Valid Paranoia – an ISG Writing Exercise

These three words were chosen:

  • Bubble
  • Pleasure
  • Paranoid

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



My first few weeks staying here, I had convinced myself I was on a much needed break from life, a perfect vacation. I lived in a bubble of margaritas, swimming in the pool, and making time with Enrique from Portugal.

But yesterday, the pleasure of swimming was interrupted by the oddest fleeting moment of something strange, a texture against my foot. When I dipped my feet below the seven foot mark in the deep end of the pool, I would have sworn there wasn’t any water there. I put in earplugs and decided to dive a bit deeper. I’d never, in all of my time staying in this cabana, tried to. As I reached the bottom of the pool, I found a pocket of air, in a perfect cube shape.

I realized with a thud that all my paranoia was valid. I’d been leery of why I’d received these tickets, had hounded Jack to tell me more, had tried to reason with the strange behavior of the flight attendants on my way here. But, I was obviously in a simulation.

As I sat cross-legged inside the air cube on the bottom of the pool, I tried to calm my breathing, and I planned my revenge.


Bubbles floated from the faery’s mouth as she danced across the stage. Meri had always loved the holiday show at the palace. The dancing, the food, the glitter and happiness.

It was the one time of year that the royals settled in with the people, together, on the ground level and enjoyed the revelries. There were a select few chosen, someone different every year, to serve the staggering quantity of food that had been prepared earlier in the day.

Meri had been chosen this year since she was newly introduced as a lady of the world. She didn’t care though, the time was her favorite and it gave her pleasure to serve her friends, family and just other people from her village. There was no call for paranoia, no concern or fear of being taken advantage of. It was the one time that death was the justice.

So together with the rest, she would laugh and sing and smile. But she would be very, very certain not to meet the eyes of one certain royal who had made his preferences clear much to her horror.

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The bubbles were supposed to be fun, but Cindy didn’t think they were working for Andy the way they were supposed to.  At least, by the look on her boyfriend’s face, pleasure was not in the wheelhouse of what he was experiencing.

Cindy was in her own bubble next to him. The bubbles were clear, with a slight iridescence to them that made them look like something out of a fairy tale. They were also surprisingly springy to the touch, and Cindy found herself poking at the film that surrounded her.  it was quite temperate and comfy as it conformed to surround her body, and she and Andy had been told they could merge them, and  ‘share’ pleasure with each other, or they could maintain autonomy Another look at Andy’s face, and maybe this hadn’t been the best idea for a second date.  Cindy didn’t think she was being paranoid but she didn’t think there would be a third.

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“You’re kidding me right?” bursting his bubble immediately.  

She knew he was trying to do something nice, but this was in fact disgusting. Trying new things, spicing them up so to speak was intended to bring more pleasure to the evening. Instead she was sure this smell would be in her hair and clothes.  

Matt looked at her with sad eyes. She could tell when he then scanned around, he was trying to figure out what he should do but paranoid he would make the wrong choice.  

She took in a deep breath and immediately regretted it as she began coughing. When she finally stopped Matt had thrown away his weird popcorn experiment and she walked up to him putting her arms around him and simply said “Why don’t we order Pizza?” 

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“I hate to sound paranoid, darling, but is this really necessary?” Arlene gestured to the plastic bucket setup on top of a wheeled dolly, the entire area under and around it a muddy sludge of sad looking bubbles and wilted summer grass. “Do you expect to have to leave in a hurry?”

Her partner for the afternoon gave her a look that she supposed she would understand if she had known him more than a few hours, but at the moment, she just studied his face. Handsome, of course, and the rest of him pleasant enough should she decide she wanted that kind of pleasure later that night, but for the moment, he was just nice enough, just friendly enough for the people in the park to find him approachable and trustworthy. And they did find him so, apparently, judging by the amount of crumpled dollars shoved in the metal can set up a few feet away from what she had deemed the danger zone of soapy water.

He was a skilled bubble maker, too, wielding two sticks and four strings with ease, a slow moving choreographed dance that resulted in long tubes of bubbles that had the children leaping with joy, eager fingers happy to pop the smaller bubbles that slid away from the larger ones on top. Some of the large bubbles were so impressive, so impossible, that the children  just stood there gaping, hands held back, eager popping fingers forgotten as they marveled at the creations.

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Garret smoothed out his pinstripe suit as he took to the stage. He always felt a little paranoid at the beginning every performance, he felt certain that his props would be missing or not function properly. However, the pleasure he got from performing was always worth the initial anxiety. Before the curtains rose, he took a deep breath and adjusted his top hat, tonight was going to be his ultimate performance, he was going to make the largest bubble sculpture the world had ever seen. Garret pulled the wand out of the special solution of soap he had developed over the years and he felt the blood rush from his face. This was not his wand. Then he heard a mysterious deep laugh echo from above.

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

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