Sunday, May 16, 2010

Writing Challenge: Found Objects

Today on his hike, Gary discovered, in a pile, a miniature Barbie doll, the head of a regular sized Ken doll, and several bullet shells.

Whoever writes the best story explaining how this collection of objects got there will win a pair of socks, handknit to your specifications by yours truly. I'll try to get your socks done sometime in the next three months. (If I'm already making you a pair of socks, you'll get another one.) Single-author entries only, please. If you and your ten best buddies all come up with a zinger of a story, you'll need to draw straws to see whose name goes on the entry, because knitting ten pairs of socks would take me forever.

Deadline: this coming Friday, May 21, at noon PDT.

You may post your responses in the comment section -- which would be the most fun for everyone -- or e-mail them to me (my e-mail address is under my contact info on the sidebar). I'm the sole judge, however. I'm declaring my darling hubby ineligible because he's exceptionally clever, and I'm exceptionally biased, and he already has several pairs of handknit socks and knows I'll make more for him whenever he asks. Nonetheless, he should feel free to post a story.

Rev those writing engines!


  1. Raven stretched himself carefully; first one wing then the other, right leg, left leg, long stretch of the neck and a roll of the head. Feeling himself not too stiff after a long rainy night he leaned well out over the slippery branch he was perched on and checked out the ground below. Yes, it was still all there. His magic was still intact.
    It had taken Raven several days of hard work to accumulate the items for his magic. The bullet shells had been easy. There were lots of hunters in this area. Hunters were messy, careless human beings that seldom cleaned up after themselves. They left their big bang droppings everywhere. The symbols of human life had been harder to harvest. It had been necessary to frequent more occupied areas. The tiny little female human figure wasn’t too hard to get. The female child had gone running inside its dwelling when the adult female had called it. Raven only had to swoop down and capture his prey. The head of the male human was hard to find. Raven was still concerned about the circumstances surrounding this all important find. A loud, angry, male human voice accompanied by the sounds of crashing blows had interested Raven. He had flown in for a look and was disturbed at what he found. A young, male human was pounding to bits several of the human effigies with an axe. He was obviously disturbed. Raven would have left except that there was a male effigy in the destruction pile. He would wait.
    Deep in the bush Raven accumulated the items for his magic and positioned them carefully. His nest and his mate would be safe for the “sitting time” now. Far away, in the occupied area, things were not going so well.

    Lots of fun..thanks for the opp.

  2. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Hmmm - I'm really supposed to be writing either an article on French feminist novels or a column on the celebration of ordinary time post-Pentecost - but if my sub-conscious tells me a story about your found objects I will be sure to let you know!

    Turned in my grades last week, saw students off to graduation this week-end, re-seeded my front lawn for the first time this morning. Summer beckons in all her glory here, and I hope you can say the same as your semester ends there.

    Happy Ascensiontide to you,


    ps - love the Raven story, mybabyjohn

  3. Barbie started at the sudden noise, then relaxed as she realized it was only an owl hooting in the distance. No one had followed her. There. The hole was deep enough. She fought back tears as she gently laid the small body in the earth. There. No one could hurt her anymore. One more burden lay on the car seat; this time, Barbie's tears were of white hot anger as she tossed the head of her former lover into the makeshift grave. He had been everything to her, until she caught him with the child; their child, naked from the bath, strangled with a towel. No one should do that to a child. She'd shot him where he stood, then dismembered the body and scattered the pieces. Just the head remained, and she threw it into the hole with disdain. Quickly, she tossed the bullet shells in after; no evidence must remain, and she had to be getting back. No telling what would happen if she were found missing.


    Susan sighed as she gazed into her old toy box. It seemed like there was never any time for play anymore. Life had become so complicated; homework, fighting with her parents, worrying about boys. Her eye fell on her old Barbie doll, its face placid and lovely. I wish I could be her, thought Susan. Then I wouldn't have anything to worry about ever again.

  4. OK, I have one, but it's a bit long to post as a comment. It's here: Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming

  5. Just read the Prince Charmng!!! What a terrific story.

  6. Uncle Jake6:37 AM


    Approached subjects from the south-south west along a gradient slope of approximately forty-five degrees. Visual conditions good, glare minimal, wind out of the south-southeast at approximately 15 – 20 mph. Made a visual on subjects on patch of flat ground near bottom of ravine. Subjects were horizontal and superimposed. Approached. Female subject looked over male subject’s shoulder when this writer was approximately seven to eight yards distant from subjects.
    “Joe,” she said.
    Male subject was unclothed, affording excellent visual survey of fissure of male subject’s posterior. Male subject disengaged from female subject. Female subject was likewise unclothed. Male subject lay on his side, affording communicant excellent visual survey of engorged sexual organ. Female subject was looking around for her shorts.
    Male subject hailed this writer. “Hey, buddy. Look, we’re kinda busy here right now, but if you want a wine cooler or something…” Male subject indicated Rubbermaid approximately five to six yards distant. This writer terminated subjects and left unused shells at site of termination as “calling card.” Returned to base.
    This writer wishes respectfully to be clear about one thing: communicant is an action figure, not a doll. And if female subject thought she could go around having it off with Pretty Boy behind this writer’s back, then female subject had another think coming, didn’t she?

  7. Gwenn Gebhard6:53 AM

    It probably was one of the hardest decisions she’d ever made, but five-year-old Kelly knew exactly where to start. “You set priorities,” she whispered imitating her mother’s teaching voice. Grasping her prize find in her left hand, she used her right hand to empty the right front pocket of her fleece jacket. Once the objects were spread on the hard-packed desert ground, she studied them. The bullet casings could be left behind. She would get more the next time Dad took her to the skeet shooting range where he worked. The two bright pennies went back in her pocket – most pennies she found were brown.

    She picked up the little piece of paper with writing on it – a K and an E side-by-side among other letters. She didn’t know the other letters yet, but as Mom said; any 5-year-old worth her salt can spell her name. Kelly knew, absolutely knew, she was worth her salt. Dad said so. The ticket was returned to her pocket. The next object she set aside was the head of a Ken’s doll – she’d found it under the slide at the playground behind her preschool. Ken’s head was interesting with its fluffy short hair. "Boys are always running and they play rough," she told herself as she placed it with the casings, "that’s why Ken’s head doesn’t have a body."

    Her lucky blue and green marble went back into her pocket. So did the big-toe-size rock with shiny silver flakes. The hazelnut didn’t take up much space either. The biggest thing in her pocket was the mini Barbie doll. Kelly was lucky no one had seen it sticking out of her pocket because she sneaked it out of Janie’s house after Janie had been mean to her.

    "Hey, pumpkin, it’s your five minute warning," her Dad’s voice called from his seat on a boulder along the hiking trail. "We’re packing up the picnic, if you want anything more to eat, better move those feet over here." Kelly nodded her head. She heard her parents’ voices return to the chatter tones that she was too far away to hear clearly.

    Kelly thought about the trouble she could get into if her parents, or worse, her Aunt Leena, had discovered the Barbie. Priorities. Barbie would stay in the desert here with Ken’s head and the casings. She stood up and opened her left hand flat so that the empty turtle shell could be admired once more. She traced one of the funny sort-of-circle shapes on its back, and then turned it over to examine the yellow underside, before disappearing it into her right front pocket.

    "Kelly, time to go," called her dad. Kelly sighed and scrambled up out of the hollow shaded by rocks and scrub. "Kelly, Kellyyyy" – that was Mom’s voice. They weren’t impatient yet. Kelly smiled to herself as she kicked up dust walking up the trail. Her right hand smoothed the shell in its pocket. Her left hand patted the other pocket, which like the right, was full of bits and pieces. As Dad sometimes said, "life is good."

  8. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Hi Susan,

    In case you're wondering who "Uncle Jake" is, I'll give you a hint: he's a big goofy guy who has the same address I do.

    Have a wonderful Alaska trip!




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