Sizzle and Stagnation (Short Fiction from Different Perspectives)

Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #346

The prompt: November, patience, bedroom, rights, brandy, happiness, accusation, society, contradiction, class

I’m a little tired of politics, but the prompt lent itself to a statement on politics.  And so I wrote two pieces based on this week’s words – not quite stories in their own right, but little vignettes that were inspired by the week’s words.



I could tell from the headlines that a contentious November election was right around the corner. Nobody had an iota of patience left; nobody wanted anyone else to find happiness, in or out of the bedroom. A harsh accusation, but the stalemate over human rights, class and racism, and society’s relationship with government and business had ground all productive activity in the Capitol to a halt.

The view from atop the monument was a contraction – this far up, the cars and people looked like a colony of ants, belying their summer stagnation. I reluctantly took the elevator back to the base and slowly wandered from the Mall in search of a good brandy.



November breezed in, a welcome breath of crisp, cooling air after a simmering summer. The sun cast long golden rays across the shadow-dappled lawn. Brandy in hand, Elise flung open the heavy double doors that separated the bedroom from the balcony, breathing in the scent of tart apples and sweet cider. Gone were the wildflowers and the scent of their blossoms; these had been replaced by the aroma of cedar and earth, nature’s sigh before the sleep of winter. The October leaves had set the hills ablaze in red and orange and yellow; now, they were letting go of their hold on twigs and branches, dancing on the wind.

A gray squirrel scrambled up the sweetgum tree beside the house. With persistent patience, he had amassed quite a cache of acorns, nuts, and seeds for the coming winter. A pair of blue jays teased and taunted the little squirrel, now and then daring to steal a seed or a nut and taking turns dropping it on the poor little fellow’s head. He stopped for just a moment to scold them, and they replied with accusations of their own while strafing him like kamikaze pilots. By all rights, some of the plunder did belong to the blue jays. The little squirrel had learned to climb up to the bird feeder and steal the best bits, and the birds were now onto his game.

Elise could barely contain her happiness. Next week, her guests would begin to arrive. Her dream of running a writers’ retreat and creativity class would soon be a reality. Though she had craved solitude and the quiet, country life, Elise had missed the society of other writers. Her friends didn’t understand, but to Elise’s way of thinking, this was no contradiction at all.


Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at For more information on her children's books, please visit
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