You said packed.”

“Okay, that is somewhat original but stupid.”

“You hate the Packers more than I do. I can’t believe you. The only shrivel of integrity you may have left is that it’s a #12 jersey. At least Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback and seems to be a cool dude.”

“Oh god.”

“What? Do you see a spot?”

“No. There is nowhere to park this beast. I’m going to be stuck in here forever with you and its about to get worse.”

“Do not beef in my truck, asshole!”

“That’s not it.”

“What are you talking about Cheesehead?”

“#12. Its not an Aaron Rodgers jersey.”

“He’s #12 isn’t he?”

“Yes. But uh, this jersey goes back to the late 70s and early 80s.”

“Oh. My. God.” He slams on the brakes and the truck idles in the middle of the ramp.

“You see a spot?!”

He starts laughing hysterically. #12 shakes his head in shame.

“Let me see.”

“It was the worst bet I’ve ever made! I lost on that last second meaningless field goal!” He leans over to reveal the back of his jersey.

“Yes!!!! Lynn Dickey!!! The worst named quarterback of all time and you worship him!”

Cars are honking but he is laughing too hard drive. Lynn Dickey sulks and sinks further into the passenger seat.

Write a scene where the only spoken dialogue is “Uh-huh,” “Umm,” “Urrrr,” “Mm-mmm."
She lifted the piping hot gooey chocolate chip cookie to her lips and took a bite. “Mm-mmm.”

He looked at her knowingly. “Uh-huh.”

She took another bite and seductively used her tongue to get the melted chocolate off the corner of her lips while purring, “Mm-mmm.”

“Umm…” He was transfixed and accidentally dropped his cookie on his lap. His naked lap. “Urrrr!”

She smiled and leaned over his lap. She put her head down and licked up the mess while humming, “Mm-mmm.”

“Umm. Uh-huh! Mm-mmmm.” He moaned in ecstasy and even took another bite of cookie. It was so good. Until she scraped him with her teeth. “Urrr!” He pulled her head up.

She looked at him unsure what was wrong, “Umm?” He didn’t want to make her feel bad so he offered her another cookie. She nodded seductively, “Uh-huh.” And he was relieved that she had something else to put in her mouth.

Tell a complete stranger about a beloved family tradition.
He was excited to buy the brand new 80” smartTV. It was around the holidays and all the TVs were showing The Sound of Music. He started to tear up. The sales guy said, “Wow, you are really excited to get this new TV!”

He laughed and sniffed. “I am, but that’s not it. I just love this movie so much.”

The 25 year old sales guy looked at the fifty-year old teary-eyed man quizzically. “Okay…”

“I see you are married. Do you have kids?”

“Yes, two really little ones.”

“Well, that’s great. I was one of two kids in my family. When we were little, we’d watch The Sound of Music every year when it was on TV. This was way before on-demand, the internet and even VCRs, if you even know what those are. It was a family event which made it special because we didn’t have too many of those. Plus it’s a great movie! Once a year is a long time  and we all loved the songs so we had the Sound of Music album. My dad would play it on the old Grundig and we’d sit on the family room floor singing along. When do-re-mi came on we’d get really loud and excited. It was tradition at the very last ‘and that will bring us back to do-re-mi..” line that my sister and I would tackle my dad. He’d get all dramatic about the upcoming attack and we’d sing louder and louder thinking it might make the end come faster so we could pounce. We did that tradition into my early adulthood and now I do it with my own kids.”

A smartTV was bought that afternoon. As was a pay-per-view movie on demand at the sales-guy’s home that night with his wife and kids.

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