So when Nathan and I decided to issue each other creative challenges and he gave me ten words with the instructions to use them all in a story, he ended up rising to his own challenge far quicker and more brilliantly than I did. His story, Phalanx Heresies, posted yesterday and it's awesome. Now, to complete the set, here is my story. Remember, the words he gave me were: apocrypha, feign, balance, phalanx, carve, benthic, callous, vespers, compass, and trespass.
“A P O C R Y P H A” Brad sat back with a satisfied grin. “And it’s over two triple letters, see?”
“You bastard.” Trevor was past feigning pleasantry.
“Sentence,” Jon said flatly.
“Come on, I just laid down apocrypha!” Brad threw his hand up for a high five that never came. He frowned. “Callous, man. Fucking callous.”
“Sentence,” Jon repeated. “You know the rules. I'll leave you hanging till you use it in a sentence.”
“Fine.” Brad cleared his throat. “I threw a rocking end of world party for the apocrypha.”
“Repeat.” Trevor sat ramrod straight.
“Dude, you heard me the first time.”
“Repeat!” Trevor eyed Jon who bit back a smile.
“I said,” Brad sighed, “I threw a rocking end of world party for the apocrypha.”
“You dipshit!” Trevor howled with laughter, flailing and coughing and nearly upsetting the delicate balance of the card table.
“What?” Brad narrowed his eyes. “WHAT?”
“I think the word you’re looking for is apocalypse. The end of the world is the apocalypse. Not the apocrypha,” Jon explained as he plucked each letter off the board. “Foul. Improper use of word in sentence is immediate disqualification of word.”
“Hey,” Sam appeared from the kitchen laden with beer and a bag of chips. “What’d I miss?”
“They’re cheating assholes, both of them.” Brad sulked.
“Oh go cry yourself to sleep you baby,” Trevor crowed. “Brad thinks the apocrypha is nigh.”
“Don’t you mean apocalypse?” Sam asked. Trevor howled anew as Brad threw an ashtray at Sam’s head.
“What’d I say?” Sam ducked.
“Okay, everybody just calm down. Just calm the fuck down.” Jon waved his hand at the board. “Brad fouled out so it’s your turn, Sam.”
“Okay.” Sam steepled his hands and scrutinized his letters intently. Minutes passed in silence.
“Dude.” Trevor coughed.
“I’m THINKING.” Sam shuffled his tiles and re-steepled his hands.
“Are vespers going to help you win?” Jon wanted to know.
“I kinda hate playing your smart ass, Jon,” Trevor said. Jon ignored him. Trevor downed half a beer. “Sam, before Christmas.”
“Okay, I’ve got it.” Sam leaned over the board and laid down his letters. “B E N T H I C”
“The hell you say.” Brad glared at Sam. “Sentence. Now.”
“The Leviathan dragged the pirate to a benthic grave.”
“I give you zero points for style and sentence structure,” Jon said, “but the word is yours.”
“Is that a lead I just carved out of your ass, Brad?” Sam laughed. There was a brief intermission wherein scuffling happened, wrestling took place, and beer was spilled. Re-seated, the game resumed.
“Trev, where’d you learn the word phalanx anyway?” Sam wanted to know.
“Come on, dude, I saw 300 same as everybody.”
“I Am Sparta!” Brad and Trevor high-fived.
“Not to trespass on this beautiful Hallmark moment but verily, I just put verily on a triple word score. Thirty-nine points for me.”
“Fuuuuuck yooooooou Jooooooooon,” was Trevor’s response.
“Actually that’s damn good. I’m begrudgingly impressed,” Sam said.
“Whose turn is it?”
“It’s gotta be my turn,” Brad decided.
“Because I haven’t had a turn in forever.”
“Since the apocrypha?”
“Hardy har har, Trevor. You’re going to need a compass to find your ass once I’m done with you.”
“That’s a very clever retort, Bradley.”
“Only my mom calls me Bradley.”
“Really? Because your mom calls me Tuesdays.” The conversation spiraled predictably from there and tiles may or may not have forcibly been dropped into Trevor’s beer, effectively ending the game.
“This is why we can’t have nice things ever,” Jon sighed.
“So same time next week?” Sam grinned.
- Corinne Simpson