Write a story

or a poem.  I know it’s not tomorrow yet but I may not get to the keyboard in time tomorrow so here’s the challenge I promised you.  (Who said threatened?)  Many years ago I overheard an elderly and very genteel lady say, ‘She was just frying an egg, when she expired!’  She uttered these words in an accent which Scottish readers will know as either Kelvinside or Morningside and vous autres, just think ‘elderly genteel posh’.

Contribute a tiny story, not more than 100 words in the comment box.  Go on just for the hell of it!

23 Responses to “Write a story”

  1. 1 chris June 4, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Well, I’d tried the story before I saw you’d added “poem” – so I may come back on this. I found the 100 words incredibly difficult in prose, and the point hard to reach. Story-telling is not really my thing, but here goes:


    ‘She was just frying an egg, when she expired!’ Bella’s voice was redolent of Morningside, though she currently occupied a room in a flat in Canonmills.

    There was a touch of the Ancient Mariner about Bella now that she had a story to tell. The egg-frier, it transpired, had been the owner of the flat, and that morning Bella had found her lying on the floor, the egg blackened in the frying pan.

    ‘It was the smell, you see.’ And you could tell by the frozen horror on her listeners’ faces that they weren’t thinking of burned egg.

  2. 2 chris June 4, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Or this – much easier to leave the gaps between the words to tell the story!


    ‘She was just frying
    an egg, when she
    expired!’ And that
    was that. No time
    to worry about
    clean undies or
    what the ambulance man
    might think.
    Just the smell of
    hot fat and the
    cosy sputtering as she
    sputtered to the floor
    with a fish slice
    in a clenched hand.
    Death came too
    early in the day
    for her to be making
    the nice scone more
    suited to her station
    than a vulgarly
    fried egg.

  3. 3 Alison Clark June 4, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    So impressed! Both forms equally telling. A virtual Mars bar may be yours!

  4. 4 Rosemary June 4, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Just to say how incredibly impressed I am by both the dummy story, and the egg story. And the egg poem, come to that. I will contribute – maybe – when I’ve had time to think. If I ever manage thought again….

  5. 5 alisonwriting June 5, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I felt I too should accept the challenge so here goes:


    She’d not have known
    a thing about it,
    one minute there
    the next, gone.
    But the woman who never
    wanted to be any bother
    took the entire building with her
    when the pan finally ignited.


    He heard the thump and went upstairs to investigate. She never locked the door. The smell of hot cooking oil met him as he stepped into the flat. She was lying across the kitchen doorway where she’d fallen backwards. Lightly, he stepped over her and turned off the gas. He put a finger to her neck. Nothing. he shrugged his shoulders, picked up a fork that was lying on the draining board and ate the egg straight from the pan.

  6. 6 chris June 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Great! I especially love the climax of the poem, you clever little thing! 🙂

  7. 7 sorlil June 5, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I came to your blog via Chris and was just in the right mood for a challenge! Here’s my effort –

    Heart Failure

    her last breath
    drawn above this shining hub

    of marigold in a silver pan.
    That she had cracked her last
    was unknown to her

    or the egg.
    Yet the distance between
    her heart and head

    in that moment
    was wider than all the eggs
    in the known world.

    And she had seen them all
    in this one yolk
    forever flowering beneath her hand.

  8. 9 Rosemary June 5, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Afterwards, friends agreed that, at first, the situation had been ‘awkward but possible.’ As usual Donna’s family proclaimed that Donna, not having found a nice man, was unhappy, stressed. Sarah’s family had stood around despising Donna’s family for their attitudes, which, (they said) were natural, homophobia and poor nutrition being rife in, well, frankly, their class. Poor things, they added. Then Sarah, reverted to type under the stress of grief: ‘If only she had been able to diet. If only she had not been brought up to eat the wrong food. She was just frying an egg when she expired.’

  9. 10 Rosemary June 5, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I had a lot of fun doing this, which eased my afternoon, as I wait (still on tenterhooks). I’ve left in a stray comma after the last Sarah by accident.

  10. 11 chris June 5, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve just so enjoyed reading that! Thank you!

  11. 12 Mandy June 5, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    The rain fell incessantly – a constant curtain, and the noise was that of a rushing river as it flowed steadily down the street outside. It was summer, lush and wet and warm. Natasha, masculine and feminine, all at the same time, reclined in her throne-like chair and threw an arm over the back. Her journey from Nathaniel to Natasha had been a long one and total realisations sometimes come at the strangest moments, she lowered her eyebrows and looked at me directly as she camped it up a little and said: ‘She was just frying an egg, when she expired’.

  12. 13 Joe June 5, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I saw this challenge on Chris’s blog.

    At daylight she arose and put the coffee on. She sat the cream on the table, and would wait. One cup was all that she would allow; caffeine had ceased to be her friend. A bowl of grape nuts, and her day would begin. Since her husband had passed, this was her morning.


    Today would be different. After three years of grief, she would start over. Her dress had been ironed; today would be sunny side up. She poured herself a glass of juice. The toast was in the oven.
    She was just frying an egg when she expired.

  13. 14 abf June 6, 2008 at 12:38 am

    “It’s the uncertainty, Agnes. Genetic engineering is all very well. Rheumatism plagued my family; but now…” Marjory performed an effortless plié. “Not bad for 73.” Agnes pondered the arithmetic in silence. “But you still don’t know the hour.”

    “No, dear – it’s the indignity. We’re like butter or baked beans.” Agnes permitted herself a Morningside sniff. “Best Before…”

    “Exactly: it comes with the package: they just don’t tell you the date. Uncertainty.”

    “I beg to differ, dear. It’s the indignity. Look at poor Hetty: omelettes fines herbes her forte, but she was just frying an egg when she expired.”

  14. 15 Dorothy June 6, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Hi. I got here from Chris’s blog and was tempted to have a go too, to give you some light relief..

    Kaylee clicked on “Send” to email the photo of her macaroni cheese homework to her HE teacher, then birled her chair round to face her pal who was sprawled across her bed, stylus wiggling energetically over the screen.
    “Level you on now?”
    “Lasagne” Shannya answered without raising her eyes from the DS where Mamma Chef was assisting her with chopping tomatoes.
    “K. I did the sushi level last night. Japanese rice and seaweed thing.”
    “Yeah I had some from Tescos, dinnertime.”
    “Anyway. Got Mamma Chef to help but batteries were low. She was just frying an egg, when she expired!”

  15. 16 alisonwriting June 6, 2008 at 8:47 am

    What a wordfest! Such a fun start to my day. abf, I love the shift of emphasis on ‘frying’. Seems rude to comment on one and not others but I don’t want to start making like a literary critic. Anyway, the stories speak for themselves. If ever one needed proof of the uniqueness of each of us, here it would be.

  16. 17 alisonwriting June 6, 2008 at 8:51 am

    My writer friend Jenny C encountered a technical glitch so here’s her story:

    ‘She was just frying an egg, when she expired,’ confided Miss Ferguson, handing over one shilling and sixpence for the wool.
    I couldn’t help overhearing, of course, and, God forgive me, my first thought was What a waste! I mean, how often do we see a real egg these days?
    ‘Fortunately, this young man was passing and saw the smoke or the whole house could have gone up in flames,’ continued Miss F.
    Fortunate indeed, I smiled to myself. Because, for as long as I could remember, my old schoolfriend had always hated eggs. Be they boiled, scrambled – or fried.

  17. 18 Rosemary June 6, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Honestly Alison, we ought to do something with these the variety is incredible, inspiring.

  18. 19 chris June 6, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I agree! and I love the transatlantic flavour of Joe’s grapenuts…

  19. 20 alisonwriting June 6, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Yes, isn’t it great that it can lead with equal success to Morningside ladies or transatlantic flavour!

    I’m supposed to be working right now but pondering how the contributions could be put together and then perhaps attached to my website as a PDF file? Folk might want to correct the odd typo but I’d strongly discourage any tinkering with them…any ideas about the next step?

    Looking ahead, if this were to happen periodically, it could become a self-publishable body of stuff but that would need organising, financing etc Am I getting ahead of myself here?

  20. 21 Rosemary June 6, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    No, not getting ahead of yourself, but I can see several words in mine I would like to exchange for a more considered effort.

  21. 22 mooncat June 7, 2008 at 6:55 am

    My 2 cents.

    10 days of hospital green jello. Sucking on ice. Artificial chicken broth. “Italian” iced fruit that never went past Rome, Georgia. Finally, home sweet blessed home. Happiness is a real bed and a shower! All things are possible, even a proper breakfast. Tea. Fruit. Toast. One fried egg, broken and burned. Not even tasted.

  22. 23 goforchris June 7, 2008 at 9:48 am

    See where this can get you? mooncat comes through Joe’s blog – and he lives in Bessemer, Alabama, where Ruth LaMonte’s church is!

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