Tag: prompts


Photo by David Mark

Yesterday, I used a random word generator from Writing Exercises, and got the following combination: court, immense, scrawny, soothe, hypnotize, fish, athlete, cockroach. The challenge was to include all eight words in a story.


He was supposed to be in court, but he was late, and neither fact was Adam’s fault.

The trial was a joke. The charges against him were ridiculous. Shoplifting a pygmy hedgehog? The judge would fall down laughing.  

Adam’s mother said the scandal broke her heart, but he thought the whole mess could have been avoided if she hadn’t had so many kids. He had seven siblings. Who could possibly keep track of all their half birthdays, pet adoptions, anniversaries and sobriety dates? Adam missed his scrawny younger brother’s eight-grade graduation. Who even celebrated that? His mother, that’s who. And if Adam wanted more than Sunday dinner leftovers, he had to make amends.

So he drove to MegaPet. Everyone loved MegaPet. The store was immense and Adam got lost right off the bat, wandering down the aisles of glass tanks full of fish. Some of them were creepy, with long barbed tails or bulbous eyes, but some of them were cute. Other fish, colorful and flagrant, nearly hypnotized him. He lost track of time and then he had to rush, sprinting to the far end of the store like a demented athlete, looking for a pygmy hedgehog for his “graduating” brother. Was it Adam’s fault that the little rodents were so pricey? Was it his fault that the cages weren’t locked? And how was he supposed to know about the cameras on the ceiling?

What really baffled him was why the store owners got so mad about the cockroaches in his other pocket. The hedgehog had to eat. Did they want the thing to starve?

At least his mugshot wasn’t bad. Better than his driver’s license. The story got a lot of laughs down at the corner bar. That’s where Adam was two months later, on his court date, wearing his best suit. He’d popped in for a shot of whiskey. To soothe his nerves, you know? He didn’t realize that his watch had stopped until his lawyer called. Of course, the watch had been a present from his mother. It was hard to love someone who disappointed you so often, but Adam would forgive her. He was a good son, after all.

Does anyone else enjoy a wacky writing prompt? A silly story stretcher? I’d love to hear about your favorites.