Friday, November 15, 2013

The paint yourself into a corner writing contest

Yes, the painting continues.
Yes, I'm out of my mind.
Yes, I've repainted one ACCENT wall...six times.
Yes, this is getting out of hand.

When things get out of hand it's time to have a writing contest.

Usual rules this week: write a story with 100 words or fewer.  Post the entry in the comments column of this blog post. Comments will open when the contest does: 7am Saturday 11/16/13. The contest will close at 7am on Sunday 11/17/13.

Use these words in the story:

You must use the entire word but it can be part of a larger word if you elect:

Strawberry is ok; SS Trawler is not.
Butterfly is ok, butterflies is NOT

Bonus points if you know what the common thread is for those words.

If you need a mulligan, delete your entry and repost. Only ONE entry per person is allowed.

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid or ask on the Facebook page where the contest is posted


Contest opens Saturday 11/16/13 at 7am (eastern shark time)


Too late! contest closed at 7am 11/17/13


Anonymous said...

Dingy Lace

Janet made a mistake bringing her loathing to Lowes on football Sunday. The paint department was full of bitchy wives searching for Tranquility in the mass prism of paint chips. She penetrated the tension of pastel dreams and grabbed a few cards as if they might disappear like a trampled child on Black Friday. Overwhelmed she decided to choose by name; Peach, Sage, and Lily were boring. Straw? Perhaps, Burning Scarecrow instead. Her mood screamed Crushed Butterfly or Demon Wing. She could live with puke orange if it was called Susurrus, but until then she would remain white.

Unknown said...

Straw strewn, the barn offered a novel opportunity. I took it. She was hungry for fresh meat. I offered first my peach, almost felt her mouth it and take four incisive bites. Then I faced her, watched her eyes travel slowly down towards my hefty masterpiece. I held it proudly, offered it up to her. With a breath soft as a butterfly wing my voice pleaded, ‘Janet, my sage, please read it now.’

Unknown said...

Ashby floats through the hospital wing: an ebony butterfly; seen, not noticed. He spots the family under the false sign: Exit. That is not the way out.

He approaches, whispers, “The doc sent me.”

The father’s eyes suddenly the color of relief, and then a graying of suspicion at Ashby’s age, size. The sage is used to it.

The mother’s straw-thin fingers grip the sleeping infant; blotches of her peach skin pinked by diseased blood.

“It’s time to go. Follow me,” Ashby says. Back through the building’s craw, out of which he had come, and they are free.

Anonymous said...

Made of straw, wearing the same poorly fitted jacket, pants, topsy-turvy hat, broom stick up his rear, he’d been stuck on the backside of a peach orchard. After the glory of Oz, here is where he ended up. He had a brain, he was a sage, didn’t they know?
His thoughts grew fuzzy, butterfly like, their weight incongruous, useless. He’d lose his capacity to think, he’d become the bumbling fool again, unless he was freed. Dorothy! No, she’d left for Kansas. Her little dog too.
Above, the beat of wings came. Monkeys. Would they help? Ha! Maybe, when pigs fly.

**** Ms. Janet...The words, straw, peach, wings, butterfly, sage – the colors of paint you chose?****

Cindy C said...

Jeri dipped her brush into the paint can. When her husband lived here, he only allowed Boring Beige. Now that he was gone she needed more color. Winter Sage didn’t work. Neither did Southern Peach. She had high hopes for Strawberry Wine.

As she reached for the spot she’d missed, she imagined herself a butterfly stretching its wings, breaking free. She couldn’t wait to start her new life.

But first she had to finish painting this damn wall. She examined her latest effort and smiled. Strawberry Wine worked.

No. Wait. She could still see the bloodstains.

She opened another can.

Rain Crystal said...

Brittany adjusts her straw hat then huffs a bit. She's been waiting for her boyfriend for an hour, they were going to find the perfect peach. Out of the corner of her eye she swears she saw a wing. She turns her head to her left and looks, spying a beautiful butterfly. She smiles very happily at it, suddenly deciding between going after the butterfly or waiting for her boyfriend. Brittany's nose is suddenly overwhelmed with the scent of sage. She grins, then frowns and turns around to her boyfriend, ready to scold him.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I was undone by a single butterfly. It wove an invisible path across the forbidden back acre of straw spun gold until I stood beneath the witch tree's branches. Thrice struck by lightning, it still bore fruit; I had thought peaches, my sister argued apples. What I tasted was neither, the skin a pollen dusted moth wing, holding in sweet sticky juice that coated my lips crimson. When I returned at sunset, my parents drove me into the cellar with smoking sage torches, my sister's cries ringing in my ears. I would be burned on a pyre at dawn.

LynnRodz said...

She gave us five words. "Write a story." she said. So I wrote.

He was an artist and he never sold a painting. The colors of straw, sage, and peach danced in his mind and sang before his eyes. He laid paint to canvas. The brush whispered past his soul. Yet, no one understood. His mind as fragile as a butterfly wing could not endure. Despair. A pauper. His final words, "The sadness will last forever."

"Ah, but that's not a story." she said.

Unknown said...

I’m a little parched, Lidia, a Monarch butterfly thought to herself. She had been flitting about her favorite garden in search of food. Alas, she found little nectar left in the wilting flowers.

Lidia knew in order to survive she must stretch her wings in search of nourishment. After what seemed an eternity, she spotted a bed of Mexican sage. As Lidia extended her proboscis to use as a straw, she noticed a delightful bowl of rotting fruit invitingly placed nearby. What a treat! Full of juicy peach slices, watermelon and mango, Lidia drank until she felt fortified once again.

Kitty said...

Perhaps you could brighten that peachy one a bit? No, not gonna work.
Ahhh, Butterfly Wings. Yes, I like it!
I don't like the Straw at all.
Nope, not a'tall. And Texas Sage? Hmmmm...
Texas Sage might work, if it doesn't fight with the
Snot-green sofa.

Deborah Holt Williams said...

The painter settled his bulk on the stool.
"This lady's the last straw," he begins. "I ask her what color she wants her bathroom, and she says, 'delicate.'"
"Delicate?"says the bartender.
"'Like a butterfly wing' she says. So, Joe, you got any sage advice?"
"Here's what you need, Scully. A soft, sweet peach daiquiri, maybe five or six of 'em, with a straw."
"That'll lead me to 'delicate'?"
"No, that'll lead you to the urinal."
"Yeah, but Joe, I need to come up with a color."
"It's art, Scully. You'll know it when you pee it."

Anonymous said...

FYI...I meant "wing" above in my guess as to the common thread of the words this week.

katie said...

God, I hate home improvement. Especially for my bosses, The Dickheads. He had me paint the nursery four times: Straw, Sage, Peach and Barely Peach. Now she wants me to paint a four foot butterfly right after I put together the future little dickhead’s swing (all while watching dickhead kid #1). I’m planning on quitting when she starts labor, though, so that’ll be a nice surprise for them both. Oh, and I drilled holes in the plaster between their bedroom and the nursery (after Sage, before Peach). Hopefully their new nanny won’t be the only one awake all night.

Unknown said...

The primitive villages in Kandahar had thick walls. Well, they looked thick. When the 18-year-old Army private dove behind one of them following today’s ambush, the sage advice of his platoon sergeant should have echoed in his ear.
“There’s a difference between cover and concealment. Cover stops a bullet. Concealment doesn’t. Take cover behind them Afghan huts, a round’ll pass through like a bullet through a butterfly wing.”
Private Peach thought that was an odd way of describing it. Then the round passed through three inches of mud and straw, finding its way up under his side plates.

jarvis said...

The settling sun is spinning over clover fields when I spot Dad's butterfly, the sun shedding color like the scents of peach and plum and apricot. Though Dad is gone, I remember him by this insect. I step silently beside the dozing mare, carefully on top of the mash of straw to reach it. I crush it in my hand, and I smell its wing, like I smell sage. This is how I'll store him away, inside this room of dust.

Unknown said...

The butterfly’s wing tickles my cheek, and increases my urge for freedom. Freedom from these four white walls and the day’s stress that climbs my mind like an ugly gray octopus. I want to flit and float like this beautiful sage creature. With peach and black colorings, weighing less than a straw, it urges me on. To make a choice put off far too long. What color for my cocoon? What color to make my soul grow wings and flit about, delighting in the moment and the mood, and the freedom to choose. My friend takes flight with my decision.

Unknown said...

The midwife fluttered her fingers down Butterfly’s belly until she felt the fundus. “Thirteen weeks or so. Baby’s the size of a peach. Docs do ultrasounds, but I’d rather trust my hands than wing it with a machine. You cook with herbs?” Butterfly nodded. “Go easy on the sage. No sage tea, especially. Contributes to high blood pressure, miscarriage.”

This wisp of womanly advice was the last straw. Butterfly sat up. “I can’t be pregnant.”

“Few months from now, you won’t be,” said the midwife. “But once the paint’s on the floor, there’s no walking on it ‘til it’s dry.”

Foxcreek said...

“Stage name?”


“I don’t like it.”


“Better.” He took the cocktail straw from his amber drink and picked food out of his teeth with it. His greasy stare started at my Lucite heels and ended at the butterfly tattoo on my bare midriff.

“Why’s the butterfly only got one wing?” he said.


“Whatever. Doesn’t matter.” He opened the dressing room door. “You’re up.”

Six months, I promised myself, thinking of the medical bills.

I walked towards the stage. The thumping bass pulsated through my chest. The stump that used to be my right arm twitched.

KrisM said...

The basilica’s bells tolled midnight. Her gondolier docked under a bridge. After securing her masque, she wound through narrow alleyways, her cape billowing. She reread the note, “Find the Harlequin”, then burned it.

Carnevale revelers crowded the piazza, but he was alone near the fountain. From her straw basket, she offered him peach grappa infused with Russian sage. She filled his goblet. Twice.

Sweat beaded his brow. She placed a glass wing figurine—her signature—in his palm. “Rest in peace, Signore,” she whispered before disappearing into the throngs. He screamed, clutching his throat.

The Black Butterfly had struck again.

Unknown said...

Can you re-decorate your way out of grief? I hope so, because I'm not sure that there's a practical application for a Peach accent wall, or was it Butterfly Wings? Honestly, I've completely, and intentionally, lost track at this point. My sage advice was to leave the house alone, but dad's death was the straw that broke the camel's back. So, here I am, shopping for throw pillows, and avoiding the fact that my mother may be permanently chipped.

The Magic Violinist said...

He smelled like peaches and home. Lying down in the empty apartment and staring up at the sage-colored ceiling was better than camping under the stars. If I put my head against his chest, I could feel the butterfly wing beat of his heart that made my stomach bend like a crazy straw.

He looked over at me, grinning that goofy grin of his. "You okay?"

I stared at the parade of pearly-whites and nodded. "Perfect."

"I know this wasn't exactly the kind of date you were planning on, but I haven't unpacked anything and I'm completely broke at the moment."

"It's no big deal. Really. This is better than some fancy restaurant."

I sighed and looked back up at the ceiling. He rubbed my arm, sending soda bubbles up me and fizzing over my crazy straw stomach. Perfect indeed.

Anonymous said...

This all started when Oscar’s buddy dared him to jump from his second floor bedroom window using a twin sheet like a delta wing. Now Oscar has a butterfly bandage holding his chin together like a stitch, and he doesn’t want to rip it off just yet because he knows it will take his face’s peach fuzz along with it. He’d ignored his father’s sage physics lesson from the day prior: Everything that goes up must... But his friend had accused him of having no balls. So he’s happily hurt, even if his dad now calls him the strawman.

Anonymous said...

Costly straw – candlesticks, prints clogging walls, bubble glass, piano unplayed, loaded with crap - but the breaker was a peach-hued bowl, butterfly patterned.
“I told you,” he said, “nothing useless on the counter. I can’t move in this house for the junk. Do you not have enough bowls?”
The room filled with Thanksgiving scents of sage, pumpkin. Guests would soon arrive.
“You never support me,” she said. “Ever.”
He used to put fist through wall. This time he saw a butterfly wing in her smashed head, a shard in her mind on the floor. Happy, freed, he answered the doorbell.

Shaunna said...

“Short straw goes in,” Alice said.

Fiona shrugged and strapped on her wings. In moments she was gliding over the canopy, her bio helmet feeding her a constant stream of readings. Two humans. A snake. A peach tree?

“I’m in position.” The message crackled back through Alice’s earpiece.



“It’s just -- well -- what about the butterfly effect?”

“Just a theory,” Fiona said.

“But this is Eden.”

“Exactly. Good place to start over,” she said, and vaporized the tree in front of her.

The next instant, they had never existed at all.


I didn't want to highlight my words, but I used "sage" in "message." Also, my guess is that the words are the first five shades of paint on that one accent wall. And I'm wondering, Janet, if you've thought about a faux paint technique to give the wall that extra something you're looking for.

Anonymous said...

“Dammit, Peach, this is the last straw.”

I made a grab for the goat, but she hopped to the top of the haystack light as a butterfly on the wing. I inhaled the sharp tang of sagebrush, the sweetness of greasewood in bloom, surveying the wreckage: tack and feed scattered and stomped.

“I told you not to cozy up with the neighbor goat. I warned you how it would end.”

Peach bleated, plaintive, pitiful.

I sighed, resigned. Hell hath no fury like a goat in love. Wallet in hand, I hustled down the road, to a white sign lettered in red paint.

Meat goats for sale. Butchering tomorrow.

(Yes, it's slightly over the word limit, but I'm just here for the fun of it)

Just Jan said...

He sucks on a wing. "There's something different in the marinade."

"Sage," I murmur.

He points to the salsa. "What kind?"


He crams an overloaded chip into his mouth. Some of the juice dribbles from his lip and assimilates into his beard. "What did you do today?"

Besides nurse a black eye and a couple of cracked ribs? "I learned how to butterfly shrimp. Taste them."

He shovels in one, then another. "Coconut-battered?"

I nod and twirl my diet soda straw.

He wheezes. His face turns an exquisite shade of eggplant.

"With ground peanuts," I whisper.

William Weissinger said...

The Decision.

"What do you think of peach?" she asked.

He set down his Scotch beside the wing-backed chair and walked to the corner where the fresh paint met the adjacent wall's stark white. His back was to her. "You're flitting like a butterfly from color to color: sage, straw, now peach -- for God's sake, make a decision."

She slopped down a wide arc of peach paint on the floor behind him, trapping him in the corner. "Done," she said. She took a swig of his Scotch and, with his glass in her hand, walked away.

Michael Seese said...

Sage closed her eyes and ventured back. Back in time. Back to her childhood home.

She tasted her mother's cobbler, laden with peaches picked from the orchard. She smelled the freshly cut straw piled in the barn. (After discovering boys, she would form a whole new set of associations with the scent of straw.) She felt the tickle of a butterfly which alighted on her nose, its wings casting a kaleidoscope across her field of vision.

These memories sustained her, and helped counteract the bile which rose in her throat each time another john laid a twenty on the nightstand.

Maple and Baobab said...

The ocre wind blasted through the curtains and left remnants of straw, sand, and sticks scattered on the wet paint of the wall. “Minnie Pwerle is that you?” She put down the teapot, opened the lid and dropped in the sage. She watched the curtains whirl and walked over to inspect the wall. Lying nested beside a sprinkle of minute pebbles was a butterfly wing with a tinge of peach. “Minnie?” It was too long since she'd been home to the Northern Territories and painted her face and body white. She sat down and watched the paint dry.

french sojourn said...

“Elmer, you can’t un-ring a bell.” Lloyd said.
“Say I was to go back… like twenty years, and yank out them strawberries by the sage bushes over ta Fred’s backyard. And… perhaps I planted a peach tree they-ah.”
“Well there’d be a fuckin peach tree they-ah, it’s called the butterfly effect Elmer.”
“Then I could change history...wouldn’t have to worry bout the possibility of a time line paradox?”
“Elmer…Einstein’s Closed time like curve wouldn’t allow it.With all due respect to your Appalachian American heritage…there ain’t no way you can wing it back to your prom night… and un-kiss your sister.”

Anonymous said...

Don’t go near the woods. Sage advice. Beauty walked across the farmer’s field, past the straw piled near the tree line, seeming preoccupied. A basket swung on her arm. She lifted a peach from it and took a bite. A black butterfly alighted on a nearby flower. She stopped to look at it, seeming entranced. Then came the sound of leathery wing-beats. As the beast made to pounce, her companion, Rose came leaping from the stack, sword drawn. The blade came down and the beast died. Beauty smiled and picked a piece of straw from Rose’s hair. “Good work.”

Amy Schaefer said...

I knew perfectly well that “Sausage Rebellion” may not be my cup of tea. Michael warned me his work was avante garde (I believe he called it “friggin’ weird”), but he is my grandson. I was delighted to attend.

A girl burned and ate a straw abattoir. A man smashed peaches into his chest. Hadn’t I passed an all-night Laundromat nearby?

A kimonoed Michael pulled me onstage. He clipped butterfly wings to my cardigan, then capered around, tossing tiny flags and bellowing Puccini.

As we bowed, he whispered, “Don’t tell Mom I made you help, okay?”

I patted his hand.

Anonymous said...

The living room was done in awful shades of ivory, sage and peach - like stepping into an episode of Miami Vice, she thought.

It did have an almost-view of the water. That was something.


“I love it,” Evan said.


Evan spit out his straw. “We’ll paint. Come see the balcony.”

Evan pulled her outside, and she leaned against the sun-warmed railing. She could smell the beach. A half-dead butterfly, its wing smashed against the wood, fluttered once. Poor thing. As she reached for it, Evan brushed it away. It fell. And fell.

“No,” she said.

To everything.

Steve Forti said...

Summer breakfasts on the porch were always Lucy’s favorite moments. Mine too, before her passage. Just doesn’t feel the same now.

I unwrap two straws. One just wouldn’t feel right. A butterfly floats its way onto the rim of the glass, its wings kissing the surface, sending tiny ripples through the sweet tea. My teeth sink into the tender flesh of a juicy peach, her favorite fruit. Sweet nectar trickles down my chin.

I miss these moments already. At least, I will.

Her bound, gagged, and writhing form pleads from the porch floor. I stand and grab my shovel.

Pari said...

The sage Zhuangzi lay on his straw bed and dreamed of a butterfly. When he woke up, he asked, Am I Zhuangzi who dreamed of a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming of Zhuangzi?

Walking through an orchard to the Peach Blossom Spring, a fisherman found an earthly paradise, but when he came home and told the tale, no one could ever find it again.

With one wing, the peng-bird covered the sky. But the little quail said, What's the need for that?

Stop this ridiculous dreaming, Min thought. Will it bring back my parents?

Anonymous said...

It oozed out of the monster like crushed strawberries onto a pile of sage. Its essence.
Zach opened the jar and brought out a blue butterfly. His eyes fixed on the dead thing on the basement floor. If the spell worked, all would be well again.
Zach ripped the wings off the butterfly snd placed them on unblinking, black eyes.
He sat eating a peach when the basement door opened, and the old monster lurched into the kitchen
Yes...all was well again.

vmh said...

Her tea was peach. Emery stirred it with her straw, a habit. She opened her window, a warm breeze blew gently though the room. She sighed and closed her eyes waiting for the turkey to be cooked.
The tattoo hurt and she was still angry with the artist for blurring the wing. She demanded a butterfly, and yet he scolded her, “I’ve done a million of these!” Every time his hand slipped, he huffed an apology. She cringed, recalling his impatient tone.
The oven timer buzzed, the sage bread was finished. Its scent crawled around her on the same breeze.

S.P. Bowers said...

A breath escaped me, small as the beat of a butterfly wing. If I opened my eyes it would be there. Mocking. Taunting. Wanting me to hope. There was no hope. This cell was my home. I darted for the wall, straw sliding beneath my feet. My fingers scraped at the sage paint. There was peach underneath. That had to go as well. Paint flecked off, my fingernails broke, my fingertips bled, leaving red streaks behind. I would never be free of these colors.

Nicole Payne said...

“What can I get you?” the waiter asks.

“Uh, a strawberry daiquiri, butterfly martini, peach mojito and a sage…”

“Seriously Liz? You just found out you’re pregnant. Why are you buying these drinks?”

“To decide on my baby’s name.”


“I want my child to have a name as strong as these drinks so it’ll grow up that way. So I need to smell their alcoholic strength and pick a good one.”

“Why can’t you just be like everyone else and wing it and hope for the best?”

“Well, that’s stupid. Hey waiter, come back. Don’t forget my Sage Lady!!”

Unknown said...

Peach, she was a beauty. We all thought so. Right down to the butterfly tattooed on her butt. It was hard to tell with her lying face down, dead like that. Bits of blood spattered straw stuck in her hair. A new ‘daddy’ had taken her under his wing. The other girls suffered from convenient amnesia. Some wouldn't even look at her. I felt cold, acrylic nails press something into my hand; I turned in time to see her disappear through the crowd. On the paper was a name, “Sage Gibson.” Lucky day, clues don’t just fall from heaven.

dylan said...

Dear Ms Reid

The evening air was perfumed with the smoke of pine-straw and sagebrush, from the smudge fires of the guides. They claimed this would discourage the swarms of venomous butterflies, winged man-made demons loosed upon a distorted world, another unforeseen consequence of reckless gene-splicing.

We had been trekking forever, seeking a fabled peach orchard that had somehow survived the contamination of the food. Desperate nomads chasing salvation, and embracing starvation.

Nobody, not even the halfwits believed any such thing existed. But men who have eaten nothing for years but insects and scavenged carrion will travel hard on a rumor of fruit.

I believe these words are all associated with the heroic repainting of the Sistine Apartment. dylan

Constantine Singer said...

Painting a Room
A Story Told in Five Haiku

Gracefully painting
Each brush stroke butterfly light
F*&K! The Color’s Wrong

Aimed for a light sage
With quiet hintings of peach
Looks like rotten quince

A second attempt
More furious with my strokes
Brush tips stiff as straw

New color choice, too
No sense painting subtle hues
For a rented room

Walls are now complete
Brilliant white like a stork’s wing
Like a hospital

Julie Butcher said...

Painters are the minions of Satan. Bloody, rotten, moldy green crawled up the wall. It was supposed to be sage. The decorator promised it would float on the texture like a butterfly over grass.
It didn’t.
Someone evidently mowed my carpeting and flung straw on the paint until it was a nest for angry birds. Any second, the red one would wing in and catapult eggs, or pineapples, or a peach at my head. It was fowl.

Patchi said...

The muted volume on my laptop prevents me from hearing him. It wouldn’t make a difference. The flames dance in front of us as if we were sitting on the couch together, remembering the day we met. My straw-colored hair caught in the breeze, while a single butterfly, its wings a mix of cyan and ocher, fluttered around me. He painted a masterpiece that day. I can almost believe the sage in my hand is real.

I take another sip of my peach schnapps and watch the scene melt into the fire. He broke my heart. I’m breaking his.

Patty Blount said...

Benjamin cursed his assistant. No pipettes again. A coffee stirrer used as a straw would have to do. He transferred blood from specimen to sample card, added sage-colored liquid and waited. The specimen, still pinned to the board with one wing splayed, writhed in agony.


He pried the lid off a drum delivered that morning. “Two million won’t be enough. Warren! Double the butterfly order. I’ve done it.”

His hapless assistant rushed over, slid his glasses back up his nose, and nodded.

“Congratulations, Mr. Moore. Another shade of peach.”

“Nihilist!” Benjamin shook his fist. “The others pale in comparison.” said...

Lily’s almond-shaped sage eyes twinkled as she hurried toward the creek, her hair flew in the warm sun like fresh mown straw. Her friends would be at the swimming hole on this hot summer’s day. The pool hidden under a web of willows, already rung with familiar voices.

No time to waste.

Lily’s toes barely touched the wild flowers as she sailed across the meadow like a butterfly, but without wing or care. She soon reached the cobalt pool and stood on the bank, catching her breath, her cheeks as flushed as a ripe peach.


Heather Rose Walters said...

“Yeh canna’ get meh back in tha’ pond, lassy,” he sneers, crossing his fins. He’s not getting the message.

“You’re getting water everywhere, Skattleby! Your tub scratches the hallway!”

“Ah canna’ travel in a tub o’ straw!” He starts rowing. The oars clunk against the hardwood and the wheels squeak, but I grab the rim of the tub and pull out the butterfly wrench. A goldfish shouldn’t be able to go just anywhere.

“Tha’s jus’ peachy,” he snorts, leaning back with a splash.

“See what I mean?”

“Fine! Take mah wheels. But ah’m not goin’ back in tha’ pond!”

Unknown said...

Her name was Anna Peach and Anna Peach was known on the streets for one thing. One thing. Gnawing sausage. You know what I mean. Like coaxing vanilla shake through a straw. She had a constant pucker, a Pall Mall pucker, a Marlboro pucker, but Anna never smoked.

Anna Peach ran away at fifteen because home was so hard. So hard. Life is harder, Anna Peach.

Now she's splayed like a butterfly, but her arms can't fly away. Pinned to the wall and displayed. She's mine all mine. Life is harder, Anna Peach.

Unknown said...

My sage looks on as smoke wafts through the air. If this is unsuccessful, I’m to be stripped of my powers. Flames burn the straw, engulfing the wing of a moth and the peach parchment holding the magical words. His doubtful eyes stare into mine as the fire dies with no results. A loud pop bursts through the darkness moments before a delicate butterfly rises from the ashes. My powers are safe, for now.

Scott G said...

I started the night with beer and wings. This strawberry blonde sat next to me, boobs spilling out of a butterfly dress, wafting in a peach and sage perfume. She wanted me.

We had a mutual friend. Debbie, my last victim. Debbie. Was that her name?

She lured me to a hotel room, pretending to be drunk. I didn’t care. I mean, this was just like any other Friday night. This shit happened to me all the time.

She took off my clothes and pushed me down on the bed.

Where she was hiding that switchblade, I do not know.

Kirsten said...

The pig sat moodily watching his brothers make peach pie. What was there to celebrate? He had spent months building this solid brick house. Did they comprehend how difficult it was to spread mortar with no opposable thumbs? Like a butterfly attempting tuba lessons. Meanwhile, these two slapped together straw and sticks. And, when the inevitable happened, they winged it over to his place. He was the sage one here and yet he was stuck with these two pork-brains. The aroma of peach pie reached him. He grabbed a thick slice. He was a pig after all.

Naomi said...

Too many botched attempts have left nothing but a scalp vein; the butterfly IV against my shaved skull must look like the bauble on a baby's headband. Better the guillotine, the straw waiting beyond the winged blade, than this humiliation.

I utter the same sage words I've repeated on every try. "Sorry, but I didn't do it." That is, I don't remember doing it.

"You OK?" asks the medic.


"Be cool. I got ya this time."

A rush like the old days, a burst of shattered gold. Heroin.

"I'll take some of whatever he's having," the warden says.

(These words sound like they come from a paint color chart or a description of a VERY weird wedding cake.)

Gingermollymarilyn said...

On the wings of a butterfly she flew high into the air. Her magic potion—including sage, a lizard’s tongue, the pit of a peach, and straw found only on a pig farm—had shrunk her to the size of a wasp. The possibilities of what she could now do were endless, but flying higher and higher, holding on with all she could, above the neighborhood was beyond her imagination. The potion was supposed to last for one hour so she’d have to be careful so as to not fall out of the sky!

JaredNGarrett said...

The straw man floundered past the peach orchard. He peered through sleepy trunks, black marker circles wide on his canvas face.

His head flopped in boneless circles. No purple edges, no flitting wings.

This morning. The sun incandescing off breath-stealing beauty perched on his propped arm.

Golden straw tracking his trail on the yellow road, he tottered forth. A glimmer. His weedy heart skipped.

No. Only a dancing lily.


He traipsed into a sage field, Sharpie nostrils wide, he reached. The butterfly flashed, flitted, and landed on his arm.

Who needs a brain, he thought, when you have beauty?

Ashes said...

She was a peach, literally. Not a swan or a butterfly, dancing on pointe shoes as quick as wings. But a round fuzz-covered ball. At five years old her dance career had started with a fizz.

Because her mother gave the sage advice "there are no small parts" she showed up for rehearsals. A last minute rewrite that meant she'd be eaten in the first act was the final straw.

So when the curtain opened, instead of performing carefully choreographed ballet she improvised karate.

And that is how a disappointed peach became a bad apple.

Colin Smith said...

"Are you sure it's today?"

"Yes," Donna calls from the kitchen.

"How long?"

"Five minutes."

I can already smell sage as I sit at my computer, filing reports.

When Donna comes through the doorway, she's wearing a strawberry red dress with a butterfly pin. Donna never wears dresses, but today is special. She passes my plate.

"That's turkey wing, dressing, potatoes, and squash casserole."

I smile at the pills.

"And the machine's working on a peach cobbler," she adds with a child-like grin.

Twenty years since we escaped our plague-savaged Earth; not a year passes we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

Lance said...

“Peach and sage don’t go together,” said Joe.

“I’m not sure,” Elana said, reading the paint names.

“Try the straw. You’ll like it.”

Elana imagined a butterfly mural, a peach accent wall, sage wainscoting. It sounded good.

“You’re just winging this,” Elana said, standing up from Joe's kitchen table. “You don’t have a clue, do you?”

Why did a vegetarian have a meat cleaver? Elana hefted it. What was Joe planning?

“Well, I’m not colorblind,” said Joe, bent over the color chart.

A single swish. It came clean off.

“You’re right. I can’t tell if you’re human or Vulcan.”

Nicole said...

Staring down, he saw memories of autumn laughter and butterfly kisses, when he’d picked bits of straw from her hair and they’d sent the kite on wing above the barn while heady scents of sage danced with it on the wind. Her cheeks had been peach then, not this cold white.

Kelle Z. Riley said...

The blank wall, sage green with straw colored trim, mocked me. In a creative burst, I feathered it with delicate peach strokes, each as fine as if brushed on by butterfly wings dipped in nectar.

Later, a painter repaired the damage . . .

Back at the computer, writer's block fled, winging away in a sage-peach blur. I tapped butterfly kisses against the keys. A shining gold novel emerged, spun from the trampled literary straw in my mind.

Later, an editor repaired the damage . . .


Kathy Halsey said...

"You're a peach," he said as the sage flew on butterfly wings from the incense burner.
"Listen," I said," you've painted yourself into a corner you won't get out of! You're just a straw man!"
They flung themselves into each others arms, ready to negotiate this new battle that always culminated into the climax of their fights.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

The old sages said sailing The Fallows was suicide. Laughing, I placed my faith in the miracle of steam.

And killed us all.

Engulfed by mist, my glassy-eyed crew mooned for lost loves.

And died, gray and wan.

I was last. After the butterfly-soft bite, I saw my Martha in her peach silk wedding gown.

Starting awake, I threw off the misty wings and it retreated snarling.

However, it always returns. My only solace on my straw mat is that I will die refusing to let it dishonor my beloved. This is 1888 and I am a man of reason.

[The prompts are the pallet of the newly decorated Shark Tank.]

Anonymous said...

Bruce was never going to get it. Then again, it wasn’t Mela’s job to ensure he did. Only that he wrote.

Who the hell really agonizes that much over a peach, she wondered. Of all the fruits a sage-poet could pick from some Eden of his fine metaphysical mind!

The mental flagellation continued. My parents were right: this writing-center gig WAS a crappy straw to draw! Literature means as much to these students as a butterfly wing to a syphilitic Yeti.

And then an epiphany scuttled to her—like singing mermaids in her ears. Alfred must’ve been a writer, too.
My guess as to the common thread uniting the words: All were patterns or colors suggested by the paint salesperson?

Charlotte Levine Gruber said...

The sun was setting as the little girl made her way to the special place. It was going to happen today. She saw the chrysalis begin to vibrate and smiled. She’d checked on it every day for a week and had seen it fade. The bright green form was now almost sage. It was time.

The creature struggled to emerge. First the antenna, then proboscis, straw-like, reaching blindly.
Its thorax and forewing followed, the feather-light texture soft like a ripe peach.

Free of confines, the transformation was complete. The delicate wings spread to reveal a brand new butterfly.

Kase Johnstun said...

I fell asleep beneath the sagebrush. My dad lost me beneath the aspens of the Rockies. It was my first hunt, the first time with the men of the family. The peachiness of my slumber made him laugh when he woke me beneath the butterfly’s wings that scattered back and forth while he loaded his gun and looked through his scope for a buck. The straw hugged me like a bed when his gunshot deafened my ears.

Calorie Bombshell said...

I felt that gnawing in the pit of my stomach again, unaware the dosage I ingested would render me unconscious in less time than it took a six-eyed crab spider to dismember and digest an unsuspecting Monarch butterfly. I was their straw man, their cover, their empty suit. They set me up real good. Told me no one would get hurt. No one would even notice a discreet transfer from the dormant account of some reclusive billionaire. For the cause, they said. Patted me on the back and congratulated me with peach schnapps; the sweet aftertaste of my own murder.

Julie Weathers said...

Few people believed that vampires escaped the bodies of the dead on the wings of a butterfly. Celestial did. She was a vampire hunter and she was positive Great Aunt Hannah was a vampire. She slurped her Coke noisily through the straw and ignored the glares of the few people attending the service. Just when she was about the give up, a brilliantly colored butterfly wing of purple, peach, sage, and gold appeared. Celestial leaped out of her chair and whipped out her butterfly net. Vampire Hannah was captured and quickly dispatched with a toothpick through the heart.

Kara Reynolds said...

"If we beat Bowser, we'll save Princess Peach." He looks at me with trusting eyes, and I ruffle his straw-colored hair. I don't know how to beat this game, but I'll wing it. We pick up our controllers. He slides off the couch to play the way he always does, balanced on his tiptoes like a butterfly about to take flight.
"Don't jump on Bowser's head, it's spiky." Sage advice from a four-year-old.
I'll miss this when he's older, and playing with Mommy is the last thing he wants to do. I treasure these rainy Nintendo afternoons.

Unknown said...

Grief. There was no wrong way, everyone said. Yet each morning she woke with only his visage on her mind. Had it not been too long? Because it certainly felt too much. Each time was only a straw, yet enough had fallen for any peach piggy to build a fine home indeed.

Only one thing ferried her peace—and it piloted the wings of her son’s favorite creature. Just as morning always came…so, too, did it. With a flutter of wind it passed strength, carried only for her.

Miracles, she supposed, could be found in anything.

Even in a butterfly.

JD Paradise said...

"You know the butterfly thing, Jimmy?" Peach asks me. "Flaps its wings--"

"Hurricanes across the ocean. My poor straw house."

"Build with brick. I tried telling you . . . "

Always the sage. I smirk.

"Anyways." Peach kicks through a stone, watches the waves. "We started something."

"We?" I quirk an eyebrow.

"Point. But it's getting hard to keep the gate open."

"I never asked you for that."

She fixes me with pearl-button eyes. "You never had to ask, Jimmy."

"Peach. C'mon. I have Desiree. The kids."

"You have me."

The confusion in her voice, the hurt. It breaks my heart every time.

Unknown said...

She laid the straw bound in the shape of a human on the bed of sage. The soft green sticks splayed out behind the figure like the shredded wings of a battered butterfly.

One strike. Two strikes. The match head sparked into flame. She lowered it onto the altar. The pale heat turned the green a chocolate brown, ate and curled the leaves, sent ribbons of sweet smoke into the air that mixed with the stench of rotting peaches.

Rot and fire. Like her social life and her anger.

The straw burned.

She’d have the last laugh now.

Phoenixwaller said...

“A bale of hay, no, straw.”

The man with dark, horn-rimmed glasses picked up another card. “What do you see?”

“A butterfly.”

Another card.

“Angel wings.”

A sigh. Another card. “Some kind of plant, lavender or sage.”

“Ok, last one for today.”

“A peach, definitely a peach.”

“You may go now.”

“Thank you Doctor. Can I make one request for next session?”


“Can your inkblot cards have more color, black is just so dreary. If you need inspiration I can have somebody in my office deliver a Pantone book.”

Kate Outhwaite said...

11:07. She's late. I order sparkling water with a hint of peach.

11:32. She's really late. The cafe is filling up with the smell of pork and sage pie. I’d like to take one home for Dad and Harry but wish I could have something for myself, just for once.

11:42. She's beyond late. I stir shards of ice with the straw, recalling her soft touch, silky as butterfly wings.

11:56. She's not coming. I head home.

12:18. She was here. Harry is gone and Dad slumps lifeless in his wheelchair. She's left a note: "Happy Birthday. Be free. Mum."

ashland said...

“Honey, be a peach and fetch me another glass.”

Though her voice wafted on the wings of a butterfly, her eyes wore the cold mascara of cruelty. It was all I could do not to throw that Chardonnay in her face, but I needed the paycheck badly. When I'd first begged her for a job she laughed in my face. But I guess even witches grant wishes once in awhile.

Handing the glass her way, she flutters again, “No need for a straw, darlin'.”

Such sage advice I've never been able to take.

That's probably why she divorced me.

Unknown said...

“If a butterfly flaps it’s wings in a forest, does anyone hear it?” asked Louisa triumphantly.

Louisa St. Clare, beautiful, charming and, in an attempt to spread her sage thoughts among mere mortals, occasionally shared her wisdom by mixing philosophical metaphors she didn’t understand. Verbal Emperor’s New Clothes.

Louisa St. Clare. I could forgive her stupidity, but not my brother’s. I cannot comprehend what makes a rational, intelligent man become a windlestraw around physical beauty and propose marriage to a woman whose only attribute is the fleeting blush of youth.

Future Christmas dinner conversations are going to be just peachy!