New Spread: Trick or Treat

Guess what time of year it is?

Time for a good trick, or perhaps a good treat. Two sides of the same coin; both fraught with possibilities. Perhaps you don’t even know which is needed until the door opens.

Deal two pairs of cards. A pair of abstract cards symbolize the trick. A pair of concrete cards symbolize the treat.

Focus your story on one pair or the other. But feel free to allow the unused pair to loom over the action and influence anything (or everything) through fear, intimidation, or even temptation.

What tempts you today? The trick? or the Treat?

Above all, remember to have fun with it.


The Trick: Prudence Racket
The Treat: Eye Birdcage
all bathed in violet (#5F007F) light.

In hindsight, there was no real choice at all. I could have allowed the trap to spring, leaving me holding the bag at the end of the day while the alarms ring. I would go home with nothing, if I was allowed to leave the scene at all. Or, I could immediately snatch the bird in the cage. No alarms. Just a tasty snack.

Not that it ever is that easy.

My lunge for the cage fell short. The bird saw me coming and went off like an alarm all by itself. And I was reduced to slinking away without my planned tasty yellow treat.


Deal 277: Pet distractions

With the addition of a hair from the intended victim, the ritual was complete. John held in his hands a doll that would regain control over his life. If it worked, of course. John was a tad skeptical about the latter point, but the old Crone had come highly recommended, and her price was not outrageous. She hadn’t demanded his firstborn, for instance.

John pondered the little doll. It had only a passing resemblance to a person, but as the Crone had explained, too detailed a representation would be distracting, and would risk discovery. So the doll was plain off-white beeswax, with toasted sesame seeds for eyes. Its hands were indistinct paddles, so he would not be tempted to try anything as precise as breaking a particular finger.

John suspected the Crone didn’t trust him entirely. But her trust wasn’t really required since she had demanded payment in advance. He had wondered the week before about the wisdom of paying the Crone that much money with nothing to show for it, but she did indeed have a reputation to protect and had not (and least not obviously) stolen his money. After all, he held in his hands the doll he had purchased.

The doll of his wife.

He considered his next move.

As he considered, he realized he was hearing a low growl, almost at the subconscious level. Looking around, he spotted the dog under the wagon. Growling. As he continued to stare at the doll, the growling got louder.

He pinched the doll’s hand, and the dog yelped.

He looked closer in the shadows, and suddenly recognized the dog. It was his wife’s prize Pomeranian, a yappy little thing that had no patience for the great outdoors, or even being more useful than a lap warmer. And yet, the dog was here, and not at home with its mistress. And it was growling. He pinched the hand one more time and the dog yelped. Odd. He pocketed the doll, then swept the dog up. It was as passive as usual in his hands as he carried the dog home.

All the way back, he had the sense that he was being followed. And mocked, gently.

Finally, he spotted the cat when it was forced out into the open to cross the lane.

He paused in the square, and considered. He was widely thought to be an intelligent man. The cat looked suspiciously like his wife’s cat. The cat and dog had a running vendetta. The dog was acting a little off, but not so much that you’d notice. Unless someone pinched the doll, then the dog yelped, and the cat smirked.

The group of them arrived home, to find his wife brushing a teddy bear. “Oh, there you are, and you found fluffy!” she said.

“Yes, he was over on the far side of town. The confounded cat was with him, and followed us back here. He must be around here somewhere.” The cat, naturally, had faded into the woodwork and was nowhere to be seen. Then it sunk in. She was brushing a teddy bear. With the brush he’d been led to pick hairs from for the doll.

The doll in his pocket.

The doll that made the dog yelp.

As he watched, the dog hopped into his wife’s lap, and she calmly started brushing it.

And the cat turned back up, caught his eye, and winked.


Creative Storytelling Ideas

I noticed this post go by on the The Daily Post blog from the WordPress team, and thought I’d pass it along here. They identify several approaches to making the story as told through blog postings more interesting to the reader, and link to blogs demonstrating each technique.

While a lot of the details are specific to the blog format, there are larger lessons to learn that could be applied to any media or presentation style.

Deal 16: a fish story

ARGYLE THE GREAT: “Thank you for joining me. Before we go further, I should tell you something.”

VICTIM: “Um, okay?”

A: “The fish aren’t biting today.”

V: “I’m confused. Fish?”

A: “They really aren’t interested. But yesterday, man, they were all over. I caught my limit in ten minutes.”

V: “Mm, hmm.”

A: [ while producing a long dowel with a string tied to the end ] “With just a string on a stick. Kind of like this one. Do you like to fish?”

V: “Not really.”

A: “Well hold this for a minute anyway. And tell me, do you have a favorite kind of fish?”

V: “Sushi.”

A: “Ok, we can work with that, but how about being a little more specific?”

V: “Fugu. So cute and so deadly.”

A: “So cast your line. Yes, it is just string and a stick, but give it a good solid try. Just don’t let go if you get a bite. But you probably won’t, because the fish aren’t biting today.”

A: “Well. I guess it was just me… reel it in slowly…. let it out… play with it… tire it out…. and bring it in.”

[ there is now a beach ball decorated with a sharpie to look a little like a puffer fish on the end of the line ]

V: “!”

A: “A new pet for you, but be careful you don’t get stung!”

A: “But that really isn’t fair, he’s too dangerous to send home. He needs to be prepared by a professional.” [ turns to a cutting board with apron and large knife ]

[ cuts open beach ball and presents its content to the victim ]

A: “Looks like the menu from your favorite sushi bar and $100 to get you started!”