The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #37

3 bears

The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #37

One Picture

One Element

One Emotion

200 Words

A Woman sitting on a bed, next to a trained bear

A handsome newspaperman’s birthday

A feeling of anxiety brought on by the omission of a comma

Please add your story in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Weekend Quickie #37

  1. I wrote him a happy birthday note, more a love letter than anything else. But I left a comma out and with his martinet mind for grammar, he will ruin the entire day for both of us when he finds it. In the meantime, he waits here, on the bed, like an anxious dog with birthday dream. Waiting, waiting….

  2. “Another job well done,” smiled the handsome newspaperman as he stood up to get his coat. It was his birthday and all was well with the world. It had been a productive day, sharing out muffins in the morning to his colleagues, interviewing a famous local artist with the paper’s smelly photographer Ted who’d almost got attacked by said artist’s pet 6 foot grizzly bear when he’d bent over at an inopportune moment, handing the story in on time for the evening’s print, sorting out the backlog of emails he’d amassed from neglect, and finally getting rid of that awful coffee stain from the edge of his computer’s monitor. Now he could go home to his loving wife and fabulous child to celebrate with a slice of cake.
    “Happy Birthday, Mike!” said Ted, handing him the paper’s evening front broadsheet and laughing.
    “Thanks, Ted.” Mike’s smile wavered as he noticed that the whole office was watching him, laughing. Turning the broadsheet over, he saw the wonderful photograph of the interviewed artist sitting on a bed with her bear, but his joy turned to anxiety once he read the headline. ‘Local artist finds inspiration in stewing her bear and other pets’.

  3. Bear, Bettina’s dog, was a comfort when she had decisions to make. “Can I stand Frank’s nervousness?” she asked him. Could she marry such anxiety?

    Frank had been over earlier, rabbiting on about how the editor would probably cut one of his commas. As always, she reassured him.

    Bettina extracted herself from under Bear’s paw and fluffed his gigantic head. “You don’t fuss about things, do you, Bear?” she murmured. What was she going to do? Frank was tall, educated, handsome and he had a secure job, an outstanding pedigree this year of 1929.

    She had to decide by dinnertime, his birthday dinner. How could she reject him on this day of all days? She resented the pressure.

    She looked for a sign, a portent, that would foretell the future. Everything seemed in favour of the marriage.

    Frank arrived for his birthday dinner, his hand in his pocket, presumably keeping hold of the ring, protecting it, just in case. At that moment Bear hunkered down and snarled a menacing growl.

    “Thanks, Bear,” Bettina whispered.

    She turned to the young newspaperman, his face full of anxiety. “Sorry, Frank, but I just can’t marry you. Not now, not ever.”

    She reached down and buried her fingers in Bear’s warm coat.


  4. FX: Sound of footsteps across a wooden floor; door opening

    Wife, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed, and he’s still there!”

    FX: Bear sits up in bed and growls loud and fierce; Goldielocks screams; sounds of running footsteps.

    Narrator, “Goldilocks, seeing the bear in her bed, ran for the door, but the bear caught her, and threw her on the bed.”

    Newspaper man, “Didn’t your mother ever tell you never to awaken a bear when he’s sleeping?”

    Wife, “OH! OH! Mr. Bear, you’re so strong … and big! Don’t hurt me, please.”

    Newspaper man, “My, you’re a pretty one! You look good enough to … eat, but first I have an urgent grammatical problem. I’m working on a story, and I can’t find a place to … insert THIS comma!”

    Wife, “OH, MY! Here, insert your comma here … between these two adjectives!”

    Narrator, “It was at this crucial moment, that Goldilocks noticed Papa Bear’s “comma” wasn’t quite … ready.

    Wife, “What’s … up, Sweetheart? Aren’t you having fun on your birthday? Is something wrong? Did I do something wrong?”

    Newspaper man, “No, you’re fine. It’s just ….. I really do have a problem at work.”

    Wife, “What is it, Dear? Did the paper get printed on time?”

    Newspaper Man, “Yes, but I missed an omitted comma when I proof-read the headline story.”

    Wife, “Oh, Honey! Here, take off the bear suit and I’ll fix you up; birthday boy.

  5. Commas and bears and anxiety… OH MY!

    “What are you going to give Michael for his birthday, Carrie?”
    “I already got him something, but it is kind of bothering me, so I’m not sure if I will give it to him or not.”
    “What’s that?”
    “Well, I know how particular Michael is about grammar and punctuation…and, well, I only just spotted the error.”
    “What error?” Carrie’s friend, Carol, asked.
    “The missing comma,” Carrie said reluctantly.
    “Come again?”
    “Yeah, well I bought him this painting as a joke…remember when he said that he liked the story of Goldilocks?”
    “No, I think I remember him saying he would Goldi her locks…or something to that effect.”
    Carrie laughed. “Yeah, that’s what he said, and I was out at the Starving Artist Fair downtown and saw this picture…it had a girl with a bear on her bed. Of course, I immediately thought of Michael…and I bought it. I didn’t even see the error until I got home.”
    “Let me see it,” Carol said, laughing.
    Carrie went over to her closet and pulled out a large canvas. When she turned it around, Carol laughed so hard she nearly fell off her chair.
    “Oh my God! That’s perfect!”
    I looked at the painting of the bear and Goldilocks on the bed and smiled. The canvas read: Hey Goldi what big curls you have…

  6. Drew sat on the bed staring out the window. He felt tense, anxious. It felt to him as though a hungry beast was at his back, waiting to gobble him up.

    –I can’t believe this crap. Of all the days.–

    Earlier today, Drew’s birthday, he received word he was being fired from the newspaper where he worked as a copy editor. He had failed to catch an omission of the Oxford comma in a piece written about a local pediatrician and the good doctor had brought suit against the paper.

    –“Dr. Keller loves to box, his kids and his wife.” Are you friggin’ kidding me? Yeah, old bastard loves to knuckle up on his grandma too I bet.–

    The cell phone on the bed chirped. It was his wife texting him to stop pouting and to come down and be social.

    –Piss. Guess I better go make a show of it then.–

    Drew came down the steps. A young lady near the door, whom had obviously just arrived to the party, looked up. It was Drew’s secretary, May.


    “I heard what’s happening Drew. I’m so sorry,” May said. “At least you still have your good looks right?”

    –Sit on your thumb and spin, May.–

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