Woo the Assassin – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 21 March 2018, these three words were chosen:

  • Disagreement
  • Phallic
  • Board

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!



I couldn’t look him in the eye with my body responding in such an unprofessional manner. I was here to take a contract out on someone’s life for God’s sake, not woo the assassin. I glanced around the diner only to have my eyes land on a phallic mask that I knew had something to do with the doctors that treated people with the plague.

I quickly looked away only to hear the last of a disagreement a couple was having behind me, where verbiage about appendage size was loudly announced to the room. The man must have gotten up so quickly that his chair hit the ground. He rushed out the front door, slamming it so hard the board in the bottom half fell out. I giggled. Martin chuckled.

And everything seemed normal again.

“I need my nephew to go on vacation,” I stated. “He’s deserved it with everything he’s done for this family.” Anger boiled under my skin but when I turned back to Martin, his lip curled slightly, and the anger dissolved.

“I’ll do it on one condition,” Martin said and leaned back in his chair.

I raised my brows.

“Let me take you to dinner.”

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The huge stones were arranged in a series of circles around the largest one, sitting in the center of the formation, casting a vaguely phallic shape against the darkening sky. “So, what do we have to do?” Lily asked, a nervous tremor in her voice. “We have to wait until the first star appears, and then it will lead us through the stones, into another realm,” Maria answered with infinite patience. The place had been boarded up and signs warning of imminent death or fines tried to scare would-be trespassers away. Maria ducked under one such, but Lily remained outside, shifting her weight from one foot to the next. Maria sighed. She couldn’t believe they were still having this disagreement, and when they were so close. “Look, do you want to find out what happened to Billy and the others or not?” she called out, all patience gone from her tone. “Yes, but,” Lily faltered. “Look, we don’t have time for this,” Maria called back as she stood and looked up at the sky. “I’m going to look for them. You can come if you want, or not.” She found the first faint glimmer of a star, and followed it into the dark, disappearing from view. “Maria?” Lily called, more agitated than ever. “Maria?” When Lily ducked under the forbidding sign, she looked up to find a million stars glittering in the sky and no trace of her friend.

h under her chin.

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This is not happening she muttered to herself as she opened her book to page 384. She scanned it quickly and only saw a phallic symbol in the middle of the page. She looked closer, it was actually an oil rig and not a …. Never mind she thought.

“Give me your book” she said as she reached for it. His face shifted ever so slightly in disagreement to her request and then he handed it too her.

She looked at the page and sure enough it was about a great sugar plague.

“What the hell….” She said under her breath as she began to flip the pages. There was page after page of history as written by Saturday morning cartoons.

As she looked though several more pages she looked up again to find that her ‘partner’ had pulled out a piece of poster board to begin the project.

“Where did you get this book?” She asked. It, by all appearances seemed as real as hers. “Prof. Dumbledore” he replied smiling as if this answered any further questions she had.

“I give up” she said as she sat back down in defeat.

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Jack and I were out here in front of the college trying to collect signatures to save the endangered southern warbler from encroachment, and there was a small gang of coeds surrounding him waggling fingers. It looked like the disagreement was getting out of hand.

I could see I needed to intervene.

“What’s going on here, Jack?” The man was clutching his clip board close, looking like he was trying to turn beige and sink into the bricks behind him.

“This MAN was trying to coerce us into signing a petition and waved his phallic symbol in front of our faces yelling about what we needed to do,” said one of the ladies.

“Do you mean… his pen?” I asked, surprised. I spotted the same T-shirt on all the women. It said “GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS”.

“So typical of the patriarchy to just order us to do things. We don’t need your commands, MAN,” another one of the girls said, and everyone nodded. They obviously meant “man” as an insult.

“Well, here’s mine. Want to look?” Apparently my phallus, I mean pen, was okay, and the ladies signed and left.

“Sorry Jack, tomorrow we’ll go back to standing in front of the Target store.”



Jeremy followed behind her, unable to break her hold on his hand, glancing behind at the girl with a look of woe that would have torn her heart if she hadn’t spent more than half of her life listening to him whine and complain. No, not complain, she corrected herself. She recalled the lengthy diatribe she’d received when she told him that–apparently, to complain meant to write love poetry back in the Middle Ages, a fact that Sara found hilarious, but Jeremy was definitely not writing love poetry in her honor. He’d worn himself out over the centuries writing love ballads about his beloved anchoress, trapped behind her walls of stone, wrongly persecuted for a crime she was of course completely innocent of, a minor disagreement with the Church that ended with her judged to die in solitude for some no doubt phallic-inspired sin that Sara didn’t even recognize or care about.

She was really tired of listening to Jeremy’s lectures, of the way he bemoaned his past, the way he judged her every move. She paused. What was she doing? She could let him go back inside, leave him to the teenage witch, and be done with him.

Maybe this was what she was supposed to do all along. Maybe her trial was over, her long journey to the end reached, her score on the tally board of destiny even. She looked down at their linked hands, then back up at the wistful expression on the old ghost’s face.

She stopped walking in the parking lot. “Jeremy?” she began. “Do you…” She let the words trail off. Was she willing to let him go? She thought of the girl inside, so young, so eager, so…absolutely unequipped to deal with a spirit of Jeremy’s caliber. What was she thinking to cast off her burden to another so clearly unprepared for the job? This was probably why she had been cursed with the ghost in the first place. She was unworthy, unable to follow through to the end. She stared at him, perplexed as always when she wandered down this path. Jeremy knew the reason why, but he would never tell her.

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Some disagreements are sensible, and some are not. However, there is a third category of this that some might not consider or validate as such: and that is the ones that are so odd and out of the realm of normal conversation that they enter perhaps a different phase of human understanding.

This disagreement, held while shopping for a new board, a headboard for a bed specifically, was of that last section.

“I swear to you, on my mother’s grave, that man’s head was so phallic is represented the patriarchy.”

“You mean phallic symbols do?”

“No.” He shook his head. “No. His head, his head of all heads, specifically, represents men’s hold on this world.”

She stared at him for a moment, pondering this: considering this. Wondering as to what might have been going on for this baffling man. Then, with a deep sigh beforehand, she asked the only question that seemed obvious to her to ask. “Are you drunk?”

He did a double take and even looked a tad offended. “Umm, no? I think that man’s head is the avatar of sexism.”

“I want a divorce,” she replied immediately.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Writers Group, Writing, Writing Exercise

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