Bonus Writing Prompts

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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101 thoughts on “1st Line Writing Prompt “The Car on the Roof”

  • 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.)

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


  • Peter Holmes
    Signing in, with absolutely no idea what to write about.
    • Carrie Zylka

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

      • Peter Holmes
        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?
  • 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 —

    • Robert,

      While in High School in Kansas City, my sophomore year, my biology teacher, Ms. Nancy Smith, bought a Volkswagen and one day during PE, several of the students picked up her car and moved it sideways into a ditch where it rested on it’s bumpers and the wheels weren’t touching the ground. She was totally pissed. No one owned up to it, and she had to have a tow truck come and move it. Anyone strong enough to move it felt they would be incriminating themselves, so no one volunteered to help. Since I was 5’6″ and weighed about 120 pounds, I was totally exempt from her thinking I had anything to do with it. I plead the fifth regarding being the one who suggested it.

      Good story Robert, and I loved how you deceived us as to what she was willing to do under the stars. Well done. Although I don’t know if I would have gone to all that trouble to watch the pyrotechnic kind of fireworks instead of real fireworks. Well written and totally believable.


      • Roy, if you want to understand why Pam wanted to watch the “pyrotechnic kind,” at the next 4th of July, position yourself on West Skyline Parkway anywhere from West of the curve at Twin Ponds to directly South of Enger Tower. About a third of a mile long stretch overlooking the city, the harbor, and Lake Superior. Get there before noon because hundreds of people believe as I do that the view of the fireworks from above is the only way to view them. There is only room for 65-70 cars.
    • BTW, Robert, I wanted to mention I liked the Damon Runyonesque way you handled the dialogue by the waitress. I used to listen to a lot of old time radio and when they told one of Damon Runyon’s stories on the air, the way you wrote the dialogue was very much like his dialogue. For example: “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.” and “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

      Good job, man.


      • Thanks, Roy.
        Bernice is the waitress in my stable. She’s an amalgam of three waitress I knew in my misspent teens. Her dreams unfulfilled because her education stopped too soon. Yet, she has a master’s degree in psychology, which she used to control unruly teens or drain a large tip from Scrooge’s wallet. Her boyfriend, Rex, dwarfs his Harley-KHK 883cc, 52hp, V-twin. He was a staunch friend with a soft heart in a grungy denim jacket.
    • Hi, Robert

      You like diners, I’ve noticed. I like the people you put there. Bernice is a terrific character – the dialect, the sarcasm. This is a lovely detail, speaking volumes about one of the guys: “Bill ripped the endpaper from the straw and blew the rest into the next booth.” Great dialogue.

      I’m a bit mystified about the action, though. Was there ever a car on a roof? I know a roof was taken off a car (so that one of the characters could make out ‘under the stars’), but I’m still a little confused. This is a bit confusing, too – past or future?
      “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.”

      Also, while the diner scene is brilliant, Bernice’s intervention seems irrelevant to the action per se … and there’s a lot of it.

      So it was a good read (because of the characters, dialogue and feel), but the confusion of the action (even after three reads) spoilt it a little (for me – maybe just me).

      • Phil, you mean a building roof? It was in the picture, but wasn’t a required story element. In my story, Bill was putting the car back on the roof.
        As to Bernice butting… she’s the nosey type. Here’s another encounter with Bill.

        Bernice touched my arm, and I stopped.
        “I overheard yous guys talking about them three rich chicks’ ova there.”
        “Yeah, so?”
        “Ain’t nona my business, but the short blond asked me ta give ya something.”
        I held out my hand, “Okay, give.”
        She pulled her order pad from the pocket of her dirty blue striped apron.
        “She’d wrote on one ah my chits. I didn’t read it or nothing, but I think she wants ta meet wit ya somewhere soon, and she doesn’t care where. But I bet ya it’s important.” (compare what she says to Bill and what’s written on the chit)

        The Benedictine influence was evident in her precise handwriting.

        Bill, we need to meet
        as soon as possible.
        Any place is OK. It’s important.

        Also, see my comment to Roy about her.

        • Er … Bill was putting the roof on the car, wasn’t he, Robert? (not the other way round). Maybe I’m just being pernickety.

          And I get Bernice interrrupting … it’s just that the whole sequence involving her, however good (and it’s great!), seems to have little to do with the main story (Pam and the roof of the car?).

    • This is very hard to read for me as a none-native reader. I had to read it out-loud and noticed I started skipping parts. So, where I do like the story and the reason for a car on top of a roof, remember us people out there that do read English but have a hard time reading slang.
    • I liked the slightly different take on the prompt, but I did struggle with the local dialogue. I think some can be okay, but too much makes it difficult for a ‘non-native’ to understand and can limit your target audience. It would be the same if I wrote a piece in mostly in Scottish dialect- it would mostly appeal only to fellow Scots
    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…”

    • Ken M.,

      I’m a sucker for a well told story, and this is one of your best, I think. Very well done, Already on my list for stories in contention. Good ending.

      I have a friend with whom I served time in the service back in the early 60’s and went to see him a few years ago. We were best mates over the years, but time and age caught up with him, along with some real medical shit, and when I went to see him the last time, he kinda knew who I was, but I don’t really think so. He also had trouble recognizing his wife. Then, suddenly he would know exactly who I was, what we did as mates, but only for fleeting moments, then, back to hanging his head and looking like he was asleep. Finally, the day we were leaving, we went to say goodbye to him, where he knew who I was, but told me this totally fabulously made up story of how his parents died in a boating accident, with details, dates, names, etc., etc. I knew both of his parents and that was not a true story. I asked his wife and she told me he’d been telling this story to anyone who would listen for the past few years, never missing a detail, or skipping a step in the story. But, he couldn’t tell you what he had for breakfast ten minutes ago. Wild. She tried to keep him at home, but it was best if he could get around the clock care at a rehab center. I’m not sure if I will stop by again in the future, but may, because even though he doesn’t remember me, I remember him. It’s just tough to do. I guess your story struck a nerve with me. Good job.

    • This is a lovely story, KenM, infused with love. The reader gets a real idea of how frustrating it must be to live with and tolerate Leslie, but Nelly’s infinite patience (the mark of her love) is very warming. The shift in Leslie’s logic (“What car?!”) is expertly handled.

      This sentence is a little too heavily packed with exposition, I think: “They had only arrived the night before at that beach holiday-resort in the Bahamas,” That info could have been peppered in at various other points … or even omitted altogether (it’s not really relevant where exactly they are, is it?). Also, there’s some wayward changing of tenses.

      But all in all, this is a lovely, warm-hearted and warming story. Great stuff.

    • Recognizable, the story with the confused elderly. I know first hand how they can be and this was quite realistic. Then, there is a lot of humor in this story, which I am totally in to! Well written, nice story.
    • I enjoyed the humour injected in what can be a tough story.
      She’d swear she saw the Reverend mouthing the f-word from behind his verandah window- I love that, and – but she now painted with words instead- such a lovely line
      A few changes of tense in places but apart from that I really enjoyed it
  • 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.’


    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

    • This is really good, Kirsten. The hangovers feel authentic, the memory loss about what exactly happened the night before, too. The best moment for me is when the Mrs Owen sees the boys/men walk off (a mother’s pride) – and that provides a neat ‘in’ to the reminiscing about Rupert’s past (‘Boy Named Sue’!) and the boys’ close relationship. This is a great line – much used (the Lone Ranger joke?) but perfect here: “No idea. And less of the we.”

      I’m not sure about the epilogue. Superfluous, if you ask me, and a little awkward.

      But a lovely story.

      • Thank you. I appreciate the comments and the constructive comments about the epilogue
    • I liked your story. Hating young-adults, yet loving them, a well known concept for many a mom. I also loved how the mom first said ‘this phrase belongs to the twenties’ and then using it in the mail herself. Perfect!
    • Hi Kirsten,

      I like the realism of this story, hangover and all. A lot of it is given to the reader in the form of “show don’t tell” (‘He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes’, ‘And open your window! It smells like a brewery in here’.), which is always the better way of contextualising a story within the background in which it takes place.

      In true “show don’t tell” form, you paint a good picture of Mrs Corbett without telling us anything directly about her age, profession and such. But it’s all there in well-placed dialogue bits like:

      “I’ve probably taught most of the youngsters and their parents at one time or another.’ (= teacher or ex-teacher)

      ‘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! (= she’s of a certain age)

      “…she had a few sweet sherries at the bridge club across the road.” (bridge? Not Nintendo? hmmm. She must be of a certain age!)

      About the structure of the story, I’m not so sure I’d have gone about it the same way. I’d usually expect stories to “up the ante” as we read on, i.e. pile up more tension on the main character. But here we start with Jake, who seems to be in some kind of trouble from the word go, but before we know it he is sort of discharged from most of his responsibility in whatever happened – we are told that it was someone else, Rupert, who took the car on the roof.

      Are we to be relieved that our Jake is not in that much trouble after all? Are we to root for this other guy Rupert, who comes in about a third of the way into the story? Perhaps the story could have been told from Rupert’s perspective for the tension to mount more palpably on the reader. I’m not sure if I’m expressing this well enough, but the first mentioned main character-in-trouble of a story is usually the one the reader sympathises with first and foremost.

      The ending (the email) is a bit superfluous, if you ask me. Or there is some ‘punch’ in it I didn’t quite get.

      There is this line of dialogue, which I think needs tightening up, to make it sound more like coming out of the mouth of a teenager communicating troublesome news to his friend:

      ‘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!’

      I’d go for something like this:

      ‘Get your arse over here. Quick. Tried to impress us with your World’s Strongest Man shit, right? More like landed us in real shit with Miss Corbett. It was her car you pillock!’

      (I took the liberty to suggest the use of ‘shit’ since you already had no qualms with ‘arse’… But there are other words, if one prefers something else.)

      The rest of the dialogue is great! I augured you the Dialogue Award last week, and you got it! Still in the game for it this time round too 🙂


      • Thanks J]Ken, I really appreciate the comments and suggestions and I have no problem with the word shit! The reason I like this group is because I feel everyone takes the time to read to stories and comment on the good and ‘could do better’
      • I mentioned one of the reasons I like this group is the feedback given, but also the questions and comments makes me think and reflect on what I write and why. Both yourself and Phil commented about the ending and whether it was necessary. I didn’t really write it with any great intention, but subconsciously, I think I was trying to portray that the mother was still looking out for the boys and had some influence over them- she was perhaps not really letting go. Maybe that part of it didn’t work though. If indeed, that is what I was trying to say! Who knows?
  • Kirsten, In my reply to Robert regarding his story, I wrote of an incident in high school very similar to this. Must have been a thing going around, although my story happened in 1957 or ’58, now that I think about it.

    I’m pretty sure you based this on fact, but if you didn’t have something similar you were aware of, trust me, you did base it on fact. I know, I was there, only it was a Volkswagen and the teacher taught biology.

    Why did you capitalize tom foolery? Just wondering. I’m familiar with the term, just never saw it capitalized before. Good story and nice ending. My teacher never figured out who did it, although I’m sure she had her suspicions.

    Well done.


    • Thanks Rob. We had similar things happen at our scale, so it was very loosely based on that, but funny to know it happens in all parts of the world. Autocorrect must have capitalised tom foolery- didn’t notice that!

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

    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”

    “Ah, you’re full of bull-crap, Napoleon.”

    “You’ve got me. I meant to say ‘cat’.”

    “You meant … Jeez! You’re telling me that you’ve spent half an hour boasting about getting a car on the roof when all along you meant you put a cat on the roof?”

    “Well … that’s not quite accurate either.”

    “You didn’t put a cat on the roof?”

    “No, not exactly.”

    “What then?”

    “I got the cat down OFF the roof.”

    “You got a cat down off the roof?”


    “That’s a bit different, isn’t it?”

    “No, that’s where you’re wrong, Sherlock. It’s quite a common occurrence.”

    “I mean getting a cat down off a roof is a bit different from putting a car on a roof.”

    “Wrong again!”

    “How is that wrong?!”

    “It’s not a BIT different, it’s VERY different.”

    “Jeez, Napoleon. I don’t know how you ever got your armies marching in the right direction!”

    “Oh, they marched, they marched. ESP, you see.”



    “You got your armies to march using ESP?”

    “That is correct.”

    “I don’t believe you.”

    “Believe what you like.”

    “OK, prove it.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Do ESP on me right now.”

    “Right now?”

    “That’s what I said. What? Scared?”

    “Not at all.”

    “Okay, so what am I thinking?”

    “Wait a moment … you’re thinking … that I’m fibbing about using ESP to make my armies march.”


    “What, cat got your tongue?”

    “No, it’s just … how did you do that?!”

    “I told you. I have ESP.”

    “Okay, so what am I thinking now?”

    “Wait … it’s coming … hang on … ah, yes. That I should get back to the story about the cat on the roof.”


    “So, there was the car, sitting on the roof.”

    “Don’t you mean ‘cat’?”

    “That’s what I said.”

    “I don’t think so.”

    “I did.”

    “I’m not sure.”

    “You doubt Napoleon, the finest general that ever lived?!”

    “I’m allowed to doubt, being as I am, the finest detective that ever lived.”

    “Ok, I’ll give you that.”

    “So, what about the cat?”

    “Don’t you play the violin?”

    “Yes, why do you ask?”

    “Well, poetry isn’t normally your art, is it?”

    “Whatever do you mean?”

    “ ‘Ok, I’ll give you that. So what about the cat?’ ”

    “I see. No, that was just a coincidence.”

    “What a coincidence!”


    “The cat.”

    “The cat was a coincidence?”

    “That is correct.”

    “The cat being on the roof was a coincidence?”

    “Quite so.”

    “How was it a coincidence?”

    “Because the week before, there’d been a car up there.”

    “There’d been a car on the roof?”

    “Yes. And as you know, the only difference between ‘cat’ and ‘car’ is that one has a ‘t’, the other an ‘r’.”

    “So now YOU’RE a poet?”

    “How so?”

    “Never mind. So, there WAS a car on your roof?”




    “Go on.”

    “It was on my neighbour’s roof.”

    “Okay, your neighbour’s roof. So how did you manage to get a car on your neighbour’s roof?”

    “I’m not sure I should tell you. You know … trade secrets and all that.”

    “Go on – I won’t tell.”

    “All right. Levitation.”

    “Levi …”

    “… tation. That’s causing something to rise in the air using magical powers.”

    “I know what ‘levitation’ means, thank you very much.”

    “Well, that’s how I did it.”

    “You put a car on your neighbour’s roof using levitation.”


    “So, you have ESP and the power of levitation?”

    “I do indeed.”

    “Uh-huh … then why didn’t you use those powers at Waterloo?”

    “I would have done.”


    “I had a terrible cold that week.”

    “You’re crazy.”

    “No, you’re crazy.”

    “No, you’re–“

    “Was that the bell?”

    “Yes. Thank God. I’m starving.”

    “What do you think it’ll be?”

    “It’s mince ‘n’ mash.”

    “How can you be so sure?”

    “As I told you. I am the finest detective that ever lived.”

    “The smell?”

    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”


    “But I do like mince ‘n’ mash.”

    “I know.”



    “Ah, that’s right. I was forgetting.”


    • Phil, you always make me think, and you always make me jealous. Your stories are always well crafted, and I’m pretty sure you have your entire story, ending and all, pretty well thought out before you touch finger to keyboard. I write a bit differently many times, and have to hurt my brain trying to finish a story. Like I did with ‘Silent Treatment’. Started a story with no ending and had to really work at it. You make me jealous, because week after week, you make it look so easy. You and I both know differently, but still, you know what I mean.

      Nice job, and a lot fluffier than some of your more recent somber stories, I imagine Marien is happy. She keeps saying things are too gloomy. I was going to say something about throwing in an occasion he said, she said, but since these are all one liners, they aren’t necessary, but it wouldn’t hurt, IMHO. I had to go back and reread a couple of places. And, yeah, I’m kinda complaining about it. I’m going to complain to Alyssa Daxon about the same thing. I know, I know, it’s OK to write without indicators as to who it is talking, I would rather see an occasional help so I can keep track without a scorecard. I must be getting old, and my mind wanders too much these days.

      Very good job on the banter between Napoleon and Holmes, or whomever the other character is. as you never name him. I’m sure you aren’t talking about Poirot. BTW, I happen to like bangers ‘n’ mash, much more than mince ‘n’ mash. And, it’s lunch time here, now that I think about it. Liked the story, very much, probably another first place job, but that remains to be seen.


      • Thanks very much for all the positive words, Roy! Yes – I needed to get ‘fluffier’! You’re probably right about the dialogue tag thingies; I wanted the dialogue to skip along, and it was clear in my own mind who was speaking … but I wasn’t thinking about the reader. Actually, I didn’t have a clue about where this was heading, which is why it sounds absurd in places – absurdity compounded by where the two characters are (the only thing I had set in my mind from the outset, and the reason for the mince ‘n’ mash). Napoleon does address his friend as ‘Sherlock’ at one point.


    • Damn, confusing in a very good way! Fun, well done!
      • Phil Town
        Thank you, Maaike!
    • Confusing, but in a good and clever way. I like a mash up of characters across different time periods, and the dialogue between them
      • Phil Town
        Thanks, Kirsten! (but see my note to KenM)
    • Elementary, my dear Townson!
      The battle was lost because of the cold! Hilarious :))

      You did it again, by Napolean, you did it! Taking fluff and absurdity to a new high. ( hand clap)

      Who would’ve thought such dialogue would make any sense, but it does.
      On second reading. I read it quick, and I got the pace and sense of it.

      Fluffy is zeit gut and …Roy, it does make me happy to read lighter stuff. :))
      Gloom can eat into your system considering the times we live in.


      • Phil Town
        You’re right, Marien – but if you’re feeling gloomy, that’s the first feeling that tends to pour out when you write (at least it does for me).

        Thanks for the nice words!

    • Hi Phil, this is a hilarious take on two historical characters that we all would love to imagine bumping into one another and wondering what they’d say (I did think you’ve got Napoleon and Sherlock Holmes, the originals, minced and mashed up in here. Sort of had no doubts about that.). But then, they may quite viably be two regular guys with mash and beer (and more beer) and some knowledge of history…and, yes, regular guys with too much beer may have more colourful conversations than the likes of Nap and Sherl (without beer). But I added the beer. Because mince’n’mash is best washed down with beer.

      You got away with the car on the roof, perhaps; cat is similar enough. And anyway your Napoleon is responsible for that.

      I had once started writing a story about dead historical heavyweights, like Caesar and Macchiavelli, Hannibal and Hitler meeting up wherever dead people go when they die. Especially the bad ones. They were all waiting eagerly and complaining “But how long is Thatcher taking in purgatory…?” or “I’ve had enough of this. Caesar’s salad is NOT named after me! And that’s that.” That kind of stuff. But I didn’t (and still don’t) know where that story was going. If someone of the calibre of Holmes is thrown in the mix, then it all takes a new twist. Thanks for the idea…


      • Phil Town
        Thanks a lot, KenM. In fact (and I’m disappointed that no one seems to have guessed it, but I suppose that’s down to me) the two friends are contemporary, and they’re in an asylum for the mentally unbalanced (one thinks he’s Napoleon – a bit of a cliché for men with personality disorders – the other Sherlock). The dinner bell and the mince ‘n’ mash were supposed to be clues. Also: “You’re crazy!” (Note to self: must be clearer!)
        • Hmmm….Perhaps my reading of your story was overshadowed by the memory of that old story-draft of mine I mentioned in the comment. Also, mince’n’mash didn’t ring the hospital bell for me (and neither did I hear the canteen bell!). Perhaps because I actually like that dish. Well, here we’ve got the French version of it (“Parmentier”) which is absolutely delightful (and close enough, in presentation at least, to English shepherds’ pie… a pub favourite… so my mind when on to think beer…). So, you see, I came in to your story already laden with heavy baggage.

          But at the end of the day I wasn’t too far off from your line of thinking. Whether it’s too much beer or clinical insanity the end result may be pretty similar. Especially when it involves someone believing he’s Napoleon…

          Cheers! Beer and brandy…

  • Mike Rymarz
    Training Day

    “I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.”
    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”
    “Well that is one helluva trick. Only problem is, we’re stuck now. At least we’re putting some distance into them.” Jim settled back into the passenger seat and thought about the job they’d just pulled. Executed to almost clinical perfection. The only hitch being, they were now travelling at 100mph on a train to God knows where.
    “Ha, it takes a lot of skill and training, bruv. You might be able to do it one day if you keep practising. It’s all about the timing, fam. And don’t worry, we ain’t stuck.”
    “Honestly – that was peng. Hey, let me have a go next time.” Jim leaned across but was swatted to one side by Louie.
    “Give it up, fam. I’m in control for the moment. Your time will come. We’ve got the po-po right behind us if you haven’t noticed so I’m going to have to get off this thing. Not easy to do but I think you’ll find…” he concentrated for a second on the manoeuvre and then floored it, “…the right speed and angle and I’ll be able to clear those…trees.” He held his breath as the car took off once more and narrowly cleared the top leaves of a glorious palm tree.
    “Wahey,” yelled Jim next to him. “You have absolutely nailed that, bruh. Sweet move. C’mon, you’re gonna’ have to let me know how you do these things. I’d love to do ‘em myself one day.”
    Louie prided himself on his driving skills and was tearing it up with his flame red Challenger. Zipping left and right, dodging his pursuers, weaving in and out of trees and farmhouses and evading trucks and other vehicles which had the temerity to get in his way. He used to crash a fair amount but had corrected a lot of the stupid mistakes he used to make and was now quite an accomplished driver. He just relied on the right person next to him to navigate. He had fanciful dreams of doing this professionally one day, driving for a living on famous circuits all around the world, but he’d have to settle for the mean streets of San Andreas for the moment.
    Jim piped up next to him, getting a bit impatient with their current course. “So, where we going, blood? What we do next?”
    “Well, let’s go and trade this one in and find our next mark. There’s plenty of ‘em out there, we just need to find the right one.” Louie was happy to guide him through this but was getting a little fed up of all the questions. Jim was younger than him by a couple of years and Louie had to admit that he was showing his naivety. Oh well, he’s bound to learn, and who better to teach him than me, he surmised.
    Jim was looking a bit fidgety and restless, Louie realised, glancing across at his accomplice.
    “Do you wanna stop for some munch, fella? Happy to sort something out if you’re hungry.”
    “Nah, you’re good. Let’s crack on.”
    “OK, so keep your eye out for a chop shop and let’s get some money for this. Best to get it sold, traded and off to the next one before they catch up with us. Not worried about the pigs now, more concerned about who we stole this off. He can be bad news, bruv.”
    “Wait, are they gonna find us?” Jim hadn’t realised there was a chance they could get caught by whatever gangsters Louie was getting mixed up with.
    “Not if I can help it, Jim, but you never know.” There was a twinkle in Louie’s eye and a sliver of glee in his voice. “That’s part of the fun though, isn’t it? Come on, that’s why you wanted to try this out. Makes you feel alive!”
    “Yeah, until we wind up dead. Too real mate, too real.”
    “Ah, stop being such a wuss. Just watch and learn.” Louie took a right-hand turn at a completely inadvisably hectic pace and almost toppled the car over before struggling with the wheel and righting it again. Satisfied there was no-one behind them, he pulled into a local garage he knew wouldn’t ask too many questions and prepared himself for some tough negotiations. He took a deep breath, inhaling through his nostrils until his lungs were full and his bravado was even fuller.
    “Who’s that Jim, can you check my phone?”
    “Um, it’s your mom.”
    “Ah hell, what does she want? Read out the text will you?”
    Jim grabbed his friend’s phone and read the text, his heart sinking as he knew that was it for the moment:

    Both of you get off that stupid computer game and come downstairs for your tea. Burgers and fries tonight

    • Mike, welcome. Nice take on the prompt, but I have a few lingering questions after reading it.

      You wrote: At least we’re putting some distance into them.” Jim settled back into the passenger seat and thought about the job they’d just pulled. Executed to almost clinical perfection. The only hitch being, they were now travelling at 100mph on a train to God knows where. I’m not clear on what putting some distance into them means. And, It says they are traveling on a train to God knows where. Literally, on a train is the way I read it, not as a metaphor.

      But then again, I’m not into video games that much, but the one I was aware of, such as Grand Theft Auto, is what I deduced this was modeled after, I wasn’t aware they had flying cars, As in over the top of a palm tree.

      Otherwise I get it. You kept me interested and it was fairly well written, I wasn’t aware they needed a navigator, but as I said, I don’t really know.

      I’ll be interested in your next story.


      • Mike Rymarz
        Thanks Roy, the story was indeed based ‘loosely’ on GTA with the excuse of poetic license! I’ve never played the game myself but after starting the story six different ways with six different possible endings I decided this would be the best way forward.
        Flying is perhaps the wrong word and I should have worked harder to explain the car launching off the train roof through some form of ramp but it’s always fun writing something with no real idea in your own mind where it’s going to end up.
        Thanks for the suggestions – enjoying these different prompts!
    • Fun, pacey story, Mike, with a great twist. I was seeing a real-world situation through your excellent description (however far-fetched it would have been – the car on the train roof), so the reveal took me completely by surprise. I love the use of the vernacular of modern youth, which sounds authentic (it’s something I’d never be able to do personally ‘cos I’m weeeeell beyond that), though sometimes the dialogue slips into wordiness (“C’mon, you’re gonna’ have to let me know how you do these things. I’d love to do ‘em myself one day.”) – false-sounding in such a tense situation. But I really enjoyed this.
      • Mike Rymarz
        My teenage children use this language all the time and I thought it was about time I included it in some writing. A long way from being able to use it when speaking though!
    • Loved the ending of this otherwise very unlikely story; it explained a lot to me. Like getting on top of a train somehow while the police couldn’t keep up (just driving 100 an hour and going in a fixed direction? They would keep up unless it was a steamer, then it would’ve been the 40’s with slower cars but that wouldn’t work with the phonecall, so I was utterly confused!) Well done!
    • Thank goodness. I breathed a sigh of relief at the end
    • Well written story.
      I kinda guessed the end half way through the tale. Knew they had to be young teens-with their video games obsession!

      After all their bravado, only a mom would call their game ‘stupid’!! 🙂

  • Just a note, this goes over the years. I had some breaks in it to signal the gaps in years, but I think the formatting cleared it lol. Tried to fix it but computers aren’t my strong point. Sorry if its confusing haha
  • Goddamn Car
    Word count-848
    Written by Alyssa Daxson

    “I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.”
    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”

    “You, uh, wanna go hang-out sometime?”
    “Like a date?”

    “No! I mean, yeah, sure… if you it to be. A date would be cool.”

    “Lianna, keep this.”
    “What… Is that a ring? Are you proposing to me Jonah?”
    “Uh, yeah, was trying anyway. Do you like it?”
    “Hell yeah! Although you on your knees would be better. Kinda shitty proposal on your part.”
    “If you want me on my knees then by all means….”

    “Baby please, not with other guests around. The bathroom though…”

    “Remember my car?”
    “Which one? The one you totaled after our wedding?”
    “Jesus christ no, I thought we agreed never to bring that up. I’m talking about the one that you put on my roof.”
    “Oh yeah, that one, 10 years ago, right? Why are you asking?”
    “Just wondering if you’re ready to tell your dashing husband how you got his mustang stuck on his goddamn roof?”

    “Mhmm, not yet Honey. I can’t give away everything yet.”

    “Lianna, are you okay?”
    “I’m fine… Say hi to your son though. I named him after your younger brother, Seth.”
    “He’s beautiful… Although Seth? Always was a little bastard. Fun to hang around though, that emo.”
    “He’s your brother Jonah, show some respect. He seemed nice to me.”
    “Yeah now, when he was a teen, jesus christ what a drama queen. Always something to complain about. He asked me when I met up with him a year ago, and I quote, ‘You finally married that crazy witch?’ and then said that Mom must’ve dropped me as a kid.”
    “Aw, what a sweetie!”
    “Really? I found that kinda insulting…”
    “No honey, not your brother, the baby. Get your priorities straight.”

    “Oh, right, sorry.”

    “Seth called and asked how his namesake was doing and if he was as awesome as him. I told him to go screw himself.”
    “You’re too kind.”
    “He also told me to say hi to the other maniac who lives here.”
    “Wow, what a charmer. I can see who he picked that up from.”
    “Low blow honey, low blow.”
    “I can do a lot more than just a blow…”
    “Jesus, you’re a little riled up today aren’t you, tiger…”

    “Gimme a sec to make sure Seth isn’t here, a 17 year old doesn’t need to see this.”

    “A full ride to Stanford. I guess that means we raised him right.”
    “We always knew that Honey, no doubt.”
    “I wonder if Seth would be proud of him…”
    “Of course your brother would be proud of your kid. It’s tragic he can’t be here for it, but I know he’s up there somewhere, watching you.”
    “Probably sulking too, waiting for his big brother to finally die and join him.”

    “Well he’ll just have to wait, I’m not done with you yet.”

    “Why did it have to be us? Why did we have to lose our kid?! In a car accident of all places!”
    “I wish I had an answer, but baby you know why.”
    “Cause it was just goddamn meant to be? How’s that a good reason?”
    “Nothing can explain why we lost him, we just did. Take comfort he’s in a better place.”
    “Hanging out with my brother, wrecking havoc. They were more alike than I ever admitted, two little balls of emo, bad pickup lines and enough kindness to make me love them.”
    “They’re watching you right now I bet, trying to see who can come up with the best insult.”
    “Nah, they’re trying to figure out how you got the car on my roof. Both of them could never let that go.”
    “Ah, well they’ll just have to wait till I tell them myself.”

    “Well they are gonna have to wait just a couple more years, I’m not ready to leave just yet.”

    Jonah Pendergast stared at his wife of 50 years, Lianna. She was laying on the hospital bed beside him, chest rising and falling weakly, the heart monitor beeping in a steady rhythm to his own monitor. Age had taken hold of both of them, dulled the once bright features, but the 80 year old man could still imagine the youthful beauty that had caused him to fall completely head over heels for the loving, kind and never ending witty wife of his.
    He could still picture the day he walked out of his house and was met with a girl doubled over in laughter, cherry red lips parted in a joyous laugh, brown hair tied into a neat bun and striking blue eyes trained on the ‘68’ Ford Mustang resting merrily on his roof.
    As Jonah met his wife’s now white eyes, he wondered how did his wife get that Mustang up there? His eyes become droopy, and he distantly heard his wife’s heart monitor flatline, still in perfect sync with his own. As blackness overtook him, Jonah hoped once he woke up Lianna would finally tell him how she got that goddamn car up there.

    • Alyssa,I loved the fact this is written by a 17 year old with the line: “Gimme a sec to make sure Seth isn’t here, a 17 year old doesn’t need to see this.” Ironic, don’t you think? Especially with the clever way you hid the double entendre regarding ah … how do I discuss what I think the words in the sentences prior were supposed to mean – with a 17 year old – without feeling like a dirty old man?

      Here’s what I wanted to discuss: You did the same thing Phil Town did, write without identifiers as to the speakers identities, but his were all separated. Yours was much tougher to decipher who was who, and I’m not sure I was successful in my several readings.

      I’m not sure how clear you made me believe they were both in hospital at the same time until the very end. I thought he was just a visitor until you explained later their heart monitors were in sync. Again, that a subliminal two hearts beat as one. Nice touch.

      I liked your story and its ending, but I think the end needs some work. I’m not sure he would have been aware of her flat line in sync with his, because at the point of flatline, it’s a beat after the last heartbeat. I think a better ending would have been almost exactly as you wrote it, and the last two sentences would have read:

      As Jonah closed his eyes for the last time, he knew that Lianna’s heart monitor had just flatlined; it was time. As blackness overtook him, Jonah hoped that when he rejoined Lianna, she would finally tell him how she got that goddamn car up there.

      I know you wanted them to flatline together, you hopeless romantic, but neither of them would have been aware at that point, and I think rejoining is a little fancier than having him ‘wake up’.

      But, you are in contention for top story, because you handled this prompt beautifully by never having to explain how the goddamn car got up there. Bravo! and a big well done.

    • An adventurous, ultimately touching story, Alyssa. The passage of time is very nicely done, and (moslty) all through dialogue. The couple’s relationship is nicely drawn: it seems like an intense friendship more than anything else. As Roy said, it’s great that the secret of the Mustang on the roof will follow Lianna to her grave (as far as the reader is concerned). I found the switch to narrative after the dialogue a bit of a jolt; I wonder if you could have engineered it to be dialogue right till the end (?). Very nice story, though.
    • The formatting worked indeed, else I’d not have been able to read it but now, it was clear there were huge time gaps. Since nobody knows how dying exactly works, I’m going, other then some commentators, with him flatlining at the same time. Good story.
    • Nice story, but I did have to re-read a few times to really get it and it took me a bit to realise there were time gaps between each section, although I like the idea of telling the story of their lives in 1200 words or less. Very clever
  • Hey Carrie, do see a story I posted? I thought I did, but it’s not showing up. I don’t know if my computer is lagging or something. It should be called Goddamn Car. I tried to post it around like 10-11am. Thanks
    • Alyssa, I saw your story and read it in the email I received, then hit comments, and like you, can’t find it on the site
      to comment on it. Hmmm…I’m sure Miss Carrie will handle it in short order. Then I’ll comment. Nice to see you back on the site. I do have some comments on your story to make. (Mostly good, don’t fret.)

      I saw something I think needs cleared up and wanted to ask about it.


    • Carrie Zylka

      It got caught in the spam filter. I cleared it and should be visible now!

  • Keep It Simple, Stupid.
    787 total words.
    By Rufus Car-tisano

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

    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”

    “Are you saying it took all of your tricks to pull off this one stunt?”

    “I suppose I am.”

    This admission caused Marie to pause for a moment; Dave was a man of many talents, apparently, this was as difficult to accomplish as it was visually arresting. “It’s not damaging the roof, is it?”

    “Course not. You think I would do this without the proper structural support?”

    Marie did not want to admit that she was afraid he might, instead she said, “Well, was it worth it?”

    “Don’t know yet,” Dave said. “Time will tell. Once people find out how I did it, that should do as much for my business as the car itself.”

    “The car on the roof.”


    “How’re they going to find out if you don’t tell anyone?”

    A sly smile preceded Dave’s answer. “Oh, don’t worry, all will be revealed, in due time… but first, I want the full impact to sink in. The stunning visual impact, I mean.”

    “Yeah, well I’m your wife, and I want to know how you did it—today! Not next week or next month. Spill it.”

    Dave said, “How was your flight by the way? Everything good with your sisters?”

    “Don’t change the subject.” How irritating. If she hadn’t been out of town for over a week, she would know how he’d done it, wouldn’t she? In fact, they’d spoken every night by phone and somehow, the subject hadn’t come up. But the fact that she was gone for a week may be a significant clue. He was too cheap to rent a crane, so… “What’d you do, build a ramp and drive it up there in the middle of the night?”

    He shook his head. “Don’t be silly.”

    “Is it real? Is that your car? Or just a full-sized plastic replica?”

    “Oh no, it’s the real car, and believe me, I ought to know. It still runs, more or less.”

    “I like the jaunty angle. I’ll admit that much.” She turned very deliberately and plucked an old iron skillet from the stove and hefted it by the handle a few times, as if gauging its balance or aerodynamics. Add to this the fact that any kind of dinner was hours away and Dave began to realize that his wife was still a little edgy after a week with her relatives.

    Businesses had suffered drastic cutbacks since the start of the pandemic and Dave’s was no exception. A year ago he had two full-time mechanics, a prime location and more business than he knew what to do with. He had since closed the shop, sadly terminated his two mechanics, and opened up a one-man repair business in his two-car garage. Despite his experience, knowledge and reputation, business was still slow. He needed something to draw attention to his new, pared-back operation.

    He edged toward the corner by the back door and said, “You know how your sisters are always talking about their twelve-step programs?”

    Marie set the iron pan on the stove very gently.

    He didn’t wait for an answer. “And they all have these sayings, all of them, and one of them is, ‘One day at a time? You know which one I’m talking about?”

    She nodded.

    “Well I don’t, but the point is, it gave me an idea on how to get the car up onto the roof.”

    “You did it one day at a time?” There was no humor in her voice, and her sister’s addictions were not a joking matter to her right now.

    “No, no.” He repressed the urge to laugh at the thought of how long it would’ve taken if that were the case, but he recovered quickly and said, “No, I put it up there one part at a time, basically. The engine was the toughest bit of it…” He was warming to the subject, secretly dying to tell someone the details of his achievement. “Fortunately, it’s a Model A, so the engine wasn’t too heavy. Once I got the hoist on the roof and added extra chain it was a piece of cake.”

    His wife said, “You dismantled your car in the garage, piece by piece, and then reassembled it on the roof?”

    He nodded. Pleased with himself. “Exactly. I still have a few parts to install, nothing important, just the steering wheel, tail lights, a few nuts and bolts…”

    “A few loose nuts and bolts,” she said. “You know you’re crazy, right?”

    He agreed, but that was because he was hard-of-hearing and already out the door.

    • Carrie Zylka

      Hi Ken, I didn’t see anything in the spam comment tab – but WordPress recently updated a bunch of plugins and one of them was a “limit multiple logon attempts”. I deactivated that one to see if you and Phil have any more issues.

      For some reason this site gets hit more than any of my other sites for hackers trying to break in and “steal information”.
      Which cracks me up because this is legitimately the only site I run that DOESN’T collect credit card information so there’s genuinely nothing to steal except a bunch of email addresses. Which would be annoying but not life altering.

      But because we’re targeted, to their credit, WordPress is pretty strict on our behalf!

      • Carrie, I don’t know what you know. But I was blocked from posting on my first attempt, but I was posting from a very public site that may have intermittent service. Don’t know. At least it allowed me to post a story in some fashion.
    • Nice job with the prompt and the plot, Ken, I enjoyed the story and how well it was written. A tiny mistake at the end, I think – ‘He nodded, pleased with himself.’ instead of ‘He nodded. Pleased with himself.’ Pleased with himself is not a complete sentence.

      The only other thing I will mention is, I’m not sure how pleased his neighbors are going to be as they walk out of their house and have their hearts sink as they feel the sudden plunge of their property values. Just saying. And, when the city comes out to tell him of the various zone violations, business license needs, and so on, he might have to be dismantling everything and bringing the car back down to earth, along with his business dreams.


      • Thanks for the correction on the grammar, Roy. I won’t try to blame it on my ‘smell check.’ (Which I rarely use.)

        As far as zoning and such, it turns out old Dave has been fixing the cars for the zoning department for years. Besides, I forgot to mention, the car was on the roof of his garage, not his house. When the city commission finally forced him into a public hearing, he put a Santa in the drivers seat and a reindeer out in front and claimed it was a very legal Christmas decoration. Case closed, end of story.

        • Ken, ‘I forgot to mention’ isn’t the best excuse I’ve ever heard regarding story lines. But, ‘case closed, end of story’ clears things up. Yeah, right.


    • Lovely stuff, KenC! Everything’s so smooth – the dialogue, the action, the back-story. The relationship between the couple feels just right – affectionate with a pinch of ‘long-suffering’. I love the detail of the skillet, suggesting a possible attack that never transpires. And of course, the ‘secret’ is smashing – reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s ‘One Piece At a Time’. The idea of putting a car on the roof for publicity purposes … there was a pub near where I lived in England that had a replica of a famous car on the roof to attract customers: google ‘Del-Boy’s yellow Reliant’. It wasn’t a Mustang, that’s for sure, but ti did the job. Loved the story.
    • Nice story, well written.
    • Dave is no doofus. Marie would’ve shown the same effort for strawberry ganache dripping with chocolate icing.
      Well told, Rufus!
    • I liked the story and the dialogue flowed well. I think out of all the stories, you actually gave a rationale explanation of how you would get a car on a roof. Just a few minor things from me though. You allude to his wife’s family and a problem there, but don’t take that anywhere else in the story, so I wonder if you need to mention it at all? Especially in a short story, where words are limited. The ending was a little weak for me- I think it needs to be a little more direction, but that’s just me
    • Ken Miles
      Hi Ken!

      Loved this piece, every piece of it, peppered with humor a piece at a time…

      I had no idea where it was going. And you know what? I like the fun ending!

      I’d stop one paragraph short, though.

      “Missing a few nuts and bolts, you say?”

      Maybe you should stop there, actually. No need to say any more, or bring in the word “crazy”, it’s all in there already. And leave it up to reader whether Dave heard that or not. I think he heard…

      Well done 🙂


  • It’s Raining Mustard (897)

    (Marien Oommen)

    “I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.”
    “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”

    The woman was smirking like a cat that got its plum pudding.
    “I am safe and of a sound mind. Now isn’t that more important to you?”
    She wiped the blood off her face on her white blouse. Her hair was all over her mouth.
    “Or is it?”

    She looked behind. His mom was still safe. All buckled in. But her eyes displayed her fear.

    The red corvette had landed bang on the terraced roof of the neighbour across. Providence, you could say, had saved them. One more push on the gas, and the whole lot- car and humans- would have fallen into the pool further below.

    She was reversing from her narrow driveway up on the hill. The homes were built on different levels.
    Half an hour earlier, from this about-to-be-ravaged home across the road, the mama was singing out loud:

    “Crush the mustard.
    Pulse the mustard.
    Put it in a blender,
    Add some ginger,,
    Makes it so much tastier.
    (I’ll stop right there… I ain’t gonna reveal my granma’s mustard relish)
    You will know next week,
    When I display it at The Whole Foods counter.”

    “Make some of your mustard sauce,” her hubby had said. “That’s one thing you do really well. I am bbqing the sausages.”

    “Ya! Of course, honey. Anything you say. Never mind the sarcasm.”

    So she put all the required stuff into the blender.

    “Remember the last time you used that blender, everything went kaput. Fuse blew out. So be careful.”

    “I will… I am not an ass.”

    With the air of an expert chef, she turned the machine on and then………. KAAABOOOM!

    Her hand had not held down the lid, as it was supposed to be.

    The entire lid had blown off.

    There were tiny mustard seeds all over the kitchen counter, the island, the dining room.. Some had even dared to stray into the living room.

    Tiny black balls everywhere. Thousands of them. Ten thousands of them.

    “It’s an emergency,” piped in the little fireman, all of 3 years. He started rolling on the mustard.

    “Noooooo, don’t do that.”

    Black balls got on the carpet. Some flew out the open patio. It was a windy day.

    “O bother, now dinner will get further delayed.”
    Rambo got the vacuum and pretty soon all the black balls were being sucked in with a fury.

    The kitchen had to be cleaned before dinner. Never mind if the sausages got cold.

    “I think this is a testament of your very being. It’s not the faith of one mustard seed. Yours is of a thousand, mama. It was bound to happen.”

    “Silly blender. Who needs to hold it down? Don’t they make clips?”

    “But it was the wrong lid. How could you forget?”

    Everything was swept clean. The sausages were done. Peppers, baby back ribs all done to the perfect touch.
    Koyma’s mustard sauce was not the best, but it was alright.
    Everyone gathered on the patio for a hearty meal. The crunch of the sausage, dipped into delish mustard, the potato salad.

    Little boy was watching an upturned bug.

    “Emergency! To the rescue.. Call fireman Sam. This bug needs a double harness.”

    They could hear loud voices from across the road high up which was quite unusual for this quiet neighbourhood.

    The only noises that were usually heard were from this very home. The kids in the block played really quiet.

    Next they heard a car door being shut with a bang.

    “Get in, I am taking you to the doctor’s right now. If he says you’re okay, you can go visit your friend. Better have your mask on!”

    The woman’s voice was unnecessarily loud for a woman to be taking someone to a doctor.

    Something was up across the road.

    The mustard dippers could hear the car start.

    “Is someone sick? But why yell?” Elora asked. “That bodes no good. She must be frustrated.”

    “Do you want to go help? Mama asked.

    “No, thank you. Pass me the corn, Moms.”

    Her voice was cut off by a thunderous sound of the back fence being ripped, flattened.

    A car was heading right onto their roof! A little more acceleration would have got it falling headlong right into the pool.

    The homes were all on different levels, being the hill country.

    The woman driver had reversed right onto the roof of the home across the road- which belonged to the mustard sauce fam.

    Her bewildered man came charging out of the home.

    “How did you get the car on their roof? Now we gotta pay for the damage. We barely know them.”

    The mustard family left their half eaten dinner and rushed to the car. The beautiful corvette had its fender damaged.

    The lady driver was remarkably cool. It shocked mama to see someone this calm after causing a James Bondian manoeuvre.

    Was she for real? Mamz felt a surge of admiration for one so daring.
    What had she said about tricks? Tricks???

    “Do you need any help?” Mama asked. But she could do nothing till the cops came.

    Eliora saw her mama go pale.

    “What’s the matter, mama? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

    “Look at the car seat. Her face, her hair! It’s covered with mustard!”

    • Great story, Marien. The accident in the kitchen is really well described (the ‘KABOOM’ after the husband’s warning and the “I’m not an ass” is very funny). And the way you connect it to the car accident … very, very neat. It’s all very quirky and really great fun. Thanks for the giggle!
      • Thank you for your words of encouragement. I wrote it in a hurry.. the mustard did fly. That part was true and timely.

        The extent of ludicrous-ity was quite satisfying.
        Though now I feel it might need more clarity.
        I find no edit option 🙁
        Thanks again 🙂

    • I found this a difficult story to follow. There are too many characters for a short story (in my opinion), which complicates it and takes away from the concept, which I think is good. A few things I think interrupt the flow;

      “I still want to know how you managed to get the car on the roof.”
      “I can’t reveal all my tricks.”
      Who was this dialogue between?

      She wiped the blood off her face on her white blouse. Her hair was all over her mouth.- do you mean – wiped the blood off her face onto her blouse? And ‘Her hair was all over her mouth’- I’m not sure what that means, so have difficulty conjuring up an image. would it be more realistic to say her hair covered her face?

      But her eyes displayed her fear- is a bit tell rather than show- it might read better if you said- her eyes bulged or her eyes popped out of her head.

      Who is rambo?

      This bug needs a double harness- would a 3 year old have such sophisticated language?

      • Hello Kirstenn,
        So sorry for this late reply. I guess it’s confusing like you say.
        But I had fun writing!

        As for a 3 yr old speaking that ‘sophisticated language’… I quoted exactly as I heard my little grandson talking. He watches Fireman Sam and is totally taken up with rescuing!
        Kids are very sharp these days. 🙂


        • Marien,

          I’m here to back you up on three year olds. When our now 16 year old grandson had just turned three, and was still in diapers, my wife made him a big, stuffed, floppy eared bunny for Easter. He brought it with one night a few days later for a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Grandma asked him what he had named his stuffed bunny thinking he would say Mr. Floppy Ears, or Bunny, or something similar, but he looked up and said, “Metamorphasis”.

          “Metamorphasis?” she asked. “Do you even know what that means?”

          And he replied, “It’s when a butterfly larva builds a cocoon and then turns into a butterfly. A larva is like a caterpillar …”

          And that’s when Grandma said, “Thank you, Joshua, that’s really more than I need to know.” Apparently understanding the concept of language came to him before his understanding of the concept of ‘potty training’.

          I’m sure as he walked away, he was thinking, “‘I’m here if you need me.’


    • Hi, Carrie

      The drop-down menu for second place doesn’t appear to be working (for me, anyway)

      Please let me know if it’s just me, and if so, I’ll e-mail my list.


      • Carrie Zylka

        Oops…fixed! Somehow missed a ” at the end of the code!

          • Carrie Zylka

            Although wait to vote.
            Something’s not right

  • Mike Rymarz

    I’m having the same problem with the drop down list for second place. I can email my list over as well if that helps


  • Carrie, don’t wait on me to vote, please. Heading out of town for a few days.


    • Carrie Zylka


  • Carrie Zylka

    Has anyone voted yet?
    I haven’t received any votes yet which seems odd to me.
    But missing that one little ” might have screwed everything up!

    • Carrie Zylka

      Well shit.
      Phil’s votes came through just fine after I fixed the missing quotation marks.
      I’ll extend the voting time period for an extra 24 hours and email everybody, if you’ve already voted, I apologize but if you could free submit your votes that sure would be great!

      Ken emailed me last night but I hadn’t had a chance to look at it.
      …. But I can’t believe there were too many people who voted because I would think at least someone would have let me know that the second place drop down wasn’t working!

  • I was struggling to vote but have done it now. Hope it’s not too late
    • Carrie Zylka

      Nope! I’m extending the voting period in case anyone voted early and couldn’t because the website wasn’t working.

  • Thank you writers for your patience!
    Also – I absolutely loved the take on this prompt, I read through them last night and every one was great.

    Without further ado here are your winners:

    The 1st Place Winner is……..The Jag on the Roof by Ken Miles!!

    2nd Place Winner: Keep It Simple, Stupid by Rufus Car-tisano
    3rd Place Winner: Great Minds by Phil Town
    4th Place Winner: It’s Raining Mustard by Marien Oommen
    5th Place Winner: Training Day by Mike Rymarz
    6th Place Winner: Car on a Hot Tin Roof by kirstennairn
    7th Place Winner: Goddamn Car by Alyssa Daxson
    8th Place Winner: Pam’s Fault by Robt. Emmett

    The story with the favorite character was Liana from “Goddamn Car” by Alyssa Daxson
    And the story with the favorite dialogue was “Great Minds” by Phil Town

    Congrats to all!

    • Congratulations, KenM! Thoroughly deserved.

      And congrats all on some great stories for what was a very tricky prompt.

      • Ken Miles
        Thanks Phil! And well done to you too.

        All were memorable stories, really, so many different and creative takes on this one peculiar prompt…

    • Ken Miles
      Wow! Thanks everyone for voting my story to top place.

      All were great stories. So congrats to all 🙂 Really enjoyable reading.


    • Congrats Ken M and other Ken! Although I now see it’s Rufus Car-tisano? Dear lord man what happened? I go AWOL for a while and y’all change names…. Probably to confuse me… Guess I’ll have to plan my revenge!

      A congrats to everybody, it was hard to choose a story cause all of them were so good!

      • Thanks Alyssa!

        It’s nice to see you back, too.

        Rufus? Yes, he goes through these metamorphoses from time to time… But he always becomes ‘Ken’ again. Eventually.

        Ken (da other one!)

  • Carrie Zylka

    On a more amusing note…..the system flagged my comment as spam hahahahaha


    • Hi All,

      Sorry I wasn’t able to get involved this time round but you did a great job with an unusual prompt.

      Nice to see some new names in the group too.

      Hope to be back in action soon.


      Ken Frape.

      • Hey Mr Frape… we could’ve made that coveted (but never achieved so far, I think – although we were close sometimes) top-three Ken-trio this time round, but you never showed up!

        I feared you adopted the name ‘Aldric’ and took a monastic vow of silence, but okay, here you are…you spoke!

        • Hi Ken,

          Yes, here I am back in the fold. I saw the” car on the roof” prompt and nothing came to me. Then I saw the “Noir” prompt and, again, nothing came as I am not all that familiar with this genre. So, I then remembered one of my train stories that seemed to be exactly right so I have posted it. It might get disqualified as it is not a new one but never mind, it’s there anyway.
          My last story about Silence has been read by a friend who loved it and sent it to a friend who is a Bishop who used to be a monk. Apparently, he loved it too. Perhaps he didn’t know that old joke.

          My creative energies seem to come and go recently. Can’t say it is to do with the times we are living in but it could be that. What with all the political crap that surrounds us as well as Covid and the terrible sadness about the people in India simply dying in the streets for want of oxygen and no vaccinations in sight.

          My wife Janice and I have just had our second Astra Zeneca jab and, whilst there has been all the kerfuffle about blood clots they don’t seem to have affected anyone on the second jab, so fingers crossed. I know lots of people are desperate to get back to normal but we are not in any hurry to be in a crowded space and quite like the separate tables outside in the pub garden or friends’ gardens.

          Keep well and keep on writing.

          Kind regards,

          Ken Frape.

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