The first time I tried the prompts were:
My story was titled 'Conversations in a Laundromat.'
My story was titled 'Birthday Bash.'
Click here to read the past winning and short-listed stories.
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Still think it's a bit hard? Here's one of my past attempts 'Birthday Bash' which answered the prompts:
"Happy birthday to you," Scott holds his beer glass high and the boom of his song drowns out the rest of the family. "Happy birthday you old coot, happy birthday to you."
"What do you mean, old coot!" Harry leans across the table towards his son, his long beard narrowly avoiding the raging fire of eighty candles.
"Oh, come on Dad. It's not like you can do what you used to."
"I could hold my own against you any day."
Scott's beer-belly rocks and rolls as he bellows his raucous laughter.
"Right," shouts Harry, "I challenge you to a game of tennis."
"What! That court hasn't been used for years. There are cracks in it."
"Afraid this 'old coot' will beat you, then. Are you?"
"Dad, there isn't even a net anymore."
Harry pushes away from the table, leaving birthday candles melting onto the cake and presents unopened. All eyes turn to Scott. The family, well-trained in these matters, expresses their discontent with silent stares.
Harry returns with his surveyor's long tape, calls a grandson to hold it and stomps across the court, the tape unreeling behind him. His measuring done, he disappears into the garage again before emerging with his super long extension cord and tying it around the first net post.
"An extension cord Dad; you've got to be joking."
"There's nothing else long enough and I'm improvising. Not something your generation would understand, eh?"
Scott laughs as the second post begins to topple. "Game over, Dad."
Harry glares from beneath verandah-eyebrows and calls to his younger son. "Here, get three of those rocks out of Mum's garden and shore up this post." Everybody knows there is no stopping this now.
Scott's mother drags a plastic chair up to the side of the court as their eldest grandson delivers a large umbrella, and the tennis ball and rackets she had sent him to collect.
"Mum…" Scott raises a hand in dismay.
"I'm the chair umpire." She waves a dismissive hand and settles under the umbrella's shade. "Get on with it. Harry, you serve."
Scott reaches into his pocket. "Aren't we supposed to flip a coin?"
"It's your father's birthday."
Harry smirks, walks to the base line, tosses the ball up and hits it with one almighty THWOK!
At precisely the same time, a pink balloon, escaped from his great-granddaughter's grasp just seconds ago, floats past and POP! Tennis ball - fifteen, balloon–love.
"Default," Mum calls, "Disqualified!"
"Damn it, woman, what default!" Harry tosses his racket to the ground.
"Severe mental anguish inflicted on cute innocent spectator."
"Ha," Scott holds his racket high, "I win."
Mum points a finger at Scott. "Default," she calls. "Disqualified!"
"What have I done?" he protests.
"You were rude to your father on his birthday, and now Shari's poor little heart is broken. You should be ashamed. Game over. No winner. Somebody relight the candles."