Here's how it came about. Last Friday night on Twitter, a new young associate editor was welcomed.
Here's the conversation (remember to read each tweet up, rather than down)
No doubt you have the idea now: create a name for a multitude of something.
So, here are the rules:
Write a story using 100 words or less. In the story you must use a word to describe a multitude of something. (It will help if you post the phrase at the end of the story as well, just in case I miss it. That last sentence will NOT be counted as part of the 100 words)
The word MUST be original: no "murder of crows" or "bevy of beauties" kind of thing.
Post your entry in the comment column of this blog post.
If you need a mulligan, delete your entry and repost.
Contest opens at 10am Saturday 11/9/13
and closes at 10am Sunday 11/10/13.
Decisions on winners will be subjective and sharkly in the extreme.
A word of warning: it will help your chances if you do NOT use a word that has been used in entries posted before yours. I'm not saying you can't but three people coming up with a particularly clever word choice makes me suspicious. Preference will be given to the FIRST of those entries.
Remember though: story counts FIRST.
Example: A quarrel of stepchildren gathered to hear the reading of the not dead soon enough family patriarch.
(What do you call a group of stepchildren? A quarrel.)
Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Rats! too late. Contest closed now.
He threw back another shot and fired up a Lucky Strike as the 1947 Wurlitzer came to life with Sinatra's "I’ve Got A Crush On You."
Nick’s strained face eased. “Hey, doll, remember that song?"
She smiled. “It was playing when you introduced yourself.”
“You were standing in a flutter of fillies around that jukebox listening to it.”
She stood up. "I gotta go."
He grabbed her hand. "Come on, doll, let's give it another shot...okay?"
"It just didn't work out, Nick."
As she left, she dropped some nickels in the Wurlitzer so Frank could keep Nick company.
What do you call a group of female fans? A flutter.
Stroke of Fate
Justin, the original Tosser of the group, was frustrated as he surveyed the room. A member had squealed to the media, threatening to expose all their identities. He could already see his mothers wilting face of shame and disappointment as she watched the five o’clock news. How could she ever look him in the eye again knowing he was not only a member of the M.A., but President for a stiff of masturbators? She would blame herself for the time she accidently walked in on his five-knuckle parade. The recovery road had suddenly become a lot harder.
Soft sobs emanated from the satanic slush-pile room. “Who’d submit a 2500 word novel?”
“Why do you try, Sal?” I said, leaning in. "They’re like Canadian Soldiers.”
She scratched her head. “You mean those bugs…”
“Yes, that die by the millions on the shores of Ohio.”
“So, suicide slush-pile playwrights,” she grinned.
“And when used for fishing, reeling rotten writers.”
“Tell me about it,” she sniffed. “I’ve read your rebuffed form rejections.”
“BBA’s and arrogant authors are part of the job.”
Sal pulled a bound and perfumed sub. “Here’s a dystopian called, 2084.”
“Ah yes…a card-carrying member of ne’er-do-wellian novelists.”
A giggle of teenagers converged on a lawn.
“This is gonna be great!” Tyler gushed.
“You sure this is the right house?” Josh whispered.
“The mailbox says Buckholtz. How many can there be?”
“I don’t know, guys. She’s not the meanest teacher.”
“You in or out?” hissed Susan.
Rotten eggs flung, and epithets scrawled on the windows with soap, the teens dissolved into the night.
Later, a lone figure lurked beneath the Buckholtz kitchen window. The air reeked of gasoline. He struck a match,.
“Give me a fucking F!” Josh said. “Funny. Fire starts with F.”
The collective I created was “a giggle of teenagers.” And for the record, you should read NOTHING into the fact that my last two stories featured pyromaniac protagonists.
The bulldozer of bullies he could never seem to escape, glared, catcalled. Quentin saw them for what they were, feeder fish. Today, he was the shark. His arms tucked in his coat, he walked up to them. Celeste, stood by her locker, watching. Good. She wouldn’t see him humiliated, not anymore.
He faced Junior Harper, the one who’d pulled his pants down in front of everyone in kindergarten.
Quentin smiled, “He’s first,” he announced.
They snickered, “Huh?”
Quentin said, “Junior.”
Junior snorted, “First, asswipe? For?”
Quentin uncrossed his arms, the hidden pistol fired. Junior received his answer.
*** bulldozer of bullies****
Not even the gaggle of Agents from Boucheran had been foolish enough to sail the leeward winds at night. The trolls from under the bridges never did any real damage with their bluster.
The long shadows of dawn lay along a trail of wanton destruction heading in the direction of our greatest treasure. They had scented on the fruit of our toils like buzzards. The manuscript tree was under attack.
One noticed us and soon the entire skurvy of editors was rattling their notepads, brandishing pencils like swords and screeching “First person, first person, we want it in first person.”
A glissando of harps decorated the stage, an arpeggio of harpists behind them. The music started, and the audience swayed to the soothing warm undulations of Mozart.
"I needed this," said a blue-haired lady in the fourth row. "It's been a week."
"How so?" Her bald-headed companion leaned in, straining to hear her over the rising cadence of the music.
"My grandson started trumpet lessons, and I had to babysit."
"Aah," the gentleman nodded his understanding. "So you appreciate graduating from the harsh chianti of cornets to the heavenly holy water of harps!"
"Amen to that," she said.
[A "glissando of harps" and an "arpeggio of harpists."]
Once upon a time there was a citizen who wanted to help other citizens. He joined a group who had similar ideals and ideas. The townsfolk joined together in a referendum of trust, “please help us” they cried. We need representation. So the selected-elected went to Capital City to help the townsfolk. They were plied with food and drink and became fat with empty promises. When the disconnected-elected returned to their village they found the people suffering from the poison of the empty promises. The inept-elect were run out of town. The villagers rejoiced until the next election-infection.
(What do you call our Senators and representatives, the inept-elect.)
(What do you call a group of Politicians after arriving in Washington, the disconnected-elected.)
(What is the disease all politicians suffer while running for office, an election-infection.)
The gorilla burst through the coffee shop, where a frustration of picture book writers stared at their laptops. He climbed the espresso machine, while the writers sipped their lattes in search of inspiration. What to write?
They held their cups more tightly as the gorilla bounded from table to table, pounding his chest.
“Character driven—but what character?” sighed one writer.
“Character must solve his own problem, but what problem?” pondered another.
“Don’t forget the rule of three,” said a third.
The gorilla leaped over the counter and helped himself to three cronuts before he knuckle-walked out the door.
“a frustration of picture book writers”
Due to a record-breaking season of rain, Rhode Island has changed her name. Once referred to as the Ocean State, she’s now known as the Cornucopia of Quagmires. Most locals are thrilled with the weather, hoping it’ll bring annoying tourist visits down to a minimum. However, Finnegan Puds feels differently. Looking across his muddy yard, Mr. Puds is reminded of that dreadful day back in high school. The day he tripped and landed face first into a pile of runny dog poop. Taking another swig of scotch, he staggers off his porch, laughing at the brown mess beneath him.
What do you call Rhode Island? The Cornucopia of Quagmires
The dark back street melted away like a rain-soaked watercolor, then re-formed with a thump. But now it looked thirty years too young. Someone was walking ahead of me with fear in his gait. I recognized that walk: it was a sixteen-year-old me, convinced I was being followed; convinced my life was in danger.
I needed to return to 2013. I needed Doctor Who, or a paradox of Time Lords. Whatever it took.
Then I looked to the ground. At my feet lay a man, unconscious, knife in hand. I smiled as I realized what the thump was.
(What do you call a group of Time Lords? A Paradox of Time Lords.)
A harem of us wait. More every day, upstairs and down. Longing to be chosen.
She arrives. I stand a little straighter, hold my breath.
Her fingers trail over us. She bites her lip, as if she's unsure, as if she doesn't hold all the power. The queen of the known universe.
She reaches. For a glorious second I'm sure it's me, but it's not. My neighbor disappears and I sense his elation as she brings him to her bedroom, tugs off his jacket, and I, I remain, slumping in his empty space.
And again I wait, to be read.
While power walking down the hallway in an attempt to reach the bathroom before a slush of a problem, Mrs. Ostrovsky encountered a rumble of second graders sprinting down the hall. Overeager for their afternoon recess, the students ran her over. Mrs. Ostrovsky, stunned and flattened, lost bladder control and ended up in a plop of a problem.
A screech of school staff, the janitor included, all responded appropriately and turned an embarrassing situation into a whisper of an issue (ignoring the inevitable gossip). Luckily, Mrs. Ostrovsky had a change of clothes in the car.
(What do you call a group of excited second graders? A rumble.)
(A group of coworkers? A screech.)
“Welcome to the Project!”
“So, what’ll I be doing? This is so hush-hush.”
“We’re measuring the Internet.”
“When our test subjects react, we know we’ve reached a quantitative measurement.” He nodded toward a whiteboard.
LOL of CATS = 7 (SharkCat on Roomba required to overcome cynicism)
SQUEE of ZOOBORNS = 1 (instantaneous)
After a loud gagging noise, a tech scurried over and added a notation.
SPEW of MEMES = 27 (short lifecycle required several iterations)
“What’ll I be working on?”
“You’re new,” his voice trailed off as he handed me a clipboard.
My heart sank as I read, “METRIC CRAP TON.”
Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep. Wake up. Wake up.
I force myself to consciousness, and in my dead man walk from bed to bathroom, I wonder if it's real this time.
The piss comes out long and smooth. A splash of water renews my face. I dare to hope, but I know better. I've been deceived before. I apply some toothpaste, and I pause cautiously. Then I brush my teeth with vigor and urgency.
I leave my bathroom. Can it be? I am finally free.
I force myself to consciousness, and I curse this dream, this Groundhog Day of mundane existence.
Groundhog Day of mundane existence
The man from the night before was gone by the time Emma woke up. Dave or Steve or something. He’d left his phone number and email address by the bed, but hadn’t signed the note. Maybe she’d get in touch. Going out for coffee, she was amazed to find a harassment of tabloid journalists on her doorstep, shouting questions about the mystery man.
When she opened her mouth to speak, a hush descended.
“So, could one of you guys please tell me his name?”
A group of tabloid journalists is called a harassment.
It's hard to see her like this, with a benign expression and a blush of roses in her arms.
The last time I saw her, she was pissed. I don't recall specifics, only that I kept my cool while she went on an epithetical rampage. Her words rolled off me then. Later, when I got the phone call, those same words brought me to my knees.
It's hard to see her like this, but harder still is when my daughter asks over and over again when Mommy is going to come home from heaven.
(What do you call a bunch of roses? A blush.)
“Bless me, father, for I have sinned…”
Crap. Confessionals could double as coffins. Nipping vodka behind a pew didn’t help my nerves. Venial sins are the least of my worries. Must’ve skipped the day the nuns covered lust in Catechism 101.
I will repent. Otherwise, my mom will be saying novenas for my lost soul. Burning candles, too.
But I can’t not love him. No penance can absolve me, not even string-beading a thicket of rosaries. Lucifer has a better chance of being forgiven. I’m doomed to burn in a hell custom designed by Dante.
“… I covet my priest.”
< thicket of rosaries >
A mayhem of Mafiosi met to mediate among the city’s corpse of cocaine chandlers. But a vengeance of vigilantes, venting revenge, invaded the venue. Made-men escaped and were photo’ed by a pernicious potpourri of paparazzi. The rabble of reporters filed an argot of articles to their evil of editors. While a pestilence of prosecutors suppressed publication until the city’s terror of tabloids printed a herald of headlines. A massacre of murders and a leonid of lynchings compelled imposition of martial law. Then a portmanteau of prosecutions flooded the court and County Clerk Kitty Clark suffocated under a beleaguer of briefs.
Janet, fourteen collectives are in italics and please, never again tempt me to a blaze of banalities—now, quickly say “County Clerk Kitty Clark” five times.
The noxious aroma of seventh-graders filled the ELA classroom, as the students awaited the reboot of their frontal lobes. Ms. Guru repeated the instructions on summarizing for the tenth time. She felt quite certain her words stuck to her students’ minds like uncooked spaghetti would to a wall.
“Can anyone repeat what I said?” Ms. Guru combed the room for volunteers.
Suddenly, a hand jolted into the air. A glimmer of hope rose within her jaded heart. “Yes, Sean, what do you think?”
“I gotta’ go to the bathroom,” Sean mumbled.
Ms. Guru wept silently... Only thirty-three years until retirement.
(Seventh-graders smell noxious.)
Nicky was unwrapping her sandwich when Ipsa appeared. “You have to come.”
Nicky didn’t need to ask why. She strode through the building, doling out smiles to important parties along her way, seething invisibly.
She found Ethan crouched on the asphalt, surrounded by his persuasion of liars.
Chelsea hissed from a gladhand of politicians: “Is he really going to do it?”
Nicky marched through the rubberneck of onlookers.
Three stories above, Principal Crawford watched nine-year-old Nicky Gallagher berate her twin brother for lighting farts by the dumpsters. Nicky pointed, and the snicker of fourth-graders dispersed.
The girl was principal material.
(What do you call a group of liars? A persuasion.)
(What do you call a group of politicians? A gladhand.)
(What do you call a group of onlookers? A rubberneck.)
(What do you call a group of fourth-graders? A snicker.)
Raj jigged his way hands flailing by his side toes less than pointed, kilt twisted around his waist, flap flying along with his, shall we say, “very nice, very nice indeed” right into the crowd dressed in kilts and imbibing from their Guiness glasses. “Get Your Irish On” was the post on the Meet Up. Last month was “Nastarovia Niet” and everyone wore vintage USSR paraphernalia.
Raj stumbled about with hand outcast shaking hands.
“Khadi. Welcome to A Convocation of Reformed Elbow-benders. Apple cider?”
“That's a bugger. Fine print?”
“What do you call a group of recovering alcholics? A convocation of reformed elbow-benders.
Those kids came back last night, daring each other to run up and touch my front door. “Go away,” I shouted, but they didn’t hear me.
I decided to ignore them this time. They weren’t hurting anything, and I could remember being young, feeling that heady mixture of fear and fun. But then they laughed at my hand-stitched welcome mat, and I got mad. When I rushed to the door and slammed it open, they took off like they’d seen a whole sheet of ghosts.
I’ve always been proud of my welcome mat. Dying didn’t change that one bit.
A multitude of ghosts = a sheet of ghosts
Her finger hovered over the mouse button. She knew what she would find when she double-clicked. She closed her eyes; her hand made the requisite motion.
December first, every agent's nightmare.
She cautiously opened her eyes again, hoping this year would be different. However, her wish was not granted. The number next to her inbox was higher than ever, the quorum of querists far exceeding the usual amount.
With a despondent sigh she opened the first.
This day's not off to a good start, she thought as she prepared herself to send the ream of rejections.
(quorum of querists and ream of rejections)
A crackling of dead leaves scuttled across the street as Jamie and Loren ventured into the dead neighborhood.
The houses on either side of them loomed like decaying idols. Their windows watched the two boys with dark certainty. Good reason to stay as far away from them.
"You sure they're dead," Loren whispered, casting wary glances back and forth.
Jamie flicked the safety off on the flame thrower. "If not, we'll burn'em to the damn ground."
Two years ago those houses ate their occupants.
Finally, they reached the intersection and safety.
The houses of Willow Street growled in their wake.
*What do you call a gathering of leaves? A crackling.
The door thudded. The bolt shot home.
"When you asked me, out of that raven of poets, to come down here, I thought you were gay. I've never heard of this catechism before."
"Catacomb. It’s for dead people. Most anyway."
"Oh. Why are we here?"
"Have you ever heard of Poe re-enactors?"
"No. I love Poe."
"You'll appreciate this. Here we are."
"A new wall?"
"Well, sort of. Historic brick; the mortar is authentic. The chains, too. Step over here. Raise your arms. Good."
"This is kinky."
"Recite your poems. It will help with the work."
What is a group of poets? A raven.
Annie pounded her fists against the table. Why did Mom have triplets? Annie watched the thunder of toddlers camped out under the dining room table.
"They're at peace finally," she mumbled.
Annie slumped onto the couch and wondered when her mom would be home. I get so tired of babysitting those little monsters. I'm thirteen.
"I do have my own life," she grumbled to herself.
Before Annie could complain any further, those masters of disasters climbed up beside her and showered Annie with kisses.
Annie stretched out, cuddled them close and sighed.
A thunder of toddlers makes a thirteen year-old girl very tired.
Purple and black streamers stretched from the corners of the kitchen to the center light fixtures. A purple table cloth covered the kitchen table. A homemade cake with purple frosting and black letters sat nearby, taking up just over half the counter. On the stove rested a pan of lasagna and a pan of homemade mac and cheese.
Soon, gobs of children would run through the backdoor, screaming and yelling, ready to celebrate our daughter’s seventh birthday.
I think we’re mad.
My daughter ran downstairs, her little sister hot on her heels.
Let the madness begin.
What do you call a lot of children? Gobs
I should’ve allowed my neighbor to spray the computer with disinfectant. He’d said my computer had a large crash.
That was obvious. The screen flipped through colors so fast it looked blank until you got up close.
When I tried to force him closer to see, he whipped out the spray can. Thinking him crazy, I tossed him out.
Thanks to my lack of virus protection, the crash entered our world. Now, one by one, friends and family turn into blank slates awaiting a program.
No hope of escape for us, because the crash keep their protections up to date.
What do you call a group of computer viruses? A crash.
Director Randall Lipton’s homecoming to his sweet Alabama alma mater fizzled. Only four people from a defunct drama department auditioned for a student production of his Broadway play.
Improvising, Randall used the university’s lifelong learning division, making multigenerational magic. Half the cast were under 21; half, over 71. Young and old taught one another things none of them knew about acting. An octogenarian named Sophie heard “break a leg” but broke her tailbone. The show went on, with a donut pillow as the star’s southern comfort.
Randall later founded a theater company named for an unforgettable ensemble: An Assmenagerie of Actors.
she sat on the sofa, surfing
cross-legged, click click click clicking
read, ruminate, react, repeat
time ticking, trickling toward the terminus
what a weekend; wasted in a whirlpool of websites
A single packet of peanuts fell from the sky, landing at Clotilde’s feet. She’d been walking along the forest, mad at Papa, and not paying attention to where she was going, and then, fwump, peanuts.
Clotilde looked around, she knew she’d gone beyond the boundaries, and was outside the warden’s protection. She hadn’t had peanuts since before the uprising, before the boundaries had gone up. Clotilde reached down with her paw, and tore the package open when she heard the crunch of gravel. She turned quickly towards the noise, and saw the rebel commander accompanied by a skirmish of squirrels.
( collective noun fun = a skirmish of squirrels!)
“Arrh, she’s going to chop me to pieces,” moaned The Shark’s new assistant, not for the surfeit of query letters but because of her first update on The Shark’s blog:
Open for submissions.
Send me something with an erotic backdrop and well firmed characters. Endowed simultaneous submissions.
The assistant looked at the bulging inbox and mumbled, “EXOTIC not EROTIC, FORMED not FIRMED, ALLOWED not ENDOWED.”
“I should have mentioned I’m dyslectic.”
Certain she would join the snatch of rejections she doodled, ‘employment is not superfluity, and opprobrium of errors is responsibility-devolution.’
“Great! I can spell opprobrium but not FORMED!”
(“snatch of rejections”)
Still hot and sweaty from my workout, I walked next door into the supersized grocery store. I grabbed a basket and headed to the produce section. Where was the cloud of cauliflowers? Not a cauliflower to be seen. Until he appeared—a tall, handsome Ryan Reynolds lookalike—seemingly from out of nowhere, holding probably the only cauliflower in the store.
“Where are the cauliflowers?” I asked.
“I’m not sure. Have this one.” He smiled, handing me the cruciferous vegetable as though it was a bouquet.
It had been a long time, but finally, a man had brought me flowers!
Cloud of cauliflowers
Kidnapped, hogtied, about to be sacrificed by an evil wizard. In the suburbs. The indignity kept Timothy from being terrified.
If only Paisley… Unfortunately, the wizard knew of Timothy's relationship with the fairy and prepared. The only way she could enter was if the wizard brought her in.
Someone knocked. "Sign here, please."
The scratch of a pen, tape tearing. And the sound of dozens of fairy wings sizzling with magic. Seconds later, a frantic hedgehog waddled past, pursued by an entire buzz of fairies.
Paisley flipped a happy mid-air circle. "Small things come in good packaging."
“Y’all turn it up,” Mama yelled over the open car window.
The hot interstate wind blew her cigarette ash in my direction. I obliged, giving her a sour look.
I glanced in the back seat. My little sister stared past her window in a catatonic state. A pile of luggage kept her company.
Texas lived in our rearview mirror. Louisiana in the front windshield. And somewhere in between lived a carcass of memories the road kill miles could not erase.
Mama pounded out a rhythm on the steering wheel. A fresh start, she had said.
God knows we needed one.
What do you call a group of unsettling memories? A carcass.
So. Just waiting at Arnold's Cafe...alone. Again.
How many times must you be ditched by a date before you’re officially a failure, again? 10? 20?
I've lost count.
You know what happens when you leave the jerk of jocks? Getting stood up happens. Loneliness happens.
I should've stayed on the football team. I should've been born without a moral compass and/or lack of compassion for treacherous douchebags -
I look up. My waitress is watching. Is she concerned? Disgusted?
"Just clocking out...."
“Have a seat?”
She smiles, suspicious. But she wipes her hands, shrugs, and sits down.
What do you call a bunch of jocks? A jerk.
Ugh. When I took my shift, there wasn’t but one mum-to-be waiting. And not ten minutes in, we're inundated. A whole waddle of pregnant mums. And not just pregnant. We are talking fit to burst mums. I’m preparing a mop, that’s how she goes. Nearly nine months following Valentine’s Day, all I can say now is, “Would you like pickles with that?"
What do you call a crowd of pregnant moms? A waddle.
The shtetl was abuzz. The men yanked David from class, locking him in the shul’s library while they deliberated.
Hours passed, the air hot and stale. David sensed it wasn’t like the other times. The property damage was considerable, Mrs. Levinsky in shock. When they convened a schvitz of rabbis to parse his latest misadventure, he feared his father couldn’t make this one disappear.
They called the boy in. Rabbi Margolies announced plans for the new Yeshiva Levinsky, a gift of David’s father. David quietly beamed.
His father’s stern face ended his celebration. “Your uncle needs a clerk. In America.”
A group of [Ashkenazi] rabbis is a schvitz.
No sooner did my feet touch the carpet than a goggle of red lips descended upon me.
"Wait...uh, I only need a mascara..."
My plea fell on deaf ears. I could tell by the cockeyed slumps of sweeping black eyeliner that this sell of makeup artists would not be satisfied with my lone, singular purchase.
"Sit," one said.
"Let us make you beautiful," said another, flashing a set of shocking white teeth.
I stared down the proverbial barrel at a fury of brightly painted lips and coral dusted cheeks...and did the only rational thing I could think of.
(a goggle of red lips)
(a sell of makeup artists)
(a fury of brightly painted lips…)
“Sometimes I worry about my son.” Mary said as he unscrewed the clock bottom and began removing metal bits.
“Most kids go through a destructive stage. My son destroyed our blueray player.” Sheila said.
“That’s not what I worry about. Watch.” She nodded to her son. He laid out each gear, cog, and other assorted innards in precise groups. One by one his chubby fingers picked them up and stuck them back in the clock. Five minutes later the clock was running perfectly.
“Whoa. Is he…?” Sheila said.
“Yes, he’s going to join a boredom of engineers.”
An assemblage of assholes..
how could that be
She was childlike though she had attained the age of 57. Her bio referenced her nickname came from adolescense when with her mates she attended the cinema in NYC. That was so much grander than going to any mall.
She was given the gift to write about a sports championship and tie it with a vicious public murder. A chance to help the community heal..however inside her soul was sick and in a passive aggressive manner she insinuated actions from 50 years ago had influenced the teenage murderer. That somehow innocent, decent people in the here and now had failed this monster. Although one victim of the murderer was an actual child, she never thought to mention his name or the loss of him.
That somehow, though she was the direct neighbor with the murderer she would point her finger out at everyone else.
When she was called out for her outrageous rhetoric and offered the opportunity to defend it as a grown woman, like a child she ran to her facebook page. She portrayed herself as a victim, and her synchophants lapped it up.
In a childlike manner she lashed out at the community she had insulted and like minded idiots came to her defense. This was two weeks ago and though, 57, she is unable to be a grown woman and defend her words. Her facebook page, like a highschoolers', became the place where her "friends" displayed vitriol for those who called her out for her own vitriol......thus becoming an
assemblage of assholes.
“Honey?” He nudges my leg with his chilly toes.
“Hmmm?” I rustle the pages. Can’t you see I’m busy?
“You’re making a weird noise, a snuffling sound.”
“While you’re reading.”
“I am not snuffling.” I roll over, turn my back to him, and flip the page. Is the girl okay? Will they find her in time?
“Honey?” he says.
“What now?” I snap. “I’m. On. The. Last. Chapter.”
I put down the book. Marrying Bill was a mistake.
It’s clear I should’ve gone with boring Roland. At least we’d have been a duet of librocubicularists, content in bed.
*duet of librocubicularists*
“Think they suspect something?” I nudge his tattooed back, but he’d already succumbed to the unholy trinity of ouzo, vodka, and Slivovitz.
I push back the curtain and watch. Tongues wag as they knit tea cozies and count liver spots.
“Someone needs to put that slander of gossiping busybodies in their place.” I smirk and pour Drano down their caustic little throats. A muffled whimper from behind the closet door interrupts my sinister plot.
“Next time I catch you sneaking food, you’ll spend an entire week in there.” I slide under the covers and clamp my hands to my ears.
(What do you call a group of gossiping busybodies? A slander.)
Long day. All I wanted was a nap. Eyes half-shut, I stumbled out of my car, a salivation of anticipation forming in my muddle of brains.
I opened the door to a ricochet of cats--my five calicos veering in all directions, a ping-pong of paws and a tumble of lamps and vases scattered on the floor. The pieces were everywhere. The cats, wisely, had made themselves scarce.
"Oh no, not the Ming, too!" I cried, fully awake now. But it was too late. A rouse of rabble had passed through my home, rendering it a clamor of chaos.
What do you call…
A group of unruly energetic felines? (a ricochet of cats)
A group of upturned items? (a tumble of lamps/vases)
A group of confused thoughts? (a muddle of brains)
Misplaced scrambling feet? (a ping-pong of paws)
Unsure how to define…
A salivation of anticipation
A rouse of rabble
A clamor of chaos
Detective Jack Winslow righted the white king piece he found lying in the now-barren wall safe and called his brother.
"So, now we're playing chess?" he asked.
"I was tired of cops and robbers," his brother replied. "In fact, how about a riddle to spice things up: A gaggle of geese, a murder of crows, a dead body awaits where your dynasty of diamonds doze."
Before Jack could reply, the radio began to squawk about a body having been found in the park.
Jack reached into the safe, and knocked the king down.
(What is a group of diamonds called? A dynasty)
I could not decide who was worthy to sit with me.
I passed the table where a biopsy of oncologists sat: no, too grim. A vitreous humor of ophthalmologists rolled their eyes as I passed. I made a wide circle around the Herriot of veterinarians sullying the place with their paws. One Health medicine, my ass.
Definitely not the doze of anesthesiologists, responsible for every one of my patient deaths. I considered the ventricle of cardiologists until I overheard one refer to me as heartless.
I didn’t need them. I found the hostess. “Orthopedic surgeon,” I said. “Table for one.”
(A group of oncologists: a biopsy
A group of ophthalmologists: a vitreous humor
A group of veterinarians: a Herriot
A group of anesthesiologists: a doze
A group of cardiologists: a ventricle)
You come early for the meeting at the Topeka Marriott. Early or not, the wizards have already gone, the entire power. Or so it seems. You make for the free buffet.
The flowers in the vases are a string of colorful handkerchiefs. You pull one. The trap door opens and you descend to the stage.
A leatherlung boos from the first row. Your dad. Booing you.
You have your pride.
You gesture. The lion beneath his chair roars. Feeds, to the din of screaming.
This is Day Three of Hell Week.
Sacrifice enough, they'll have to let you in.
The tree’s canopy offered them respite from the sun and the frenzied congress of cannibals tracking them below.
She whispered to the loin-clothed hunk that had just saved her.
“You don’t seem worried that our heads could end up…on the pointy end of a stick.”
“I was the top headhunter in Manhattan… those guys below, amateurs…I’ve dealt with cells of architects and gallows of contractors.”
“So you traded in your 401k for a handful of vines?”
”Emily…I’m being chased….”
“……followed by a plague of divorce lawyers.”
“Emily…hang-on tight and call me…Phillip.”
“ew….how bout …Tarzan…or George…but not Phillip.”
congress - cannibals / (terrorist) cell- architects / gallows- contractors / plague- divorce attorneys
He sat in the window watching the flesh being torn away. His neighbor had been a decent man but now, he resembled a pile of wet, red noodles. The grovel of zombies were enjoying their meal and he wondered how the world had gotten to such a state. As he stared down at the feeding frenzy, the pounding on his door got louder and louder. He realized it was only a matter of time before he became nothing more than a distant memory.
What do you call a group of zombies…a grovel.
Maggie Mae joined her cackle of gals. DJ Tony Toone was giving away tickets for the "If...Ya Think I'm Sexy" man himself. They weren't gonna' miss this concert! Not after 40 years!
Toone stood ready for the giveaway.
"What're these lollipoppers doin' here, anyway?" Fiona grumbled.
The tickets rained down. Maggie eyed one floating toward her. She reached up, as a whippersnapper grabbed it.
A bitchery of old bats descended upon him with their handbags.
"Gimme my ticket!" screamed Maggie.
"Ouch, stop!" The kid surrendered. "Ya' got stones in 'em purses or what?"
Humph! Maggie thought. Just my makeup!
Cackle of gals and bitchery of old bats = a group of ladies, shall we say, of a certain age!
"What happened to you?"
She shrugged, feathers scattering. "I had a little trouble with a gang of geese." She winced as she patted her mangled hair.
"What?" She had a brush in her purse. Too bad the geese had stolen it.
"Geese. They're called a gander."
"Gander." She snorted and glared at her reflection. Maybe she could wrap her scarf around her head? "I refuse to refer to a roving horde of evil birds with a cutesy word like gander."
"Gang of geese then." He turned, determinedly not looking at her head. "I'll... I'll be in my office."
What do you call a gathering of geese? Technically, it's a gander, but I think it really should be a gang.
Lucy frowned at the third-base coach.
"You want me to WHAT?"
"Slide. Slide into home."
"We've practiced it. It's the last out. When I say go, GO!"
The girl glanced at the crowd. What if she fell? What if--
Lucy went. She slipped, then found traction. When she got to the right spot, she held her breath, closed her eyes and--
She opened her eyes. What?
The cheers were for her. Lucy's face broke into the biggest smile in the ballpark, and the paparazzi of freckles across her nose went wild.
What do you call a bunch of freckles? A paparazzi.
Her wobbly steps hardly sounded on the cobbled streets of Savannah. The air felt moist, tucked inside the spider of live oak limbs weaving together overhead.
Finally, a place old enough to push her past away. She stood there in her own Midnight. This Garden of Good and Evil would be enough to let her drop her shattering of past lives and move on.
The trees sighed, commiserating. In this square alone, no moss grew. Spanish moss, they said, refused to grow where an innocent had hanged. And many innocents had hanged here.
She would not be the first.
*What is a gathering of past lives? A shattering.
*What is a group of live oak limbs? A spider.
The music started waking him up at night.
A mesmerizing lilt of reeds mixing seamlessly with the pluck of strings,soothing a black hole in his soul.
His mamo would have blamed the fairies.
Aidan knew better. At ten-years-old, he already knew her stories weren't real. But finally, after two weeks of fending for himself, he was determined to find the source.
Aidan topped a wooded crest and peered down at fingers of prancing, dazzling light.
He swayed. His foot crunched a dry twig.
And before he could call out, beg them to stay, the flame of fairies
(What is a gathering of fairies called? A flame of fairies)
“He’s not coming to his own party?”
“You know Walter. He’s such an Eeyore. Thinks nobody will show.”
“You’ve got to get him there.”
“I’ll figure something out.” He pointed. “There, it’s just up ahead.”
The pair slinked through the shady bazaar, ignoring the fleece of con men and cacophony of sellers plying their wares. A small gray tent came into view, a hunched old lady sitting at its door. Upon seeing them, she nodded, handing over a canvas-wrapped package.
“The Devil’s Shroud. At long last. The sacrifice will be glorious.”
“Assuming you can get Walter there.”
What do you call a group of con men? A fleece.
"Your Bayhlee's blerping is soooo cute," Wanda beamed, clicking.
Never were infant eructations so appealing: the child's beatific expression and Wanda's fascinating coinages. It left Erin's stomach a'pop-rocked for hours.
It was nothing like the mint of politicians for whom she'd toiled last year. They, rife with a compost of values, and her present employ, CEO for a hobby of baby photogs, a proverbial tippy-toes through the toddlers. A stink-knot of diaper bulges was transmogrified into something transcendent; the maudlin mold now grew on her so well that she couldn't imagine treating it.
Besides, she grew richer by the babe.
mint of politicians
compost of values
hobby of baby photogs
stink-knot of diaper bulges
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