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Bi-Weekly Story Prompts

October 26 – November 22, 2023 Writing Prompt “Honoured Guest”

Theme: Honoured Guest

You are on the verge of inaugurating your prize project/store/ business.
It’s making the news.
Who do you call as chief guest to preside over the day? What made you decide on this?

Required Elements:

  • none

Word Count: 1200

November 16th Prompt to be chosen by Robt. Emmett.

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  1. One story per author. You may post more than one, but only the first story will qualify for voting.
  2. Stories must be in English, unpublished and your own work.
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25 thoughts on “October 26 – November 22, 2023 Writing Prompt “Honoured Guest”

  • Carrie Zylka

    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.)

  • I may give this a go. Signing in.
  • Carrie, I may be slow, but I don’t need nearly a year to create a prompt.
    I assume you mean November 15, 2023. If that is the case … here goes.

    But first a message of importance from your friendly neighborhood prompter.
    Back when I lived in reality, I was told my next assignment. Now, here’s yours.
    According to the August 21, 2018, edition of Scientific American.
    “Just 66 percent of millennials firmly believe that the Earth is round.”

    Here’s the story set up:
    Your father is the king of Flat Earth.
    You live on the flat side.
    You are the next in line for the crown.
    Dad insists you prove you are up to the job.
    You are to describe how you provision and lead an expedition to the other side.
    Then you are to report your findings.

  • Adrienne Riggs
    Signing in – perchance to write?
  • And Another Thing
    By Robt. Emmett 2023©

    Of all the doors on Mahogany Row, I was about to knock again on my least favorite, when my first knock was answered with a muffled, “Come.” His back towards me, his feet resting on the top of the credenza, his right hand lazily wound and unwound the cord of the phone cradled on his left shoulder as he glances at the multi-colored maples outside the second-floor window. The other hand pointed to the leather chair beside the clean-topped custom wood desk. Two minutes later, the phone in its cradle, he turned to me. “I expected one of you sooner.”
    I cut to the chase, “Dennis, why did you cut our funding? The successful feasibility test is proof of concept.”
    “That so-called half-assed half-scale test proves nothing.” He steepled his hands. “I know you don’t have an engineering degree, but you can read the title on my door.”
    Under my breath, I said, ‘Yes, sir, mister VP of engineering, you consummate asshole I can!’ As I counted to ten … twice. “Yes, I can …”
    “By the way, Shak is the project leader, correct?” Before I could reply, “He should be the inquirer, don’t you think?”
    The owner of this toy factory informed you via email in late spring that Bill, Shak, and I will be co-managing this project.
    With a dismissive look, “To your question, it’s impossible because …”

    I tuned him out, and my mind flashed back to that late spring afternoon. Bill had stopped by my desk with some cost estimates to review when Shak ambled into my office carrying a folder. We chatted for the better part of half an hour.
    Bill stood. “Time for me to get home,” and left.
    “Me too.”
    “A moment,” Shak said. “I need to run something by you.” He pulled a scaled sketch from his folder. “It’s a spindle unit to machine aluminum. I need someone to design it.”
    “Look around, Shak. There’s plenty to choose from. Pick one.”
    “I’ve asked Daryl. He said he wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.”
    “Daryl, really?” Now, I was suspicious. Creative concepts were Shak’s forte. The entire department respected his two master’s degrees. “You want to tell me why?”
    “It has some unique requirements.”
    “Such as?”
    “It needs a forty thousand RPM 40-horsepower motor to run it.”
    “I assume there is such a thing as a forty thousand RPM 40-horsepower motor.”
    Shak shrugged. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” He took a sheaf of papers from the folder. “Here are the calculations.”
    “And you want me to give it a shot?” He nodded. I shrugged, “Sure, why not?”
    “Ah … and another thing.”
    Oh, crap, the dreaded ‘and another thing!’ “Which is?”
    “The bearings use water for …”
    “WHAT?” Using fluids for bearings has interested me for a couple of years. But I’d never contemplated using water as a medium because of its low viscosity. Now I had to.

    A week after Dennis canceled our funding, the owner returned and inquired of Shak about how the spindle project was progressing. Our budget was restored. Two weeks later, he left to visit his subsidiary companies in Europe. The afternoon he flew out, Dennis told Shak he had canceled the funds and to stop work.

    When the owner returned, he talked to Shak. After which, according to sources who shall remain nameless, he had a two-minute talk at Dennis. The funding was never again in jeopardy.

    The spindle design was complete except for the center shaft, which had unique requirements; namely, the steel had to be hard, tough, and waterproof. Before my July vacation, I called a friend who is a metallurgist at a small steel plant down south somewhere. He told me he couldn’t help but to have a fantastic vacation and be sure to call him when I returned.
    After my vacation, Shak and I reviewed his concepts for the forty-forty motor. They seemed doable; however, I wanted two things added. Thermocouples on each of the motor’s ball bearings to monitor their temperature. The second concerned the lubricating oil. It needed to be filtered to remove everything. I suggested a filter made of transparent plastic tubing, which functioned like the steel pipe filter on my furnace gas line at home. The oil then went through a vapor mister, as a single drop of oil would cause a bearing turning forty thousand RPM to explode.
    In August, I remembered to call my metallurgist friend. When I’d called before, he couldn’t tell me about a newly developed proprietary steel. A replacement for one in Navel Stores, but now was saleable.
    “Navel Stores,” he told me, is a phrase to denote items reserved for any branch of the military. This steel was used for the tail hooks on aircraft. I choked when he told me the price.
    The spindle and motor design finished; we focused on developing a three-axis machine to mount them on. A machine that moves faster than the human eye could follow.

    Kathy, the secretary to the Engineering VP, entered my office and plopped herself into the other chair, the one without the foot-high stack of drawings I promised would be shipped by the end of the week … last week. Pointing at the pile, “Want me to take these to shipping when I leave?”
    “Sure. Thanks.”
    Our friendship was longstanding. Her husband showed me around and introduced me when I’d started at what he euphemistically called Fast Eddy’s Toy Factory. The phrase stuck in my head. “You didn’t just come by to take these drawings to shipping, so, spill it.”
    “I’ve already told Shak and Bill that the three of you won’t be running the acceptance demonstration for the customer. Someone in management suggested it would look better if an important person from Mahogany Row managed that task. Want to ask me who?”
    “How many guesses do I get?”
    Standing and retrieving the stack of drawings, she paused in the doorway. “Oh, and another thing. In all the years I’ve known you, that’s only the second time I’ve seen you in a coat and tie. Nice.”
    “Thanks for noticing.” After she left, I removed both.

    I couldn’t see my car through the end-of-summer thunderstorm, even though it was in the second row. Then the lightning, instantly followed by an ear-splitting crack, lit the dark late afternoon into day. I’d been waiting under the Porche de calèche of the engineering building for about five minutes when Kathy stepped out with an umbrella. “Ah, at last, my savior.”
    “You hear about the demo?” She tucked her bangs under her headscarf.
    “Yeah, it went flawlessly.”
    “Better than flawless, their VP said, and I quote, ‘This is the first time your company has delivered more than it promised.’” She opened the umbrella and handed it to me.
    “You heard this with your own ears?”
    “Yeah. Let’s go.” We stepped into the Midwest version of a monsoon.
    Pausing at my car, I unhanded her umbrella. She looked up at me. “Oh, and another thing, he told their VP that the entire machine concept had been his.”
    — Ԙ —

    • Great Story Rob,

      Although I had to guess who delivered the pitch to the bigwigs. I’m assuming my guess to be Dennis is correct. Anyway. I really, enjoyed the story and the writing. You’re doing great brother. Just great.


      • Yes, it was he, for which he received a promotion and became the manager of one of the companies sub assembly divisions and in less two years, because of his wonderful personally and his winning ways with people, it became inadvisable for him to work after dark and attempt to cross the unlit parking lot.
  • Phil Town
    Hi, All

    Just to let you know that I won’t be participating for a few weeks – tied up with NaNoWriMo and other writing projects.

    Hope to be back in December.

    Happy Writing!

    • Hey Phil,
      Good luck with the November challenge. I have done it twice in the past, no great success but may be due to lack of inspiration or enthusiasm. I am doing the FlashNano daily prompts for the month. I am managing about 250 words each day, nothing to write home about though. LOL.
      See you back in December.
      Cheers, John.
      • ilyaleed
        Good luck with it Phil. Might give some of us others a chance to win?? 😛 LOL
  • For whatever reason, I didn’t look at the dates on the Storyline and thought we would have a three-week limit instead of the usual fortnight, so I am woefully unprepared and out of time. I’m going to try to get a story done, but I’d like to know if we can have another week. Pretty Please of Wonderful Moderator?


    • marien oommen
      Good idea! Pretty please do that.
      • ilyaleed
        What happened to Mr Ken Cartisano? Did he really spit the dummy big time after all those years of participating and go off into the distant sunset….?
        I do miss some of his stories but not so much his big ego, but some people have them and it points to insecurity big time.
  • Carrie Zylka

    Ask and ye shall receive!

    …which is a good thing since I have a story 1/2 started, so maybe I’ll be able to get it in!

    • Thank you O Great Moderator! Much appreciated. And, Happy thanksgiving.


  • marien oommen
    Let Your Light Shine

    By Marien Oommen (1199 words)

    Vanita carried her water pot to the village center. At least here there was a free flow of water. The home taps were rendered dysfunctional due to some road repair.
    She didn’t consider it humiliating to carry the water pot. Contentment, Socrates said, is natural wealth, whereas luxury is artificial poverty.
    When you need something you just go get it putting pride aside as her mother taught her. The family needed water.
    What does pride get you anyway?
    Her shadow falling on the road ahead looked like a Ravi Varma painting.

    There was commotion at the water hole. Women had gathered in their nighties, with morning sloppiness, unkempt hair. There was Jennifer in high heels. What do you know? All kinds for the beholder. Show stoppers are a necessity. She had just got a job in the big city and was soon going away.
    Higher the heel, greater is the acceptance rate in big cities.

    Of course other women looked her up and down and whispered stuff about her. Much taunted as the biblical woman at the well.

    The women were now talking about the lack of good shopping. Stuck in their old-fashioned attires, they gazed at women on magazine covers from another planet. When would their village ever have such retail stores?
    All they shopped for was basmati rice, lentils, semolina and oil.

    Could they ever aspire to think beyond that?

    Vanita was different. Her good husband, Yako, was employed in the Gulf, along with his older brother, and was sending home a neat sum every month for the upkeep of his parents and kids.

    Just yesterday the brothers called to say they were launching a new shop selling electrical stuff on 12th Main Street. They had already hired a place and things were moving really fast.

    She felt happy just thinking about it. But electrical? Now who’d want that? Why not a shop with mannequins in gorgeous lingerie? The possibilities were endless.
    And what if?
    What if Yako made her the shop manager? Her life would change for sure.
    She imagined getting dressed and going out to work, sitting at her shop and chatting with the people passing through.
    How much she yearned for that life, only she knew. After all she was educated with a degree in home science, which she laid aside to look after the affairs of the home she married into.
    Doing the woman’s thing. The daily grind.

    November 5th- was the day set for the great inauguration. Everything had been organized from afar.
    All Vanita had to do was to spruce up the shop with flowers, bells and a colorful WELCOME doormat at the entrance. The food had been catered for.
    She prayed for a good day without rain.

    The phone rings. It’s Yako.

    “O there’s a problem. Our chief speaker says he can’t come. Anyway I’m glad he aint. Bit of a bore. But he wields much power in these areas. Hence I called him. I’m glad he’s refused.” Yako chuckled.

    “So who are you inviting now? How will it interest folks if Naroo isn’t coming? This shop is the first of its kind,” said Vanita.

    Everyone had been waiting with bated breath to see the opening. It was quite the revolutionary idea to bring chandeliers to a little unknown town.

    “Now all the homes, gardens too, will sparkle with fancy chandeliers and it will all be from our little shoppe! I’m going to pray real hard.”

    “Ooh! Like prayer is going to bring the president himself!”

    She warned her inner self not to be threatened by his words.
    Go on! Use your faith. Her thoughts were playing havoc.
    I will overcome whatever I’m facing, she told herself.

    “Okay pray as much as you want. The chief guest has to be decided in three days. All yours…pray, don’t bray.”
    Yakko enjoyed teasing her. He took prayer lightly.

    Next morning Vanita had a hair appointment and was off to the salon. She passed her kids’ school as she always did.
    There was ol’ Chandran standing at the gate as usual next to his blue cycle, decorated with the flag colors. He was much older now- gray haired, with a white beard covering half his face.
    There was a little basket perched in front with ginger sweets…the kind one longed for on a hot day, a cold day, a rainy day… whenever.

    “Injee mutayee, ginger sweets for you. Come, buy some and say goodbye to coughs forever.”

    The same basket, the same sweets, from her distant school days, binding memories forever. There he stood, breaking the shackles of time, citizens of different epochs.

    ‘Hey, how about inviting Chandran, the ginger sweet seller?’

    Vanita got excited with her utterly ingenious idea that she couldn’t sit still while her long black hair was being washed. Shampoo got in her eyes, went streaming down her neck.

    “Yes, that’s it. Reach out to the humble and the lowly. Don’t run after the rich and famous. The town needs a dose of revolutionary thinking.”

    Vanita was bursting with news for her husband. She waited for his call and blurted out her idea.

    “No way, what are you thinking? How can we call any man from the street to inaugurate our showroom? Are you crazy?”

    “But this isn’t any man. He is part and parcel of the town. Been around since 1970 -he knows everybody in town. Sold his sweets to many of us growing up here. What a thrill for him in his 87th year. Let’s do it, honey.”

    “Okay, all yours,” said her man from the other end. “But you do it. Go ahead and tell him all about the event, and don’t mess up.”

    Why do men give so many orders? Why?
    She never messed up anything as far as she remembered.

    The next morning, she met Chandran at the usual spot. He offered the ginger sweets and she took one.

    “I have a request, Sir. Can you make yourself free on the 5th of November to attend a small inauguration?”

    “ Me, you’re talking to me?” Chandran replied, looking behind him.
    “Of course, I will be glad to come. What should I do?”

    As Vanita explained his mission to him, his eyes got wider and then broke into a wide grin.

    The morning of November 5 dawned, bright and pretty. The skies were the perfect hue, and people thronged on the road. Chandran came in wearing a spotless white Jubba and mundu, looking absolutely regal.

    They went to greet him with a garland of marigolds and he took the mike in his hand to speak.

    “Come everybody, buy my ginger sweets. You will never suffer from indigestion. Believe me.”

    Yako glared at Vanita. Did he not know why he was here?

    The village folk came towards him, stretching out their hands for sweets.

    Chandran continued, “Let the Light shine in your lives as it does in mine. Always follow the True Light of the World. And while on this earth, let the light sparkle in your homes… from the ceiling.”

    This event hit the headlines and the video got a million likes.
    It went ‘viral’ is what they said.

  • ilyaleed
    Yes I will try inbetween marking exams and doing reports. I have a particularly dark story in mind. Sorry but it came to me that sometimes honoured guests are not happy to be honoured guests because of what the honour entails.
    • Carrie Zylka

      I think that’s what I’m struggling with, I sort of started two different lines, one where the honored guest was really the butt of the joke and then a more positive one where the honored guest is being honored for saving sex trafficked children. But there’s really no hook in that one.
      I might need some chatgpt helpw ith this one….even though that would negate inclusion in the voting.


  • Carrie Zylka

    Ellie by Carrie Zylka
    1162 words.

    {Written by Carrie, edited for readability and some detail suggestions by Chatgpt}

    Detective Eleanor “Ellie” Carter stood at the entrance of the grand ballroom, her heart pounding with a mix of anticipation and nervousness. The elaborate chandeliers cast a warm glow on the lavish surroundings as she adjusted the blue dress that clung to her body. Tonight, she was the honored guest at the annual New York City Saving Innocence Gala, an event that recognized those who had dedicated their lives to making a difference. Ellie had spent years undercover, infiltrating sex trafficking rings to rescue countless children from the clutches of scumbags that preyed on the helpless.

    Applause erupted as she stepped into the room, her eyes scanning a sea of evening gowns and tailored suits. A stage adorned with flowers and shimmering lights awaited her. As she approached, her city’s mayor, a distinguished woman in her sixties, extended a hand to guide her. The crowd’s cheers swelled as she walked up the stairs to the stage. Her heart thundered in her chest and her throat suddenly went dry.

    A hush fell as Mayor Eggert stepped to the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we gather to honor a true hero among us. Detective Eleanor Carter has dedicated the last twenty years of her life to a cause that goes beyond the call of duty. Her unwavering pursuit of justice has resulted in rescuing countless innocent lives from the world of sex trafficking.”

    A deep hush fell over the room as the mayor continued to recount Ellie’s achievements. A collage of images flashed on the screen behind her; newspaper clippings, press releases, and pictures of the rescued children. Ellie felt a swell of pride wash over her. This evening wasn’t just about her; it was about the lives she had saved, the little girls and boys, the women and teenagers she’d risked everything for.

    Mayor Eggert turned and presented her with a gorgeous plaque adorned with the words “Pearl Award – Honoring Those Who Fight for the Innocent”. The weight of the honor settled on Ellie’s shoulders as she accepted the award with tears threatening to spill down her cheeks.

    She felt the eyes of the room on her, but her gaze was drawn to a man standing at the back, his piercing gaze fixed on her. She thanked the mayor and turned to the microphone.

    “Thank you. That’s really all I can say. I never started undercover work with the aim to be honored, I never thought that if I saved a specific amount of children or women, I’d get an award and be standing here today. I did it because it was the right thing to do. God set me on this path, and I simply took the step forward. I thank you for your appreciation and I encourage you all to donate to the Sex Traffic fund the New York City set up to assist in this endeavor.”

    Short and sweet her speech was done. And the crowd erupted in a standing ovation.

    As the applause continued, Ellie made her way awkwardly down the stage and into the crowd, the weight of the award a strange presence in her grip as people stopped to shake hands or tell her how grateful they were for her department. The man who had been watching her approached, his sharp features softened by a warm smile.

    “Detective Carter, a true pleasure to meet you,” he said, extending a hand.

    Ellie shook his hand, her eyes narrowing slightly as she tried to place him, he looked vaguely familiar. “And you are?”

    “Call me Dayton,” he replied, his eyes betraying a glint of mystery. “I’ve been following your work for quite some time. Your dedication is truly inspiring.”

    A hint of skepticism crept into Ellie’s voice. “Following my work? In what capacity?” It wouldn’t be very undercover if everyone could follow along.

    Dayton chuckled, a low and melodic sound. “I assure you, Detective, I’m merely an admirer. I work in philanthropy, and your cause is one that’s close to my heart.”

    They continued their conversation, discussing the challenges of fighting against the dark underbelly of society. As the night progressed, the gala turned into a blur of laughter, clinking glasses, and flashing cameras. Ellie found herself drawn to Dayton, his words a balm to the emotional toll the night had taken on her.

    As the evening wore on, the cocktails flowed, and the room buzzed with energy. Ellie felt a warmth spreading through her veins as she continued to engage in conversation with Dayton. Champagne after champagne and her head began to feel fuzzy, her arms heavy.

    Ellie glanced at her watch and realized that the night had slipped away faster than she had anticipated. She excused herself from Dayton thanking him for the drinks and the conversation, promising to return after a moment. As she navigated through the crowd, she couldn’t shake the feeling that Dayton’s eyes were still on her.

    She decided it wouldn’t be too much of a faux pas to escape the room, afraid that in her drunken state Dayton would invite himself over, and that she’d accept.

    She slipped out to the hallway and called for a car. Ellie didn’t wait long for the car service to pull up. The doorman at the entrance to the hall rushed to open the car door for her, and she got into the back seat.

    The car drove forward, and she rested her eyes, leaning her head back.

    But her head jerked forward as the car cam to a sudden stop moments later. She looked at the driver as he turned around with a pistol in his hand.

    It was Dayton.

    “What?” She asked confused, her head still fuzzy.

    “You, I wasn’t kidding when I said I knew your work’s story, oh my little bitch have cost me a lot of money over the years. And now I’m going to go ahead and get some compensation.”

    The realization of who he was, hit her like a brick. For years and years, she’d worked to liberate children, always trying to get to the head of the spider. Her brain, as foggy as it was, dot walked backwards to dozens of evidence boards with strings and photos connecting each one. She vaguely remembered a board many years ago, with a random photo everyone was trying to connect but couldn’t quite figure out.

    That photo was Dayton…

    He threw a half full bottle of water at her. “Drink.”

    She shook her head.

    “Drink or I’ll shoot you in the head.” He waived the pistol at her. “You my dear are going to be the star of the show, and I’m going to make up all the money I’ve lost because of you. Now DRINK.”

    Ellie raised the bottle to her mouth, she could taste some sort of chemical in it as she swallowed.

    As darkness overtook her, the irony of saving all those souls only to have hers sold into the same dark market was not lost on her…

    • A wonderful story about a semi-geriatric lady of evening.
      Chatgpt. Ya gotta love AI! Does the mention of AI becoming self-aware bring forth, or fifth and possibility even sixth vision of a world as in “the Terminator?”

      Critique of Ellie by Robt. Emmett
      her form. (Body reads better)
      behind her – newspaper clippings **
      the women and teenagers (Oxford comma needed) …
      Award – Honoring **
      * * Three problems.
      1. Incorrect use of an en-dash. Em-dash required.
      2. An em dash is usually written without spaces on either side.
      3. And in pairs, except when used to mark a sentence break in place of a semicolon or colon.
      specific amount (number?) incorrect word.
      Sex Traffic fund the (that?) New York City Police Department (or did you forget)
      as the car cam (came?) to a sudden stop
      her mouth, she (comma not needed)
      to connect (connect to) but couldn’t quite …
      her mouth, she (comma not needed)

      last and least, delete what I said about my next story suggestion.
      Hears the next stories two three requirements:
      1. A first-person adventure.
      2. Surprise ending.
      3. The usual 1200-word limit.

      • Carrie Zylka

        Thanks Robt. appreciate the critique and great suggestions.

        I’ll update the prompt for tomorrow!

      • Carrie Zylka

        Chatgpt didn’t help me a lot. Most of the “sentence rewording it used made the story sound stilted. But the gala description and award details came from it. Probably a little better than what I’d come up with.
        I’m not sure if I love using chatgpt to help with these prompts.
        It just sounds like AI and not a person writing it.

    • Carrie Zylka

      So it’s super annoying that somehow my comment that I posted YESTERDAY got stuck in spam 😡

      I’ll tally Votes tomorrow!
      Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

  • Without further ado here are your winners!
    Not a lot of stories but definitely a lot of voting, we had 9 folks vote.
    Hope to have more participation in the next prompt.

    1st Place: Let Your Light Shine by Marien Oommen
    2nd Place: Ellie by Carrie Zylka
    3rd Place: And Another Thing by Robt Emmett

    Story with the favorite dialogue was “And Another Thing” by Robt Emmett
    And apparently everyone loved Ellie from “Ellie” by Carrie Zylka

    Congrats to all!!

    Marien – just a note from myself, I thought your story was exceptional. A very positive spin, and I loved the ginger sweets tie in.

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