Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Song In My Chest, A Saturday Centus

Jenny Matlock

Welcome one and all, young and old, literate and illiterate, to another excursion into the abbreviated world of Saturday Centus, your once-a-week sampling of tiny, 100-word stories hosted by that queen of sublime scribblin’,  Jenny Matlock, at her blog, Jenny Matlock…off on my tangent… 

This week I am pleased to report that the format will have nothing whatsoever to do with romance novels and sweaty, rippling abs or ample bosoms angrily straining for freedom against flimsy, sheer fabric.  Last week, if you recall, Miss Jenny did a little Shake Up in honor of the tenth week of SC and instructed us to do our stories in the style of a Harlequin romance novel, with an added 100 words to play with.  Oh my, there were some writers having conniptions about that, let me tell you.   But despite it all, they all rose to the occasion and turned in some great stories.

This just goes to show that if you provoke the anger of writers, pretty much nothing happens.  Probably because they just go home and write about it in their journals, along with a stern 500-word rebuke of mean people and how they probably weren’t loved enough as a child.


Not to squelch anyone’s creative freedom, this week’s prompt does not have a specific genre attached to it.  The same meme rules apply as always.  Jenny posts a "prompt," a phrase that must be used in the essays of each contributor. Each story must contain the prompt as written and be no more than 100 words total, not including the prompt words.  Any more than 100 words and a big burly Italian guy named Rocko comes to your home and breaks both your knee caps. 

After posting their stories, the writers link up with Jenny's Saturday Centus meme post so that we can all share our treatment on the prompt.  This week the names of each contributor will be entered into a completely unrigged drawing for a brand new 2010 Infiniti G37!  (Well, it’s the Mattel Hot Wheels version, not the real one.  It’s just easier to mail that way.)  Thanks again for picking me, Jenny.  It was such a huge surprise.  Wink wink!  What’s that?  The drawing isn’t until next weekend?  Okay.  I guess I can wait and thank you then.

Oh alright!  No one breaks your knee caps.  And there’s no giveaway this week. I was making that up too.  It’s just a fun writing exercise that teaches you to be very selective about what words you use and helps you develop a nice, tight writing style.  Plus you are automatically entered into a drawing to win 10 million dollars!  Yes, that’s right, Jenny sends your name and address to the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes!  Hooray!  (Okay, okay, I’ve got to stop making this crap up!)

Oh wait, I forgot to mention this one little thing.  Although you can write in any genre you want, this week’s literary midget must include a main character who is an android female bounty hunter from the future who likes to write poetry in her spare time and has an alien sidekick that thinks it’s a cowboy and slithers around saying things like “Howdy partner” and “Let’s head 'em off at the pass!”  And, um, there are these vampires, but they only attack humans every third Tuesday and the rest of the time they are really good accordion players and have a band and everything so people leave them alone.


Would you believe you have to write part of a chapter for a self-help book entitled “An Idiot’s Guide to Building Self-Esteem?”  How about a first-person historical account of the invention of the wheel?  No, wait, a children’s story about the building of the Hoover Dam, except with foul-tempered talking llamas instead of people and turtles that can fly!

Not buying the B.S. I see.  I think you people are on to me.

Okay, the drugs are wearing off, so I better get to the story part.  Here is the prompt for this week:

Somewhere over the rainbow... 

And here, for your entertainment and rapturous delight (yes, the drugs haven’t quite worn off yet) is my contribution to this weeks meme.  I call it:

A Song In My Chest

Buddy stared at the blank sheet of paper and cursed his lack of imagination.  As a songwriter with a couple of minor songs to his credit, he needed a hit to spur his career into the stratosphere like it had for Cole Porter.

Song titles flew from his pudgy, cigarette-stained fingertips in a desperate attempt to kick start his seemingly comatose muse. 

“Somewhere in Yonkers?” 

No, not romantic enough.

“My Grandma’s Basement?”

Definitely not.

Somewhere over the rainbow…”  He laughed aloud.  Now that was a stupid title, he thought.

Then it hit him, his ticket to fame.  

“Somewhere Over There.” 

He smiled smugly.

Jenny Matlock

Don't be a foppotee!  Join in the fun!


  1. I actually laughed out loud! Thank you. Great writing, as always. :)

  2. the ideas for stories you were joking about above were actually rather interesting, too bad you didn't write a story following one of those topics :)))

  3. Such a novel approach to this prompt, Tom. Right back at you as far as continuing to amaze. I could just see him balling up papers and throwing them to the floor. Very visual, very smart - as usual.


  4. I'll bet he can get famous easily if he used your "angry bosoms" line in his song...

  5. I love your stories and the way you weave them, even the pre-story craziness!

  6. Loved this Tom. I can just see the little guy, sitting at the piano, banging away on the keys and scratching up piles of staff paper. "Somewhere in Yonkers" made me laugh out loud. And of course, as always, I love your pre-story embellishments, they make me smile every week. Kat

  7. LOL, great one. This would have been a good scene in an old time movie, that's what it reminds me of. Good Centus.

  8. You're always good for a chuckle!

  9. So if I write 101 words, I won't be tarred and feathered? Cool.

    Good job, Tom!

  10. Very cool Tom ;-) I think we need a new weekly meme...something like, "The Ramblings Before the Prompted Writing Exercise"...or "The Best Education Is That Which Goes On Outside the Classroom"...Peace and blessings

  11. i'm totally into the talking llamas and flying turtles concept.

  12. I can't believe he rejected "My Grandma's Basement". Just think of the lyrics (to the tune of "Over the Rainbow")

    Somewhere, in Grandma's basement
    Despite the mold
    There are boxes of mem'ries
    Stories we've all retold.

    Somewhere, in Grandma's basement
    Stashed away
    You'll find my baseball card collection
    Mantle, Koufax, and Mays.

    The photo albums old and torn
    With pictures of the family spanning decades
    We reminisce 'bout days gone by
    We start to laugh then start to cry
    Oh crap, a roach, get the Raid!

    Somewhere in Grandma's basement,
    Bugs have died
    If bugs lived in Grandma's basement
    Why then oh why can't I?

  13. Bravo Chris! Very well done! LOL! Great job!

  14. OMG, I'm *almost* enjoying your intros more than the story...not that there's ANYTHING wrong with you Centus, just that I find your intros the most entertaining of the group. You go, Tom. And when PCH shows up at my door, I'll share the prize with you :-)

  15. You are always full of surprises, Tgo. Very humorous.

    I like Chris' version of Over the Rainbow better than the original, too.


  16. Pudgy, cigarette-stained fingertips! What a visual! Ewwwww!

    I just posted my contribution...late as ever. PLUS, and this is a BIG PLUS (that is why there are big letters), my post contains a tribute to little old you! Aw,shucks!



  17. Tom.

    I see it's your link and I start grinning.

    And I read your intro and it makes me laugh and smile and crack up. And by the time I'm through reading it I don't even care if you've written a story or not because your random musings are totally charming and hilarious.

    That is my absolute favorite kind of writing...Irreverance combined with intelligent vocabulary and imagery.

    I wish I was a literary agent. Not only would I publish me I would totally publish you. David Sedaris hasn't gotten anything on you, Mr. Tom!

    Loved the great, great use of the prompt phrase.

    And since I'm using your prompt tomorrow I suspect you may become maligned as teachers pet soon...

    But as soon as the prompt is over I'll just start ignoring you like I do everyone else!


    You are really awesome!

  18. Oh my, as an aspiring writer who just sent some songs off to get scored...this really hit home. Well done Tom, well done. I can here the song in my head write now "somewhere over there is destined to be a hit for sure!

  19. Hi there! is organizing a short story writing contest.

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