Today’s writing prompt brought to you by 700+ Creative Writing Prompts. I chose
Write your story about two characters tidying up after a party.
“You made it,” Julie’s voice called out through the crowd. She appeared before Adair a moment later and gave her a big hug. “It’s so good to see you.”
Adair returned the hug for a moment and reminded herself to be grateful to her friend. “You saw me this afternoon.”
“I know. But here you are, not only dressed but dressed up, at a party, being social and stuff.”
Adair looked down at her red Starfleet uniform and shook her head. When Julie had informed her that the annual costume party would be happening despite all that was going on in her life, Adair had thought she’d lost her mind. But Greg wanted to keep up appearances, so a party they would have. Adair had informed her that she would be hiding out in her bedroom or maybe she’d go camping if the night was nice, but Julie badgered her into attending, and in costume. Good thing she’d had the costume hanging in her closet already.
“I worry about you,” Julie added before turning to others to say hello.
“I worry about me too,” Adair commented and looked around her friend’s expansive luxury home turned haunted castle. The Mitchell House Halloween Hootenanny, as this year’s event had been termed, teamed with people in costume. Nigel the Stickler manned the front door, verifying that all attendees had made some sort of costume, for “It’s a drag for the rest of us who put in effort to be brought down by those who are lazy and just want free booze.” Nigel had a very proper gentleman’s steampunk butler outfit on, complete with silver face paint and gears attached to his temples. His robot movements in welcoming people were not that far off from his stuffy normal persona. He’d even arranged for loaner costumes, “of lower quality,” he said in an aside to her, taken from the vast collection of reenactment clothing that the Mitchells owned.
Adair moved through the various rooms, looking at the decorations and the decorated people. She found a couple, who had apparently pre-partied, already cuddled up on a love seat in the fully lit theater room, having their own entertainment. The movie hadn’t even been started yet. In the library, a group of junior accountants, dressed as the crew of the most recent Doctor Who series, discussed the possible cost of travel by TARDIS. She listened in for a moment, until one of them looked up, noticed her, and said, “OMG, everyone, it’s Addie!” Everyone gathered around her and told her stories of the horrible things that had been happening at the office and asked where she was working now.
“I’m waiting for the IRS to get back to me,” she lied, adding, “I’ll probably be moving to DC.” Everyone seemed excited by that, so she smiled and moved on.
“Did you see those odd lights over the mountain earlier?” A vampire she didn’t recognize asked a girl dressed as the dragon queen from GOT. The girl petted her stuffed dragon and said, “I thought it was the air force or something. Wouldn’t it be cool if it were actually a UFO?”
Greg Mitchell, or Julie’s Bane as Adair privately called him, held court on the patio that looked down on the pool. His toadies gathered around him, laughing at his jokes, drinking his whiskey, and generally supporting his bad behavior. Julie looked on, a slight frown on her face, from the kitchen. Adair joined her and looked out at the group.
“There she is,” Julie said in a low voice. “He told me she wouldn’t be coming but there she is.” The she in view, slinking up to the table in a skimpy belly dancer costume, was the most recent contestant to try to topple the Mitchell marriage, Sara.
“Skank,” Adair commented to be supportive. “Maybe Nigel will kick her out.”
“Oh, Nigel loves her. Everyone loves her. ‘Oh Sara’s so nice. She’s so sweet.'”
“Who told you that?”
“Everett’s wife Connie.”
“What’d you say?”
“I didn’t. I just smiled and gave her a bar shot.”
Adair laughed. A bar shot at the Mitchell House contained whatever mix of alcohol came to the bartender’s hand from under the bar, without the bartender looking at it. Adair glanced at the bar and found no one attending it.
“Look, I’ll tend bar for a bit and then come back after things die down and help you clean up.”
“You don’t have to work the bar. Go mingle.”
“I don’t really feel like it.”
“Oh Addie.” Julie gave her a one armed hug and said, “Okay. I appreciate the help cleaning up.” She grabbed a bottle of cheap white wine and her camera off the counter and, squaring her shoulders, stepped out into the crowd to take pictures of her husband’s bad behavior. She’d started taking pictures after the first contender to her title. If Greg ever wanted to divorce her, or she him–Gods why doesn’t she divorce him?— she’d have photographic proof. She passed it off as recording the wonderful costumes. And it was true, there were some wonderful costumes and everyone loved having their pictures taken, even those in the loaner costumes. The white wine bottle gave her an excuse to spill some on Sara.
Adair set herself up at the bar, making sure all the required items, like lemon juice and bitters, were at hand. “Who wants Gin bombs?” she asked, not very loudly. The bar instantly had a line.
Several hours later it seemed, she’d collected many keys, handed out many of Mike’s cab company cards, and gone through most of the gin, whiskey, vodka, and tequila at the bar. She glanced at clock on the microwave and it told her she’d spent way too many hours on her feet and her plan of sneaking off to her room to avoid most the party was void, as most of the party now seemed to be over. She pulled a bar stool around, poured herself a fresh ice tea, and sat to watch people leave. She hadn’t seen Julie in a while, but she could hear Greg’s hearty laugh and the splash of someone going into the pool. She hoped they were sober enough not to drown. The scent of cooking bacon wafted in from the patio kitchen.
“Midnight bacon!” Sybella said, as she flounced past in her Queen of Hearts costume into the full kitchen where she helped herself to the serving utensils and a platter. Sybella had been a former contender but somehow had weathered the wrath of Julie to become a frenemy. She was currently shacked up with Mike and running his life. Someone sat next to her at the bar.
“Getcha something?” Adair asked, rising.
“Undetermined,” a somewhat robotic sounding voice said. She looked up and immediately noted a few things: his eyes were crystal blue, he was tall and lanky, he had a nice smile, and if she’d been drinking, which she’d given up a few months ago, she’d totally take him to bed. He was dressed as an alien of some sort. He had on a bodysuit similar to her’s but his was armored, with shiny blue-gray between the plates. He had tubes running up from the chest peace to his throat that looked like they went into the jugular. He had a diamond-shaped piece attached to the center of his forehead. It glowed with a blue-white light that complemented his eyes. His dark skin, where it showed, had a sheen to it.
“You’re costume is amazing. Has Julie taken a picture yet?”
“Why? You look amazing. Sorry, repeating myself. Are you sure I can’t get you a beer?”
Adair found a beer in the back of the fridge, out of the last six-pack it seemed. Someone would either have to go get more or, more likely, Greg would break into the special booze and the expensive drinking would commence.
The man took the bottle and a ray of light came out of the diamond on his head and ran over the label. He nodded after a moment and took a sip and then sighed in apparent contentment.
“How did you do that?”
He tilted his head and the beam of light ran over her. She laughed. “Neat trick. I’m Adair, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you. I don’t recognize you from the office. Are you a friend of Greg’s or Julie’s?”
He paused and his eyes shifted from side to side for a brief moment. “Negative.”
“Oh really?” Nigel missed another party crasher, ha! “How did you end up here?”
“At this party?”
“This location has a pool of water sufficient for my needs. Explain party.”
“This is the party for the hip judicial crowd of Vail, Arizona.” She gave him props for staying in character.
“Are you employed by hip judicial crowd of Vail, Arizona?”
“No. I live here. In the pool house. I’m actually an accountant. On sabbatical, extended sabbatical.”
What the hell, he’s a stranger. “I was laid off during the pandemic and haven’t found a job yet. Julie, my friend and owner of this establishment, is also an accountant. We worked at the same company. Her husband, Greg, is the lawyer and source of the hip judicial crowd.”
“Of Vail, Arizona.”
“Yep. Do you want another beer?”
“Negative. Do you have an owner?”
He blinked a few times and said, “Husband. Do you have a husband owner?”
“Fuck no. I mean, no. Sorry. I had a husband but the bastard dumped me for his 20-year-old research assistant. I lost my house, then I lost my Mom to the pandemic, and then I lost my job and now I live in a make-shift bedroom of my friend’s pool house.”
“Yeah, I guess I’m still a little angry.”
“Are you sure? I mean, I don’t want to bore you.”
So she told him about how hard it was to get out of bed, to get dressed, to do anything; about lying in bed and being tired all the time but not sleeping; about her growing fascination with the concept of the void.
“Depression,” ZB23 said when she finished.
“Yeah. I guess you’re right.” She sipped her tea and said, “I really should do something about that.”
They sat in comfortable silence for a moment, then Adair smiled at her companion. “Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself, ZB23?”
He didn’t answer immediately, but looked at her without blinking for a long moment.
“Please tell me about ZB23,” she said.
“That is my designation.”
“And what are you?”
“Operant I.S. Zergob.”
She sipped her iced tea and wondered how far this guy would go. “Okay, I’ll play. What is I.S. Zergob?”
“Interstellar Sphere designated Zergob.”
“Who or what is Zergob?” She felt like she was playing one of those computer word-driven choose-your-own-adventure games. At least his wooden answers were delivered with a charming smile and flashing eyes. Occasionally his head beam would run over her face and body.
“Zergob. A historical figure of martial origin.” He paused, ran his beam over her and said, “No input detected.”
Just then Julie called for her. “Someone’s put a funky glowing globe in the hot tub. It’s heavy. Can you help me get it out?”
“Excuse me ZB23. I will return.” She put her tea behind the counter and went outside to help her friend.
“Who was that cute guy you were talking to?” Julie asked.
“I don’t know his real name. He’s very into play acting though, and his costume has cool features like a light that shines out of his head.”
“Is he a friend of Greg’s?”
“No, actually I think he’s a party crasher.”
She hadn’t thought of that. She told herself she’d dump her tea when she got back to the bar, just in case. She didn’t want any sort of ruffle incident. She looked around for Greg, whose big ego was backed up by the fact that he was the size of a linebacker. For all that he had his issues, Greg would back her up. He and his toadies were splashing about in the pool. Little miss Sara belly dancer had lost even more clothing and was slapping her toes in the water and throwing come hither looks at him, but he wasn’t paying attention. Kind of pathetic.
“Should I shove Sara in and hold her under?” Adair whispered to her friend.
Julie laughed and said, “Rohit, of all people, said he’d be taking her home soon.”
“Rohit is a wingman.”
“I’ll clip his wings if he doesn’t,” Julie commented and then gestured at the Jacuzzi. A round object that looked like crystal glowed with a blue-white light occupied the center of the pool, taking up most of the space. The color reminded her of ZB23.
“Ideas?” Julie asked. “I’ve already tried to get under it and roll it out, but it is super heavy. I don’t know how they got it in here with no one noticing.” She noticed that Julie looked a little damp.
“Did you ask Greg?”
“He looked and said, in his best lawyerese, ‘Huh.'”
“Helpful. Maybe we should just leave it.”
“Affirmative,” ZB23 said from behind her.
“Oh, hello. Addie tells me you are a party crasher.”
He frowned. “I.S. Zergob is not crashed. It is recharging.”
“You mean this thing in my hot tub is yours? Who the hell invited you and what made you think you could…” Julie paused when his beam shot out at her.
“Come on, ZB23, I think it’s time you broke character…” Adair stopped when she noticed Julie wasn’t moving. “Julie?” She shook her. Julie didn’t move. Adair checked her pulse and it still beat. She turned to the man.
“Did you freeze her?”
“Well unfreeze her. Now.”
“I.S. Zergob is almost recharged.”
“I don’t care. She’s important to me and you froze her.”
He pushed his lips together and then tapped his headpiece. A red beam shot out at Julie, who took a big breath and stepped back, saying “Get the fuck out of my house.”
“Negative. Must recharge first.”
“Honey!” Julie called.
“Hold on, Julie. ZB23, how long until your sphere is charged?”
“Five Earth minutes.”
“See, five more minutes and ZB23 and his weirdness will be out of our hair. Right ZB23? You’re leaving once your sphere is charged?”
“It better not be ruining my Jacuzzi. I just got it fixed.”
“Anger,” ZB23 said.
“Yeah, she’s angry.”
“Oh fuck this, I’m done,” Julie said and stormed off to the pool, shouting, “Everyone out. Party’s over. Get the hell out. Now.”
“What the fuck Jules?” Greg asked.
“This is my fucking house, dickhead. My money, my house, my decision. Rohit, get that skank out of here.”
“But…” Greg said.
“You’re lucky I’m not booting you to the curb too. As it is, you can sleep in your fucking man cave. Now get your fucking friends moving.”
“Okay, okay…” Greg got everyone out of the pool and apologized for his wife’s rude behavior.
The sphere flashed a variety of lights and rose into the air, hovering just above the hot tub.
“It is ready,” ZB23 said.
“So, uh, you’re not from around here, are you?” Adair said.
“Is there room in there for two?”