Pre-podcast Live Writing Sprints – February, 2021

These live writing sprints by J. R. Nichols were live-streamed to her Author facebook page just prior to going on the air with The Christian Indie Writers’ Podcast, then read live on the air.

Author’s Note: If you watched one of my writing sprints LIVE , you can click on the corresponding date to see the text in full. I am not going to edit these, just copy/paste from my working document onto this page. -J.R. Nichols

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Today’s Prompt: Sentence you have to use: “Don’t you think we need a plan?”

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She threw her hands up and sighed. “I don’t know how we’re going to get anything done. At this pace, we’re going to be here until at least next Friday. Jan will have to put down a deposit on a new place without getting her security deposit back on this one. Where is that money supposed to come from, I ask you?”

Harold did not know what to say. He never knew what to say when Sheryl got like this. Usually, it was enough to keep busy with the push broom until she got it all out – kinda like a boil that needed draining, Harold reckoned.

“We’ve still got an entire carload in the back bedroom to get out of here, and Billy isn’t due back with the pickup for another,” she checked her watch – or whatever it was she’d started wearing instead of a watch; last time Harold paid any attention it was some newfangled contraption that insisted neither he nor Sheryl was getting enough sleep. Ironically, the blasted thing also insisted he and Sheryl were not getting enough activity –  “Forty five minutes!”

Ain’t it just like these two to not know what’s going on, especially on a day like this? Harold thought. “Go figure,” Harold said.

“Is that all you have to say? ‘Go figure?’” Sheryl made an annoyed sound with her mouth and rolled her eyes. Harold didn’t even bother to roll his back – he knew that wouldn’t get him to anyplace good. He just went back to sweepin’ up while she went on her usual tear about how all he ever says was, “Go figure.”

She was just winding up the inventory of Harolds other failings when Billy himself pulled up with the truck, some thirty minutes sooner than he was expected. On the right front quarter panel was an enormous dent – evidence of a close encounter of the elaphine kind. Normally, this would not be an issue. After all, Sheryl was forgiving, and the deer were plentiful this time of year. But considering the amount of stress she was under at the moment,  the last thing Sheryl was going to want to discover was an insurance deductible in her very near future. 

This ought to be good, Harold thought, watching the disheveled young man, who obviously hadn’t been home to shower or change since leaving the evening before, stumbled out of the cab. He shook his head and quietly said, “Go figure.”

“Hey, baby,” Billy said, loping his way easily across the hardwood floor to snake a lanky limb around the waist of his wife and business partner. “How’re we doin’ around here?”

“It’s a disaster, obviously,” Sheryl did not even look up from her phone though  Billy nuzzled her neck in his best-to-date attempt to get her mind off work. 

“Come on, Billy, don’t you think we need a plan?” she said, shaking him off and striding over to the window to peek out at the pickup. Her first glance was casual, but then she saw it. “Did you hit something?”

Today’s Prompt: Project Manager

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“They’re giving me my own crew.”
“That’s amazing, Jerry!” I dumped another scoop of ice cream into his bowl – he’d want to celebrate the promotion.
“It is amazing.”

The tone was right, the enthusiasm was there, but the dessert sat in front of him, untouched, as junior launched into a play by play of his one on one with the new kid in gym class. Even our teenage daughter’s sarcastic remarks didn’t seem to really get through the look of glazed compliance my husband had plastered on his face.
When the kids were gone and the dishes handled, I beckoned him to sit with me on the sofa.
“What gives?” I said. 

“What do you mean?”
“You’re quiet.”
“That’s new?”
I sighed, then saw something change in his face and regretted letting my disappointment slip. Why did I have to make him say it? Didn’t I already know?

I knew.
I knew he was able to do the job, I knew HE KNEW he was able to do the job.
Still, I knew he had anxiety, as any man would, when considering the gravity of his new position.
And, most importantly, I knew the burden he carried was one he felt – on at least some level – he must shoulder alone.
I stood and rounded the couch, resting my hands upon the place where I knew his mantle lay, and thought a little bit of prayerful stuff as I kneaded the muscles there.
“I’m here.” I said.
“I know,” he said, and I felt him try to stand.
“And, I’m also patient.” I said, as I pulled, easing him back onto the couch. I’d acted without thinking; it’d felt very important to let him know I wouldn’t force him out of his shell. That wasn’t what the moment was about, after all.
For a moment, I held my breath, and my heart seemed to stop beating as I anticipated a negative response to my insistence for intimacy in such a tender moment.
“Thanks.” He said, releasing my heart and my breath with a single syllable. He reached up to place a hand over one of mine, then craned his neck to look up at me, puckering, his eyes closed, looking every bit like a man who needed a lifeline. The kiss would be for me, I knew.
The kiss was to let me know I hadn’t pushed too far.
He was still giving to me.
How could I resist taking?
I bent to kiss him, and his hand slipped into my hair.
“Thank you.” he said again.
I had to go cry in my bedroom, where he could not see.

Today’s Prompt: Use these five words: originate, exhibit, supervise, interview, overlook

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There wasn’t anyone around. Paul took a brochure from a nearby exhibit and leafed through it absently, his mind rehearsing the conversation, as it had consistently since the appointment had been made.

The tricky thing about an interview – you can’t ever really figure the other guy’s angle until he tosses a question at you, and that’s what Paul was facing now – the interview of a lifetime, the chance to supervise a crew of seven men.

“They’re a bunch of fools if they overlook you,” Sarah had said, sending him off with a kiss and a sack lunch. He wished he could be as certain as she was.

“Mr. Miller?” It was worse than Paul had anticipated – the lanky blonde with a severely slicked back top knot strode toward him brandishing an ink pen and wielding a clipboard. Her smile was non-existant; but what could Paul expect – this was the big leagues, after all.

He followed the slender rectangular suit down a long corridor past several closed doors. After two rights and a left, the blonde pushed into a room filled with smoking, loose-tied, gregarious louts.

“Gentlemen,” she said. “He’s here.”

“Ah-ha,” Paul had not noticed the toad-like man on the cushion at the front of the room. “Bring him forward.”

Bring him forward?Is this a joke?  But the blonde complied, and Paul’s feet moved him, step by step, closer to the squat and portly man. 

 Paul’s throat gave a mechanical click as he swallowed, his mind flying through all he’d read about this company and the strange corporate culture that was the stuff of late night barroom rumors. Paul had always laughed it off – after all, how much credit can you give a theory whose origins consist of a handful of scrawled epitaphs over a dirty factory urinal.

But if the rumors were true… 

There he was, about to witness – no, to take part in – his own personal nightmare.  Paul took a deep breath.
“For you, Sarah,” he said.

Today’s Prompt: Use the following sentence, “The green tea and avocado smoothie turned out exactly as would be expected.”

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The green tea and avocado smoothie turned out exactly as would be expected, and the launch went off without a hitch. Soon the club was bringing in a half a million dollars in memberships and an extra hundred grand a year in add-ons, including spa treatments like hot stone massage and reiki.

But that wasn’t enough for Mitch, who had tasted victory in business and wanted more. He set his sites next on a dilapidated warehouse in his hometown – what he liked to call the “old buggy whip factory.” Propelled by the success of his gym venture, he scavenged enough capital to get the building, then ran a contest, asking local entrepreneurs to submit their best business plan for a shot at having the building retro-fit for his or her specific use.

The contest did more for Mitch’s hometown than anyone could have imagined. Press descended on the region in droves, filling the modest motels and restaurants to beyond capacity for the first time since they put in the freeway ramp just north of town.

Mitch had a difficult time selecting the winner, as several worthy pitches were made. Finally, it was the heartstrings which won out – a young boy had made a business upcycling donated war medals, scavenged from thrift stores and garage sales, into fishing lures.

“Someone ought to care something about what happens to these old things,” the freckle-faced youth shrugged into the camera during his mom-recorded and submitted audition video.

 Jimmy  Milton was looking for a bigger place, desirous to upscale his manufacturing process.

Looking through the boy’s carefully crafted business proposal, complete with expertly detailed financial analysis and prototype pictures, Mitch smiled to himself and thought,
“It’s the green tea and avocado smoothie, all over again.”

These pieces were written live and streamed to J. R. Nichols’ Facebook page. Click here to read a random post!

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