Improbable Press
Cart 0

Con Job (Writing Prompts)

Writing Prompts

It has been a day of no significance so far, right up until the point when my village chose me as sacrifice.

And thus begins one of the wonderful stories from last week and weren't each of them a gem? Rhetorical question because yes, yes they were.

Find out how Anarion's tale from burnt offerings finishes, while you look at the writing prompt for this week and begin mentally excavating your own jewel.

Happy Thursday my friend.  

Con Job (Writing Prompts)

 Before You Write About Planets or Pulling…

…here are a few more tiny tastes of what happens when writers think of piercings, kohl, tattoos, and things that burn. 

"Look at me. Am I not the most beautiful man in the city? I am ready for you. I have kohl on my eyes to make them greener."
*
‘Thank god I didn’t tattoo her name over my heart.’ This had been a plan, of sorts, in year one. If they made it five years, Merry ♥ Nadia would have been inked on her pale skin forever.
*
As first anniversaries go, this one wasn’t bad. It also wasn’t really that good either. It was, however, memorable.
*
One wrong step as she crossed the creek and Aliki would be doing the wet jean waddle. Her sure, steady feet had made it over halfway. Past The Gatekeeper, a small pointy bastard known for piercing the soles of badly chosen footwear.
*
Writing delicious story
Upon delicious story
Featuring delectable kinks
A feast of fine debauchery
*
A piercing scream made her heart stop and then race, only to leave a bitter taste in her mouth when she realised it had just been the children teasing each other. Peals of bright laughter fluttered down into the dorm like snow in sunlight. 
More Writing Prompts
Burnt Offerings
Be Careful
Other Stuff
4 Reasons an Editor Won't Look at Your First Draft
First Meetings: When Their Story Starts
(Comments moderated to foil the spam bots)

 



Older Post Newer Post


  • Atlin on

    They say we’re killing the planet and y’know I’m not falling for that. It’s a con job from the uppity-ups. This heap of rock’ll thrive long after the fire’s been doused in the last of us.

    Meantime it sure is getting hotter sooner and colder longer yeah? And the water’s dirty, and the skies hazy all the time now. Breathing feels like pulling wisps of smoke into your lungs; it won’t kill you fast, no, but it will kill you.

    That’s the thing though, it’s just going to get you and me; we’ll knuckle under to the pollution in the water or the poison in the air. And when we’re dead the water will go crystal again, the skies that pretty pink they can be; I miss those skies.

    They say the skies on Terra are blue. Weird. When the generation ship lands, I wonder if they’ll find the water crystal clear. Hope so.

  • Lunarsynthesis on

    ‘Let’s see if we can make you a little less tense,’ said Amber with a sweet smile. Shifting her weight between her knees, she shuffled across the bed and positioned herself behind Ben. She began massaging her knuckles into his tight shoulders.

    There’s nothing like being told you’re tense to make you even more tense, thought Ben gloomily.

    This didn’t feel like a holiday at all. Instead, Ben felt the familiar nerves that beset him before job interviews or first dates.

    Beneath the magenta lighting of this little room — this small, badly furnished little room — Ben had hoped his furrowed brow would appear brooding. Perhaps the sheen on his forehead would be lost in the shadows. Maybe he would appear strong and confident, instead of lost for words.

    No such luck. Amber picked up on Ben’s anxiety instantly. And her beauty somehow made it worse.

    Even with Amber behind him, expertly kneading his shoulders, pulling and rolling his flesh, her loveliness was still assailing him. The sweet warmth of her breath on his neck. The occasional honeyed strand of hair falling into his eye-line as she rocked back and forwards performing the massage.

    ‘This isn’t usually how I’d be spending a Saturday night,’ Ben stammered. ‘I’d never usually go to a —’

    ‘It’s OK,’ cooed Amber, her voice all the more musical thanks to her Dutch accent. ‘Tell me, what are you usually doing on Saturday?’

    Ben sighed.

    ‘Probably Warcraft, Planetfall, maybe some Dota 2.’

    The hesitancy of Amber’s laugh suggested that she hadn’t heard of a single one of those online games.

    Ben had known that a trip to Amsterdam was shorthand for booze, weed and sex. His heart sank when Dave suggested this holiday — Get the whole gang together! Before Tom goes off travelling and Barney gets hitched! It’ll be total carnage, just us lads! But Ben had thought it would be easy to turn down a few shots, slink back to the hotel, be up early the next morning, feeling fresh enough to check out the science museum.

    He hadn’t foreseen that Dave, a little worse for wear after round two of Jager bombs, would end up leading them into one of Amsterdam’s famous brothels. Worse, he’d then insisted on ‘the hottest girls for my best mates’. And just when Ben thought he was about to sink into the floor with embarrassment, Dave had gone and asked the sardonic-browed receptionist if they did group discounts.

    Amber’s fingers were now dancing their way down Ben’s back, gently walking their way across his hip and tripping down, down towards the denim bulge of his jeans, when…

    ‘No wait, stop, ah, sorry,’ Ben yammered, leaping from the bed as if Amber’s gentle touch had administered an electric shock.

    ‘I can’t just…’ Ben continued. ‘I can’t.’

    Still kneeling on the bed, Amber cocked her head to one side. She pressed her lips together in what looked like sympathy or impatience. Perhaps a combination of both.

    ’I’m here because of my friends,’ Ben explained. ‘I would never normally go…somewhere like this.’

    Amber looked at him.

    ‘I know what you need,’ she purred.

    ‘No you don’t understand,’ Ben stuttered, ‘I don’t think I want anything, I’m sorry to waste your…’

    ‘You want to walk out of here, high-five with your friends, yes? But no sex?’ Amber said coolly.

    Ben stayed silent, ashamed of every moment that had led up to this one.

    ‘We have a name for it here,’ continued Amber. ‘Con job. Like blow job, hand job…only with con job you do nothing. But you can tell your friends.’

    Ben mutely nodded his assent.

    Amber rose from the bed.

    ‘Very good then,’ she said, her voice coolly professional with just a hint of disdain. ‘You can slap on my ass as we walk back to front desk, if your friends are waiting.’

    Ben flushed. His heart was thudding now: the prospect of freedom from this tiny room filled him with exhilaration, even while a formless shame sloshed around his belly.

    ‘Just one thing,’ added Amber, turning slightly to face him as she reached the door. ‘Con job is same price.’

  • Narrelle Harris on

    The Thing with Feathers*

    It’s a con job, this planetfall. We can see the planet through the viewports of course, all shrouded in cloud, and beneath, glimpses of mountains and valleys, and long green plains. Snow-capped poles and blue oceans that look like they’ll team with life. Safe, non-toxic, edible life to eat alongside the nutrient-rich grains we’ll grow alongside smaller gardens of plenty in that rich soil we can see down there.

    Only the viewport is not a window, it’s a sensor relay. What we see is a collection of pixels, and nobody knows where the pixels come from.

    This shiny ball of hope we see, this bauble promising we survivors a future, how can we even know it’s real? That spritz of interference here – is that just an error in the computer-generated render of a planet-shaped animation? That impossible blue, that breathtaking green, are they from a painter’s palette rather than real and true and actual nature?

    The captain says we’re landing. I think we’re crashing. Into some rocky moon or an asteroid field, and this beautiful lie is how they’re making it easy for us.

    I want to believe it, but the gravity is all wrong. A planet would be pulling us into its orbit differently. We’re not being pulled. We’re not landing, we’re not falling. We’re diving. We are aiming for the end to come, at last, at last. No more waiting for us.

    We survivors.

    We can’t survive everything.

    The ship is shaking. My knuckles are white. Everything is coming to an end, and I am full of grief, and full of relief.

    Hope is all we had and hope is hard, the hardest thing, sometimes.

    And then.

    And then.

    And then the shaking stops and even with the stabilisers on, we can feel the thrust of engines in an upper atmosphere. I used to know that feeling well, when I worked on the moonbase, then on the Mars base, then on the ship that would take us far from the Sun, which fuelled our last big push into the unknown, before it went nova.

    The gravity, though, was wrong.

    Or did I just forget the pull of it? The anchoring, blissful wonder of it?

    The viewport crackles and clears on the curve of the blue-green planet. The rushing seas and the green plains. The clouds scudding below us, then beside us, then above us. Winged creatures, feathered, ludicrous, splendid, wheel away to the horizon. The captain records them and plays their calls and cries and songs on the wing as we land.

    We land.

    We land.

    *From Emily Dickinson: “Hope” is the thing with feathers

  • Anarion on

    I remember the first time I saw you: I was standing on the hill at the edge of the city and you ungracefully stumbled from the sky like a bird with a wing once broken and badly mended. But beneath that, I saw your potential and your hidden beauty and I knew that I had to have you.

    I run my knuckles gently over your skin and feel you hum in response. My beautiful Ajouni. No more falling towards the planet like you wished to crash and burn. Now you move like a stingray in the ocean and I shiver every time I see you.

    I don’t believe in love at first sight but whatever drew me to you was way too powerful to ignore. I went down to the docks that evening and the first time I touched you, the wave of want that swept through me almost brought me to my knees. I would have killed to get you, but as is turned out, that wasn’t necessary. I only needed to get married.

    My friends said I was crazy to marry a man I’d never seen before, just to get a place on a spaceship. They never understood that you are so much more, a living, breathing, biomechanical wonder.

    Karl wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened to me on this shithole of a planet even under normal circumstances. To get you, being married to him for five years was a minor inconvenience. As it turned out, I didn’t even have to wait that long. The day he died and all his belongings went to me, you stopped being a possession.

    He’d had a pilot, of course, one of those things bred in a lab for this purpose alone. You were always just a thing he used. The day I offered to take the pilot’s place, offered to be yours, I was so scared that you’d reject me, I almost threw up on you.

    I’m not sure if I could have let you go, had you not wanted me, but the same force that pulled me to you pulled on you, too.

    I drop down onto the pilot seat and lean back. Time to go. Your tentacle-like tubes reach for me, the sharp endings digging into my skin, breaching it. You enter into me and after the usual initial shock and pain you flood my senses and there is only bliss. I don’t know where I end and you begin. Here, in the vast expanse of space, we are one.

    AN: I was inspired by the Leviathan Moya, from Farscape, a sentient spaceship

  • The Honeyed Moon on

    “Next time I make planetfall, I’m getting drunk and I’m getting laid.” This pronouncement came from the moron in the pilot’s seat next to me.

    “Jonesy, maybe it would be better if you got laid first, then got drunk? You don’t want a case of whisky-dick.” Fucking moron.

    “Yeah, you’re right, Kel. Good idea.” Jonesy graced me with one of his smiles. They are all the same smile, and they all made him look crazier than a shit-house rat.

    “I’m clearly the brains in this operation, but you’re too stupid to acknowledge it.” He was too stupid to acknowledge it, as he just took the insult I dished out to him with equanimity. And another deranged smile.

    I sat at the end of the bar and nursed a tankard of the local ale, and watched Jonesy chatting up what he thought was a lonely gal down on her luck.

    The barkeep came by and asked if I needed anything else, “A new business associate?” I replied, and downed the rest of my drink. “I guess I’d better order some food, is the kitchen still open?”

    “You bet darlin’, what wouldja like?” The man behind the bar was big and had an accent I couldn’t place. Kinda twangy. His eyes and hair were dark, but his skin was pale as the sands on Scariff. On the third finger of his right hand, just past the second knuckle, there was a tattoo of an orbak’s shoe. He noticed me noticing. “It’s for luck.”

    Down the length of the bar, Jonesy was getting loud about having no success pulling the girl sitting next to him. He couldn’t see the con job for what it was – a sex-worker encouraging him to drink more and purchase services. Services that she wouldn’t have to actually follow through on if she got him drunk enough to rob. Never mind my advice from earlier about the order of his space-port adventures. Moron.

    The barkeep asked again what I wanted to eat. “Glowblue noodles, please.”

    “Sure thing, darlin’. What’s your name?”

    “Kel. Short for Kelar.” Stars, was I blushing?

    “Hello Kel, short for Kelar. One order of noodles, comin’ right up.” He smiled at me and his face went all sort of lopsided; his teeth were just a tiny bit crooked. Such a nice smile after what I had been suffering through for the last eight months. “Let me get you another drink, on the house.” He reached for glasses and poured out two shots of Jorian whisky. He pushed one to me and picked up his own, “What are we drinking to?”

    “I was serious about looking for another job, so… how about we drink to me, ‘sticking around a while’?”

    We clinked the rims of our shot glasses, and drank.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published