Pen's eyes widened with amazement. The feast spread out before him was one he had never seen in his life. He envied his Swedish colleagues who could sit at this table week in week out and gorge themselves on one idea after another.

As he let his eyes roam over the proffered delights, the ink started pulsating through his insides and Pen began to long for the release that only creativity could bring. Fortunately, there was a wad of paper on hand so before long Pen was up to his neck in ink as the paper yielded itself to his stimulating genius.

Drawn by its bright colours he began his feast by getting his teeth into the crisp crush salad savouring its richly varied textures with each bite. But before long he was head over heels into the earliest memory spread spreading its soft flesh onto the enticy array of spicy breads - enough to make anyone's mouth water.

Until now, the paper filled itself slowly, as was fitting the savouries he had delected so far. But once he saw the mask soup put out for all those who prefered to disguise their real being behind a cloak of fictitious then the ideas started to flow thick and fast. One page after another of secret identities started to flow inspired by their dear diary confessions and 3 wish letters to Santa. Pen was really working himself up into a frenzy now and he could not resist the eccentricities of the fish stand full of mouth-watering anticipations and slippery holiday memories of fighting with monster sea creatures, hanging onto his sturdy but simple rod for dear life signs of a misspent youth.

A noise from somewhere behind him momentarily arrested his attention away from his dream journey. It came from in the kitchen where the chef was lamenting the lack of fridge space so vital to his collector personality. Seeing Pen, he called out "Hi, my name is Hero." But Pen was no longer listening. The strength of passion for all that was laid out before him was too great to be wasted on bedtime stories of punishments or rewards, however heroic their troubled Kings and Queens vying against each other for the best first acts may be. Furthermore, fellow travellers were beginning to arrive by the dozens, dancing through the aisles and stopping wherever their fantasy took them. Fearful that one might be his nemesis Pen girded his slender torso and nibbled at a plate of who else I might have been noodles. But his mind wasn't on this dish. After all what was the use of anticipation and change when the chronicles of the hear and now were far more attractive, so he took up a plate of hair venison with goosebump sauce and deepest darkest decisions, a local variant of what most other people called phenomenon rice. And all that was to washed down by a glass of vintage I get that sinking feeling. In fact, to avoid that sinking feeling he took a few glasses and as a result he was soon on off again on an inward journey to explore the inward life of poets - the "o" being a regrettable but nonetheless permissible slip of the pen.

But even the best things cannot be sustained without rest and so in the last hour or so, Pen took to some metaphysical speculation as to the nature of being, eventually settling his mind on the two questions critical questions what I might have been and what I might still be. Not that he would ever write about that. Such speculations would surely be too wicked for even the most yummy and superstitious of all scribble readers, like left and right who were most definitely two peas in a pod.

The fun over it was time to get eating - eating here being a likely Freudian slip which should read, writing. So before too long he was found rooted to the spot dishing out dollops of crême de la first job, worst job, dream job, a challenge which could only be met by the fortifying tonic of a sparkling glass of kissing elixir which he shared with the young I have an idea standing next to him. That kiss came after only his second ever chance, and he relished it. But they were soon brought back to real life as the flashes went off all over and the money chasing paperazzi sent off their prize photos to their editors making sure that Pen and Idea would remain in the news for quite some time.

But Pen's revenge would not be long in coming. He had a series of hotel stories all ready for publishing that were so badly written, all he'd have to do was publish them under the journalist's name and he'd be google magiced for life. No one would ever know the secret identity of the true author.

But for now he had newer adventures to negotiate. Taking Idea by the hand he led her to the counter with the mystery epithet "Now and Then" towering over it. These were savoury dishes written in bed. They were actually all about Pen's first love - a fact Pen conveniently forgot to mention. After all Idea was not in the mood to think about competition. They walked lingeringly around the counter just as a couple on their first date should. Occasionally, they dipped their finger in here and their setting the skin on a tingle and making them wish they could simply stop time passing. If only... sighed Idea and the wings of her miscellaneous fantasies took her over oceans making her realise how vital it was to be more than a mere passenger in one's own life.

Cheeses were their next destination and it was here they met Mr. Town Mouse who'd come gone into the country that very morning with the express purpose of meeting Miss Country Mouse. But not upon impulse, no his fortune cookie found in one of those books I would never write had prompted him to do so. And it paid off high dividends when the four sat down together around a glass eccentric Beaujolais, so old that it had to be delivered via time machine, and started swapping when we were wee stories.

But all this romance was far too much for Pen who took off and headed for the dessert counter. He took a piece of the most delicious looking where I live cake and wondered why he did in fact live where he lived. After all, everyone in his home town frowned upon chocolate and similar culinary wonders. How on earth could he imagine that he'd ever fit in there? He'd leave. He had to. With his baggage, of course, baggage imposed upon him by that provincial, bourgeois little town, baggage he could never shake off. He'd carry it around for ever with him, surreptitiously, like a thief who doesn't know what to do with his booty.

Desert was followed by coffee and before long Pen was putting the finishing touches to his tale whilst pounding out in his mind the story of his next scribbling - a hospital adventure of intrigue, love and music. But now it was time to go home, but as Pen moved towards the exit, he was challenged by an extremely angry looking official demanding he pay his bill. It seems everyone wanted to have his two cents on events.

Now, dear reader, it would be easy for me to say that I only attempted this because I knew I would not fail. But the truth is something far more superstitious. In typical, experimental fashion I let inspiration provide me with the initial idea and ran with it as long as I could. It was only about half way through that I realised I could carry it through to the end, bitter or not, that's for you to decide. Of course, I had read the instructions for the prompt, that I was only to take one of the former prompts. But who when spoilt for choice in front of a Smorgasbord would limit him/herself to just one good dish. And so in true scribbler style and in order to tie up all the loose ends of my shoe laces (had to get shoes in there somewhere) all that remains for me to do is to raise my glass, toast my fellow aficionados, make my goodbyes and write

the end.


Oh this is so clever. What an excellent take on the prompt.

15 March 2008 at 12:17  

I love this. Well done indeed!

15 March 2008 at 15:48  

and i partook with abandon......

15 March 2008 at 16:28  

That's really good! I also managed to write a story using the prompts - a lot of work but great fun!

15 March 2008 at 16:32  

Savoured it! As I always do with your posts!

The books I would write

16 March 2008 at 05:47  

Wonderful take on the prompt! Love it!

16 March 2008 at 19:10  

Wow, very creative.

You wrote:
"But who when spoilt for choice in front of a Smorgasbord would limit him/herself to just one good dish"


16 March 2008 at 22:38  

That was fantastic. It was a wonderful, wonderful smorgasboard of prompts, that you handled very well.

17 March 2008 at 00:11  

creativity personified!

17 March 2008 at 03:19  

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