Rhymes With You Decide

Another magnifico Wednesday Writiner’s Blog Hop Photo-Prompt Flash Fiction challenge hosted this week by the intrepid Leanne Sype at: Writings and Ruminations!

The rules are simple: The photo below and all five words must be featured in the piece that is to be no longer than 500 words.


Satellite    Buoy    Check    Lawyer    Rescue

This seemed a simple photo (certainly far different from last weeks heavily charged pic!), but still it drew a story from me immediately.  It goes to show that everything has a story to tell.  ; )


Rhymes With You Decide

Yesterday they erased my hopscotch diagram from the windowpane, and took my markers.  I had others hidden.  I drew another miniature hopscotch board for Unus before he woke, and made an exciting arrangement of letters for him to “hop on” and spell out his word of the day for my deciphering.

He spelled abrictsobotiblegugaplnrtudhege this morning.  I’m still working on an anagram that makes sense; “robot satellite bicron gauge” is what I immediately saw … leaves me with p, u, d, h, & g”.  Tough one to be sure…

Be that as it may, I am glad my one-legged pigeon was feeling energetic this morning and hopped about a lot on the colonnade below .  I do love a challenge.

They think this actually means something to me, instead of just a way of passing the time.  What do they expect, I wonder?  I’m here indefinitely.  I’ve already read every book in the library.  I can either do as other bored incumbent lunatics do in this place—cut myself and throw feces about—or I can watch Unus, my one-legged pigeon, hop on my superimposed hopscotch board and spell out anagram riddles for me to solve.  The latter tends to buoy my spirits, the former does not.

The orderlies erased my hopscotch board again.  This time I suffered the indignity of a disturbingly enthusiastic, and, if I may say so, rather in-depth body search from which all my markers were discovered.

“Viva le Crayola!” I shouted, but no révolutionnaires echoed my call to rise.

I’ll tell my lawyer, of course … that is, whenever I see him.  Sometime between a yawn and receiving his check from Mother he’ll contact the hospital and make papier-mâché demands that my psychiatrist will patronize and share with the staff via speakerphone.  Later they’ll all have a laugh, while somewhere in Manhattan—at La Grenouille perhaps—my lawyer will have an involuntary chuckle as well, never knowing why, and caring even less.  Oscetra Caviar being of far greater importance than my desperately needed emotional rescue.

Save one’s self is the only way to free one’s mind in such times.  Relying on others breeds despair the way trench warfare breeds dysentery.  Licking my fingertip and using it as my new marker, I wrote my calculations upon the panes: kinetic energy (joule, J) = 1/2 mass (kilogram, kg) x velocity2 ((meter/second)2, (m/s)2) — KE = 1/2mv2.

Having gone over it and feeling correct in my calculations, I decide to follow through; I sprint the eleven-step length of my cell and hurl myself against the window.  It takes seventeen strikes rather than the fifteen I estimated, but I finally break free and sail through the reinforced glass and out into the open air.

It’s cool for September.  I can smell precipitation; a thunderstorm comes.  The shattering of glass makes me think of the tinkling of crystal from the Czar’s great foyer chandelier.

I’m free.

All I can do is smile.

Unus looks up, and I wave as I plummet down towards him.

I think he’s smiling too.


Word count: 499



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  1. Cindy Cagle

     /  July 25, 2013

    This was one of my favorites! I definitely felt the humor in it. Great job, Chris!

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 25, 2013

      Thanks, Cindy. The MC definitely had a sense of humor. It was fun writing it.

  2. Christopher Shawbell

     /  July 24, 2013

    “Viva le Crayola!”

  3. I found this an interesting take on the image and was drawn in but as usual with me 500 words provides more questions than answers.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 24, 2013

      I hear ya there, JP. The trick is to answer the right questions. That’s what makes it a challenge. There’s always so much more I want to write on these pieces–especially this one. I usally am 30% over on words and have to chop away. Again, that’s the beauty of it–crafting a story with a BEGINNING , MIDDLE, & END that fits the six prompts given. Every scene or short piece like these should be approached the same way we do a full-length novel; it has three parts: set up, crisis, & resolution; the MC needs goal(s), and there must be conflict (resistance to MC achieving his/her goals). Powerful exercise. These FF challenges (and I’ve started doing more) really have improved my craft.
      A story should be told scene-by-scene, and each scene should have “punch” or it shouldn’t be in the story. These FF’s are perfect for honing that.
      Keep rockin, brother!

  4. Okay, I totally forgot I was reading a blog hop story! Oh my gosh, and I just connected this with the title! Ah. My mind is doing flips with all the elements: the bird, the anagram, the fact this guy is trapped in a mental hospital, and the MC’s clear knowledge of the role his lawyer plays. There’s so much going on, but it all works together. Also, your main character has a vibrant and quirky personality even though he wants to jump out of a window. 🙂
    This piece makes me think; I love writing that makes me think.

    Speaking of which, did you make up that crazy math equation??

    Really well done, Christopher! I always enjoy your stories.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 23, 2013

      Thank you, Leanne, for you in-depth comments.
      I wrote a song for a friend (blues singer who had performed with John Lee Hooker, The Meters, The Neville Bros, Robert Cray, and so on) and a one-in-a-million thing happened at the recording studio…the very first vocal track she every did of the song was the final track. Amazing… The moment the engineer signaled “cut” she said, “That cam out like a good s***!” Touring the nation with blues bands will do that to a lady I guess, but anyway… My point is that I know exactly what she meant, and I have adopted the saying (because it’s both accurate and freakin funny!)
      That’s how this piece came out…just like that. Unus, the anagrams, and so much more before I edited it down. I’ll tell ya a secret too…our MC is not a “he”.
      One more day’s wait for the next one. I’m a race car in the red.


    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 23, 2013

      Oh yeah… No I didn’t make up that equation. Standard fare–mass at “x” velocity meeting “x” resistance will have “x” effect, and by knowing “x effect” you can then calculate how many “x’s” need to be applied to render resistance negligible. I did abbreviate it because of word restrictions.

  5. You have a great way of telling a story. It’s such a shame when things end badly, the one legged bird was a nice touch.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 23, 2013

      Thank you, Sally.
      I don’t think it ended badly. Our MC was happy and smiling the whole way down…free at last. ; )
      Unus was funny in my head. I don’t know where that whole hopscotch/anagram thing came from. I was just writing furiously to get it all out as it came because it was definitely telling its story all on its own.
      See you next week!


  6. Love it, love it, love it! You know, you could really do something with this. He doesn’t necessarily have to die in the fall. He could have some sort of molecular difference in him – hence the reason for being kept prisoner. I can also see Unus taking a big part in the story. There is no reason why he has to be just a “dumb pigeon,” even if at this point in the story he seems to be making random hops on the hopscotch grid 😉

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 22, 2013

      Thank you, Lyn.
      I like this character a lot, and there is a great deal more that I would like to know. This is one of those pieces that existed before I began to type; like Stormy is the Heart. I was able to hold back with this one better than Stormy though. This piece I edited down from around 790 words I think. With Stormy I was well above 1,000 when I brought it to the editing table. Learned my lesson there.
      Thanks again, Lyn. See you next week at the WWBH, FF, and where ever else!


  7. Dude…Loved it! It’s always a mystery what goes on in the minds of another person, and when a majority consider that person to be lacking in some mental capacities, the unknown fascinates me more. I give to you the same compliment you gave to me. The required words were included expertly, without flaw. They fit so well, you wouldn’t know they were prompt words. I also agree with your statement that everything has a story to tell. I’m glad you told us this one.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 22, 2013

      Thank you, Scott. I really enjoyed this one. I felt from the instant I saw the picture that I was just writing down a story I was being told, not making one up. I could’ve gone on for ages. The character really intrigued me. Only 500 words though…
      Thanks again, my friend.

  1. Writer Wednesday Blog Hop – July 24, 2013 | Jottings and Writings
  2. Blog Hop Photo Reveal! | Writings and Ruminations


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