DWP No. 036




Turn an idea into a short story with a beginning, middle and “end.”

Each day this week, you will be asked to write about a certain aspect of your idea. These writings will then become the filling for your pie. For DWP No. 038, you will finally write your story and share it in its entirety on that day. In the meantime, get to work on imagining the world in which you will tell your tale.

Days ONE thru SIX are all EXERCISES in story-making.





  1. Anton dreaded whenever Val came home.Val. What a bastard. He was bigoted, condescending, and arrogant. Add to the mix, Val was highly ethnocentric with an attitude of great superiority over anyone who was remotely different. To be Russian was to be inspired, to be pure, A real American- that’s who Russians were, not some grubby immigrant from a Slavic country who couldn’t even speak the language clearly.

    Val wasn’t much better- he tried. He went to night school and washed dishes at a Turkish restaurant, eventually graduating with honors at City College.

    No,Val was not like Anton. Thank God. He used his head, he used brains, and obvious intelligence. All his professors at City College said so. Stupid Anton. All Anton knew how to do was use his hands. Anton was a master wood carver specializing in both moldings and ornate plaster work like the kind that was in the old movie houses. He was also an expert coxswain on the East River. He adored Freida, his wife, the flowers and garden he tended so lovingly. He was a simple man with simple needs. Fishing, gardening, and Freida.

    But there was Val. Anton despised Val for all of these things. But worst of all, worse than all the arrogance and jugementalness, and constant insults and criticism, for how Anton took care of the place, worse than him calling Anton a stupid immigrant, Val had done the unspeakable. Val had married Anton’s only child,a daughter.

    Antonia was easily the ugliest child on Anton’s extensive side of the family. It would be nothing short of miraculous, they often said when she wasn’t around, than any man would be remotely interested in her. She was homely, with a plain moon- shaped face, pale and plastered with freckles, plump as a chicken.

    When Julia announced her engagement to Val, Anton thought he was dreaming.

    “I’m getting married!”she cried, rushing into the walkup apartment on East End Avenue, and showing off her ring to Tygee the cat. “To Val! He loves me!”, she sang, and danced around the room.

    Anton responded by spitting then smacking her clear across her face. One of his fingers hit her eye, and then her eyes started running with tears and blood. She crumpled in a heap on the floor, sobbing inconsolably and screaming how she wished she was dead. It was a scene that would be repeated throughout Val‘s life with her.

    Anton kicked her for good measure. “Slut! Whore!,” he screamed, and stomped off to drink his Manischewitz in the basement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice. *thumbs up*

      The voice here is very almost spiteful or something. To me, the action really begins when Julia announces her engagement. If you began this action scene there with a continued focus on the unfolding of events as opposed to setting up everything that Anton thinks, you’ll have some heavy issues to deal with later, within the minds of the characters. I know this is the opposite of what I said to you earlier, but we’re at a different point in the development.

      Great, great work, though, overall. You’re doing an incredible job! Can’t wait to read the final short.


  2. Gently swaying like a cattail in the breeze, though halfway up through the troposphere, really, Dune’s apartment echoed as another thick volume of ancient literature thunked down onto a winding stack of books and poofed up a little cloud of “fustion” (the soft, white dust that accompanies Dune’s whereabouts and behavior.) Another tome, another era of human history etched into the memory books, another time period of unknown months digested in physically forgettable fashion.

    … Restlessness.

    Sscchhkunk! Sscchhkunk!

    Two thick circular lenses slid around and settled into the stack that now formed a powerful down-facing telescope to the floor of the city below. It was a crystal clear night (no fog, for once) and the bird’s-eye-view of the street was pristine, making the still emptiness of it all unmistakably apparent, and sparking another twinge of restlessness in Dune. He swung the big series of lenses around the vacant metropolis once more, feigning for himself a continued deliberation, but his decision for a late-night jaunt had already been made up and he quickly let loose with the optic device and made his way to the exit porthole at the bottom of his nest, readying himself so the warm city breeze could massage and relax the stuffy disposition he’d acquired over the recent hibernatory stint.

    A long, descendant elevator ride later (with likely no more than a few narcoleptic victims along the way at this time of night) and Dune found himself standing alone in the center of the massive concrete public square constituting the Northern footprint of Ytllysyn Plaza. As the seconds, (or minutes, or hours, who knows) ticked away, Dune caught himself eyeing the little dunes of fustion forming around his position; they would know he was here in the morning, but that wasn’t really worth worrying about. The warm embrace of the city hung heavy and thick, like an urban comforter, and it calmed Dune to feel so enfolded into the fabric of the city along with everything else in the comforter’s envelopment.

    Ssssssst! Ffffssshew!

    A freezing ray of air whistled across Dune’s body, whisking the fustion up into a frenzy and slicing through the warm embrace of the moment. Dune snapped his eyes directly to the North, the obvious origin of the frozen whistler.


    This time, the chilly gust fractured across Dune’s face and swirled out from Dune as a pivot in every direction, shooting rapidly out through the city and boring deeply into the municipal infrastructure. Dune swirled around in the vast empty square and relaxed his vision, allowing the infrared spectrum to permeate up into his field of view so he could track what was happening between the buildings around him. The warm fabric of the city’s airspace, carved up by the icy breeze, recoiled and seized up into crystallized fragments like a dried river bed.

    Dune slowly turned his attention back to the North as he felt the warm, innocent, untested adolescence of the city drain away into oblivion. An uncanny sense of vulnerability crawled up through Dune’s spine and he closed his eyes briefly to sense the perimeter limits of dream-field. Planting his feet, and with a deep, exhale, Dune centered himself and firmly exerted an inner inertia (the likes of which is, as far as he knows, a skill unique to him) that thrust his dream-field out further from himself to a radius of about 100 feet.

    Standing firm, face to the North, Dune breathed in and out steadily as he scanned the empty streets at the defensive perimeter of his invisible dream-field. The cold wind subsided.

    A tall man stepped forward through the streetlights on the road due North of Dune. He slowed his pace as he drew right up to the edge of the dream-field. Dune stood motionless, waiting for the man to take another step, to pass into his invisible sleep-inducing emanation, then to crumple to the pavement in an unwakeable temporary slumber.

    The man took another step. Then another. Then another.

    Dune shivered. Then he turned, and he ran.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Some Action

    It’s like I said—I’m not authorized to tell you anything. I will, however, tell you what I am authorized to tell you, if you accept it as truth or whatever you call it, my story. Agreed? Very well. What are your conditions? You can’t be serious. Even if I could answer that question—which I can’t—I would not tell the likes of you. Despite what all those others have told you the past few days, there are a handful of beings who could give you the inside scoop on the Listmaker, but they are all, if not more, elusive like the Listmaker. How do you catch one? Oh, please, what a pipe dream. Catching is not the right psychological framework. What you need is not a physical plan to CATCH one of these beings.The trick, supposedly, is to psychologically manipulate one to reveal itself. But there are too few who exist who could even hope to glean inside the mind of a Bromide much less penetrate and manipulate that mind. Nevertheless, I did hear about this one time in this one place. You wouldn’t be interested in that, would you? Didn’t think so.

    At the age of five, So Jeong began to wither. Destined to live the long, eternal life of a Seer, So Jeong, instead, became ravaged by the fear of her responsibility, for with each hair upon her head, So Jeong delivered the gift of great fortune to whomever could reach the top of the middle most peak where the three peaks meet. Despite the journey being long and arduous, many prevailed and claimed their strand of locked luck.

    As dawn rose to the heights of afternoon atop the mountainous range of the celestial valley where the Knowers retreat, So Jeong whispered a plea to the Singing Leaves. They heard her cry and sent her wish through the breeze through the heavens, beyond the purple moat surrounding the glass castle where the Baubles laughed in delight as they encapsulated the message into lightweight bubbles that could escape through the ether of reality to the realm of the Listmaker’s Ranch, and upon that wind the message caught the air under the wing of a Ladybug, not just any old ladybug but rather, The Ladybug who served as the Listmaker’s messenger. Of course, Ladybug heard So Jeong’s cries and so, flew quickly to the Listmaker’s Ranch via the Green Lightpath opened by the Baubles just as the light flicked on at High Noon.

    Buzzing hurriedly through the Listmaker’s open kitchen window, through the study, up the stairs, around the landing, through the sitting room, Ladybug sees the Listmaker, frantically scratching pen on long strips of torn off rolls of receipt paper scattered across a large wooden desk. Ladybug flutters to the Listmaker’s desk and lands squarely on the barrel end of the pen in the Listmaker’s hand. Catching its breath, Ladybug motions a series of signs. Raising the pen to slowly bring Ladybug closer to his face, the Listmaker understands the message. “Thank you,” the Listmaker thanks. Ladybug gives a polite, straight-legged, one arm draped in front, while the other tucks toward the back, little heel-rocking, chin-gliding bow. And then it stands quickly at attention and shrugs as if to ask, “What are you going to do?” The Listmaker looks sternly back at Ladybug, “That’s none of your concern. You haven’t even seen her since her birth.” Ladybug defiantly crosses its arms, and then makes a series of jovial gestures as if saying, “Sheesh, calm down. I know. I just thought I’d ask.” The Listmaker almost lets out a small chuckle, “Go attend to the funeral in the garden.”

    What do you mean, WHAT? That’s the Listmaker Story I know. If there’s something else you want to know, I’m not sure if I’ll be of any help. There were rumors a few … uh … I guess … centuries now, about a man, like a human man, who arrived at the Listmaker’s Ranch and, you know how rumors are. Well, that Earthman died. No one knows for sure what happened, obviously, but something definitely happened back then. Of course, I can’t tell you anything about that, but that’s because it mostly just doesn’t matter. Okay, thanks for stopping by. Bye now!


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