Spookymilk Play With The Prose — Challenge #15: Missing The Action

We had a week to work on the latest Play with the Prose challenge, so there are no excuses it’s bound to be good one week has passed. This challenge was to write a 300-word or fewer story about a character that is just away from the action.

“I may not be the sharpest blade in the razor, but I had no problem getting a security clearance here, and in this economy, a job’s a job, right? Okay trainee, just tag along with me while we walk the mail cart…

“The left door is Dr. Teliknisharma’s lab. Lots of weird stuff goes on in there. Hold it open, will you? Thanks. Looks like the doctor and staff are working in the sealed room, where the bright blue glow is behind those windows. Look, all the staff in there is jumping and waving at us — hey, how’s it goin’? – no time to visit, though…

“This next lab gives me the creeps. Dr. Spencer is pretty cool, but he works with dangerous insects and stuff, so I don’t hang out here very long. Get the door again, will you? HEY DR. SPE…oh, shhhh! He’s sleeping over there on the floor! Just lay his mail on his desk and we’ll let him sleep. He puts in some crazy long hours.

“Dr. Cortez and Dr. Helvetica work over here. They do some pretty funky stuff with lasers and things, I guess. We have to put on these goggles before we go in, but careful, it’s hard as heck to see with these things on. Hey, thanks for getting the door! MAN, I CAN HARDLY HEAR OVER THE MACHINERY AND THE SHOUTING! HAND ME THAT STACK ON THE TOP AND LET’S GET BACK OUTSIDE AGAIN! Whew — they must be running another safety drill in there or something.

“We tend to learn a lot of new names; there’s a lot of turnover here — did that sound like an explosion to you? — and often we have to learn different routes, too.”


The judges’ comments:
K: The joke comes dangerously close to wearing out its welcome, but I smiled throughout. I liked the choice of using a tour guide and had fun imagining the new hire…is he clueless, or horrified? Funny either way. GOLD

P: I should be rolling my eyes at the gag, but I laughed at just about every one. The oblivious security guard is such a trope that it’s not even funny…. only it obviously still is. BRONZE

Sitting pretty: STANDINGS

  • I wanted to write this as a one-sided discussion, much like Eric Idle’s French waiter in The Meaning of Life (NSFW). Dialog chews up word count fast, though.
  • Difficult to get across in 300 words how inept the “advanced” researchers are and how clueless our main character (“Nick”) is. Still, nothing too earth-shattering with this story, just some good fun.

With the next challenge, it’s time to say goodbye…

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