Our usual story prompt service (www.katfeete.net/writing/specific.php) was down, so we created our own using random internet lists and 20-sided dice.
Story prompt: The story’s protagonist is female and an engineer. A number 2 pencil plays a significant part in the story. The story is set in Club Atomic in the past. The story is about magic and sorcery.
Deirdre pushed her glasses back up her nose and squared her shoulders. She had to go in the door of Club Atomic, and to do it, she needed all her courage. She didn’t fit in and she knew it. But a dare was a dare, and a double-dog dare was do or die.
The guys at work had been egging her on all week. They were waiting inside to see if she’d really do it.
Being an engineer automatically made her suspect and a female engineer was unheard of. She had two female classmates the entire time she was in Michigan Tech. So when she got to Breuer and Sons, she came highly recommended, and immediately became the target of her male coworkers. She couldn’t bring herself to call them “men” because none of them had grown up except the owner, Mr Breuer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t around to protect her from the daily barrage of practical jokes. Deirdre was used to it. The guys at Michigan Tech were the same way: All nerds who acted like they’d never seen a woman before. Well they were going to see one tonight.
She watched as other groups of women and couples entered the club until she had a feel for it. Then walked up to the bouncer. He looked her up and down carefully.
“You might want to lose the glasses, sweetie, if you want to see any action tonight.”
Then he pulled back the rope and let her pass. She knew the glasses didn’t match her outfit, yet she needed them to see, so she was at a disadvantage. Deirdre shouldered her way through the crowd, keeping a tight grip on her purse as she moved toward the bar. The music was pulsing so loudly, it thudded in her chest. When she reached the bar, she struggled to make herself heard above the din. She had never ordered a drink in a place like this so finally she just pointed to an evil looking concoction with black liquid that glowed in the dark on a passing tray and the bartender nodded. He brought it back to her and hollered “Twenty-one!” She looked at him with a puzzled expression. Finally pointing to her purse and repeating the number, he made her understand he needed $21 for her drink. Shocked at the price, she opened her bag and pulled out her wallet and carefully counted out fives and ones for exactly $21. He looked at the money she’d laid on the counter and looked back at her. She blushed when she realized she’d forgotten a tip. So she reached in her wallet, threw down a couple more singles, then quickly took her drink and backed away as he just shook his head.
Now to find The Boys, as she called them in her head …
She struggled toward a wall where she could get a good layout of the club. The dance floor ceiling appeared to be at least 4 stories high with hanging platforms and cages and balconies on each floor that surrounded the dance floor on three sides. The dance floor itself glowed and pulsed. Part of the lighting must include blacklight bulbs she realized as anything white took on an ethereal glow. Where would a bunch of engineers be in a place like this …
She studied the room and each level of balcony. Then she saw them. Directly above a woman with a very lowcut dress that appeared to be in danger of a wardrobe malfunction at any moment. Typical! She looked around for a path to their level. No obvious staircases or elevators. Then she saw the ropes. They glowed when the blacklight hit them, but she hadn’t realized they were moving and people were being pulled up and lowered down. She watched a woman walk up to the rope, wrap her right leg around the rope just above a large knot, then balance her drink and her handbag on her left side before grabbing above another knot with her free hand. No sooner had she done so than she started to glide upward until she was pulled through a hole in the floor of the next level. Guys gathered right below to look up her dress as she ascended.
Shit! This was what she had to put up with every day, why, why, why did she put herself through this on her day off. Gamely, she made her way to the rope and tried to copy the woman she had just watched. She didn’t quite have the knack so by the time she reached the next level her dress had slid up to reveal her lacy black bikini underwear through her pantyhose. She heard wolf whistles and clapping. Thank goodness she’d managed not to spill her drink! Although she had been tempted to pour it on the gawkers right beneath her, she didn’t want to waste her money or have to buy another one.
When she finally reached them, they were still so busy watching the woman below that they didn’t notice her at first. Then Burt happened to glance her way, did a doubletake and nudged Norb, who nudged Dick. Then George let out a low whistle and said “Baby you just turned my floppy disk into a hard drive.” She tensed as they started to surround her, and then she realized they didn’t recognize her. She decided she was going to have some fun with them. She dug in her purse and came up with a pencil and small notepad.
“P-p-please, you will h-h-help m-m-me?” she stuttered with a strong European accent she had learned imitating her grandmother. They gathered closer, nodding and murmuring assurances that they would LOVE to help her.
Ohhh Kay. Please my English is not too good. Please to give me phone number for, how do you say, polizei?
Oh nooo, baby. Why do you need the police?
I have…. how do you call it… problem?
What problem, baby? You’re with us now, we can fix anything.
Yes, yes, anything.
She switched back to her normal voice while putting her glasses back on, “Then how do I get rid of the circle of assholes that is surrounding me?”
They all jumped back and gasped. “You!”
“Yes, you jerkwads, it’s me, Deirdre.”
“But, but, but, you look so, so, so…. so pretty.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah… tell it to your shrink. Now each of you knuckledraggers is going to write down your home phone numbers using my little pencil here. And don’t try to give me a fake one.”
Burt took the pencil and notepad first and started to write then yelled, “Ouch!” And started shaking his right hand, although it was quickly apparent that he was trying to shake something off. “Get it off me!”
“Stop yelling! I told you not to try giving me misinformation. Please write your correct telephone number and the pencil will release you.”
“What the?!” Finally realizing she was probably telling the truth, he complied. Once he had finished writing the pencil no longer clung to his fingers, so he attempted to hand it to George. George leaned backed saying “No way! I’m not taking it!”
“You have to,” Deirdre reminded him. “If you don’t, you won’t be able to leave this circle.”
Of course, George tried and found his feet firmly glued as did the others. Only Burt was able to move outside of their tight group.
“I’m going home. I’ll see you guys next week. Here, George. Take the pencil.”
George hesitantly took the pencil and pad and quickly wrote his number and handed off to Dick. Dick reluctantly took the pencil and pad. Then paused to examine it.
“Looks like an ordinary Number 2 pencil. Why is it sticking to my hand?”
“Just write your number and pass it on, Dick.”
When Norb had written his number and given the pencil and pad back to Deirdre, the rest of the men prepared to leave. She placed the pencil and pad back in her bag.
“Wait – what are you planning to do with our numbers?”
“I’m making sure you guys go home to your wives and that you are really nice to them for putting up with your philandering asses. Now scoot!”
As the last one headed for the door, she took a long pull from her drink. It was extremely tasty. Hmm… as long as I’m here, I might as well enjoy it.
With thanks to my writing partners, Mary C Sutton and D Anthony Brown danthonybrown.me for the support and the laughs.
What do you think? Did I honor the spirit or the letter of the writing prompt? Enter your thoughts in comments below.