#19: Talking Shop
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday might be behind us, there are still weeks of shopping ahead as many of us gear up for Christmas.
While Hallmark holiday movies might have us believe that holiday shopping is a relaxed and cheerful activity that involves dipping into quaint shops with a hot chocolate in one hand and a bag of goodies in the other — we know the truth. Often, holiday shopping is a chaotic, several hour-long excursion through a packed mall, where you down cups of coffee just to keep yourself going. Or maybe you prefer to shop online, from the serene comfort of your couch. Finally, perhaps you avoid the whole thing altogether, because, like the Grinch, you know that "Christmas doesn't come from a store."
Whatever the case, it's clear that shopping can conjure up a range of emotions in different people. And your challenge this week is to capture those very emotions in a short story about... shopping!
This week's prompts
Write a short story about someone searching for the perfect gift for their partner.
Romance – 60 stories
Write a short story about someone watching a convincing infomercial.
Funny – 23 stories
Write a short story about a shop that takes place over a span of years.
Narrative – 44 stories
Write a short story about someone based on their shopping list.
Character – 50 stories
“A Heart Is Not an Orange” by Joshua G. J. Insole
1Martin Wilson never returned from his student exchange program abroad. This is mostly due to the fact that he didn’t escape the vampire.“Oh, sweet Jesus!” cried the Brit, as he pounded down the stony hallways of the castle, footsteps echoing into the night. Outside the tall, gothic windows, a ghostly fog obscured the grounds around the place. His perception and understanding of where he was spatially were being warped and twisted – Martin thought he was at ground ...
“Fake-adryl” by Natasha Arnold
Snuggled in between his throw pillow and heated blanket, Sheldon was content. It was 4am after a tiresome day of Sheldon’s battle for social justice, usually in the form of Facebook arguments. Whether it was orphans, immigration, environmental care, or gay rights, Sheldon was always at the front lines. With quick wit and fierce typing, Sheldon would respond to vile posts written by “degenerate scum”. Among many things, Sheldon would be an outspoken voice against buying ani...
“The UnderRoad” by Adriana K. Maxwell
You could easily go past it. It is a drab little building, built right under the bridge. It has mottled walls of brown, grey, and tan bricks, darkened by the exhaust from the cars going by or floating down from the road above. Apparently, windows had been used to fill in any gaps in the wall. It was the only logical reason for their scattered position and mismatched styles. But if you go through the black door with the bright yellow trim, they say that you will find help. It doesn’t look like it.&nbs...
“Sometimes, Reading Requires a Strong Left Hook” by Lily Kingston
June 2nd, 1987 I walked out from the stockroom, reading off the shift schedule. “Randy, your shift is over. I’ve be closing tonight.” I glanced up. “Annnddd Randy is gone and replaced by a small dwarf.” “I’m not a dwarf!” A little girl with stubby pigtails exclaimed.
“chrysocolla” by Cl Barton
There are three hours to go, on this busy Saturday shift. All day it's been cold, wet and windy outside, crowds of Christmas shoppers trudging grimly, doggedly, past the windows along the High Street, huddled in their faux-furriest winter coats, collars turned up. The cabinets need dusting, stock needs replacing, little cards with tiny writing, with the names of gems, and prices. Kunzite pendant, £390. Stacking ring set in topaz, peridot, citrine, £25 each or £70 for three; size L. The crystals...
“Number One” by Lee Kull
The Mart, New York City, New YorkShe walked the aisles, ocularly scouring each one, staring at every item, all the while knowing that it was none of these things she would leave with. She had decided before she had come what she was getting for her husband, but she played out the game anyway, knowing that the manager watched her intently through the surrounding video cameras. He was waiting to see what his next best-selling item would be.She pictured the manager in her mind, sweat beading on his forehead, n...
“Ring and Necklace” by Elliott Laurence
I was expecting to return home in no more than an hour, but what happened next caused me to lose ten years. It was supposed to be a last-minute pickup. It was supposed to be ready the day after Thanksgiving. I had anticipated the Christmas rush and that things would be backed up. I never anticipated that the order would be the wrong necklace and ring. “See. The set I ordered for you was the one you were admiring at the jewelry store,” says Benny. The chocolate set. The one ...
“Next stop, normal” by Bree Kokiri
*Warning, this story contains strong subject matter that some readers may find upsetting. Reader's discretion is advised. I pulled my jacket closed as the cold autumn wind whipped through the parking lot of Chick-A-Dee store. I put on my tacky, neon orange, employee vest. It reads “How can I help you?” across the back. Right, as if I can help people while I’m chasing run away carts. Not that it stops them from asking. I pull my sandy brown hair into a pony tail, and sigh. I close my eyes for a moment, wondering how I ca...
“A Story of Spun Yarn” by Lily Kingston
“Umm, do you have this in teal?” I asked holding up a light blue bundle of yarn. “Ooh, or maybe like a fuzzy teal? I don’t know what it’s called--arts and crafts really aren’t my thing--but like it has sort of these splintering-off threads on it? It puffs out more.” I tried to gesture with my hands. “God, I really don’t know what it’s called. Do you know what I’m talking about?” “Yeah, I think ...
“And the clock read ten” by Chris Richter
The clock read 9:26. Thirty-four minutes until closing time. Eloise looked awkward at the register. She was leaning on the edge of her stall, built too low to be leant upon comfortably, propping her head up with her hand. When her manager had threatened a lottery on Christmas Eve duties, Eloise had raised her hand to volunteer. She preferred the serenity of a late-night shift to the concocted merriment of the holidays. It was her family’s turn to host the entirety of the Pennywise clan. Uncles, aunts, and cousins ...
“Sarah's List” by Heidi Slowinski
‘ISO the owner of this list.’ I typed into my post before adding the photo. ‘To whom it may concern,’ I went on, musing at the formality of the post. ‘I am seeking the owner of this list, found at the local discount store on 2nd Street.’ I tagged the location, just in case.It was a piece of notebook paper I found in the aisle at the discounter where I was picking up paper plates and a few other supplies for a co-worker’s birthday at my office. I had been in a hurry and, frankl...
“Building a Dream” by Tara Emami
It started when she was a little girl. She desperately wanted to have a car toy, but everybody brought her dolls instead of car toys. Car toys were for boys. So, one day, in the middle of her birthday party, she decided that enough was enough. When her uncle gave her another barbie doll, 4-year-old Tara threw it out, in front of twenty pairs of shocked eyes.In addition to scaring her family with this aggressive-called behavior, she got creative in how to satisfy this burning desire ...
“Axiom the Second” by Arthur Tiberio
The most important part of watching someone was to make sure you weren't being watched in turn. Keeping this in mind, Romley walked silently through the outer promenades of the bazaar, taking care to stay only in the shadows. The sun was very hot, despite this being only the barest edge of the desert, so the loose turban which covered his eyes received no special attention. He passed quickly through the domain of the fruit vendors and fishmongers, and wormed his way into the crowded stalls of men who sold far more exotic items. A...
“That one dress” by Tiana Gabel
I push aside the curtain, the steam from the shower instantly sinking in the cold bathroom like some sci-fi cryogenic pod had opened in the tub. Get some green lights in here, and maybe some holographic nylon clothes for me and this would be a perfect set for a supernatural skincare commercial. I scribble the additions on a 4 by 6 card crammed with ink. Two more items Christmas-listed. I ...
Ended on 23:59 - Dec 13, 2019 EST
Won by Kelsey Marlett 🏆
Submissions must be between 1,000 - 3,000 words and will be approved and published on Reedsy Prompts within 7 days of the contest closing.
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