April 08 – April 21, 2021 1st Line Writing Prompt “The Car on the Roof”

Theme: The Car on the Roof

Your story must start with:

“I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.”

“I can’t reveal all my tricks.”

Required Elements:

  • a car of some sort
  • The two first lines must be EXACT to qualify.

Word Count: 1,200 (1221 with the required opening lines.)


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8 thoughts on “April 08 – April 21, 2021 1st Line Writing Prompt “The Car on the Roof”

  • April 8, 2021 at 6:49 am

    Read the stories here:

    (If you don’t see your story linked in this comment within a day or two, feel free to use the contact form to let Carrie know she somehow missed it.

    Meanwhile, please be patient, there is only one moderator, and she is not always online. We’ll get to it as soon as possible. Thank you.)

  • April 9, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    OK, this could be interesting. I’m in.


  • April 10, 2021 at 3:34 am

    Signing in, with absolutely no idea what to write about.

    • April 12, 2021 at 8:42 am

      Hahahaha me either! I saw the prompt and laughed pretty hard so I thought it might make for an interesting bonus prompt!

      • April 12, 2021 at 1:02 pm

        Absolutely, should provide some fascinating stories. You’d have to be crazy to think of something for this, and we’re all perfectly sane people, right? Guys? Hello?

  • April 10, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    Pam’s Fault
    by Robt. Emmett ©2021

    ”I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.”
    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”
    “Bill, you owe me. I did ya the favor you asked.”
    “You did me a favor? I did you a favor, Johnny. Wasn’t she all I said she was?”
    “Oh yeah, she was great in the …”
    “Yous two gonna order or wha? Mister Gustafson don’t run this here malt shop fo da fun of it, ya know?”
    “Leave a menu, Bernice.”
    “Leave a menu, Bernice! Are yous two outta yous collective minds? Ya’s been coming in dis place since yous was in the ninth grade. Dat was, wha? Three years ago. An’ unless I forgot how ta cipher, dat makes you seniors … right? Right. Yous guys read da thing more’n me.”
    “Yes, we’ll be seniors when school starts.”
    “Whatever!” Bernice exaggerated the pulling the pencil from her hair bun. “Orda, please.”
    Looking at the wall clock, “Good fo yous it’s one-thirty in the post meridian, or I’d have to have yous move yous cheap asses to da counter up in front.” She left.
    “Pam was all I could ask for in a date,” Johnny said. “The movie, on a good day, was almost a B. We went to Sammy’s Pizza. The new one in the Heights.”
    “Which Heights? Kenwood or Parkland?”
    “Kenwood. The triple meat lovers were on special. Free Cokes.” Johnny sipped his Pepsi. “Your turn, how’d you do it?”
    “Not telling you.”
    “Bill, if I buy you lunch, will you tell me how you’re gonna do it.”
    “Okay, Johnny. I’ll even take you to my shop and show you.”
    “Great.” Cranking his head around and spotting her, Johnny waved to Bernice, “Hey, a little service over here!”
    She sauntered to our booth and pulled a pencil out of her salt and pepper hair bun. Pointing it at Johnny, “Look, mister, yous hey me in dat tone of voice again an’ you’ll be spittin’ dem pearly chiclets on da sidewalk out front.” She raised her left eyebrow. “Got dat? Now, what can I get yous, ah, I use the word reservedly, gentlemen?”
    “Burger and fries,” Johnny said.
    “Yous want the Gus Burger? Same price an’ ya get a pickle spear fo free.”
    “Sure, why not?”
    “An’ you, Stud, what’s your pleasure?”
    “The double Gus Burger, with cheese, curly fries, strawberry malt, and pie. What kind’s left?”
    “Yous fav, apple, is gone. So’s the cherry. The lemon meringue is yesterday’s. Wanna give the key lime a try?”
    “You only live once. Okay.” Bernice pocketed the chit pad, returned the pencil to the back of her head, and left.
    “Continue about your date with Pam.”
    “After the pizza, we cruise the circuit coupla times. Nobody, so I asked her if she, ah, well, you know. ‘On one condition,’ she said”
    “So you immediately headed to Skyline Drive.”
    “Damn straight, I did, and …”
    Setting the malt on the table, “The rest’ll be out in a minute, enjoy,” she said.
    Bill ripped the endpaper from the straw and blew the rest into the next booth. Tasting the malt, “Bernice made it just the way I like it, triple thick.” Circling his finger in the air for Johnny to continue.
    “She was very cuddly on the way there. But when we parked, she said, I said. ‘On one condition, ‘member?’”
    “And what was the one condition?”
    “She’d only do it under the stars.”

    Johnny picked up the meal chit. Bill left the tip and drove.

    At the three-stall carriage house, “So, Bill, how’d you get this place?”
    “I fixed old man Miller’s car once. I impressed him, I guess, and offered it to me. All I have to do is cut the grass once a week. In the winter, I shovel the snow off the walks. They take me about an hour. Cheap rent for great digs.” Bill opened the door.
    “I guess. Where’s my car?”
    “In the next bay,” Bill said.
    Johnny pulled the curtain aside. “Wow, how long is it gonna it take you?”
    “An hour or so. The hard part is lining things up. Then it’s a piece of cake. I’ll weld together in a bit. When it cools down, I’ll refasten the headliner and touch up the paint on the edges. It’ll be ready for you the day after tomorrow.”
    Johnny looked up and down the rope suspended from the garage rafters holding the roof. “And then you just slide the car under … right?”
    “How much do I owe you, Bill?”
    “You took care of Pam for me. We’re even.” Bill chuckled, “Call it on the house, so to speak. By the way, how long did it take you? To cut the roof off, I mean.”
    “It’s a ‘59 bubble top. So it only took ‘bout half an hour to saw off the top. But I’m telling ya, the next time some chick wants to watch the Fourth fireworks under the stars, I’m gonna borrow your ragtop.”
    Bill side glanced Johnny, “Ina pig’s ass you are.”
    “Want me to help you move the car under the roof so you can get to welding the parts back together?”
    — ℜ —

  • April 11, 2021 at 4:23 am

    by Ken Miles
    (1,221 words)

    “I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.”

    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”

    Nelly waited for her husband’s reaction to that. She knew very well that with Leslie it could go either way: he may blow a fuse or just laugh heartily. The doctor’s advice was to take it easy with him, throw in some humor sometimes, diffuse the tension whenever she felt another one of his turns coming on.

    “You gone crazy!?” Leslie barked back, “Why did you do that? That’s… that’s… gonna cause untold damage to the Jag’s shaft! You forgot the kind of money that car cost? I’m married to a crazy woman!”

    The Jag’s shaft? We never even owned a Jaguar, Nelly thought. Where did he even get this one from? But by now, she was used to Leslie’s bizarre panic attacks. Going blind, on top of his confused state-of-mind, had taken him further down the rabbit hole.

    They had only arrived the night before at that beach holiday-resort in the Bahamas, but Leslie had already lost track of where they were. He’d asked Nelly, just minutes earlier, if the milkman had already passed. And now there was a Jaguar on the roof! Juggling anger with pity inside her own head, Nelly tried to keep calm.

    “Let’s just have a coffee out here, shall we? It’s a lovely evening,” Nelly suggested as she helped Leslie to a terrace-bar table and signaled a waiter.

    “Coffee!? Are you really gone bonkers? Never mind the Jag… you must’ve ruined that car beyond repair. But the house… our roof may cave in any moment!”

    Nelly hadn’t driven since 1991, when her tremors began. She hadn’t been exactly a textbook driver. Leslie’s unhinged memory may have picked up on that. She once knocked over their neighbor Reverend Peters’s mailbox. She’d swear she saw the Reverend mouthing the f-word from behind his verandah window.

    And then there was that day when she parked in the way of a funeral. The procession had to encircle her car and the coffin was hauled by hand with great difficulty over it!

    But reversing into a stationary Harley-Davidson at a Kmart parking lot, while touring the Midwest with Leslie for their honeymoon, takes the cake. Leslie quickly took over the wheel and they somehow managed to lose behind them a ferocious horde of Hells Angels in the maze of streets that’s downtown St. Louis. Sheer horror as it may have been, it did bring on good laughs each time this incident was recalled later on.

    But driving a car upon the roof of their house? No, that she never did.

    It must be something from some film. In his younger years, Leslie was a sucker for those car-chase movies of old. Back in their dating days, he’d drag Nelly to watch a whole load of them ‘flying car flicks’! She’d doze off most times, didn’t remember anything much of them.

    The waiter served them their cappuccinos and Nelly slipped a Valium pill into Leslie’s.

    Now a bit calmer, thanks to the medicine, Leslie was still however overly concerned about the car on the roof of their house.

    “It’s gone, honey! Can’t you see?” Nelly announced.

    “No I can’t see! Forgot I’m blind?”

    “Oh! I’m sorry, darling.”

    This, of course, begged the question of how he then saw the car on the roof in the first place. But Leslie and logic didn’t belong in the same sentence anymore. He was, in better times, one of the brightest men alive. He contributed immensely to the field of chemistry – there’s even a chemical process named after him, the “Leslie Rutherford Tripolymeric Chain-Reaction”. But all those fumes in a life spent in the laboratory must have played a part in messing up his brain. And then again, he was 87. That didn’t help either.

    “So where did the Jag go?” he asked innocently. Nelly had hoped he’d taken his mind off this damn car on the roof thing, but he hadn’t.

    “I called them while we were having our coffee… you know, them crane people… They brought it down safely. Not a scratch, they said…”

    “You’re fooling me, aren’t you? I’m blind, but not deaf! You didn’t call anyone…”

    “Did I say called ? Oh my! Where’s my head sometimes! I mean I texted them. Yes, texted…”

    “And they came? So fast…? They’re very… erm… efficient. Did you tip them?”

    “Of course. They were quick, and so impeccably professional.”

    “But the roof! I need to go up there, check there’s no damage. Tell Ian to bring over the ladder. He and I’ll have a look at it…”

    Their only son Ian had been killed years before, in Afghanistan. Leslie never quite got around that, it’s one of the perks of losing one’s mind: there are many downsides to it, but one gets to skip life’s really hurtful bits too.

    Leslie would often ask about Ian, how his software business was doing, when he’d be visiting them next, why he didn’t come over more often. “It’s been like some two weeks”, he’d often lament. And Nelly would play along. It was more like fifteen years.

    “Oh, you’re getting on a bit, Les!” Nelly told him, “climbing ladders is not your thing anymore. Ian’s already been up there. Just one broken shingle, that’s all he found. And he’s replaced it.”

    “Why won’t he join us for a cuppa, then?”

    “He would have, but had to run off to a client. Said he’ll be back soonest… Shall I push you for a walk down the promenade, honey? There’s a lovely sea breeze right now.”

    Nelly used to be an art teacher. Her tremors robbed her the capacity to paint on canvas, but she now painted with words instead, for Leslie. She’d depict him everything she saw, during their many travels, with a painter’s candor and delicacy. He got his eyes back as long as she had hers. Her words wove even the most mundane scene into an oil masterpiece.

    “Yes, let’s go!” he replied, briefly turning his head toward the hotel block and up towards its roof. He seemed to feel the presence of the building, even though he couldn’t see it.

    Nelly disengages the brake of his wheelchair and sets it in motion. She’s about to paint a picture for him of the fiery sunset over the sparkling bright green banana plantations on the promontory jutting out into the blue Caribbean. But first she wanted to ensure Leslie wasn’t still tearing himself apart over that imagined car on the roof catastrophe.

    “So, it’s all okay now, you see. There’s no car on our roof!”

    “Car on the roof? Just what are you talking about?”

    “Oh never mind, honey,” she sighs with relief, “I dunno what got to me. I just remembered that Steve McQueen scene, you know, the one with the car on the roof. At the Roxy Cinema…”

    “But how? You slept for that whole film!”

    “Ha! I thought I’d gotten away with that! You remember just about everything, don’t you!”

    “Sure I do! That evening we then stopped over at that motel on the way to your mom and dad’s. We only needed like twenty minutes, but the guy charged us for the whole night! There was no negotiating with him…”

  • April 13, 2021 at 2:23 am

    Car on a Hot Tin Roof

    ‘I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.’

    ‘I can’t reveal all my tricks,’ Jake yawned. ‘To be honest, it’s all a bit hazy.’

    ‘Don’t get smart with me Jake. This is serious. Miss Corbett’s talking about getting the police involved.’

    He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. ‘Miss Corbett? What’s she got to do with it?’

    ‘It’s her car!’ Jake’s mother took a deep, calming breath and was reminded once again of how much she disliked young adults.

    ‘Oh Jesus. Now we’re in trouble. ‘


    ‘It was Rupert.’

    ‘Rupert! Well why doesn’t that surprise me. Honestly, that boy. But how?’

    ‘Mum. This is Rupert we’re talking about. He’s completed three Iron Man competitions and the car was like a tiny Fiat 500 or something.’

    ‘I don’t care how small it was. Miss Corbett is in our living room waiting for an answer right now, so you better get your arse downstairs and have a good explanation.’

    ‘She’s in the living room? What the…? How does she know it was me anyway?’

    ‘CCTV at the school. Apparently, she left her car there as she had a few sweet sherries at the bridge club across the road. Imagine her dismay when she pitched up this morning to find her car on the bloody roof of the portacabin! I’ll see you downstairs in five. And open your window! It smells like a brewery in here.’

    Jake arrived in the living room, looking dishevelled and suitably sheepish. ‘Miss C. Nice to see you after all these years. How are you?’

    ‘Don’t try your flattery on me young man. Your mother here tells me it was Rupert who is behind this? Well, I can’t say I’m surprised, but as for you, I am deeply disappointed. Now, I know how you young people like to indulge in the odd bit of Tom Foolery, but this? You’re lucky I haven’t reported it. Yet!’ she paused. ‘If you will excuse me, I’m heading over there now to ask how Rupert intends to get my car off the roof.’

    ‘Woah Miss C. You can’t go over there. Do you know where he lives?’

    ‘I do! And that estate doesn’t scare me. Goodness, I’ve probably taught most of the youngsters and their parents at one time or another.’
    ‘No. Listen, leave it to me. I’ll call him and we’ll sort it out and we’ll phone you when we get it off the roof.’

    ‘I think that’s best. I’ll give you a lift back home,’ his mother offered.

    ‘I can’t believe she used the phrase Tom Foolery,’ Jake muttered as his mother collected her keys and coat.

    ‘I know. I don’t think anyone has said that since the 1920s! Enough of that though. Phone him. NOW!’

    Rupert eventually answered his phone with a grunt.

    ‘Get your arse over here. Quick. You’re attempts to impress us with your World’s Strongest Man impression has landed us in trouble with Miss Corbett. It was her car you pillock!’

    There was a moments silence and another groan as the news sunk in. ‘Miss C? Oh man. That’s not good. How did I get it up there?’

    ‘No idea. I honestly can’t remember.’

    ‘How are we going to get it down?’

    ‘No idea. And less of the we.’

    Rupert arrived an hour later looking as bad as he felt. He sat himself down at the breakfast bar and put his head in his hands. ‘God, I feel rough.’

    Jake’s mother pushed a glass of orange juice towards him. ‘Here. Drink that. You’ll feel better.’

    He looked at it suspiciously. ‘Don’t worry. There are no actual real oranges in it. It’s from a carton. Now, I suggest you two get yourselves over to the school and get that car down before some nosey neighbour actually does call the police.’

    She watched them as the walked up the road towards the primary school and felt her heart swell as she remembered the days when she had walked behind them, the two of them, heads down, deep in conversation. It must have been at least fourteen years ago, but it could have been yesterday. Time passed too quickly she realised.

    Rupert was like one of her own. She had known him since he had started school, and like most of the mothers and the teachers, she had a real soft spot for him despite, his tough exterior. Growing up with a name like Rupert on one of the roughest estates in Edinburgh had necessitated the development of certain survival skills. He would fight his own shadow if challenged. He had the harshest of upbringings, the youngest of five children, raised single handed by his mother, who relied heavily on prescription drugs and alcohol for her own survival.

    His father left the moment he was born, but not before heading to the registry office to name him, leaving a legacy which would shape the boy he would become. His mother was too out of it to care enough to change his name.

    Jake’s mother had taken him under her wing and provided him with hot meals, clean clothes and a comfortable home whenever he needed it. He and Jake formed a firm, if unlikely friendship. Rupert offered a certain amount of protection to Jake, which she had been grateful for on more than one occasion, although the friendship also had its downsides. Rupert was frequently in trouble, although mostly minor scrapes, which hadn’t amounted to much, but she worried that his behaviour would become worse, and he would end up like his no-good father.

    Thankfully, Miss Corbett shared a fondness for him and was a giver of second chances. If he could get the car down unharmed, all would be forgiven.

    The boys arrived back at lunchtime, laughing and jostling with each other as they stepped through the front door.

    ‘Any chance of a bacon sandwich Mrs O? I’m starving.’

    ‘That depends. Tell me what happened with the car first. How did you get it down?’

    ‘I’m not sure you want to know mum. Let’s just say Rupert called in a few favours from pals on the estate, and before you know it, the car is down and unscathed. Big Kyle even drove over to get Miss C and brought her back to get her car. Think it was a bit of an experience for her in the pick-up truck.’ Jake and Rupert sniggered at the memory. ‘Now, bacon rolls?’

    ‘You know where the bacon is.’

    From: SarahOwen@hotmail.com
    To: JessieCorbett@DrysdalePrimary-ed.com
    Cc: BigBoyRupe@gmail.com Jakeyjake@yahoo.co.uk

    Dear Miss Corbett,

    Please accept my apologies for the boy’s behaviour last weekend. As you said yourself, they are inclined to indulge in Tom Foolery at that age. I am pleased they returned your car undamaged, and I’m happy to say they can both see the error of their ways.

    To make up for it, they have volunteered to help with any odd jobs around the school. I have copied them into this email by way of reminding them of this.

    Please feel free to email them a list of jobs which need to be done.

    Once again, apologies.

    Sarah Owen


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