Thursday, September 26, 2019

Wording Wednesday: At Least There's Still Coffee

The new season of Wording Wednesday is underway. Fellow author Andy Brokaw collects a set of prompts and puts them out there for the world to use for inspiration.

You can check out my stories for Season 2 (weather) here: Cloudy, Clear, Sunny, Rain, Wind, Snow

And for Season 1 (beginnings) here: Infancy, Morning, Travel, Meeting, First Snow, Ceremony

For Season 3, the theme is creatures and we begin with "Warm and Fuzzy" by Mateo Dineen. This piece and others can be seen on the artist's website at

Check out the links and play along if you'd like, or just enjoy reading.


Herbert hadn't been sure what to think when his transformation had begun. It had started as a strange patch of green fur on chest, there among the wiry white wisps standing out against his brown skin He noticed it one day in the shower and scrubbed at it, but didn't worry too much when it didn't wash away. In his years as a contractor, he'd stained his skin and hair a variety of colors. It always wore off eventually.

He'd never been good about going to the doctor, especially for ailments that seemed more like nuisances than real problems. What did he care what color his chest hair was? But, it hadn't remained a change he could hide under a flannel shirt. One morning he woke to find it had spread down his arms and back. The next, on his cheeks. His body seemed to be shifting as well, flattening in some areas and broadening in others.

He decided to try the walk-in clinic early the next morning. Generally, if you went early enough you didn't have to wait that long. He could probably still make it to his kitchen rehab job on time. Chances were they'd just take his blood and tell him they'd call him about the results later anyway.

He liked to tease the pretty young phlebotomist about her relationship with Vlad the Impaler. The girl was always nice enough to smile at his poor attempts at humor, even though she probably heard some version of that joke from every older man she stuck.

Thinking about the phlebotomist, he didn't take notice of the number of cars in the parking lot until he'd walked into the waiting room and realized with a start that it was jam-packed with a crowd of colorful characters.

Colorful not in the sense of big personality, but literally in rainbow hues. A woman with pink fur sticking out in tufts around the neck of her white sweater had an arm around a child whose flesh was a startling, vibrant blue. A group of purple, roundish women gathered around the coffeepot. A forest green man leaned into a corner and snored loudly. Herbert rubbed his eyes, but the scene didn't change.

"Herbert?" a voice called. "It get you, too?"

Herbert turned and saw a man standing over by the window, thumbs hooked in the belt loops on his jeans and suspenders holding up the pants. "Jimmy?" It couldn't be, could it? But who else wore suspenders like that?

"Yep," he answered. "It's me." He brushed a long, white forelock off his furry pink face with an equally furry paw-like hand. "I thought I'd had too much to drink at first, but I've been sober almost a week now, and I'm still pink."

Herbert nodded, his gaze bouncing across the room. He tried to identify people he knew among the muppet-like creatures that waited in the cheap plastic chairs, but it was no easy task. "They know what's going on yet?"

Jimmy shook his preternaturally large head, making the wisp of white hair wobble like a horse's mane. "Not yet."

Herbert headed for the door. "Come on then. Let's go to the diner. We might as well get some coffee while we wait." He scanned the room again, meeting set after set of strange eyes, oblong, slitted, and distorted. "I think the doc will be a while."