Thursday, September 25, 2014


Writing prompt for September 25: Write a scene that includes the unconventional use of a toothpick (from Sarah Selecky). Are you ready for this one? Photo from here.

  "No, Carl. You're supposed to stick them up in the carpet like this." Joey took the toothpick and put it end up in the carpet so the point stuck into the sky. "That way, when she steps on it, it'll go into her foot."
  "Okay, Jo-jo. Like this?"
  Joey tensed the muscles in his hands and arms, then slowly relaxed them. "Carl, step on that. Right there. That one you just put down."
  "But, Jo-jo, won't it hurt?"
  "Step on it."
  "Uh, okay." Carl's shoe squashed the toothpick, breaking it into two. "I didn't feel nothin'."
  Joey blew out a slow breath. "You need to take your shoe off, Carl. Take your shoe off."
  "Oh, right." Carl slid his foot out of his sneaker. "And my sock, too?"
  "No, Carl, your sock can stay on." The words were said slowly, with a little pause between each one. "Now, I want you to place another toothpick on the ground. Just like the last one. Yup. Now step on it."
  Carl shot a doubtful glance at Joey. "Why do I want to step on it?"
  "Because I told you to."
  "Right." Carl lifted his foot, then placed it gingerly onto the toothpick. "I didn't feel nothin' again."
  "That's because you're putting the toothpicks FLAT! Now pick up that toothpick and place it up on its end, like this. Good. NOW step on it."
  Carl set his foot down, then sprang back. "Oww! That hurts!"
  "That's the whole point, Carl. Put the toothpicks into the floor so that it hurts when she steps on them."
  Carl shook his head. "That's really going to hurt her. I don't want to really hurt her. I thought we was just supposed to--"
  "The boss said to let her know it was him what sent us. This way, she'll know."
  Carl's shoulders drooped. "All right. But maybe we should warn her that they're here. Or we could just leave a sign that says, "Beware. Big Boss is about to pick your teeth," like we normally does.
  Joey shook his head. "We only leave the notes when it is too late. The boss only wants to frighten her, get her to see that his way is the only way."
  Carl bent over and placed a toothpick on end into the carpet. "Fine. But I still don't like it."
  Joey shrugged. They weren't around to do what they liked. They were around to do what the boss liked.


  1. I find it funny that toothpicks are the chosen torture. Seems like breaking a thumb would be a lot more dastardly and less time-consuming. It would hurt, though. No doubt about that!

  2. What do I think? That you are a good writer of tension and character, because I'm squirming in discomfort and I feel like I have a relatively good handle on who these people are, how and why they relate to each other, and what kind of trouble they're in, all in a matter of...what? 400 words?

    All because of a toothpick. It's amazing, really.

    1. Also, I love the detail about big boss picking teeth. All around well done.

  3. It feels like the tooth fairy mafia....I like it :-)

    1. Awesome! I adore where your head goes.