Need Inspiration? Need a Challenge? Try this one:

Carpet lint.  Spit.  Water cooler.  Fred Astaire.  Drunken snake.

26 responses to “Need Inspiration? Need a Challenge? Try this one:

  1. Now I remember why I swore off office parties. Jim was dancing around the water cooler pretending to be Fred Astaire, but actually looking like a drunken snake, when he tripped on a piece of carpet lint and spit his drink into my face.

  2. Ha! The image of an office worker dancing around the water cooler came to mind first. The rest just fell into place.

  3. I have to admit that was one neat package. I’ll have to go some to do better than that. I’m pondering….

    Anybody else?

  4. While Ann is pondering, I’m packing. Off to Europe and medieval castles and towns this week. See you all in April.

  5. And PW? Terrrific. My PC lets me comment here, but not at your site or Shaddy’s or some others I follow. I think it has either PMS or cabin fever.

  6. April… Maybe my septic system will have thawed out by then. :/

  7. He fell in love with her when her joke made him spit out his favorite drink all over the carpet lint on Harold’s sport coat. She fell in love with him while they danced at “The Drunken Snake”, He wasn’t exactly a Fred Astaire, but then again she wasn’t a Ginger Rodgers either. They looked deep into each other’s eyes as they held hands across the breakfast table, the eggs and coffee growing cold. Moments in time that will never pass from their hearts.

  8. He waltzed into my life like Fred Astaire. Debonair, suave and smooth as a piece of fruit you want to take a bite out of. His attention quenched me. He was water from a cooler, chilling my core as it went down.

    Now, I spit him out. Bitter and stuck like carpet lint in the throat.
    His love struck with the speed of a cobra, but dies like a drunken snake.

  9. Apologies for the length of this one, guys, but here goes:
    Abigayle talked me into going to the pricey estate sale.

    “C’mon,” she coaxed, “we already know we won’t be able to afford anything so it won’t be a disappointment.”

    Movie stars like Fred Astaire attract the kind of people who can afford gold plated dental floss. Normally, neither of us would’ve even qualified for entry, but Abigayle worked for the auctioneer and she really wanted to see this one. So I went. Just so we wouldn’t look out of place, she’d even secured a couple of numbered bidding paddles for us to carry around.

    Once I was there, I saw she was right. It was fun to walk through the house and see the elegance of his style extended to his home as well. I was surprised when I opened the door of a bedside cabinet to find a built in water cooler. How practical, I thought. One doesn’t assume practicality from people with unlimited funds. I’d pictured some lackey standing by picking carpet lint out of his navel until old Fred decided he wanted a drink, which the lackey would fetch for him, even in the middle of the night.

    The sale attracted an unusual variety of people. I noticed one guy who closely resembled Armless Harry, the homeless guy from my neighborhood. Except for the fact that this guy had showered recently and was wearing a classy cashmere jacket, the arms of which were indeed filled, I couldn’t tell the difference. And I’m a portrait artist, so I have a tendency to remember the intimate details of people’s faces, like the small scar over his left eye. Strange that scar could be so similar. He stood at the door to the butler’s pantry for over an hour as Abigayle chatted up one of the regulars. Periodically, he’d duck inside and return to his post near the doorway. During our trek through the dining room, we passed by the pantry and my annoying curiosity got the better of me. I ducked in and looked around. When I saw the sink covered in brown tobacco spittle, I nearly gagged. He hadn’t even bothered to rinse it down. Clothes really don’t make the man. I hated him for defiling the pristine surroundings. He disappeared for awhile but I saw him again later in the sun room. He stood near a huge aquarium into which someone had stuffed a fair-sized boa constrictor. Who knew old Fred liked snakes? Poor snakie. He’s grown used to such luxury and now he can’t even choose his own company, I said to myself, watching closely to make sure Harry’s twin didn’t unload anything into the tank.

    The auction was winding down and the auctioneer moved over to the aquarium. I know little about such creatures but I can’t stand seeing pets end up in the clutches of unscrupulous people. The auctioneer began his patter. He was struggling to get a first bid, coaxing and cajoling the considerably slimmed down crowd. My heart sank when Harry’s twin was the only interested bidder. As he was about to close the deal, I felt the urge. My arm seemed to belong to someone else as the paddle shot into the air.

    “WHAT are you Doing?” Abigayle was suddenly at my side hissing into my ear.

    “SOLD!” said the auctioneer pointing in my direction.

    As we were loading ‘Ginger’ into my car, a man rushed up and thrust a small card into my hand.

    “Instructions,” he said and quickly disappeared.

    I looked down at the card and read aloud. “One shot Jack Daniels with water, on the rocks, daily – preferably before dinner.”

    I’d spent my entire savings to rescue a drunken snake!

    • I didn’t mind the length at all. The story kept me interested from the beginning (which if you knew me…says a lot!). I wanted to be there too! Loved the ending.
      I’ve got to say I did snicker at the question asked by Walk…does it stagger when it slithers. I like the way that sounds.

      • Barbara Burris

        Hi Lili – Thanks for the comments. I thought Walk’s comment sounded like a line from an old rock ‘n roll song.

  10. Good descriptions in the story, made me want to join you at Fred’s auction. Does a drunken snake stagger when it slithers?

  11. Now that’s a character -Armless Harry parading as Cashmere Man- that could be expanded into another story!

  12. I have always wanted to write and I promised a friend I would write something, anything this weekend then I stumbled across this. Don’t mind the puctuation, I have issues with conflicts on my system between L-R and R-L language support.

    Being alone, yet again, on Saturday night, Tess settled back on the couch remote control in hand and Tequila bottle, with a happily drunken little snake resting peacefully on the bottom, on the coffee table. Unsatisfied with the pickings on TV, she flicked through all the stations finally tossing the remote down in boredom. I might as well have a drink, she thought to herself. The tequila felt warm as it slid down her dry throat and pretty soon the warmth radiated throughout her entire body. As happens, as inevitably as the rising sun, a wave of euphoria flushed over her. It came on unexpectedly quick due to the fact she had not eaten much of anything that day. Not wanting this feeling to end, she reached for the bottle.

    Several hours and three quarters of a bottle later, drifting through a fog of awareness, she closed one eye to better focus on what was on TV. Not fully comprehending what was playing and too drunk to bother looking for the remote, the one thing she did understand was that the movie was some sort of romance. She had only begun to focus, still with one eye shut, toward the end the film. As typical with most romantic comedies, there is a wedding with a three tired cake and little plastic figures that look like Cinderella and Fred Astaire and everyone lives happily ever after. Bullshit she thought to herself as she reached to drain out the remains of her bottle.

    Wiping away the spit that had accumulated on the arm of the sofa she stretched and squinted through the morning rays of sun littered with little specks of carpet lint to the clock on the wall. Stumbling to the water cooler, she drained two glasses and got ready for work.

  13. Glad you stumbled by, Chocodog! I hope you’ll try more of these challenges. I certainly enjoyed this one.

  14. Meryl’s dog ingested a wad of carpet lint, and Meryl was histrionic with worry that his intestines would become blocked. She asked me for a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, which we dumped, with half the contents of the water cooler, into the poor dog’s gullet. As the solution fizzed in his belly, the dog wandered the house like a drunken snake, head down, lips smacking. It took three more tablespoons of the stuff to coax his stomach into ejecting the lint. As soon as he spit it out, the dog pranced happily like Fred Astaire.

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