Featured Stories, Week of Sept. 15, 2018: Part One


Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at our weekly meetings. For this week's featured stories, we are ALL featured as this was a particularly fun jaunt into our imagination. First, we drew at random a genre. Then we chose a prompt from the book "Q&A a Day for Writers." Then we wrote for 20 minutes.

THE WIDE WORLD OF JASON

By Ryan Carbery

It's a beautiful day, the sky is blue spotted with white, unthreatening clouds. Not too warm, not too cool. There's wind coming in from the east, do you think that will be a factor today, Tom?

No, Larry, I don't think so. It's really more of a light breeze, if anything it might instigate, but overall...I gotta be honest, Larry, I think this is going to be a one sided affair. We've been here before, Larry, time and again and this, this really is his Achilles heel. He's really more of a clutch player, Larry, a good assist. A real 'team' man. These solo matches, they aren't his strong suit.

Now of course there's the other side, she's already taken the field. It looks like she's really come to play today. Is that six bags, Tom?

Six bags it is, Larry. This is classic Madeline. She comes on early, she comes on strong.

She is not afraid to use all of the area of play. This is the kind of commitment we expect and she looks like she's ready to deliver. I'd look-

Tom, sorry to interrupt, it looks like...yes, it is, Jason has approached the starting line. And it looks like, yes. Yes in fact he's wearing the headphones. The headphones, kind of a mixed bag for Jason wouldn't you say, Tom?

I sure would Larry, and let me tell you why. You gotta have either a good poker face or some pretty loud metal playing in those headphones and by this time we know that neither of these things are true for Jason. It's a bit of a gamble to think that anyone will pay attention to the earphones and the chances that anyone will respect it, well...not at this level, Larry. At this level of the game, headphones are just not going to cut it. Jason is going to have to have more in his pocket than just headphones, Larry.

And he just might at that, Tom. Of course Jason's away jersey in full effect, featuring both pockets and wearable bags. The wearable, Tom, advantage or disadvantage?

Well, Larry, like most things it's in how you use it. And of course some are more useful than others.

The backpack, obviously the most useful and that's Jason's weapon of choice, but the added messenger bag. That's a gamble, Larry. Respect or derision is going to be in the delivery and again this is not Jason's strong suit.

And of course Madeline simply doesn't care.

No, of course not Larry, and really that's why you see Madeline dominating this game again and again. I have to say, what I'm seeing now, I have to imagine that today is not going to be any different, Larry.

Well, alright Tom, we'll see if your prediction comes true, here comes today's arena. The 92 Express.

As we know, this plays into Jason's favor. There'll be fewer stops and he does get off first. Does this change anything for you, Tom?

No, Larry, and I'll tell you why. You can see as the bus pulls up to the stop it's already full with other matches going on. It's going to take a lot of time for that to rotate out with the fewer stops and Jason's unwillingness to effect other matches, that's going to really slow down his game.

Alright, Tom, well, we'll see how it goes. Madeline is up first...oh, bold move, she does not have her pass in hand. She is putting down all six bags, all six. Oh, and the pass is in one of the bags, and she doesn't appear to know which one! This is a bold first move, Tom?

This is, frankly, what makes Madeline the best in the game. She knows Jason has to pay with cash and cannot just blow by and the bags completely obscure the fare machine. Jason is out of the game and it's only begun, Larry. Jason has committed to the headphones, he has no moves.

MS. BETTY AND THE DRAGON

By Erik Engman

Ms Betty stood at the head of the classroom and shook her head.

“Gol dang, these kids here are dumb,” she thought. That wasn’t nothin’ special. That thought crossed her mind every day since she moved to this here town a few years ago. In fact, she reckon’d the kids were getting’ dumber every year.

Purty soon they’ll be no smarter than the ordinary chimpanzee. Heck of a might easier to teach, ‘cause they don’t understand nothin’. But there sure wasn’t room in her budget for all them bananas.

She took a deep breath. “Now look, young’uns, this is all really simple. That there picture in your books is a dragon. He’s fightin’ a knight. That’s Sir Gawain.”

Johnny’s hand shot up, his arms covered in lead on account of him constantly drawing all over himself in pencil. “Ma’am, what’s a Gah-wain?”

It was at times like this she took a look yonder to the back of the classroom at the cross of Jesus hangin’ prominently up high over the door. She said a quick prayer, but she didn’t really believe God in all his mercy would really expedite the lead poisoning Johnny surely must have ‘cause a half of his pencils ending up on or in this child’s person.

She spoke to Johnny clearly and slowly. He seemed to respond to that best. “Johnny, Gawain is his name. Like Johnny or Bobby.”

“Or poop!” Exclaimed Joseph, the Pastor’s son who had just discovered his own kind of artistic ability with the help of natural excrement.

“Well, Joseph, that would also count, I guess. Now does anyone have any thoughts on the painting?”

“Ma’am,” said Todd, another student sitting in the back of the class, “I think the picture is very FULGENT.”

“Fulgent? Whatta ya mean by that?” Simon, another student, retorted. He hated Todd and always was lookin’ for a reason to whelp that boy to heck and back.

“I dunno. My daddy said it. He’s right smart. He knows a lot of words.”

“My daddy knows more words than your daddy!”

“Does not!”

“Does so!”

The two boys jumped on each other and proceeded to tumble into a right mess of elbows, fists, and pulled hair.

“Now now, kids, If you’re gonna fight, go get yourselves to the back of the classroom,” commanded Ms Betty. She thought it best to leave them to it. One of them would be knocked out soon enough, then it’d be over for the day. Her money was on Simon, of course. Todd’s mom’s been sendin’ him to school with nothin’ but salted butter sandwiches, leaving him weaker than a skunk that’s lost his smell.

Cindy Ann raised her hand up high. “My daddy told me that dragon’s aren’t real.” She looked around the class with that usual superior smirk of hers.

“Well, no, Cindy Ann,” Ms Betty explained. “Dragons aren’t real now, but they might have been a long, long time ago, like when King Arthur and Jesus were alive.”

“Back when YOU were a kid, Ma’am?” asked Johnny.

Ms. Betty felt the will to live run out of her body, which honestly happened a good couple, two, three times a day.

“Okay kids, let’s all get out our boards and write about what our thoughts are about this here painting. You do that while your teacher rests her eyes for a spell.”

The kids got busy writing, exceptin’ the two in the back still battling it out. Ms Betty went back to her desk. She pulled out a flask labeled “Teacher Juice”. She took a long swig.

Homemade whisky-gin. That’s the stuff, she thought. Now she can deal with those little bastards another couple hours. Right after this here nap.

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