The Test of Troy

This is an exercise. There were three requirements: 1) No back story or background is allowed. It's entirely immediate. It's even in the present tense. 2) The character starts out with a problem, then it gets worse, and then worse. And when it is so bad that it just can't get any worse, it does. 3) All problems are resolved in the end.

The Test of Troy

Troy clutches his stomach. He cannot hear what the biology teacher is saying. He wants to listen. This is his worst class and it's important to him. He can't fail, not if he wants to become a zookeeper, and he wants that more than anything. Well, either that or manage his father's furniture store. He just can't decide. He doesn't want to disappoint his parents, but he loves animals--all of them. Troy stifles a groan. Whenever he thinks about deciding between furniture and furry creatures, it makes him sick and the school pizza roiling in his stomach is already threatening to explode.

As he walks home he's sure he has missed something important in class. He hopes no one sees him; he knows he looks ghastly and is afraid he'll throw up on someone. He sees his friends and cuts through some bushes to avoid them. As he emerges, he nearly knocks someone over. Someone with golden hair, long clean limbs, sun-bronzed skin and pink lip gloss. It's Sherry, the head cheerleader. He's loved her since grammar school. (Whoops, i cant do that, it's backstory. Okay, scratch that...) He blushes and stutters and holds a stack of books in front of his pants.

All her friends are laughing, but she speaks to him kindly. "You weren't paying attention in class, Troy," the goddess says. "The teacher announced that there's a big test tomorrow." She bounces away before he can gasp a reply.

Troy puts his head down and trudges on. A test tomorrow? This is terrible. And did he just make a fool of himself in front of the prettiest, sweetest, nicest girl in the whole world? Will his stomach hold up until he gets home? He checks carefully for cars before crossing the street. This day is bad enough; he doesn't need to get run over too.

"How can this day get any worse?" he asks himself distractedly.

He falls down a manhole.

At least he isn't hurt, but how can he study for biology if he's stuck in a manhole? He looks for a ladder and finds something else.

An alligator.

Menace gleams in its evil, alien eyes as it advances. Troy's life flashes before his eyes. He regrets he's never had the guts to really court the cheerleader. He regrets that he rejected being a furniture seller and disappointed his parents who have done so much for him. But he loves animals, they are all so wonderful and nice, or at least he thought so until quite recently. It's so hard to make career decisions, especially when looking into the gigantic slavering, jaws of a twenty-foot alligator.

He feels so bad he projectile vomits and the alligator runs away.

Troy feels much better. The pizza must have been bad. He climbs out of the hole.

When he gets home, he googles alligators until he falls asleep.

In the morning he realizes he forgot to study. Oh well, he has his life and that's what counts. He has more perspective now.

When he gets to biology, he finds that the test is an essay on alligators! He aces it.

On the way home he finds his near death experience has given him the courage to talk to the Sherry. He tells her he no longer wants to be a zookeeper. He likes cats and dogs but he realizes now that there are some animals he is less fond of. He's decided to sell furniture.  She says that is a good career choice which makes him very attractive as a prospective mate. She says she'd like to help him practice selling furniture. Her parents are out of town. "Come over tonight," she purrs, "and let's see what you can show me a single bed." Pin It Now!

Blondhilda and Lady Luck

Here's another tandem story from me and Anchorite. Anchorite wrote a scene and I wrote some scenes around it.

Blondhilda and Lady Luck

Part 1
Chris Hugh

"Darling," Blondhilda whispered lusciously, holding a manicured hand over the phone's receiver. "It's your editor."

"Why does she want to talk to me tonight of all nights?" Stanley muttered, grabbing his poker chips from the pants he'd wore the day before and stuffing them in his pocket.

"I think she wants to know why you haven't submitted the manuscript you promised her two weeks ago," Blondhilda answered, literal minded as ever. "Should I tell her you're on your way to your nightly poker game and don't want to talk to her?"

"Tell her I'm not here," Stanley snapped, walking into the hall.

"Just a moment," Blondhilda said politely, putting the phone down. She followed Stanley into their spacious foyer, where he was pulling on a jacket. "Stanley, you are here. How can I tell her you are not here if you are here?"
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The Mr. Kitten Murder Myster 3.0

I wandered downstairs, both drawn by my curiosity and pursued by Madeleine’s horrid wailing. She is addicted to a karaoke game that is based on a television series where various semi-talented redo old song and have dramas with each other. She is currently the world-wide high-scorer on the game and believes it is her ticket to fame and glory. Unfortunately, when she sings, she sounds like a scalded...well, let us just say that what she lacks in talent she makes up for in industry.

I burbled a greeting to the Captain as I entered the morning room, but ignored his outstretched hand, instead making the rounds of the room, which is both my custom and my duty. It was my intention to approach the Captain by the most circuitous route possible before allowing him to massage me, but I was checked as I explored behind the couch for there I found the soul-flown shell of my compatriot, Winston Churchill. He lay behind the Davenport, hidden from the Captain's view, upon his back, his feet up in the air, his talons still pitifully clutching a chocolate.

I reeled in horror. When I had collect myself, I circled the corpse, sniffing it and examining it. And then, driven by ineffable instinct, I scratched at the parquet floor, attempting to bury the empty husk. A moment later, I heard Helen, that most excellent of servants, enter the room, and I knew she would make everything right.

"What are you doing, Mr. Kitten?" she called. She could hear my scratching, but could not yet see me. "Did you barf again?" An impertinent question, although I'll admit it was my custom to make the same scratching motions when a cruel world sickens my sensitive nature and I heave my effluvium.

Her voice was irritatingly patient, almost patronizing. "Do you have a hairball for me to clean up, Mr. Kitten?" Even in the first depths of my grief I felt a twinge of annoyance that she had not learned by now that a cat is a divine creature that does not leave "barf" and "hairballs." We leave "signs" and "wonders."

Then she came over to me, saw me and Churchill, and literally screamed. She fell back in horror at the ghastly sight. Although more stoic than her, I shared her horror. I approached to her for comfort. Imagine my chagrin when a torrent of invective streamed from her lips.

"Mr. Kitten! You killed Winston Churchill!"

The Captain had hopped to his feet by this time, and they both stood looking down upon me, Helen heaping abuse upon me, and the Captain timidly attempting to calm her!

"Oh, no! How could he?" she cried. "I must have been stupid to buy a bird when I had a cat, but I thought they got along. Oh, I love you Mr. Kitten. I know it's not your fault and you don't know any better. I'm sorry I yelled at you." Then she burst into tears.

This was but an example of her brutality of speech. It was beneath me to refute her vile accusations. As the ancient Arab proverb says, the only answer to a fool is silence. And if I had fallen in her esteem, she had fallen infinitely more in mine. I repaired instantly to the top of the walnut highboy in the North corner of the morning room and observed from there.

The Captain comforted her and, to his credit, defended me. She seemed to begin to see reason. I meowed encouragement to him, then they both looked at me. It seemed that all might be well until a gray feather chose that instant to drift from my jaws down to the Oriental rug.

A fresh burst of tears from Helen, and embarrassed foot shuffling from the Captain.

I had a perfectly good reason for having a gray feather within my jaws but I did not trouble to explain myself.

Helen eventually calmed down. "Captain, please tell Blandings," she said, referring to the butler, "to bring the Jaguar around. I'm taking Winston to the vet to be cremated." She gave me a look that seemed to ponder that the Jaguar was a tribute to my own self, as all cats come from the same great race and various breeds or species vary only in size. "No wait," she amended herself, clearly searching her husband's large inventory of new and classic cars in her mind. "Bring the Datsun." Pin It Now!