Extreme Writing Challenge #13: “Mysteries”

I found some time to write a new story!  Yay!  Can you figure out what the challenge is for today’s post?  Read on and I’ll tell you at the end!


Claire was directed down a hallway that smelled of yeast.  She stopped at a yellow door, knocked, and breathed deeply.  A gruff voice beckoned the young woman in—show time.

Once Claire was inside, the office wasn’t what she’d expected.  The only light was produced by two large lava lamps.  Ragtime music droned softly from an elegant antique record player.  Behind the desk, the boss sat, clutching a wine glass.

“Mr. Blackwater?” Claire asked, fearing she’d entered the wrong room.

“You’re prettier than I imagined,” the boss said, standing up.  He surveyed a shelf containing at least a hundred records.  “Please, have a seat while I choose some new music.”

Claire sat timidly in a red velvet chair that wobbled.  With jazz now playing, the boss sat across from her.

“So you’re interested in being my new assistant?” he asked.

Claire nodded, hoping she would work from a different office.  “Yes, sir, I have years of experience as a secretary.”

The boss asked, “Are you familiar with what I do?”

Claire studied the room, hoping for a more thorough idea.  The ad in the newspaper had not eluded to much.  Answering phones, scheduling appointments, filing, and other tasks as assigned.  Now that she was here, Claire was a little stumped.  On one wall was a collection of martial arts certificates.  A pile of diabetes cookbooks sat on the boss’s desk.  In the corner was a display of ceramic cat heads.

“I’m afraid I’m not sure what you do,” Claire responded.

“I run a talent agency of sorts,” the boss said.  “I need my assistant to be good at keeping secrets.”

“Do you do anything illegal?” Claire asked, her voice shaky.

“Would you walk away from the job if I did?”

Claire considered the circumstances that had led her here today.  First, she made the mistake of sleeping with her boss.  She started to fall in love, and he fired her.  Claire searched for a new job, but had no luck.  She cut back on eating out and shopping for clothes.  She dipped into her savings to make her rent payments.  She’d considered stripping, until she found this mysterious job listing.

“No, sir,” Claire said, “and I’m fantastic at keeping secrets.”

The boss grinned and poured Claire a glass of wine.  “Well then, you’re hired,” he said as Claire beamed proudly.  “Now drink up, and I’ll show you your first task.”


The challenge?  Each sentence contains exactly ten words.  While it’s not the most challenging prompt I’ve ever given myself, it definitely made me stretch my brain a bit!


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