Sunday, August 15, 2010

One Summer Afternoon, A Saturday Centus


We’ve arrived at week 15 of Saturday Centus, the literary equivalent of the television show, “The Biggest Loser,” where the name of the game is writing a very short story and losing extra words by working out with your mind!  But unlike the show, this meme isn’t known for some crazy woman (whose initials are J.M.) yelling at us and pushing us to work harder and write faster in her sick, twisted pursuit of personal fame and fortune.

Nope.  Not even close. 

Saturday Centus is the inspired touch of genius of Jenny Matlock, a brilliant writer,  famous bloggess and host of her blog, Jenny Matlock, off on my tangent…., whose weekly memes and stories have captivated the blog world and made her a household name. 

How popular is she?  She’s more popular than a fake birth certificate in her home state of Arizona!

And while she cares little for what we stuff in our faces as we undertake the exercise that is Saturday Centus, (personally, I like a couple of double bacon donut cheeseburgers to get my creative juices flowing…don’t judge me!) she feels very deeply that the rules of the meme be strictly followed so as to provide consistency in our respective efforts.

Here are the rules.   Each week Jenny gives us a prompt, a carefully worded phrase that she comes up with that challenges each of us to expand our minds and tests our writing skills by using it in a story. Although, truth be told, it can be just something she read off the back of a cereal box at the breakfast table or from a page in the phone book.  Nonetheless, it must be used as written and cannot be split or substituted for other words.

Secondly the contributors in this meme, whom we’ll refer to henceforth as Centusians, are charged with the difficult task of keeping their stories to within a 100 word limit not including the prompt words.  And if the word limit and the prompt weren’t already a difficult enough challenge, the use of vulgarity and pictures, and in particular vulgar pictures, is also strictly forbidden as well.  (I save up my vulgar pictures and post them to other meme’s that aren’t quite as restrictive.)

After the Centusians complete their tiny tales, they link them back to Jenny’s Saturday Centus meme post so that the other participants can check out their treatment on the prompt and share their comments about the stories with each other.  However, there is no truth to the rumors that we then sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya.  (That was just a one-time thing.)  

I strongly encourage all of you readers out there to check out these creative short works of fiction by clicking on either Saturday Centus button, which will take you to Jenny’s Saturday Centus meme post for this week.  And after you read the stories, leave the writers a comment because they love feedback!  (Here's your chance to use vulgarity if you want!)  Oh, and if you feel compelled to send money to any of the writers for providing such an imaginative, entertaining post, feel free to do so by contacting me.  I'll be happy to pass it on (minus handling expenses of course.)

Of course you are all welcome to submit one of your own!  And don’t complain that you have too much to do.  It’s only a hundred words!  Your excuse for not writing one would probably be almost that long!  Plus you have all week to contribute!  So let’s see how you take the prompt and put your personal spin on it!  It’s fun and may even burn calories to boot!  (I’ll have to check with Jillian Michaels just to be sure.)

This week’s prompt comes to us from a regular SC contributor, Cheryl at Deckside Thoughts, who offers up this tasty gem:

I listened to them from my perch on the top step and didn't know whether to laugh or to cry...

Here is my take on the prompt.  I have entitled it:

One Summer Afternoon

Summer in New York turned my apartment on the Lower East Side into one hot, sticky sauna.  Sitting outside waiting for that elusive cool breeze, I watched with interest as life in the neighborhood unfolded around me.

Two old yentas crept slowly past, obviously a bit hard-of-hearing. 

"Oy veyizmir!  I have such tsuris, Bracha!”

“Nu Ester, I'm so sorry to hear that.”


“I said I’m sorry for you!”

“Oy, such suffering, I tell you!” 

“You should see a specialist.”


“A specialist!”

“Woe is me, down to my toes!  But…”


“I can’t complain!”

I listened to them from my perch on the top step and didn't know whether to laugh or to cry.

So I smiled.

Come on and try this already.  Don't be a schmuck!



  1. This was pitch perfect Tom. When DH and I first married, we lived in South Philadelphia. This brought back alot of memories of a fish VERY much out of water. Loved it!

  2. Ha, ha, ha! I loved it - perfect! (although, "What?" should have been "Vat?" - eh, no worries!).

    Ever since I started following your site - specifically the Centus - I've noticed that your intro for it is more than three times longer than the actual meme. I'm not complaining, of course: I very much enjoy your different intros every weekend. Unique and always entertaining. Oy.

  3. And I smiled! No need asking you about your Jewish roots! :) No questions about fact or fiction. I'm not falling for that anymore!

    You are excellent with dialogue! "Peeping TOM" on life? Bet you don't miss a thing!

    I enjoyed!


  4. I love the exchange between the yentas.

  5. I read this...
    and I smiled! So there ya go.

  6. LOL, it reminds me of Fiddler on the Roof. Great take on this, very smart ;-)

  7. Don't know which I enjoyed better ... your tiny story or your explanation of the meme! From a fellow Centusian.

  8. Are they speaking yettish? Cute and well done.

  9. Reminds me of summers hanging out with my grandma and her best friend, Sara Malnofski...oh, how those two could complain and reassure at the same time!

  10. You have some yentas in your family. Nu? You've got the lingo down, Tgo! I like this, especially your smile at the end.

  11. Cute! :) I can almost hear you reading this out loud. (If only I knew what your voice sounded like...heehee.)

    Love Jenny Matlock! So excited to read along when you play along. ;)

  12. HA, Jewish for sure... and you're probably a raging Mormon! Ya, I'll catch hell for that one :)
    And there be my profanity...mwahaha

    This was too real!

  13. lol...nice work capturing the dialog. :)

  14. Great dialogue Tom! I could see and hear them from here.

  15. Dear Tom,
    How very clever you are! And you speak such good yiddish, too.

  16. Darn you, Tom. You did it again. I keep wondering how you can make the intro any better but each week you do.

    Go back and read them from the beginning. It's cool because I can totally see your writing tightening up. I see that with my stuff, too, all the superfluous stuff is gone (well, except on my usual rambling posts!)

    You are an absolute gem.

    You hurry up and get famous so you can discover me!

    I wish you would keep that in the correct order!

    Thanks for the laugh.

    And the wonderful story.

    You are an amazing Centusian!


Please share your comments with me!

Blogs I Am In Awe Of