I don't know about you but I think that's a tasty smiley face down there. Or an evil puppet. I have a real get-away-closer vibe from that thing is what I'm saying.
I'm going to get away far away shortly, so won't be writing for this prompt immediately, but when I come back I will 1) be curious what won out with you all, the tasty or the evil or something left-of-centre, and 2) be curious if I had damned nightmares because now I really can't see anything but a bloody slash of a mouth and freaky clown-eyes and I remember taking that photo and it was delicious and now I'm creeped out by my own brain.
Ignore Me and Get Your Write, On
Just because I'm having the heeby-jeebies doesn't mean you have to so just move along, nothing to see here except a few choice quotes from the last writing prompt: red tide.
I'm serious, I'm super curious about what you all see. Let me know with a wee story below, won't you?
“Never have I ever been late for a date!” declared Mira with a grin. Of the four others playing the game, only Alec took a drink with her.
“Unholy demon of punctuality,” Daisy said, making a wobbly sign of the cross.
“Courtesy costs nothing,” replied Mira primly, then roared with laughter because she was punctual for sure but nothing like prim.
“Never have I ever,” said Alec, taking his turn, “kissed a girl.”
Alec and his boyfriend Chris gulped a mouthful of beer.
“This is a bit wishy-washy, isn’t it?” said Daisy. “Let’s get down and dirty. Let’s talk about crime!”
She flashed a grin at Hannah. They were exes, but amicable. Hence tonight’s drinking game with all their mutual buddies who had seen them through the transition from lovers-to-enemies-to-friends. Alec and Chris, who’d been so supportive of Hannah through the brief burst of fighting, and had so kindly and patiently reasoned with Daisy about her inability to let it go. Mira, who had given Hannah a place to stay when she’d fled Daisy’s desperate entreaties of “we can work it out! Don’t go!”
The whole mess had taken weeks to sort out, but there were no hard feelings, none at all. Hannah wanted to go, Daisy couldn’t make her stay, but that was all water under the relationship bridge. Just because they couldn’t be lovers, that didn’t mean they couldn’t be friends. Pride had been dented but not smashed.
“Crime, eh?” Mira raised an eyebrow. “Is there something you want to tell us, Daze?”
“Not me. Are you scared of spilling your secrets?” Daisy countered.
“I’m the one who did time in juvenile detention,” pointed out Chris. It was an open secret. A month for attempted arson. He still wasn’t entirely sure he hadn’t meant to burn down the family house, and he still wasn’t entirely sure he was sorry, but at least setting fire to the Californian bungalows of homophobes to whom he was related had not become a habit.
“Why don’t you start, Daisy,” Chris prompted. “Since it was your idea.”
“Okay. Never have I ever robbed a bank!”
All five of them swigged their beer.
“My turn!” shouted Alex, boozy and eager. “Never have I ever sold drugs!”
Gulps all round, except for Mira, who shrugged. “A bit of weed, but it counts. My turn. Never have I ever stabbed someone, even if they deserved it.”
Chris didn’t drink that time. “Don’t judge me. It was a tough month in juvie. The dude only needed four stitches and they didn’t try to gang up on me in the showers again after that.”
The general consensus was that the bastard deserved it and was lucky he hadn’t had anything actually chopped off. Chris took his turn next. “Never have I ever stolen anyone’s wallet.”
Five drinks all round and then the glasses were empty.
“Refill!” called out Daisy. She ran to the table to get a fresh bottle. It took some effort to get it open and she had to fiddle with it a bit. Finally, she sloshed it freely into glass after glass. “Hannah, your turn! Hey, hey, Hannah, hey, remember that thing we talked about last Christmas? About my gross Uncle Glen?”
Hannah, flushed pink with drink and fun, giggled and nodded. “Your awful Uncle Glen! Ew! Okay. Never have I ever spiked someone’s drink!”
Hannah, Alex, Chris and Mira drank heartily.
Daisy just smiled while all her friends gulped their beer and belched and turned glassy eyed. And one by one they clutched their throats and swooned and dropped like flies. Hannah fell sideways into the remains of the party pavlova. The crunch of the meringue sounded like someone breaking to shards inside. The strawberries and jam and cream smeared on her shirt like blood.
“Never have I ever,” Daisy whispered at the dying light in their eyes, “been murdered for petty revenge.”
She took a sip of beer. “Feels pretty good, actually.”
Daisy drank her beer to the bottom of the glass and wondered how long she’d have to wait for the next great game.
“Whipped cream? No, thanks. Never liked the stuff. It’s just fluffy nothing.”
Kel watched Kl’yd make a drink he had been working on for a few days. He was always working on something new, a thing Kel discovered after a few days of being in his employ. She had immediately become his in-house guinea pig drink taster.
This current drink though? This one made her feel more like a canary in a coal mine. She wasn’t a fan so far. It was pink, overly fruity and had a mountain of whipped cream on top. Whipped cream from bantha milk, so it was a pale blue. It did contrast nicely with the pink, which was actually the best part about the drink.
“Gotta keep things fresh, keep the customers comin’ in.” He said as he added a splash of jogan fruit juice and a pinch of some spice she had no name for to the cocktail shaker. Shhk shhk shhk, the ice rattled. He decanted the mixture into a glass shaped like a bowl, and then piled on the whipped cream. As a finishing touch, Kl’yd balanced a candied zoochberry on top with a little flourish.
Kl’yd pushed the re-worked cocktail across the bar to Kel, “There, give that a try, tell me whatcha think now.”
“How? I don’t even know where to start.” Kell didn’t know whether to pick it up or just stick her face in the bowl and go for it, pride be damned.
“Oh! Sorry darlin’.” Kl’yd jabbed a straw into the drink,”There ya go.”
Kel took a small sip. The blue foam had started to melt into the pink fruity liquor, and was turning the whole thing a rather lovely shade of lavender. And it was better, not so cloyingly fruity. The spice helped.
She was about to tell him so when it hit her – the drink started to warm in her mouth. Like a spark that is fanned into a conflagration, tingly heat built into an eye-watering burn. “What the kriff, Kl’yd! That’s pfassking hot!”
“Have some of the bantha whip, it’ll help put out the fire in your mouth.” He was grinning at her with his arms crossed over his chest.
Kel did as he said and scooped up some of the blue fluff with her finger, and popped it into her mouth. It did indeed help stop the burn.“Betcha don’t think it’s just fluffy nothin’ anymore, do ya?” Kl’yd’s grin got bigger, “I think I’ll call this one… Kel’s Fire.”
He ducked too late to miss the flying zoochberry that was thrown at his head.
(So, apparently Kel and Kl’yd are stuck in my head)
The little shop opposite the bank had been shuttered and in decay for several years, so when workers suddenly started tearing down wallpaper and in one case the whole wall, the people up and down the street got excited.
When the logo appeared over the door, curiosity peaked. Never have I ever… Everybody had their own ideas of what it would be, and bets were placed, some in secret, some in the open.
It still took weeks and shortly before opening it wasn’t only kids pressing their noses against the glass to peek inside.
But then, the first of June, the time had come.
It turned out to be a coffee place and folks were a bit disappointed until they saw the hand-painted sign in the window: Tell us your ‘Never have I ever…’ when ordering your coffee and you get a pastry for free.
At first people were hesitant to share their secrets like that, thinking it had to be something embarrassing like ‘Never have I ever had sex in a car’ and yeah, that might not be something your whole neighbourhood needs to talk about.
But slowly, almost unnoticed, the wonder of the idea started to unfold.
Like when Mrs. Brem (84 years old) from No. 4 shared that she’d never ridden a motorbike, the biker three people down the line (who no one ever would have spoken to, because hello? This is a respectable neighbourhood!) offered to take her for a ride and to everyone’s and her own surprise Mrs. Brem agreed. She returned with her usually perfect hair all in disarray and a spark in her eyes that hadn’t been there for decades.
And when young Billy (there with his mom, picking up cake for her employer, because they were so poor they’d never be able to afford this place) said that he’d never been to the beach and the family sitting at the window table offered to take him the next time they went. (They did that time and all the times after and because of that Billy is going to be a renowned marine biologist in 20 years.)
And when Kyle, who grew up with rich parents who were always busy, said that he’d never learned how to do any repairs around the house, Mr Walters from round the corner offered to teach him in exchange for Kyle actually doing all the repairs his house needed. (He later got shanghaied by Mr Walters into painting his fence but because Kyle went to buy the paint on his own, Mr Walters’ boring and orderly middle-class house is now surrounded by a multicoloured fence. He secretly loves it!)
And when Mary admitted that she’d never learned to cook anything but mashed potatoes and eggs and mostly lived from take-out, she got invited by Liana, who works at the farmers’ market, and they’ve had weekly cooking dates since then that everyone of their friends always wants to be invited to.
Jake is closing the café after its one-year anniversary party, which was a huge success of course, the only person still there with him his big brother Tom.
Tom, after putting chairs on the tables, slaps Jake’s shoulder and shakes his head.“This place is booming! But if you don’t stop this ‘Never have I ever…’ freebie thing, you’ll never get rich with it.”
Jake shakes his head. “That was not my intention anyway.” He grins. “Never have I ever wanted to get rich with this.”