A to Z Challenge: S


Bernie, ready to move up in the world, planned one final shoplifting adventure before Sattempting his first B&E. Decided to kill two birds with one stone, taking the till from Barnegat Books on East Eleventh, and purloining the latest Donna Everhart bestseller at the same time.

He helped himself to a hardcover at the Everhart display up front, then retreated to the restroom ten minutes prior to closing. New dog, old trick, he’d finish two chapters and make a score from the register on his way out.

Two problems later, everything changed: first, Bernie got completely absorbed in the book, realizing at chapter twenty-seven that daybreak arrived; second, he walked out of the restroom and found a dead body lying laying lain prone in the mystery aisle.

Bernie handed Everhart to the first cop on scene, who said, “Already read it like everyone else, but where you’re going, you’ll have time to finish that AND the sequel.”  ###


Okay, okay, I cheated on the six-sentence structure with that colon-semi-colon 37-word sentence up there, but c’mon I never said math was my strong suit. Also, it’s 3 a.m. and I’ve had a long (but productive!) night of editing, so cut me a break will ya.

Few people to thank today: Hemingway, of course, for inspiring my six-sentence stories with his six-word story (For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.). Lawrence Block for his contribution of Bernie. Colin Smith for suggesting Shoplifter in yesterday’s comments. And Schlitz, the beer that made Bill Famey walk us.

The call-in line is open for “T” suggestions for tomorrow. About time to kill off a protagonist, so careful who you recommend, I’m from a family of Teachers.


34 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: S

    1. Timing is everything, yes! And I’m usually off a beat … but eventually I get off the dance floor and feel better. Badda bing! Okay, I’ll quit with the bad jokes. One benefit of six-sentence stories — you don’t like ’em, they don’t last too long.

      Hey, thanks for the shout-out over at the reef. That was too cool. And I’m CONSTANTLY saying six-word instead of six-sentence stories. I bet I’ve fixed that typo 42 times this month. Which means I’ve probably missed it a half dozen. Oh well, live and learn.


  1. Fun fun fun! I hope Donna’s novel doesn’t keep me reading in the bathroom all night. In a household of 8, that kind of thing doesn’t go down too well. 😮

    Suggestions for T: typist (old school, I know), taxidermist, troller, train driver, teleport operator, Trump hair stylist… ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s gotta be a more comfortable place to read all night than the throne.

      We had a family of 7 growing up and we’d camp most weekends. I still remember getting within a few blocks of coming home and everyone would start placing dibs on one of the two bathrooms in the house. Good times.

      And oh, does Taxidermist leave some possibilities. Yum!


    1. I am so jealous of your brevity, Cynthia. I know brevity is an art, but it’s never been my art. I should stop there, right, but no, my fingers just keep gliding across the keyboard reaching for more and more — STOP! I have to force myself. Ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YOU! Look what you did there! I sure hope this works like karma – although the idea of being read in the bathroom, gotta think about that. Okay, thought about it – no problem! Some are likely to go, Donna WHO?


    I still say superb storytelling – even at 3:00 a.m.!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! And to think I was hatin’ on you just 24 hours ago. I’m such a wuss, I can’t even hate right. Hell yeah, you’ll let someone buy your latest bestseller if they wanna read it in the bathroom all night long. Some places, it’s the only room you can turn the light on without getting in trouble at 3 a.m. Not my place, thank goodness, but some places I’m sure.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, but my editing is taking a beating. I hope I don’t end up with a slew of six-sentence chapters or I’m gonna have a real hard time explaining that to a prospective agent.

      “It’s a formula, Madame Agent, just like the HEA for romance. Don’t worry that nobody uses this formula yet, you wanna be on the cutting edge of things!”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha. I’m really enjoying it. The art of rendering a story down to six sentences should help with pitches anyway. It’s like the third floor elevator pitch. And they’re funny. How cool is that. Good luck with your editing.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this!
    T is for taxi, terminator, troll, pterodactyl (the p is silent so it counts, ok?), tissane, Torvil and Dean, two-step, troglodyte, two/to/too, tutu!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes! My taste for trickery makes pterodactyl tempting. But what job do they do? Naturally, I made this crazy challenge more challenging by stringing myself up with multiple rules. A six-sentence story didn’t challenge me enough — I had to base each one on a profession. Because … yeah, I don’t have an answer for that.


  4. Another very fine story 🙂 Kind of gives a wink to Janet’s blog with the vocabulary topic this week.
    Ok, so T for trainer, train conductor, tennis player, trailer park owner, taxi driver, treasure hunter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, Trailer Park owner could be a whole series of stories, am I right? There’s at least one good story, more likely multiple ones, in every trailer on the property. Including the vacant ones. Especially the vacant ones!


    1. We’re thinking alike there, Serena. That’s exactly what I was thinking, a telemarketer. So many options with that person. We’ve all wanted to reach through the phone line and kill one or six, and I’m sure they’ve had it the same way on their end. Motive? Check. Opportunity? Hm…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I love this so much. I can imagine this happening, too. Tap dancer, tattoo artist, tipple operator, translator, time travel agent, team roper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Julie, Translator, yowza! That story starts to form in your head immediately. Translation error. Send the woman to wrong location. Guy goes to meet her at the right location and grabs someone else from mistaken identity, winds up killing the wrong person. Woman who’s in the wrong location ends up meeting up with a guy that’s about to rob a bank and she talks him out of it just before the bus runs her over. I’ll be at six sentences in no time.

      I love how April is going. Wish my ms was going as smooth!


      1. I know. I haven’t been getting many new words in. I’m going to get new words in tomorrow before I zip down any rabbit trails in the morning.


  6. Crap. T. Crap. T suggestions? We’re supposed to come up with T suggestions and I forgot.

    T = trash, tornado, tooth, tits (I’m embarrassed, but really T, right???), ummm (yeah, I know that’s not a T, I’m thinking!), Tiny Tim, topless, (my mind is stuck) treason, treasure trove, trinkets, (see how I work here) trousseau, Tasmanian devil.

    Maybe use all in six sentences. yeah, that would work. My job here’s done.


  7. Yes, I can “just one more chapter” all night long! And that lying/laying/lain bit really made me laugh.

    People have beat me to all the good suggestions for T, but I have to try. How about: Tuba player, Time traveler (you can go the cheery Doctor Who direction or the darker Terminator direction), Tambourine man, Ticket taker (or ticket seller). But taxidermist is calling out strongest, I think. We’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very kingly comment, unless you’re talking about the other end of the throne spectrum. Then … maybe not fit for a king. I wonder if a company that makes outhouses considers themselves throne designers? I’m not gonna wonder too long, don’t worry.


      1. Yes, the other end of the throne spectrum – what you’d referred to in your comment to Colin, written at 2.16. “Outhouses” – that’s an Aussie word, isn’t it? And yes, there could indeed be a story in a throne-designer / maker! 😀


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