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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Campaign Challenge

Writers' Platform-Building Campaign

       Rachael Harrie has put forth the First Campaigner Challenge and I'll run with it.  Follow the link to see the rest of the entries.   While you're there you can vote for mine.  Off course, plenty of Campaigners beat me there so I'm way behind in the running--I'm #126 on the list--but that's okay.  I'm just playing the game and adding blog content.

Here is the Challenge:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!
I took care of all of the above!


                       Blaming Shadows

                Shadows crept across the wall.  The black cat was left behind by Bob’s ex-wife, along with a whole bunch of other bad news.  Shadows was probably the source of a lot of the bad luck Bob had been dealing with of late.

      The cat stopped and stared at Bob.

        Bob sneered at his nemesis.  Picking up an orange, Bob peeled it with his fingers and threw bits of rind at the cat.  With a playful leap, the cat captured a piece of orange peel and began toying with it.

         “Go ahead—play cute cat.  I know what you’re up to.”

           Shadows took a graceful running start and jumped up into Bob’s lap.  Bob tensed.  The cat nuzzled his leg and purred softly.  Instinctively, Bob stroked the cat and then drew back his hand with the realization of what he was doing.

           Bob popped wedges of the orange into his mouth as he pondered his next move.  He thought about what else could go wrong.  It seemed to be a lot of little things.  It had to be the black cat’s fault. 

          The chime on the dryer signaled that his laundry was done.  He unloaded the laundry and groaned.   Everything faded.

  Now remember to go to the Linky List and vote for #126.

                 And a word about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge:   We're trying to hit 1000 sign-ups by March 1st, which is next Thursday.  Please make an announcement on your blog to encourage your readers to join us in the A to Z Challenge.   If you have any special connection to bloggers who haven't signed up yet, send them an email to let them in on the April fun and ask them if they'd like to be a part of it.  This week we're counting on all of you to boost the numbers.   Can you help?

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YeamieWaffles said...

I really like it Lee, I don't really think you deserve to be so far behind in the rankings so I'm going to vote, it's good writing buddy, I'd find it hard to see all 125 of the higher entries being better than yours, it's very hard to imagine.

Rek said...

I loved the ingenious use of the first word to name a cat...interesting story. He fainted over laundry? or is something more ominous?

Jess said...

I love how you used the name Shadows for the cat! That was so cool! I also like how the guy blames it all on the cat but finds himself playing with it. Great job!

I'm entry #19

Stuart Nager said...

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the laundry room? Shadow knows!!!

Nicely done Lee.

I'm #58

Stephen Tremp said...

Well done. Shadows the black cat. Wasn't expecting that. That's what really made your flash fiction sizzle.

Richard said...

Clever use of 'shadows'. I enjoyed it.

Humpty Dumpty said...

This reminds me of something a friend posted on Facebook recently on 'How To Know If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You'! lol Nice twist on the 'Shadows'. Quite unexpected, but I like it. :)

Bess Weatherby said...

Um . . . i want to know what happened with the laundry! Also liked the twist on the word "Shadows." Very nice!

E. Arroyo said...

LOL. Nice.

Jaye Viner said...

An orange! An orange! You're the first I've seen use fruit. Excellent!

Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for the comments so far. Am I really the first one to use orange as a fruit? It was the first thing that came to my mind, but leave it to me to think of food. This was pretty much a throw-away piece that I whipped together for the Campaign Challenge. 200 words is kind of tough.


Morgan said...

Very fun! Way to meet all the requirements! And new follower... came to say thank you for your follow and comment! :D

David P. King said...

Awesome! Shadows is a cat, or a scapegoat? Nice one! :)

inspirenordic said...

Hey! I just joined the challenge and am following you now, so I just came by to say hello! I thought it was really smart using 'Shadow' as a name! I had no idea there were so many fun challenges and games out there for bloggers!

Andrew Leon said...

I'm more interested in how it is that the cat is able to walk on walls. That's pretty cool. Even I'd have a cat if it could walk on walls!

Angeline said...

I also have a black cat, and I'm pretty sure that she's the reason for all the bad luck in my life too!

holessence said...

"Shadows" the cat -- fantastic!

Laurie Buchanan, entry #92

kimberlyloomis said...

I absolutely loved how you used "everything faded". Very much not expected as well as humorous. Good job, Lee!

Arlee Bird said...

Morgan -- Good to meet you!

David--Cat? Scapegoat? A reminder of a relationship gone bad?

Inspire -- It seems like the ideas never end here in blogland. And you can think up your own too. Fun!

Andrew -- Yeah, that thought crossed my mind. I just wrote it like it was given to us.

Angeline -- Sure! Blame the cat.

Laurie -- I'll be over to check out your entry.


Arlee Bird said...

Kimberly -- Hmmm--maybe you got my intended meaning. After some of the comments I started realizing it wasn't totally clear, but I'll see if anyone else comments on this aspect.


Ciara said...

With three boys and a husband, I know I have an evil shadow lurking in my Laundry Room.

Christy Farmer said...

Lee, I like your story. I like it a lot! Off to vote for it :-)

Cherie Reich said...

Ah, this is a great twist on the challenge. Loved it!

Tara Tyler said...

the laundry faded? come on, shadows! you can do worse than that! great job!

Arlee Bird said...

Ciara -- No laundry room is safe!

Christy -- Thank you!!!

Cherie -- And thanks to you as well.

Tara -- Yeah, but how terrible to have to wear faded clothes.


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Good work, McBuddy! And I also liked your idea of using "Shadows" as the name of the cat.

You know me, right, man? You know how... uhm... odd-- No! --make that "different" I can be, right?

I'll bet I'm your only reader who had this reaction to this portion of your story...

You wrote:

Bob stroked the cat and then drew back his hand with the realization of what he was doing.

Bob popped wedges of the orange into his mouth as he pondered his next move.

I kid you not, I immediately thought of the following and suffered this mental image:

You know how wet and sticky oranges are. Well, as soon as I read that bit above, I saw a mental image of cat hair clinging to Bob's fingers and to the orange wedges as be popped them into his mouth.

I mean, seriously, it would be almost impossible to stroke a cat right after peeling an orange without acquiring cat hair on your fingers, which would then be transferred to the orange pieces as you put them into your mouth.

UGH! This was like a HORROR STORY to me!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

lbdiamond said...

Why he gotta blame the cat??? ;)

kirstenlopresti said...

Great entry! I love how you made Shadows a cat. Good luck!

Liza said...

Fun and creative. Love it! This is one of the best I've read. (I'm #112)

J.C. Martin said...

Wha-? What happened to him? That ended pretty abruptly! Loved the start though. Shadows the black cat--love it!

Nick Wilford said...

Nice original idea to use "Shadows" as the name of a cat. I got a real sense of Bob's frustration. I'm thinking either Shadows put a curse on the dryer, or he collapsed under a particularly heavy load of laundry. :)

James said...

I liked that. I also liked what you did with the cat's name.

Carol Kilgore said...

Fun story!

Arlee Bird said...

StMc-- I know what you're saying. A real horror story--blechh!

IBD -- Must be some back story in there somewhere.

Kirsten -- Thanks!

Liza - I'm flattered!

JC -- 200 words! Whaddaya expect? I ran out of words and couldn't finish.

Nick -- I'm realizing there could be more interpretations than what I saw. The ending does seem ambiguous.

James-- I don't know why but that's the first thing that came to me when I heard "Shadows".

Carol -- Fun for the reader maybe but not so much for Bob.


Miranda Hardy said...

I think the evil dryer and cat had it out for him, for sure. lol

Great story, Lee.

Nancy Thompson said...

Hilariously original take on the challenge. You got my vote! I'm #96.

Ann Cory said...

Fun and I enjoyed your use of Shadows as a name. Well done :)

Journaling Woman said...

I like it! Black cats can be blamed for many things, but clothes fading? Is that it?

I'll go vote!


Ashley Nixon said...

You win for best use of Shadows crept across the wall. Great job. Seems to me like Bob is a pessimist. lol.

Arlee Bird said...

Miranda -- I wonder how many socks were missing.

Nancy -- Thank you!

Ann -- Another vote for the name Shadows. If I ever have a black cat I'll know what to name it.

Teresa -- That was the last line for the extra challenge. I was just winging it.

Ashley -- Hmm--Bob a pessimist. Now you've got me thinking in a whole different direction. Thanks for the high mark.


Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I loved the story!!! Let me wanting to see what happened to the poor fellow. Laundry has that affect om me too. LOL

I'll post about the Challenge the first of next week. Great turn out so far.

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I just voted for you #11. Go Lee!

Empty Nest Insider said...

What an imaginative story! I'm off to vote for you! Julie

Daisy Carter said...

Love how you used everything faded - it's genius.

Arlee Bird said...

Debra--Fortunately my wife does all the laundry. I'm in charge of the kitchen.

Julie -- Thanks for the vote.

Daisy -- Gosh, you make me feel like a literary Einstein.


mish said...

Arlee, I'm totally impressed - this is classic!
Yours has to be the best "out-of-the-box" take on the prompt!
You have my vote!

Alyssa said...

That's so creative to name the cat Shadows! Nice job! :)

I'm #37

Maurice Mitchell said...

So cool. I love the sense of intrigue in the Voted it up!

Deniz Bevan said...

Aww, but I like the cat :-)

bridget said...

I'm not a big cat person so I quite enjoyed this!

JD said...

Totally unique take on the prompts!
Well done!

Anstice Potts said...

Hi Lee, I really enjoyed this. I toyed with using the word Shadows as the name for a black cat in my entry as well, but in the end I couldn't come up with a story good enough to go with it, so I made it a person instead. Your idea is great and I love the last line. Took me a moment to get it but when I did I thought it was very funny and clever. Great work.

Sarah Pearson said...

I love this. I'm pretty sure that's the most original use of the first and last line prompts I've seen so far :-)

Cynthia said...

Lee, Thanks for sharing such a fun story. Your use of the prompts was very clever. I wonder how Bob would pin his faded laundry on his cat...that's pretty funny. Would like to read more from you, so I'm going to "follow" you now. Good luck!

Arlee Bird said...

mish -- Your comment made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Alyssa -- Thanks!

Maurice -- I guess now Bob will have to have a new fashion sense with fade clothes or buy a new wardrobe.

Deniz -- Do you want the cat? You can have him.

bridget -- Well, I didn't want to be the one to say anything.

JD -- Well gosh durn! Thank you!

Anstice-- I didn't think about that last line conveying other meanings until I started getting the comments. Glad you got it.

Sarah -- Thank you--that means a lot to me.

Cynthia -- I've followed you back. And I'm pleased that you also got the "punch line".


alexia said...

I love that Shadows is the cat! Great twist on the challenge.

RaeAnn said...

Wow. That's all I can say. Wow.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I loved this. I'm popping over from the Platform Building Campaign. I look forward to getting to know you and your work. ~Cheers

Traci Kenworth said...

I like it!! Did the orange poison him, did the cat do something? It's a great mystery.

Deniz Bevan said...

Aww, poor unwanted cat. I'll take him!

C.M.Brown said...

Definately blame the cat, Arlee! Fun story!

I have recently joined the A-Z Challenge, even though I do not know what I am in for - but I look forward to it!