I Went to a Writing Group Today - June 26th, 2019

"Write from the point of view of someone or something that none of the characters knew was watching. It could be a ghost, animal, the furniture come to life, etc." That was the prompt. It stumped me for a few minutes.

Usually I can start writing pretty fast from a prompt. I think that comes from years of doing impromptu speaking in Toastmasters. But this time, this time I sat there for a few minutes, staring into the abyss where story ideas come from, waiting for one to jump out, wondering if one would.

It did.

- - - - - - -

Jennifer smiled an unfriendly smile at Tim. "Hi, Tim. Nice to see you." She didn't mean it, and Tim knew it.

Tim didn't say anything. He looked down at the floor as he walked across the office and sat in the seat facing Jennifer's desk. No one spoke.

Jennifer's smile was truly happy now, full of joy. "Tim, you didn't shut the door."

Tim stood back up, walked to the door, and closed it. Then he returned to his seat. He didn't say anything.

"Now," Jennifer said, as she opened a thin black folder on her desk, her smile had disappeared and been replaced by a business casual facial expression, "it's come to my attention that your payments have been a little late recently, and the last two have been a little short."

Tim seemed to be saying something. Jennifer put her elbows on her desk and steepled her fingers together. She was looking at Tim without blinking, an intense stare, the kind of stare that predators have. The kind of stare that predators have when they are looking at prey.

Tim stopped talking and glanced up, then looked back down at the floor.

Jennifer didn't say anything. She opened a drawer on the right side of her desk with a key and pulled out a small wooden box. She lifted it up above the desk in her right hand, paused for a moment, and then slammed the box onto the desk.

Tim startled, and then stayed still staring at the box. He may have sobbed a bit.

"I would appreciate it if you could take the consideration to make your payments on time, and in full, from now on Tim. Do you understand?"

Tim nodded.

"Good, you may go."

Tim stood up and left the room in a careful haste.

"Alright," said the prosecutor, "you can pause it. Now, if I've got this straight," he said, turning to face the detective, "this is the only time we have Jennifer directly threatening someone on video?"

"Yes, sir," said the detective, "only time."

"And, it was Tim's daughter's lock of hair in that box?" asked the prosecutor.

"Well, the box, and whatever was in it, has been misplaced in evidence," replied the detective.

The prosecutor sighed and stared at the frozen image of Jennifer Thomas on the screen, the new face of organized crime in Annapolis.

- - - - - - -

I've thought about writing a story primarily from the perspective of security cameras before, so this was a good chance to kind of try it out.

This prompt brought out a few unusual stories. My friend Jon wrote about a baby watching its parents that was hilarious. Analiese wrote about a tree watching the insanity that is a Zumba class.

Reading stories is a guided exploration. The writer has selected what's important for you. Writing is something else, it's the process of selecting what's important from the background of all of existence and bringing it to the fore. An immense creative endeavor of real magic.


You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com


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