Extreme Writing Challenge #43: “Cut Short”

You know how I know I’m a nerd?  Tomorrow at work I’ll be spending a minimum of four hours proofreading really long documents, and I’m excited enough to squeal!  They don’t call me the Grammartician of the office for nothing.  (And yes, I’ve informed them that “grammartician” is not a real word.  Apparently no one cares.)

Source: imagemacros.wordpress.com

So, aside from the fact that tomorrow is Friday, I hope you all have exciting things to look forward to as the week wraps up.

Speaking of exciting things…here’s a new story, hot off the press!  As usual, I’ll reveal the challenge at the end.


Before the divorce, Ted’s wife accused him of being a flirt. Now that she was gone, he could finally admit to it. Between bites of fish ‘n chips, Ted eyed the woman three stools down the bar. Her glittery nails and velvety voice made his mouth water. With one slick move, Ted could have her in his bed within the hour, with his hands exploring the skin under her shirt. His method was tried and true, or at least it was before he’d met Leanne.

Ted waited for the woman to slide off her stool and then he followed her outside into the muggy summer air. She leaned against the brick exterior of the building and picked at her teeth.

“Quiet out tonight, isn’t it?” Ted asked. And it was; outside the bar, they might have been alone in the world.

Not looking at Ted, the woman ran a hand through her thick hair. “If you’re looking for a fling, go back inside and bother someone else.”

Ted winced at the long-lost sting of rejection. Then he wondered: what was he looking for? At first glance, he’d seen this woman as a prize for his award-winning swagger. But in his third year of being a divorcee, Ted was on the brink of loneliness. Still, he wasn’t sure how to know which women were just for fun and which were for keeps.

“You raise a fair point,” Ted told the woman. He felt like an idiot now. He wanted to stay and feign innocence. Yet if he stayed, he was making her an unspoken promise. He could swallow his pride and admit that he was lured outside by a fantasy. Then he’d return home and climb into bed, alone.

Finally he asked the woman, “When was the last time you were on a swing set?”

They walked three blocks to the playground on White Street. They sat on the rubbery seats of the swing set, rocking lightly as they chatted. When the sun had set and the air kissed their skin with a light chill, Ted realized this woman was not just for fun.

He reached into his pocket for his pen and pad, ready to ask if she’d write down her phone number. He stopped short at the click behind him. When he turned, he was faced with a hairy man holding a gun. Beside him, the woman shrieked.

The hairy man said to Ted, “I’ll give you thirty seconds to get the fuck away from my wife.”

While the woman sobbed and pleaded with her husband, Ted ran for his car and prayed he was sober enough to drive. Funny, he thought as he fumbled for his keys. I guess it was just a fling, after all.


The challenge for this story was:  The story contains at least 30 unique words that are exactly five letters in length and whose third letter is I.


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