Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

More from The Writing Challenge With The Most Common Words

For some people, writing challenges are something they can’t refuse.

I’m not one of those people but I did create one :-)

In June of 2011, I wrote the post, Writing Challenge ~ Use The 1200 Most Common Words To Write A Story…

Then, in July, Gwenette WriterSinclair wrote the first chapter of a story with the first 100 words in the list of 1200 most common words in English. < That link will let you download a Word .doc with the list.

Gwenette’s chapter is in the post, First Response To Our Writing Challenge :-)

Gwenette seemed to indicate she was going to write 12 chapters with 100 words each but time went by and I suppose other things grabbed her attention.

Then, the other day, Barbara Blackcinder gave me two more chapters using 100 words each from the list of 1200. She put them in the Comments sections of the two posts linked-to above.

Well, I couldn’t avoid pulling Barbara’s chapters from the Comments and creating this post.

The thing is, Barbara decided to start from the end of the list so we now have the beginning and end of a story :-)

Barbara’s chapters are below but I must now ask—anyone feel challenged enough to write the middle of the story??

Ch. 11 – Words 1000-1099:

I picked up a pencil and turned over on old stage program that happened to be located there. I began writing down how we had arrived about our present condition. Even though I hadn’t intended to, I had used a pamphlet out of our library for my rough copy. I was thankful that I had an extra copy since I had gone with my husband before he slipped out of the realm of ordinary. To classify him now would take a dictionary.

I was determined to discover a way to clear our names. I blew a feather away with the back of my hand and looked for an angle that would get us out of this serious difficulty. Whenever I wrote seriously I needed a cup of coffee, and a turn of the thermostat to lower the climate in the den. I fiddled with the model of an athletic statue standing on the desk, noting its muscles and the details of its bronze casting.

Nobody was allowed in the den when I wrote. I had used all the force I could to convince the family to stay out, and I hoped I wouldn’t have to review the rules like I would with a bad employee. Actually I had used the newspaper to find my latest part time job over on Pacific Avenue. It was one instance where I wanted to prepare to be just where I needed to be and didn’t need to repeat a multitude of telephone calls before the job was settled. The best part was that it was doing one of my favorite things and I immediately grabbed the opportunity. My mind was swimming with the anticipation of the job.

But first I had to iron out this chapter in our past history, spelling out some form of prose to make peace with our numerous debtors, especially with the leader of the pack, the bankers holding our mortgage. In any event, if that wasn’t put off soon, I would not be able to take this job and our whole family would be put in a dangerous position. There would be no place on the planet to live together. I threw out my plan of action to escape our demise and made fifty copies of it. Surely I wouldn’t need that many, if the bakers would agree I wouldn’t need the rest of the magazine of ideas that I had entered on my pieces of paper. I suggested all kinds of calamities to them, including the dissolution of my married status, a knife that would cut off my family from each other, and even suggested that the bank might be trying to railroad me into this disaster (I did indicate that this was just something that they might observe during the height of my rant, not something I was accusing them of).

I did stop to reflect on the sheer height of the bank’s building, a structure standing like a silent soldier, holding my secret and other innumerable secrets within its walls. I would be like a bicycle run over by a tank if they decided to come after me. I might as well forget about any flight and take to drinking and riding the bottle into an asylum rather than go into a jail somewhere for being destitute.

I did belong to several social groups, some of which had connections to big dollars, but I sincerely doubted if they would address my problem. Instead they would run like insects at the sight of my falling out of their financial circles. They were not students of reality and their only concern was to increase their wealth. My chance of being in their service would remain in my ability to keep my appearances intact.

Once I had been in the hospital when they had made a mistake in the charge, and nearly bankrupt me before the president of the hospital intervened and corrected the false charges. It turned out that a certain doctor had a design on me and wasn’t shy about ruining my family so that he could take advantage of it for his own foul purposed. The next time I saw him he did receive a stiff knee in the groin. I think I mashed his potatoes pretty good and he didn’t continue his assault after that. He barely climbed into his leather chair as I left his office. I don’t even think he squeaked to his secretary soon afterwards.

I hadn’t given him any quarter for what he had attempted, and I surely wasn’t going to thank him for it. I wasn’t popular with him after that, but every time I went to buy groceries I had to laugh about him holding ice to his genitals beneath his desk. I’m sure they’re still sore. His financial circles included bankers as well.

So I knew the banking industry wasn’t exactly going to support us, any more than making some gross symbol or gesture to keep their own image clean. I expected that they would rather use a rubber baseball bat on us rather than sending us a dozen letters with threats for non-payments. At one time I had to consider going to the police when their agents wouldn’t accept our word and leave us alone on the street. Accosting my children wasn’t going to happen.

Ch. 12 – Words 1100-1200:

I recommend that you get a license if you are going to open this factory, I don’t care if it is for a social club or not. The idea of doing this without the legal steps is very frightening to me. Before long you will lose the case and the court will attach our house and combine its worth with everything else we don’t own until we don’t have a standard of living to cling to.
And if that doesn’t ruin our standing and identity in the city, think of the daily grief we will endure from all of our friends and relatives. Our effort to avoid them will be like trying to stop from having kids using the rhythm method. We might as well arrange to move into the poor house cause we will not have the ability to balance our budget, as tiny as it will be.

I swear Roger, you will be the instrument of my death if you keep up with these stupid schemes. Remember that terrible plan you had to ruin the quality of your advertising by using foreign language to make your sales sound more exotic? It never occurred to you that no one knew what you were selling. I admire your courage to attempt these schemes, but could we prevent going bankrupt and collect some money from one of them? I swear I get sick to my stomach every time you try to improve our standard of living.

If you would apply your skills to something rational maybe you would have been offered a financial hand for your skills and could pronounce your project worthy of putting some of their money behind.

Perhaps if you’d connect your brain and get it to function like someone rational you could make a couple of people help you and stop wasting both your time and effort. Our assets are frozen, we have no means of transportation, and worse, our apartment has no curtains and we have an audience every time we walk around the living room in our birthday suits. I had to cancel cable television because the neighborhood kids were watching dirty movies by using their own remote while we weren’t home. How is that for a good influence for our environment?

I like being a citizen of this town, but if the police collect any more evidence we will be having a conversation with a judge that will affect where we live, as well as who we live with. We’ll be heating up the motor in the car and be flying past the construction sites on the highway. We’ll by flying down the road like a disease looking for an accident as an excuse for sympathy. Although we may already need to be barbecued to get anyone’s concern with our lives.

I dunno, maybe we should organize some kind of legal papers and author a protest to the city council before they think we are some kind of illegal operation, instead of someone trying to make excellent medicine. That we do have principals, that my husband isn’t selling leather furniture made out of dead camels from the Mideast.

After I went to the college the other day to look for available financial courses, I found some nasty notes in our mailbox. I also listened to a whisper from an excited neighbor. He said he had physical proof that ghosts could account for the recent messages being left there. He didn’t realize that I saw him put them there after dark.

I tried to let his wife know the situation yesterday, but she was driving through traffic while I was telling her, so the success of her hearing me kind of disappeared. I get the feeling though that she has issues with our personal character. It’s like she frequently tries hard to recognize that we aren’t perfect rather than just giving us the benefit of the doubt.

She started saying that we were not healthy for the neighborhood when I tried to discuss it, but we were going by some heavy equipment at the time and she didn’t hear me. Instead she said she had just read an article about people who do activities like we supposedly do in the altogether, so I didn’t make any progress. She said several individuals, including her daughter had witnessed our cavorting in the living room.

We have no political force since her husband is the city councilman, and has the required signatures to vote us right out of the city. There is no educating these people that this is not our style of living, and that we are good parents. I couldn’t talk to her while we picked through the vegetables cause she would lose her temper all over again.

I tried to explain to her that her daughter was with the kids watching television through our window as she drove into the garage, which would explain why she would lie about us running around naked. Finally she said that I had just made an very powerful enemy and stuck me with a title that I didn’t think God-fearing people ever used in polite company. Indeed! What a tongue on that woman!
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

9 responses to “More from The Writing Challenge With The Most Common Words

  1. Barbara Blackcinder March 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Wouldn’t it be amazing if Gwenette and I could tie the two ends together?? LOL


  2. Simone Benedict March 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    All I can say is Wow.



  3. Pingback: Yet More From The Writing Challenge ~ Use The 1200 Most Common English Words In A Story « Notes from An Alien

  4. Barbara Blackcinder May 1, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Here’s some more, I hope its getting exciting finally?

    This is my Chapter Seven
    Barbara Blackcinder
    Ch. – Words 500-600:

    The case was finalized after my recovery from the accident, but it took a long time. At this rate I won’t even know where to begin my launch back into former life for months. I missed a lot of time and virtually everything had changed while I sat around on the island, trying to reach some semblance of normal physical activity.
    The first part of business was to find out just how I was going to fit into my family once again. I would have to catch up as fast as possible, and it wouldn’t all be fun. Like most modern families, this one was pretty flexible as far as family concerns. Especially when both parents were mostly vacant.
    Another part that I would have to do is to smooth a layer of oil over the relationship with my daughter. She was about to graduate from high school and beside finding out where we stood with each other, I would have to find out where she was headed after school ended.
    The store she was already working on was only part time, and she was pretending that it would last forever. I knew it was going to be trouble, that sort of thing always for kids coming out of school and not realizing that everything changes, jobs included. I would have to iron this out before long, it wasn’t something that I could sleep on or I’d pay for it in the near future.
    I would pay for my absence, but being late was something I was becoming famous for. I couldn’t be blamed for the seven months of recovery, but my hesitancy to discover where my family made me late several times. I drove North to arrive home, this time I wasn’t going to be late. I decided to choose the straightest route I knew of along the highway, not even stopping for milk, which I knew I would be low of at home.
    After the horrendous accident that nearly killed me, I kept my eye on every vehicle anywhere near my own. Only one woman was notable during the trip, staring at me while I drove exactly the speed limit along the right side of the road. I swear she stared at me like I wasn’t human.
    I looked at the rough lawn, seeing the soil exposed various places in the grass. I wish I had hired someone to take care of it while I was gone, but that would have been strange since I hadn’t seen it yet.
    I felt a little like a child as I took a step up onto the porch. The stairs were in the middle of the house and I walked up to them with a dry mouth. I tried to recall the history of this house, hoping maybe it would help me decide to keep it or sell it and move into something newer that I could now afford.
    I thought maybe I should keep it, as the base of my family, but after the graduation, I wondered if it would make any difference to her. I guess I didn’t have any reason to believe that she would want to stay or not, so I couldn’t really make up my mind.
    I hesitated at the stop of the stairs and glanced down the street. I couldn’t help but notice the shiny black car sitting at the other end of the block. It hadn’t been there when I had driven through that intersection.
    I was distracted while a small plane flew overhead. It’s engine startled me as it had come over the house so that its noise was sudden and right over me. It was so low I thought that maybe it had blown the grass over in the front yard. I was probably wrong about that, but when I looked up again the car had gone.
    The only thing moving after the plane disappeared was a baby squirrel playing under a tree. Getting paranoid, I began wondering if perhaps it was a Government animal, also sent to spy on me. I jumped as I suddenly recalled the same car sitting off to the side while I was arriving from the island. It wasn’t very far off shore in the ocean, and I was looking at the plants and other natural elements of the dock area that I had arrived on.
    I suppose I was being suspicious but it was beginning to seem very strange everywhere I looked. I opened the door and stepped into the house. I fell headlong into the entrance, slipping on the loose pile of mail that had been dropped through the mail slot in the front of the door.
    It was mostly junk mail, and while I rubbed my slightly twisted ankle, I read headlines promising free trips, claims that, “You’re a winner” and various ways that I could improve my figure. Everything was there except real mail, letters from relatives, lawyers, or anything else that might really have given me important information.
    I quickly found out that I was alone. I filled the washing machine with clothes that I had brought home with me from the island. I put it on high speed and set the length that it should throw the laundry around inside of it.
    Rather than sitting to wait for it to finish, she made a quick plan to investigate the house, especially to find out if anyone was present inside of it. Judging by the lack of sound other than the washing machine, she was fairly certain that she was alone.
    She accidentally kicked a ball and sent it flying across the bedroom upstairs. She opened the heavy curtains to make it bright in the room so she wouldn’t trip on it once again. Looking around, she remembered when she had been happy here. It was a long time ago.
    Thinking about having been a teacher for a moment, she decided that she was not going to wait around for something to happen any longer. She declared to herself that from this moment on she was going to square everything in her life and begin again. Since her daughter wasn’t here, she determined that she was getting on with her own life, thus she would only be responsible for her life from then on.
    It might seem odd to be by yourself after going through the whole family thing for almost twenty years, but she knew that she had to go this route. Using the money that she had gained, she would fly out of this existence that seemed to be gone, and create a new life.
    Sadly she realized that it would also mean a war with her husband and his fanciful ambitions. Knowing that her affection for him would color her efforts, she had to steel herself against any unnecessary emotions concerning him.
    She fingered the wood of the window frame as she looked into a tree in the backyard and spied a bird. She also caught a reflection of her own hair in the glass, just before she caught sight of a man in black hiding in the woods a hundreds of feet from her house. The leaves had been thinning and left him very obvious in his black outfit, even at a good distance.
    Jumping back suddenly, she thought about the possibility of someone wandering too close while hunting alongside of the mountain. Birds gathered at the base of it and were frequent targets of hunters there. The only problem was that he wasn’t aiming his rifle in the direction of the mountain. It was aimed straight towards her.
    As she stepped out of sight of the window, she backed out of the room, hugging the wall for good measure, keeping away from the high powered scope on the rifle. Normally she wouldn’t have been able to see it, but as she had opened the curtain the rifle had been held sideways, and when she noticed the hunter, it had still been perpendicular to her. She had ducked out of sight just as the sight and the weapon below it was swinging in her direction.
    Stepping over the bed using her knee, she kept down low where the man on the ground couldn’t angle his sight below the windowsill. She sat in the hall outside of the room and wondered what the correct way to turn next would be.
    She wondered whose gunman he could be, and if the idea was just to keep her in sight, or if he had been given the okay to shoot at her, and supposedly kill her.
    Using a circle drawn on a map, she closed in on a farm of a friend that she had known from long ago. Even before her accident she knew that the friend had been forced to abandon the farm for lack of money. The woman wrote back and forth with her for several weeks while she was at the island, resulting in her buying the farm from her, unbeknownst to anyone as far as she knew. Unfortunately the friend had refused to travel due to her own medical conditions and never returned to her farm.
    Her plans would have to spring from this new location, one that she doubted that anyone knew about. She was confident that any paperwork had been lost during the turmoil of establishing her fortune. No one had ever asked her to explain where the money for the farm had gone, nor about the farm itself.
    Lying about her identity, she remained on the farm for a week by getting groceries and other necessities delivered to the house there. No one ever saw her, and no one seemed to become suspicious about her.
    It only took a week before she had built up enough energy and a clear plan to get her life back to normal. She had a single connection to here wealth, her family, and to all those relatives who continued to ask her for handouts. She was kind enough to listen to them as her connection went over them with her, but something strange suddenly occurred to her. Her suspicion and anger grew quickly as she realized that none of the requests had come from her husband. The heat grew under her collar as she began to understand why Mark hadn’t been around to request money for his suspicious enterprises.
    She looked out of the window after the banker had left. She instructed him to buy whatever or whoever he needed to find out who the sniper in the woods had been, and more importantly, who had hired him. It would be music to her ears when she found out who had paid for the job of spying or possibly killing her.

    Barbara Blackcinder


  5. Barbara Blackcinder May 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Chapter Nine
    Ch. – Words 300-400:

    The police had been no help. They couldn’t stop people from meeting on the street, whether or not I suspected them of trying to steal money from me. I even mentioned the rifle, but he refused to talk about it. He was backing out of the entrance door when his radio blared something that I didn’t even listen to at the time, but it stopped him in mid-sentence.
    “I am at 2766 Forestville.” He talked into the microphone hooked up on his shoulder.
    “Stop on the way back, I have a street for you.” It spoke back. I was listening now since it had caught his attention so quickly. “Fatal accident, grey auto, very strange, vehicle verses tree, no apparent reason. Possible heart attack. Victim’s name….”

    I jumped back when I heard the name. it was the friend that had just left me. The cop in front of me eyed me very suspiciously. He knew it was the name that I had jumped at. It wasn’t a real common name, and he couldn’t miss my loud gasp right in from of him.
    “Stand by.” He spoke into the microphone. He looked at me very suspiciously. “Did you know him?” he asked while never taking his eyes off of my face. I was never a good liar, and I nodded. The dispatch went on, stating that the accident was just short of the river, some debris was floating on the surface of it, although I wondered what that had to do with anything else.
    “Perhaps you should come with me.” He said after I was unable to speak to him. I think he took it as some kind of guilt. I was just shocked, and very suspicious. I followed his lead as my elbow as grabbed and I was barely left to lock up the house. It was yet another piece of this mystery that was developing around me. I stared through the windshield as we drove a mile or so from the house.
    There were already several police vehicles blocking traffic and any other entrance to the area. Far ahead there were the bright red lights of an fire engine spinning and flashing. I couldn’t noticing how much wider the street was in this higher class area of the city. I picked out a very large home, probably a million dollar investment, and the former house of the doctor who had tried to wreck my family with his greed. “That’s a good start.” I said to myself as I noticed the for sale sign sticking out of the slightly long grass. Below it hung a box with information about the property filling it.
    I was gently hauled along until I was allowed to stand across the street from the accident. A fire hose was already spraying the interior of the car, but it didn’t matter. If anyone was inside of it, they had already perished. It took three men in fire gear to horse the heavy hose line into another area of the fire. I watched in horror as they finally struggled to put the fire out there, they went to the front of the vehicle and were trying to rip it open to put the fire out under the front hood.
    Meanwhile the radio of the officer escorting me was talking constantly. They were reporting that the fire department was considering it as probably arson. The fire was too intense for a small accident as it had been. The voice also mentioned a fuel leak, but I had stopped breathing when they mentioned the possibility of it being intentional.
    From where we stood I could smell the strong odor of gasoline. “I can’t believe it.” I mumbled. It didn’t escape the notice by the officer. He turned quickly in my direction but kept his questions to himself. I felt him staring at me as I watched the firemen tear open the doors and floor the interior with even more water. The flood ran fast out of the bottom of the door and headed down the street. Before it had gotten ten feet it ran directly into a sewer, taking all kinds of debris with it, including plenty of papers. I guessed that a hundred pieces of paper were washed away as I stood and watched.
    Having admitted that I knew him, that he had been leaving my house prior to his accident, and that fact that it was likely suspicious, I was soon making a list of events that I was told would become evidence of the state. I couldn’t hold anything against the police, I was very intently involved and it the hot seat. As they call it, “A person of interest.”
    “Oh yes, I know.” I answered as the released me. I had agreed not to leave the city while they investigated. I had signed the most complete document of my actions that had ever existed. I knew it was all around town when I saw the fire on the news and my face standing there next to the cop and watching it burn. Of course the full story included the fact that my friend had been killed in the accident. Later they ran a special edition that included that he had been leaving my house. It seemed that they had built a whole case of guilt against me in a little line of text running at the bottom of the screen.
    “Yes I am.” I answered at the man in the green suit who was standing at my door. I was ready to answer anything, expecting it to be a cop. He began to fire non-stop questions at me, but I didn’t feel they were directly related to the accident. After about six more questions and I was certain that he wasn’t from the police or some other legal service. I thought perhaps he was from the banking institute instead.
    “We just want to put this to rest.” He was saying as my mind had wandered off as I speculated about the questions. He stopped suddenly and starred at me. “Do you speak English Ma’am?” he said suddenly. I was insulted at the name, I wasn’t that old to be called Ma’am.
    “What do you mean, ma’am?” I asked angrily. It wasn’t so much of an insult as that, but it was too many weeks of disturbing events for me. So far he hadn’t shown me any identification either. He cowered like a dog at my aggressive reply. I was able to calm myself down and began question him instead while he nearly ran away each time I spoke.
    Among the questions I asked, I found out that he was with an accounting firm. He had a letter that was questioning some large deductions to my bank account that were beginning to draw their interesting down at their firm. “We cannot tell who is behind the signatures.” The wind behind his speech was beginning to wind up as he spoke faster and faster. I was beginning to care even less about what he was telling me as he continued, yet I had to be curious who was actually running up these bills. The amount was beginning to grow into a large amount, and it was starting to become a puzzle that didn’t add up. At least to them it didn’t, but it was getting very understandable to me. I became very angry once again.
    I was asked about where I had lived before. They had the idea that I was living there again, though I couldn’t say why. I had nothing to do with that place since I was scared off by my close call with the rifle-bearing man in black.
    I left the house with the door still being visited by the green coated man. I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to travel by myself after seeing the last accident. I brought him along with me, doing the driving for me as we returned to my family home.
    On the way there I learned these large expenses were being run up by my husband, or at least in his name. It included a large cash amount of twenty thousand dollars that they hadn’t traced yet. “I’ll find out.” I assured myself” over their claim that it was still early in their investigation yet.
    I walked into the house with a full head of steam and discovered a husband with a sad look on his face. It was the first time that I had seen him from a long time ago. He tucked his hands inside his pockets and looked down at the ground. I closed the distance between us in the space of a second.
    “What in the hell do you think you are doing?” I asked loudly. “We’ve already done this a while ago? You just don’t get it!” I screamed at him. He couldn’t face me as I continued to berate him about all the thousands of dollars that he had wasted with his inventions. I called him every name I could think of while pointing that there was no way he was ever going to get money from me again, and that I was going to sue him over the new bills he was collecting. He stood there tracing the waves of an American flag printed on a box that had recently been delivered to the table.
    The poor green suit man slowly backed out of the front door in fear. After another series of screaming questions I glanced out of the front door and saw him getting to his vehicle. Of course I hoped he wouldn’t leave, still picturing the car smashed into the tree just a few weeks ago. It wasn’t something you wanted to remember.
    I leaned on the table and stared directly into his eyes, nearly making him cry in fear. I don’t think I had ever really been this angry before. I was attempting to be cold as I could as I stood my ground, but it was still hard for me. I stared silently for a while until I finally saw his mouth open. I still had to order him to talk.
    He gave a little sound as he cleared his throat and finally began whispering words that were barely audible. He pushed the package at me and said something about it being a book. I wasn’t about to run off and open it, but it did have plenty of United States stamps on it which would indicate it was heavy enough to be a book.
    I looked again and had to snicker, totally breaking my posture of strength and anger. It was hilarious. The postage on it was short and he had to eat an extra amount before it was delivered. I huge black stamp had been pressed on it saying that it had been paid. I just couldn’t hate someone so pathetic as he was. He hadn’t changed and as long as he was living, he never would.
    He had mentioned that someone had said it would be alright to spend the money, and he didn’t seem to know any different, he was just going by what someone else was telling him. I gave up trying and informed him that it wasn’t alright and to stop doing it immediately. I yelled a finally time although it was very hard to do.
    I nearly threw the book he had given me into the bushes, but opened it instead. I expected it would be a gift on raising plants or something, as I used to do around this house. I was shocked when I read his name all over the cover. The green suited man’s car was already headed down the road when I discovered that my husband had finally found something useful to do.
    The title was about how not to ruin yourself while trying to make a million. It was thick, hard-covered, and obviously printed by a professional book publisher. Even more shocking was the large red ribbon printed across the jacket, “Over a Million Sold!!” I awoke in front of my current residence as the green suited man stopped the car in my driveway. He asked if I was alright as he patted my hand through the open door. I had no idea.

    Barbara Blackcinder


  6. Pingback: Most Common Words Writing Challenge ~ And, The Winner Is . . . « Notes from An Alien

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