Monday, November 25, 2013


Welcome to week 21 of Finish That Thought! It's been a rough week for me. If you're so inspired, could you write something to cheer me up? This isn't part of the prompt and I'm not judging, but I'd really love a laugh...And the prompt may lend itself to that alright, so hopefully I'm not stepping on judge's toes. If not, maybe a good cry would work just as well, so just give me what you've got. I look forward to reading them. Go write!

NaNoers: By the end of this flash contest, you should have 43,333 words on your NaNoWriMo Novel to be 'on track'. No matter where you are in relation to that number, KEEP GOING! Every word written is a word you didn't have before! Feel free to use this prompt in your WIP, or take a break and jot off a quick flash piece to rest your brain from the story...whatever will help most. Write on! (I'm going to break 25K Monday night - woefully short, but there's still time...right???)

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Charles W. Short also known as @CharlesWShort. Check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #21 is:

Is cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Work in a zebra somewhere (but don't make it part of a meal...)



  1. Name: Kate
    Special Challenge: nope, sorry
    Special Alissa Challenge: no... probably not
    Word count: 500 exactly. Had to cut 100 words off the first draft :( You missed a great little exchange.

    “Is cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?” the ten year old sneered. I bit my lip and tried not to cry.

    His mother, my husband’s older sister, leaned over. “Don’t be rude about it. If you don’t like it, just push it to the side of your plate.” She glared at me and shoved her own cranberries aside.

    Sam didn’t notice. He was too busy talking with his dad and brothers. I stared down at the lumpy mashed potatoes, the soggy beans, the tasteless stuffing. I had wanted our first Thanksgiving together to be just me and Sam. Then his mother found out, and the next thing I knew I was hosting the family get together. Eighteen people in our two-bedroom apartment.

    Sam’s mom appeared triumphantly out of the kitchen, holding a turkey high. It smelled heavenly. The whole family cheered as she set it down and carved the first slice of steaming moist breast, which she placed on my plate right next to the inedible potatoes. “For our gracious hostess,” she said, smiling. “Go on, try it.”

    I picked up my fork and carved off a bite. It was perfect. The only thing I’d been set on cooking for our first Thanksgiving was the turkey. But Sam’s mom had swooped in, declared my little bird not nearly enough, and roasted a twenty-five pound turkey. I swallowed, washed it down with cider, and forced a smile. “It’s wonderful, Mother,” I said politely.

    “Thank god you were here to cook it,” brother Fred said jovially. “At least there’s something fit to eat. I’ll take a slice or three, Mom.”

    “Excuse me,” I said. I got up and fled. It was freezing out on the balcony, but if I slid all the way over to the left no one in the living room could see me. I leaned out over the rail and felt a tear trickle down my face.

    “Don’t do that,” Sam said. I hadn’t heard him come out. He put an arm over my shoulders “Your eyes will freeze shut.”

    I turned, buried my face in his chest, and let myself cry. “I wanted it to be perfect,” I said. “But I screwed up everything and now your family hates me!”
    “No, my family are jerks,” Sam said. “I was about to yell at them for treating you like this but I have a better idea.” He grinned. “Come on.”
    “Where are you going?” Mom asked as we grabbed our coats and keys.
    “We’ll be back, just something we need to do,” Sam said.


    “Happy Thanksgiving,” I said, and put a slice of turkey on the styrofoam plate next to the canned cranberry sauce. The homeless man bobbed his head.
    “Thank you,” he said, taking the plastic fork. “God bless you too, miss!”
    Sam grinned at me from his station next to me. We’d helped serve a hundred hungry people already. “Next year, we’re not even going to bother with the family meal,” he said. “Happy Thanksgiving!”

    1. Love this. Such a sweet story. =)

    2. Lovely! What a way to rescue an otherwise disastrous holiday.

  2. Special Challenge: You'll see
    Special Alyssa Challenge: Hopefully
    107 words

    Delicious But Deadly

    “Is cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?” asked Zuri. Her nostrils flared.

    “You act as if this is your first Thanksgiving. Yes, of course. Sweet and tangy, isn’t it?” Zander replied. He licked the red film from his incisors.

    “I’ve never had cranberry sauce with my Thanksgiving feast. In San Diego the food was quite average on Thanksgiving.” Zuri took another turn eating from the can. “How did you manage to get this anyway?”

    “The zookeeper had it in his pocket for some reason. I think she said something about giving her mother-in-law a nice sur—”

    Both of the zebras fell to the dirt, writhing.


  3. 498 words
    Special challenge: yep

    Holiday Feast

    “Is the cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?”

    Mama Baboon slapped at Bubba Bear's claws. “Get your nasty paws out of my sauce. It's a family recipe, just so you know.” Mama Baboon set her dish in the middle of the sprawling table. “What's taking them so long? The keepers return for our evening feeding in less than four hours.”

    Gorilla shoved Papa Wolf off his stool. “You go sit over there. Last year I went home covered in fleas. Took us weeks to get them out of the kid's fur.”

    “Hey!” Papa wolf barked in reply. “We bathed this time. Besides, I think the coyotes started that outbreak, you know how they love to roll in the dirt.”

    “Shhhh,” warned giraffe, “Here they come.” His long neck craned toward the group of dusty coyotes.

    Gorilla whispered, “Quick. Huddle together then they'll have to sit over by the lions.”

    “Yeah,” Wolf barked. “That'll show Lion not to demand the head of the table. Who he think he is? King of the – oh yeah, nevermind.”

    “I'm starved,” Growled the lions. “What are we waiting for?” His toothy snarl sent several animals moving down the table a few seats.

    “Hush you!” Mama Baboon shouted over the ruckus of hungry voices. “We will wait for everyone to get here.”

    “Shut up, Chimp!” cried zebra. “Some of us must eat directly from our plates. If that means we get a bit of dressing on our faces, then so be it. You have no room to criticize with your scratching yourselves at the table.”

    Bear leaned in closer to Gorilla. “Maybe that's where last years fleas came from.”

    Gorilla rolled his eyes.

    Bear called out above the crowd. “Well, since we're waiting, let's talk about drawing secret Santa names while we're together.”

    Several groans circled the table.

    Zebra sneered at Bear. “I'm fine with secret Santa so long as you promise to stop giving everyone honey. You have no idea how that stuff sticks to our hooves.”

    Chimp scratched his belly. “Last year I got a scarf made of vines. The year before it was made from feathers. If I get one more scarf...”

    “Better than going home with fleas,” Gorilla retorts. “Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!”

    “Well,” Mama Baboon exclaims when the flamingos finally entered followed by the other pond fowl. “You all just have to be fashionably late, don't ya? There's several seats over by the Coyotes. Now let's all sit down and enjoy our feast while we still can.”


    “You know Charley, every year we have to come in on Thanksgiving to feed these animals and every year it's the same thing.”

    “I know, isn't it strange how all they do is lay around napping? You'd think they'd be starving by time we finally get here.” Charley tossed some fruit into the baboon cage. “Hey, is it me, or do you smell cranberries?”

  4. Name - Amy
    Special Challenge - No, apologies!
    Word count - 497 words

    “Is cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?” Jamie stared at the red congealed blob on his plate.

    Simon frowned at his own sauce, unwilling to admit it had come from the cheapest grocery store in town and probably contained more food coloring than actual cranberry.

    As Thanksgivings went, this was the leanest Simon had known. He thought almost longingly of his mother’s cooking. She might not be the most successful of moms, but her turkey was always beyond reproach. His dad had been vociferous in his admiration of the food he and Simon were presented with on a daily basis. If only he’d been so impressed with other aspects of his family.

    “You okay, dude?” Jamie asked, his brows drawing together. “You look a little, um, sad.”

    Simon smiled slightly. At least Jamie cared.

    “I’m okay,” he said around a mouthful of overdone turkey. “Just thinking.”

    Jamie tutted. “Don’t want to do that, bro. You’ll burn that great big brain of yours out and then who’ll I go to for help with my thesis?”

    Simon didn’t try to stop his smile this time. Jamie always knew how to cheer him up.

    “So what’re you thinking about?” Jamie poked at the cranberry. “This doesn’t look right.”

    Simon bit his lip. Admitting he’d been thinking wistfully of moist turkey and awesome cranberry sauce probably wasn’t the best idea. “Um,” he grimaced. “Just family stuff.”

    “Families are a pain in the ass,” Jamie declared, stealing Simon’s potatoes. “More trouble than they’re worth.”

    Simon nodded. The fact that he was family hadn’t seemed to bother his parents when they threw him out the night he explained that he was gay. His mother’s angry voice still resonated in his head. ‘Get out and don’t bother coming back. How can you do this to us?’

    Shaking his head and grinding the heels of his palms into his eyes did nothing to dislodge the memory.

    “Si, what’s up?” Jamie sounded alarmed.

    The hand which descended on Simon’s shoulder was large and blunt-fingered. Without opening his eyes, Simon could have pointed out each freckle and every tiny scar that made up the wonder which was Jamie.

    His mouth moved of its own volition. “I’m gay.” Simon waited for the explosion which was bound to follow.

    Jamie’s hand stayed on his shoulder. “I know.”

    “I really, really like you.” Again, Simon’s mouth moved on its own, forming words he’d never intended to speak aloud. He braced himself for the inevitable abuse or even a punch. But nothing happened. Instead Jamie’s fingers slid higher up his shoulder, resting at the curve of his neck.

    “Well, why didn’t you say something before? We could’ve been having so much fun, you idiot.”

    “You’re not mad?” Simon looked up, scared it was all a stress-induced hallucination.

    “Not mad,” Jamie’s eyes were soft. He leaned closer and smiled. “Really, really not mad.”

    Simon revised his opinion. This wasn’t the leanest Thanksgiving ever, it was by far the richest.

  5. Revenge is Not A Side Dish
    Special Challenge - Oh, yes?
    458 words

    “Is cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?”

    It was the last thing Becca said before she and the rest of her family were snoring face down in mounds of mashed potatoes and lakes of congealing gravy. As the roof was withdrawn from Becca’s single-story home, the lights flickered and died. Darkness was quickly replaced by a gently pulsing, bruised-plum spotlight, and a bespectacled zebra descended through the unroofed building into the dining room. Lylae flicked her striped ears, listening for anyone elsewhere in the house who might still be awake.

    “What do you see?” The voice of Lylae’s commander whispered through the communicator as if the unconscious bipeds might be roused if she spoke with her usual authority.

    “Eight bipeds. Five adults and three juveniles. All adequately sedated.”

    “Any sign of the ambassador?”

    Through her spectacles, Lylae could see bright, fluorescent motes dancing in the air. “I’m reading trace particles matching the ambassador’s genetic profile. The trail appears to be originating from an adjoining chamber.”

    “Proceed with your investigation.”

    “Yes, Commander Gondii.” Lylae moved quickly, her hooves clattering loudly in the otherwise silent household. As she stepped through the doorway she stepped on something rubbery and slick. She lost her balance and slid into the kitchen, colliding with a center island and toppling a stack of soiled pots and pans. The resulting commotion was enough to elicit an unpleasant feedback signal from her communicator.

    “Lyale, is everything all right? Have you been harmed? Has the mission been compromised?”

    “Everything is fine.” Lyale said. She looked back toward the doorway. Sprawled on the floor was Becca’s unconscious daughter. The floor was littered with the deviled eggs she’d been sent to collect. “I’ve discovered a fourth juvenile in the adjacent room. Also unconscious.” Lyale untangled herself from the floor and resumed her search. There was a significant increase in the fluorescent signal. Lyale followed the gradient.

    “The ambassador’s signature is much stronger in here.” Lyale moved carefully so as not to trip on any of the dishes and risk another embarrassing fall. As she rounded the backside of the island, the gradient transformed into a dense cloud of fluorescence. “I’ve isolated the source of the signal. I believe the ambassador is being held captive inside this steel cell.”

    “Do you think you can handle a rescue, or should I send the extraction team?”

    Lyale gripped a cotton rag hanging from the front of the steel door between her teeth and yanked; the silvery door fell open. A gust of hot, moist air pummeled her face, fogging her spectacles and temporarily shielding her from the horror within.

    “Forget the extraction team, Commander Gondii,” Lyale said, as she stared at the browned turkey, roasted to perfection. “Send in the assault forces.”

  6. Word Count: 500
    Special challenge: Yes

    Feast Day

    “Is cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?”

    Hetty whipped around to find her nephew chewing on a beet, purple juice smeared all over his chubby cheeks and dripping onto her freshly cleaned counter.

    “No, no, no, Freddie, those are beets. Go play outside until the food is ready, ok?”

    “But I’m hungry!” Freddie whined, chomped up beet still sloshing around his mouth.

    “Shoo! It won’t be done any faster if you’re bothering Auntie!”

    She sighed as the little nymph made a face, spat out the remains of the beet onto the counter, then sulked out the door. What had she been thinking when she invited her sister’s family over for Feast Day? Straightening her apron over her petal skirt, Hetty turned her attention to the turkey roasting in the oven. At least, it was supposed to be roasting. It looked limp and unappetizing, just like the withered carrots, wilted lettuce, and lumpy mashed potatoes.

    “Someday I am going to put a restraining spell on Matilda’s ogre!” Hetty mumbled as she poked her head into the oven to check on the bird. “Just as soon as I learn how.”

    Hetty could not wait until she had her pixie license. Not only would she have the ability to cross over to the human world where all the cool parties were, she’d be able to take care of that nasty pet ogre her neighbour owned once and for all, and plant the perfect vegetable garden she always dreamed of having. That ogre always managed to smash her garden to bits.

    Stepping back from the oven, Hetty surveyed her hard work with dissatisfaction. She couldn’t serve her family this!

    “What this calls for is a little magic!” she decided. Pulling over a stool, she crawled up onto it and reached into the top cupboard where she kept her wand. Her instructor had very clearly stated that the wand should only be used in class, but this was an emergency. Wand in hand, she faced her flaccid feast once again with a determination that would rival a cat after a fish.

    “Sparkles, gleams, an untasty feast
    Twinkles, shimmers, be edible eats!”

    She sang in a clear soprano as she waved her wand around. Glitter encased the poor vegetables, turning them into healthful looking stalks. Hetty squealed with delight.

    “And now for the turkey!” Hetty rolled up her sleeves, concentrating very hard on her spell.

    “Sparkles, gleams, a yucky turkey
    Twinkles, shimmers, be roasted birdie!”

    The same glitter snaked its way from her wand to the oven, glowing as it spread across the bird. It started to blacken, then grew. And grew. Hetty watched in amazement as it spilled onto the floor and began to take shape. Then she was horrified! Dropping her wand, she raised dainty hands to her flushed cheeks and fled from the kitchen straight into the chest of her brother-in-law!

    “It smells great in here, sis!” he exclaimed. Then he saw it. “Um, Het? What’s a zebra doing in your kitchen?”