This week’s word prompts at the Shapeshifting 13 Writing Challenge are olive and mirror. Check out Grammar Ghoul Press & see what else is cookin’!


She’d been waiting for two hours and four dirty martinis.

Forget the cocktail spear; Lizette fished the olive out with her fingers.

She was skillfully extracting its pimiento when their eyes met in the reflection of the back-bar mirror.

She held his gaze:

teasing, taunting,

and watching him regret




Of Hearts and Hammers


This week’s language prompt at Grammar Ghoul PressMutant 750 Challenge is:

Anthropomorphism (literary device)

When a writer gives human traits, qualities, emotions, or behaviours to things that are not human (animals, trees, earthquakes, spoons, etc.)
The visual prompt is the image above.


So, a hammer walks into The Nutz & Boltz Tavern after a tough day on the job site.

The bartender leans over the bar. “What’ll it be, Hambo?”

“Gimme a Rusty Nail, Mack,” he replied. “And keep ’em comin’!”

“Rough day, huh? You look beat.” Mack observed as he built Ham’s drink.

Ham tried to shrug his steel shoulders. “Naaah. I’ll be alright after I pound a few of these down.”

Mack nodded. “That’s what you do best, buddy!”

The bartender’s sharp wit was never wasted on Hambo, and the two shared a hardy laugh.

Pretty soon, a nail saunters in to the same tavern. Seeing Hambo in her regular barstool, she opts for a seat at the other end of the bar. The little nail didn’t want any trouble.

“Be right back, Hambo.”

Mack swaggered toward his new patron.  “Well, hello, Naylene…”

“Uh, h-h-hi, Mack.” Naylene stammered.  His penetrating gaze and sleek, cunning style made her feel like a bent .

“What can I do for you?”

His piercing  voice seemed to caress  the air. Naylene felt her shaft grow weak and the metallic tingle in her shank rendered her speechless. Her head suddenly felt flatter than usual, and she bowed it.

“How ’bout Harvey Wallbanger?”

“N-n-no. M-make it a screwdriver.” Naylene mumbled, glancing in Hambo’s direction. “I don’t wanna get hammered.”

“Understood.” Mack nodded and began to turn away, but switched back to Naylene. “Forgive my brashness, but I gotta tell ya. Naylene, your gripper marks are absolutely exquisite.”

Naylene lifted her flat head. OMG! Does this mean he likes me? Do I dare to hope?

Mack’s dangerous gash of a smile softened as Naylene beamed at him. Maybe she’s not so tacky after all. In fact, I think she’s…totally galvanized!

It was a magic moment for Mack and Naylene—a moment just begging for a monkey wrench.

Hambo became bored as hammers are wont to do when they aren’t smashing things. He was also more than a little jealous over the attention being paid to a common flathead.  To amuse himself, Hambo pummeled the buttons on the jukebox until Simon & Garfunkel’s El Condor Pasa echoed through the tavern.


To be continued…


Ready or Not


You usually win

at Hide & Seek—know the best hiding places

and how to not giggle.

I look everywhere, but

you’re  nowhere.






and then


I finally find you:

grinning all smarty-pants

from a milk carton.


You’re IT!






The Reckoning


This week’s prompts at Shapeshifting 13 are the words Ball and Mutant.


“Ain’t they some right-purty girls ‘round here, Nimrod?

 “Y’darn tootin,’ Bodean. Which one ya gonna dance with?”

“Can’t hardly pick—ever’body looks just alike…”

“’Course, ya’ doofus. This’s th’ Mutant Ball!

“You reckon  that’s why we’s all wearin’ nametags?




The Waiters


They waited until the lights were out

to swarm our home.

Like a red ant militia, they were.

Silent, sinful


My Akita,


tried to bark

Found him in the morning:

Fangs glistening, unseeing eyes ablaze,

his coat, machete-bloody.

Bloody Bastards.





Wild-Ass Field Trip

This week’s Shapeshifting 13 prompt is of the visual persuasion: Vortumnus-(Vertumno) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo pictured below. Check out Grammar Ghoul Press for more info on this, and our Mutant 750 writing challenge. Join the freaky fun!

“Dude! check that one out!”

“Lookit! His Adam’s apple’s sproutin’ a turnip!”

“The dude’s a human salad bar.”

“What if he dated… vegans?”

BWAHAHA! Eaten alive!”

“Probably uses pesticide instead of deodorant.”

“An’ eats fertilizer with a Miracle-Gro® chaser…”



Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Homunculi in Love


This week’s word prompt at the Mutant 750 is “Stars”. The visual is Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s “The Beloved” pictured to the left.


 Continued from the previous episode, “Wild-Ass Search Party.”

“Dude?” Françoise ventured. “We gotta find Pendragon, but fast! Do you have any idea what could happ…”

“No shit, Frankie?” Sebastian feigned amazement. “I know exactly what a circus would do to someone like Pendragon. Look how they treat their animals! Why would a homunculus get preferential treatment?”

“Okay, okay. You don’t have to rip my face off, Wiener.”  Françoise gave his brother a sidewats glance. “Lookit! Phydeaux’s going totally bat poop. He must have picked up Pendragon’s scent from Agamemnon!”

With that, the trio made a wild-ass dash for the big-top and hopefully, Pendragon. Phydeaux led the way with the slobber-fraught stuffed tarantula affectionately known as Agamemnon, dangling from his mouth.

“Whoa, this place is mobbed!” Sebastian observed. “But then, word probably got out about their special feature.”

“Bunch o’ assholes.” Françoise shook his head in disgust as Phydeaux strained at his leash. “C’mon, let’s push through.”

Phydeaux piloted the brothers through the masses of circus-goers to the back of the tent. There, they found cages stacked upon cages containing various specimens of never-before-seen creatures.”

“Hey! There he is!” Sebastian shouted, as a frantic  Phydeaux steered them to the last cage on the left, top row. “But who’s that in the cage with him? And what are they doing?

“I think it’s a girl and don’t look!” Françoise attempted to shield his brother’s eyes. “It’s too much for you.”

“Knock it off, McCarthy!” Sebastian swatted his hands away.  “…before I call the ACLU…”

“Ooooh, I’m scared!” Françoise held out a quivering hand. “Look, I’m shakin.”

“You should be.”

“Yeah, okay, Sebo.”

“Gross.” Sebastian had turned his attention to Pendragon and his cage-mate. “Lookit how they’re staring at each other. You don’t think…I mean, like, they could be in love, do you?”

Françoise shrugged. “Might be. They both have that sloppy ‘stars in their eyes’ look. I wonder what they’re talking about.”

The boys moved-in closer only to hear Pendragon’s apparent love interest tenderly chanting The Song of Solomon 2:16. 

“Yep, it’s a girl, all right.” Françoise concluded,reading the name plate on the cage. “Says Pendragon and Xaviera.”

“Yuck. This is just. so. yuck.

“He doesn’t even recognize us!”

Sebastian coaxed Phydaux to drop Agamemnon. He then picked it up and held the toy up to the cage. “Pendragon, look! It’s Agamemnon!”

This inspired nothing more than a irritated glance from the enamoured homunculus.

Pendragon,” Sebastian grabbed Agamemnon and pleaded. “Don’t you remember?” He shook the stuffed tarantula at the cage bars. “C’mon, Pendragon. Please!”

This time, Pendragon threw a protective arm across the shoulders of his beloved Xaviera. The lovers then turned their backs to the boys and their cat-dog-cat.

Several moments passed before either boy found his respective voice.

“C’mon, let’s go home.” Françoise took Agamemnon from his brother’s grasp and tossed the soggy wad in a nearby trash barrel.  “It’s  late.”

“He’s better off with his own kind, anyway.” The empty words caught in Sebastian’s throat. “I’m sure gonna miss him.”

“Me too, Sebo.” Françoise scooped up Phydeaux and gently slung him over his shoulder. “Me, too.”

Thus began the long trek home.