Archive by Author

prompt: Ruben

12 Nov

Use one or more of the elements of the prompt. It’s completely up to you!

  • Name: Ruben (40)
  • Profession: Artist
  • Wish: To be less famous
  • Location: On holiday

If you have any questions about Character Project, contact me.

See upcoming prompts here.

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Cheater

11 Nov

Paulina had barely moved in three days except to reach from under the covers to grab the food and drink the water that her roommates left beside her bed. They’d knock on the door, and she would turn her  back to them as they tentatively entered. Sometimes they would sit a while, touching her shoulder, muttering platitudes that she knew they meant but that she didn’t want to hear.

Tissues covered the floor in a half circle where she lay. It was easier to sleep, to try to forget it all. But now she was slept out, cried out, worn out… kicked out. She lifted herself out of bed and saw that next to the sandwich that Martin had left, was also a card.

She opened it and read, “Dear Paulina, I want to make sure you know we know you didn’t do it. We told Dean Johnston that you’re a really hard worker. That you would never cheat. He’ll meet with you, if you want. I think he’ll listen and I think it’s a good idea. You don’t deserve this.  xo, Martin.”

Paulina shook her head, pushed her lank hair out of her eyes, and fell back into the bed. She wished, with every fiber of her being, that what Martin said was true. She pulled the covers back over her face.

prompt: Paulina

29 Oct

Use one or more of the elements of the prompt. It’s completely up to you!

  • Name: Paulina (19)
  • Profession: Student
  • Wish: To pass *or* to be top of class
  • Location: At the university

If you have any questions about Character Project, contact me.

See upcoming prompts here.

Ten cents

22 Oct

“I’m ten cents short,” the girl said. She dug in her purse and pulled out lipstick, receipts, mobile phone, a notebook… her hands filled quickly, shaking. “Just give me a second, please…”

“I’m sorry,” said Jerome. “We need to depart, or my entire route will be late.”

She looked up, her eyes filled with tears, “I have … I have a job interview. I don’t have time to run home a find a dime. Surely you can…”

“I’m sorry,” replied Jerome. Somehow he couldn’t stop himself. “If I made a compromise for every customer…”

The girl met his eyes, “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. I’m not every customer.”

An elderly lady, who was standing behind the girl, made a tutting noise. “Shame on you,” she muttered as she held out a dime.

The girl looked at Jerome, shaking her head, and then at the lady. She touched the lady’s arm, saying, “thank you,” but then turned and stepped out of the open door.

“What kind of person are you,” the lady hissed, eyes narrowed. She showed her pass and sat behind Jerome. Jerome closed the bus doors and drove away from the stop.

Jerome was sweating, “I … we … I have to follow the rules.”

“Sweet young thing, going to a job interview. You don’t even have ten cents to spare,” he heard the lady mutter. “I’m calling the bus agency,” she continued, “this is public transportation. You serve the public.” She continued to mutter until he dropped her off three stops later. “I’m calling the Transportation Advisory Committee!” she bellowed she stepped to curb. She stood staring at him as the bus doors closed behind, her lips pursed.  

Jerome pulled away, his throat tight. He would talk to her when he got home. He couldn’t make compromises for his girlfriend, surely. Surely. He’d text her later. He’d make it right. Ten cents.

prompt: Jerome

16 Oct

Use one or all the elements of the prompt. It’s completely up to you!

  • Name: Jerome (30)
  • Profession: Bus driver
  • Wish: To see a specific passenger
  • Location: On route

If you have any questions about Character Project, contact me.

See upcoming prompts here.

Stuck

16 Oct

Dwight is stuck. He thought he’d be able to make it through the ventilation duct of the First National Bank of Wanakigi. But there were two important factors Dwight failed to take into account.

One. The size of the vent.

Two. The increased size of his girth since the last time he robbed this bank 10 years ago. His last job before his retirement.

Dwight lies in the vent and tries to figure out what to do. He could call her. Shelly. She would know how to get him out of this mess. Oh but she would laugh. She would laugh loud and long. She would poke his belly with her long-nailed finger. “Not quite up to it any more are you gramps,” she’d howl. “Least you widened the vent for me next week.” No. He was not going to call. He was not. Shelly had been his protegé. He’d taught her everything he knew and now she treats him with disrespect. It makes Dwight’s blood boil.

Dwight finds himself regretting the hamburger he ate before entering the vent. At the time he just thought, “Need it for the energy. Been a long time.” And he’d super-sized his order. Long gone were the days where his policy was, “Always do a job on an empty stomach. Keeps you sharp.”

Dwight attempts to edge himself forward and realizes that he has sweat himself into a suction of sorts. “God in heaven.” The humiliation. He imagines himself found in the vent the next morning, snoring. His snores reverberating over the entire bank, startling tellers and customers alike.

It all started with a chiding bet. “Betcha couldn’t do it, gramps,” Shelly teased. She’d winked at him, pointing an index finger in the direction of his stomach. He’d sucked in. He’d grown angry. “I can! And I will!” he argued. She’d kissed him on the top of the head and said, “No one will ever deny you were the best in your day. No one.” He’d slapped her. Left angry. Left determined.

Dwight farts and it echos through the vent. Dwight imagines the night guard, alerted by bizarre bellow and strange smell calling the ventilation maintenance company. Someone opening the hatch which lies just 7 feet behind him and saying, “Hello. There appears to be a pair of feet here…”

Dwight rests his head on the cool surface of the crawl space. A tear trickles out of one eye. Behind him, he hears, “Oh Gramps. You’re lucky you have me.”

Julia & Neal

2 Oct

Julia stands outside of the restaurant door unable to catch her breath. She is late. And this is a first date. A blind date.

Inside, Neal sits at a corner table and worries the keys on his Blackberry. He is waiting for news. This is a first date. And he doesn’t even know the woman. He hardly even cares.

Julia can’t make herself go in. “Just one cigarette,” she tells herself, “To take the edge off.” Julia quit smoking three weeks ago, but bought a pack on the way to the date. And gum, guaranteeing to make her breath extra minty fresh. That’s one thing she always hated about smoking… the bad breath.

Neal checks his email for the fourth time in as many minutes. He promised himself that he’d leave his phone at home. But he is not only lonely. He is broke. Neal keeps getting bit parts that don’t pay his bills let alone his alimony. And the email he is expecting might bring him news of a job. A real part. A lead.

Julia stands to the side of the door and lights her cigarette. She inhales deeply. The taste is familiar, comforting. Her sister Mary told her that cigarettes would taste repulsive after one week. Mary lied. This cigarette is heavenly.

Neal looks up from his Blackberry and realizes his date is late. And he feels relieved. He’d be a crappy date today anyway.

Julia stubs out her cigarette on the pavement and realizes just how late she is. She feels OK about that. The last two dates were crappy anyway. But she’s got nothing to lose.

Neal and Julia pass each other as he leaves and she enters. They smile at one another and feel comforted.

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