Sarah Anne Steckel: Countless Lives

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Countless Lives

By Sarah Anne Steckel

The cab driver was completely silent as he drove through the busy intersection, past the dozens of busybodies as they trampled along the crosswalk. A vibrant pink strand of hair crossed over Newo’s eyes as she peered into the crowd, searching every face in the hopes of finding the one that was most familiar to her. Finding none, she sighed deeply and turned her attention to the back of the driver’s head, pushed the hair out of her face and asked, “Have you been a driver here very long?”

“Fourteen years.”

“A long while…” Newo fell silent for several moments, her mind drifting to the person she longed to see the most, racing through memories that she thought she had long forgotten — drunken conversations that took place lifetimes ago, playful sparring matches, hushed secluded nights they refused to speak of the next day. Every thought was a hopeful hint to where she would find him, a secret clue that only she knew the answer to. Wracking her brain for the correct answer, she stirred from her memories and returned her gaze to the back of the cab driver’s head with a smile. “Tell me, do you know of a place that a rowdy person might catch a strong drink?”

The driver smiled at her in his rearview mirror and made a U-turn in the street, taking the first turn down a series of side streets before turning down an abandoned alleyway. Placing his elbow up on the center console, he turned around slowly to face her. “If you walk the length of the alley, you’ll come to a door. Knock on it three times and talk to whoever answers. If you answer him correctly, he’ll let you in.”

“What will he ask me?”

The driver shrugged. “Who knows?”

Newo smiled broadly and chuckled under her breath. “Well I suppose that I’m up for this little game. What goes on in this place?”

The driver grinned and vaguely echoed her question from earlier. “It’s a place where rowdy people can catch a drink, girl.”

Reaching into her jacket pocket, Newo pulled out a few folded bills and handed them over to the driver as she reached over and opened the cab door. “Thanks man. Have a good day.”

As she heard the yellow cab drive off behind her, Newo smiled to herself and began her short stroll down the bleak and dark alleyway, reaching the doorway with no trouble. She raised her fist and firmly knocked on the door three times, as instructed, and waited. Several moments went by, and just as she began to grow impatient, a window in the center of the door opened and a pair of eyes greeted her. “If you eat me, my sender will eat you… what am I?”

A riddle. Newo smiled to herself; her many lifetimes made mind games come easy to her. Her smile broadening, she answered quickly. “A fish hook.”

She watched the pair of eyes furrow, the man was frowning behind that door. “Another. What can you hold in your right hand, but never in your left hand?”

“Your left hand…” Newo yawned dramatically, her response heavy with boredom.

The man behind the door narrowed his eyes and grunted with frustration. “One more. I no longer have eyes, but once I did see. Once I had thoughts, but now I’m white and empty. What am I?”

She debated on pretending to think on this one for a while, to make the man behind the door feel better about his lackluster riddles, but she figured that with the type of clientele they had visiting this establishment, he couldn’t make them too hard. Her smile grew as she quickly replied. “A skull.”

The guard frowned and slammed the window shut, opening the door to her to freely walk inside. As she passed through the threshold she looked at him over her shoulder. “Here’s one for you… Great deeds with little strength I do, I close the open, open the closed for you. I keep the master’s house, the master keeps me, too. What am I?” Watching the confusion set in on the guard’s face, Newo grinned as she walked away from him, failing to give him the answer.

She gazed over the dimly lit interior. The room was small, with a long bar in one corner and a series of tables all centered around a large flat-screen TV that was mounted to the wall. Along the opposing wall of the bar was a doorway that led to another room that was much more well lit. Newo turned her attention to the blonde barmaid behind the counter. She motioned her over as she took a seat on a barstool. “Whiskey on the rocks.”

“Sure.” The blonde woman responded and began pouring the drink and handed it over to her.

“What’s over there?” Newo asked in a nonchalant tone, handing the woman a few dollars to pay for her drink.

“The fighting ring,” the barmaid responded. “Actually, you came at a good time. One’s about to start soon. Some new, unknown cocky guy challenged our reigning champ, Sparky.”

“Oh yeah, some new guy?”

“Yeah. Real big bald guy. Odds are still against him, though. Sparky’s been reigning champ for a month now.”

Newo quickly downed her drink and placed the empty glass back on the counter top. She motioned for a second one, and as she handed her the money to pay for it, she asked, “You wouldn’t happen to know the new guy’s name, would you?”

The barmaid furrowed her eyebrows in thought, “Cyclone… No… Cortex? No… It starts with a V…”

Newo’s heart skipped a beat; she froze just as she lifted her glass to her lips. She watched as her hot breath fogged up the rim with her haggard and excited breathing. Forcing herself to take a sip of whisky and swallowing it wrong, she fought back a hoarse cough as she spat out. “Is it Vortex?”

“That’s it!” The barmaid snapped her fingers. “You know him?”

“Yeah.” Newo smiled. “Lemmie even out that betting pool, won’t you?”

***

Inside the center of the second room sat a roped-off fighting ring, with chairs placed all around it. The first few rows of seats had already been occupied, so Newo sat along the aisle beside another man in the third row. Almost immediately as she sat, the man beside her draped his arm around her shoulders. With ease she reached over and pushed his arm off of her, and returned her gaze toward the ring, nervously waiting with anticipation to see Vortex enter.

A second time the man beside her placed his arm around her shoulders, this time his hand making an attempt to grab at her breast. This time, instead of pushing the man’s arm off of her, she removed a concealed dagger from somewhere on her person, firmly pushing it into the man’s side, careful to cut his clothing but not pierce his flesh. Her voice low and eerily calm, she threatened, “If you don’t move from your spot this instant, I will cut you so deep that your guts will spill out and cause this dirty bar floor to glisten with the sheen of your blood.”

A smile crossed her face as the man cursed at her and stumbled out of his chair and moseyed off somewhere else. Just as she replaced her dagger back into its hiding place, the crowd began to cheer and chant the name “Sparky” as an average-sized man made his way into the ring. Once he reached the center he took a bow, causing the crowd to turn into an uproar of hooting and hollering, which was quickly followed by booing and jeers as Sparky’s opponent pushed past the curtain.

Vortex walked confidently toward the fighting ring, his steps slow and firm. He hadn’t changed; in the hundreds of lifetimes that they had been together, every time they came back looking the same way — Newo with her pink hair and eyes, and Vortex with his strong and tall demeanor and his dark eyes and shiny bald head. As he swung over the ropes and entered the ring, Newo couldn’t fight back the broad smile that was growing on her face and causing her cheeks to turn hot.

The two opponents circled one another, Vortex much larger than Sparky, and Newo wondered if any of their many previous sparring matches would be on Vortex’s mind during this match. Before their fight even began, Newo knew that Sparky was going to be faster, and that he would probably fight dirty just to outmatch Vortex’s obvious strength — it’s a tactic that she would, and had, relied upon quite frequently.

The bell rang and as she predicted, Sparky dove low for Vortex’s legs in an attempt to knock him down. Vortex kicked him back with one great swing of his leg and grabbed the smaller man up by the hair, lifting him up and over his head. A loud roar, like a wild animal, bellowed out from his throat before Vortex slammed the small of Sparky’s back into his right knee. The entirety of the crowd broke into hisses and boos, but Vortex stood silent and unaffected. He smiled when Sparky failed to move, and he turned to face the crowd to gloat.

“Don’t fall for it!” Newo found herself shouting as best she could over the crowd. “Don’t turn your back to him yet, you idio—”

Before she could finish her insult, Sparky had jumped up onto Vortex’s back just as he turned away. The smaller man began pummeling both fists into the sides of Vortex’s face and chest, screaming like a banshee as he wailed on him. She watched helplessly, as Vortex tried to rip Sparky off from his back. Like a dog unable to pull a tick out from between his shoulder blades, Vortex was unable to get a good enough grip to throw him off.

“He’s on your back!” Newo did her best to throw her voice over the screaming crowd. “Squish him! Fall back and squish him! You’re much larger than he is!”

She intently watched Vortex’s face as he tried to make out her words, his eyebrows rising and he seemed to laugh. He grabbed on tight to Sparky’s wrists as they wailed down upon him, stopping his barraging fists and forcing him to stay clung on to his back. In one swift movement, Vortex fell backwards, pinning Sparky’s body between his and the mat. He rolled from side to side several times, before remaining totally motionless and waiting for the final bell to end the match. Sparky made no attempts to struggle for his freedom, not even an arm movement to signal that he had given up.

The bell rang three times, and the majority of the crowd booed, hissed, or threw their empty beer cans into the center of the ring. Ignoring all of them, Vortex calmly got to his feet and raised his arms in victory. As the room began to clear, Newo stood upon her chair and cheered loudly. “I’m rich! Woo-hoo!”

“Newo…” Vortex whispered under his breath, wiping the sweat from his forehead with his equally sweaty palm.

Their eyes locked on one another, and Newo couldn’t fight back the smile that overtook her face. In haste she began to run towards him, jumping from chair to chair until she reached the edge of the fighting ring. In one swift move, Vortex wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her over the ropes and hugged her tightly to his chest. “I was wondering when I would run into you in this lifetime!”

As he released his grip on her, Newo swung her fist back and slugged him in the face as hard as she was able to. “Did a lot of searching for me, did you, huh?”

“Well, you know… I got a little busy,” he said bashfully and set her down, rubbing the side of his face with a grimace.

Newo scowled and shook her head, glaring up at him with a grin. Bashfully she raised her hand up to gently stroke the other side of his face and pouted. “I always gotta be the one to find you… Oh well, won a bunch of money betting on you this time. Let’s go collect my winnings. I suppose I owe you a drink?”

“I’ve stopped keeping track of who owes who a drink.” He pulled her hand over to his lips and kissed her knuckles gently. Walking over to the edge of the ring he slithered out between the ropes, and then turned to pick her up with ease and lift her over the ropes before placing her gently down on the floor. “But let’s not get a drink here… I don’t think they care for me too much.”

Newo chuckled under her breath and linked her arm around his. “Noted.”

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Please visit Sarah Anne’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2365113170402055&id=2310272992552740&__tn__=K-R

Jenny Booker: Restart

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Restart

By Jenny Booker

It’s the noise, he thought — too crowded and loud. Watching the people walk by mostly unaware of his presence; some stopped, thinking he was homeless — how kind.

Cars beeped to get the pedestrians off the road, and bells of the bikes tinkled in agreement.

All these people going about their day, where each one is separate from the other, their own unique paths and dates — it was fascinating.

The smells of burgers and donuts filled the air to sweeten the car fumes and sweat. Both competing with a hot dog stand that just set up across the road with a guy shouting all sorts of things to attract the customers.

Near him a lady with her violin starting playing — same time every day this week, and always smiled even when the hustle and bustle of the city ignored the lovely sound of such an instrument.

Feeling sad, he got up off the bench and turned to the quietness of the park behind him. He got to the big lake and took out some bread to feed the ducks, wondering how they don’t need such a complex life.

Looking at his watch, it did seem such a shame — maybe next time keep it simple? Chain of events needed to start and he was the one to do it.

Now what to do in these last few minutes till the end of the world?

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Please visit Jenny’s blog!  https://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

E.C. Fisher: The Expectation Wish

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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The Expectation Wish

By E.C. Fisher

Today’s greeting I greet you with. 

How are you today? I ask as pleasantly as possible. 

Who knows how your day has gone? Did you just get off a long flight? Did you have a lengthy business meeting? 

Who am I kidding, when don’t those run long? 

I take you from destination to destination. While I play my music, listen to the game, talk radio, or I may be yelling at my phone. 

You sit in the backseat behind the partition, minding your own business while unaware of my condition. 

I don’t know you. You don’t know me. 

Yet an agreement has been made when you enter my domain. 

I will provide safe travel to your location. You pay me upon arriving at your destination. 

I blend into the background. Get lost in the streets. Sit idle for hours. Or stuck in traffic. 

I find you at your best and at your worst. 

In the backseat, I have tissues for you to cry in or bags for your vomit. I hate to clean up after you, but tomorrow’s fare depends on a clean interior. 

We know how to bypass the lights, signal right, or stop abruptly. We cater to you, our fare of fares, for our livelihood is dependent on it. 

You may yell, scream, kick, or prattle. I will continue to drive straight for your destination. 

I’ll take you on a ride through my lively city. Hop on in my automobile. 

Say hello and ask how I’m doing. A gentle greeting guarantees you a tolerable ride. 

While I’m at it, a tip is appreciated. 

-Your cabbie

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Please visit Eric on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/eric.fisher.14203

Caroline Giammanco: Book Signing Basics

Caroline Giammanco at a recent Barnes and Noble book signing. Photo courtesy of the author.

Book Signing Basics

By Caroline Giammanco

We spend months or years struggling to complete our manuscripts, and the thrill of signing a publishing contract blinds us to the cold truth: our work isn’t over. Four years ago I hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to market and promote my first book. Few publishers, even large ones, promote authors, so we writers have to do what it takes to be successful. Book signings are a critical part of landing your book in the hands of readers. 

Not everyone is a born salesperson. I know I wasn’t, but I’ve picked up some strategies along the way that have helped me transition from determined writer to successful salesperson. Arranging an event and making it a success may seem difficult and overwhelming. Now that I’m on tour with my third book, with over forty Barnes and Noble signings under my belt, I’m offering tips to make your book signing a win for you, the store, and the readers.

First, let’s start at the beginning.

When you contact a bookstore, whether by phone, in person, or by email, have a game plan.  At Barnes and Noble stores, ask to speak to the CRM (Community Relations Manager). If contacting an independent store, ask to speak to the owner. Once you are connected to the right person, have confidence. Pitch your book and who you are. Be enthusiastic. Explain what your book is about, why it appeals to readers, and what you will do to promote an event. Include press releases, the use of social media, and any print or radio and tv interviews you may do around the time of the event.

Be persistent. Not every store will immediately agree to a book signing. Don’t take that as a definite no. Follow up on the conversation. Send an email including your book trailer, photos of you and your book cover, and a blurb about your book. If you have high ratings on Amazon, let them know. Your job is to convince the management it won’t be a wasted effort to have you in their store. While most bookstores are supportive of authors, sales are their bottom line. Let them know you will be able to bring buyers into their store. 

Be seen as good for business for that bookstore, and be proactive once an event is scheduled. Advertise and discuss the signing on social media. Facebook events are a great way to target people in the area. Use the resources you have available. If you can afford a Facebook or print ad, place one. Ask the local newspaper if they’d write an article. Ask radio stations about interviews they may be willing to have with you. Use Twitter and any other networking sites you belong to in order to spread the word. Word of mouth works.

Even with a full-fledged effort to get your friends and relatives into the store on the day of the signing, the truth is that most of the readers you encounter will be general foot traffic—people who just happened to come to the store on that day. In truth, you don’t want your target customers to be your friends and family. The only way you will be successful is to have complete strangers buy your book. We all hope our circle of friends and family will support us, but that will never get us to the bestseller category. It won’t even produce lukewarm royalties. You have to be willing to expand your comfort zone and reach out to total strangers for sales.

Many writers enjoy being introverts. There’s comfort found in being alone with our laptop and the stack of research we’ve compiled, but once a book signing is at hand, it’s time to come out of your shell. Be prepared to engage customers as soon as they walk near your table. There’s no need to be the heavy-handed used car salesman, but you must initiate the conversation.

At my first Barnes and Noble signing, I had an epiphany. I realized after the first hour that when I smiled and said hello most customers assumed I was a store employee. Yes, I had a big sign sitting next to me announcing my appearance as an author, but few paid attention to it. I adjusted and overcame. I adopted an approach that has worked well for me in stores across the country. As people enter my area I cheerfully say, “Hi, I’m having a book signing today. If you have a moment, I’d love to talk with you about my book.” Bingo! Now I have their attention and they are aware that I am an author with a book they may be interested in. Book sales only happen if readers are attracted to your product. It is your job to get their attention.

I’ve had multiple sold-out signings, and I’ve also seen authors who are doing all the wrong things. They placidly sit at their tables waiting for customers to come to them. Others only schedule an hour or two at a signing. Don’t do that! Devote time to meet as many readers as possible. If the store has been kind enough to give you space in their business, don’t make their efforts to order books, develop signs, etc. be wasted by a half-hearted effort on your part.

Be passionate about your book. If it was important enough to write, it should be important enough for you to promote. This is difficult for introverts. You must put on your performance mask, however, and engage, engage, engage! Keep in mind that many readers are also introverts and may not feel comfortable walking up to you unless you make yourself a welcoming presence. A book signing is no time to be shy. Also, don’t be discouraged. Not everyone you talk to will buy your book. That’s okay. 

Remember to have fun! Book signings aren’t an obligation or work. You are getting to talk about something you love. What better topic do you have to talk about than the book you created and are incredibly proud of? 

Marketing and personal appearances are important. Your fan base grows when you put yourself out into the public. Personal encounters with readers fuel sales and are a rewarding part of an otherwise private journey as a writer. Now get going!

All images are from free use sites unless otherwise noted.
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Caroline Giammanco’s latest book, Inside the Death Fences: Memoirs of a Whistleblower can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Giammanco/e/B017KQZRU4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009880805237

Website: http://www.booniehatbandit.com

Inside the Death Fences: Memoir of a Whistleblower by [Giammanco, Caroline]


Sean Bracken: Manhattan STory

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Manhattan Story

By Sean Bracken

I’d had what could only be described as a rotten day. My boss, Regina Heinz, had kept me under constant pressure all afternoon. 

I’m a computer programmer. I’m good, NO, I’m gifted at what I do. So, when a bitch of a boss constantly interrupts your thinking, destroying your concentration with, “Hey Jack, I could do with a cup of coffee.” Or, “Hey Jack, where did I file the Arturo Contract?” 

You get the picture. A shitty, shitty day.

Leaving the office was like a prison break. Out onto the streets of Manhattan, free at last.

The skyline was the same as always. Massive buildings shadowing everything. Too many people crowding the same space. And just when you need one, no yellow cab.

It started to rain, not heavy rain, more of a penetrating drizzle. Half an hour of trying to catch a taxi, the rain, combined with Regina treating me like dirt, only added to my foul humor.

At last success. After frantic waving and almost suicidal attempts to flag down an elusive ride, a cab pulled up beside me.

Happy Days. Good Time Charlie’s Bar, here I come. A game of pool. A few beers. Relax. Unwind. TGIF.

Just as I reached out my hand to open the cab door, a woman pushed past me.

“My cab, I think,” she said, as she jumped inside.

No fucking way. This was my cab. I held onto the open door and forced myself in beside her.

Before I had a chance to speak, the cabbie called out, “Where to, folks?”

With almost one voice, we said in unison, “Good Time Charlie’s, downtown.”

I looked over to the woman and began to laugh. She joined in. A deep-throated rich laugh, vibrant and infectious. The stress of my rotten day evaporated and I began to think that perhaps things weren’t so bad after all.

As the cab pulled out into the rush-hour traffic, I reached out my hand and said, “John Smithwicks, but my friends all call me Jack.”

“Pleased to meet you, Jack. I’m Ellen, Ellen Daniels,” she said.

She was mid-thirties, dressed in a tailor-cut navy jacket, with a matching skirt that exposed just enough thigh to be interesting. Loose auburn hair emphasized her rich blue eyes, full lips, strong chin and high sculpted cheekbones.

“Sorry for jumping your ride, Jack. I’m late for an appointment that I’ve looked forward to all week.”

“Don’t worry about it, Ellen. It’s about the only thing that’s turned out well all day. Glad to be of service.”

“I love your accent, Jack. Where do you come from?” she asked.

“Dublin, Ireland, but I’ve lived here for nearly five years. I’m a programmer analyst in Heinz Software,” I replied.

“You work for Regina Heinz? My God, I don’t believe it.”

“Yes, unfortunately,” I said. “Sorry if she’s a friend of yours, but she’s impossible to work for. My contract ends next month. In the meantime, it’s like working in Purgatory and praying for the relief from Hell.”

“Oh no, Jack. She’s no friend of mine. Quite the contrary in fact. Regina is one of my worst competitors. That woman has no morals in business.”

The rest of the ride was spent assassinating the character and moral fiber of Regina. All too soon the cab pulled up in front of Good Time Charlie’s. Ellen insisted on taking care of the fare, and I agreed on the condition that she allowed me to buy her a drink.

We ran from the cab, through the rain, to the safety of the bar. 

“What’s your poison?” I asked, while trying to catch the attention of a barman.

“Why, a Manhattan, of course,” she said, with that deep husky voice.

I was very quickly becoming enchanted with Ms. Ellen Daniels.

“Would you like me to wait with you? Until your date arrives?” I asked.

“No thanks, Jack. It’s an online first date and he might get the wrong idea if he sees me flirting at the bar,” she said. “Here’s my card. Get in touch when you finish your contract. I’d love to hear from you again.”

Disappointed, I left her at the bar and wandered over to the pool tables. I’d been shooting pool for about an hour, when I noticed Ellen putting on her jacket and paying her tab. I conceded the game and threw my ten bucks loss on the table.

Moments later I was at Ellen’s side.

“What’s up?” I said. “Where’s your date?”

“Seems as if I’ve been stood up, Jack. Wasn’t the first time, won’t be the last. I’m heading home to soak in a bath with a bottle of Chablis.”

“He’s a fool, whoever he is. Please, let his loss be my gain. I’d love to treat you to dinner and continue our conversation. You really did brighten my day when you jumped in my cab.”

Ellen hesitated for a minute, as if undecided. I pushed my luck and said, “Come on, we’re practically friends. What have you got to lose?”

That was four years ago. I never joined Ellen’s firm. After all, office romances usually end badly. No, we married six months later. She is the love of my life and our first baby is on the way.

The End

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Please visit Sean on his blog: https://sean-bracken.site123.me/

Caroline Giammanco: “A World of Possibilities”

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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“A World of Possibilities”

By Caroline Giammanco

A sliver of sky cut through the bustling cityscape ahead of me. No matter where someone came from, blue skies, thinly veiled with clouds that wrapped us in their embrace, were universal. After a long trip, I was grateful for anything that made me feel less alone. A new city stretched before me, and at times I felt overwhelmed. 

In the middle of unfamiliar sights and sounds, my mind reeled. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was safely at home, in the quiet of our rural community, focused on my studies at the institute. Graduation day meant celebrations with friends and family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years. My grandmother flew in, and my cousins who had been living abroad made the trip home to be there for my big day. Even my hard-to-please father admitted I’d made him proud.

Graduation also meant I was no longer a child. I now had adult responsibilities, and those included being a productive part of my community. Everyone needed a job, and after being recruited by one of the biggest headhunters in the country, I didn’t think twice about taking a job far from home. I was flattered, in fact, that they’d want me to be the leadman in their new venture.

Fitting in wasn’t going to be difficult. Not on the surface, anyway. I’d always had a knack for slipping seamlessly into whichever group I found myself. That was part of the repertoire I brought to the company. 

The question was where to start. My project was important, and my inexperience made me doubt whether I had what it took to identify even the correct starting point. As leadman, I’d already jumped ahead of some seasoned employees to have this position. Was I up to the challenge? After two days here, I had a nagging fear that I wouldn’t perform up to snuff.

The sheer number of possibilities in this place caused much of my anxiety.

Did I become an executive in one of these high rises? The excitement of infiltrating a corporate ladder intrigued me. The capitalist system revolved around making money, and the ability to wheel and deal would open a lot of doors for me.

I could become a shop owner. I’d soon hear all the local gossip and have keen insight into what made the people in this city tick. What motivated them? What did they fear? Who did they trust and distrust? This was all valuable information that my bosses wanted.

What about a taxi cab driver? They met customers from all over, and most people didn’t show discretion in their backseat conversations with others. Many loose lips sailed on those yellow ships that brought people back and forth from airports, hotels, and back-door meetings. I’d be privy to conversations meant to remain confidential, especially if they viewed me as no more than some foreigner who drove a dingy cab for a living.

Just where to start? I realized I had the ability to be flexible, but I didn’t want to waste time on fruitless efforts. If I didn’t make a good impression on the company execs, I’d find myself on the bottom of the heap sorting mail in the back room while my former classmates climbed ahead of me in the hierarchy. No, this was my chance to prove I could do something big. I had to do it right.

Just then, my phone rang.

“Michaelis, a lot is riding on this project.”

“I realize that, Sir. I arrived just two days ago and was familiarizing myself with the area.”

“Well, we aren’t paying you to sightsee. We need you to act quickly and decisively.”

“I understand that, and I apologize.”

“As venture capitalists, it’s our job to move in, use what we can, sell the rest for scrap, and move on. We can’t waste time with this. Other projects are on the burner, too.”

“I’ll start on it immediately.”

We hung up the phone as the light turned green. 

Looking in the rearview mirror of my car, I watched as my face and body completely transformed. Gone were my long green dreadlocks. My golden eyes had turned to a putrid brown common to the citizens of this area. My clothing switched from the shaala wool sweater and pants I’d been wearing to a neatly tailored Armani suit. The closely cropped black hair and a smug expression completed the look I was shooting for.

A corporate insider it was.

Once this job was complete and I’d stripped Earth of all useful resources, I’d return home for my next assignment. 

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Please visit Caroline on FB at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009880805237 and on her website, www,booniehatbandit.com

Kelli J Gavin: Let’s Do This

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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( Please note: the images used as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Let’s Do This 

By Kelli J Gavin

I arrived in the city three days after my 21st birthday. It has been three months. Three months of sleeping on couches. Three months of washing my clothes in a wash basin in dirty showers. Three months of working 12+ hours a day at two separate jobs I do not care for. Three months of not going on more than three auditions. My whole goal of being here in the city was to find “The Job.” To find “The Role” that will bring me satisfaction. That will make me not have to work so hard. That will make life just a bit easier.

I was told to get an agent right away. I tried six different agents in the first month I was here. Only three even agreed to a meeting with me. One told me that I needed to have established film and stage credits before they would ever entertain the idea of representing a “no-name” client. She also informed me that high school roles and local fashion shows shouldn’t be included on my resume. I thanked her for the tip. The other two agents couldn’t even bother to return my call. Of the three agents I met with, none of them agreed to represent me. One was a hack with an office above a Japanese Fusion restaurant that smelled like grease and unappetizing food. His hair was greased back so severely, that I became convinced that he was using the grease from the kitchen down below. Agent number two laughed at me when I asked if they would represent me, and he said he would keep my name and number on file and call me if they had any new representation openings. The third agent asked me for an up-front agent retainer of $7,500.00. I informed her that if I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t be sleeping on couches and worrying about having clean clothing each day. I made a swift departure.

When the discouragement set in, I knew I needed to distract myself. I needed to make sure that I kept busy and that I saved some money. I needed to find a roommate and get a place of my own. I was motivated, I had a plan. I accepted that I needed to concentrate on making money and getting my own place to live and then I could refocus on developing my career. Sleeping when I could, I sometimes had to remind myself to eat. I worked hard, made great money in tips and did well. Here I am. Three months into this journey. Three months of disappointment. Three months of sub-par living conditions. Three months of working myself to the bone. But it is all worth it.

Tomorrow, Calista and I are moving into a tiny sixth-floor walk-up studio apartment. There will be enough room for two single beds and a couch. That is about it. An efficiency kitchen with a mini fridge, a micro and hot plate. But it is ours. I met Calista my first day on the job. We clicked and knew that being roommates would work. She slept all day and worked all night at the corner bar and restaurant. I would make sure to make myself busy and stay out of her way when she needed to rest. My goal will be to keep my job at the location on the corner where we worked together and I will quit my other job next week. By quitting the second crappy job, I will have more time to research auditions, find out about local casting calls and explore the city and all that has to offer.

I do not know if I will ever land “The Role.” But I do know this. It isn’t for lack of trying. Even if I only ever work at the bar on the corner, I plan on being the best waitress my customers have ever seen. I will be so helpful and fast that they will ask for me by name and request to be in my section when they return each weekend. My plan from here on out is to excel at everything I do. 100% effort as I put my best foot forward. I feel like this city is waiting for me. Waiting for me to explore. Waiting for me to dive into adventure. Waiting for me to embrace it fully. And I am not one to disappoint. 

Okay Life. Let’s do this.

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Please visit Kelli at her blog! https://kellijgavin.blogspot.com/2019/07/lets-do-this.html

Write The Story July 2019 Prompt

Write the Story July 2019 Prompt

We have completed six months of the Write The Story project! Thanks to all the authors who have participated by writing a story and everyone who has read, liked, commented and encouraged the authors. Here is to the second six months of 2019 prompts on WTS!


This month’s prompt is designed to be quite broad and provide the opportunity for your muse to search out a story. Good luck and good writing!


Here’s the plan:


You write a story of 3000 words or less (doesn’t matter, can be 50 words or a poem) and post it on the author site that you want to promote. Please edit these stories. We will do minor editing but if the story is not written well, Writers Unite! reserves the right to reject publishing it.


Send the story and link to the site via Messenger to Deborah Ratliff. Put “Write the Story” in the first line of the message.


WU! will post your story on our blog and share across our platforms, FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. WU! will also add the story to the Write the Story page on our blog…where it be for all to read along with the other stories.


We do ask that you share the link to the WU! Write the Story page so that your followers can also read the works of your fellow writers.
The idea is to generate increased traffic for all. May take some time but it will happen if you participate. The other perk of this exercise is that you will also have a blog publishing credit for your work.
The June prompt is below… write the story!


Periodically throughout the month, we will post the current prompt as a reminder.


DO NOT post your story to this prompt. The idea is to have your STORY or poem published on your site, the WU! blog and shared to gain followers for your writing. We will not accept a one- or two-line caption. For the most part, we are fiction writers and poets…. please write a story or poem, not a caption.


If you have any questions regarding this, you may ask the question in the comments.


Thank you.


(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)