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GGD Writing Challenge – Play With Me?

Today’s writing challenge request is for totally selfish reasons. I’m feelin’ cranky today and good writing always makes me feel better.

As this is a semi-regular thing, I’ll just link you to the writing tag and let you get aquainted if you’re not familiar. And check back to read the responses. I’m always blown away.


Starting points are provided below. You can use one or any combination of the three if you like. Whatever works.

Word: Release
Phrase:”I’m not saying you have to like it.”
Image: A shattered mirror

You write whatever you like using that starting point and see what comes. (Note, no rules on length, content, whatever. Just see what happens) And please feel free to invite others. ;*


  1. When he heard the knock on the door he couldn’t have known that everything was about to change. Opening the door revealed a middle aged gentleman dressed a bit shabbily and unshaven. The man thrust some folded papers into his slightly open hand. “What the hell” came spilling out of his mouth and seemed a fitting way to fill the void of silence. Hey look “I’m serving you divorce papers but I’m not saying you have to like it”.

    As quickly as the man came he vanished, almost like a ghost but the papers remained as a stark reminder that this wasn’t a dream. He gripped them tightly as he closed the door. Turning quickly the papers brushed against the mirror in the hall, the same mirror Rebecca used every time she left the house. The mirror swung outward as if time and space were suspended then fell victim to the law of gravity smashing on the tile below. Staring down at a shattered mirror he felt it was an accurate reflection of his heart, his life and his future.

    He exhaled deeply as if he was trying to release his soul. Yesterday life was full of promise and today there’s nothing left. Gathering up a few large jagged pieces of the mirror he decided he’d take a very warm bath and cut vertically, it was the only way.

  2. When she woke up in his apartment the next morning, she saw a reflection of beautiful light on the wall at her feet. It was being made by the shattered glass mirror on the dresser that had fallen out of her purse last night during their hot and wild sex.

    At seeing this vision, she believed it to be a premonition of the diamond ring she would someday receive from him now that he had finally left his wife and moved into his own place. She would no longer have to hear him say things like, “I’m not saying you have to like it, but you do have to respect the fact that she is the mother of my children.” No more empty beds and blank white walls in the morning. This time he was in her arms and there diamonds at her feet.

  3. “Ugly” said the mirror.
    She looked down. Everything seemed exagerrated, the granite chin, the marks on the face that looked like someone had stuck pins in it, bags under the eyes that you could have slept in.

    “Nasty” said the mirror.

    Every mistake she ever made. Every bad word ever said, every lie ever told, scrawled across the mirror like rolling news.

    “Give up” said the mirror.

    Every broken dream. Every hurtful word. Every rejection. Every “It’s not you, it’s me.”

    “I’m not saying you have to like it” she said.

    As the mirror shattered, she finally ventured back into the world.

  4. “You could always take her back to your place,” Rob said.
    “Thank you, no. I’m not that lonely yet, and if I were, I’d ask you to shoot me and release me from my obviously overwhelming misery.”
    “You’re already overwhelmingly miserable. And it’s not like she’s unattractive.”
    “She’s psychotic.”
    “Well, yeah, but she’s a fun sort of psychotic.”
    “The first night I met her she pulled down her top and knocked my glasses off with her tits.”
    “And that wasn’t fun?”
    “Again, thank you, no. Remember, she also threatened to break my arm later that night, too.”
    “You shouldn’t have grabbed her ass.”
    “No, she threatened to break my arm because I wasn’t grabbing her ass.”
    Rob sighed and finished the pint of Miller Light he’d been drinking. “Some people are never satisfied. Gonna step out for a smoke. Be right back.”
    Tommy sighed right back as he grabbed the song book. “Right. I’ll hold the fort.”
    Within seconds of Rob leaving the table, Tommy felt two arms tighten around him from behind and something soft squish against the back of his head. Or somethings. Familiar somethings. “Heyheyheeeeeeeeeeeey! How ya doin’?” screeched an equally familiar voice.
    “Hey, Amanda,” Tommy said. It often took effort not to call her by the nickname inspired by the outfit she’d been wearing that first night: a hideously bright yellow dress that had fruit printed all over it.
    Her arms uncoiled and she placed her mouth right up against his ear. “Soooooo, you miss me? It’s been a while!”
    “Yes, yes it has been. ‘Scuse me, I have to go put in a song.”
    “’Kay. I’m gonna put my purse down here. You watch it for me?”
    She kissed him on top of his head and walked back to the ladies’ room. Shaking his head, Tommy followed a similar trajectory towards the DJ booth. As he approached, Gunner looked up from the sound board, causing his curly hair to bounce in a particularly lively way, and shouted “Tommy!”, using the same inflection that the South Park character Timmy did when saying his own name. “So, what do you want to start with tonight.”
    “Uh, hell, I didn’t even get a chance to look at the book yet. Um, start with ‘I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues’?”
    “Love that song,” Gunner said as he penciled it into his notebook.
    “Me, too, but I sang it two weeks ago.”
    “I hate repeating myself.”
    “Ah, don’t worry about it.”
    Tommy nodded and turned to make his way back to the table.

  5. “Again, bullshit. And, seriously,I want you to watch it before next weekend.”
    “You just want me to give it back to you? And you’re not changing the subject. She’s giving you an open invitation. All you have to do is send in your R.S.V.P.”
    The head had finally settled enough to take a drink, so he did. “No, she’s not. She’s twentysomething, blond, and beautiful. I’m thirtysomething, bald, and bespectacled. She’s not giving me anything. And, no, I want you to watch it. I’m not asking you to like it, just to watch it. I want to know what you think.”
    “You overstate. She’s twentysomething, compact, and, at best, cute. And you know I’m not going to like it. Hell, I barely tolerated the first one, so I don’t know why you think I’m going to like the second one. Of course, this recommendation is coming from someone that liked Daredevil, so…”
    “Fuck you, Daredevil is underrated, Affleck or no. And, yes, I am changing the topic.”
    “Daredevil features a fight where our hero, in street clothes as a blind fuckin’ lawyer, in broad daylight, in front of a bunch of kids, displays his goddamned superpowers in a ridiculous teeter-toter fight in order to try and get laid. That would be like Superman using his ice breath to make Lois’s nipples pop in the middle of the Daily Planet offices, and that sort of stupidity is not to be tolerated. And we’re not even going to get into the atrocity that is Colin Farrel as Bullseye. And, no, you’re not changing the topic. At the very least, go talk to her about something other than her giving you beer or you giving her money.”
    “It’s rants like that that make me want you to watch it. I can’t wait to hear you ramble on about lack of characterization, cheesy CGI robots, outrunning explosions, and all of the ball jokes. And what do you propose I talk to her about,” Tommy asked as he looked down at the sketch of the old animated Batman that he’d drunkenly scrawled on the table in green Sharpie one night, “my deep insight into Bruce Wayne’s fractured psyche? How Stan Lee shaped my life more than Jesus Christ? My theory to unify the disparate continuities between the Marvel Comics and the animated G1 Transformers?”
    “Don’t forget your deep and abiding love of online porn and your stellar collection of Star Wars toys,” Rob added. “Look, you never know until you try. Maybe she’s desperately longing for someone whose vocabulary consists of more than monosyllables and who might be so eternally grateful for even the most minuscule amount of attention that he’ll verge on becoming a stalker.”
    Taking another slug, Tommy said, “You’re not helping.”
    Rob grinned. “Last time I checked, it’s not my job to help. I’m just here to drink and sing.”
    “So, do we have any idea if anyone else is supposed to come out tonight? Maybe someone I’m not going to want to strangle?”
    “Well, Duelly is s’posed to come out…”
    “I said that I won’t want to strangle,” Tommy said under his breath.
    “…maybe Reggie. And Kari is Kari. Gonna be a light night for Irregulars.” As a quasi-reference to Buckaroo Banzai, both Tommy and Rob called the very loose core of people that sat at or orbited around their table the Karaoke Irregulars. “And… oh, hell.”
    Tommy looked up from his beer. “What?”
    “Fruit Cocktail.”
    Tommy looked up at the fractured Steelers mirror that hung above Rob’s seat, since it offered an excellent view of the rest of the bar. Excellent if you didn’t mind the cracks and the double images, that is. In it, he saw three differently angled views of the same woman as she stumbled down the steps, and he cursed under his breath. “I’m not driving her home tonight.”
    “Sure you’re not.”
    “I’m not.”
    “Who drove her home last time?”
    “I didn’t drive her home. I had to drive her around for half a goddamned hour while she conned someone into letting her crash at his place. Ran into him the next day and felt like such an asshole for dumping her on him.”

  6. “Two dollars.”
    Tommy dug into his pocket and pulled out two of the gold dollar coins that the paystation in the parking garage had spit out at him two days ago. He plunked them down on the counter and walked into the bar. It never occurred to him that he’d been coming to karaoke night every Sunday for over two years now and he still didn’t know the name of the of the guy who worked the door, and, really, it never would. He knew the bartenders, he knew the owner/DJ, hell, he even knew the guy that sometimes took the requests every now and again, though Tommy hadn’t seen him in over a year, but he didn’t know the doorman.
    He walked down the two widely spaced steps and entered the basement bar, nodding to the two or three regulars sitting at the bar before making his way back to the circular table in the back corner. Like almost every week, Rob was sitting there waiting for him.
    “Hey,” Tommy said, just loud enough to be heard over the playing over the tiny speaker that hung behind Rob’s head. The selection was something vaguely Jamaican this week. Tommy cocked an eyebrow at it.
    “Hey. And, yeah, don’t ask me. Gunner puts on some pretty weird shit sometimes.”
    This was true. Tommy thought. Though this wasn’t as weird as the night that he’d put on some kind of Gregorian chanting before karaoke. There had only been six people in the bar that night, including staff. Not likely a coincidence.
    “So, did you watch it yet?” Tommy asked as he started to shrug his coat off, revealing the Green Lantern shirt underneath.
    “No, not yet,” Rob answered as Tommy felt the late October chill seeping through the plate where the air conditioner sat in the summer and quickly slid his coat back on.
    “Dude, you’ve had it for two weeks now. You’re unemployed. What the hell else do you have to do with your time?”
    “Nice. Quicherbitchin’ and go get a beer.”
    Tommy really didn’t need much encouragement. He crossed over to the bar and waited. Since karaoke night always started out slowly, he didn’t have to wait long. He looked down as Jen came over and asked, “So, what’cha want?”
    “Still outta Molson?”
    Tommy did some mental arithmetic and figured that he could afford to upgrade. “Eh. Gimme a pitcher of Guinness, then.” Of course, he thought afterward, Jen had only charged him seven bucks instead of the normal fifteen for the Guinness last time the bar had been out of Molson. Mayhaps he’d be that fortunate again.
    “’Kay,” she said, moving back to the taps. He watched her as she slid the pitcher under the spout and began to pour that dark, delicious draught. He couldn’t deny it, she was cute. He didn’t normally go for blonds, and she was only slightly taller than the bar, but she was cute. And she was shimmying her but in time with the music, and she did so for the full two minutes it took to fill the pitcher. He made damned sure to not be looking there when she turned around, though. Being a bit of a perv and being caught being a bit of a perv were two totally different things.
    “Need a glass?” she asked, moving a stray strand of hair away from her eyes.
    “Nah,” he said, taking the pitcher with one hand and handing her his bank card with the other. “Keep my tab open?”
    “Yup,” she nodded and turned to put his card back by the register. He watched her go for a moment or two before turning around to head back to his table.
    As soon as he set the pitcher down, Rob said, “You know that she knows that you do that, don’t you? You’re about as subtle as a pedophile at a playground.”
    “Bullshit,” he said, watching the foam settle.
    “Man, you think she’s shaking it for fun? She’s giving you a show.”

  7. As I signed the photo release, I knew this entire thing could be a big mistake. The alternative as a waitresses in a strip club seemed far more dim. Living life as a cliche can only be livable for so long, and my life had quickly losing it’s charm. Something had to change and fast.

    I slid into a chair in the waiting room and looked around. Dead-behind-the-eyes girls looked blankly at their nails and tapped hooker heels impatiently on the floor. I was clearly amongst my current peers.

    “Moncia Trapp?” The portly man called. I stood up and followed him down a long hall.

    He opened a door. “You can take your clothes off in there.” He ordered. He shut the door. I complied.

    Now naked, I sat stiffly in a chair. I slid my arm sideways over my torso. Time dragged by.

    The door swung open. “I’m not saying you have to like it.” A man shouted down the hallway. He came in and sat a giant camera down. He was clearly bored and tired.

    “You’re going to have to get crazy to impress me.” He said. “Naked women are a dime a dozen.”

    True. This was my one chance. I could be a half-assed waitress in a strip club or I could make it in the fetish industry.

    I looked around the room, entirely devoid of any type of a personality. There was a small mirror.

    I stood up and walked across the room like I owned it. My arm snaked up and grabbed the mirror of the wall. I turned and looked the camera man in the eye. I threw the mirror on the ground.

    The photographer stumbled up to grab his camera and started shooting. I leaned over and picked up a piece of glass. I drew it across my chest. Blood welled up in the cut.

    Things were about to change.

  8. The wall behind me was solid. I leaned into it and slowly lowered myself. On the floor, I curled my legs up to my chest. In the mirror across the room, I saw my cheeks scrunched on the floor and my hair matted. Everything covered with the black squiggles of quotations written on the glass. An honest mirror. My clothes were too warm, the room was too warm, and I was breathing too fast so I sat and waited. Alone.
    It was one or two hours later, as I drifted in and out of consciousness, when the bed began to buzz. My phone rang and I made no move to answer it. Not the first time, not the second time, and no time after that. I knew who was calling. I knew why they were calling. I already knew and I felt in deep in the bottom of my stomach. Besides being warm, the room was quiet. The clicks of the space heater echoed off the walls and the settling house heaved and sighed.
    My eyes slowly moved around the room and I began to remember everything that happened the past year. The concert posters and tickets stubs and the skylines painted above my windows. It was all white noise. Blurry trees out the window on the highway until something caught my eye. A piece of paper was stuck in the frame of the mirror. I uncurled myself and crawled to it. Unfolded, I recognized the handwriting and my arms started shaking. It said, “Has anyone ever told you that you were pretty? Well, you are! In a very different way from anyone else. And all the nicer because of the difference, too.”
    And I remembered everything from the bookstore, to the hospital, to the too few summer afternoons in the park, watching children on swings and in that moment it was too much. I screamed like a banshee as my fist came down on the mirror. As if in slow motion, it absorbed the shock and shook for what seemed like minutes before it shattered. Glass fragments and blood from my fist fell between the fibers of the thick carpet making it wet and sparkling. For the first time in a long time, I felt release. but there was still a long way to go.

  9. dsg dsg

    The mirror was shattered. She stared at it. I stared at it. I walked up to it, carefully, as if it were a living creature of which I needed to be wary, lest it attack. I reached out and touched the broken edges, still encased in the ornate frame. Yep, broken. It felt just as shattered as it looked. I stared back at Tina.

    “What the hell did you just do?”

    Her jaw was still agape, staring at the ornate, antique mirror that 30 seconds before had been her grandmother’s pride and joy.
    “I don’t have any fucking idea what I did. Maybe it was sound waves from somewhere”.

    “Sound waves?”, I asked. “From what? From where? We’re in the basement of a 300 year old castle, 30 miles from anything or anyone. You stared at the mirror, and the thing shattered.”

    I wasn’t staring *at* the mirror”, she protested, as if that would change the reality. “I was staring…..”

    “At the mirror. You were facing the mirror, being pissed off at my father’s order that you work for him in Geneva, and the mirror shattered. How elese would you describe it? You broke the goddamn mirror with your mind.”

    That last sentence was the basic truth, and Tina reeled as if punched, nearly falling off the four-poster bed.

    “Tina, what’s going on here?”, I asked, as gently as I could.

    She turned to me, looking more frightened than I had ever seen her in our 17 years together.
    “I wish I knew, David, I really wish I knew, but I think I need to tell something first. Sit down. This might take a while.”

    I wasn’t going to like it, and the next three hours would change my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

  10. Bloodied. On top of the razor wire, hanging on but just barely. The 3 Rottweilers, 2 on one side, 1 on the the other

    competed for the title “Snarl King”. Then they started the gutturals. Guuuhhh. This was sub-optimal. Definitely.

    What to do what to do? “Desparate Escapes for Mere Mortals” had nothing about this. “Release” he squeeled. The Rottweillers ceased and turned and departed. “Whew!” he wiped his brow.

    The shattered mirror. That’s where this started. Gundar eased himself off the razor wire gingerly and climbed down. He needed to fix it. Who knew the little princess’ mirror was alarmed and guarded by rabid beasts? What could he use to fix this mess? Putty? Goose fat? Rottweiler guts?

    Little Princess Gwendolyn returned from the children’s crusade. “What happened?” she shrieked? The cracked mirror’s image distorted its reflection mixed with putrefying animal innards. It stunk.

    “I’m not saying you have to like it” said Gundar.

    “Does it still talk?” the princess asked? “Sure, but it’s message is a little garbled. It can only pronounce 140 characters at a time now.

  11. I looked into the mirror. My face stared back at me. Unblinking. My resolve began to falter. Could I really do this? I looked around at the candles; still flickering in the breeze from the open window even though there wasn’t much left of them. The night had grown long and I was exhausted from my preparations. I glanced downward and praised whatever gods were with me tonight that the arcane symbols that I’d so meticulously drawn on the floor weren’t smudged by my sweat and constant shifting.

    “Hello, sparky!”

    My head shot up with a bolt at the voice. The sound had come from directly in front of me. I stared at my reflection in the mirror, looking for any signs that the magics had worked, and only saw my ragged self staring back.

    “I said hello. Are you mute or just rude?”

    It had worked! It was my reflection that was speaking! I started to answer but was too fearful and shaken to do more than spit a few nonsense sounds.

    “That’s how it is, eh? I get pulled from my sleep at this hour of the night to hold a conversation with a dumb mute?”

    I licked my lips and spoke…

    “No… I… I am Simon Wilcox. I have summoned you here to help me.”

    My own face sneered back at me from the mirror.

    “Help you? I guess that’s the plan so long as your protection holds. But if it doesn’t… Heh heh… You’d better hope I like whatever it is you’re asking of me.”

    I returned the vile smile back at myself.

    “I’m not saying you have to like it but I have the feeling that you will.”

    “Get on with it then! I haven’t got all night! I have a plump little one waiting back on the spit that requires tending to.”

    I started to speak “I want…”, but my voice cracked. I began again, “I want release. I want to trade places with you.”

    My reflection stared back and his hideous crack of a smile grew enormous on the reflection of my haggard face.

    “Indeed? Release you say? In that case, I shall like it immensely. But you realize what you ask of me? You will be doomed to live in my realm for eternity and I’ll be free to do as I please in yours.”

    I began, “Yes. I can’t…”

    “I don’t care what you can or cannot do. The question is whether this is truly what you ask of me?”

    I shocked myself by not hesitating and I heard myself say “Yes.”

    As the word came from my mouth, the room began to spin and the walls seemed to bend. The breeze from the window rushed in and snuffed the candles and all was beyond my comprehension.

    It could’ve been minutes or hours but when the room righted itself and I could see clearly again, I looked out from within the mirror and saw that the circle of protection was scratched beyond any recognition and a trail of charred footprints leading out of the room.

    I could still hear the faint whisper of my own voice snickering back at me and I wondered if what I had done was right. But I didn’t care. It was over. I was going to be at peace and to Hell with the world.

    I laughed at my own bad joke and turned to explore my new home.

  12. She begs for release,
    Beatiful slave, bound so tight.
    Writhing in pleasure.

  13. He stood before the mirror, wet and broken. The reflection angered him almost as much as her words.

    “I’m not saying you have to like it,” she said, “but you have to accept it. It’s over.”

    He had heard the words before. They had become an unwanted mantra in his life, repeated over and over from woman after woman. Along with such classics as “It’s not you, Richard, it’s me” and “I just don’t think of you that way.”

    He thought of killing her, like the others. Did he kill them or just think of it? It was getting so hard to remember.

    He looked back at the mirror. It wasn’t him that was broken, it was the glass. Shattered, like a web across his life.

    He broke a piece loose and examined it. It was long and thin and light bounced from it at crazy angles. He could see fragments of himself and they brought with them a feeling of dread that climbed on top of him.

    He could see only one way out from under it, one release from the darkness that was enveloping him. The sliver of glass would do. It would do just fine.

    He smiled as his reflection turned red.

  14. “I’m not saying you have to like it,” Angie pouted about Wynn’s complaining.

    “But it’s about a guy, who is from the future, but travels back in time, in order to travel in time for a living, then goes to the future, get’s stuck, and then somehow ends up back in the past, waiting for the future to catch up to him?”

    “And his misadventures, don’t forget his misadventures,” Angie piped up less then helpfully.

    “Bah. Give me Chekhov any day.”

    Wynn adjusted his clerical collar while Angie flicked off the television in a huff, crossing her arms over her chest. She got up from the crotchety old couch with a little effort, and began adjusting Wynn’s collar for him.

    “Stop fidgeting,” she told him. “You only fidget when you’re anxious. You only make pithy comments about my taste in television when you’re anxious. Are you anxious?”

    “He get’s released today.”


    “Chester McCullen. The most notorious repeat offender in all of Canada. And I got him off early on good behavior. He has found the Lord.”

    Even true beleiver Wynn couldn’t help smiling at the corniness of that last phrase.

    Angie shook her hands in the air, Southern Baptist style, and said “Hallelujah, Praise Jesus!”

    Wynn chuckled, then the serious nature of today’s events took hold again. Angie furrowed her eyes and said, “Do you think he’ll re-offend?”

    “I don’t know. I did my job. Got a man a second chance…err… fifth chance. He could be putting on a huge act, but he repented. Kicked the drugs, has a job lined up on the outside. He’s even going to start coming to church. I’m going to need you to reach out to him when he does.”

    “Yeah, no problem. Is he sexy?”

    Wynn rolled his eyes and started fumbling for his car keys, “Behave. I think he stabbed his last girlfriend, with pieces from a shattered mirror.”

    “Oooh sexy, you know how much I love bad boys.”

    “This is why you married a pastor?”

    Angie winked, “Meh, I like good boys too.”

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