Tag Archive | giraffecall

Giraffe Call: “WTF?!?”

Short version:

The theme is “WTF??!??”.

Leave as many prompts as you want.

If you tip $3 or more, are a Patreon at the $3 or higher level, or if another prompter tells me they came here from your signal booster, I WILL write to at least 1 of your prompts.

All others will be written as mood, time, and inspiration permit.

In addition: for every $3 you tip, I will write 200-400 words continuing the prompt-call story of your choice.


The WTF?!? Prompt Call

Here at House Thorne, we are in the middle of renovations to the second floor (“attic”) of our cape cod-style farmhouse.

We’re turning what was two knee-walled attic spaces (unfinished) and two separate “rooms” into one large room, ripping out all of the insulation, and replacing it with blown-in closed-cell foam.

Which, because our house is 150 or so years old, will require adding in framing at almost every step!

This is looking – framing, insulation, drywall, and flooring –  to be approximately a $12,000 project.

My goal is to pay for 5% of that from Patreon funds and 5% from this prompt call.

To that end, I am asking you to leave prompts to the theme “WTF”, and, if like what you read, to leave a little money in the WTF jar.

You don’t need to tip!  All prompts are welcome.  But tipping will guarantee that I write your prompt, AND get you more words.

In addition:. The more tips we get, the more things EVERYONE gets:

$50 – Cat Picture, probably with dirty paws.

$75 – 1/8 of the way there! – I will post a picture of the author in her first home renovation project (age 5)

$100 — and every hundred thereafter — Mr. Thorne will write a piece on some portion of the “wtf” in the house.

$150 – 1/4 there! –  I will post a photo essay of some particular “wtf” area of the home & its renovation

$225 3/8 there! – I will find one more photo of the author in her first home renovation!

$300 – halfway there!  I will pick three tipping/Patreon readers to receive one 100-300-word continuation of their choice.

more rewards to come!


For “what is a prompt call?” or “Why Giraffe?” see here

A Different Stripe

Written to Anke’s prompt. 

🦓

When you spend your time trying to learn as much as possible about the other people around you and working on finding the best in all of them – sometimes by viewing them by your cultural standards, sometimes by theirs, sometimes by some neutral third party – and then you find them using a kind of casual racism against creatures you think of as being the same as them, you tend to find yourself a little shocked or, if you are like me, a little stupefied.

I was, I’m afraid to say, used to the casual racism of humans towards the magical races, especially the categories we called The Small (or Tiny) Races and The Beast Races – Tinies, Pixies, Gremlins and the lot in the first category; centaurs, harpies, fauns and such in the second.  But I spent a lot of my time talking to Zizney, and thez, it seemed, treated all smaller races as, well, smaller but not particularly lesser, just curious. And the worst I had ever heard any of the Smiths say about another dragon was a sort of personal insult, along the lines of “messy and untidy scales.”

Now, I full well know the danger of extrapolating such experiences out.  Not only is one dragon different from another, a dragon is inherently different from a harpy, and so on.  “We are all people” is a good way to treat people but not a good way to try to understand behavior patterns.

But knowing the dangers of something is different from remembering and internalizing those dangers. So when I encountered Leeland, the dapple Bay centaur from down the street, passing by the new neighbors’ stable, I was stunned to hear him mutter “ugh, Zebra-centaurs.”

I was actually stunned enough that I stopped and stared at him.  He was several steps along before he stopped to look back at me.  “What?”  He flicked his tail at me.

“’Ugh?’” I quoted back at him.  The family moving into the stable was, indeed, zebra- looking, the stripes going up into the clothing they wore over their humanoid torsos. “Really?”  I didn’t even have the words for I thought you were one of the good guys, come on.

Now that I think about it, those would have  been the words.

“They’re not centaurs.  Everyone thinks they are, and, I mean, in English the word is just zebra-centaur, but they’re no more centaurs than zebras are horses.  They’re pushy.”  He wrinkled his nose and pushed out air in a very horsey gesture.  “And that’s the problem.  They’re going to come in.  They’re going to be loud and pushy and in everyone’s faces, and everyone’s going to say ugh, centaurs, and it’s not us, it’s them.”

I didn’t really want to interfere in intra-species – or inter-species – troubles, but I couldn’t help myself.  It’s what I do, after all.  “So you know these zebra-centaurs already?”

“I know about zebra-centaurs.  We’ve been through this before. They’re loud.  And messy.”

I lifted up an eyebrow.  “And all centaurs are brilliant scholars and great aims with an arrow,” I added, as if I was agreeing with him – with Leeland, who was a blacksmith.

“That’s not true!  That’s…”  He huffed at me.  “That’s not the same.”

“Well then.  Perhaps I’ll have your family and the new family over for dinner, and you can all explain it to me.  In detail.”

“…With tea?”  He looked at me out of the side of his eye.  I smiled at him.

“Yes, of course, with tea.”

“… I can handle loud and messy for that long.  Fine.”

I hadn’t solved anything.  All I’d done was planted a seed, and it might never take root.

But when you spend your time trying to learn as much as possible about the other people around you, sometimes you have to spread that back out a little, like collecting manure, and hope it doesn’t stink up the place too much in the process.

🦓

I had been watching: https://youtu.be/DEaWFX5nzg0?t=174 over my husband’s shoulder. (Ignore the part on cats; they’re wrong). 

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Lightning in Autumn

My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is open!

Written to Inspector Caracalprompt.

Set after Addergoole Year 10 but before the 2011 apocalypse. 

🦌

There were tourists in the bar again, the sort of people that made what was normally a pleasant place feel like the back of the locker room.   Nathan felt his shoulders tensing, felt his grip on his drink getting tighter.  “Another?” he asked Patti.  

The bartender shook her head. “Not yet, son.  Nurse that ice a little longer, and then I’ll pour you another.”  Then she was gone, tending to the New People at the other end and the other regulars in between.

“Shit.”  How Patti did that and kept in business, he never knew.  He turned slowly on his stool, taking in the tourists at the pool table, the regulars at tables further and further away from the tourists, Liza the bouncer at the front door…

He turned back around in time to see Leo strutting up to the tourists and getting in the tallest one’s face.  Nathan’s heart did a little twist.  Leo.  That blonde hair, that arrogant, playful smirk, that – that body.  It wasn’t just Nathan’s heart that was twisting.

The tourist took a step back.  His friends were jeering.  Leo didn’t seem to notice, stepping back in to the tourist’s personal space, running a hand over the man’s cheek.  Nathan felt a stab of jealousy.  My cheek is right here!

“There’s a reason they call him Lightning, you know.”  

He hasn’t heard anyone sit down next to him, but now there was someone there, sipping a drink and watching the same scene Nathan was.  “I’ve never heard anyone call him that.”

“Yeah?”  The guy was, unfortunately, undeterred.  “They call him Lightning because he never strikes the same place – or the same person – twice.”

“I’m not the same person.”  Nathan chewed on his ice and watched Leo work.  He was louder than he normally was, and he seemed to be – from the words that wafted over the music and the conversation – suggesting that the tourist ought to come back to his place and show him exactly what his sort was worth.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve changed,” the peanut gallery continued.  “He doesn’t care.  He just hits once and he’s gone.”

Nathan glanced over. His helpful new friend looked, in a  general sense, kind of similar to Nathan: dark hair, dark eyes, not all that tall.  “Not what I meant – ooooh!”  Leo had somehow ducked a punch the now-beset tourist had thrown and instead tossed the tourist on to the floor.  “You saw it, Patti, you saw it!  The asshole threw the first punch!”

“That’s not gonna save my furniture, now is it?  Liza!”

The fight was in full swing, as it were, when Liza waded in and hauled the tourist out of it, and then hauled his friends out.  “Parking lot!  All of you! You, too!”  She glared at Leo.  It might have been Nathan’s imagination, but he thought Leo looked a little sheepish for a moment.

They allowed themselves to be herded – tourists, Leo, two other regulars who had gotten involved – out past the pile of broken furniture they’d left in their wake and through the side door, but the swinging door showed the tourist spinning around with a punch the minute his feet hit the asphalt.

“Looks like he’s going to hit someone more than once,” Nathan muttered, not particularly generously.

“Ha.  Good one.  Yeah, he’s plenty violent, isn’t he?  But he don’t come back, kid.  Like I said.  Never the same person twice.”

“But I’m not the -”  Nathan gave up.  He didn’t want to explain to this stranger.  Hell, he didn’t even want to explain to Leo, who would probably scoff and walk away, no matter how different this could be, Nathan could be.

The front door swung again and a redheaded woman walked in.  Another tourist, Nathan thought, noting the dyed-crimson of her hair and the clothes that wouldn’t have fit in here even if she were male.  Then she kissed Liza with an intensity that suggested comfortable familiarity and an intimacy that said maybe she wasn’t all that out of place in a gay bar after all and plopped herself down at the bar next to Nathan’s new buddy.

“Telling the same old lies, Trev?” she teased.  “Don’t listen to him, kid, whatever he says.  Patti, my love.  The usual and one of whatever these nice boys are having for them, too.”

Maybe that was supposed to cover exactly HOW big the wad of money she was passing over the counter was, or how two of those top bills would probably cover the furniture damages.  

“They’re not lies, and anyway, how would you know?  You’re not exactly his type!”  Trev – if that was New Friend’s name – looked put out.  The woman just laughed.

“I know because I know Leo.  And I know you.  Like I know I’m not your type but I might… sometimes… be this guy’s type.”  She sipped her whisky – neat – and grinned at them, a grin that looked more hungry than cheerful and, Nathan had a feeling, was covering over a seething kettle of pain.  

She saw through him, he knew that much.  “Doesn’t matter.  Lightning never strikes the same place twice.”  He finished the drink Patti passed him in one gulp and laid his money on the counter.  “I gotta go.”

The redhead’s voice followed him out the door. “Don’t believe that old lie, kid.  Lightning strikes wherever he damn well pleases.”

🦌

See stories about Leofric/Leo (that have been migrated) here.

See stories about Cya(the redheaded woman) here.

🦌


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This Emperor’s Son, a surprise continuation

This was meant to be a comment fic like thus after this comment by Kelkyag, but it turned out a wee bit long. So… bonus ficlet?

After (Before) The Empire Falls, the Emperor Stands.


The young son-of-the-Emperor (they were all sons of the Emperor, although their fathers were all several years dead) waited until two of his cousins were making an appropriate fuss and two more seemed to have decided to climb the bookshelves all the way to the top.

There were seven nursemaids for the lot of them, but, from the things the nurses said when they thought their young charges weren’t listening, there were more of them, the sons, then there had been in recent memory — “recent” in Hildeh’s case and Galleh’s, at least, being a number that stretched back quite some time — and the bureaucracy that funded their employment did not seem inclined to send them any more help.

This particular son — whose name, like easily half of his brothers, was Eranodi, after Eroni, the first Emperor — was glad for the overwork and the subsequent distraction, because it gave him a freedom he was fairly certain young Emperor’s-sons were not supposed to have. Continue reading

Early for Snow

My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is open!

Written to sauergeek prompt.

❄️

It seemed like summer had left the door open and autumn was sneaking in. Xarissa threw on a coat and went outside to pull in her plants.  The weather ap was calling for a hard frost tonight – never mind that it was mid-September and even this far north, not the sort of time that you got frost.  It wasn’t supposed to frost for at least another month!

Tomatoes, peppers – she picked everything that was full-sized, regardless of ripeness.  They’d ripen on the counter or they wouldn’t.  Cabbage, broccoli – the potatoes could wait.  The carrots might be happier for a wait.

The wind was blowing damp and cold in her face. She turned to adjust her coat – and realized it wasn’t just wind, but snow.  Heavy snow, the sort that shouldn’t come till maybe early November, coming down so hard she could barely see the house.

With a muttered “screw it” to the rest of the plants, she hurried back to her house, skidding inside with a shove from a wind blast, and turned to look out the window at the weather.

The snow had moved from flying sideways to flying upward.

“That is just not right.”  

She pulled on her winter boots, dug out her mittens, found a scarf and a hat and her long winter coat.  “By the time I’m dressed,” she muttered, “it’ll be spring again.”

It was still upside-down winter when she stepped back outside, the snow heading at a diagonal up towards the old maple tree.  Something was wrong; something was definitely wrong.

She dragged her fire pit out between the two maples, the old and the new, and piled every bit of yard waste she could in there.  She wanted smoke more than heat, lots of smoke.  

With hands made clumsy by cold and feeling like her face was going to freeze off, she managed to light the fire.  The smoke blew upwards with the snow, pushing upwards above the tree.  

Xarissa looked at the shape outlined by the smoke.  It was big, too big, and it was high up in the air, and all the snow was flying right into it.

“We are going to have to have a talk about your timing,” she muttered, “whatever you are.  Shoo!  Shoo!”

Startled, the invisible outline seemed to dart further away.  The snow subsided, falling back to the ground the way it should.

“’Winter is coming,’ my ass,” Xarissa muttered.  “Someone went and summoned winter.  Damn kids…”


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Happy Monday! Giraffing Will Continue Until Morale Improves!

Happy Monday, guys!  My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is still going strong:

Here on WordPress and Here on Dreamwidth.

Tell your friends!  Tell your enemies, especially if they like fiction!  Tell your dog, especially if he has a Paypal account 🙂

Speaking of telling people, the Signal Boost story continues apace.  Let me know if you have boosted and I haven’t credited your boosts – and yes, you can boost again, especially if I have written to your prompt.

If I haven’t written to your prompt, I am working my way through the list and will get there soon.

If you haven’t prompted…. go prompt?  The theme is Autumn, Autumn, fall, and falling.  It’s got a lot of room for interpretation and I encourage you to interpret as broadly or as narrowly as you wish.

The stories written so far include:

and more are coming every day!

Check in, give ‘em a read, and then come back and prompt 🙂

Cheers!

Rabbit Hole

My Giraffe (Zebra) Call is open!

Written to kelkyagprompt.

🐇

At forty, Gemma considered herself to be relatively practical.

She’d put aside the ridiculousness of her teens and the experimentation of her twenties.  She had staid hobbies and a staid job and, to be quite honest, staid clothes.  She had a very comfortable, safe, secure rut.

So when she was raking leaves and a rabbit in a waistcoat ran by, she shook her head and went back to the leaves.  They had to get raked, after all, or the grass would die and she’d just have more work in the long run…

Then it ran back in the other direction, followed by a coyote in a suitcoat and what she was fairly certain was a red fox in a Queen’s Guard hat and jacket, and Gemma just had to follow.

It wasn’t like she believed it, she told herself, it was just that this was far too strange for her to not look into.  After all, that was her yard, and her – where did they go?  She stopped short, just as the rabbit ran past her one more time.

“Damnit,” she muttered, and hurried after the creature, which was definitely wearing a waistcoat.  And now she, too, was being chased by a fox and a coyote, who, like the rabbit, come to think of it, were rather large for their species, at least as she understood it.

“I moved to the suburbs to get away from – oooohh shit.”  

She was falling, falling, and as she thought this hole should not be big enough for me, the hole seemed to enlargen.  She passed what looked like a picture-perfect 1950’s bomb shelter, except that she could see right into it.  She passed through what loked like a large underground swimming pool, except she didn’t get wet at all.  And then a library, the biggest library she’d ever seen.

She was falling quite slowly, she realized, and none of the animals were anywhere to be seen.

I’ve fallen and hit my head, she thought, I’m going to bleed out in my back yard.  Wake up, Gemma, damnit, Wake Up!

At the second wake up, she came to a stop.  Not awake, not in the least, but she was standing on solid ground in what looked like someone’s living room.

No.  Not someone’s.  It looked like what hers might have looked like when it was new, if it had been a 1920’s Display Home at the time, except that the doors were missing.  No… no, there was the front door, smaller than the cat door she had in it now.  And there was the door to the kitchen, even smaller.

On the quaint occasional table was a piece of cake and a cordial full of blue liquid.  The cake had a sign next to it that said, in tidy if spidery handwriting, Eat me; and the cordial was labelled, as one might expect, Drink me.

Gemma sat down on the floor and swore.


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Falling Out Of The Noose

This story is part of the Addergoole: The Original Series backstory/Sidestory

It comes after Loose Ends and Tying Off; if you are following Addergoole: a Ghost Story, Shad and Meesh are Abednego’s older brothers, Eris and Joff’s former Keepers, and all around bad guys.

It is written to chanter_greenie‘s prompt.

🔒

Shadrach had last track of how many times they’d gone through this.  Keeper, Kept, Keeper, Kept.  They went through whole months where they were both as gentle as they knew how, hoping the next month would be kind back to them.  They went through seasons where they were rough, violent, nasty.  He’d almost died at least four times.  He’d almost killed Meshach at least twice.

Once, Professor VanderLinden, Professor Solomon, and Professor Pelletier had taken turns living with them for two months.  It had made those two months very tense, but it hadn’t fixed anything. Continue reading

The Seasons Turn?

Written to lilfluffprompt.  Definitely a beginning.  

🍁

“I don’t see why I should step down.  Everyone knows Winter is evil.”

There were four seasons and four courts.  There had always been, as long as the words went back and before that as long as the stories passed, four seasons and four courts.

“He’s not evil, he’s simply… still.”  Spring was not known for being the most eloquent of seasons.  Hers was the time of bubbly abundance and joy, not of long eloquent speeches.  “Besides, you have to give up the throne and the crown.  Who knows what will happen if you don’t?”

“Nothing will happen.”  Autumn was impatient, at times, harsh at others, and right now, stubborn.  They were, of course, people, people wearing hereditary crowns, and as such they had their own personalities and their own quirks, but there was a certain amount of folklore attached to each of the crowns and to the great throne, and there were some that said that the crown and the throne became the people as much as the people became the crown.  “That is a silly myth.  We’re people.  This is a tradition.  The movement of the sun in the sky is not swayed by who sits on the throne.  It just means that we cut Winter out.”

“What if it is, though?”  Summer was sleepy, but he leaned against a post and studied the two women who bracketed him.  “What if you cut Winter out and… winter doesn’t come?”

“Then it’s not cold?” Spring offered.  “Things don’t freeze… oh  Spring isn’t special anymore.”

“-seeds that need the frost to crack don’t crack.  Animals don’t know if they should hibernate or not.  People don’t rest.”  Summer raised his eyebrows.  “Spring, if she doesn’t let Winter take his seat, who is to say she’ll let you take yours?  And if the world doesn’t grow…”

“Oh, come on, Summer.”  Autumn glared at him.  “You’re being ridiculous!  It’s a myth!  In our grandparents’ time, there was a whole two years where we had no Summer King!  Autumn and Spring split it up between them while they waited for a new Summer to come of age!”

“And, as I recall, those were very chilly summers, weren’t they?”  He yawned.  “It’s up to you two.  Winter doesn’t like me, he doesn’t talk to me, and he won’t fuck me.  If you want to split his throne up between you, that’s your business.  If it breaks the world- then it becomes my business.”

“Wait, who said anything about splitting it?” Autumn glared at the lanky ginger king.  “Like I said, I’m not giving up the throne!  He’s crazy!”

“Crazy now?”  Spring frowned across the room.  “I thought he was evil.  And – come on, Autumn, splitting it would only be fair…”

“Both of you!” Autumn flung up her hands in frustration.  “I’m going to talk to Winter!  At least he makes sense!”

“Makes sense about… you taking his throne…?”  Spring’s confused whisper followed the Autumn queen out of the throne room.


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Turning Leaves

Written to rix_scaedus prompt.  

🍁

The leaves were turning wrong.

When you lived in a wooded area for a while, you got so you could feel the rhythm of autumn. The leaves closest to the road, closest to the prevailing wind, closest to anything that chilled them down, turned first.  The biggest trees turned slower.  The middle of the woods turned slow and last.

But in the forest behind Erato’s house, there was an almost circular place where the leaves had starting turning quickly, almost before the little maple that faced the wind all alone to the west of her house.   Continue reading