Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Part 7

Claire’s whiskers twitched. If only Alicia Flea were here to tell her what to do.

What was it that Alicea Flea used to say? Something about all cats having nine lives… Yes, that was it! All Cats have nine lives! Well, if it was true, then surely Claire could risk one of her lives to save Ralph.

It was time to use her nose. Claire’s eyes had already determined the fake Ralph, now it was time to focus on her extraordinary sense of smell. Claire loved the smell of Ralph when he came in from his daily run. Mud, moss, fish, pine sap all trailed him through the door filling her nostrils with adventures. But mostly, Claire loved Ralph’s all around permanent smell. The smell that was his gift to the world. Claire’s world. Something between a tunafish sandwich and a bowl of buttermilk. It was time to sniff out the real Ralph.

Whiskers twitching and nose whiffing, Claire wondered how many rooms there were in Lord Cadaver’s tower. Then she remembered seeing a doorway on the stairwell when she was climbing up to the party. She made her way to the front entrance through the festive party crowd, her nose caught up in smelling perfume and cologne, lemonade and peanuts, but no tunafish sandwich nor buttermilk bowl, Claire ran right into Lord Cadaver.

“Going so soon?” he asked with a sinister smile.

“I was just needing some… some fresh air, I-I’m coming right back,” said Claire.

“If it’s fresh air you need, there is no reason to leave the festivities.”

Before she could protest, Lord Cadaver lifted Claire and carried her over to the only window. Setting her down on the thin sill, he stroked her fur. “There you go, breath in all the fresh air you need.” Then he closed the window!

Not daring to move a single paw, Claire looked down and saw the sliver moon reflected in the still black waters of the moat surrounding Lord Cadaver’s tower. She looked up and there was nothing but tower, solid stone tower for as far as she could see. Then she heard it. The song she and Ralph always sang together.

Oh baby come back to me,

You’ve left me all alone with only one bone.

Oh baby come back to me,

I need only you to keep my whole sky blue…

The real Ralph was up there, somewhere near the top, and Claire, with her keen sense of smell and the nine lives Alicia Flea promised were hers, would have to risk at least one of them to save him.

Part 6 of our Story

Tuna fish? Pastrami? The cat, whose name was Claire, twitched her tail but otherwise betrayed no outward signs of unrest. Ralph would never offer her such a choice. He knew Claire was allergic to tuna fish, and surely he wouldn’t suggest a repeat of Claire’s post-pastrami-flatulence they had both endured after the last party. So what was the deal?

Claire’s mind raced with possible explanations, all of them sinister, though none more than the obvious answer: Lord Cadaver must have kidnapped Ralph and replaced him with an android imposter. An android, playing the odds, would naturally offer tuna fish or pastrami to a cat of Jewish descent….

Claire had decided to join the party because she did not want to miss the governor’s karaoke rendition of “What’s new, Pussycat?” Now, of course, she had a more urgent concern. If the Ralph hosting the party was an imposter, what had Lord Cadaver done with the real Ralph – and what could Claire, a mere cat, do to save him?



Ralph grabbed a piece of parchment and rolled it until it lay as clean as snow under the yellowed keys. With his glasses set firmly on his nose, and his sweater piled in a heap across his shoulders, he focused his eyes on the blank page before him. One minute passed, then two, then an hour, then three, until the room grew dark with the setting of the sun.

Ralph knew that an idea would come to him, if not today, then tomorrow; if not tomorrow, then next week. It was on the edge of his consciousness and just needed some nurturing. "Time to grow," the book on writing had said. "Yes, time to grow," repeated Ralph, realizing that it was 7:00 p.m. and he still hadn't eaten lunch. He pushed himself away from the dusty typewriter and clomped toward the kitchen. "Tuna fish or pastrami on rye?," he asked his cat, who had decided to join the party now that something interesting was happening.

Part 4 of our story from Edie

Crowing was definitely not his forte, but it was something he was forced into by nature every morning at first light—something he had never quite mastered the way his brothers had. Once Rooster got past that humiliating daily ritual, he could throw himself into his screenwriting, which is what he truly loved.

You might wonder how a rooster could write, but he had found an old typewriter tossed into the corner of the barn two weeks before the Kentucky Derby and had started pecking at the keys. Not only had the hens crowded round him, but the other animals stopped to listen, too. Even the race horses, heavy with sweat after their daily runs, had taken notice of the tap, tap, tapping. And, thus, the trainer and his young apprentice, Jonas, stopped by, too.

“I wonder what he’s writing,” said Jonas.

“We’ll never know till someone puts some paper in the typewriter,” said Ralph.

Part three of our story...

Cow mooed in agreement. Rooster had made the same mistake. He was better off in Puerto Rico. But he had grandiose dreams about the United States.

"I'll show my bright plumage at the Kentucky State Fair," he had said, "and I'll win first prize and I'll be famous!"

In Kentucky, Rooster was becoming famous, until he crowed, "¡Kikirik√≠!"

Part two of our story...

I folded the newspaper and set it on a hay bale.
"Claire always dreamed of getting off this farm," I told Vern, "and when she became national spokeswoman for Country Mornin' Toaster Waffles, she thought she had her ticket out."
Vern snorted and led Daisy to the milking stall.
"She got what she deserved," he grumbled, traces of jealousy lingering in his voice. He lowered himself onto a milking stool and added, "She should have never taken up with that salesman from Kentucky."

Together at last! (part one)

Clear as a bell, her opinion rang out on every topic, drowning out our indecision, nuanced thought and subtle speech. So, when we read that Claire was found lifeless on the kitchen floor with only a waffle at her side, the irony was not lost on us.

Exquisite Corpse The End

I've been very good at not peeking. But since I'm done with my part, I couldn't help but look at the other last lines. I took a definite left turn... My last sentence:

Just as the monster struck, the boy wrapped both arms around the snake and pushed off, smiling as they soared over the side because he'd guaranteed the enemy would never hurt his family again.


My last line...

The real Ralph was up there, somewhere near the top, and Claire, with her keen sense of smell and the nine lives Alicia Flea promised were hers, would have to risk at least one of them to save him.


Exquisite Corpse, Part 6, from Mark

My last line is:

"If the Ralph hosting the party was an imposter, what had Lord Cadaver done with the real Ralph – and what could Claire, a mere cat, do to save him?"

I swear I didn't peek before writing my scene, but now that I have, I see that I used the same name for a character as Christy did with her sentence! How weird is that? Maybe those Surrealists were really onto something....