Monday, January 16, 2012

Three Minutes with Dishpan Hands

Normanday #11: A sinking feeling

Write for three minutes about the time…

…you got stuck washing the dishes even though it was your brother’s turn. You stuck your hand in the nasty sink water, but what you pulled out wasn’t a dirty fork…

Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day January 22 (put “Norman is Debonair” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.

Here are the entries from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes about…

…your lucky pencil. You use it for every test, quiz, and exam. It hasn’t failed you yet. Thirty seconds into Mr. Dobson’s history class, he announces a pop quiz. No problem. You reach for your lucky pencil—disaster! You left it in your locker! Mr. Dobson’s not the sharpest pencil in the box, and your desk is right next to the door, so you decide to slip out to get your lucky pencil. But it’s not a hallway of lockers you find outside the classroom. You’ve stepped into another place and time. It seems familiar, though, like something out of your history book. Yes, that’s it. And holy cow! Check out who’s using your lucky pencil…

Oliver the Telepathic Puppy

Check out who’s using your lucky pencil…

I can’t write for three minutes. I don’t have my lucky pencil with me. I’m going to send my story telepathically instead……
Did you like it?

Okay, smart guy, very funny. Somebody’s been a bad influence on that puppy. Probably me.

Morzant the Alien

Check out who’s using your lucky pencil…

I would recognize the father of Zeentonian mathematics anywhere, even when he’s frowning.

“What’s troubling you, sir?” I query.

“I’m not troubled so much as bewildered. The moment I gripped this strange writing device, the Fourth Rule of Ebeezitan Equations presented itself to me like a gift on Grabletonzar Day. I would mark it a coincidence were I not highly skeptical about matters of happenstance.”

“It wasn’t a coincidence. That’s my lucky pencil.”

“I see. Well, that explains that. I guess I can retire now. Maybe take up jarventoshing.”

“Might I suggest you devote the remainder of your life to understanding the paradox of how a lucky pencil that didn’t yet exist at the time of the development of the Fourth Rule of Ebeezitan Equations can simultaneously be responsible for that rule’s existence. Furthermore, you might study the propitious pencil itself. Any length of consideration will make apparent that a pencil able to bestow good fortune is quite improbable.”

Time travel and lucky pencils, improbable. Morzant sucking the fun out of my writing prompt, guaranteed.

Kelly Bingham

author of SHARK GIRL and Z IS FOR MOOSE (coming out in March 2012)

Check out who’s using your lucky pencil…

It’s Abraham Lincoln! You’d recognize him anywhere, from seeing so many pictures and paintings of him in textbooks. He’s so tall, and so thin. And he’s using your lucky pencil to write into a very modern-looking spiral notebook. He appears to be copying the weekly cafeteria menu, which is taped to the wall next to the lockers.

“Hello young person,” he says to you. Then he points at the menu and nods with a gentle, wise smile. “Tater tots today. You can’t ask for more.” He taps the paper thoughtfully. “Though I don’t like the division of tater tots from fish sticks, which aren’t being served until Thursday. I’ll have to see what I can do to unify the two. Everyone knows that fish sticks and tater tots belong on the same plate.”

He holds out the pencil. “I believe this is yours? I fear I snitched it when you weren’t looking. I was anxious to write this down while I could.”

You recall that people often nicknamed President Lincoln as “Honest Abe.” You take the pencil. “Thank you,” you manage to croak, still shocked.

“You’re welcome," Lincoln says. “My goodness, you have sweaty palms. By the way, can you direct me to the nearest restroom?”

You lead the way, hoping against hope that your best friends will spy you walking down the hall with him. But the only person you pass is the school nurse, who has no reaction to the tall man beside you, wearing a top hat. She nods at you and asks loudly, “How’s that tummy ache you came to see me about yesterday? Are you still gassy?”

You feel your cheeks burn and wish you could melt into the floor. “I’m fine, thanks,” you mutter through gritted teeth.

“What an attractive woman,” Lincoln says. “But I must say that her voice reminds me of a donkey.”

You flinch. The nurse is very touchy. You look back to see if she heard him, but she is still walking away, unfazed. You can see how this honesty thing could be bad or good.

At the restroom Lincoln solemnly shakes your hand. “Thank you again. I believe I will stop by the library on my way out, too. That would be…?”

“Around the corner.” You point the way.

Lincoln nods. “I love to read. Historical fiction is my favorite.”

“Me too,” you say.

“Really?” He gives you a kind but stern look.

You blush. “Well. Mysteries are my favorite, actually.”

He smiles. “I like mysteries too.”

You shake his hand. You notice how warm his hand is, how firm his handshake. “Don’t eat the hot dogs today,” he whispers. “Go for the spaghetti instead. The hot dogs are a bit off. Trust me on that.” He starts to walk away, then pauses. “Oh, and when you and Tommy Jones flip a coin later, choose ‘heads.’”

You part ways and return to class, dazed and dazzled. It’s only when you sit down that your teacher notices your distraction and says, “Are you with us, or are you on another planet? Please turn to page 128. We are studying President Lincoln today.”

You turn the page and stare at the pencil in your hand. What just happened out there? Lincoln time-travelling, and having powers of foreseeing the future?

“After history we’ll be writing a short story,” the teacher adds. “Anything you like, but it must be historical fiction.”

You clutch your lucky pencil happily. You know exactly what you’ll write about.

Got to run. I have a sudden hankering for tater tots.


Kelly Hashway said...

Hmm, I don't have a lucky pencil. Ah! And now I want tater tots.

Norman the Half-Invisible Turtle said...

Kelly, If you eat lucky tater tots you increase your odds of finding a lucky pencil ten times over. Unfortunately, you’d have to be extremely lucky to find lucky tater tots. Really, you’d need the kind of luck that only comes with having a lucky pencil.