Writing Prompt: Put Down That Book and Fight Me

Here we go with another writing prompt to get the creative juices flowing. Today’s task is to write a short story beginning with the phrase, Put down that book and fight me. 

If you want to participate, it’s easy. Just start writing 😉 Feel free to share what you write in the comments, or provide a link to your blog so others can see what you’ve come up with.

Have fun! 🙂

+++++++++

“Put down that book and fight me.”

The old man in his easy chair didn’t look up. “I admire your tenacity, but I truly must finish this chapter.”

“To hell with your chapter. Stand up and defend yourself.”

“Ones defense is not determined by some notion to get up from your reading chair. Now if you don’t mind, I only have a few paragraphs left and you are interrupting my solitude.”

“You can have solitude when you’re dead,” the young assassin exclaimed. To prove his point, he swished his sword back and forth as if he were cutting through the very air. 

The old man ignored him and continued to read. So intent he was on the written word, his killer could have trashed every shelf in the library and he wouldn’t have budged from the comfort of his chair. In this, the newly arrived Intruder would have to take more drastic measures with his intended target.

“I will give you to the count of five to put your book down and fight. After that, I will kill you where you sit.”

Still, the old man read on, as if the assassin’s voice was nothing but the whisp of a memory echoing in the room. He turned to the next page of his book, and continued to take in each word. A slight smile crossed his face in the same way we ourselves might exhibit when reading a particular clever passage in our favorite tome.

The killer, shuffled from one foot to another as he counted. “One…”

He waited a beat. “Two…”

The old man’s eyes glued to the page, as he nodded in satisfaction.

The killer gripped the hilt of the sword tighter. “Three…”

He took one step forward. “Four…”

A breath. He raised his sword, preparing for the deadly swing. 

Crack! An excruciating pain in his ankle. He staggered back on his other foot, looking down unbelieving at the damage. He hadn’t even seen the old man move, and yet his his leg had shot out from him in deadly precision to strike the breaking point of the killer’s ankle. The rest of him had not moved, and in fact still sat in the high backed leather chair engrossed in his book.

“Oh, you are so dead,” the assassin snarled and charged forward, his sword swinging forward in an arc towards the chair. Before he reached it however, it was flipping backwards, the old man still in it, tumbling over twice until the avid reader was buried under it.

The sword had missed its mark and struck only fabric, enraging the killer. With his good foot, he tried to sweep the chair over on its side so he could see the old man, but the chair was too big and he staggered and swayed off balance. Regaining his footing, he thrust the point of the sword through the chair. 

Thunk! The tip of the sword didn’t meet flesh and bone, but the solid wood of the floor. The old man wasn’t under the chair. 

Looking up, he spied him right away. He was standing by the fireplace. In one hand he held a hot poker, just removed from the embers. In the other, the book he had refused to put down. He raised the volume to eye level and began to read again. 

Angered to the point where the broken ankle no longer mattered, the assassin charged, the arc of his sword swishing back and forth in crisscross movements before him. 

Holding the book out at arms length, the old man brought the poker to bear, gray ash flying off its tip. Sword met poker with a clang. The metal vibrated in their hands, but neither dropped their weapon. Instead, they parried back and forth, the old man taking the lead by driving the young killer back, while the would be assassin himself couldn’t believe the elderly gentleman in coattails still had not put down the book, even while fighting.

This distraction was too much to bear, and the old man with one swift twist of the poker, disarmed his attacker. The sword flew across the room, too far away to be retrieved. With a roundhouse movement , he swept the legs out from under his younger opponent. 

The youth landed on his back hard, the breath nearly knocked out of him. The hot poker was inches from his chest as the old man leaned over him. But the victor was not gloating, nor was he even paying attention. On the contrary, he was still reading. 

He nodded his head, smiled, and put his heel upon the young man’s chest to let him know he was not to get up. He snapped the book shut. He took a deep, satisfactory breath and tossed the poker away. Leaning down, he looked in the young man’s nervous eyes.

“The true reader doesn’t allow anyone to interrupt the tale,” he said.

The fallen warrior shook his head. “I can’t believe you beat me,” he whined.

“I was finished with the chapter.”

The old man reached down with his free hand and helped his student to his feet. 

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: Put Down That Book and Fight Me”

  1. Ooohhh an assassin. And the old man is all calm, just wanting to finish the chapter. But let’s be honest, if an assassin entered my home, I’d probably want a couple of minutes to finish my chapter too. Way to capture the intensity and focus of an avid reader. And a fantastic prompt too. Here’s my piece. Since there is not the option to add italics in comments, let me just say that there is an additional word added to the given prompt phrase the second time it’s used, which occurs in the last line.

    Put down that book and fight me was written all over my body from my clenched fists to my pursed lips and fiery red hair.
    But he didn’t bother to look up from his book to see it. He never did. And it wasn’t really a fight that I wanted, although when I slammed down my suitcase upon entering the room that was surely the message I was trying to send.
    “I’m leaving.” The snarl filled the words with my anger.
    He turned a page in his book, not in any particular hurry. “Will you let the dog back in before you go?”
    The dog. The dog. That damn dog. He cared more for that stupid mutt than he did for me, and he hadn’t even given the dog a name.
    “I’m not coming back.” I pulled out the retractable handle from my suitcase with a sharp snap.
    “Have a safe trip.” He pushed his glasses higher onto his nose. “Will you put out the mail too? It’s on the table next to the door.”
    Not even a glance. I thought about swinging my suitcase at his head, but I didn’t think it would crack his thick skull.
    I tilted my luggage onto its wheels and felt my anger drain. I checked one last time to see if he’d look up from his book, but he didn’t. I slunk to the door and grabbed the mail on my way out. I really didn’t want to fight. What I wanted was for him to put down that book and fight for me.

    1. Thank you much! Glad you enjoyed the prompt and my assassin tale. Sometimes there is no match for a dedicated reader, lol. I have to wonder what the book was 😉

      I love your take on the prompt, as well. The added word at the end changes the whole dynamic of this piece and makes me look at it differently. It was very well written and makes me wonder if maybe I should have written my prompt from a relationship angle as well. There are so many ways the whole prompt can be approached from, I may end up taking another crack at it sometime 😉

      1. Thank you! When I was in second grade, we wrote stories based off of prompts, and that’s when I fell in love with writing. For the very reason you just mentioned. People can start from the same place and end up writing in different genres, perspectives, etc. making the stories so different you wouldn’t even realize they started from the same point.

  2. And for a completely un-canon moment from my vampires (I couldn’t resist 😆 ) Sorry it’s kind of long.:

    “Put that book down and fight me!”

    Raven looked up at the vampire hunter. He was singularly unimpressed by the scrawny man in the old straw hat. “I’m sorry, sir, but I am busy. You have my permission to leave.”

    He turned his attention back to his book.

    “You deaf or something, vampire? Fight me!”

    Raven ignored him.

    The hunter pulled out his Iconoclast Revolution 1.2 and aimed it at the vampire. “Book. Down. Now.”

    Raven sighed. “You don’t seem to understand. This is a very crucial part of the story. I must know what happens.”

    “I’ll tell you what happens. The girl dies. The end.”

    Raven quickly raised his head. “What? Which girl?”

    “The idiot blonde with the nicotine habit.”

    Raven gaped.

    “What? You didn’t know?”

    “I…I thought she and her gay best friend were going to go to Bermuda and braise chickens for a living.”

    The hunter scoffed. “Seriously? You seriously believed that pack of lies? All of the obvious doom signs were there. The author was projecting her death from page 1.”

    “But, sir, Quinn is a good character. I like her. I want her to realize her dream.”

    The hunter lowered his weapon. “Yeah. That author is kind of evil. She’s always pulling jerk stunts like that.”

    Raven put the book down. “Is it a good death, sir?”

    “No. It’s horrible and stupid and unnecessary. All of the reviewers on Amazon hate the fact that she died like that. Even the reviewers who passionately love the book hate her death scene.”

    “What should I do, sir? Is there any point in my continuing to read it?”

    The hunter shrugged. “I would, if I were you. Just to see how it makes you feel. Maybe you’ll see what I and everyone else didn’t. Maybe you’ll see some literary merit in her death. But really, it’s all up to you.”

    Raven bowed his head and considered the book in his hands. The longer side of his hair screened his face. “I will continue to read it. If I hate it as much as everyone else, I will add my own review.”

    “Good. Be sure to use your real name so I know it’s you.”

    As the hunter walked away, Raven opened the book.

    Use my real name.

    Which one?

    Raven or James Arden?

    1. Excellent! I love this. I was smiling through the whole interchange about the book. I could see all this in my head and thought it was pure entertainment and fun. Great job! 🙂

      1. Thank you!

        I had a lot of fun writing this. As you said, there were a lot of ways I could have taken it. It just amused me to set it with one of my Ambrose and Elsie characters. I think the story would have gone into a totally different direction if the hunter had walked in on Ambrose reading. 😉

  3. I loved your rendition, a great way to reveal a lot about the characters in a short amount of time. I took a stab at it myself. It’s a bit dark but I love exploring “taboo” subject matter:

    “Put down that book and fight me!”

    I was doing my best to ignore Chase Thompson, the hot-headed upperclassman who had made it his life goal to piss me off as much as possible. At first he was simply another annoyance that I had to deal with at school: he’d knock my homework out of my hands as he passed by me in the hallway or made an effort to “accidentally” trip over my backpack, inevitably spilling its contents all over the floor. Him and his gang of equally stupid comrades laughed and laughed as if what they were doing was pure comedy genius and not just your run-of-the-mill bullying. I could deal with their idiocy but recently he was becoming more bold.

    Unlike some of my other peers who shared my space at the bottom of the social ladder, I didn’t make a big deal out of their little pranks. Why? Because everyone knows that they do it purely for a reaction. Their childish hunger for superiority can only grow when its fed and I had no interest in being another benefactor. I continued to watch my peers feed them, however, because they were too weak, stupid, or scared to show apathy the way that I did.

    My non-reaction to their bullying built up their frustrations for weeks, especially Chase. He struck me as one of those guys who blamed his faults on the fact that his dad walked out on him when he was young. It was all just an excuse for why he turned into an unbearable shithead who needed to feel feared in order to get something out of life.

    Which brings us here: Me sitting at one of the picnic tables in the courtyard and minding my own business as I read Fahrenheit 451 for class. Sure enough, Chase and his goons had found me. I really did not care to entertain them today.

    “Did you hear me dumbass? Put that fuckin’ book down and fight me,” he sneered.

    “Go bother someone else,” I said, already bored with his attempts to intimidate me.

    Next thing I knew, I was grabbed by the shoulders and being pulled from my seat. The book fell to the ground and I was spun around by one of Chase’s friends, forced to look Chase in the eyes.

    “I heard you been talking shit kid. Why don’t you quit being a pussy and square up?”

    “Who told you that?”

    “Todd Shields, said you like to talk real big when I’m not around…”

    Todd Shields was one of those kids that you looked at and wondered if he knew his ass-end from a hole in the ground. To say he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed would be too generous; the waste-of-space knew little more than how to parrot what everyone else was saying. It made sense that someone like Chase would take any word from that kids mouth as fact.

    “You’re not worth talking about Chase, believe me,” I scowled at him. Bad idea.

    Chase gave me two swift punches to the gut. I immediately hunched over and that’s when he gave me a blow to the head. My vision flashed white and I fell to the ground. My elbow accidentally connected with the cement upon impact, sending more pain through my body. I clutched my stomach and could already tell that there would be bruises there later. Everyone just circled around me and laughed.

    “Pussy can’t even take a punch, pathetic,” one of them said.

    “I knew I was wasting my time,” Chase spat on me and kicked me in the legs. I heard my book being picked up off of the ground. My heart lurched as I listened to the pages being ripped out.

    “Oops.”

    Chase dropped the fistful of pages at my feet and tossed the rest of the book over into the grass. Luckily, they must have decided that they’d had enough fun for the evening. They cackled as they walked away and disappeared through the doors leading back into the lunchroom.

    I finally sat up and looked around to see if anyone had witnessed what had just happened. Nope. The pain in my head flushed my mind with a hot wave of anger. I looked down at the ruined pages of my personal annotated copy of Fahrenheit 451. Quickly, I picked them up and went to retrieve the rest of the book from the grass. As I shoved them back into my backpack I felt my hand graze something metal in my backpack: A semi-automatic pistol, to be exact.

    When they ask me why I did it, I’ll explain that it wasn’t even necessarily because Chase and his friends tried making my life hell. No, I’ll tell them that it was because their very existence annoyed me. I felt the need to do what natural selection had yet to accomplish. I could play the bullied kid angle if I wanted to but that hardly makes a difference. I needed to remind society that bad people come in different packages, especially the ones that have already been beaten on.

    1. Wow!! I love your take on this. It is very cinematic, and I must admit I didn’t see that ending coming. This was very well written and packs quite a punch (no pun written intended). Thanks for taking part in this prompt and hope to see some more of your work soon 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s