Scraps of writing I feel like sharing.

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Tin House’s PLOTTO Prompt: Week 5. Prompt: “[B], for many years mysteriously absent from her home, seeks a happy renewal of old ties by returning suddenly and unheralded to her native place.”

The Reunion, by Apple Plotnick Jannotta

Leonard wasn’t easy to murder.

For one, he refused to take medicine or drink dark or bubbly drinks for fear of poisoning.

Then there was the fact that he wouldn’t drive the car himself, and, when a passenger, would only sit directly behind the driver, with seatbelt well-tightened.

It was almost nerve-wracking for Muriel to determine how to kill him: their home had no stairs to fall from, no high windows to lean too far out of, no high traffic to run-down an unsuspecting Leonard. Nothing obvious that wouldn’t betray her intentions.

So, she waited. It had now been five years and their wedding anniversary was upon them. This was the one day of the year he would consent to drink a bubbly drink, so she knew she had her most palpable chance in hand.

Leonard spent the morning in the bathroom, doing his usual routine, while she drew up plans and measured out the required amounts of powders from her stores, based on his body composition and weight.

Satisfied, she placed the items carefully inside her handbag and went to ready herself for the day in the guest bathroom.

It wasn’t until after the judge had ruled it an intentional homicide that Leonard allowed himself to smile again. The trial had lasted longer than he had planned, as, apparently, Muriel had also been trying to kill him.

Little did she realize how much he hated life on the outside. The freedom was terrifying. He craved his ‘three squares’ and designated schedule. He had tried to replicate that with Muriel but she was forever trying to ‘mix things up’ and ‘have a little fun,’—as she put it—to his constant torment. Routine was his only comfort.

He knew the world was too big for a man who had spent forty years apart from it.

He also knew what to do, but needed a believable motive, so he waited. Anniversaries, he figured, were always considered volatile for couples.

His return to the prison didn’t go unnoticed.

The Warden and the chief guards greeted him with a smile and a familiar slap on the back. It was his homecoming to cell Block D.

He lunched with Abel, who had never gotten called by the judge but wasn’t bitter about it anymore. He showered with Harry and Larry—the twins who had severed the heads off their parents.

And late at night, as his shoulder fell familiarly into the gap of the slim mattress padding, he’d look out the narrow window bars to the prison opposite his, and wonder which cell had belonged to Muriel, back in the day.



Tin House PLOTTO Prompt 1:  “{A}, proceeding about his business and caught in a crowd, is confronted suddenly by a strange person, {BX}, who thrusts a mysterious object, {X}, into his hand and, without a word, disappears.”

The Delay, by Apple Plotnick Jannotta

Reginald Hastings, while proceeding about his business and caught in a crowd around the emptying Tube station platform, was confronted suddenly by a strange hooked-nose man dressed in black robes, who proceeded to thrust a mysterious object wrapped in a jelly-colored plastic into his hand and, without a word, disappeared back into the crowd.

“What in the blazes?!” he exclaimed, confused, looking down at the weighty object now in his right hand, while losing his forward momentum on the platform.

He looked back up just in time to see the car doors slide close and the announcer proclaim the trains departure.

“Bloody Hell!” he proclaimed under his breath, and turned to study the schedule for a moment to see if there was a new change he could do to make up the time he would need to get to Victoria Station before his unscheduled delay would render his current ticket worthless and he’d miss his plane.

Faced with waiting the ten minutes the station demanded, he huffed and turned towards the set of four seats, determined to rest his plantar fascia and make the time at least slightly well-spent. He pressed his body forward, edging himself between an elderly woman carrying four grocery sacks and the only open seat. Victorious, he set his small suitcase on the platform and turned his attention to the mysterious wrapped object.

It was weighty and egg-shaped, that much he could tell immediately, and beneath the pink iridescent wrapper, it looked to be gold.

“What strangeness is this?” he thought to himself, and proceeded to unwrap it haphazardly pulling the ribbon and letting it drop onto the platform below, a rouge streak slicing across the grimy grey.

Pushing the wrappings down, he revealed a large golden egg, adorned with delicate carvings not unlike the Gaelic knots he looked forward to seeing while on his upcoming three-day Evan Evans tour with his bachelor neighbor Dennis. He expected to have his back twinged by all the twin beds in their shared rooms being poorly-padded with cheap mattresses, but still, he could now say after 63 years that he will have finally seen Ireland.

The egg appeared to be in multiple parts, each creating a leaf of the full shape. He tried to pry one open with his fingers, but it was tightly sealed.

“What on earth is this used for?” he wondered, and placed it between his knees, readying to use as much force as he could muster to pry it open, determined to get a look inside.

Just then, the sides gave way completely and a loud, shocking shrieking filled the station, echoing off the walls.

“Hold up, that’s where he hid it!” a young boy suddenly appeared, grabbed the egg and closed it in one quick movement.

By the time Reginald could look up from his grimace, all he saw was the old lady pointing a finger towards the sky, saying “By God, it’s Harry Potter!”