Odd Prompts

Odd Prompts: It’s Never Espionage

A little something fun from today’s prompt, which I decided to play straight. 

“It was a normal day until the penguins attacked.” 

This was delivered in such a lugubrious tone that I turned to fully look at the speaker. “Is that the beginning of a wild story, or the world’s lamest passphrase?” 

He looked offended. I shrugged. “I’m sorry, carry on.” 

He cleared his throat, and his conversation partner caught my eye. Her face twitched, like she was suppressing a laugh with difficulty. I gave her credit for controlling herself by the time he’d given up on looking at me, and turned back to her. I gave him credit for wanting to look at her instead of my ugly mug. 

“Where was I?” He started up, and her eyes flickered toward mine for a millisecond. 

“Penguins?” Her contralto might not always be that husky, given her level of self-control. I made a note of that, among her other assets. 

“Ah. Yes. Antarctica is never an easy place…” 

I tuned out the drone. Turns out it wasn’t anything so interesting as espionage. It never was. 

The girl, on my other hand. She had my interest. 

I must have made an impression, myself. She walked up to my table the next morning. I looked up from the mug full of black ichor of the gods, and blinked. Wit in the evening needs proper caffeination in the morning. 

“May I?” She made a graceful gesture at the chair, and I noted the glimmer of a stone on her finger. 

“Sure.” I made an abortive attempt at a polite rise from my own chair, but she was down and perched, elbows on the table and fingers steepled right in front of those luscious pink lips, which were pursed in amusement. I recognized the expression from the previous night. I folded back into my own chair. 

“I made some inquiries.” She spoke without moving her hands, which made it a little hard to follow. Deaf as I am, I hide it fairly well as long as I can read lips. “I wonder if you might be able to assist me with… a small problem.” 

“Relative to what?” I squinted at her. I had not indulged the night before. She had been sipping at something frilly, I remembered that. I wondered just how many of those the dull biologist had bought for her. 

“I’m sorry?” She moved her hands, now, and I could see her confusion in her eyes.

“Small relative to what. A lost cat? Maybe. Time travel? Contraindicated.” 


This week’s prompt came from Fiona Grey, with “It was a normal day until the penguins attacked.” I prompted AC Young with “Everyone said it was a gas line, but that’s not why the house blew up…” 

You can read their responses to challenges, and a few others, over at More Odds Than Ends. Join us! It’s fun, and there are no… not many hardly ever penguin attacks.