Creative writing practice – speed writing #1

I recently signed up for a creative writing course, and as part of it I have to keep a writing journal, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and use some of entries as blog posts.

We did a speed writing exercise last night, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed them. If you haven’t done them before, you take a few prompts and write a short story in ten minutes. The prompt for this one was an out-of-control pet, the fall of a king and climate change.

Cherry on Top

It was a hot sweaty evening in the Keys, and Ben and I were enjoying frozen margaritas on the terrace praying a cooling breeze would blow through so we could finally get some sleep.

“Do you remember the week before the King’s funeral?” he asked.

“Oh, yes,” I said, “I don’t think I will ever forget it. You know, I’m still finding debris from the floodwaters in the attic.”

“Oh, I’d forgotten that part, he said.

“How the hell can you forget a hurricane?”

“I was distracted by the python in the attic.”

“You mean Cherry, your pet python.”

Ben had the grace to look a little embarrassed, especially as the whole incident was caused by the combination of flood vs snake.

“The reason I mention it is that Wild-eyed Bill says he saw a bunch of yellow pythons in the Everglades and thinks they may be Cherry’s offspring.”

I tried not to roll my eyes and nearly succeeded.

“Don’t give me that look – how was I supposed to know a massive hurricane would flood the attic and sweep Cherry away?”

“Well, she and her offspring will have a great adventure in the glades. It’s miracle we have any flora and fauna left. I mean there have been five hurricanes this year alone.”

“I think the monarch dying like that was a sign.”

I looked across at Ben and once again wondered how someone so handsome could be so stupid.

“A sign of what?”

“The end-days. I mean just think about, the end of an ancient line, then we had all those storms!”

“But Britain is across the Atlantic!”

“And where do hurricanes come from – the Atlantic!”

I resisted the temptation to throw my glass at him, mainly because it was too humid, and I didn’t have the energy to raise my arms.

“And if we didn’t have those storms, then Cherry wouldn’t have escaped and eaten Mrs Kean’s cat.”

“And the dog three houses down, and a few guinea pigs as well,” I responded.

Ben mused for a few minutes.

“I’m sure I was ripped off, there is no way those pets were worth that much.”

“I think you got off lightly.”

I got up and went to the fridge for some ice. Part of me hoped a hurricane would strike within the next hour just to relieve the sweltering heat.

“I think my brain is melting.”

I compromised by wrapping a towel with ice around my head and lying back on the lounger.

Ben looked at me. “Do you think we should call it – move somewhere colder and higher?”

And free of Cherry’s descendants, I thought, especially as I had noticed postings about missing pets had increased on our community Facebook page.

“Yes, I think it’s time, although who would want to move here?”

“The Royal Family perhaps, now they are out of work – it would make a pleasant change of scene, and it’s way more exciting.”

I had to laugh and threw the wet towel at him.

“I’ll place a for sale ad in the Times of London.”

Ben leaned back on his chair and sipped contemplatively on his drink, then sat bolt upright as the high-pitched scream of a dying animal ripped through the night.

Cherry was back in town.


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