Goofing Around

Let’s have some fun while we’re here.  I’m going to start by writing one sentence of a story.  You’re invited to add one more sentence of your own (through the “comments” function) to move the story along.  Sentence by sentence we’ll build a joint story.  Let’s see how good we are. 


~Doris stopped slurping her tomato soup and slammed down her spoon with a bang.

61 responses to “Goofing Around

  1. Unfortunately, her aim was off and the spoon smashed all the soda crackers on the counter, sending cracker chunks to the floor.

  2. Startled, Walter spilled his coffee down the front of his new blue silk Prada shirt.

  3. “That’s it,” said Doris, pushing back her chair. “I’m outta here. No more Mrs. Nice Guy. This marriage has hit the wall.”

  4. “Woo Hoo,” yelled Walter, “there really is a Santa Claus.”

  5. “Santa Claus, Shmanta Claus! Just wait til my lawyer gets her claws in you!”

  6. Doris flounced toward the door, pulling her car keys from her purse. She couldn’t resist one more parting shot: “And, just in case you’re interested, ” she said, “In fact, the guy at the car lot WAS coming on to me back in 1987, and he DID send me the flowers. HA!”

  7. “A used car salesman? You have to be kidding,” said Water, dabbing at the coffee stain on his shirt, then perking up. “I remember that guy. You used to meet him at the bus stop. John. Wasn’t that his name? Well, get ready to meet my squeeze–Martha. You thought she was last year’s news, but I’m sorry to let you know, she is the love of my life. In fact, she’s waiting outside for me in that Mercedes. You’re not even in her league.”

  8. (Ann, Seriously. You need to expand your horizons…)

  9. “Wait a minute, Doris. It’s almost Christmas. You can’t just walk out the door like that. What about Toby? It’ll break his heart. You know how sensistive he is.”

    Doris paused with her hand on the doorknob, and looked down as the emotions swept through her like a tsunami. It would break Toby’s heart, she knew, but how could she get through the next two weeks in this house with that cad Walter.

    “Toby,” called Walter. “Toby, come in here.”

    Doris heard Toby jump off the couch and start towards the kitchen. Now what do I do, she wondered. Walter’s playing dirty, using Toby against me.

    Toby trotted immediately to the crackers on the floor and began eating them.

  10. She shot Walter a look as she closed the bedroom door. She had to figure this thing out. Stay with this bumbling fool two more weeks or hit the highway.

    Meanwhile, Walter heard a car stop in front of the house. “Uh oh. Martha.” He scurried over to the window and peeked out. There was Martha, stepping out of her Mercedes just as John was climbing out of his Ford Pinto. John struggled to hold onto the flowers he had bought for Doris.

    “John? What are you doing here?” Martha flashed a big smile his way.

    John shrugged. Martha moved in closer. He grinned and handed her the flowers. Before you could say “Woo Hoo”, John and Martha were tangled up like kudzu growing up a Poplar tree.

    Walter stared in disbelief. His Martha, out on the street corner, right under the busstop sign, pressed up against John. The flowers for Doris had scattered across the sidewalk.

    Doris walked out of the bedroom carrying a suitcase. “I’m leaving today, Walter. I’ve made up my mind. Besides, John is on his way to get me. I’ll come by Christmas day to see Toby.”

    Walter quickly closed the blinds and headed toward Doris. “Doris. Snookums. Let’s just cool off a bit and try to work this out. He reached for her shoulder. She always did like having her shoulders rubbed.

  11. “Touch me and you’re dead, Walter.”

  12. “I’d rather be dead than living without Toby, ” Walter said as he slipped on the cracker crumbs and tripped over Toby.

  13. “Walter! Are you all right?” Doris knelt over her prone husband while Toby, the terrior, ran for the corner with cracker crumbs all over his mouth. Walter had hit his head on the corner of the kitchen table as he fell, and now blood from a gash in his forehead pooled on their new ceramic tile floor. He was not moving.

  14. Doris jumped up and grabbed the cordless phone off its base. Her finger reached for the 911 speed dial button……then paused.

  15. “I don’t have time for this. Walter, why do you do this to me! And where is John, he should’ve been here by now to pick me up”. Doris nudged Walter with her toe. “Get up, Walter, you need to clean this mess up.” Walter still did not move. Toby slinked over behind the two of them and hunkered down under the table.

  16. Doris sucked on her right index finger, her cell phone in her left hand. Walter had always listened to her before, but now he was bleeding and acting dead just to spite her. Should she call 911 or just leave? After all, she hadn’t caused his wound. He’d fallen. Maybe he’d fallen after she’d left. Toby sniffed at the blood. Doris hesitated.

  17. “Oh, crap, Walter. If this isn’t that just like you! You killed yourself on purpose, didn’t you?”

  18. Toby looked at Walter, then looked at Doris wondering why neither of these nimcompoops could follow their own training. With a deep sigh he hopped over Walter’s body, raced to the phone and hit the #1 speed dial button, just as he’d been trained to do.

    Humans! You just can’t count on them, he thought as the 911 operator squawked in his ear. He began barking furioulsy into the phone.

  19. Toby then turned to Doris and said, ‘What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a happenin.”

  20. Sandra Dee (Jenny)

    “Oh, there you go, Walker, anthropomorphizing again,” Ms. Hendricks said, squinting at the computer monitor. As his English teacher leaned over his shoulder, Walker Harris could smell her Chanel No. 5 perfume, could see the tiny mole on her neck, just under her right ear. “You know dogs can’t talk, I know dogs can’t talk, and your readers certainly know dogs can’t talk,” Ms. Hendricks said, tucking a loose strand of strawberry blonde hair behind her ear. That mole! Walker thought about nibbling it. “Before you submit your first draft, Mr. Harris, I’d like you to seriously reconsider your point of view.” Walker watched her lips, so soft, so moist. He caught a glimpse of her tongue, pink and glistening. He felt like panting.

  21. “Well, Ms. Hendricks, I don’t know what anthropomorphizing means but if it means fantasizing about a certain blond, then I’m guilty. If it means something about having a talking Toby, have you ever heard of Mr. Ed?”

  22. “What about me? I can talk.” Walker and Ms. Hendricks looked at each other, then towards the instructor’s desk.

  23. There standing on the corner of the desk was the Geico Gecko.

  24. “Lucky for you, ma’am. I just sold one of your fellow teachers in this joint a policy and I passed your door on my way out. Let me tell you something. I noticed this dude isn’t interested in drafts or point of view. He’s got you on his mind.”

  25. “Okay,” said the Gecko. “Insurance aside, let’s sort this out. We have a dead guy named Walter, a talking dog named Toby, Doris the perpetually indecisive, not to mention John and Martha reuniting out on the curb–all in a story. But here in the classroom, we have the metafictional writer, Walker, who has now stepped out side his story, and his writing teacher and love interest, Ms. Hendricks. That’s all fine, but you should be ashamed of yourselves for needing a talking lizard to straighten out your plot. I’m certainly not to be trusted. My inclination is to add some literary icons to help us out.”

    Just then Mr. Darcy and Captain Ahab wandered into the classroom, laughing uproariously.

  26. “Walter’s dead?!!!! But Ms. Hendricks, I didn’t plan to kill Walter. I only wanted him hurt, you know, to thicken the plot just a little.”

    “Walker, the sooner you realize you are not in control, the better you’ll be. You must submit and listen to your muse. And do as you are told. If your muse says Walter must die, then so be it. Oh, and Walker? Your exclamation points are showing.”

    Ms. Hendricks turned her attention to the door. “Gentlemen, please come in. We weren’t expecting you.”

    Gecko hopped up on top of the computer moniter. He crossed his little green legs and arms. “Whoa, this is giving me the heebie-geebies”.

  27. “I’d venture to say, what I mean is, certainly, nobody is expecting us,” said Captain Ahab, trying to catch his breath. Dabbing at the tears rolling down his cheeks, he spoke more easily. “You’re the first folks we’ve encountered on this unprecedented visit. Good Mr. Darcy and I agreed, after many years of contemplation and debate, to find out for ourselves if reality is truly stranger than fiction.”

  28. (Kathy Love the exclamation reference, where have we heard that before? Great line Shaddy, “reality is truly stranger than fiction”)

    “I lost control, Ms Hendricks, when you walked through that class room door. ”

    “You better make your move quick Matey, or I’ll harpoon that lassie for meself.” Captain Ahab grinned, “I’ve been a having a whale of a time, and she shivers me timbers.”

  29. “Ahem.”

    All eyes turned towards the door.

    “Call me Isr…. er, Ishi….. I mean, call me IZZ…ray-al? Oh, heck. Me mother died today… I think. Oh, well…. the thought plickens, and, like, you know, I’m oh so ecstatic about ellipses. You know.”

    “Doris? Your tomato soup’s getting cold.” said the Gecko, waiving an annuity package under Doris’s nose.

  30. Sirens drowned out any further conversation. Everyone, except the corpse, rushed to the windows to rubberneck. A blue and white police car skidded to a halt at the curb, spraying water and slush on John and Martha, who were engaged in deadly battle on the icy sidewalk.

    “Okay, you two, yelled the cop. Break it up. I said, break it up! Now stand up and keep your hands where I can see them. Oh, no, not you two again. I told you the last time if I ever caught you fighting in public again, I’d run you in. Turn around, put your hands behind you. You know the drill.”

    “Oh my god!” screamed Doris as she ran from the building. “John, John. What’s happening here? And who is this woman?”

    “Uh… this is Martha, my wife.”

    “Wife? Wife!!! You never said you were married!”

    “Yeah, well, that’s why I was coming over here today. Martha and I have been separated for a long time. We may as well be divorced. It’s impossible for us to get along. You see, we’re the literary equivalent of voodoo dolls.”

    “What kind of line is that? You think I’m going to believe that? Voodoo dolls, my eye.”

    “No, really, Doris. I swear. Come on, what are the first names you think of when someone tells you to write a descriptive encounter between a man and a woman?”

    “John and…. Mary.”

    “Oh. Well, yes, I guess that’s right. But really, Martha and I are always being used as subjects in writing exercises, and every time some student writes about us, well, we are obliged to to act out what they write. We’re like puppets, and writers control our strings. It’s awful, Doris. Martha and I were in love once, and now we can barely get along for more than a few seconds. Or, sentences, as the case may be. I love you, Doris, I really do. But I’m a man who is not in control of his own life.”

    “Ri-i-i-ight…. You know what, John? Get lost.”

    “Yeah,” John snorted. “Where have I heard that before,”

    “I was better off with wimpy Walter, but now he’s… he’s … ohmigod, Walter’s dead.”

    “Ditch the drama, Doris. I can see, you know.”

    “What? What do you mean?”

    “That lizard’s standing right in front of the window. I can see it. Don’t give me that broken-heart stuff.”

  31. “Cut. Cut! I said CUT!!! People, people, what is the matter with you? How many times do we have to redo this scene? Walter, stand up. You’re not dead anymore. You two—John, Marsha. I don’t want to see you within ten feet of each other or it’s back to commercials for the both of you. And, get those whalers off the set.”

    “Uh, where should I send the whalers?” asked the best boy.

    “What do I care? Central casting. No, wait. Give ‘em to Greenpeace, with my compliments. Just get ‘em outta here. Somebody clean up the cracker crumbs and somebody else teach Doris how to slam her spoon down without making a mess. And get that gherkin outta here, too.”



    “Gecko, sir. It’s a gecko.”

    “Gecko, gherkin, I don’t care if it’s a gold-plated Komodo dragon. Get it off my set. And Walker? No more ad-libbing. Or drooling. Remember your lines or you’re going with the pirates. I mean, whalers. Got it?

    “Okay, people. Can we get it right this time? All right, cue the talent…an-n-n-nd action!”

    Doris stopped slurping her soup and slammed down her spoon with a bang.

  32. (Walk, terrific last ‘graph: “shivers me timbers” indeed.)

  33. “Excuse me? I did not put myself and my horse through this travel nightmare just to arrive here and then be sent back. Do you not realize who I am? I’m Mr. Darcy. Yes, THE Mr. Darcy. The infamous Mr.Darcy. My horse is tired and is in desperate need of a warm stable with fresh oats and the best hay. Surely, with all these characters standing around not knowing what to do, there is at least one that can take care of my horse. Ah, you. Yes you over there. Anonymous, I believe you can help me. Can I trust you with my horse, Anonymous? One more thing–what kind of name is Anonymous?”

    Captain Ahab strolls over, catching the last part of the conversation. “Well now, matey. Reveal your name or you’ll walk the plank before sunset.”

    Gecko flinches in disbelief. He begins to think maybe he should try to get on over at Nationwide.

  34. Doris grabbed the soup bowl and deliberately dribbled the disgusting dregs down on Walter as he desperately tried to become undead.

  35. And just what’s wrong with “Anonymous?” You’ve seen my name everywhere. I am an all purpose, multi-faceted talent, I’ll have you know. However, I am not a horse-tender. You, sir, are not in the script, and therefore can tend your own horse’s…..mouth.

  36. “My dear Captain Ahab, we’ve quickly and most certainly acquired the answer to our question regarding reality,” said Mr. Darcy . “Have you the fortitude to stomach any more of its absurdity ? “

  37. (Ann, really. Did you think we would all play nicely together? You should see some of the trouble we dreamed up at 920Writers. Especially that Walk. He’s an instigator par excellance.)

  38. CUT!!! I mean it, people. Follow the script or get off the set. I want the pirates or whalers or whatever they are gone. Literary figures– go back to the library. And somebody squash that green lizard!

    Walter, quit playing dead. And clean that soup off your costume. Walter! Get up! Walter? Oh, for Pete’s sakes, Walter. It’s fine to get into your role, but you’re carrying it too far. Now from the beginning, people. Ready?

    Cue the talent…..annnnnd…. Walter? Walter, are you okay?

  39. As the scene resumed, you could hear Mr. Darcy muttering to Captain Ahab on the way out the door.

    “Ahab, buddy, we were warned not to try this. Hemingway was right. So was Shakespeare. You remember how they pleaded with us not to leave the library. But we wanted another adventure. We should’ve listened to them. At least, at the library, we know where we stand, eh matey? We have our very own number. And the quietness of it all, oh I can’t wait to get back there to my shelf, my place.

    Captain Ahab smiled, remembering the warmth and coziness of the library. He glanced back at one last look at the glistening Ms.Hendricks. All of a sudden he was quite homesick.

    “Mr. Darcy? This adventure did have it’s moments. But between you and me? I can’t wait to get back to those Little Women. You know what I mean?”

    “Ah yes, my friend. Indeed.”

    “Eh, could I have a minute with you fellows before you go? I was wondering if I could interest you in purchasing an insurance policy,” begged Gecko.

    Dear, dear little green thing, we are in no need of your policies. I do believe we are quite insured. We are very well taken care of at the library. Ha! You are the one that should update. From what I hear, you are about to get squashed”.

  40. “But wait, sirs! If I may, what will you take back with you? I mean, from here. From our story? Does anything stand out in your mind from what we’re trying to create?” asked Gecko.

    “Well yes, I believe I will take something back with me. Although I must admit I am somewhat jealous. But hey, it’s still a great line. “As he desperately tried to become undead”. Now that’s a classic”.

  41. Walter rises to his knees, “Dang, now I know why they say don’t take NyQuil and work heavy equipment or recite soap opera lines.”

    Doris hands Walter a cup of coffee and starts singing, “If you wish upon a star……”

  42. “See there, Ahab?” Those characters have fortitude, it’s just not as cut and dried as in our time. Look at them. It looks like pure chaos going on. But if you look closer, you can see it.”

    “See what, Mr. Darcy?” Ahab whispered.

    “There, in all that shouting and mumbling and ideas and thoughts. In all that chaos. See? Those characters are just like all the rest. They are just desperately trying to become undead. Lets’ go home….”

    “Mr. Darcy, but what’s a soap opera?”

  43. Ahab reached into his back pocket. “I knew this pocket dictionary would come in handy. Just a minute…it says here…an opera is ‘a form of theatrical presentation in which a dramatic performance is set to music’. The soap part is pretty self-explanatory.”

    Scratching his head, Ahab scowled. “I’ll be damned if I know what a soap opera could be, although I’m getting flashbacks of times I’ve done some singing in the shower.”

  44. “That croaking I’ve heard coming from your binding on the shelf at home. Are you referring to that as singing?” said Mr. Darcy. He cocked his head, elbowed and winked at Walter who was staggering in circles and sloshing coffee onto the already stinking slop under their feet.

  45. Walter raises his coffee cup, “Merry Christmas everyone!” His Prada shirt stained with coffee and cracker crumbs.

    Doris walks up an smacks him on the back of his head, “Happy New Year, you idiot, Christmas was last week.”

    Walter rubs the back of his head and mumbles something about the writer’s strike.

  46. The gecko sidled over to Toby, the dog and cooed. “If you give me a kiss at the stroke of midnight tonight, I’ll turn into a cute little poodle with a pink bow around my neck. Interested?”

    Toby gave a big dog yawn, whipped out his cell phone and poked 911 with his paw. “I’d like to report a series of writing crimes at the home of Doris and Walter Arbuthnut. We have people wrecklessly playing with plot lines, yanking literary heroes out of timeless classics, adding bossy directors, and some are even making parenthetical remarks. As a major character in this charade, I want them all carted away to the asylum and the tender care of Nurse Ratchett. Feel free to leave me in charge, as I appear to be the only rational creature in this narrative, even if I am a talking bull dog.” Toby paused. “No, I don’t want you to bring along your manuscript for a quick read. ” He slapped his cell phone shut and stuck it in the pocket of his three-piece suit.

  47. Toby stood watch at the front window. The asylum wagon was promised to be there in a matter of minutes. Just then he remembered the gecko’s earlier promise to him. He glanced around and searched the crowded room until he caught Gecko’s eye. Toby motioned him over to the window. “Stick by me. Soon we’ll be alone and I’ll take you up on your offer. I’ve always had a weakness for pretty, petite, blonde poodles and pink polka-dot bows.”

    Toby thought to himself, I haven’t had a romantic fling since ’99. No wonder I’m falling for this midnight kiss madness. Sheesh, I’ve become desperate. I better straighten up and act sane or Big Nurse Ratchett and her strong-arm orderlies will haul me away too.

  48. Gecko spots the drooling bull dog Toby eyeing him. Uh, oh, he thinks. Toby has more than a romantic fling in mind. Perhaps someone forgot to feed the beast. Best to take its mind off me.

    “People,” says Gecko as loudly as he can. “People, may I have your attention, please? Thank you. Now, it has come to my attention that one of our group has called the authorities to complain that the inmates are in charge of the asylum.

    “I think you all know what that means for our future. In the meantime…” Gecko pauses as sirens warn of ambulances and police cars screeching to halt outside the sound stage.

    “In the meantime,” he continues, “I have something to say. Well, sing, actually. Please feel free to join me.

    “Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    and never brought to mind,
    should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    for the sake of auld lang syne.

    “For auld lang syne, my dear,
    for auld lang syne,
    we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
    for auld land syne….”

    “And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
    And give us a hand o’ thine!
    And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
    for auld lang syne.

    “And I would like to add a very special “thank you” to Ann, who guided us along the shoals of some very rocky first efforts, who trimmed our sails when they became too verbose, and who, in six short incredible weeks, encouraged us to give ourselves permission to write with spirit and abandon, so long as we could get POV, tense, and distance straight.

    “Now, in closing, I would like to call on Shaddy for our class cheer to round out this year. Hurry, Shaddy, they’re getting the straight jackets out!”

  49. I would also like to thank Ann for her wise counsel during a fiercely intense moment during BWW. (Actually, I had several!Ha!) Not only did she encourage us to write with abandon but she advised me during my bout with writers block to write as crappy as I possibly could. And that became my goal. And, if you’re wondering, it worked! You wouldn’t believe all the crap I’ve cranked out since then. Woo Hooo00!! Thing is, I used to fret and stress over every little word (do not try this as it will drive you to the isylum) but now, thanks to Ann’s advice, I realize I have two choices–write even though it may be ridiculously crappy–or–don’t write. Thank you, Ann. The handful of people in my life that has made a difference, that saw me, that heard me, that changed me ( and you writers know who you are) there is Ann L. cheering me on with her whisper in the back of my mind. Always.

  50. “Well Joe, you ready? From all the phone complaints we’ve received, there is no telling what we’re going to find on the other side of this door.”

    “You got that right, boss.” The door squeeked as they entered.

    “Boss? Joe whispered. “Maybe we ought to let them sleep it off awhile. I mean, look at ’em.”

    “I think you’re right. Doesn’t look like they’ll be any trouble for a few hours anyway.”

    “Good grief, look at that fellow over there in the corner. What happened to him?”

    “I don’t know, but I swear if that doesn’t look like tomato soup all down his fancy-scmancy shirt.”

    “Some kind of New Year’s Eve party, huh Boss.”

  51. At the stroke of midnight, a voice boomed out of nowhere, as if from God himself. The first word that filled the room was “LEAN.” Doris followed the order instantly, grimacing as she felt the wetness of Walter’s soiled shirt front as she leaned into him; Mr. Darcy and Captain Ahab leaned without hesitation against the nearest wall, adopting the postures they held on their respective library shelves; Walker leaned close to the aghast Ms. Hendricks and hastily nibbled the mole on her neck; the gecko jumped onto Toby’s chest and slid down inside his vest, finally coming to rest, leaning his tiny head at Toby’s throat, awaiting the kiss.

    The voice from above, coughed impatiently, rewound and started booming again:


  52. Hey, Gully. I gave it my best shot from up here on the chandelier. I normally do my cheers with jumps and acrobatics but I didn’t want to risk dropping down amongst these wayward, poor souls bound for the cuckoo’s nest.

    When the coast is clear will you help me down? If you’re up for it, we can clean up the mess and then sit down, relax and talk over old times. I haven’t eaten for hours and I’m starving . How about you? Do you think there’s anything in the cupboards besides more tomato soup and crackers?

  53. Shaddy, I suggest you stay on the chandelier until the guys in white coats are gone. And, crackers are good–and appropriate. I’ll bring the cream cheese awash in smoked raspberry chipotle sauce. Yes, talking over old times sounds like much more fun than purging my filing cabinet of all things 2008 to make room for all things 2009.

    By the way, has anybody else noticed that Toby seems to be a shape-shifter? He started out a terrier, then changed to a bull dog, and, when last encountered, was in the form of a poodle.

    Anyway, this was fun. Shall we carry on with the madness, or will Ann give us another prompt? We might even try to behave next time. No promises, though.

  54. I have to give you a lot of credit, Ann. You’re giving us another chance with Goofing Around 2.

    Do you have a strong stomach or a medicine cabinet full of Maalox?

  55. Shaddy,

    On second thought, here’s my help for getting you off that chandelier: sprout wings and fly, Shaddy! You can do it!

  56. Gully,

    Upon reading your words, I swooped down from the chandelier. I’m perched on the windowsill, poised to take off into the wild blue yonder, lofted by your encouragement.

    If I work real hard and develop my wings, I hope to someday reach heights where I will feel the wind beneath your wings on my face.


  57. Shaddy, what you would be feeling is Pablo’s prop wash as he flies across the room…

  58. Just then, wide-eyed Flo progressed through the door and tripped onto the set. ” Could I interest you folks in some homeowners insurance?” she asks. “It looks to me like there’s going to be some serious injuries here.”

  59. “It costs a lot less if you bundle,” Flo added.

  60. “Thats it ,thats it. This is the third time you’ve tracked mud onto my new marble kitchen floor today. Iam sending your little 12 year old behind back to my sister’s. Happy the hell Holidays.”

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