Submitted by Cody_Fox23 t3_zvoa7x in WritingPrompts

#Welcome back to Smash ‘Em Up Sunday!




On Sunday morning at 9:30 AM Eastern in our Discord server’s voice chat, come hang out and listen to the stories that have been submitted be read. I’d love to have you there! You can be a reader and/or a listener. Plus if you wrote we can offer crit in-chat if you like!


##Last Week


####Community Choice


  1. /u/ArchipelagoMind - “Beverley Chills Cop (The Squeequel): Part Three (Driving Gnome for Christmas)

  2. /u/rainbow--penguin - “All I Want for Christmas

  3. /u/throwthisoneintrash - “Red Mist


####Cody’s Choices


Too few entries for Cody’s Choice


##This Week’s Challenge


Welcome to December! This year I will be visiting an old fan favorite series: musical genres. Each week we will have a prompt that is inspired by different musical genres. You can choose to heavily feature the genre or not. The constraints are what are important here after all.


Week Four brings us to a genre with many faces. It has had three distinct eras and refuses to die. Originating in Jamaica with laid back grooves, off beat melodies, and other traits from Calypso and Jazz. Then it was taken into a new direction in Britain as it became the two-tone second wave. Finally punk influences pushed the average bpm up and added a frantic energy in the thirdwave. We’ll close out music genre month with Ska. Often made the butt of jokes because of the fanbase in the modern third wave, ska is much more than the weird music nerd stereotype. Interesting arrangements of traditional rock instruments with a small horn and/or woodwind section it creates a unique sound. By-and-large happy beats make even the saddest songs feel like a ray of sunshine. So where will you take it?


###How to Contribute:


Write a story or poem, no more than 800 words in the comments using at least two things from the three categories below. The more you use, the more points you get. Because yes! There are points! You have until 11:59 PM EDT 31 December 2022 to submit a response.

After you are done writing please be sure to take some time to read through the stories before the next SEUS is posted and tell me which stories you liked the best. You can give me just a number one, or a top 5 and I’ll enter them in with appropriate weighting. Feel free to DM me on Reddit or Discord!


Category Points
Word List 1 Point
Sentence Block 2 Points
Defining Features 3 Points


####Word List

  • Horn

  • Check

  • Island

  • Hat


####Sentence Block

  • I'll be sitting on my desk.

  • Life could be so easy.


####Defining Features

  • A character experiences something for the first time.

  • A streetlight is in the story.


##What’s happening at /r/WritingPrompts?


  • Nominate your favourite WP authors or commenters for Spotlight and Hall of Fame! We count on your nominations to make our selections.

  • Come hang out at The Writing Prompts Discord! I apologize in advance if I kinda fanboy when you join. I love my SEUS participants <3 Heck you might influence a future month’s choices!

  • Want to help the community run smoothly? Try applying for a mod position. We could use the help keeping the AI legions at the threshold!


###I hope to see you all again next week!



You must log in or register to comment.

Planet_on_the_Cob t1_j1qksue wrote

Emile exhaled shakily, a thin funnel of smoke billowing away from pursed lips. His hand fell to his side. His pointer and middle fingers gripped a half-drawn cigarette, the golden ember at its tip glowing brightly like a firefly. A dull luster from a streetlight trickled through the single window in front of him. He didn’t bother flipping the lights on when he walked in. He knew they’d be coming for him soon.

He reached up and grabbed the brim of his hat, pulling it off of his head. He turned it to look at its front. Deep red stains dotted its crown and trim. He hadn’t looked at himself in a mirror but he was sure those stains weren’t confined to the hat. He hadn’t been very neat, after all.

His ears jerked, catching faint sounds of sirens somewhere in the distance, just barely recognizable over the late night din of the bar below his office.

He took a deep drag from his cigarette. He was hoping they’d have come a little sooner, before he’d had time to think about it all. It wasn’t like he’d made it difficult for them to find him. He’d scribbled a note on a wrinkled piece of paper he’d pulled from the waste bin after he’d finished.

“You know where to find me. I’ll be sitting on my desk.


The sirens grew a little louder now.

He was worried that he might start to regret what he’d done. Well maybe not worried, per say, but certainly curious. He didn’t. Emile smiled at that.

The floor beneath his boots rumbled as the band below took up their instruments and started to play. Slow and long-drawn melodies reverberated through the street. Horns collided with the rhythm section like two heavyweight prize fighters in the tenth round, slowly shrugging tired arms at one another. Off-beat tones and lazy riffs. An island vibe offering stark contrast to the cold, driving autumn rain.

Laughter echoed outside. Beer bottles clinked and occasionally shattered as jovial revelers danced and moved with the music. Most of them, Emile imagined, were simple people. They worked regular jobs and lived with regular families and did regular things.

Life could be so easy.

But, alas, it wasn’t so easy. Not for Emile, at least. Not anymore.

The sirens were screaming now. Their shrieks interwoven with the band's melodies in a beautiful and terrible cacophony of sound. The dark corners of his office were exposed in flashes of blue and red.

He looked down and rotated his wrist toward his chest to check his watch. 1:24 am.

Emile always wondered how it would feel. How it would happen for the first time. He thought again of the patrons at the bar and their simple lives. Part of him wished he was like them, sharing in their dull lives and pedestrian desires. But he wasn’t like them. He was extraordinary. And he had extraordinary needs.

Brakes squealed in front of his building. Laughter and conversation subsided as the partygoers grew hushed and confused. The music never stopped.

Emile stood and turned his back to his office door. He unclasped the buttons of his jacket, letting it swing open.

Boots thumped rhythmically as officers ascended the staircase, like ants marching in a line.

Ants always do what they’re told. Ants never think for themselves.

He reached into the scabbard tucked beneath his jacket and pulled free the knife. He wiped each face of the blade against his pant leg. He flipped the knife to hold it by its hilt, the blade facing downward.

The door to his office smashed open.

Emile exhaled. A wry smile tugged at the corners of his lips.



habituallyqueer t1_j21z2ir wrote

Burned for the Last Time


"I've been burned for the last time," I sigh, inhaling the cigarette. I look to Dallas and pass it back to him. The smoke bites my inexperienced lungs and I stifle a cough.

"You know how I feel about her. She was never good for you." Dallas shakes his head as he inhales. His lungs are used to surviving off several packs a day.

The cold air wraps me like a blanket. My body shivers as I adjust my position on the curb. A lone streetlight in the distance offers a soft glow around us. I lean closer to him as he wraps his arm around me.

"It doesn't always start off bad, y'know?" I mumble as I lean into his embrace.

"I know, Ava. We grew up together, remember? I’ve seen how they all start." His heavy arm warms my back and shoulders. "We've gotta stop meeting like this. You disappear for months, get heartbroken, and then we finally get to see each other over cigarettes you don't even smoke."

I look at him, praying for kindness in his words.

"You lose yourself every time." He sighs, grabbing me tighter. I feel him shiver too.

I rise from the curb and look down at him. “I need a drink. You?”

“Most certainly.” He reaches his hand up for assistance.

He removes his jacket and wraps it around my narrow shoulders, draping me in the warmth he’d built up. It smells of heavenly sandalwood.

The streetlight illuminates the businesses below it. Dallas adjusts his hat as we walk, lowering it to cover more of his ears as sandy curls poke out. My short legs pick up the pace toward our regular spot: Island Down Under. As we near, I hear the horns. They are loud, and sloppy, and cheerful. I forgot about live music Sundays. We usually avoid it like the plague on these days. Though, it’s been a while.

Dallas turns around with a grin, outreaching his hand. “M’lady, shall we dance to these joyous tunes?” His body shimmies as he poses the question.

I laugh and push his hand away. “Don’t be ridiculous!”

We both giggle as we open the door to the tavern. The trombone is so loud even my long hair shakes as we head straight to the bartender. After ordering, we find a corner to retreat to.

Dallas’ face scrunches a little as he looks at the menu. “Hmm, I think I’m feeling some greasy pizza tonight. What ‘bout you?”

“Great, will I need a napkin for my tears or to wipe up grease?” I fake rub my face as if crying.

We decide on ordering the cheesiest pizza they have. With extra cheese. As we wait, we polish off a few more drinks. Dallas playfully uses the empty glasses as binoculars. Then as a trumpet playing along with the band. We both throw our heads back with laughter.

As the pizza arrives, he begins scarfing it down without coming up for air. I watch him with a small smile.

“What are you ogling at?” He manages with a mouth half-full of pizza.

“It’s just that… I’ve never seen an ogre in its natural habitat,” I barely manage without a laugh.

“Oh stop! Here’s a napkin for your tears!” He tosses his used, greasy napkin across the table.

He jumps out of his seat and grabs my hand, leading me to the dance floor. We are surrounded by folks shaking and shimmying along with the boisterous horns. Dallas wraps his arm around me for another time this evening. He guides my body along with his. I feel his fingers drawing a map on my shoulder.

My gaze lifts to meet his soft hazel eyes. The instrumental riffs blur into a dull background. Our bodies lean closer together. Warmth radiates between us. The freezing cold outside doesn’t seem so bad. I imagine how soft his lips must feel. How loving him would feel. Would I be left ragged and broken like all the other times? Would this be different? Forever ever after? If only life could be so easy.

My daydreams jolt back to reality when I feel him pull me closer before asking, “What’re you thinkin’?”

“It’s the first time I’ve–” I’m cut off by the trumpeters and bass creating a riff that is distractingly off-key, forcing me to save my soppy confession for another time.


throwthisoneintrash t1_j25x18f wrote

#Ska’s Letter

WC 416

Dear Mr. World,

You brought me here, and for that I’m grateful. I learned from the best how to speak and how to act. You taught me that life could be so easy if I just follow the rules.

But, you know, fuck your rules.

I was told by you to get an education, a job, a life. But it wasn’t what I wanted, it was just some carbon copy of what everyone else was doing. I let myself get dragged along through the drudgery of mundane things.

The other day, I left work at seven o’clock at night. The streetlights were on and I stood under one of them, letting the rain hit me like the ever-present annoyances that make up my whole life. Then some guy walked by and took a trumpet out of its case and started playing, just like that, in the rain.

The sounds that came out of that horn, and the energy he had for life; it was the first time I saw real freedom. The expression of a life lived for oneself and not the patterns and programs dictated to them.

There, in that island under the streetlight, I realized that I’m all I’ve got. No one is gonna make changes in my life but me. I took my hat off and just soaked in the rain. I even shouted at it, and the guy just played along as if I had been singing lyrics to the song he was playing.

I liked it.

I liked challenging the authority of the status quo.

The systems in place, designed to take on the human condition and force it into a mold, they’re symptoms of your greed and desire for control.

Well, if you want to take on me, World, you know where to find me. I’ll be sitting on my desk, learning how to play the bass. Come by and check on me. I’ve decided to choose a path that never hurt anyone else, so I’m ditching the corporate ladder and jumping with my own parachute.

You probably don’t care. You’re probably indifferent to the whole thing. But I know for a fact that if you lose me, you lose a good thing. You lose the ability to look in a mirror and see your ugliness. You lose the edge and the drive that forces you to reflect on your pitiful constraints and the broken system you’ve built. Look at me, and see yourself.


Ska Richards

Former Account Executive.


rainbow--penguin t1_j28kt1i wrote

#A Letter to a Lost Love

It's easy to feel empty without you.

I thought those first days would be the hardest — when the grief tore through me like ice-cold fire, sending pain lancing through every cell of my being. But when the fire had burnt out, it left behind it a numbness, as if, in cauterizing the wound you'd left behind, it had singed every last nerve ending.

Since then, the emptiness has only ever been a breath away. All it takes is the sight of a vacant chair, the hole you left on the side of my bed, or some other gaping chasm in my life. I'll be sitting on my desk, flicking through the mail, and see the space where your name should be on the bills, and the emptiness comes crashing in.

But there is one thing that helps, and I'm sure you can guess what it is.

Whenever it all becomes too much — whenever I feel like an island cut off from love by a vast ocean of grief — I turn to music. I go to our CD rack, filled with every album we bought — memories of each gig. I let my fingers trace the imprint of signatures hastily scribbled at the merch table as I slip the disc in and press play.

After a couple of seconds of whirring, the air is filled with blaring horns, stabbing and sauntering over jaunty bass and offbeat rhythms. I may not be able to move like I used to, joints creaking and cracking in protest, but as the music seeps inside me, it's impossible not to sway and shimmy just a little. And as I do, I close my eyes and let the tunes carry me back...

I remember the first time you took me to a gig — so different from the soulful, sorrowful ballads I'd clung to throughout my angsty teenage years. This music was joyous. There may still have been anger and loss and love, but everything was bundled up in sunshine. You introduced me to so many new things, but it all started there. Those late-night gigs in the basement of some pub or club decked out in our checked shirts and trilby hats. The smell of smoke clung to the furniture, despite not having been allowed inside for years. Our feet stuck to the floor as we danced and hopped and kicked.

I remember our first kiss, shared under a streetlight as you walked me home. And every kiss after that.

I remember Summers spent at music festivals, twisting and twirling together in a field, pints of cider sloshing, a pair of wasps buzzing around after us, locked in their own mirror of our dance.

I remember lounging in the sun, sharing a pair of earphones.

I remember love blossoming in those lazy afternoons.

You made me realise that life could be so easy with you. And it was.

Of course, we had our problems. The trials and tribulations of life are hard to avoid. But with you by my side, even in our darkest moments there was always a song in my soul.

Then you were gone. And for a while, you took the music with you.

But don't worry, my love. I found it once more, stacked neatly away with our memories.

As I sit listening, foot tapping away, the ache in my chest is still there, but there's also a smile on my face. I hear you in every note of the song, see you in every ray of sunshine, and feel you in my soul.

When the music plays, you're with me, and it's hard to feel empty anymore.

WC: 604

I really appreciate any and all feedback

See more I've written at /r/RainbowWrites


AstroRide t1_j1s0rwq wrote

##The First Kiss

Brenda stomps across the turf with her trumpet. She’s one of many horns in the field, but she knows someone in the crowd is looking at her. Their performance is mediocre. A few students are lazy and barely making noise, and a few are aggressively declaring their space in the spotlight. The band director is shaking his head at the mess while the audience spaces out.

After halftime, Brenda runs to the bandroom to get into her normal clothes and drop off her instrument. A few people try to speak to her, but she brushes past them. Jeremy is waiting for her in the parking lot by his car wearing a thin coat and a . He opens the passenger door for her.

“So where would you like to go?” Jeremy asks.

“Let me think.” Brenda puts her finger to chin and ‘hmms’ loudly. “We should go to Hawaii. I want to experience the tropical island paradise.”

“The movie theater doesn’t pay me well enough for a plane ticket.”

“That’s a shame. I can’t be with a man who can’t enjoy the finer things in life,” Brenda giggles, “But I don’t know. Why don’t you decide. You’re the one with the driver’s license.”

“Alright, let’s go mini golfing,” Jeremy says.

“Wow, the theater really isn’t paying you well.”

“Life could be so easy if every teenager got a six figure salary at their first job.” Jeremy drives to Henry’s Bowling and Golf.

The clerk is bored and more focused on his phone. He hands Brenda the child sized club three times before grabbing the right one. Brenda takes the purple golf ball while Jermey chooses the red one. They proceed through the course bantering. Jeremy’s skill level is quite dreadful; he manages to reach the five point cap on every hole. Brenda scores two above par.

“That was awful.” Jeremy says as they leave.

“It was. You now have to wear the hat of shame.” She grabs a novelty hat from the gift shop and puts it on his head.

“You grab it. You buy it,” the clerk says. Brenda puts five dollars on the table. “Thank you.”

The two walk back to Jeremy’s car. Brenda looks at her watch and sees she has to be home in thirty minutes. Too soon to do anything, but too far to make the night feel worthwhile. Jeremy drives to her subdivision and stops under a streetlight.

“What’s going on?” Brenda asks.

“How often do you think about your future?” Jeremy replies.

“Unfortunately all the time with exams coming up. I try to focus on the immediate future. Like how I’ll probably be sitting on my desk because Mrs. Grant is weird,” she says.

“I think about my future a lot and your role in it.” He looks at her, and the streetlight illuminates his green eyes.

“Oh.” Brenda stutters. “I’ve thought about you a lot, but I don’t know if that’s just the standard for teenage romances.”

“I wouldn’t know. Never had one before.”

“Neither have I,” Brenda replies. Jeremy leans towards her.

“I think I know what I’m supposed to do during this part,” he says. Brenda moves towards him as well. Their lips meet over the gear shift, and the kiss is quite awkward. Jeremy wraps his hands around Brenda, but he accidentally pulls at her hair. Brenda bites her tongue and interrupts the kiss. Neither have figured out how to breathe while kissing and end up blowing on each other’s cheeks. When the kiss ends, they pull away and smile at each other.

“Thank you. I hope I get better at kissing,” Jeremy says.

“We both will. It just takes more practice. The first time is always a bit weird,” Brenda shrugs, “At least, that’s what my sister told me.”

“You asked your sister about this.” Jeremy starts the car and drives closer to Brenda’s address.

“Of course, I lied earlier. I have been thinking about us a lot and had to check with her to make sure it was normal,” she says.

“That’s good. I’ve asked my older brother for advice too.” He stops in front of her house. The porch light is already on. “See you tomorrow.”

“Sure.” Brenda opens her door but stays in the car. “Can I have my first kiss good night?”

“Absolutely.” They kiss one more time. Brenda walks away from his car practically skipping, and Jeremy drives away with a smile on his face.



katpoker666 t1_j2bklsi wrote

NYU Rules

The island of Manhattan is deceptively small and yet very territorial. I’m an NYU girl—above 14th, and you’re killing me.

Or I was. Now I have a swish job in Midtown and wear a suit every day.

So, imagine my surprise when my hot new boyfriend suggested we see a gig in Gramercy Park in the twenties.

“Wait—you want to catch a band in one of the most affluent areas in town?” How completely not edgy.

“Yeah,” Rob said matter-of-factly as if I was an idiot for asking. “It’s The Specials, for crying out loud.”

The who what now? “Mmmmhmmm.”

“Great—see you at 7:45 at the Gramercy Theatre.”

Google and YouTube were my friends that day. I learned a bit about Ska and The Specials in particular. Listened to some of their songs—SO not to my taste, but hey, I knew the headlines now.

That evening after agonizing over outfit choices to get the ska look right, I arrived at The Gramercy under the art deco street lamp.

Rob eyed me up and down. “You look like No Doubt era Gwen Stefani.”


“It wasn’t a compliment. The Specials are more mod-influenced,” he sighed. “More like this,” he said, gesturing to his own pork pie hat and subtly checked vest. It’ll have to do, though. No time to go back and change.” Rob held out his gym-honed arm. “Shall we?”

I struggled not to roll my eyes as we linked arms. The pretension was oozing off him like grease from bacon. All this for a fifty-year-old band—what the hell?

Sweat-stained forty-something guys filled the bar area, nodding along to the music with the kind of confidence that bespoke discovering the next big thing.

My twenty-three-year-old boyfriend assumed the pose along with the rest.

As the horns blared and the singer wailed, I watched the dad bods awkwardly bop along to the ska/punk/mod wannabe reggae band.

Rob grinned, “Isn’t this incredible? Such a unique sound.”

Ummm… reggae would like a word. At least it doesn’t completely suck. Heck, rocksteady is better.

“Yeah…it’s great,” I deadpanned.

“I’m so glad you think so. They play again next week in Hoboken. I got us tickets.”

Hoboken, not on your life! This was bad enough. Life would be so easy if Rob lived by NYU rules.

“You know what? I’m done. We’re done,” I said, walking out the door. Some principles just weren’t worth compromising on.


WC: 403


Thanks for reading! Feedback is always very much appreciated


Helicopterdrifter t1_j2bl70l wrote

Professional Courtesy

  • WC: 743

The balding Smee sits behind the desk of his corner office, dreading the arrival of the red-cloaked girl now walking across the bullpen. Sweat is beading on his forehead by the time his door swings open. Mioko steps in, and the blinds smack the glass as she closes the door behind her.

She rounds the couch across from his desk and knocks a fedora from the armrest to the cushion to clear her seat.

Smee waggles his finger and stands as she looks at him. “Don’t you dare,” he demands. “Do you have any idea how much easier my life would be if you simply stopped showing up to ask for work?”

Mioko makes a pouty face. “Aw, so you’re not happy to see me?” She asks, then smiles wryly. “Guess there’s a first time for everything.”

“The bounties are dead or alive. And it’s expected that some will actually return alive.” Mioko opens her mouth, but Smee raises his fingers. “Bu-bu-bu-ba, no, those comas don’t count. Alive doesn’t extend to beaten-comatose.”

“Well, I'm sure you enjoy the view from your high horse, on your little island of indignation, but those assholes had it coming; I'm just the consequences. And if they bothered to count their blessings, they'd realize that the coma was one of 'em.”

Mioko extends fingers as she counts off. “Karl Stanton, human trafficking. Ted Mosby, serial stalker. Earnest Hemingway---”

Smee laughs. “Really?” he asks, eyebrows flexing. “Hemingway's coma was a gift? The guy was just using the name to promote his poetry.”

“Yeah, and it was terrible. Trust me, I did God’s work that day.”

“None of this even matters,” Smee blurts, raising his hands. “Ok? The boss is pissed. She’s not having it and is hell bent on some positive reinforcement... the physical coercion sort, if you get my drift. Last I heard, she was gone looking for a bigger stick.”

Smee moves over to his office window, looking out to the bullpen before closing the blinds. “Your best bet is to lay low,” he continues. “Hopefully, no one told her you arrived.”

“I’m not worried about your boss, Smee,” she says smirking and crossing her arms.

“Who cares about your worries? It’s my ass that’s on the line here. I’m the only one dumb enough to still give you contracts.”

Mioko extends her palm, gesturing back to his desk. “Could you just check the thing and find me some tool to curb stomp?”

Smee shakes his head with upturned hands. “Ugh, no? We’re not the place for you to work out your anger issues. We’re a prof---oh, shit!” he says, withdrawing from the side window.

“What is it?”

Smee shakes his finger towards the window facing the parking lot. “Sha-sh-sh-she just pulled the damn streetlight out of the sidewalk.”

“Oh. Well at least she found her bigger stick. But it's fine. I’ll go deal with it.”

Smee rushes back around his desk. “Now, let’s not get too hasty, kid. You know, I actually like this one, right?”


He brings his palms together in front of his face. “Can you please just leave the guns and sword in here? It’s so hard to find decent management these days.”

“You know I don't do requests.”

Come on. Where's your professional courtesy? You owe me that much.”

“Ugh, fine. But you better not touch ‘em while I’m gone.”

Smee laughs, nervously. “Are you kidding me? I might not take care of myself, but I do value my life.”

Mioko unholsters two Springfield 1911’s from the back of her coat, sets them on the couch, then retrieves a katana and scabbard from within her jacket collar to set next to them.

Smee sighs and leans back against his desk as Mioko turns to open the door. “When you need me,” he says. “I’ll be here, sitting on my desk, singing Yankee Doodle fucking Dandy.”

Mioko points over to his desk chair. “Can you just look me up the meanest guy you got? He doesn’t have to be the highest paying; just someone fun. Oh, and send someone out to the parking lot with a bell or horn or something in case I don’t notice her taping out.”

“Sure. And kid?” She stops as the door is about to latch behind her. “Try to ease up some, will ya? One of these days, it might be your name that I have to hand to someone looking for work.”

The door closes.


Say_Im_Ugly t1_j2ah543 wrote

Mr. Norville And the Case of the Missing Uncle Part One:

Leila stepped out of the cab and into the dim glow of the only street light illuminating the dilapidated office building in front of her. It was late but her friend had said the man would be there. He was always there, waiting for the next mystery.

There was no buzzer. A beat up piece of two-by-four, propped open the door. Leila felt uneasy. She wasn’t the type of person to seek out help like this but her uncle was missing, possibly in danger and she needed answers. It’s not like she would be the one in the thick of it anyway. In the long run, she would provide the funds while someone else did all the work. Eventually, she would end up waiting by the phone for any updates.

Leila pushed her way through the door, making her way to the fourth floor. She found his office at the end of the hall. Letters peeling off the frosted glass read: N. Rogers, Private Investigator, She rapped on the door . The only answer was the low howl from a dog. She knocked again louder.

“Zoinks,” the startled man on the other side said. He cleared his throat. “It’s open.”

Leila stepped inside. A faint musty odor hung in the air while empty take-out containers–a few containing remnants of half-smoked joints– were haphazardly strewn around the room. The man lay face up on an empty desk in a wrinkled olive shirt and brown corduroy jeans, his bloodshot eyes stared up at the ceiling. An aging great dane looked at her curiously from a pallet on the floor.

Leila hesitated, “Mr. Shaggy?” She asked.

The man sat up, slowly dragging a hand down his face. “Norville,” he said. “No one calls me Shaggy anymore. Now, what can I do for you Miss–?”

“Jones. Leila Jones. My uncle is missing,” she said, laying a photo on the desk beside Norville, “And you’re going to find him.

Norville stared down at the photo, almost afraid to pick it up. The dog stood, tilting its head to examine the photo itself, a low yowl escaped its throat.

“I know Scoob,” Norville whispered. “But we can't.” Norville addressed Leila, “I’m sorry Miss Jones, we won’t accept this case but if you ever have another mystery that needs solving you know where to find me. I’ll be sitting on my desk, waiting for the next one.”

Leila knew that Norville and her uncle had a history. Years ago, along with two other friends, they had started Mystery Inc. A traveling crime-solving group that operated out of the back of a van. A few years after that a falling-out had occurred but Leila didn’t know the specifics.

“Please, Mr. Norville. I think something terrible has happened to him and no one will talk to me. I can pay you all up-front.” Leila said, grabbing the check book from her purse.

Scooby barked at Norville and then began a low growl. It was strange to Leila how they seemed to understand each other.

“They threw us to the curb, Scoob.” he said trying to reason with the old dog.

Scooby barked again and Norville threw up his hands in surrender. “Fine,” he finally said, “But you’re going to have to buy your own scooby snacks.” Norville turned to Leila. “Okay Miss Jones, Where was your Uncle Fred last seen?”

Leila exhaled in relief. “ The last place he was seen was on the Island of Grenada. He has a vacation home there.”

Norville snorted, “If only life could be so easy.” He grabbed an old baseball hat off the floor of his dingy office and Scooby followed him to the door. “Well, Miss Jones, Aren’t you coming?” he said looking back.

“What do you mean?”

“You know more about your Uncle’s dealings and whereabouts than I do and your help would be invaluable to solving the case. Plus, it’ll be nice having a partner again. At least for this one case.”

Scooby barked from the hallway.

“Like, you know what I mean Scoob.”

“Uh huh,” Scooby barked sarcastically from the hallway.

“Wait, did your dog just–” but Norville was already walking away from the office. Leila hurriedly shut the door behind her and clambered to keep up. “So, where are we going?” she asked, following the duo to an older model Honda parked in front of the building. The horn was missing from the steering wheel and old newspapers and trash littered the car.

“We’re going to the airport," Norville said, hopping in, "And I hope you're hungry because we’re stopping for some chow first.”

The car peeled off as Leila jumped into the back seat. Hope I'm not in over my head She thought as she met Mr. Norville's eyes in the rearview mirror.

To be continued…


Trying my hand at writing mystery and I thought it would be fun to do it via SEUS and Scooby Doo! More parts to come. Feedback would be great! Thanks for reading.


stickfist t1_j2fqpeg wrote

Matilda checked both directions before entering the crosswalk. It was strictly ceremonial; citywide autonomous driving systems were so good they could stop blocks of moving vehicles before even one would strike a pedestrian, but her grandfather’s lessons still echoed in her mind. The parkway is not a playground. Keep your head on a swivel.

By age fourteen, she’d accrued many lessons, mostly from these visits to her grandfather in the senior living center located across from her middle school. The visits were nice breaks when she had a free period. Moreover, they counted towards the school-mandated community service hours. It wasn’t just convenient, it was profitable. Students paid a premium to join her for the easy credit.

As Matilda stopped at a streetlight, she spotted her partner running out of the school. “Come on, Eileen! We don’t have forever!”

Eileen held down her floppy hat with one hand as she sprinted over. “I’m sorry, Mr. Ferris wouldn’t shut up!” she said between quick breaths.

Matilda started walking across the parking lot to the lobby without her. Inside, a few tenants watched her from wheelchairs and well-worn couches. Oldies played from hidden speakers. She walked to a large formidable desk and an equally imposing nurse. She’d met Nurse Powell dozens of times and yet the greeting was always the same.

Powell’s gravelly voice cut through an instrumental version Closing Time. “May I help you?”

“I’m here to see my grandpa. Mr. Horn?” Matilda replied as Eileen pushed through the entrance. “We both are.”

They signed the guest book and headed down the hall. As they passed the open rooms, Matilda observed the collections of turn of the century antiques like trading card games, CD players and singing plastic fish adorning the walls. She cataloged the ones she thought were valuable and kept a mental list like some kind of superspy. Reaching her grandfather’s room, she knocked on the steel door. “Anyone home?”

“Nobody but me,” said a tenor voice. Mr. Horn sat on the edge of his bed watching something on the holo-screen. Sunspots dotted his face like blotchy brown islands in a rippled sea. He turned and recognized her, his face brightening. “Hey peanut!” he said with arms wide. “Who’s your friend?”

“Eileen Girrard, sir. I’m, uh, a good friend of Matilda’s from school.”

“Lies, you just need the hours,” Horn snickered and waved his hand. “Doesn’t matter. Screw their rules. I’m happy to see you both at any rate. How long can you stay?”

“Only an hour,” Matilda said. “So, what do you need help with today? How’s the computer? Still buried under Spam?”

When he opened the ancient laptop, it sounded as loud and obnoxious as Nurse Powell. “Works fine.”

Eileen pointed at a pop up message on his calendar screen. “What’s Ska-xercise?”

The old gen-Xer frowned. “It’s–pardon my French–bullshit. Some idiot’s idea of a good time for old farts like me. Anything to keep the grim specter of Death off our doorstep so they can keep milking my pension!”

Matilda remembered. According to him, anyone under 21 was an idiot. Anyone older was a sellout. “You know grandpa, this could be fun. Eileen’s never heard that music before. Maybe you can show her how you used to, what, cut a rug?”

“I’m not that old, peanut. Fine. Pass me my porkpie hat and chain wallet. We’re going in style.”

The three of them walked to the multi-purpose room where the event had already started. A loudspeaker no larger than a shoebox belted a caribbean rocksteady beat that filled the room.

“It sounds overblown!” Eileen shouted.

“It’s supposed to! It’s how it used to be played on the island! Come on, let’s dance!” As they each found their own personal space to bounce and sway, Matilda looked at everyone else having a good time. Life could be so easy, once you’d reached the twilight years. But she was here, and yet so far from that dream. She clenched her jaw for a moment before signaling her grandfather. “I forgot something in the room, I’ll be right back.”

Matilda made quick work of pilfering the Pokemon and Magic decks before anyone noticed. As she stuffed them into her backpack, she thought of another of her grandfather’s lessons: Don’t live in the past.

When she returned to the hall, Eileen was marching and fist pumping in place with a giant grin on her face. “What’s this song?” Matilda asked.

“The World is New,” Horn replied.

Matilda could not agree more.


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