Short Story Exercise: Mrs. Shively

(pulled four random cards from The Storymatic, set timer for ten minutes, wrote short story, edited lightly)

Posey the clown wandered around the city park. When children approached, she would honk her horn and hop from foot to foot. The children inevitably screamed and ran away from her.

Posey tried a new tactic.

She went to the skate park and made balloon animals for the youths there. They especially enjoyed her balloon swords. After another hour working in the afternoon sun, Posey could feel her face paint begin to melt. So she pulled a flower from her pocket and beckoned for a particularly mean looking boy to follow her.

But Posey only managed to lure him ten feet before he turned back to rejoin his gang. Frustrated, Posey shoved the boy between the shoulder blades and in a fit of rage she began to throw the contents of her pockets at his cowering form. The other children ran towards them, some yelling while others filmed the odd scene with their phones.

Without thinking, Posey yanked the wooden box from her blouse and launched it towards the crowd. It shattered on the concrete, spilling bloody human teeth onto the sidewalk. Posey’s hands flew to her face and, in a panic, she rubbed at the makeup, hoping to hide her features. The children were pointing at her, screaming and shouting. Posey turned and ran to the parking lot. People chased her, demanding that she stop. Although it was nearly impossible to run in her ridiculously oversized red shoes, she somehow managed to unlock her Nissan, jump in and speed away.

Monday morning in the teacher’s lounge, Mrs. Shively shook her head in mock horror as all of the other teachers discussed the terrible events from the weekend.

“It was a clown! You can see it in the picture! And that boy, you remember Billy Nolan? They’re saying he shattered his knee cap when he fell down.”

Mrs. Shively clucked her tongue and mumbled something about how shameful the whole thing was. And as she made her way towards her kindergarten classroom she muttered to herself, “Shame I didn’t get the brat’s teeth.”

Storymatic Mrs Shively

Short Story Exercise: The Discovery of an Artist

(pulled four random cards from The Storymatic, wrote short story)

The others didn’t understand. Some tried. Some would come to his place in the woods and look at the preserved squirrels in their silly poses, the stuffed beavers and rabbits frozen in bizarre angles as if dancing, and they would pat his shoulder politely or grunt with feigned interest. But they never came back. He was alone.

His macabre hobby confused and frightened his tribe, forcing them to ostracize him, and leave him alone forever with his creations. The moon waxed and waned. Seasons changed. He made a home for himself in the forest surrounded by the bits and pieces of his prey, now forever preserved in humorous positions. 

That fateful morning, with the sun barely in the sky, he awoke to the sound of a shriek. His eyes opened but he remained perfectly still. He could hear laughter and shouting and clumsy footsteps. From his burrow he watched the hairless creatures gesture and wail at his stuffed companions. They made terrible sounds and bared their teeth. The females clustered together while the males made a game of rearranging his squirrels. One of the smaller males moved Bob the rabbit into the mating position on Belle the skunk.

This was too much.

He rolled out of his burrow and ran to the clearing to defend his friends. Feet spread and arms held at his side, he uttered a warning growl. The hairless beasts immediately quieted and froze in place. He didn’t wish to frighten them, only to make them stop mocking his taxidermy skills. He moved slowly to the rabbit and the skunk, and returned them to their correct positions.

That’s when the hairless beasts screamed.

“BIGFOOT!” they yelled. The females ran away and after a moment’s hesitation the males chased after them.

He watched them go. The feelings of rejection and shame overcame him once again. He collected Anton the badger in his arms, then sat down among the stuffed critters, his only friends.

Storymatic Discover of an Artist