Prompted - Petit mal Monday October 30, 2006, 0 comments

I’ve never written from a prompt before, but this one was sent to me, and it was so random that I decided to see what I could come up with. The prompt looked like this:

Write about: a cardboard box, three oranges, and an old book.

Admittedly not as random as, say, a lawnmower, the tooth fairy and three dollars, but still.

Petit mal

Karen wrestled with the front door of her flat. She hadn’t locked it when she left, but It was finicky at the best of times, and now, with a heavy box in her arms, it was of course locked. She could put the box down, but it was falling apart and she was worried it would collapse under its own bulk if she set it down. That was something she didn’t want to deal with.

Balancing the box precariously against her cheek and the frame of the door, she reached carefully behind her and into her purse. A few moments rummaging produced her keys. By feel, she tried to locate the key for the door. It’s the round one, she told herself. Her fingers ran over the edges of keys she didn’t even remember, until she felt the familiar smooth edge of the one that would open her door. Sighing with relief, she slid it into the knob and turned it.

She shouldered her way through the door and was greeted with the yelp of her cat Harvey as she stepped on his tail. Stupid cat, she grumbled as she slid the box onto the kitchen counter. Sure enough, by the time she had picked Harvey up to comfort him, the box had split down one edge and spilled its contents across the counter and floor. As if in a Hollywood film, all three of the oranges paused gracefully at the edge of the table before committing wet, juicy suicide on the floor below.

“No oranges tonight, Harvey,” she said to the purring cat.

She sighed and picked the undamaged foods up from the floor. A gentle wash later, and most of it was packed away into the refrigerator. The apple’s went in the fruit bowl on the coffee table, the pears in a paper bag on the counter. The oranges were picked up and thrown in the compost bucket.

She poured herself a glass of wine and settled down on the sofa with a book. It was an old book, by a Canadian author. She recalled it from her younger days, that it has been a bit of a cult hit among girls her age. She’d not read it, mostly out of spite, but now such feelings were silly, so she’d picked the book up when she had seen it in the cart outside the used book shop.

Boxes and oranges forgotten, she lost herself in its pages.


Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
- Peter Drucker


  • Holy hell this is a beautiful short: Watch “Fox And The Whale” on #Vimeo Monday October 16, 2017
  • I’m not convinced that Zuck’s assertion that eliminating anonymity would improve the tone of dialog on the ‘net is bearing up IRL. #ripaim Tuesday October 10, 2017
  • I may have peed my pants a tiny bit: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer (Official) via @YouTube Tuesday October 10, 2017
  • “When programming steps further from the writing of ones and zeros, the loudest objections come from programmers.” — Monday October 2, 2017
  • “…addiction to cycles of outrage and counter-outrage is dividing us further, not encouraging us to work together” Friday September 29, 2017
  • Web sites and mobile apps aren’t bridges. It’s amazing how often people seem to forget this. Thursday September 28, 2017
  • Decades later, and I’m back into the blues. It’s like coming home after travelling abroad. Is anything more comfortable than one’s own bed? Tuesday September 26, 2017
  • Shit’s broken. Yup. Monday September 25, 2017
  • Hey @netflix, how come I can’t paste my password into the password field on your current iOS app? In 2017, even my bank lets me paste! Thursday September 21, 2017
  • “A Five Minutes Guide to Better Typography” by @pierrickcalvez Tuesday September 19, 2017