This Story Game Will Train Your Imagination (and a prize!)

by Pamela Hodges | 38 comments

Once upon a time there was a…? There was a…? What was there? This is not a rhetorical question.

This Story Game Will Train Your Imagination

I really, really, really, want you to answer me. Once upon a time there was a…? You can't think of anything? Okay then, lets play a story game to train our imagination, have fun, and maybe win a prize!

Wait? You did have an answer? What was it? Did you tell me about a story you read when you were younger? Or was it a story you just made up, from your imagination? Was it about an animal, a small child? A princess?

What Does the Word Imagination Mean?

According to Miriam-Webster imagination is:

The ability to imagine things that are not real; the ability to form a picture in your mind of something that you have not seen or experienced.

Hmm, things that are not real, things we have never seen or experienced? This could be tricky.

I know. I know. It can be hard at times to use our imaginations. We get caught up in a world of dirty dishes, laundry, bills to pay, cars to drive, and litter boxes to clean. We forget that Peter Pan can fly, and life can be magical, because we are so caught up in the messy reality of real life. 

Why Does Imagination Matter?

Imagination is important. There are stories in our brains that haven't had a chance to breathe. Well, maybe you don't write children's stories, maybe you write romance novels, or non-fiction horror. But, all of our stories need our brains to be on full alert for imagination.

Without imagination, there would be no stories. Beezus and Ramona wouldn't have enriched out lives, if Beverly Cleary hadn't used her imagination. Peter Pan and Wendy would never have met Captain Hook, and we would never know about the Lost Boys, if J.M. Barrie, had never used his imagination and created Peter Pan. And, something devastating to imagine; if George Lucas had never used his imagination there would be no Star Wars.

Now that would be truly tragic.  

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How To Use Your Imagination

To use your imagination think outside of what is rational. Rational thinking is that people talk and animals don't. Rational thinking is that toys are plastic and they don't come alive. Rational thinking is that your lawnmower will not try to stop a spoon and coffee table from moving to China.

Create worlds that don't exist. Personify inanimate objects. Imagine how you would feel to be a spoon. What view of the world does a spoon have? What would be important to a spoon? Would the spoon care what temperature the water is in the dishwasher, or what brand of soup you buy?

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
― Pablo Picasso

In my home in the month of December, my plastic elephant, lion, giraffe, cheetah and tiger come alive at midnight. I find them in the morning after they have had an adventure. This is their third year to come alive in my house. I never know where they will be. They have made cookies, washed dishes, and ironed my napkins. This morning I found them in the dryer.

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
― Albert Einstein

Having toys that come alive is not logical. Having a spoon be a protagonist is not logical. But, who wants to just go to from A to Z, let's go everywhere. Lets go to places that we have never seen, heard, tasted, or touched. Lets form pictures in our mind of something we have never experienced.

“Children see magic because they look for it.”
― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Listen to Christopher Moore and look for magic. Be a child again and use your imagination.

Don't listen to the advice from J.M. Barrie. He did write Peter Pan, so we know he has an imagination. But he did say,  “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” No, no, no. Just because you doubted you can fly, does not mean you will never fly again.

An adult who has forgotten how to fly, or forgotten how to use their imagination, can learn to fly again.

Philip José Farmer, a writer who wrote over one hundred short stories and novellas, said,“Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got.”

Lets play a Story Game to exercise our imagination muscles.

Five Steps For The Imagination Muscle Story Game

Here are the guidelines for today's writing story game.

  1. Your protagonist is an inanimate object in the kitchen. Imagine that the object is alive and can talk, feel, walk and think. When I walked into my kitchen a few minutes ago and asked who wanted to be in a story, the spoons were the first ones to answer me.
  2. Their side-kick, or their friend is an inanimate object in the living room.
    The inanimate object can also talk, feel, walk and think.
    My living room is still asleep. I will have to ask later.
  3. The protagonist and side-kick are going to go on an adventure.
    Check the label on your shirt. They are going to the country where your shirt was manufactured,  to the last store you bought anything at or to a pastry shop. I was only going to give you one choice, but I hate not having options so I gave your three.
    The shirt I am wearing is made in Canada.
  4. They must go out of the house through the garage.
    In the garage is the antagonist of the story. Every good story needs conflict.The Antagonist is an inanimate object in the garage.
    Remember that in a conflict the protagonist, perhaps a spoon, wants something. And the antagonist, perhaps a lawnmower, is against whatever the spoon wants.
    I only woke up a few minutes ago, so I haven't gone in my garage yet.
  5. The two main characters, or the protagonist and the side-kick, will solve the conflict with a red, Swing-line stapler.
    My own personal red Swingline stapler has been begging me for months to be in a story on The Write Practice. “Please, please Pamela, please let me be in a story. Why did you use a paper bag last time for The Scavenger Hunt when you could have used me?” It was hard to deny the staplers request, because I do love my stapler. And it could really come in handy in a battle. (p.s. Remember to load your stapler in the story.)In the story game, the elements of each persons story will probably be different, unless we all choose a spoon, a coffee table, a lawn-mower and a trip to Canada. All the stories will have the stapler in common. A red one.

Story Game Prizes

Everyone who writes a story in The Imagination Story Game will have a chance to win a red Swing-line stapler or a spoon.

You can find the rules below. Just make sure to share you follow the rules below in the Practice section and share your story in the comments.

We will choose the winner on Friday!

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Do you have a hard time using your imagination when you write?  Please tell me in the comments. I always love to hear from you.

PRACTICE

Follow the Five Steps For The Imagination Muscle Story Game.

This is a no time-limit story game. Take as long as you want, and, have fun. However, if you’d like to post your story in the comments section (and be entered for the silly prizes), please keep it on the shorter side, less than 500 words. Otherwise not many people will have time to read your story!

We will choose the winner on Friday.

Please comment on someone else’s story. And have a fun imaginative day!

xo

Pamela

p.s. If you are curious about the toys that come alive at my house at midnight in the month of December, you can follow their adventure on instagram @toycember, or at toycember.com. If you have toys that come alive in December too, please share pictures of their adventures on  toycember's wall. Last night they got into the pantry and made a mess.I wonder what they will do tonight?

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Pamela writes stories about art and creativity to help you become the artist you were meant to be. She would love to meet you at pamelahodges.com.

38 Comments

  1. Hannah Demlenatayleyluva Wurth

    I follow the rules!!: Isaac the spatula opened his eyes and looked around the kitchen. Everyone was still. He looked out the large kitchen window to see the family that lived in the house backing out of the driveway. He had heard them talking about leaving today for their Christmas vacation. Isaac and his friend Hannah, who was a brown leather couch, were going to China to visit Isaacs fiancé Cam, a slotted spoon. Isaac jumped out of his container on the counter, and onto the hardwood kitchen floor. “Have a good trip Isaac!”, said James, the coffeemaker. “Be safe!”, Chimed in Tanino, William, and Pablo, the kitchen towels hanging on the wall. “I will!”, Isaac responded happily., “See you soon!”. Isaac hopped into the living room to let Hannah know that the family had left and they could leave for their trip. “Hannah!”, Isaac said happily hopping next to Hannah on the floor. “Isaac! Is it time to go?!”, Hannah asked excitedly. Isaac smiled and nodded. “Hello? Where’d you go?”, Hannah asked concerned. “I nodded at you, did you lose your glasses again?”, Isaac asked her. Hannah needed glasses to see. Isaac jumped up on Hannah to help her look and glimpsed a shiny object peeking out the back of the right cushion. He pulled it out, and gave it to Hannah. “My glasses! Thank you Isaac!, Hannah said. Isaac smiled. “Let’s go!”, Hannah said and together they walked through the kitchen, and second living room, and laundry room until they were at the door to the garage. Hannah opened the door for Isaac and they walked down the two steps into the garage. They were about to press the button on the wall when they heard a voice. “Halt!”, it yelled. They looked around and saw Vincent the extension cord looking at them. “Where do you think you’re going”, He asked them angrily. “Isaac and I are going to China to see his fiancé Cam for Christmas.”, Hannah answered nervously. “Oh no you’re not!”, Vincent yelled, tying them up. “I can’t go anywhere so neither can you.” “Why can’t you go anywhere?”, Isaac asked. Vincent appeared taken aback by Isaac’s concern for him. “I can’t go anywhere for Christmas because I can’t staple my tickets. I don’t have enough hands to hold them separately.”, Vincent said sadly. “I have a red Swing-line stapler in my cushions!”, Hannah said excitedly. “Really? If you let me borrow it to staple my tickets I will let you go.”, Vincent said happily. “Deal!”, Hannah and Isaac said in unison. They handed Vincent the stapler and he stapled his tickets. Then he let Hannah and Isaac go. “Have a safe trip!”, Vincent yelled as he opened the garage. “You too Vincent!”, they exclaimed as they exited the garage.

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Hannah,
      This is so fun! I was so worried when Vincent yelled at them. I was worried they wouldn’t get to go to China to see Cam.
      But happily they were able to resolve their conflict with creativity and they were able to leave the garage.
      Thank you for playing!
      xo
      Pamela

    • Hannah Demlenatayleyluva Wurth

      You’re welcome it was extremely fun!!

    • Cody Burleson

      I have no idea why, but I thought it was funny that the spatula’s name was Isaac. Why is that so funny? I’m chuckling about it now. That and his fiancé, Cam – a slotted spoon. Slotted spoon! Why is that so funny to me? Ha! Your choice for names and words has a surprising impact. A lesson learned about writing for me.

    • Hannah Demlenatayleyluva Wurth

      Haha thanks I actually named the spatula and slotted spoon after my close friend and his fiancé.

    • Anastasia Bird

      I love the detail about the glasses!

    • Hannah Demlenatayleyluva Wurth

      Thanks!!!

  2. Pamela Hodges

    Hello LaCresha,
    A wonderful thing to remember really. How to be a kid.
    Thank you for your kind words,
    xo
    Pamela

    Reply
    • LaCresha Lawson

      Thank you for this article.☺

    • Pamela Hodges

      You are very welcome. Did any spoons talk to you this morning in your kitchen LaCresha?

  3. B.B.

    Freddy was a little jittery, those dang people drank all his joe, now he has to will up his reservoir, grind the coffee, yatta, yatta, yatta. It will be fun to watch them try to figure out how more coffee showed up after they had guzzled it all down. “Hmmm, maybe I’ll just drink the whole pot myself. They’ll never know. Fun messing with them or one whole pot all to m Myself? Hey Sparky, you want some joe?”
    “Ya, I’m still pretty lit from last night.” His wax was running down his sides and he was having trouble standing up straight.
    “Here have a cup and then we’ll go and get some fresh air. To the park!”
    After gulping and sipping the whole pot, they headed out to the garage to get their bikes. Sparky grumbling the whole way and Freddy, really all hopped up, ran circles around him, just to aggravate him a little. Freddy hauled his bike off the stand and handed it over to Sparky who almost dropped it. Next he grabbed Sparky’s bike and pulled it off the stand. “Here, trade me, this is yours.”
    Sparky let Freddy’s bike drop to the ground and took his.
    “What the hey,Sparky?” Freddy picked up his bike all the time glaring at his buddy. “Mount up.” Freddy was raring to go. He pushed on the pedal. “What the…” Stepping down and looking at his front wheel. Flat.
    Sparky was still just holding onto his bike. He found it to be a good support.
    “Geez, yours is flat too. That damn pointy headed, fat assed, Terrance.”
    That finally got Sparky attention. He hated Terrance. “That pin head! he thinks he’s so much better than me! I’ll burn his butt.”
    “ya, right, burn a nail? Let’s just fix these tires and get to the park.”
    “No. I’m going to burn his fat butt.”
    “Ok.” Freddy was sort of boiling over at Terrance also. “Burning won’t work but, he, he, we could staple him to the wall. Ya, I like that. You work on our tires, I’ll be right back.,” he whispered. Freddy ran back into the house. he soon returned with a red Swing-line stapler. They found Terrance hiding behind the hammer, grabbed him and stapled him to the wall.
    Terrance was screaming obscenities at them as the pedaled down the street. Sparky was finally laughing and Freddy was glad to be working off some of his extra energy. What a glorious day.

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello B.B.

      How fun. The candle was so funny. Great descriptions and drama.
      This character sounded so real.
      “Ya, I’m still pretty lit from last night.” His wax was running down his sides and he was having trouble standing up straight.

      And poor Terrance got stapled to the wall.
      Great use of a red Swing-line.
      xo
      Pamela

    • B.B.

      thank you, Pamela. I’m new to this and being ‘over the hill’ also, it is nice to have some positive reinforcement, although I’m open to some constructive criticism also.

  4. Bangalorekar Ranganath

    A writer’s imagination will always be alive, if he/she has time and patience to go through this blog.

    Reply
  5. Joycelyn Comrie

    I am just getting the idea you to use my imagination to write a story . Thank you

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Joycelyn Comrie,
      Did any spoons talk to you this morning in your kitchen?
      xo
      Pamela

    • Joycelyn Comrie

      Yes , one of the spoon had spoken to me this morning , and it said to me , wash me first before you wash any one else , when I did not obay to wash it first it wiggle out of my hand back in the , because it was vex with me for not washing it first

  6. Cody Burleson

    You think your life sucks? Try being a soap dispenser –
    always getting pushed on, always getting emptied out. In a literal sense, I
    live by the kitchen sink (the side with the garbage disposal, I might add), and
    in a figurative sense – somewhere near the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of
    needs. Never mind love and belongingness. I live in fear of the elements – dirt,
    salmonella, slimy egg whites and what-not. But I heard that things were
    different in Honduras.

    “Eat your asparagus,” he said to the boy. “I
    don’t care what it makes your pee smell like. It’s expensive stuff. If you were
    living in a third-world country, you’d feel different.”

    You’d feel different? I wanted that.

    “What’s a third world country?” the boy asked.

    Exactly. And when can we go? I was so delighted to learn
    there was another world – better yet, even three! I thought this was it. End of
    the line. There’s more out there than just this one crappy world by the dirty
    dishes and that snooty coffee pot.

    “I don’t know,” the replied. “Like, Honduras?”

    Unlike Earth, the the other worlds even have interesting names.
    Nothing like dirt.

    So, it was settled. That night, I set out across the living
    room towards the garage. Along the way, I was frozen to see the half chewed
    corpse of an abominal snowman – a furry white little yeti toy whose face had
    been ripped apart by the family dog, Buddy. Even his squeaker had been ripped
    from his chest and swallowed.

    Buddy, I knew, was a horrible monster of hate. He chewed on
    table legs. Ripped the stuffing out of couch cushions. He hated everything. So despicable
    is he, that he even sat on the lowly carpet and spun in circles to scratch his
    rear. Despicable and disgusting. I felt sorry for the snowman.
    “Come with me,” I said, hefting his half empty body up and
    pulling a limp arm around my spout. “We’re going to the third world of Honduras.”
    I kept my spout stiff when a lump of stuffing rolled out of his neck –
    pretended not to notice. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

    But then, there was the vacuum cleaner in the garage. I’d
    seen him before – pacing back and forth across the den with his insatiable
    appetite. No matter that a monster has peed and pooped on that floor, if one was
    so unfortunately there, he’d gobble you up. I once watched him suck an entire
    colony of brilliant glitter out of existence. Can you imagine?

    What’s more, he’s a Dyson DC33. I don’t want to go into
    details, but let me just say that it’s one thing to watch something get eaten.
    Watching it get digested is another thing entirely.

    But as it turns out, there are things that even the Dyson is
    afraid of – like long strings, paperclips, and staples. Just beyond the bag of
    bills that needed shredding, a hero emerged dressed in shiny red.

    All heroes can shoot something. Spiderman shoots webs.
    Superman shoots laser beams from his eyes. This one shot staples. Without even
    so much as a flinch, she shot a path of safety between us and the car then
    settled back down into the office supply bin from which she came.

    True heroes don’t even stick around to parade themselves. I
    would. But then, my label is just SOAP. And it isn’t even written in cursive.

    Her name was Swingline, she was a stapler, and Abominable
    and I will never forget her.

    The third world of Hondurus is still out there somewhere
    amongst the stars, but we’re on our way. Turns out, cars don’t fly, but that’s
    a minor setback. I have a new hero and Abominable has hope. Abominable has hope
    and me.

    And that’s really all you need: a hero, hope, and perhaps, a
    little SOAP.3

    Reply
    • Chris Jones

      Can I say, I really liked this. Well done. You have a strong style, one that I particularly enjoy.

    • Cody Burleson

      How kind of you to say. It was a fun break from my normal writing routine. As a wanna-be writer, it’s very encouraging to get positive feedback. So, thank you!

    • Pamela Hodges

      Cody this story was so dramatic, I couldn’t quit reading until I found out what the battle scene in the garage was. These are my three favorite sentences.
      1.“Come with me,” I said, hefting his half empty body up and
      pulling his limp arm around my spout.
      2. Without even
      so much as a flinch, she shot a path of safety between us and the car then
      settled back down into the office supply bin from which she came.
      3. Just beyond the bag of bills that needed shredding, a hero emerged dressed in shiny red.settled back down into the office supply bin from which she came.
      And I loved that the vacuum cleaner had weaknesses.
      Very fun.
      xo
      Pamela

    • Cody Burleson

      Thanks! It was a very intriguing post and a fun challenge. I would have never thought to drive my creativity in that way and was surprised to see what came out of the process. I learned a lesson about the value of writing prompts to open the mind and a lesson in how rewarding it can be to simply lose that mind and enjoy the lunacy.

  7. Chris Jones

    I just last week had a book of fairy tales come out, and this would have fit perfectly into that book. Maybe the next one. I did write the story, but it’s almost 2000 words, because I can’t help myself. But it was a lovely challenge, and good fun to do. Thanks so much for this, and all the writing advice.

    Reply
  8. Anastasia Bird

    Once upon a cold countertop, there was an optimistic pop tart. His name was Jerry-Bean. He sat upon the kitchen counter, anticipating EVERYTHING. His mind would not stop its helter-skelter race around the track of Possibilities for Ultimate Fun. He had endless ideas – they would keep him up at night, dancing in front of his crumbly on the outside, gooey on the inside eyes. He felt he could not possibly rest content until he had actualized his Ultimate Fun Idea – China. China is where he must go, to find all the other pop tarts, to see the lights, to dance the dances.

    The only problem was – he had zero legs. None to speak of. Which he did, with great gusto and energy, to whomever would listen. Upon this particular morning, it was to his best of all besties, Filo the Cuddly Unicorn (who dwelt in the province next door, a.k.a The Chambers of Life, a.k.a The Living Room). Filo was as faithful as she was magical, and it pained her to hear about Jerry’s un-granted Ultimate Fun Idea, minute after minute. Her cuddly cotton heart could barely stand the strain.

    Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, it was only a matter of time before our two fast friends hit upon The Ultimate Fun Plan: Jerry would indeed ride to China, atop his faithful cuddly uni-steed. And thanks to the total lack of scheduling in the lives of creatures such as these, they set out the moment they decided this was their Destiny.

    But alas! Alack! As they exited through the door adjoining the kitchen and garage, the resounding laud and honor from the house faded into a dry, crackling cackle. Filo trembled, “Dear me – it’s Sergeant Fanny Pack!” Jerry groaned and rolled his crumbly eyes. “He’s SUCH a downer – he’s always killing Ultimate Dreams.”

    “Indeed” came Fanny Pack’s dusty voice. “And I shall make no exceptions here.”
    “Dear me!” Filo quivered. “Can’t you just let us go, this once?”
    Fanny Pack cackled as loudly as his busted voicebox would allow. “Silly unicorn! Can’t you see how consistent I’ve been?” He gestured with a buckled arm to slumped shapes in the corner. “These are your predecessors – none have attempted to pass me seeking an Ultimate Dream and won! I am very serious about my goals!”

    Filo and Jerry looked hopelessly at each other, when a different, shiny, reddish voice emanated out of the mist behind them. “Your goals will have to go unmet this time, Sergeant Fanny Pack, you dusty old codger!”
    Into the fray of conflicting interests, there dropped a beautiful red Swingline stapler, a top of the line brand if ever there was one.

    “And what makes you think you can sway me from this unbeaten, unrelenting path?”, demanded Fanny Pack, rearing up on his rust-stained, single foot.
    “Sergeant, you are known for miles around as the most consistent and practical of household items,” Red Stapler declared. “I know that Ultimate Dreams threaten your identity, because you feel as though letting them happen will mean you really will be abandoned. But Sergeant – ”
    “Yes?” Fanny Pack choked, wiping a tear away from his rusty zipper.
    “You aren’t alone. You have Us. And we want to help you achieve your own Ultimate Dream of knowing you’re loved.”

    Fanny Pack took a DEEP breath, and then sighed tremendously. “You’re right. I am lonely. Can I come with you to China?”
    “Of course you can!” cheered Filo.
    “If I can ride in your pocket, I’ll be able to stay on the back of Filo”, Jerry reasoned aloud. “After all, I have no legs to speak of.”

    Red watched them all ride off into the distance, satisfied with another day’s work well done.

    Reply
    • Gabrielle Paige

      Such a fun story! I hope Fanny Pack enjoys China! 🙂

    • Anastasia Bird

      Lol! Thanks. I think it’s where he came from.

    • Pamela Hodges

      Oh Anastasia Bird, this is delightful. Who would have ever thought that a pop tart, a stuffed unicorn and a fanny pack would become friends and travel to China together. They must be very grateful to the red stapler for helping them resolve their conflict.
      This story has such a strong theme of the value of friendship.
      Great opening line.
      “Once upon a cold countertop, there was an optimistic pop tart.”
      xo
      Pamela

    • Anastasia Bird

      Ha! Thanks! Unicorns, pop tarts and fanny packs are all my favorite things. Thanks for the fun prompt.

  9. Oluwaferanmi Layioye

    Really good

    Reply
  10. Katymarie Frost

    Honduras. Honduras, Honduras, Honduras. The name would have rolled off Howard’s tongue if he had a tongue. Even so, the name consumed Howard’s every thought. Ever since he had heard Jenny talking on the telephone about her trip there, he had dreamed of going there himself, but how could a single ice cube tray travel to a place like Honduras? Honduras was hot. Howard had to stay cold, or his ice would melt. He had only been able to chill in the freezer and dream about it. Then he met Elsa, and all that changed.
    Howard had learned of Elsa’s powers by watching Frozen. She had become his hero as he watched her conjure ice on the screen. He could scarcely believe it when little Tammy had received an Elsa doll for her birthday. The Elsa doll quickly became his best friend. They devised a plan where Elsa would go to Honduras with Howard and keep his ice cold. The day had finally arrived and they were ready. They quietly snuck to6 the door to the grave and cracked it open only to be met with their worst nightmare. An open bag of ice melt! Slowly it inched its way toward them, trailing its deadly crystals. If it reached them, Howard’s ice didn’t stand a chance.
    “Else, use your powers,” Howard cried. Else brought up her hands to freeze the plastic bag, but her stream of ice turned to water upon contact with the salt and the ice melt only moved forward faster.
    “I can’t stop it!” Else buried her fingers in her hair. “What will we do?”
    “See if you can stall it. I have an idea,” Howard told Elsa.
    He hopped back inside as fast as he could.
    “Stella, we need you,” he called.
    A bright red stapler hopped off the desk. “What is it?” she asked.
    “We need your help. Can you staple a bag closed for us?” Howard asked.
    “Of course,” Stella answered and followed Howard to the garage.
    I’m so glad your back,” Elsa cried. I can’t hold it back anymore.”
    “Then let it go,” Howard told her. “Stella, do your stuff.”
    Within minutes the ice melt bag was stapled closed. Howard and Elsa could leave safely.
    “Now let’s go to Honduras,” Howard said, and that’s just what they did.

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Oh my Katymarie Frost,

      What an interesting storyline. Howard the ice tray, Elsa, a bag of ice-melt and a stapler to save the day.
      Your dialog was so realistic, and your characterization was so real I have decided to call the ice trays in my freezer Howard for the rest of my life.
      xo
      Pamela

  11. Elizabeth Westra

    I tried to paste my practice, but it didn’t work. What do you suggest?

    Reply
  12. Linda Strawn

    “Someone, please help me!” Scrubby
    the sponge tried to move, but she was too saturated with soapy dish water.

    “Hold on. I’m coming.”

    Scrubby recognized her buddy’s tinny
    voice.

    Tania, the retractable tape
    measure, clanked her way to the sink. “What in the world?”

    Scrubby tried to answer, but the
    frayed foam hanging from her rough side caused her to get tongue-tied.

    “Here.” Tania nudged Scrubby until
    she slipped off of the airline tickets to China and fell onto her good side
    into the empty sink. Tania peered over the rim, extending her flat yellow neck until
    the six-inch mark was visible. “Better?”

    “Yeah.” Scrubby stretched. “Much
    better.”

    “About these airline tickets. They’re
    soaked.”

    “I know, Tania. It wasn’t my
    fault.” Salty tears seeped through the pores of Scrubby’s wanna-be sponge
    exterior. “The lady of the house didn’t see them. After she finished washing
    the dishes, she plopped me on the counter without wringing me out. I don’t
    think she noticed the tickets lying there.”

    With a snap, Tania retracted
    herself tight against her blue plastic housing.

    Srubby cringed. She hated seeing Tania
    so mad. “I know how much you wanted to see where you were born.”

    Tania’s insides buzzed when she relaxed.
    “I’m sorry. I get so wound up sometimes. I need a release. Maybe I should go
    measure a tree or something.”

    Scrubby scooted against the back
    of the sink and looked up at her friend. “Why don’t we go outside in the sunshine?
    I can dry out and so will the airline tickets. “

    “Good idea.” Tania stretched out
    and plucked Scrubby from the depths of the sink. Together, they cut through the
    garage and headed to the back door.

    A loud clunk stopped them in their
    tracks.

    Scrubby almost slipped in hers. “What
    was that?”

    Tania slunk into her housing like
    a scared turtle. “I don’t know.”

    “Where do you think you’re going?”
    An evil laughter reverberated across the concrete floor.

    Some liquid squeezed from Scrubby’s
    pores. “I’m so scared.”

    “If we move real quiet like, maybe
    who ever that is won’t see us.” Tania tried to advance, but her awkward body
    refused to go quietly.

    “Ha, ha!” An imposing hand sander
    blocked their path. “If you want to pass, you need to pay.”

    Tania’s flat yellow neck shook, revealing
    her fear. “How…how much?”

    The hand sander eyed the airline
    tickets. “Those would do nicely.”

    Scrubby’s foam layer separated
    more from her scratchy side. “No. You can’t have these.”

    “Watch me.” The mean hand sander
    lurched forward.

    Tania and Scrubby huddled together
    and prepared for the inevitable.

    Then, out of nowhere, a gleam of
    red appeared. With a clank, Big Red landed in front of them, blocking the path
    of their enemy.

    Scrubby and Tania’s jaws slackened
    in awe. Big Red. Who knew? He was larger than life. Swingline’s top model with
    a gleaming carrier, handsome red arm, and sturdy base.

    Big Red puffed out his hammer. “Stop
    right there, you lily livered hand sander.”

    The mean ole hand sander shivered
    so hard, the square of gritty paper feel off of him, leaving him exposed and vulnerable.
    With a squeal, he slithered away, but
    not before Big Red peppered him with chisel point number 4 staples.

    Scrubby jumped for joy, sudsy dish
    water puddled at her spongy feet.

    Tania laughed so hard, her thin
    yellow neck wobbled inside her blue housing.

    “You’re safe now, girls.” Big Red’s
    deep voice echoed in the dark garage. “Go on outside. I’ll be right behind you
    to staple the airline tickets up so they can dry. Before you know it, you’ll be
    on your way to China.”

    Reply
  13. Elizabeth Westra

    Once upon a time last week the kitchen computer wandered into the living room. “Hey, writing pen, how about we go on an adventure?”

    Writing pen jumped up eagerly. “What kind of adventure?”

    “How about we go to Sri Lanka and visit a book store there. I’m sure they could use us for writing stories.”

    “Great idea!” the pen said, “let’s go!”

    The computer frowned and hesitated. “We have to travel through the garage to get to Sri Lanka. I’ve heard there’s a rusty rake there who might try to stop us.”

    The pen stuck our his chest. “Just let him try,” he boasted.

    So, the computer and the writing pen started out toward the garage. They went on tiptoe hoping the rake wouldn’t hear them. They were almost to the outer garage door when…

    “Where do you guys think you’re going?” the rake scratched out from behind a work bench.

    The two friends froze in their tracks. “Wwwe’re just going out for an adventure,” stuttered the pen.

    The computer muscled his friend out of the way. “And you can’t stop us.” He pressed his monitor against the rakes prongs.

    The rusty rake pushed him back, and the computer slid back into the garage.

    Writing pen wrung his hands and cried, “Nnnow we’ll never have our adventure.”

    Suddenly the garage door slammed open and a red, slim-line stapler appeared. “What’s the problem here?” he bellowed.

    The rusty rake turned and snarled, “None of you are getting through this garage. You can’t take me, you piece of red trash.”

    Quickly the red stapler gobbled down some staples. He clacked his jaws up and down like an alligator. He then picked up the rusty rake in his massive jaws, lifted him high and stapled him to the wall.

    As the two pals and their new friend, the red stapler, left the garage they could hear the rusty rake squealing and squawking where he hung on the garage wall.

    Reply
  14. Claire

    Pamela, I love your posts. I remember the one you posted that dealt with a scavenger hunt. It resulted in a full-fledged suspense story, which I’m in the process of editing. This post was just as interesting because it was also challenging. Here’s my take for this story game:

    PASHA AND WASHA — A TALE OF TWO UNLIKELY FRIENDS (~515 words)

    Pasha was a porcelain bear sugar bowl adorning a kitchen shelf above the stove. His owner had purchased him as a souvenir while in California in 1974, and she had always taken good care of him. He was the last surviving sugar bowl in the house.

    It was close to midnight. Lights out. The only illumination came from the night light across the stove. Pasha sat on his shelf thinking: It’s December and Christmas is
    approaching fast. The escape would have to take place tonight or never.

    Pasha and his friend, Washa, a mahogany horse statuette living atop the coffee
    table of the living room, had hatched the escape plan months ago. The last time they had visited their friends at Macy’s toy department had been two years ago. It was time to return.

    Not wanting to lose more time in thought, Pasha descended to the stove and then the floor. The night-light’s dim glow illuminated the route he always used when visiting Washa. He heard the stallion’s hooves clacking on the coffee table.

    “What took you so long, Pash?” The horse asked, looking down at the bear from the edge of the table.

    “The descent from my shelf took a little longer than expected. I’m not as nimble as you, my friend, hence the reason we must get to the store tonight to see our friends.”

    “You’re still strong, Pasha.”

    “The old bones ain’t what they used to be, my stallion friend, so let’s get started on our journey.”

    They made their way to the garage—their exit point. It was dark except for the moonlight entering through a side window. As they approached the garage door, they heard the sound of a motor revving.

    “The vacuum cleaner is on to us, as usual, trying to foil our escapade,” Pasha said. “Let’s put our heads together and hash a plan to outwit him before we’re sucked into his belly, Washa.”

    The stallion nodded. Both looked around the dimly lit garage. They needed to find a way to circumvent the menacing presence of the oversized device. Washa’s eyes focused on the worktable underneath the window noticing a red Swingline stapler. A moonbeam made it shine like a beacon. It was a sign.

    “I’ve got it, Pasha!” The stallion jumped turning to the bear. “The stapler! We’ll use it to staple the vacuum cleaner’s hose and disable the suction mechanism!”

    “What a scathingly brilliant idea, my friend! Let’s do it!”

    Washa climbed the table and retrieved the stapler. They approached the machine from the back and in one swift move, pounced on it when the motor was idling. The machine made some weird whirring noises. It turned in circles until its motor began to smoke and
    sputter, eventually dying.

    Pasha lifted his front paws and Washa high-fived him with his front hooves. Finally, they circled the fallen and silent machine in a declaration of victory.

    The following morning, no one could explain the happenings of the night before—an open garage door, and a broken vacuum cleaner, but most disturbing of all, a trail of sugar seen disappearing down the driveway.

    Reply
  15. Godfrey Coppinger

    It was lonely in the kitchen. Kettle
    sat on the counter and sighed.

    “You in there, CT?”

    “And where else would I be?”
    said Coffee Table.

    “We gotta get out of this place.”

    “Where would we go?”

    “The lady talks about a place she
    loves called Office Depot. She says it’s filled with wondrous things – pens and
    paper and sticky notes.”

    “What would we want with that
    stuff?”

    “I don’t know, but when she talks
    about it her eyes light up and she gets this far way look like it’s pure
    heaven.”

    CT thought for a moment, then shouted
    “Let’s do it.”

    Kettle sighed and said “We can’t.
    I don’t have any legs.”

    “I do!” CT was getting
    excited. “If you can get in here, we can go.”

    Kettle
    began to rock on her base. She rocked herself right off the counter.

    “Here I come.”

    She waddled into the living room and
    hopped up onto Coffee Table.” Let’s go!”

    CT stepped carefully through the
    living room towards the garage and pushed the door open.

    In the garage they waded through piles
    of junk. They were almost out when something jumped down and blocked their way.

    “Where do you think you’re going?”

    “To Office Depot.”

    “You ain’t going nowhere,”
    said Weed Whacker. There was a whirr and the string on Whacker began to spin. “Here
    I come,” he snarled.

    “What are we going to do?”
    shouted Kettle. She looked around. In a
    box, surrounded by a mass of electronic equipment, was something red – a Swingline
    stapler.

    “Grab the stapler!” shouted
    CT.

    “I can’t – I don’t have arms!”

    “You don’t have a mouth either, but you’re talking. Do it!”

    Kettle shivered and groaned and with a
    mighty mental push, out popped two arms. She grabbed the stapler and aimed at Weed
    Whacker.

    “Take that you weed whacking
    barbarian.”

    “Yeeow!” bellowed Weed Whacker
    as she lunged at him, stapling his whacking line to a cardboard box.

    They dashed past him and into the
    night.

    “We’re out, now what?

    “You’ve got thumbs now. We’ll
    hitchhike.”

    Out on the street they were picked up
    by a pizza delivery guy who was happy to
    take them to Office Depot.

    Kettle
    stared in amazement at all the shelves.

    “This is wondrous, indeed,”
    she said.

    But it wasn’t just office supplies.
    There were other things too.

    A dark, handsome Coffee Maker winked
    at her. “We’d make a cute couple,” he said.

    “I’m in love,” sighed
    Kettle.

    But CT wasn’t paying attention. He had
    spied a cute Table Lamp who smiled shyly and fluttered her fringe at him.

    Kettle, CT, Coffee Maker, and Table Lamp moved to the
    mountains, where they built a small cabin

    Kettle and Coffee Maker had many
    little tea cups, while CT and his little Lampy produced the most beautiful
    doilies and coasters.

    And, of course, they lived happily
    ever after.

    Reply
  16. Godfrey Coppinger

    I thought I had posted, but it didn’t work. Shall we try again? Here goes:

    It was lonely in the kitchen. Kettle
    sat on the counter and sighed.

    “You in there, CT?”

    “And where else would I be?”
    said Coffee Table.

    “We gotta get out of this place.”

    “Where would we go?”

    “The lady talks about a place she
    loves called Office Depot. She says it’s filled with wondrous things – pens and
    paper and sticky notes.”

    “What would we want with that
    stuff?”

    “I don’t know, but when she talks
    about it her eyes light up and she gets this far way look like it’s pure
    heaven.”

    CT thought for a moment, then shouted
    “Let’s do it.”

    Kettle sighed and said “We can’t.
    I don’t have any legs.”

    “I do!” CT was getting
    excited. “If you can get in here, we can go.”

    Kettle
    began to rock on her base. She rocked herself right off the counter.

    “Here I come.”

    She waddled into the living room and
    hopped up onto Coffee Table.” Let’s go!”

    CT stepped carefully through the
    living room towards the garage and pushed the door open.

    In the garage they waded through piles
    of junk. They were almost out when something jumped down and blocked their way.

    “Where do you think you’re going?”

    “To Office Depot.”

    “You ain’t going nowhere,”
    said Weed Whacker. There was a whirr and the string on Whacker began to spin. “Here
    I come,” he snarled.

    “What are we going to do?”
    shouted Kettle. She looked around. In a
    box, surrounded by a mass of electronic equipment, was something red – a Swingline
    stapler.

    “Grab the stapler!” shouted
    CT.

    “I can’t – I don’t have arms!”

    “You don’t have a mouth either, but you’re talking. Do it!”

    Kettle shivered and groaned and with a
    mighty mental push, out popped two arms. She grabbed the stapler and aimed at Weed
    Whacker.

    “Take that you weed whacking
    barbarian.”

    “Yeeow!” bellowed Weed Whacker
    as she lunged at him, stapling his whacking line to a cardboard box.

    They dashed past him and into the
    night.

    “We’re out, now what?

    “You’ve got thumbs now. We’ll
    hitchhike.”

    Out on the street they were picked up
    by a pizza delivery guy who was happy to
    take them to Office Depot.

    Kettle
    stared in amazement at all the shelves.

    “This is wondrous, indeed,”
    she said.

    But it wasn’t just office supplies.
    There were other things too.

    A dark, handsome Coffee Maker winked
    at her. “We’d make a cute couple,” he said.

    “I’m in love,” sighed
    Kettle.

    But CT wasn’t paying attention. He had
    spied a cute Table Lamp who smiled shyly and fluttered her fringe at him.

    Kettle, CT, Coffee Maker, and Table Lamp moved to the
    mountains, where they built a small cabin

    Kettle and Coffee Maker had many
    little tea cups, while CT and his little Lampy produced the most beautiful
    doilies and coasters.

    And, of course, they lived happily
    ever after.

    Reply
  17. kath

    Wow, this ended up being longer than I thought. It was so much fun to write, though! Thanks!

    Pencil. Pencil. I roll the name around and say it aloud, just to savor the way it feels. I
    wonder what he’s doing right now. I wonder whether he’s thinking of me. I can
    see his long, slim, yellow body; I imagine him freshly sharpened and I can see
    the shavings peeling off of him and floating to the floor below.

    I remember the way he looked at me the first time we met. He said he had never
    met a stra with stripes like mine, with one scarlet stripe and on bright blue.
    He smirked when he talked and the light kept catching in his lead.

    “Straw.” I can see his perfect pink eraser, round and smooth and… “Straw!”

    “WHAT?” I snap. Fork glares at me and snuggles back down, trying to get some sleep before morning.

    “I can’t sleep.” It’s Rug. Of course he can’t sleep. He always gets his back thrown out
    by people walking on him.

    “Let’s go… let’s go to Target! You went yesterday, remember? Remember, you told me all about it? It was so fun you said, remember?”

    Every night is the same routine; every night old Ruggie wants to get out of the
    house. Every night, I roll my eyes and pretend I can’t hear him. But this night
    is different.

    I sigh. I hold Pencil’s picture in my mind’s eye once more, ecstatic I can see him
    again. I just met him at Target yesterday, and now I get see him again already…
    It seems too soon, but it’s been too long…

    “Okay.”

    “Okay!?” Rug rolls up so fast he knocks over Lazy Boi. He grumbles as he gets to his
    feet.

    “Let’s go!” Rug rolls over to me and I jump on his back. He’s too wide to fit through
    the front door, so I nudge him toward the garage. We squeeze through the door
    and Rug is so excited I can hear him hyperventilating.

    I can see the night sky through the garage door’s window. There, stars twinkle, and I
    imagine Pencil looking at the same stars… maybe he’s thinking about me, too…

    I hop up to open the door. The switch is a little too high, so I hop off Ruggie’s
    back and ask him to get it for me. He reaches up one corner, and…

    Switch blinks awake. He glares at us. He looks at me, then his eyes fall on Rug…

    “Absolutely not.” His voice is gravelly. “You have woken me up almost every day this week, Rug, trying to get out of the house at unreasonable hours. If you think I’m
    just some… some sort of button, some sort of common button that you can just press whenever you like, then you are sorely mistaken.”

    Rug blinks up at Switch. He looks about to unravel. “C’mon, Switch… You’ve never
    actually let me out any other night this week, either! How about this one… and
    I got my man Straw with me, and this is the last time. I swear. C’mon, Switchy…
    Switcheroo…”

    He said the wrong thing. Switch’s eyes fly open. “I told you. Never. Call. Me. That.
    AGAIN!”

    He starts to scream, a terrible high-pitched sound. Hammer opens his eyes as
    screwdriver hops off the work bench and starts to amble toward us.

    “Rug… Rug… what do we do?” I look around as all the Tools start to close in on us.

    Suddenly, another scream slices through the air. A flash of red sails through the air,
    and something is clamped hard on Switch. Switch’s scream changes and turns to
    one of pain. The tools look around in confusion, wondering what to do now that
    their boss is in trouble.

    “Go! Run! Save yourselves!”

    The garage door is opening, and without a backwards glance Rug and I roll through
    it. We are outside and I breathe in the night air, closing my eyes for a
    moment. Pencil…

    There’s a noise behind us. The door is shut, and there’s a little red something
    glinting near the door. I realize who it is and I yell.

    “Thank you, thank you for saving us! What’s your name?”

    He looks at Rug and I and he smiles. “Stapler. Swingline Stapler. Don’t worry about
    thanking me. Someone has to keep those Tools in line…” He hops away. I pat Rug
    on the back and we roll off, into the starry night of adventure. I can almost
    hear Pencil calling my name, and I answer him, shouting into the night as Rug
    hoots and hollers beneath me.

    Reply

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