Prompts Posts

Prompt #3 Bob and Joe in a canoe

Prompt #3 Bob and Joe in a canoe

PROMPT:  Bob and Joe go out in their canoe What they reel in is not a fish. What was it? No dialogue. Show, don’t tell. February 2016

What is a prompt? Check here for an explanation.

The canoe begins to waggle, waves slopping against the gunnels.

Now water slops over, running inside, streaming down the ribs.

Bob looks for the milk jug his mom found last summer, the one she cut the end and part of the side out of, leaving the handle. He remembers how she insisted on tying it to the painter, instructing him that if he was going to go off in a canoe with that Joe from down the trail, he’d better have something to bail with.

Bob’s heart tug-of-wars between relief at seeing the milk jug still tied in place and anxiety as he watches it bounce around on the foamy water under the little bow deck.

Joe’s in the stern, trying to steady the canoe. He has a strong J-stroke, but it’s not helping. You can’t dip your paddle in deep when the canoe’s trying to lay itself on its side. The wrong side.

Bob decides to lean over the other side to see if he can tell what’s caught itself on the line they’ve been trawling. They didn’t really expect to catch anything, but they did gain permission to take the canoe out on their own by telling the folks they were fishing, so this feeble effort had been made as nod to the truth.

Cautiously Bob shifts back towards the stern, then leans against the roll of the canoe, hanging onto the gunnel, peering over the back, when suddenly the boat rights itself, Bob’s weight added to Joe’s causing the stern to dip deep.

Finally catching water, Joe paddles like mad. The bow rears itself into the air. Water floods the back end.

Joe digs deeper with his paddle and wonders what in the world is pulling them back. He can’t paddle much harder. And Bob isn’t any help at all.

Oh man, Bob!

Whatever’s in the water, now Bob’s in there with it!

The canoe flattens for a moment as Joe stashes the paddle in the belly of the canoe, the water at his knees now several inches deep. Deep and cold. But not as cold as Bob must be. Where is he?

Oh, whew! There. Bob bobs up a few feet away. Joe can’t help but snicker. Bob’s  bobbing…

Bob’s treading, too. Like crazy.

Now he’s stroking towards… No, away. Why is he turning?

Joe spins the canoe on it’s tail, trying to keep Bob in his sight. The fishing line on the back now runs across the gunnel.

Enough of this. Joe grabs the line with both hands as Bob swims around to the other side.

Bob reaches up to the gunnels, pulling the canoe level as Joe tries to reel in whatever’s on the line, hand over hand. Mental note. Never tie a fishing line to the painter ring.

Flesh burning from the thin, taught nylon, Joe looks for something he might cut it with. Nothing. Just a milk jug and the painter rope.

Bob’s kicking, trying to get over the gunnel. His head and shoulders dip into the canoe and Joe lets go of the line to counterbalance Bob’s weight before they flip.

Splashing into the bottom of the boat, Bob rights himself. The boys look at each other, determined. Time for pay back. They’ll get this thing now. Both begin to tug on the line. Joe wraps one hand with the tail of his shirt. That helps. Bob’s shirt is soaked, but he does the same. Between the two of them they’re able to make some headway. The end of the line draws nearer.

And nearer.

Sorry readers. The timer went off before I could find out what was dragging the boys’ canoe down. I have no idea what it was. Any suggestions?


Illustrations: Pixabay Free Images 


Posting a Prompt #1

Posting a Prompt #1

Writers often use prompts to get their imagination going. Each month Writers Cafe meets to write from a prompt. Once announced, the timer is set, and we write for 16 minutes plus 1 (it’s a long story). Sharing our words follows, along with surprise, laughter, tears, critique, encouragement, and learning.
April, 2014 the member in charge of finding a prompt set this challenge.

Write something that incorporates the following phrases:

“I’ve nothing pressing to take my time today.”

“That’s the story I hear everywhere I go.”

“I can’t do this anymore.”

This was my effort…

The news rambled in the background as Kate mashed a pot of potatoes in the kitchen.

“Can’t you turn that down, Evan?” she called to the old man, even though she knew he wouldn’t hear her over the blare of the news anchor. Why did she even bother? She smashed the potatoes a little harder. “I can’t do this anymore,” she muttered to herself.

Suddenly, surprising even herself, she pounded the masher one more time into the pot, left the handle sticking out of the white mass, and marched into the living room.

“Evan!” she shouted.

Her husband’s hairy brows crouched into his bifocals, indicating awareness, but he remained riveted on the television.

“Evan!” she pronounced again, this time moving towards the end table.

His hand slid off the arm of the chair and came to rest on the conveniently placed remote. “Not right now, Kate,” he pronounced firmly. “I want to hear what this fella has to say.”

“Hear what he has to say? The whole neighbourhood can hear what he has to say.”

“Ah, yes. But I have nothing pressing to take my time today.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” Kate queried, shaking her head.

“Just that I have the time to focus on this right now. Besides, that’s the story I hear everywhere I go.”

“What is?” she asked, perplexed.

“That the neighbourhood is going astray.”

“I didn’t say that,” Kate protested, frustration building. “I said the whole neighbourhood can hear your TV. Turn that darn thing down so you can hear me.”

“Hear you? I can hear every word, my dear.”

“Well, what did I say. Tell me,” she demanded.

“You said the neighbourhood is going to hear about all this stuff on the news.”

“I did not. I said they can hear the news, our TV’s news because you’ve got it on so loud.”

“Well, yeah. Which means they’re going to hear what’s on the news.”

“But they shouldn’t hear it from our TV. They should hear it from their own TV.”

“Why would they want to hear our TV when they have their own?” Evan finally turned and looked at Kate. Purposefully, and with exaggerated motions, he lifted the remote, aimed it like a pistol at the television, and pushed mute.

“Now, what’s this about the neighbours needing to hear their TVs?” he questioned the woman fuming in the doorway.

“It’s not their TV’s!” Kate nearly shouted. “It’s your TV. It’s too loud!  You need to…”

Suddenly a hiss and a sizzle bubbled behind her as the vegetables boiled over. “Oh no!” Spinning around, she grabbed the pot handle. “Eeyoww! My hand!” Shoving the pot off the burner, she rushed to the sink, holding her hand under a blast of cold water. Tears flooded her eyes. “I can’t do this anymore. I just can not do this anymore.”

Behind her she felt a pair of thin, wrinkled arms wrap around her waist. “Let me look, my dear,” Evan said, gently turning her hand so he could see the angry red tissue.  “I’m a pain of an old man, Kate. I know that. But I love you, darling. I love you with all my heart. What can I do to help?”

Hand dripping, she turned, unmoved by his expression of love.

“You can put your doggone hearing aid on!” she blurted. “And then you can have some dinner.”