Bi-Weekly Story Prompts

August 31 – September 13, 2023 Writing Prompt “New Job”

Theme: New Job.

The story should start with the following sentences:

“Hello,” [I/he/she/name] extended [my/his/her] hand with a smile. No need to be nervous.

[My/his/her] new boss looked [me/him/her] over critically.

“Welcome aboard, I guess.”

The story can be in the 1st or 3rd person, and should feature the protagonist starting a new job.

Required Elements:

  • none

Word Count: 1200

Next Prompt to be chosen by Phil Town.

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  1. One story per author. You may post more than one, but only the first story will qualify for voting.
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21 thoughts on “August 31 – September 13, 2023 Writing Prompt “New Job”

    • ilyaleed
      Signing in for the next round. 🙂
    • “Hello,” I extended my hand with a smile.

      Why would anyone extend a hand with a smile (in it)?

  • Adrienne Riggs
    Signing in
  • Ken Frape
    Hi All,

    It’s me, Ken Frape and I know I have been absent for quite some time. Other projects and all that, you know how it is. What’s more, the break has meant that I got out of the habit of writing every other week.
    I haven’t forgotten that I promised to send some of the script of the sit com I helped to write.

    This story is ready to go but there is a big BUT, dear Carrie! I don’t want to put in the initial words required as it will ruin the thread of the story as you will see if you read it. This might mean that you will quite rightly disqualify it but at least it is out there in the world and you can still read it and it might get me back into the swing of writing. Mind you, I am going to Canada next week until 3rd. October so I might be a bit distracted.

    Anyway, here’s my story. Oh, by the way, it’s true.

    First Day Doubts

    {story replaced with comment below}

    • Carrie Zylka

      Hi Ken! Great story and glad to see you back – but yes… will not qualify for this prompt.

      • Ken Frape
        Hi Carrie,

        i have made a few amendments to my story and it is posted here. i think it meets the prompt so, if you agree, please delete the first one.

        Ken F

        First Day Doubts

        “Hello.” I extended my hand with a smile. “No need to be nervous,” I said, as her new boss and looked her over critically.

        “Welcome aboard, I guess,” she replied returning my critical gaze. Then, both satisfied, we knew we would become firm friends.

        Things weren’t quite so calm the previous night.

        The gentle buzz of my alarm didn’t wake me. It didn’t need to. I hadn’t slept a wink. I hit the button before the second buzz as my wife slept on, snoring gently. I slipped thankfully out of bed, glad that at least the night was over. Now I only had the day to deal with. The duvet cover, rumpled and uneven like the incoming waves on a beach, showed evidence of a tussle that must have gone on all night. My pillow looked like a giant marshmallow used as a punchbag.

        The bathroom mirror portrayed a hairstyle from Back to the Future, worry lines that I am sure had deepened overnight and jet lag eyes. The rest of my body felt even less ready for the day. Slumped shoulders, dry lips and churning stomach.

        Not a great start to a very important day. Why couldn’t I have let things stay just as they were? Now, we had been forced to move house, find new schools for the children and hope that they settled in and made new friends. A lot was riding on this new venture. There was nothing wrong with the way my life had been going, surely? So why did this have to happen? But of course, I knew the answers to all these questions and the sad truth was, it was all my own fault. Ambition.

        Fighting against minor waves of nausea, I dressed for the day. Everything was laid out ready, as usual, just how I liked it. Crisp white shirt, new patterned tie but nothing too eye-catching, not on my first day, crisply ironed trousers and perfectly burnished shoes over plain black socks. I knew I looked smart but I felt like shit.

        On any other, normal day, my breakfast cereal of choice would be followed by a mug of steaming hot, freshly brewed coffee. Then I would be able to face the day with energy, enthusiasm and confidence. But not today. On the very day I wanted to be, needed to be at my very best, I was feeling fraught, nervous and worse still, full of self-doubt.

        I had made it clear to my family that I wanted to be left alone on this particular morning. Please wait until I am out of the house before the usual mayhem of a typical morning begins. No hugs, no kisses, no long “good lucks” and all that sentimental stuff that I would normally lap up. No text messages either. Just please lay low until I am out of the house. We can catch up later. When or If I return in one piece.

        I slipped on my jacket and coat. My bag was ready. I checked the contents and everything was in place. My lunch, prepared routinely the night before contained all of my favourite things, cheese in my sandwiches, a bag of crisps, a small nut bar and a ripe pear. Even looking at it made my stomach heave but I quickly slid it into my bag, out of sight. I might feel hungry later.

        The journey was only quite short. I had done several trial runs just to be sure that I would not be late. A ten minute bus journey, so I allowed half an hour for traffic. I could have walked but I didn’t want to arrive all hot and sweaty. The bike was out too for the same reason but in the future, maybe. Set an example.
        I moved my rucksack onto my knees as a rather large, round gentleman wearing a tartan flat cap sat next to me, effectively squashing me against the window. He smiled apologetically, no doubt familiar with the situation as he commandeered three quarters of the available seat cushion.

        “Sorry,” he said as he adjusted his trousers and made himself comfortable, smiling as he did so. I returned his smile. It seemed only polite to do so.

        I looked out of the window, trying to remember the various landmarks that I needed to spot in order not to miss my stop. Petrol station, small parade of shops. Check. Children’s playground, leisure centre, care home then a corner Co-op Express. Check. Next would be my stop. I coughed politely and attempted to rise from my seat but was too tightly wedged in by Big Mac, in his tartan cap. I expected him to look up, say something like, “Oh, sorry,” and then get up but he didn’t. He was asleep, his chins resting on his chest, rising and falling as I watched. The bell was rung by another passenger and the bus slowed and pulled up to the kerb. Panicking ever so slightly, I elbowed my neighbour more forcefully than perhaps was entirely necessary but it did the trick.

        He looked up, said, “Oh, sorry,” and heaved himself to his feet. “Thanks for that,” he said. “This is my stop too.”

        I followed him off the bus as we both walked in the same direction for about fifty metres before he veered off into a small newsagent’s shop. He gave me a cheery wave as he reached the door.

        “Have a nice day,” he said as he disappeared inside.

        “Thanks. You too,” I replied. He seemed like a nice chap.

        Turning the next corner into Sycamore Grove, a cul-de-sac , I remembered from my previous visits, my target xame into view at the end of the road and backing onto a very substantial playing field and a park with swings. One car was already in the car park as I looked at my watch. 7.45a.m. Dead on time I thought as I adjusted my tie and headed for the front door where I had been advised to go on my first day.

        I pressed the doorbell and as I looked through the glass I found myself looking into the face of a cheery faced lady in her 60s wearing a blue overall. She leaned her broom against the wall. She held up her hand and scuttled off to the back office, returning with a huge bunch of keys. She slipped her glasses up to the bridge of her nose then scrutinised the bunch until she found the one she wanted, holding it aloft as if in triumph. A name tag on her chest told the world that her name was Winnie.

        She opened the door and ushered me in, a waft of cleaning fluid hitting me like a soft blanket. She seemed a bit hesitant. Tell me about it, I thought.

        “Hello,” I said extending my hand with a smile.

        “ No need to be nervous,” I added.

        “I know who thee be, don’t I?”

        “Do you? “ I replied mystified.

        She pointed to the wall and there, sure enough, was my picture amongst a whole raft of others. But mine was at the top and underneath were the words I had worked so long and hard to achieve.

        “Welcome, Headmaster,” she said. “Cup of tea, duck?”

        I nodded. Suddenly I was thirsty and starving hungry.

        Ken Frape September 2023 Based upon real events

        • marien oommen
          Good one, Ken. The nervous build up before taking up a new old job is well told.
          One would think Head Masters had it altogether.
          You would know as you say it’s a true story.
  • Ken Frape
    Hi Carrie,
    Fair enough.
    I am away now for about a month so hope to get back involved in October.
  • I can’t believe I didn’t sign up yet. But, here we are.
  • Whisper by Carrie Zylka 1005 words

    “Hello,” She extended her hand with a smile. No need to be nervous.

    Cora’s new boss looked her over critically.

    “Welcome aboard, I guess.”

    She was used to this, a woman doing a man’s job. She simply smiled and took the assignment out of his hand.


    “72 hours.” He grunted and went back to his paperwork.


    Two days later, the scorching sun dipped behind the desert horizon as Cora’s old pickup truck rattled along the dusty road in New Mexico. Her target, a man accused of unspeakable crimes, was out there somewhere, and she was determined to bring him to justice. The haunting tales of little children being buried in his backyard garden fueled her relentless pursuit and had been the deciding factor in her career change.

    Cora’s rugged exterior mirrored the harshness of her new job as a bounty hunter. Her steely eyes and fierce determination had earned her a fearsome reputation in the prison she’d worked in prior.

    As she approached the rundown dive bar, she parked her truck discreetly and stepped out, scanning the surroundings. With her trusty revolver strapped to her hip, she entered the dimly lit establishment, the creaking door awkwardly announcing her arrival.

    The bar was filled with a mix of local bar flies, a few wandering souls, and the low hum of chatter. Cora made her way to a corner where a contact, known only as “Whisper,” was supposed to meet her.

    She grabbed an empty bar table and leaned back.

    “Whisper,” she called out softly, her eyes darting around, trying not to draw unnecessary attention.

    A shadowy figure emerged from the smoky haze, sliding onto the vinyl seat opposite Cora. “You the one looking for information on the kid killer?” the stranger asked, his voice as low and raspy as a rattlesnake’s hiss.

    “That’s right. I need to know where he is,” Cora replied tersely, her hand lingering near her gun.

    Whisper’s lips curled into a sinister smile. “I can tell you, for a price,” he said, leaning in closer. “I’ll even give you a discount, him being a kid killer and all. I do lots of bad shit, but at least I don’t kill no little kids.”

    Cora reached into her pocket, taking out a roll of cash, and placed it on the table. “Talk.”

    “He’s holed up in an old farmhouse, a few miles east of here.” He pulled out a dirty bar napkin he’d written the address on. “But be careful, he’s got his men guarding the place,” Whisper warned, pocketing the money.

    As Cora was about to thank her contact, a commotion erupted in the bar. The patrons hushed, and she felt eyes on her. She turned to see a group of men glaring at her.

    Whisper’s face was pale as he slid out of the seat. “Sorry lady, dunno how they knew, but thems his guys.” He muttered and hurried towards the back.

    She only had time to mutter a single word: “shit”.

    As the men began to make their move, Cora sprang into action. She knocked over the table, using it as a makeshift shield as bullets flew around her. The sound of shattering glass and angry shouts filled the air as she fought her way towards the back exit, using the cumbersome table as a makeshift shield. In the silence, she heard the lock click as that slowly swinging door closed behind her informant.

    With her back pressed against the wall, Cora glanced around the chaos for an escape route. Somehow the rest of the bar had decided that fighting was the best option for entertainment and happily joined in the fray.

    Unfortunately, her only way out was going to be through the crowd of angry assailants. She took a deep breath and charged, throwing punches and dodging blows as she made her way through the storm of fists.

    Finally, she stumbled out into the parking lot, battered but alive.

    Her victory was short-lived as she came face to face with her target, the man she had been hunting – a monster responsible for the deaths of innocent children. A new inmate – a mother’s sad story had prompted her to investigate the crimes. The mother had turned to drugs in the wake of her child’s brutal death. The more she learned, the more Cora despised this man and wanted to help in the fight to bring him to justice.

    It was the defining moment in her career change.

    And now he stood before her. An ugly man with cold, dead eyes. He snarled at her.

    “I know who you are, you grease enough palms and people give you a heads-up whenever they can. You could run now, but you can’t run forever, bitch,” the killer taunted, brandishing a wicked-looking knife.
    Cora steadied herself, her eyes locked onto the killer’s. “Bring it you sorry sack of shit.”

    The showdown was fierce and brutal. The moon bore witness to their dance of death as they traded blows. Despite her skill and determination, he was a formidable adversary. She could not have known he was an ex Green Beret, she had some hand-to-hand training being a prison guard, but this fight…this was something else. He was precision where she lacked finesse.

    She was used to fighting women, and why she thought taking on a killer like this for her first job would be smart, she’d never know.

    She saw it coming, tried to duck but wasn’t fast enough as his fist hit her head, a powerful strike that left Cora unconscious.


    Cora’s senses slowly returned, the smell of oil and dampness filled her senses and she found herself lying in the darkness of the car trunk, her head pounding with pain. The blow had disoriented her, and she struggled to piece together what had just happened. The sound of the car engine idling outside seemed distant and detached from her reality.

    She closed her eyes and waited for an opportunity to get herself out of this mess.

    • marien oommen
      Your descriptions are perfect, Carrie. So well delineated. It definitely needs a sequel
  • marien oommen
    Changing Seasons

    By Marien Oommen (1193 words)

    “Hello,” Sr. Audrey extended her hand with a smile. “No need to be nervous.”

    My new boss looked me over critically.
    “Welcome aboard, I guess.”

    But this woman wasn’t smiling. She looked rather grim, this Lady Boss. Hardly a welcome, Ms Cruella, contemplating what to call her.
    I was thinking it’s my dress. Too flashy for her? Maybe I shoulda worn gray. She looked as staid as a porcupine in her dull gray jacket. Yellow teeth flashing a pretend smile.

    Sr. Audrey, sitting by her side at the conference table, looked as mischievously angelic as she did half a century ago.
    Encouraging me sweetly, in her delicatest of voice, said frailly, “I was reading that you did your schooling in our convent in the early 70’s. You were an achiever of sorts, you say. But…I’m sorry I don’t remember you.”

    I looked at her wizened face and felt a pang of sorrow right in my heart. She was touching the late 80’s and what was she doing here being boss material over this convent? Was she not ready to relinquish her tasks to young blood?

    The job I had chosen was to assist the old folks, some among them nuns and padres in their daily routine. Wheel them to the dining room, wash them, get them ready for bed. Something in my heart told me I needed to go help these folks now away from their homes. The kids they had nurtured with love, patience and care, were gone, busy with their lives and at work, or minding their own kids’ issues. Whereas the nuns and padres had chosen to serve all their solitary lives, rather than being served.

    I never wished to be a nun, believe you me. I believed they were bald, short tempered, and some of them pretended to be saints dropped from heaven. Their thinking was skewed. Those were my thoughts growing up.

    But Sr. Audrey was different.

    I remember getting into trouble with her when she caught me winking at my buddy, Kumzee sitting at the adjacent desk, who returned the smirk just as quick.

    Sr. Audrey was excitedly announcing a class project to be finished in a week, which had to be decorated with “federzzz”. Her excited tongue had got in the way of her perfect white teeth.
    These then were their simple pleasures… doing a class project with their students for a school exhibition. Not a girl trip, dressed in pink to watch Barbie.
    Or dancing their blues off in a bar. Could they even dream of such escapades?

    The next day we had to confess why we laughed. And repent of our misdoings. Or else we would be denied entry to the class for the following week. I was quick to apologize.

    “Sister, you said featherrrzzzz and it sounded funny. That’s why we laughed.”
    She looked a wee bit annoyed but had the quick humor to let us go.
    What do these 13 yr olds know anyway? She ruminated.

    Mid this ancient reverie, the Lady Boss’ voice cut in, sharp as a sword.

    “Don’t ever assume it’s going to be easy here. Are you ready to listen to the stories our residents will tell you over and over again?
    Will you have the patience to sit through their reminiscences, dress them up over and over again considering they might wet their clothes randomly?
    Are you game to make them wear their shoes, search for their things they’ve inadvertently misplaced? ARE YOU?”

    “Yes, that’s why I’m here,” I replied resolutely.

    “Will you be able to give them their baths? Walk with them? Sing for them? Play quizzes with them? The list is endless. Oftentimes you might be spat upon, covered in drool. Are you game?
    Will you give your heart to this? Will you? It may seem like a thankless job.”

    It was like.. Tick the boxes.

    “Yes, Yes and Yes.” I answered with confidence.

    “If you are able to do all this and still smile, the job is yours. But now you gotta tell me WHY you’ve chosen this line of service and not a fancy banker’s job? You’re qualified to do that.”

    “O! That’s easy. I hate numbers. And I’m a people person.Always been. Besides, I’ve wanted to live in Montserrat ever since I was 20. Yes, I’d like to take a break from big city life and live among those who need me. Not with those who use me. I believe it will fulfill me in ways that I’ve never known before.”

    Sr. Audrey was quietly listening to me. Something had clicked in her brain and she smiled. Her neurons were working overtime. In a flash, she remembered me.

    “Yes, now I remember you. You’ve changed a lot, haven’t you? What happened, my child? Where’s your dynamism? You were quite uncontrollable in class. How long has it been? For one, you never did your needlework. I can’t imagine you wanting to work here with us.”

    “Fifty years, Sister. I believe it’s my mama. She showed me the way to help out the needy. Her faith and strength was beyond this world. I never got it then. But I do now.”

    “So what exactly did you learn?” Lady Boss interrupted rather incredulously, implying it’s just not possible.

    “It’s really the Lily of the Valley who changed my insides. I came to the understanding that as long as I do His blessed will, He will fill me with His manna, and feed my hungry soul. I realized He’s the fairest of 10,000 to my very being. So here I can at least sing these songs everyday to these sad folks, living in this beautiful place. How about that?”

    Lady Boss got busy. I gathered she was googling Lily of the Valley.

    “Am I in?” I asked softly.

    “Alright, you sound convincing enough. It’s that attire you wear. Far too revealing, I say. That’s not going to be allowed here. You got to wear a uniform. A sedate boring one compared to what you wear now. Game? She quizzed.

    Then I confessed.
    Nuns make you do that.

    “As I did many years ago, Sr. Audrey, it’s your face that makes me spill the beans. I need to add one more reason.”

    I spoke looking at Lady Boss straight in her eyes.

    “My twin is here on the third floor. We got separated many years ago because of sad, uncontrollable events. I have always wanted to reconnect with her. Years of researching and seeking out one who is lost has brought me here to your doorstep.

    “What’s her name? Lady Boss asked.

    “It’s Naomi. I believe she’s on the third floor.”

    Lady Boss now sported a look of dismay. “Oh oh! I’m so sorry to tell you Naomi has lost her memory. It will be remarkable if you can stir up something in her.”

    “You are hired, Ruth.” Sr. Audrey announced sweetly, butting in.
    “Welcome home to Thanal Terrace. Thanal means shade, if you remember from the past. You’ll receive all the support and protection you need from us. Come with me, my child, let me show you to your new home.”

  • Adrienne Riggs
    Time for voting?? Where did the two weeks ago? Who stole them? I never had time to write a story! Oh, bother! Guess I need to pay better attention. My life has been on fast forward, and I need to slow it down. I have voted and I loved the stories! Carrie, is there going to be a sequel to yours? You had me on the edge of my seat! Ken, loved your true story! Congrats on that job you gained. Marien, another beautifully told tale!
    • marien oommen
      Thanks for your comment. Why are you on fast forward mode? 🙂
      Breathe deep.
      Adi. You nailed it. Time flies now. Missing your tale.
  • Just waiting on Ken F’s votes.
    No sequel to my story. I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Plus I had to really cut it down to get it to fit within the word limit which eliminated a lot of key details.
    I might flesh it out again, for the podcast episode. I’m hoping to get a better mojo going for next prompt.
    This one was actually pretty hard!
  • Alrighty folks here is your 1st and 2nd place winners! Congrats Marine!

    1st Place:
    Changing Seasons by Marien Oommen

    2nd Place:
    Whisper by Carrie Zylka

    Story with Favorite Character:
    Whisper by Carrie Zylka

    Character Name:

    Story with Best Use of Dialogue:
    Changing Seasons by Marien Oommen

    Didn’t vote:
    First Day Doubts by Ken Frape

  • Phil Town
    Congratulations, Marien and Carrie!

    Shame about KenF not voting/his story not counting – I hope he’s ok.

    (Sorry I’ve been absent for this one. Life…)

  • Ilana leeds
    Congrats Carrie and Marion. Where did the two weeks go ??? My story languished at around 600 words I did not get it finished. 😥
    • marien oommen
      Thanks for the votes, everyone.
      A recent visit to an Assisted Living set off this story line in my head. It was very sad to see the fag end of life among many of the folks living there. 🙁
      C’est la vie!

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