Romps with Prompts

You know you’ve watched too many reality shows like American Idol, when you see “Make a Prompt Personal” and actually hear, “Make it your own.”

But then I think, make THIS prompt personal? Or are we talking about any other prompt that’s shuttled my way on the assembly line of Promptdom? My mind comes up with too many questions. Way more than there are answers, I’m sure.

I can see going up to the Prompt Center – which would be somewhere in the Town Square of The Blogging U campus. Hmmm… But campuses don’t have town squares. Or do they? At NYU, Washington Square Park, was a veritable town square of the little neighborhood known as Greenwich Village, in New York City.

Yes, so here I am at the Prompt Center. It’s got an address like 9-3/4 on it, so that I can’t helping thinking of running at it, full speed ahead, to get through to the other side, where the Promptwarts Express awaits to take me to my very own personal Prompt. There’s a variety, actually. Isn’t there always? I mean, really, they don’t just have the plain old, tried and true, run of the mill prompt. No they come in colors; a rainbow of colors. This is supposed to make me feel like it’s my VERY OWN. It’s not like anyone else’s. Yet, what are the odds of a prompt being completely my own? What if my prompt looks like someone elses? What if it has the identical dna of other prompts?

Oh, wait, I know. To make a prompt my own, I will have to make it from scratch! It’ll be like the Betty Crocker of Prompts, made with basic ingredients. But wait, there’s no supermarket of Prompts with basic ingredients. I’ll have to buy land, sow the seeds of my personal prompt, and water it and watch it grow from the seedling, into it’s own unique Prompt self.

Then I’ll have to write the story of it: Everything you wanted to know about making prompts but were afraid to ask. And one day, as I sit with my prompt, proud of it, I’ll hear a knock on the door. It’ll be a rep from MGM studios, telling me they’ve read my, now, best selling Book of Prompts, and want the rights to make the movie, which they’ll call, “The little Prompt that could.” They’ll ask me questions like, who do I want to play my prompt? When will I be able to go on tour for the book and the movie. And what about the soundtrack? A Prompt needs a song of its own.

As I write my memoir, years after the hoopla of the Romps with Prompts has found its way into history books, my one thought will be, what a long strange trip it’s been. Sitting in my rocking chair at Prompt Acres Nursing Home, with photographs of my very own prompt near-by, I’ll recall the day my little Prompt was born, and smile.

What Dreams May Come

The fog was thick. You couldn’t even call it a mist. No, not when the George Washington Bridge was a ghostly span, unseen, leaving one the sense there was nothing beyond The City.

Kathleen Kelly closed the book she’d been reading on her one day off from her store, The Shop Around The Corner. She looked at the visage of the explorer from another time. “Why even you, Marco Polo, could be across the vast expanse of the Hudson.” Turning off her light, she nestled into her pillow, thoughts of The Khan’s Mongolian Kingdom playing out its history, millenia ago, from this modern day city. But, what would it have been like there?

It wasn’t the traffic which woke her. Kathleen was too used to those sounds. They were simply background noise. She lay there, in the dark, listening. Was that a clop, clop, clopping? A horse? Slipping on her robe, she moved silently through her room to the window. Tilting her head, she tried to make sense of the way the street lamps looked like they were Chinese lanterns, giving meager light to the street down below.

Kathleen considered the possibility that she was sleeping. Not that lucid dreaming was anything she had experience with before this night. A split decision had her stepping into her sneakers, and heading for the door. The notion of taking an umbrella with her faded as she pulled the frontdoor open. Instead of the flight of stairs which led down to the brownstone’s entrance, she stood at street level, bricks paving a narrow road that was quiet now.

Sliding one foot forward, as if dipping a toe in the ocean’s surf to test how cold it might be, she felt there was, indeed, substance to the roadway. It didn’t even occur to her that the stoop of her home had also vanished, as she took another hesitant step, then continued moving toward the echo of the hoof beats which had pulled her from sleep.

The darkened doorways which lined both sides of the street were simple, rather hovelish. Yes. It is a dream. She was sure of it, now, following the path down toward an intersection. Not of the stop sign kind, but rather an intersecting side alley, down which she continued. As she neared the end, there was a rustling, jangling, and yes, neighing!

The doors to a stable stood open, and Kathleen crept up to them, peeking in through a lattice work window just to the left of gaping mouth to the dimly lit barn. A man, hair tossled, wearing what Kathleen could only imagine was the clothing of a masquerade ball. Robes, beneath an outer longer coat, stood attending his horse.

“Is someone there?” Kathleen heard him ask, as he glanced toward the street, where she was poised. His English was tinged with a bit more than a hint of an Italian accent. She peered around the door, sheepishly smiling, then stepped into the stable.

“I was just,” she paused briefly. “passing by.”

The young man walked toward her, a puzzled look upon his face. “Who are you? Where did you come from?”

“I’m Kathleen. Kathleen Kelly.” She stuck her hand out to shake his.

“I’ve never seen you here before. Where did you come from?” They were standing with just a small distance between them.

“My brownstone.” Kathleen replied.

“Your what?” Before she could explain, he reached out, his fingers touching her robe. “what are you wearing?”

“My brownstone, and my robe and pajamas, and I could ask you the same thing. What are you wearing? Just come from a fancy dress ball?” She placed her hands on her hips, the bathrobe falling open, revealing her flannel kitty-kat PJs. “And who are YOU?”

At her tone, he squinted his eyes. “The Latin,” he said, off-handedly.  “I’m hardly dressed for anything fancy. I’ve just been riding, as you can see.”

“The what?” It was her turn to declare surprise at a rarely used way of speech. “Your name is, The Latin?”

“No, it’s Marco. Marco Polo.”

“oh right. And I’m Cleopatra!”