This week's challenge from Terrible Minds was to use a random military operation title. The instructions:
You will see five randomly-generated military operation titles (I, for instance, got “Famous Wizard,” “Red Imperialism,” “World-Destroying Devil,” “Massive Justice” and “Flaming Bee”).
Choose one of the five. This is the title of your story.
That story doesn’t have to be about a military operation, though it can be if that’s what makes your grapefruit squirt. All I ask is that you use it to randomly generate your story title.
Any genre. Up to 1000 words. Due by Friday, May 4th, noon EST.
My list was
Operation Hot Sheikh; Operation Hysterical Talons; Operation Smite the Venom; Operation Temperamental Nakba; Operation Unleashed Meerkat
And the content idea came from a typo I saw - hitting the d instead of f key.
So I give you my story -
Operation Hysterical Talons
She paused in the doorway, peering into the gloom. It was a typical small bar, dim even on a sunny day, with 80's tunes in the background and a faint scent of beer, old smoke, and disinfectant in the air. Maybe her prey would be here. A good metaphor, she thought, as today she looked like a good looking woman, mid-forties, well dressed in a short, tight grey skirt, white ruffled blouse open just enough, straight-seamed stockings, impossibly high heels - a cougar on the prowl for something young and vulnerable.
"Hi, I'm Micheline," said the bartender. "What can I get you honey?"
"I'll start with a scotch please, " she replied. "Straight up." She leaned closer to the bartender. The woman looked yummy - low cut Guinness t-shirt, long curly brown hair, nice jewelry, bright nails, bright smile. And friendly, maybe even flirty.
The place seemed almost empty, but it wouldn't hurt to ask. She leaned forward and touched the bartender on the arm.
"Love to relax and visit, but right now I'm here on business. I'm trying to track someone down for a client."
"Nothing criminal I hope," said Micheline. "I'm new here, don't want any trouble."
"No, just a business deal," she said. She took a folder from her bag - marked Operation Hysterical Talons, Top Secret - and removed a photograph. "Ever see this guy around here?"
The bartender took a look, then laughed. "That's easy, that's Buddy. Nice guy, calls everyone buddy, that's his name too in here. He usually sits on his own but after a few beers starts telling all these tall tales of his younger days, fighting monsters and stuff - has a big imagination, but harmless. We call him Buddy the Vampire Slayer.. He's here now - over there in that dark corner, all by himself."
"Thanks," she said, "you're a doll. Give me another scotch too, and whatever he's drinking. I'll take it over."
Buddy sat, slumped over a beer, eyes almost closed. He was a big man, with rumpled clothes, long hair, and a two day old beard. He looked up as she approached, squinted, then jumped a bit in his seat.
"What the ...?" He paused. "Must be the light in here, for a moment I saw a ..."
"A witch?" she said.
"Yes, I mean no, sorry ma'am."
She put the drinks down and pulled out a chair. "That's OK, I am one. And I know what you are - or were , and that part of that is the ability to see past disguises and simple spells."
Buddy sat and looked at her for a minute, a thoughtful look on his face.
"OK," he said. "I'll go along with your little story, since you did buy me a drink. I like stories."
"So do I,"she said. "They're my life. Let me tell you one."
She explained about the Grimms, the new interest in their stories, how generations of stories had brought the characters to life, how in return she and her friends added new life and impact back into the stories.
"Nice story," he said, "but this isn't a German forest. It's not even Germany. How do you explain that?"
"Outsourcing," she said. "After hundreds of years, we're strong enough that we can be hired out to help other stories and characters. Such as you, a Slayer,"
"Sorry," he said. "You seem like a nice lady, so I'll let you in on a secret. Those are just all stories I tell - none of it really happened."
"OK, my turn to doubt," she said. "I've heard some of those tales, pretty amazing stuff. But if they are only stories, what can't you remember anything else about your past? How do you explain that?"
Buddy waved his hand dismissively. "The doctors tell me I must have been in an accident that affected my memory. So I get a disability now."
"And so here you sit and drink and tell stories ," she said. "Is that fun?"
"It's what I have," he said. "Anyway, what's it to you?"
"I'm here to convince you to get out of that chair and back into the stories," she said. "You're needed again."
"Sorry, haven't convinced me," he said.
"Not yet," she said. She took out a cell phone, texted a message, and smiled. "I have a Plan B."
The door of the bar suddenly opened and everyone - the bartender, the two guys at the bar, the witch, Buddy - all looked at the tall figure standing there.
It was tall and lean, with a full head of dark hair, black glittering eyes, white teeth, open shirt showing off a gold chain amidst chest hair, tight leather pants - and bare feet. Conversation had ceased. The bartender smiled, "Wow, I mean hello, come in,"
The witch picked up her drink and moved her chair off to the side. She gave a little wave of the hand over the rest of the bar, then called out. "Over here Romulus, he's all yours."
Buddy pushed his chair back and stood up. "A wolf? In here?"
The wolf raced across the floor and leaped at Buddy. There was a growl, a bellow, and a crash of furniture. For several minutes the two of them rolled back and forth, punching, scratching, biting - until finally the wolf managed to pin Buddy down.
"Thanks for the show, boys," she said. "Buddy, calm down. This is my business associate Wolf. He came to remind you of what our idea of fun is. Remember now?"
Buddy shook his head. "By god, I'd forgotten - it all came back when he rushed at me, all those battles over the years - they were real! And I just seemed to know what to do - like riding a bike. Well, sort of, it's a little more violent."
"You did pretty good for a while," said Wolf. "So are you in?"
"I'd have been OK if I'd had some warning," said Buddy. "Sounds like a crazy proposition, but I'm in. I'm really out of shape though."
"That's why I'm here," said the wolf, "I'll be your trainer. Now, let's straighten up this furniture before my friend releases her little spell she threw over the others. She's already heading back to the bartender, I can guess she's planning some fun for the evening."