Here’s a bit of fun I wrote at Holmfirth Writers a while back. I seem to remember that the first line was the prompt for the exercise.
The day was coming to an end, but still the heat fell like hammers.
So much so, in fact, that several people were injured, innumerable tiles broken and an unfortunate garden gnome smashed beyond repair.
A cart containing two people rolled slowly down the rutted – and now hammer-strewn – road and past a large wooden sign that said ‘Welcome to Metaphoria – be careful what you say!’
The couple were grimy and covered with sweat – it really was hot, never mind all those hammers.
“I am so sick of this bloody weather,” said the woman. Almost immediately, red droplets began falling from the sky and splashing on their clothes and faces.
“What is this? Why is it red?”
“I don’t care,” said her husband. “I’m just glad of a bit of water on my skin. It can rain cats and dogs for all I care.”
“Nooooo ….” screamed a woman from a nearby house, before her wails were drowned out by a chorus of barking and hissing as surprised animals began to tumble from the sky. A small poodle landed on some sacks in the back of the cart, then dusted itself off and jumped into the road.
The woman stomped angrily towards the cart, dodging a couple of falling moggies on the way.
“Didn’t you read the sign? This is Metaphoria. Everything you say here gets taken literally by our crazy local God, who also has a warped sense of humour. So you mustn’t use metaphors.”
“Point taken. I’ll avoid them like the pla…” said the man in the cart, before she managed to get a hand over his mouth.
“Similes too. If I hadn’t stopped you just then, everyone in this town would have been dead within three weeks. It’s best not to talk at all while you’re here, but if you must, do so in plain, unambiguous language.”
“OK, fair enough,” said the man. “I get the message.” His wife was not so convinced.
“What about nice metaphors, though? Does your God react to those too? I mean …” She winked at her husband. “… we came here because we’d heard the streets were paved with gold.”
And sure enough, in a flash, the road gleamed a metallic yellow.
“Oh wow, I’m starting to like your God! I’m going to have another go. “Life’s a bowl of cherries.” And there, suddenly, was a bowl of ripe cherries in her lap.
“Don’t get too excited,” said the local woman. “He has a budget. The gold is paint – don’t think we haven’t tried that trick before.”
“Still, the cherries are real enough, though,” said the man on the cart, taking one and popping it into his mouth. “And very nice too.” His wife turned to him again.
“We should make the most of this. We could think of some good metaphors and get lots of great stuff for ourselves – clothes, food, drink, whatever. And then we can party like there’s no tomorrow. Oh ….”
From the side of the road came a piercing scream of anguish.