Category Archives: RWG

If Toffee Could Talk…

“Hey, Mum. I can’t get inside. There’s this orange meshy thing across it. Lift me over, please?”

“Hey Mum, look. I’ve climbed over the orange thingy across the door! Aren’t you glad? Can I have a cuddle?

“Hey, Mum? There’s a big flat sheet of wood across the door. I can’t climb it. Lift me over for a cuddle, please?”

“Hey, Mum, look! I jumped over the wood! I’m so proud of myself. Aren’t you? Can I have a cuddle?”

“Hey, Mum! I managed to get through the cat door, and find you. I’m so happy to see you! Can I have a cuddle?

“Hey, Mum! I like my new house on the porch! Come out and give me a cuddle?

“Hi, Mum. Let’s just sit here while you do that smoky thing. Then we can go for a walk, yeah?”

“Hey, Mum, there’s a weird animal over the road, making loud shouts at  me, Can I walk right beside you?

“Hey, Mum, I stopped at the kerb, like you wanted. Will you be telling me ‘Toffee…Run home!’ today?”

“Hey, Mum. I beat you home. Can I have a cuddle now, or a treat?”

“Hey Mum? Someone shouted ‘Toffee, run home,’ and I did – but you’re here. So who shouted? And can I have a treat? Or a cuddle?”

“Hey, Mum…I did what you said. I went up the steps and waited on the platform, Thanks for the treat!”

“Hey, Mum. I climbed the steps like you said. But there’s only one treat. Can we go for a run?”

“Okay, Mum, I’m not climbing the steps for just one treat! Can I chase the cat instead?”

“Hey Mum, why is he building a higher fence around my yard? Shall we sit together and watch him, and have a cuddle?

“Hey, Mum. I can see he’s left a gap. I could get through that. Can you take my chain off, please?

“Hey, Mum…my paw’s hurt. There’s red stuff all over my blankets. Can I have a cuddle?”

“Mum! That’s water! You know I don’t like water! Let go of my collar, Now!”

“Mum, what’s this blue thing that man put around my paw? Can I take it off?”

Mum, I got the bigger blue thing off. I’m going to pull the little black things out.”

“Hey Mum. I can’t get this thick white thing off.”

“Morning, Mum. It’s so cold, and I’m too tired to wake up for breakfast. I’ll just sleep a bit longer.”

 “Hey, Mum. Don’t cry. I just could not wake up this morning. It was too cold. It’s not your fault, Mum. I’ll see you, later, and we can have a cuddle.. Don’t cry.”

Written as a “quick-write” exercise at Rotorua Writers Group, then extended. The starter was “If your pet could talk, what would s/he say to you. Toffee was my basenji, and my favourite of all pour family dog’s, as he was mine. Died 2016. Much missed


Suspense – a writing exercise

I don’t know what the hell the shop at my back sold, but its windows’ steel shutters were cold to lean against, and the concrete sill dug deep into my butt. I’d be numb if I had to stay there much longer. But if I as much as twitched, the sensor above and to the left of me would light up the whole shop front like stage lights.

It was a hell of a night to be stuck like a statue. Chilly—probably a frost coming in. Wet—a slight sprinkle with heavier rain a definite probability. Clothing—absolutely useless for the job.

From my damp and cold position I could see both of them—she, leaning against a lamp post three metres along from the restaurant door over the road; and he, hidden in the dark, half sitting on the window sill of the fashion boutique diagonally across the intersection from me.

I knew he couldn’t see me. A large planter was butted against the shop wall beside the window, its tall, full shrubbery hiding me from his view. There were just enough gaps that I, right there beside it, could see his position. Every so often a pin-point of red, glowing at the end of his cigarette, assured me he was still there, after seventy-two minutes.

She knew where each of us was. She was counting on me, and dreading any move he made. Her job was to wait until the Brit left the restaurant and approach him before my marked man intervened.

I knew she was armed. Her silly little hand gun would be tucked in her left knee-high fashionable boot. Being ambidextrous, but mostly using her right hand for everything except fighting, gave her a fractional moment’s advantage should she need it—which she often did. God knows where she kept her stiletto.

My peripheral vision caught flickering sparks from his fag butt as he tossed it down. He moved away from the wall, by about a half-step.

With a sudden rush of chatter and clatter, the restaurant doors swung out into the entry. The doorman stepped out and latched them open as the inner door glided closed, shutting off the brief sound of diners having a good time. That was appropriate—no one in my sight was going to have a good time for much longer.

The doorman stood with a shoulder tucked behind the edge of one door, his back to the man who had silently moved further to stand in the far gutter. The Brit and his minders came from the lobby and stood waiting for their ride. One minder at each shoulder, they ignored the doorman, who knew better than to look at them.

She had already straightened up and stood away from her lamp-post. She grabbed her shoulder tote and slung it on her right as she moved towards them, a gentle sway of her hips suggesting a less than honourable job.

One minder spotted her. He moved from behind the Brit and around to stand in front of him, already on his toes, his knees relaxed, and shoulders balanced ready to go. His shoulders’ tension was an easy tell. This one meant business.

She raised her hand—just a simple flex of her wrist. He relaxed back onto his heels and eased his shoulders.

She continued towards them, the strap of her shoulder tote now wrapped firmly in her right wrist. As she reached a point where the minder’s bulk blocked our man’s vision—he was now halfway across the three-lane road—she raised one finger from the strap.

The minder moved only an eyebrow—up, down—acknowledging her warning.

Aversion – Show Don’t Tell Exercise

Daniel’s girlfriend caught on to his family’s expectations of Mrs Smith’s cooking while joining them in the dining room, all awaiting the bearer of the platters. The family drew out their chairs and sat. Sue and Daniel were the last to arrive.

She was quick of eye and caught many a surreptitious ‘sniff’ as she sat to Daniel’s left. After each one around the table had inhaled the not too pleasant odours from the kitchen, the conversation around the table died to an awkward silence, filled only with the quiet shuffle of fidgeting.

Mr. Smith’s reaction to the test of the approaching flavours was to pull in his chair tight against the table’s edge, as he pulled from his pocket a tube of peppermints. He sat bolt upright, avoiding everyone’s eyes.

Sue noted Daniel hooked his right ankle around the chair leg of Amy, the youngest daughter, beside him. On Amy’s other side, another brother had her far chair leg also hooked by an ankle.

Peter’s shoulders had slumped, and Rosie’s head was drooping. Thomas rose from his chair and fetched two more salt and pepper sets and another pot of mustard. Mister Smith motioned to Joanna, who began pouring and passing glasses of water. Large glasses.

The younger Peter passed around the paper napkin dispenser, and Sue noted how they all took at least three.

Daniel gripped her hand, and whispered “Don’t worry. It’ll be alright.”


Written at March meeting

Off the page – 200-word june homework

The brief: 200 word suspense…1st prsn, or 3rd restricted; no reveal
Suspense can be thought of as generated by the deliberate withholding of information from a reader through the strategic use of point of view.”  Spend some time writing a first person, or third-person restricted, narrative where you lead your reader on but refuse to divulge the full picture of what is actually going on.

The lights are off, inside the building and out in the car park. This place is so familiar I don’t need them. I tighten my grip on the handles of my bag, and feel to check I’ve left the desktop as clear after my rummaging as it’d been when I arrived.

One small chink of keys in my pocket is the only sound. My tread is silent as I cross the room. At the first door, as I place my hand on its handle I remember one hinge squeaks. I work a mouthful of spit, and dribble onto the one at waist height. 

The handle makes no sound, the hinge is silent. I slip through and make sure the door doesn’t ‘clunk’ as it’s forced closed by the fitting above. Across the linoleum floor I feel the cold through my socks. The outer door opens without a sound. I slip my feet into my shoes waiting at the door sill. I get the keys from my right pocket, and lock the door again.

It’s cold, a frost. The night’s black, stars a bright contrast. Cold air stings my lungs, drowns the traffic noise. No-one will know. A sound alarm? Pff!

© Lynne McAnulty-Street, Rotorua NZ, 2016

Off the page – 200-word homework, May ’16

I chose this bach at the end of the beach road after watching for two nights and a day – no lights, no movement, no one living here. A perfect hiding place, its porch faced the headland away from neighbouring baches – just right for recuperation in seclusion from prying eyes. This first night, all I needed was sleep. I’d break the door lock in the morning, after the neighbour took his skiff out for fishing.

I sprawled on the floor. The cotton rug was too scratchy, so I slung it onto the narrow bench-seat. The wooden planks of the partially closed in verandah were cooler to lie on – soothing to aches, bruises, scratches and burns in the summer night’s heat. I started relaxing into sleep almost immediately.

A peculiar feeling, like an ever expanding cold tingle, stirred me wide awake. It crawled over me, my neck, shoulders, back… wrapping me in a creepy prickling sensation. I should have been alone, but I wasn’t. I listened through the blackness.

A snuffling noise. I rolled over and under the bench, pulling the rug back down over me. The click of nails on steps. Damn! The dog had followed me from the crash site!

Off the Page – 200 word homework

There’s something about Douglas Archer…I can’t quite put my finger on anything in particular…it’s just— Things don’t add up. He wears a wedding ring on a cord around his neck, but his house— Have you been inside? Nothing lady-like, feminine. No photos of any woman at all. No frilly touches. How long’s he been here?

That’s eight years more than me, and I still don’t know him. Oh, we talk. At the tea rooms when we sit together over a scone and a shared pot. Always in green corduroys, even in summer. And that green… checky-type… flat cap. Doesn’t  take it off, ever.

But I always get a funny feeling whenever I see him…not up close, but when he’s like, on the other side of the road, or way across the supermarket… It’s like – I’ve known him before. Curious that, cause he’s never mentioned any towns or villages I’ve been. Anyway, enough about “Ginger Head”. Glasses like owl eyes.

What’re  you reading? Oh, I know that magazine. From Scotland? Yes, off you go. I’ll have a quick flick through it while you’re “occupied”.

Oo, Murderer’s Son Looking For Father. I remember that case – Archie McDougal. Old photograph…

…Oh! Ooh!!


Written as a 200-word homework piece, given the brief to provide background to a character, either Ruth McLean or Douglas Archer, and using the word “curious”, for the April meeting.
The latest 200-word homework piece is at the dedicated page here at my site.


Le Tour d’Eiffel

At the writers’ group, we were shown a small model of the Eiffel Tower, and asked to write whatever came into our heads, based on the model. Here’s my effort, written in the ten-minute allowed.


Zhwoowh, zhwoowh, zhwoowh …
Fading in and out, finally strengthening in its solidarity, a blue small box – the height of a small shed, but of a size for only one, with a blue blinking light on top, materialized on the footpath corner.
The noise died down. all that could be heard now was the sounds of occasional night road traffic.
The door opened, and out stepped a tall man, wearing a long coat with a ridiculous top hat on his mass of curls, followed by a young woman, blonde and busty, with a slightly vapid, bored expression on her face.
   ” Look, it’s still here. I told you it would be,” gloated the man.
   ” Well, o’ course,  ‘s been ‘ere since 1800 and somefin’, ‘s made of iron and it ain’t gonna gerrup an’ walk off, is it nah?” She was obviously  bored, or failed to understand his excitement.
   ” You just watch,” he said. “Tonight’s the night. It’ll all happen tonight, and we got here in time!”
   “Wha’ will?,” she asked, examining her nail polish.
   “Galarians. They’ve been slowly gathering here for days. Tonight we’ll see them take off to fly back to Galaria.”