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You’re It!

Anne Riley challenged me to go to page 7 or 77 of my latest manuscript and type the first 7 lines. I read through all my WIPs — of which there are many — and searched for one that was 7 pages long. There was only one, and I hated it. The idea that sparked it has long since died and I have no wish to pick up the thread again. BUT, Anne mentioned starting a new contemporary, and that kind of made ME want to attempt something contemporary. So THIS is what I wrote. It’s way more than 7 lines. But I think it’s kind of fun. If you’re a writer and you’re reading this. I challenge you to do the same. If you can follow the rules to the letter, more power to you. OR if you just want to share something to keep yourself from falling into the trap of hiding your light under a bushel, that’s cool, too! Here’s mine:

“Where’s your gun?” Nell demanded as she exploded through my front door. Without sparing a glance in my direction, she headed for my closet and began rifling through its contents.

“It’s in the bathtub right next to my pet alligator. You can’t miss it.” I took a final swig of my Mountain Dew and flipped another page in the trashy romance I’d been reading. Okay, it was less reading and more skimming for the good parts, but cut me some slack; it’s not easy being 28 and single.

“I’m not in the mood for your sarcasm, Christine. I’m in the mood for a gun,” she said, still ransacking my hall closet. My good coat – the one I found for $35 in the back room at Anthropologie – slipped from its hangar and landed in a heap. Nell ignored it. I tolerate a lot from my baby sister, but no one disrespects my wardrobe.

“Oh for pity’s sake, Nell, stop trashing my stuff. You know I don’t have a gun.”

With a shout of triumph, she emerged cradling a gift-wrapped box, its once-curly bow limp and flattened from its soujourn in the back of the closet.

“Yes, you do,” she assured me as she tore into the dusty paper. “I gave it to you for a housewarming gift.”

I rocketed out of my chair and across the room just in time to see her pull an enormous handgun from its nest of pink tissue paper.

“You said that was a box of cleaning supplies!”

“It is. Springfield XD, 9 millimeter — for all your toughest stains.

“Oh my God, Nell! You might have killed me!”

“Oh, relax. I wrapped the clip separately. And I knew if you thought it was cleaning supplies you’d never lay a finger on it.”

My mouth hung open for a beat as my brain tried to catch up with the unfolding events. First things first.

“Okay. For the record…insulting my housekeeping skills is a really low blow. But I’m going to let that slide, because right now I’m more freaked out that there’s a gun in my house, Nell. I real, live, shoot-people-dead kind of gun! What were you thinking?”

Nell picked the last scrap of tape off the clip — she really had wrapped it separately – and sighed. “Two things, Chrissie,” she began. “First of all, there’s been a gun in your house for the last six months and you slept like a baby. I really don’t see a need to get all weird about it now.”

She rammed the clip home with the heel of her hand like some sort of movie tough guy, and stood up. “Second, it’s coming with me, so just go back to your paperback and forget I was ever here.”

Nell shoved past me and headed out the door. But she wasn’t the only cop’s daughter in the room. And my Mountain Dew habit ensured that I had a good 15 pounds on her, easy. Before she could say boo, I had her on her stomach, one arm twisted behind her back and her gun hand pinned under my knee. Just like when we were kids. Well, with one notable exception.

I plucked the gun from her fingers and pressed the button that released the clip. It accidentally-on-purpose caught her square in the back of the head.

“Ow! Let me up, Christine!”

“Not until you say it,” I sing-songed.

“What? Say what?”

“You know what. Now say it.” I bounced a little as I straddled her back and heard her breath go out in a whoosh. I eased up a bit and she took a big gulp of air.

“Fine!! Christine Littletree is the best, most beautiful girl in the world!”


“I don’t remember!”

I bounce once more.

“Aaah! And I will be her humble servant forever!”

I rolled off her and she scrambled to a sitting position across from me on the floor.

“Now then, my humble servant, you can start by telling me why you need a gun.”

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  1. Barbara says

    Well. That is just frickin’ brilliant. I’m doing NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) in April so I won’t be joining you–right now. But I will be keeping your challenge in mind for May when I’m sure I’ll be looking for something to keep me honest and awake when I’m at my desk.

    Now, I want to read the rest, please.

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