Tag Archives: DPchallenge

The Other End Of The Rainbow

image via tvacres.com

In this week’s WordPress Writing Challenge is they ask us to add “A Splash Of Color” to our posts, so I have duly done so. This story might be lost on people who don’t remember a certain kid’s show from the 60s…


It was Friday evening, and a group of Spectrum’s agents were sitting in their local bar, the Rainbow. Private Magnolia lowered his rapidly-emptied glass and leaned forward.

“It’s colour discrimination, that’s what it is,” said Private Magnolia.

“What do you mean?” asked Private Lilac.

“I mean, my promotion got turned down,” said Magnolia. “I reckon it’s because of my name.”

“Really?” said Private Raw Sienna. “And not in any way due to the fact that you got pissed at the Christmas Party, punched Captain Yellow, threw up all over Lieutenant Purple and tried to get off with Destiny Angel?”

“And faxed a photocopy of your bum to the President of Burundi?” added Private Dirt (seriously, look it up, it’s a colour).

“Er, well, I said sorry for all of that, “said Magnolia. “No, we get nowhere because we’re not called after well-known colours. Look at the people at the top – Colonel White, Captain Blue  -”

“Captain Ochre,” pointed out Lilac.

“Oh yeah. Well, he’s probably just there as a -”

“Token black?” suggested Dirt.

“Yes. I mean no.” Magnolia began to feel a bit less unsure of his argument, but by this stage it was his lager, rather than himself, who was doing the arguing. “And then of course,” he went on, “there is the famous Captain Scarlet.” He managed to say this with a sneer, quite an achievement for a puppet with a plastic face, it was like a botoxed woman being able to chew toffee.

“Why isn’t he called Captain Red?” asked Lilac.

“Not cool enough,” said Magnolia.

“Plus people would think he’s a ginger,” said Dirt.

“There actually is a Private Ginger,” said Private That-Odd-Colour-That-They-Paint-Hospital-Walls. “He works in archiving.”

“Exactly my point,” said Magnolia. “He’s not saving the earth from the Mysterons, he’s scanning old documents and eating his lunch at his desk in a room with no windows. It’s enough to make you -.”

“Green with envy?”

“Oh, shut up,” said Magnolia.

As Bats As A Blogger

The WordPress Writing Challenge for this week is called “Easy As Pie”, and is about similes and metaphors. This may sound as riveting as a book about rivets, but in fact it gives me the chance to mention the little-known fact that most similes mean exactly the opposite to what we believe them to mean (the phrase “as ironic as a similarian” has dropped out of current usage, but it is as relevant today as it was back before the hills became as old as the hills). Take these examples:

As easy as pie. There is nothing easy about pie. You have to peel and then stew the apples, or boil the rhubarb, or persuade four-and-twenty blackbirds to sit patiently while you cover them in a duvet of pastry. You then bake the whole thing in an oven, frequently producing smoke as thick as, well, you are for undertaking all this, and then make a little pattern of a flower to put on top.
In that time you could have simply bought a packet of Jaffa Cakes, admired your mess-free kitchen and then sat down in front of Downton Abbey with a large glass of red wine.

As nutty as a fruitcake. It has fruit in it, not nuts, the name is a big hint here.

As naked as the day you were born. On the day that they are born most people are naked for a grand total of about four minutes. “As naked as the night of your stag party, when you wake up handcuffed to a traffic cone with one eyebrow shaved off (no, you, not the cone) and a tattoo of Kenny from South Park on your left buttock” is much more apt.

As dull as ditchwater. Tap water is dull. The water in a ditch, on the other hand, might contain leaves, rare beetles, supermarket trolleys, typhus, an abandoned bicycle frame, perhaps even a body.

As happy as a pig in shit. The moment the pig was caught in the orchard with the apple in its mouth it knew it was in deep shit. And it was right, they roasted it without even bothering to take out the apple. Believe me, it wasn’t happy.

As right as rain. Seriously?

WordPress also ask us to attempt the “epic simile”, one which goes on for several lines, and gives this example by Homer:

But swift Aias the son of Oïleus would not at all now take his stand apart from Telamonian Aias,
not even a little; but as two wine-coloured oxen straining
with even force drag the compacted plough through the fallow land,
and for both of them at the base of the horns the dense sweat gushes;
only the width of the polished yoke keeps a space between them
as they toil down the furrow till the share cuts the edge of the ploughland;
so these took their stand in battle, close to each other.

This shows that Homer had a lot of time on his hands, and that he was as nutty as a nutcake. I can’t help but feel that should you introduce this sentence into a conversation you will find your audience begin to drift away, possibly to hurl themselves into ditchwater.

Still, they have asked us to attempt one, so here goes:

As happy as a man who, born to humble beginnings, dragged himself up by his bootlaces (resulting him in him falling backwards onto his arse) and put himself through university by working as a kissogram before winning the lottery and gladly realising that he didn’t have to finish college (he had got there on a basketball scholarship but was only five feet four, it wasn’t going well) so went instead on a trip around the world, had fleeting but enriching relationships with a young girl in a grass skirt in Tahiti, a rich widow in St Tropez and a beach-volleyball player in California before realising that there was no place like home (yes, he was from Kansas, how did you know) and driving back in his Ferrari to his loving mum. Who fed him pie.

There you go. Easy as standing on a log.

Bridging The Gap

The Weekly WordPress Writing Challenge is Mind The Gap, and is something about opinion polls. I’ve ignored that and written about generations instead…


Grandad was baby-sitting Charlie.

It was a partnership with established roles. Grandad watched TV and made himself the occasional cup-of-tea. Charlie was the sleeping partner.

Though not always, or it would have been no fun. This evening Grandad smiled happily to himself as he heard small feet on the stairs, then put what he hoped was a stern look on his face as a small head appeared around the door and a smaller voice said “I have a pain”.

Grandad turned off the TV. “And where do you have this pain?”

“In my tooth.”

“Which tooth?”

“The one under my pillow.”

“Er, what?”

“Whenever one of my teeth falls out I leave it under the pillow, and the tooth-fairy buys it for a Euro. Does she buy yours too?”

“Not exactly. I leave a line of six of them out for her each night, but she has to have them back by morning. It’s a kind of tooth-library.”

Charlie looked suspiciously at him, so Grandad continued “ anyway, the important part of this chat is the bit where you have a pain in a tooth you don’t have.”

“It hurts where the gap is. Maybe it’s the tooth’s ghost.”

“Great try. Now go back to bed.”

“I can’t. It’s like being stabbed with a lightsaber.”

“You can’t get stabbed with a lightsaber.”

“You can so.”

“Lightsabers are pure energy.”

“How do you know that? Did they have Star Wars when you were young?”

“Yes, Charlie. Long, long ago, in a century now sadly far, far away, they had Star Wars. Your Mum had Princess Leia hair.”


“Don’t tell her I told you that.”

“Ok.” They did their secret handshake, which involved fist-bumps, a high-five and a bunched hand held to the heart.

“In that case you can sit up for a while. Do some drawing or something.”

Charlie got his colouring book and worked away for a while. Grandad had a look at the book. A postman had been coloured in entirely in blue scribble, looking as if he had collided with an exploding Smurf.

“That’s really good, Charlie,” said Grandad, “but you should try to keep the colour inside the lines.”


“Because -” Grandad paused. “Do you know Charlie, I have no idea. Have you got another book and some more pencils?”

The two of them were side-by-side, heads bent over their books, when Mum came home. “Why aren’t you in bed?” she said.

“Because I had a pain in -”

“- his tummy,” said Grandad.

“We’ve been doing some really cool drawings, Mum,” said Charlie. “Look at Grandad’s horse.” Mum looked at the book and frowned.

“Why is it green?” she asked. “And why haven’t you kept between the lines?”

“A very wise person once taught me that you don’t have to,” said Grandad, and winked at Charlie.

“Well, take Charlie up to bed,” said Mum. “Really, you shouldn’t have let him stay up so late.”

“Sorry,” said Grandad. He mouthed “Princess Leia” at Charlie, who giggled.

“What are you two laughing at?” said Mum.

“Nothing,” said both of them together. Grandad took Charlie by the hand and they went upstairs. When Grandad came back down Mum was still staring, perplexed, at the green horse. “It was hit by a giant snot,” said Grandad helpfully.

Mum snorted, though fondly. “Honestly, Dad, sometimes you’re as big a child as Charlie.”

“I certainly hope so,” said Grandad. “And I hope I always will be.”

I’m Gonna Sit Write Down And Write Someone A Letter

The Daily Post Writing Challenge for this week is Mail It In. It suggests a load of stuff that’s way out of my league (when it comes to computers my League is Division 3 North) but also suggests that we might like to write about email itself (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?).
Email is great. Without it we’d have scenarios like the one below.

I heard the splat of envelopes on the hallway floor and went to look at that morning’s mail. There was a gentle reminder from my electricity provider about a sum I owed them, which hinted at “cutting off“ without actually specifying what. There was a request from somebody I’d met once on holiday in Dungarvan, asking me to “friend” them. There was a letter from a Nigerian princess asking me for my bank details (she had to write each letter, to everyone in the world, by hand, surely it would have been easier just to get a job).

Then there was a letter from my accountant.

It read “It’s time to send in this year’s tax returns. Please send me all your figures.”

I fetched a pen and some paper and wrote “Ok.” I went to the post-box and posted it.

A week went by. I received another letter from him. It said “Any update on this?”

I wrote back “Sorry, I forgot. Will get the stuff to you as soon as possible.” I went and posted that.
I spent the next hour digging out what he’d need. I put it into an envelope and wrote “Here it is now. See attachment.” I posted that, so that now both letters were in the same post-box. It’s quite possible that he read them in reverse order.

The next day I got the one-line letter “No attachment.”

I looked on my desk. The papers were still there. I wrote “Oops!” and duly attached the papers, with a paper clip.

He wrote back “No worries.”

The following day I got another letter from him. It read “I’ve booked the hotel for the weekend. My wife thinks I’m going to a conference. Love forever, choochy-face xxx.”

I wrote back “I think you’ve mailed this to the wrong person.”

A letter arrived first thing next morning by registered post. It had “This Message Was Sent With High Importance” written on the envelope. The letter read “Please delete that last piece of mail.”

I tore the first letter up and threw it in the fire, then wrote back “Done.”

His next letter was simply a blank piece of paper, on which he had drawn a smiley face.

Three days passed before a larger envelope arrived. In it was an official document. His letter read “Here is your tax return duly filled out. Please acknowledge receipt.”

I wrote back “Got it.”

He wrote “Good. Can you please sign it and return it to me.” I did this.

The next day I got his bill. I wrote “Here is your payment.” I attached a cheque.

His next letter read “Thanks.”

Three days later I got a letter from the tax office, setting out how much money I owed them. I’m really worried, because I don’t have the money to pay it.

I spent it all on stamps.

Titus Andronicus! (and other spells)

This week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge is “Stylish Imitation”, so here is the world’s most famous playwright telling the world’s most famous story…
Alarums, fanfares and trumpets. Enter Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Harry: When shall we three meet again?

Hermione: Next term at Hogwarts.

Harry: Oh, true. (they exit home for the holidays)

Enter He Who Must Not Be Named.

Voldemort (oops, sorry): Fast fare thy failure, Potter, with thy stupid scar
I’ll kill thee fore you can say, er “Nascar”.

Ghost of Nearly Headless Nick enters.

Voldemort: Sodeth off, thou twerp. (Nick exits, pursued by his career).

First Day of New Term. Enter Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Hermione: Grave news. (Holds up skull). Dobby is not to be.

Harry: Alas, poor Dobby. I knew him well.

Hermione: Not well.

Harry: I can see that.

Hermione: No, the word “well” ist not in that sentence.

Harry: What, just “I knew him?”

Hermione: Yeth. I mean, yes.

Harry: Well, that’s not very personal. I could just as well be talking about the milkman.

Ron: The Who?

Harry: Exactly, I could just as well hath been talking about the Who. They art ancient enough to be in this.

Roger Daltrey: Oy! I heard that. (he exits, singing “Magic Bus”, since this play hath wizards and stuff).

Enter Voldemort.

Voldemort: Prepare the world for lots of sorrow
Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Harry: My name is Harry Potter, you killed my father, prepare to die.

Ron: Wrong story, methinks.

Harry: Is this a dagger I see before me?

Voldemort: No, it’s a wand, thou brainless berk. (Blasts Harry with a spell)

Hermione: Harry, the killing curse thou useth must, before thou turn to a pile of dust!

Harry: Very well. (points wand) Yippee Kay-ay, Motherf***er!” (Voldemort explodes in a puff of Elizabethan make-up).

Hermione (aside): That wadst not the curse I meant. (aloud) Oh Ronneo, Ronneo, wherefore art thou, Ronneo?”

Ron: I hate it when you call me that.

Enter Ginny.

Harry: Well-met by moonlight, proud Ginny. Where hast thou been?

Ginny: I couldeth not think of anything to say. I studied nottest Shakespeare at school.

Harry: Well, we four have met again. (Weather turns shite). In thunder, lightning and in rain. Ow, and also hailstones.

Hermione: Methinks our weddings could be a double. We could serve a cauldron of hubble-bubble. (Others look at her) It’s a type of stew.

Cheers, throwing of Sorting Hat into the air. Exeunt.

JK Rowling: For never was a story of more joy
Than this of Harry, the who-lived boy.