#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Six

As much as I absolutely love to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience), I have found it always makes me end on a cliff-hanger. As I am curious as to the story’s end (and hope you are too), I have decided to continue the series with a few more posts. While these posts are not sponsored and do not conform to the rules of the game, I hope you enjoy them all the same.

If you’d prefer to start from the beginning, you can read the first post here.


A Writer's Toolbox Inspired Short Story - www.alliepottswrites.com“What exactly are you saying?” Bill asked looking anywhere except into Iris’s eyes.
She reached out and covered his hand with her own. “I think you already know.”
Their waitress chose that moment to approach their table. “Can I get you guys anything else?”

“Not unless the kitchen stocks whiskey as well as handguns,” said Larry.

The waitress frowned as she placed their copy of the bill on the table’s edge and walked away.

“What the hell Larry,” said Iris pulling her hand away from Bill’s. “Are you insane?”

“What? It’s not like she knows I was being serious.” Larry leaned forward as a pimpled teenager wiped down the table behind them.

Bill wrinkled his nose. From where he sat, the rag the kid used smelled like his grandmother’s laundry room. “So what do we do now?”

“Do?” Iris blinked. “Weren’t you listening to anything I was saying? There is nothing we can do.” She frowned at Larry. “Besides if the kitchen did sell guns, what would we do with them? None of us have the first clue how to use them?”

“You don’t need guns.” A woman motioned for Bill to make room on the bench. “Though the whiskey might be nice.” The woman slid next to him, pushing his water glass to the slide to make room for a red leather journal. “I know I should probably mind my own business, but it sounds to me like you could use all the help you can get.”

Larry cocked his head to the side. “Do we know you?”
The woman beamed. “My name is Laurie.” She tapped the bottom of her hair. “But you might know me as Candice Wentworth from The Bus Shelter in the Rain.

Larry’s brows knit. “I’m not sure I—”

The smile left Laurie’s face as her shoulders sagged. She made her voice take on the high-pitched tone of a child’s. “Should’a done it my way.”

His eyes widened. “Bill. Do you realize you are sitting next to Bethany Hallows. As in the Bethany Hallows from Beth Knows Best? I loved that show growing up.” He turned to Iris. “Tell me you watched it.”

Iris looked from Bill to Laurie with twisted lips. “If you heard that much, you know who is involved.” She reached for the scrap of paper that was their bill. “It’s nice to meet a celebrity and all, but I think we should go.”

Laurie’s smile returned. “Oh, I know exactly who is involved. And more importantly, I know where your friend is.” She pulled out a credit card and took the paper from Iris. “Consider this, my treat.”


Jump to the next installment here.

 

#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Five

The following is the fifth post in a series of sponsored short stories written using Jamie Cat Callan’s fun and easy to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience). You can read more about Jamie’s other creations at the bottom of this post.

For those not as familiar with The Writer’s Toolbox, it prompts you with a first, middle, and last sentence as well as a series of descriptions, some more random than others, which help your writing pop as well as a protagonist complete with overarching goals and an obstacle to overcome. I absolutely love it.

If you’d prefer to start from the beginning, you can read the first post here.


How I beat writer's block with one creative game - www.alliepottswrites.com“There she was, Amy Gerstein, over by the pool, kissing my father.” Laurie looked up from the script. “I’m not sure about this line. Do you think my character more upset because her father has a thing for Amy, or because she does?”

The waitress shrugged as she poured Laurie another cup of coffee.

“Hmmm, I think it’ll try it both ways in rehearsal and see which one gets the better reaction.” She slapped the pages down on the table next to a dog-eared copy of an old Danielle Steel novel. “Would it kill the writers to give us an entire script to work with all at once?”

“If you are going to order anything other than coffee, I’ll need to put it in now,” said the waitress. “The kitchen is going to be closing soon.”

Laurie sighed. “I have to lose fifteen pounds by the end of next week. I know. You don’t have to say it. My personal trainer tells me he’s never seen me so fit too, but that’s the biz for you. If you ask me it’s completely unnecessary. There is nothing in the script that says the character has to be skeletal thin and my costume designer is having a fit, but what can you do? I was told in no uncertain terms I either I lose the weight or I lose my job. It’s almost as if they are looking for an excuse to renege my contract.”

Laurie raised the mug to her lips and muttered, “I bet the first thing they’ll do is give the role to that woman from the Stop & Shop too. If she wasn’t Leslie’s current favorite …,” Laurie words trailed off. Losing her job was the least of her concerns if anyone heard her badmouthing someone connected to Leslie in public.

“So that’s a no.”

“That’s a no.” The liquid burnt her tongue. If she didn’t need this job to pay her mom’s rent, she’d have walked off the show long ago.

The waitress turned away to serve the table on the other side of the aisle where a pair of men and a woman sat. None of the trio acknowledged the waitress refilling their drinks, too absorbed in a conversation that was growing more animated by the second.

The fresh floor wax caused the waitress to slip on her way back to the kitchen sending her tumbling to the floor. Laurie jumped out of her booth to assist the woman, but the waitress was already upright and heading back into the kitchen before Laurie could reach her.

On her way back to her table she overheard a piece of the trio’s conversation. “He was skating on thin ice – that’s all I can say.”

Laurie slid into her chair and strained her ears while trying to make it look like she wasn’t listening. Whatever the conversation was about, it sounded far more engrossing than re-reading lines from a two-bit script any day.

The sound of the dishwasher in the back shouting something about clean plates and Laurie stifled a curse. The drama going on in the kitchen prevented her from hearing what the woman at the table said next.

“But Daisy would never agree to do that,” said the man seated closest to the aisle. “Not for him. Not for anyone. She would have to know she’d be the first one they’d sell out and risked even more if our father caught up with her first.”

“I’m sure she thought it was the only way to help your mom. Daisy told me her condition was getting worse,” replied the woman.

“And how does getting involved with those people help my mom.”

“Bill, you may want to lower your voice,” said the second man, meeting Laurie’s eyes.

Laurie took another sip of her coffee and shuffled the pages of her script in an effort to look pre-occupied.

Bill ignored his friend’s advice. “If what you say is true, why tell us about it? Aren’t you afraid your own life will be in jeopardy?”

The woman picked at her food. The plate was as full as it had been when the waitress first sat it down. The second man looked at their female companion and then at Bill. “You still don’t get it, man, do you?”

The woman shot a pointed glance his way. “Larry, don’t. Please.”

“What?” Bill asked. “Why?”

The woman continued to look at Larry. “Let’s just say it has to do with the time Leslie called me a leech.”


Will Laurie find a role worthy of her talents? Will the waitress place a worker’s compensation claim? Who is Leslie and why is everyone so afraid? The series is coming to a conclusion.

Jump to part six here.


I believe in this product so much I reached out to its creator, the lovely Jamie Cat Callan, author of the upcoming Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi (available January 2nd, 2018) to tell her how much I loved her creation and was beyond thrilled when she allowed me to use her prompts for these posts.

Those who pick up Parisian Charm School will enjoy reading about secrets such as

  • The Charming Benefits of Travel
  • The Art of the French Flirt (And Why Conversation Matters)
  • Food Is Love: The French Dinner Party

You can find a sneak peek here

In addition to her upcoming novel, she is also the author of the books Bonjour, Happiness! , French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, and Ooh La La!: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day.

#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Four

The following is the fourth post in a series of sponsored short stories written using Jamie Cat Callan’s fun and easy to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience). You can read more about Jamie’s other creations at the bottom of this post.

For those not as familiar with The Writer’s Toolbox, it prompts you with a first, middle, and last sentence as well as a series of descriptions, some more random than others, which help your writing pop as well as a protagonist complete with overarching goals and an obstacle to overcome. I absolutely love it.

You can also read the first post in the series here.


How I beat writer's block by playing one creative game. www.alliepottswrites.com #thewriterstoolbox #shortstory“I like hats.” That’s what Donald said the day before he killed Sally. They were also the last words he spoke to anyone, their boss had seen to that. Frank shared a look with his business partner as Lillian walked into the back room bringing a dark-haired woman in tow.

Frank dropped his brush into a glass of water, enjoying how the leftover paint spread out in the liquid like a red cloud. The movies made his profession out to be much more action-packed than it was.

The movies left out how much waiting was involved. There was waiting for a guest to arrive, then the waiting while fear simmered to a breaking point, followed by even more waiting for a guest to come back to after Donald got through with him or her.

Frank took up watercolors to pass the time. He’d found it excited him and yet simultaneously relaxed him even more than the feel of spandex.  If his therapist was still alive, she might appreciate the fact he’d taken up a hobby.

“Hello Margaret, so nice to see you again.” Frank smiled and gestured for Margaret to have a seat while Donald locked the door, his expression as cold as November in Cincinnati.

“This is all a big misunderstanding,” said Margaret as Frank pulled over another chair and sat down across from her.

“You hear that Donald? It’s a misunderstanding.”

Donald grunted.

“Well now’s your chance to clear everything up. I suggest you use it. What you were up to, that weekend in Duluth?”

“It was the bartender from Seattle. He started to ask questions. I decided the only solution was to seduce him. We went on a date, a couple’s cooking class, and spent the night together. That’s all.”

“Is that so?” Frank arched an eyebrow. His gaze swept her body from toe to the top of her head, lingering on all her curves. She raised her arms, crossing them over her chest and hiding her breasts from view. He shook his head. The woman across from him didn’t have the first idea how to use her body to save her life. She was no calculating seductress. He’d been with enough of them to spot their tell-tale signs. Some people might even say that kind of woman was his addiction. Too bad for us both.

“I’m telling the truth.” Margaret’s eyes darted around the room. “There was a man selling bananas outside. The instructor ran out and had to buy a quarter of his supply. I still have the receipt for the class in my purse. All you have to do is call the number and ask him about it.”

Frank reached out a hand. Margaret drew back. The corner of his lips crept up as he slid the strap off her shoulder. He turned his head. “Lillian, be a doll and check out her story, won’t you?” Donald moved to the side to allow Lillian to pass leaving Margaret alone with the two men.

“So say your story checks out –”

“It will.”

Frank had to admit Margaret had spunk. “That still doesn’t explain why you were seen hightailing out of town.” He leaned back in his chair. “I mean why run if you have nothing to hide?”

“I wasn’t running. I was on my way to see Leslie, just like I promised.”

“Funny. From what I heard, you were spotted going in the exact opposite direction.”

“I can explain that too. I can explain everything.”

Frank snorted. “I’m sure you can.” He motioned to Donald, who approached the chairs and dropped a black leather bag by Frank’s leg. Frank turned the metal dials on either side of the clasp and a latch popped. He pulled the sides of the bag open so that the overhead light could reflect on the metal tools inside. Painting with watercolors wasn’t his only artistry.

Margaret blanched and her shoulders slumped as he pulled out a device with a diamond-sharp edge. “It all started the day Lillian learned to drive…”


Oh dear, things are looking bleak for Margaret. I hope for her sake they believe her story, as unbelievable as it sounds, without things having to get too messy. 

You can jump to part 5 here.


I believe in this product so much I reached out to its creator, the lovely Jamie Cat Callan, author of the upcoming Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi (available January 2nd, 2018) to tell her how much I loved her creation and was beyond thrilled when she allowed me to use her prompts for these posts.

In addition to her upcoming novel, she is also the author of the books Bonjour, Happiness! , French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, and Ooh La La!: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day

Thanks to Jamie, I’ve learned there is a word for a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures. That word is quaintrelle. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that word would look great on my business card.

#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Three

The following is the third post in a series of sponsored short stories written using Jamie Cat Callan’s fun and easy to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience). 

For those not as familiar with The Writer’s Toolbox, it prompts you with a first, middle, and last sentence as well as a series of descriptions, some more random than others, which help your writing pop as well as a protagonist complete with overarching goals and an obstacle to overcome. I absolutely love it. You can read more about the Toolbox’s creator at the bottom of this post.

You can read the first post in the series here.


How I've beaten writer's block using one creative game. #writingtools www.alliepottswrites.comHer mother was doing that thing she did. That thing with the rag in the sink. The neighbors said they’d check in on her from time to time. Even so, Margaret was only too aware how little a promise meant. “Give it to me.”

“No,” her mother clutched the wet cloth next to her chest.

Margaret rummaged around in her purse until she located a purple lollipop. “I’ll trade you for it.”

Her mother approached the offered piece of candy like a nervous animal fearing taming. Margaret didn’t have time for this. Not today. But she couldn’t very well leave. Not like this. The hands on the kitchen clock continued their countdown. All the favors she’d traded. The bargains she’d struck. It was all going to be for nothing. All because her mother liked to play mix and match with her medication.

Tick. Tock.

“Oh for the love of–”

Her mother’s lip quivered.

Margaret schooled her tone and counted to ten. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. Go on take the candy. I know you like candy.” Still, her mother hesitated. “It’s purple. Your favorite.” Margaret shook the lolly. Light shined through, brightening its color.

Her mother’s eyes narrowed. Then the rag was in Margaret’s hand. Her mother dropped to the ground and scurried under the table to enjoy the treat as if afraid Margaret might change her mind. Margaret’s hand itched. One phone call to Iris. No, she shook her head. Calling Iris wasn’t an option. Not anymore.

The clock struck the hour. She couldn’t afford to hesitate any longer. “I’m sorry mom. But this is the only way.” The only thing left she could do was secure the door behind her.

On the following Friday, she packed her bags and planned her escape, kissing the autographed photograph on her mantle of Sy for luck.

Her car idled in traffic across from the Jenny Craig Center. Margaret jumped at the sound of a knock on the window. It was Lillian, her one-time best friend. She tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Move it cars. She urged in her mind. Lillian knocked again.

The driver of the car in front of her opened his door and walked away. Margaret suppressed a groan. She flipped on her turn signal. The driver of the car beside her made eye contact and tipped his hat. Thank goodness there are still gentlemen in this world, Margaret thought. She began turning the wheel, ready to squeeze her car into the next lane as soon as there was a large enough opening. The driver’s head shook slowly from side to side.

Margaret’s heart began to pound. She looked into her rearview mirror. The driver in the car behind her repeated the same gesture.

Lillian rapped her knuckles on the window again. “Save your gas,” she said as Margaret unrolled her window. “There was an accident up on North, blocking the entire freeway. No one is going anywhere. Why don’t you come inside? I’ll get you a coffee. I remember how you like it.”

Margaret’s pulse calmed. A standard issue traffic jam. That’s all it was. Nothing more. She giggled to herself. “Sorry, Lillian, I can’t.” Caffeine would only make her nerves worse. “Maybe another time?”

Lillian’s smile deepened into the sort that proclaimed conquest or spawned notes from a jealous husband. “I’m afraid I must insist.”

A uniformed figure walked up to the passenger window and raised his hand revealing a gun. “You aren’t the only one who has made friends in interesting places since leaving Starbucks,” continued Lillian, “and mine want to talk to you about that weekend in Duluth.”


Will Margaret’s mother get the help she needs? Who are Lillian’s new friends and what did happen that weekend in Duluth?

You can jump to the next installment here.


I believe in this product so much I reached out to its creator, the lovely Jamie Cat Callan, author of the upcoming Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi (available January 2nd, 2018) to tell her how much I loved her creation and was beyond thrilled when she allowed me to use her prompts for these posts.

In addition to her upcoming novel, she is also the author of the books Bonjour, Happiness! , French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, and Ooh La La!: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day

Library Journal says Ooh La La is “Part travelogue and part beauty guide, this lighthearted handbook takes readers on another delightful romp through France!”

#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Two

The following is the next installment in a sponsored short story series I am writing using  Jamie Cat Callan‘s fun and easy to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post). You can read more about Jamie’s other creations at the bottom of this post.

For those not as familiar with The Writer’s Toolbox, it prompts you with a first, middle, and last sentence as well as a series of descriptions to include and a protagonist and with it. The first post in the series can be found here.


More from the Writer's toolbox - www.alliepottswrites.com“My brother did this weird thing with turtles.” Iris’s newest patient, Irene, sat with feet and arms crossed in the chair opposite her while Iris scribbled the occasional note in a black and tan steno pad. “He should be the one forced to talk to you,” the teen grumbled. “Not me.”

“Do you want to tell me about it?”

“About what? My brother or the turtles?”

“Either. Both.” Iris placed the pad and her pen on her lap. “We can talk about whatever you want.”

Irene’s eyes narrowed as if to say, ‘I may be young, but I’m not stupid.’

It was going to be one of those sessions. Iris fought frustration from showing as she picked up her pad once more, flipping it to the next available page. Its emptiness fit her mood. She’d listened to the speeches at commencement. She’d believed her professors when they told them their training had been special. She’d taken their every word as gospel. Their training would give them access to the whole wide world, should they choose to travel and no matter where they went, they would have the ability to make a difference.

They’d lied.

Iris held her pen ready and mentally counted to one hundred. Irene’s shoulders sagged. “Fine, but I need a snack first.” She bent down to a bag she’d tossed under the chair along with her shoes when she’d arrived and pulled out a can of easy cheese. Tossing her head back, she gulped down an orange string that defied classification as either solid or liquid.

Charming, thought Iris. “So, your brother liked turtles …”

“It’s not weird to like turtles.” Irene huffed. “Turtles have built-in body armor. I mean, how cool is that? Do you know what I’d give to be able to tuck my head inside a shell? I’d kill for that.” The girl kicked her bare feet back and forth, making her appear more like an innocent waif than the street-hardened temptress the police file claimed her to be.

The door to Iris’s office swung open and in walked the dynamic duo of Bill and Larry, and at least one of them, if not both of them, carried an aroma with him like a T-shirt from a B-52’s concert. Irene gagged.

“I’m in a session.” Iris nodded her head in the direction of Irene. “You have to leave.”

“I tried calling.” Bill had the decency to look embarrassed as he let her lead him back out the door and into her office lobby. “When you didn’t answer … I guess we, I mean I, freaked out.”

“Have you never heard of voicemail? You leave a message. I call back,” Iris teased. Bill’s eyes tightened. In all the years they’d known each other, he’d never looked so vulnerable. If only … Iris banished the thought before it could cut her more deeply.

“It’s about Daisy.”

Iris blinked. “Your sister?” He couldn’t know –

Bill’s face relaxed, the mask of aloof unconcern once again firmly in place. “I didn’t realize it was such a common name. She’ll be ticked. Yeah, my sis. She didn’t show for duty and hasn’t been seen around her apartment. I was hoping you might know where she’s gone.”

Iris glanced sideways at Larry before answering. “We can talk, but not now. There’s a diner a block from here. Meet me there at nine.”

Iris closed the office door firmly behind her as she returned to Irene. “Now where were we?”

“Well, I guess it started after the time Fred went to the car wash and never came back.”


Curious as to what weird thing Irene’s brother did with turtles? I am too and yet I think some things we are better off not knowing. One thing is for sure, Iris doesn’t charge enough.

The next installment can be found here.


I believe in this product so much I reached out to its creator, the lovely Jamie Cat Callan, author of the upcoming Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi (available January 2nd, 2018) to tell her how much I loved her creation and was beyond thrilled when she allowed me to use her prompts for these posts.

In addition to her upcoming novel, she is also the author of the books Bonjour, Happiness! and French Women Don’t Sleep Alone.

“A recipe for happiness with ingredients that you don’t have to travel far to find.

Accustomed to the American pursuit of happiness, Callan (French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, 2009, etc.) explores her French roots to find fulfillment in life’s simple pleasures.

Translates the joie de vivre into a language of life that is not so foreign. –Kirkus review for BONJOUR, HAPPINESS!”