An Announcement and Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

An announcement from this blog’s management (who happens to be wearing pajamas and having her first cup of coffee, but you can imagine me in a business suit and looking sharp, if it works better for you.)  We have a new address for book pimpage.  It goes by the veddy cryptic address of bookpimping at outlook dot com.  If you have a book coming out, or a book on sale, or even a book you loved and want to tell the world about, send us the Amazon link at that email, and we’ll put it up on Sunday with the vignettes. – SAH

An Announcement and Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is:rub

64 responses to “An Announcement and Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Mind-Maiden thought “this rubs me the wrong way, facing three Rogue Ultras, a Titan, Fire-master & a Electro-master. Two of them together, I can defeat but three?”

    Then with a shout of “It’s clopping Time”, a very large, very ugly Titan chasing into the Rogue Titan driving him downward.

    “Now this is much better” says Mind-Maiden as she blasts the remaining two Rogues.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Sorry that should be “crashing into” not “chasing into”. :Embarrassed Grin:

    • For a disturbing moment, I had a VERY different image.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      The battle continued as the Rogues attempted to take down Mind-Maiden.

      Her telepathy enabled her to realize that they were afraid to run and were desperately hoping that their ally would win his fight against the Titan that had interfered.

      Then a rough sounding voice spoke “Hello lovely lady. Shall we let these miscreants surrender?”.

      The Troll-Like Titan hung in the air waiting for a response.

      After the Rogues surrendered, Elizabeth, called Mind-Maiden, asked “Miscreants. Haven’t hear that word used often.”

      “I’m Billy Stevens, code-named Troll. I love learning new words and using them.” Was the reply.

  2. He dipped the rag into the oil. With a practiced move he rolled his hand catching any drips as he then placed the rag on the table. The wide eyed child watched this whole production.
    “You see, you gently rub the oil into the wood to bring out the grain.”

  3. Christopher M. Chupik

    “Are the Robotic Union Battleships in sensor range, Lieutenant?”
    “Aye, there’s the RUB.”

  4. He’d dreamed of her for days. Planned his approach and had picked the perfect card and gift. Then, she had snubbed him. He picked up the eraser and applied it, quite thoroughly to the card. The card and the gift we’re now just pieces of trash. Just like that she was rubbed out of his life

  5. You escape the labyrinth and discover the outside world. Alas, the outside world is made up of deceptions and disappointments. Some rather nastier than others. “Cowgirl Rub” read the label on the bottle of… meat seasoning? While hardly the worst of things, that was certainly a less than welcome discovery.

  6. “Hey, what’s this thing?”
    “Looks like a really old oil lamp. The kind you might expect a Genie to appear from.”
    “I think I’ll polish it up a bi-”
    “STOP!”
    “Why?”
    “See that label? ‘BERDUCKY’? It’s begging for it. That HAS to mean trouble. I say we leave it alone.”

  7. I came back to the hotel room with an expression on my face that suggested that the first person to be any form of ass to me was going to have me call my Regalia and shove a lightning bolt up their asshole. I had to change clothes between the meeting with the Princess and the first round of panels, so it was a perfect excuse for me to come back up to my room and try not to think thoughts of regicide.

    When I opened the bedroom door, Sayuri was there, waiting for me, wearing nothing but a well-tied bathrobe and a serene expression on her face. She greets me with, “Welcome back, Adeladie,” in Japanese and leads me into my room.

    It’s been about a year and some change since we’ve first gotten together (okay, started fucking like bunnies every chance we got), and our relationship is this odd mixture of passion, protocol, and propriety. Sayuri is my Companion, one of the five other magical soldiers that came into existence when I became a Solist, the first one I found, and “first among equals” among the three that we know of. She’s racially and ethically and socially Japanese, comes from a family that has a continuous history four centuries longer than the entire recorded history of England, smarter than I am in a lot of areas, an almost perfect porcelain doll when her public face is on, and she is very careful when we’re in anything remotely approaching public to call me “Taylor-san” or “Taylor-sama” unless she’s in a place where she has to call me by my first name. Utterly precise in her language-regardless if it is in English or Japanese or French-if she says something, it is exactly what it means. And, it is safer to hug an irritated porcupine dipped in ghost peppers than to hug Sayuri in most public circumstances.

    In private? She escalates from “Adeladie-chan” to “Adeladie” to “Adeladie-dono“, and I know which one is her being “happy,” “kind,” and “formally not happy with me.” “Thank you, Sayuri-chan,” I reply as I come in and she locks the bedroom door behind me. We’re just a few months outside of sixteen years old, and her father barely tolerates our relationship (that he knows of, he thinks we’re high school lesbians), but requires that we maintain official separation to avoid scandal and anything that would lower her status for the eventual arranged marriage when she reaches 18-19 years old. So, of course, we have separate hotel rooms.

    I paid extra (okay, Father paid extra) to make sure we had connecting hotel rooms. To the best of my knowledge, Sayuri has never used her bedroom as a place other than to put cosplay costumes and occasionally work when she needs privacy. Before I’m four steps into the room, my shoes are off and along the wall besides hers, my blouse and skirt have been taken off and neatly hung in the closet, all of my jewelry is in the travel case, and I don’t even have to fumble at my bra to take it off. By the time I am in front of the bed, my pantyhose has been neatly taken off and stored safely, my panties are in the dirty laundry bag, and all I have to do is fall, face-down, onto the towel stretched across the bed and scoot slightly forward to make sure my knees were on the bed.

    I haven’t even stopped bouncing on the mattress when Sayuri takes off her bathrobe to reveal that the only thing she is wearing is her mother’s jade and gold bracelet and a simple stainless steel cross on a silver chain. I can hear the sound of her hands rubbing together and the warmth of the oil and her hands fills my shoulders as she starts to work on my shoulders, her body straddling mine. She knows from experience that I carry all my stress in my shoulders and spine, and she starts there. I can hear her frown as she gets to work, the feeling of her hands on my body is already causing me to unwind quite a bit. “The meeting with the Princess went well?” she murmured, and started to work on my neck with her thumbs.

    I try not to tighten up again, and her hands rub across my neck, just below my hair line. “The Princess…I have to give her the benefit of the doubt, I have to assume that she’s just naive. And read too many monster romance novels where True Love and lots of kinky sex can save the Bad Boy monster,” I reply with somewhat exaggerated calm.

    “And, look how that worked out for Genevieve,” Sayuri noted, and ground her thumbs into the small of my shoulder blades. “Don’t tense up, you’re ruining my work.”

    I twitch in pain as her thumbs work on the knots and I start to take long, slow, deep breaths to calm myself down. “She’s…sheltered. What little I know from what she’s told me is that she’s been facing creatures that we’ve dealt with when we first started, on a regular basis. She hasn’t faced a necromancer of any real ability or more than six monsters at a time, with seven Companions.”

    This makes Sayuri pause for a second. “What is the most dangerous thing she’s faced that she’s told you about?”

    “A pack of raggoths,” I reply. “Five of them.”

    Kuso,” Sayuri whispers. “We faced off against a dozen oni and a sorcerer only two week ago. Better than three on one odds and the sorcerer was smart and able.”

    “And, she’s so proud that her first solo kill was a spriggan when I had to go against a troll for mine,” I grumble. “And hers was an open country combat, mine was in a damned warehouse and I couldn’t use fire.”

  8. “Gentlemen! That is a two-man tub! You three cannot possibly fit in there!”

    “How else to the Fair? We’ve goods to sell, and without butcher, baker and candlestick maker there’s no Fair!”

    “Try this drywax lubricant – it might eliminate enough friction for you to all squeeze in. Just rub-a-dub-dub.”

  9. “Mr. Capek? This is Jones, in Marketing. We’ve conducted polling and held focus groups and we’re sorry to tell you that the public is not accepting of your proposed company name, Rossum’s Universal Bots. We’ve kicked it around a bit and found that ‘Ro-bots’ gets a much better market response.”

  10. “Who is that girl playing bridge in the far corner with Lord Withen?”
    “That is his ward, Miss Emily.”
    “She looks very young to be here.”
    “Only seventeen, I believe, but an excellent player. As a pair, they are nearly unbeatable. Lord Withen often calls her his lucky rubber maid.”

    ———–
    50!

  11. He read down the thread comments, groaning in pain every so often. Finally he leaned back to rub his temples. Yep, he was definitely going to need to call the fish monger in on this one. Probably a metric ton of carp to boot.

  12. “Ug! This insomnia is killing me!” Joel complained in frustation.
    “Maybe you should go get a massage?” Jennifer, his wife suggested.
    “A massage?” Joel looked at her confused, “What has that to do with sleep?”
    “Well, you know what they say, ‘to sleep, perchance to dream- ay there’s the rub!'”

  13. While hiking through the rainforest on Jayne’s Island, Jack discovered a hieroglyphic. He covered it with notepaper, and began to rub it with a clump of hemlock. But before he could finish, he lost his footing, and slid into a cavern. He laughed. He should have recognized the warning signs.

  14. The Master of the House strolled nonchalantly into the office and sees his servant tip-tapping away at the computer keyboard. Again. He padded softly over and leapt gracefully onto the desk. Perusing the screen, he turned his furry head and meowed at her, “You misspelled ‘wubs’.”

  15. The insignia of their order had once been painted on the table; years had rubbed it away, leaving only the faintest suggestion of the lily and the rose.
    But she knew the women there. All grim, intent on her. She produced the book with a flourish. Smiles blossomed all around.

  16. Beornthryth snorted. “Rub on a stone that had a hole naturally worn into it.”
    “I thought,” said Halley, “that you were supposed to look through the hole.”
    “Ooo, you’re a sharp one. But doing that will reveal things they want hidden, and then they poke your eye out for it.”

  17. “Old Hendrick,” said Sven, “said we always had to be ready to go wherever the king wanted.”
    Karl laughed. It echoed from the rafters of the royal hall. “He always did want to discourage boys from being knights, Old Hendrick. No. It’s not that bad. We can ride about the land. He expects us to report any evil news.”
    “If we can’t kill it ourselves?” said Sven.
    Which sobered Karl on the instant. “Yes. If we can’t. If it comes to that, I may send you fleeing back here with the news while I win you time. That is the duty of a squire, at need.”

  18. ‘Honey, who’s coming to the cookout tonight?’

    ‘Just the Brodericks .  I think that junior will be bringing his girlfriend.’

    ‘O, then I will make that slaw Mary liked so much last time he brought her.’

    ‘I see.  So you like her?’

    ‘I do.  Hey, where’s the cumin for the rub?’

  19. Back home in Codyland, bowling is a game that required a dedicated alley with pin-setters and ball returns. The idea of going bowling on grass seemed absurd — but when you’re at a diplomatic reception and the hosts decreed that everyone should get out in the fresh air for a spot of lawn bowling, you put a pleasant expression on your face and joined in the festivities.

    However, it didn’t take long to see why our ancestors had turned bowling into an indoor activity. Just as I was beginning to accumulate a decent score, my ball hit a rough patch of ground and went rolling off toward the hedges.

    A rub, they call that, and it was damned annoying. It’s a good thing I’ve got plenty of experience maintaining a poker face.

  20. “I really appreciate you letting me come on this primitive camping trip, Uncle Dan. We’ve set up the lean-to and hauled in water in the bark buckets we made. What’s next on the agenda?”

    “Dinner.”

    “How do we go about doing that?”

    “Well, first you rub two dry sticks together … . .”

    • Wait until Nephew learns that he has to catch his own fish or rabbit for dinner. And dig a trench for the after-effects of dinnering.
      Ah, the good ol’ days.

      • Yeah. As I was told, the actual first step in making squirrel stew was ‘catch a couple of squirrels’. But try rubbing two dead squirrels together . . .

        • No, fire first. You want it burnt down to coals by the time you cook. So you need one person carefully feeding it to get it to that state, and one person catching squirrels.

          • I don’t catch squirrels. I just administer moderate velocity lead suppositories to them at a distance. Damn things cause more damage than ordinary rats. Even if they are cuter.

          • The theory was that you could process the squirrels (or rabbits or . . . ) and hang them to ‘age’ while you’re dealing with the fire. Starting a fire with the friction method can take some *time*. There’s a reason flint and steel was so popular. ‘Course, that’s if you’re a singleton; if a multi-person party then yeah, one tends to camp chores like building/maintaining fire while the others are out hunting & gathering.

            • Good bow driller can get a fire going in under a minute. Flint and steel, and compression methods can do it almost as fast as a match.

  21. He pointed at the wall. “See that trim, maybe a meter up?”
    “Rub rail?” his apprentice guessed.
    “Not quite.” He tossed a small twig at the trim. It arced brilliantly as it made contact. “Anti-rub rail. Be careful around the perimeter of the room.”

  22. The Others had built its cell from cubic kilometers of molten rock, which slowly cooled into strata of basalt, and granite, and red-hot nickel-iron.

    Aeons later the stately waltz of plate tectonics, convection and subduction, rubbing and shearing, brought the prison to the surface.

    The Demiurge stirred. And it hungered.

    50 words. 🙂

  23. She rubbed her fingers over the fossil shape. It was smooth, different from the substrate around it. Now that he had shown her what to look for she saw the shapes over and over to her left. But to her right nothing except gentle ups and downs of the sandstone. Vast, frozen ripple marks he called that rise and fall. From an ancient meteorite destroying all the little Brachiopods in its path?

  24. The straps were digging into her shoulders, rough fabric rubbing through her shirt and into raw flesh. Each succeeding step was a greater effort, draining her reserves. Enervating heat and rough terrain combined to turn this selection test into a fair approximation of hell, as far as Officer-Cadet Harper was concerned.

    Just as she was summoning up the energy to check the old-fashioned paper map and compass, her foot skidded off a slippery root and twisted under her weight. She collapsed forward in seeming slow motion, pain shooting up her leg and the weight of the pack driving her face into the mud.

    She lay there helpless for a moment, pain and tiredness combining to overwhelm her. She gritted her teeth, refusing to submit to either, and started levering herself out of the mud. A welcome hand gripped the back of her pack and helped her rise. “Come on Harper, rest break’s not for another eleventy-nine hours, and you know Sergeant Barker gets even grouchier if he see’s us lying down before it’s dark.”

  25. The scene flickered in the flashing red lights. At the entrance to the massage parlor a scantily clad girl sobbed while a paramedic attended to her cuts and bruises. Nearby, two cops had wrestled the suspect to the ground. “Why’d you do it?” growled one. “I don’t really know,” replied the john, a puzzled look on his face. “I guess – she sorta rubbed me the wrong way.”

  26. Thom’s son wasn’t named Tom, but rather called Dick. And neither had any musical abilities, so they certainly never became pipers. However, they did raise pigs. Dick was sketchy about proper ownership, and many times did have to run. Usually with a 20-year old S10 pickup and a beat-up trailer.

    Dick lived the backside of the county line where it ran along the run. Since the creek flooded and changed course every other year; sometimes Dick’s place was on one side of the stream, and the next year the stream would change course and he’d be in the other county.

    Dick was originally from New England, although he’d never admit to any particular location on account of his having run out on the woman he’d promised to marry. Apparently her father and brothers took exception to Dick knowing her in the Biblical fashion; and they being marksmen of considerable renown.

    On the other hand, despite all Dick’s well-known vices; somehow or other he never ran afoul of the law. Oh, folks would swear out a complaint about him, usually because he ran up a debt and was tardy about paying it. He’d scratch together some cash and make a payment.

    So if you’re ever down in Virginia and you run across a fellow named Dick Thomson, don’t lend him any money, and keep a close eye on your stock and other stuff. Otherwise you run the risk of it walking off and finding itself conveniently stored back of Dick’s place.

  27. All the bark was stripped halfway up the trunk of the 10.–meter tall NeOak. The wood was streaked with green ichor, and bits of purple velvet dangled from some of the lower branches.

    “What have we here?

    :”If I were hunting deer back on Terra I’d call this a rub.”

  28. “Bah! You think that’s antiquing? You haven’t seen nothing yet. Here, hold my beer.”

    Tom held Jack’s can of Budweiser as he watched Jack put his 20 pound main coon in his lap and begin vigorously rubbing his fur the wrong way.

    The results of an annoyed cat were predictable.