Succinct Scenes 2016

Image by Charles Ray

Enjoy these 30- to 75-word creative scenes. Feel free to start here or at the very beginning.

15. Moving Water 
A glass of water topples over on the kitchen counter—for no apparent reason. You heard the lip crack against the granite from all the way in your bedroom, but there is nothing in the kitchen that could have caused this accident. Weird. You clean up the broken glass and go back to your room to fold your clothes.

16. The Early Bird
You literally just saw an early bird catch a worm. No kidding! You were walking along a sidewalk at dawn when a red cardinal swooped down to the grass to grab the end of a worm from the soil. The worm stretched comically long for a few seconds. It then popped loose as the bird scrambled away with its prize. In response, you quickly run inside and tell everybody what you just saw. When you finish your excited chattering, they all stare blankly at you in their pajamas and ask, “Wait, birds really eat worms?”

17. Lights
You wonder which firework show is more spectacular. You experienced one yesterday in Collegedale, TN, from so close that the rockets exploded directly over your head and a flapping American flag as chunks of cardboard debris and confetti rained down through the smoke. Tonight, you watch small colorful lights blink nearly a mile away from you above a Ferris wheel and a pier on the shoreline of Daytona Beach, FL; a full 10 seconds passes before the sound of each faint boom reaches your ears. 

18. A Dry Heat
Burnt cemetery grass crunches beneath our shoes as we mourners meander uncomfortably back to our vehicles like buffalo toward the next field. In sharp black outfits, we stood silently around an opened grave for barely 10 minutes. Soon, only a few stragglers remain by the unburied casket in the heat as car engines begin to break the silence and drivers wave each other along into a single-file line. Your uncle rolls down his window to see if you’re hungry. One life ends, and two others go to Krystal’s for lunch.

19. Chirping
You are boiling eggs when one of them starts chirping. Impossible, you think, leaning closer to the pot, poking the eggs with a spoon. These eggs are from Wal-Mart. They’ve been in the fridge for a week. But you can’t ignore that at least one of them really is peeping away, louder now than ever, maybe burning alive inside its shell? You hurriedly scoop the eggs out, one by one, feeling completely ridiculous and yet—they roll around freely on the counter as you break each one over the rim of a bowl, holding your breath, totally transfixed. Yellow yoke pours out, not burnt chicken fetus. Thank God! You then decide to make scrambled eggs.

20. Indistinct Scene
You are seated before a shabby desk as you realize that you have run out of Succinct Scenes to tell. You try to implement all of your observational skills, thinking that something unique will catch your eye. If not original, then at least you should be able to find something you have an opinion on via Google, but not today. It’s still raining outside; it’s not possible to go on an adventure, and you have left the book you were reading somewhere far away. 

21. Lady Luck
You look down from your computer and watch a cockroach crawl across the wooden floor, a four-leaf clover stuck on its back. You begin to write again.

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Succinct Scenes 2016 (15-21)
Succinct Scenes 2017 (22-present)

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