Writing Prompt: Starbucks

This writing prompt comes from the wonderful world of Reddit. It’s amazing the kind of stuff you can find on there…

A Starbucks Barista has given you a Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino with soy instead of a Caffè Vanilla Light Frappuccino with non fat milk. Make this as tragic, heart-wrenching and miserable as possible.

It’s funny how a last day on earth is the same whether you’re sick or scheduled for a lethal injection. In my case, I’m sick, dying to be precise. The doctor has given me about a week…about six days ago. I’ve been holed up in this hospital bed, feeling my body weaken, counting down the seconds of life.

My wife cried. My mom cried. My dad cried. My siblings, cousins, niece, nurse…they’ve all cried. I cried with them.

But now I’m done with crying. Now all I want to do is enjoy my last day on earth as much as I can. I want Starbucks, specifically a Caffè Vanilla Light Frappuccino with nonfat milk.

Back before I got sick, I used to have a Caffe Vanilla Light Frappucino with nonfat milk every single day before I went to work at my law firm. It was the best way to start each day working at my dream job. I had it all back then…now I have hours.

It took some doing, but I’ve convinced the doctor to let my wife and me go out to Starbucks. I remember striding into my local Starbucks dressed in an expensive suit. People, specifically women, used to stare. Now everyone stares at the withered man in the wheelchair.

“What can I getcha?” the chipper barista asks.

“A Caffe Vanilla Light Frappucino,” my wife says, trying to sound chipper herself.

“With nonfat milk,” I put in.

“Certainly,” the barista (Her name is Tiffy…not Tiffany…Tiffy.) says. She gives me a sympathetic look. It’s like I’m dying or something.

We go to a table and wait. I look at my wife, who is trying not to look at me. I remember when we used to compete to tell the best work story. I remember when it was a race to see who could get promoted at their job first. I remember when we had our entire lives together to look forward to.

Now she won’t have anyone to compete with. I reach out for her hand, and she jerks it away because she has to wipe her eyes.

I’m helpless. I can’t work. I can’t be with my wife. And if the doctor is right, I can’t live to see a new week. There is only thing in my life that I have control of anymore: a Caffe Vanilla Light Frappucino with nonfat milk.

“Here you go!” Tiffy comes bouncing over.

“For you, ma’am, a passion iced tea lemonade.”

“And for you, sir, a Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino with soy.”

I stare at this foreign drink in front of me. Of course. Of course I can’t even get my favorite drink correct on the day I’m probably going to die.

“Um…that’s not what he…” my wife begins.

“It’s perfect, Tiffy,” I cut in. “It won’t kill me to try something new.”


Writing Prompt: Climbing

From Poets & Writers: Climbing is an exercise that’s both exhilarating and exhausting. This week think of the highest you’ve ever climbed. It could have been a ladder to your childhood tree house or Mount Kilimanjaro. Were you climbing for fun, or out of necessity? How did it feel once you reached the top? If you feel you’ve never climbed to any significant height, would you ever want to?
I never considered myself to be afraid of heights. When it comes to roller coasters, there is no such thing as too tall. I’ve been to the top of the Empire State Building, and once in Florida, my family stayed in the twentieth floor of a hotel. I spent most of my time on the balcony.
But it’s one thing to be securely in a seat on a ride or restricted by railings. The Alpine Tower at the University of Missouri did not provide any of that security. All I got was a rope.
Yeah. I climbed that.
Yeah. I climbed that.

Of course it was a very secure rope, but ropes break! At least that is what I foolishly told myself as I made my attempts to climb.

I would always get to the same spot, the spot when I knew that if I fell and that rope did break, I could break my neck. My friend was yelling encouragement from the ground, but I clung to my log like a squirrel for a few minutes. I could feel my legs trembling with effort and with fear.

And then as with most things in life, it took a leap of faith. I had to push off of a rock and trust that I could catch the next log or trust that if I missed, the rope would catch me. The first time I failed miserably. The second time I scraped my knee and had to start over. The third time I made it.

After that, climbing wasn’t nearly as hard. It was as if I had to get past that point of no return to realize that I could keep going.


Of course once I got to the very top of the tower, I realized that the only way off was to jump and pray that the rope caught me. It did.

After two leaps of faith in within the span of an hour, I was ready to be back on solid ground.


Writing Prompt: “When He Came Back”

From Writing Forward: Start the first line of your story with: “My husband disappeared on August 28, 1998.”

“When He Came Back”

My husband disappeared on August 28, 1998. He returned August 28, 2014.

I was making pancakes for my new husband Julian when my old husband Glen came into the kitchen. He was yawning and dressed in the same pair of pajamas that he had worn to bed sixteen years ago. I stared at him with pancake batter splattering from my spoon to the floor as he rummaged through the cabinet for a mug.

“Want some coffee?” he asked.

I made some sort of strangled noise, but Glen didn’t seem to notice.

“Ah well, more for me,” he said. He poured himself some coffee from a brand new coffeemaker that I had gotten Julian for his birthday a week ago. Then, he went over to inspect my cooking. “Looks good,” he said with a grin and kissed me on the cheek.

My cheek still remembered the once-daily touch of his lips, and it was this act of familiarity that jolted me from my numbed silence.

“Glen!” I exclaimed. “What the hell?”

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