At today’s writing group we were each given a piece of paper with the letters C.A.R.N.A.V.A.L. on it. We had to add a word that began with the first letter then pass it on for a word beginning with the next letter to be added. The pieces of paper were passed around the table until all the letter s were used up. We were then invited to write a story with the words on our paper. Mine were:
C – clock clock
A -anterior
R – release
N – night
A – apple
V – variety
A – alibi
L – Levitate. 

And like each time we were given half an hour to write. 


This is what I came up with in the thirty minutes….

Tick tock said the clock clock as Sam lie in his bed waiting for the night to take over and release him from the trials of his day. It wasn’t easy being nine and a half, even if he was the apple of his mum’s eye.

This day had been a very rewarding day for Sam, unlike the anterior one, he thought. That was a word he had heard on the radio that morning and he liked the sound of it as he repeated it over and over in the dark. “Anterior, anterior, anterior,” he loved the feel of it on his tongue and rolled the r’s to make it even more magical. The word meant before as Sam understood it. To Sam the before was a magical place. The before he was , the before of the old days , the before of before. The before of magic.

Today before lunch he had already used two bad words, earning him a chiding glance and then a strong telling off from  Mrs Connor, his babysitter.  He had questioned the need for her to be there. He was, after all nine and a half and didn’t under any circumstances need a babysitter. He was not a baby.  He’d got away with the damn,when he muttered it, but the other word was clearly much better, which meant worse, from the way Mrs C reacted.  He wasn’t exactly sure what it meant but knew it was good. Mrs C said it was something ladies sat on, which was kind of strange because he knew a lot of words for bum. Bum, butt, behind, sitapon, ass, arse, culo and so and on, so he didn’t see how this word could also be for that. This was now why he called her Mrs C. Mrs Connor sounded too formal and if he called her Mrs (well you know, the whole word) he would most probably be in huge trouble.

During the summer holidays he had learnt a whole variety of new words that seemed to traumatise Mrs C, and this one especially. The kids that were spending the summer in their parents holiday homes, that had come down from the big city, seemed to have a whole lot of words that he didn’t yet know.

Later on in the afternoon Mrs C had called Sam into the living room where she was watching some stupid daytime chat show. She didn’t look happy and asked him if he had been the one who had taken all the plates out of the cupboard and in the process broken three of them.

“They are your parent’s heirlooms”she had told him, and there was another word he hadn’t heard before but now loved. “heirlooms, heirlooms,” he repeated. “Anterior heirlooms, Mrs C that’s what they are.”

At first Sam denied knowledge of what she was talking about hoping that his sister may get the blame . She was 15 and as such should get more blame, it was only right; the older kids always had to take more blame, It was logical, even if it had been him that did it.

“So what is your alibi, young man?” Mrs C had asked. Now there was a word he knew he’d heard it on one of his mum’s soaps and had asked her about it some time ago. Unfortunately he didn’t have an alibi and had told finally her the truth, but that seemed to upset her more than his previous lie.

For his last birthday Sam’s dad, who only visited when he wanted something, so his mum had said, gave him a magic set. Since then Sam had spent many hours practicing the tricks described in the box. It was during these practices that Sam realised he had a genuine talent for real magic. He could move things without touching them. That afternoon he had been moving the plates from the cupboard to the table and back again with only his mind. it was boring and exciting all at once. He was becoming good at this trick but now and then when he lost concentration the plates fell and he wasn’t quick enough to catch them, so yes a couple were broken.  When he had told this to Mrs C, Mrs big C, Mrs big fat C, she had quickly become angry.

“First of all you tell an outright lie young man blaming you poor sister, then you tell me you can levitate plates from one place to another. Both your parents will have to hear this whole story and I am sure they will treat you as you deserve. What a willful child you are.”

“But…” Sam began. “It’s not a lie.”

Mrs C had by this point stood up and was heading toward Sam with her hand outstretched. Sam knew what that meant and decided to proved to old grumpy Mrs C once and for all that he wasn’t lying. Concentrating he lifted her into the air and dropped her back on the sofa without moving a muscle. The look on Mrs C’s face had been hilarious as she rose and fell.

That had been the good bit. The challenge had come when his mum had rushed back from work and had questioned him on what had happened between him and the frightful woman, as his mum now referred to her. She  had heard Mrs C’s version of events and was completely unbelieving. When Sam told her that he thought she had found the vodka bottle in the pantry his mum was much more believing. He hadn’t liked hiding the truth from his mum, but just for now he’d keep his talent a secret.

Slowly Sam slipped towards sleep with a smile on his face as the clock clock still ticked tock and he thought ‘well maybe tomorrow I may just try it on something else’ and in his mind’s eye imagined his sister flying through the air and landing in the next door neighbour’s pool.



With time still to spare Annette suggested we each take eight word cards from the piles of flash cards and write a fifteen minute poem.  My words were: Quandary, Steel, Pump, Pig, Drawing Flamboyant, Slobber and Psychedelic. 

Here was my effort: A typical posy gym scene…. 

In a quandary – weights or circuit?
Not today, just pumping steel.
This flamboyant pig
Drawing slobber
From the psychedelic onlookers,







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