Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Speed Limits

LindaGHill hosts SOCS, today’s prompt is a picture from wherever. Find an image, whether in a magazine, newspaper, or product packaging and write whatever thought or emotion it provokes.

“What an idiot! Just take a look at this,” Dr Croston pointed at the x-ray. “One hip and both legs broken. The silly sod will be in plaster for weeks and physio for months.”

“Could have been worse,” said Nurse Langley. “At least this one will walk again.”

“And breathe,” added Bob, the anaesthetist. “The last one broke his back, crushed his ribs, fractured his skull and was on the ventilator for weeks until we convinced his idiot parents there was no hope.”

“Guess you can’t blame them for that,” said Langley. “But you can blame them for raising thrill-seeking morons instead of normal children.”

“Sad, but true.” Croston adjusted her surgical hat. “No sense of self-preservation in kids today. And no idea how much work and trouble they create when it all goes tits up.”

“Well, at least this one will be a simple in and out job,” Bob said. “We should be done by lunchtime. Then are we all still on for our coasteering session this afternoon?”

“Hell, yeah,” said Langley. “But Sue won’t be joining us for obvious reasons.”

“Poor cow,” said Croston. “But at least her last memory will be getting a ride in a search and rescue helicopter.”

Click the links for more info about tombstoning and coasteering.

SOCS & MLMM: Anger Management

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Written in response to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt trail/trial and Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Double Take challenge using the homophone paced/paste and rap/wrap. (With apologies for taking liberties with the tenses!)

“Oh, deary me!” Colin shook his head. “You ain’t hitting the sweet spot today, darling. Time of the month, is it?”

Lacey shot him a sour look, which he cheerfully ignored.

“What if I put some glue on the tips? Maybe then they would stick to the target and not bounce off into the undergrowth.”

“Very funny,” said Lacey, through gritted teeth. “Just show me the technique again.”

“No point. The state you’re in, you couldn’t hit a barn door at twenty paces. With or without a dollop of sticky paste.”

“I just need more time to practise.” Lacey did her best to keep her voice calm and the bubbling rage from pouring out of her like malevolent lava.

“You need more than practice. How many times do I have to tell you to focus?”

“Too many,” spat Lacey.

“Not enough.” Colin rapped her on the forehead with his swagger stick. “Now, follow me.” He headed up the trail towards the isolation hut.

She groaned. This meant another twenty-four hours trying to guess the answers to the dumbass riddles he set. And licking the dew off the walls because Colin didn’t allow food and water during that trial.

“I’ve passed the enigma test,” Lacey reminded him.

“Which’ll make it easier for you second time around.”

“Sod off, Colin,” she roared. “I refuse to be sent back to first grade.”

“Rules are rules, Lacey. Each failure takes you back to the beginning. And if you can’t channel your physical energy, you need to work on opening the mental ones again.”

Lacey growled. She was beyond anger now. A red haze descended as she stooped to pick up a handful of the throwing stars. The first one caught him on the backside, the second embedded itself in his breastplate as he turned around, and the third hit his helmet with a satisfying clang.

She cringed as he ran at her, but rather than a punch, he wrapped her in his arms and spun her around.

“Well done, my lovely. I knew you’d get there in the end.” He put her down on shaking legs. “Come on, let’s go to the armoury and try you with the crossbow.”

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Keep it Under Your Hat

LindaGHill hosts SOCS, today’s prompt is HAT. Use it literally or metaphorically.
Click HERE for the rest of the rules, and to play along.

Rat-a-tat-tat-tat… tat… tat-tat.

My heart sank. Only one person on this planet knocks like that.

“This had better be good,” I muttered before yanking open the front door to reveal Gus wearing a duffel coat, furry gloves and a bobble hat. I blinked. Only the lightest of breezes kept me this side of sweating, whilst he was dressed up like Nanook of the North.

Still, it was an improvement on his last look: a diamanté studded Stetson and a pair of cerise hot pants. His ability to make it across town in one piece amazes me. But he usually only comes out during school hours or at night. Apart from today, this was an unexpected, but not a pleasant surprise. I beckoned him in and sat at the bottom of the stairs, watching his ritual spin, star-jump, spin routine. I keep the dresser in the hall clear for this reason.

“Why are—”

Gus shook his head, the pompom on his hat bouncing in agitation. He tapped his nose, cupped his hands over his ears and pointed towards the back garden. Right, today we were obviously at home to Mr Paranoid. I nodded, and we set off towards the shed, stopping only to collect the tin helmets from the cupboard under the kitchen sink.

I went in first and set up the shower curtains while Gus performed the five ballet positions. Where he picked up that skill is a mystery, and thank god, I don’t have to join him in these rituals.

“Are you all right, Gus?” I said when we were both settled, then sat back, waiting for him to talk. He’d tell me why he’d come without an appointment in his own sweet time.

“Would you like a coffee?” I asked after twenty minutes of silence.

“You watched the meteor shower, didn’t you?” said Gus, the master of the non sequitur.

“Only for ten minutes,” I assured him, hoping he would change the subject.

“I warned you!” His hands beat a metallic tattoo on his head. “You told me you’d read The Day of the Triffids.”

“That’s a work of fiction.”

“Never heard of life imitating art?” He gave me a reproachful glare. “Now tell me what happened?”

“I ended up with one hell of a migraine and spent the next twenty-four hours lying in a darkened room with a damp flannel over my eyes.”


“And what?” I snapped at him.

“The flowers? What about the flowers?”

I was about to ask how he knew about them but realised I’d be wasting my time, so I told him how I threw out a vase of lilies because the smell made me as sick as a pig.

“Thought as much,” he nodded and then lowered his voice to a whisper. “I had to come and make sure you were okay. They came and told me about it this morning.”

“Did they come in person?” I never humour Gus: his grip on reality may be a little shaky, but he deserves to be treated with dignity.

“Yes, but they were very nice to me, and I did the cognitive training thing like you said, and they promised to give me plenty of warning next time.”

“Good.” My smile was genuine. These techniques were helping him more than the medication he took. I just hoped they wouldn’t put too many barriers up in his mind. When he’s on form, Gus helps me immensely. How else do you think I could afford my new car?

S is for Schadenfreude

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An attempt to produce a poem or story from now until the end of April (except Sundays).
The theme for the 2022 A to Z Challenge is the human condition.
Also includes the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt: too/to/two.

Fancy footwork from a writing class with St Francis (patron saint of journalists, hacks and authors).

“I can’t do this, Frank!” sobs Gadsby.

“Is my task too hard for you?”

“I am struggling to find words that comply with your instructions, which is turning my writing into pompous rubbish.”

“Gotcha!” Frank guffaws.

“Stop laughing!” snaps Gadsby. “Avoiding this common symbol is making it difficult to construct a plot for my story.”

“Is that why your copy is so tortuous?”

“This is all your fault, and I want you to go.”

“Your output may fall to nothing without my support.”

“I’ll risk it. Now, will you just sod off?”

“Told you this wouldn’t work,” Frank grins in triumph. “From now on, pick your prompts mindfully, and try trusting your own instincts.”

N is for Naughty

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An attempt to produce a poem or story from now until the end of April (except Sundays).
The theme for the 2022 A to Z Challenge is the human condition.
Also includes the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt: nose, noes or knows

Jenny rang the bell, half hoping there would be no answer, but the door swung open.
“Come in, my dear,” a soft voice called. “There is nothing for you to fear.”
“Thank you,” gulped Jenny, stepping into a dark hallway. “Um, where do you want me?”
“Take the seat at the bottom of the stairs. I’ll be with you shortly.”
She resisted the urge to run away and sat down on a wooden chair. Just as she was losing her nerve, a light came on, and there stood Griselda, dressed in jeans and a Hello Kitty sweatshirt. Her hair was swept up into a neat ponytail, and she wore a pair of glasses on a chain around her neck.
“Am I a disappointment to you?”
“No!” Jenny lied, then blushed. “I guess you’re not what I expected.”
“And neither are you,” retorted Griselda. “I thought you would be older. Most of my clients are.”
Jenny swallowed her own retort. She’d been warned not to get mouthy or silly. Not if she wanted Griselda’s help. “You come highly recommended, and I’m at my wit’s end. If you can’t work your magic, my marriage will be over.”
“Things are never as bad as they seem,” Griselda reassured her. “Tell me your problems.”
“My husband is so annoying. Every time I ask him to do something, it’s always later, babes, or I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“And what do you expect me to do about it?”
“You stopped Milly’s husband, Simon, from sleeping around. And you worked a miracle on Liz. Brad says she never nags him anymore.”
“I can change his behaviour, or teach him a lesson, it’s up to you?”
Jenny thought about Simon, who was still in a coma, and suppressed a shudder at Liz’s drastic surgery. “I’ll go for the lesson.”
“Leave him to me.” Griselda pulled a tiny vial out of her pocket. “Get him to drink this. Call me the moment he falls asleep, and I will come and collect him.”
“Do I want to know what’s in this?” Jenny stuffed the bottle into her handbag.
“I doubt it. I’ll telephone you when he’s ready to come home.
“When is that likely to be?”
“Depends how quick a learner he is.”


“Where am I?” A confused male voice floated up from the pit in the cellar. “I can’t see a thing. Jen, are you there?”
“Jen’s not here, only me.”
“Who the hell are you?”
“Your worst nightmare.”
“This isn’t funny. Whoever you are, the game’s over. I demand you let me out right now!”
“Can’t babes, maybe tomorrow.”