Yesterday, we began class with a surprise bag of items that had to be thrown out onto each table when Rhonda said ‘go’. Each item then had to go into a story that we had twenty minutes to write and every table had a different grouping of items.

Ours had a tube of chapstick, a long-horn steer, megaphone, button, birthday candle, and a picture of a gorgeous guy – shirt off, ripped abs.

This is my take on that impromptu exercise.

Blaze jumped into his old ford pick-up truck and headed back to the ranch house. He had been herding cattle all day on the hillside behind the main farm field. Someone had left the gate open which allowed the steers to escape.

His lips were chapped and his hands raw. He couldn’t wait for a warm shower. Blaze flew in the back door – the screen slamming behind him. He needed to get that darn thing fixed, he thought, right before ripping off his shirt. The top button of his well-worn jeans released from its frayed thread and jingled across the tile floor.

A small glow caught his ebony eyes, too late to redress himself as his sister yelled into a megaphone: ” SURPRISE – HAPPY BIRTHDAY”, and a crowd of their friends came rushing from their hiding places hoisting a birthday cake. A single candle glowed atop the cake.

Amanda, their new neighbor, came into view. She was wearing a gauzy summer top that showed off her ample assets. All he could do was smile and reach for the chapstick from his now gaping open jeans.

“Thanks,” he said. “Just let me get the scent of farm labor off my chest, and I’ll be right back.” He gave a curt glance to his sister; one that said ‘couldn’t have given me a head’s up?’; and to Amanda, he gave his sexy lop-sided grin. He couldn’t resist running one rope-roughened hand over his chiseled abs.
“Guess I’d better make a wish,” he said as he leaned over and blew out the candle. He caught Amanda’s eye when he raised up, wanting to leave no doubt as to what he had wished for. She blushed – a strawberry hue spreading across her fair complexion. Did he just imagine that she caught the meaning of his scarlet stare?

Others approached him as he passed through to the bathroom, offering their greetings, and his sister tried to gather the semi-shocked guests into the kitchen.

“Hor-deouvres,” she asked.

Amanda thought, ‘I just had mine!’

Rhonda Penders with The Wild Rose Press

Rhonda Penders with The Wild Rose Press

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