Friday 7th November

It's the end of the first week of this year's Your Messages and we couldn't be more pleased with your support. Thank you. Here's the next prompt:


He worried about: bed-wetting, not being picked for the team, crying, then acne, finding a clitoris, the last of which turned out to be the least of his life’s worries.


  1. It was hardly surprising that much of his time was spent wrapped up in a turmoil of anxiety. Sometimes being a bloke was unnecessarily tricky- the geography thing in particular .

  2. He's anxious, scared at times. He hides behind his captivating smile and apparent confidence. He is supposed to be the badass cool guy, after all. But her smile terrifies him.

  3. The hermaphrodite was least concerned for his predicament, on the contrary he delighted to be so, for the government has extended some concessions for the peculiar clan, for happy life.

  4. Naked. No map, no carapace but the beads on his back.
    No climbing gear. No gun. Kneeling down
    He sees the mountain for the first time.
    He licks it.

  5. Mike Litoris, CA, had a eureka moment.

    After a lifetime of self-doubt, self-deprecation and self-loathing, the sad, lonely, torpid runt of a man suddenly realised he had finally found himself.

  6. Anything you worry about won’t happen. Disasters will take you completely by surprise. Therefore worrying is a good insurance policy – at least, it makes you feel secure. Worry, worry, worry.

  7. He got a girlfriend.

    She saw past the glasses, past the smell and the way the plastic pants he wore crinkled as he walked and past the spots that pitted his face like a pizza pulled too early from the oven and loved him anyway. She rocked him when he cried and fed him chicken soup when he was ill.

    Later, after they moved in together, she bought him lotions to clear up the spots, cooked for him so that they wouldn’t come back and changed his drinking habits from soda to water and herbal tea. She held his hand at the dentist and ran him a bath almost every night. She styled his hair and picked out his clothes and after a year his own mother wouldn’t have recognized him.

    She married him on his twenty-first birthday after being with him for three years. His father had died the year before in a car accident but his mother was so pleased and called her the best daughter-in-law she could have ever wished for. They honeymooned in Florence and Rome, and if he touched her she would kiss him and pleasure him orally and tell him how wonderful a lover he was.

    His mother died when the brakes failed on her Mercedes. The funeral was on a Wednesday in November, where the rain hammered against the windows of the crematorium during the mercifully brief, humanist service. He was distraught and she comforted him like she used to, his head between her ample breasts.

    She divorced him the following May, claiming a difference of interests and a lack of affection. He gave her half his inheritance and a house in Manchester. It was enough to live on indefinitely and still get the gender re-assignment surgery. She got her clitoris at last.

  8. His getting pregnant and having a baby turned the world upside down. But his somersaulting began when he found his clitoris and saw that it bore the tiniest of penes.

  9. When he brought a black girl home for Sunday dinner, his father was apoplectic. He fumed over the turkey and dressing and refused to address her directly. Meanwhile his mother fussed over her, up and down into the kitchen for this or that, making conciliatory remarks, asking after the girl’s parents and filling her wine glass time and again.
    After dinner, his father watched football, nursed a whiskey on the rocks, and did not speak to his son and girlfriend sitting on the love seat next to his Lazy Boy, eyes on the enormous hi-def flat screen TV.
    When they left the house for a walk around the block, the man yelled to his wife as she scrubbed up the kitchen.
    “Susie, bring me a turkey sandwich and another piece of that pie.”
    She did so at once, slathering mayonnaise on two thick slices of bread, salting the meat heavily. The way he liked it. Then she made him a drink, extra sweet from the anti-freeze she added. She had been sweetening his tea with it for some time now and was beginning to see some effect.
    When his son and his girl came back from their walk, the ambulance was in the driveway, and his father was writhing in pain on the living room floor, paramedics gathered round checking his vitals.
    Susie washed the turkey pan in the sink, scrubbing with all the strength she could muster. She chopped up the giblets: the liver, the heart and neck of the bird and mixed them in with the leftover gravy, already covered with a layer of grease.
    She looked out the kitchen window as she worked, indifferent to the disaster unfolding in front of the television in the next room, watching the winter’s first snowflakes flurry down from heaven.

  10. After two years of
    intensive counselling
    he was no longer
    self absorbed,
    he was totally
    self absorbed-
    everyone knew
    he would be perfect
    for the next series
    of big brother.

  11. 'Dung and death' said Eliot – sitting in the Old Peoples home made him realise his dead father was right about life being a cycle, you come from nothing, leave with…


  12. "Tell me your greatest fear".

    He spared her no detail.

    "Now close your eyes and relax. We'll make that fear your strength. So you can conquer the world, Herr Hitler".

  13. Gerald's favourite colour was yellow. His hair was yellow, or blonde rather, as we call it. On Planet Gerald he was distant, a contained, burning seed of ambition germinating at arms length.

    At the age of six, he vomitted in his bed and merely turned over, without alerting his parents. Gerald's mother felt the guilt and the acidic smell of an absent mother clung to her skin long after the washing machine cycle had finished.

    Gerald was an expert at being vague. His radiant smile could disarm the most suspicious teacher, deflecting their glare and questioning so they'd would walk away feeling unaccountably warm. Only rarely, did he get caught out when parents and teachers conferred but even then, the energy of their exchanges was diverted to discussing his brightness, rather than the problem which would fade and fizzle out to nothing.

    Gerald got a new yellow bicycle for his birthday. It had shock absorbers and red flames down its frame. One day, his brother came running home to say that Gerald had had an accident. His mother jumped into the car, racing to his rescue. He'd gone over the handlebars and the bike lain twisted on the grass verge. His ribs were undoubtedly bruised, his knees grazed and his face white. Why hadn't he used the brakes properly? No one knew that he didn't know how. They'd just assumed.

    Gerald was a shining, lone star and good at most subjects. However, one day, his parents and teachers did speak and it turned out that his wick had got damp and he'd been skipping lessons for something more important. Things had gone wrong on Planet Gerald and he couldn't make contact with the mothership. His mother lost radio contact and she didn't know where he'd gone because he'd stopped twinkling.

  14. He shifts in sweat-soaked sleep,
    lank hair lifeless
    on cracked skin. Soft
    stains on sheets paint plans
    of places he’ll never visit.
    The same dream: he shoots
    but never scores.

  15. ‘Were you in the Guides? No, me neither. Scouts, I mean. I don’t know a woggle from a toggle. You’d think anyone could learn - be prepared. But not me.’

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  18. Now it’s second nature
    to betray himself
    in twinkling glances,

    freezing another woman
    for anatomical dissection
    before the lonely dawn.

    Once adolescent,
    his heart in his face
    burnt red raw.

  19. On finding the lump in his testicle Malcolm took the same action as when he discovered his wife’s clitoris: he prodded it for a bit, then pretended it wasn’t there.

  20. Like the slaves in the Deep South who laughed, rolled their eyes and called each other Nigger, the great whites had laughingly taken the scathing jibes and repeated them. Man flu, Man boobs, I’m only a man. They hadn’t cared when male teachers and role models had been replaced by female. They were strong. They were plentiful. How could their heroes be forgotten?

    By stages, they became the only group open to mockery. Women, Gays, Race and Religion all had their shields of righteousness to stand behind. What need had the great white? They were strong.

    Numbers dwindled. Replaced by taut buttocked dancers and a turkey baster, what purpose did they serve? White male children were taken and left by the roadside. Who, except for a few closet perverts truly desired a life involving a white heterosexual male?

    As animal rights finally annihilated the hunting live game, eyes turned to the only possible solution; the great white. They were weak.

    Dave had only just survived the last hunt. They had taken Stan, a harpoon through the hanging, ample seat of his jeans. Dave pictured his friend. Already, he would be sore from his back, sack and crack processing. His urge to expel the first bars of Jerusalem from his rear would be beaten out of him. He was probably waiting for his first pilates lesson, trying desperately to believe that tofu risotto was tastier than thirty ounces of nearly raw steak.

    The hunt was back! Dave could hear the cries of screaming blood lust. They knew there was a rogue out in the woods. They wouldn’t give up.

    He barely saw the grooming tool that brought him down. Another one bites the dust. As he fell, he wondered how anybody could think that was rock music. His time had come.

  21. He examined the image: his blood cells
    ran north-south, east-west
    helter-skelter under flesh.

    His physician’s
    vein pulsed.

    The obsessions to be a sex object
    fell on the cutting room floor.

  22. He'd never wet the bed. He'd played for all the best teams--only cried when they'd won--and he'd never had a zit. So WHY couldn't he find a clitoris?

  23. He knew about it all the time, at least from being 14 when Mrs Murphy put her hands down his trousers and taught him a thing or two, though his wife was in her 60s when she found out, had had 2 sons and was stuck in his work flat in Bahrain. They married 40 years ago and she knew her skinny husband hated her.
    It was a heavy Thursday afternoon in 1981. Elsie was looking for a packet of Rothmans, having just one lonely cigarette left, and hours to fill on her own, listening to Shirley Bassey and aiming for the dart board with two cheap heavy darts, their plastic Union Jack flights wilting in the heat. She found the book on his wardrobe: The Hite Report. To the sound of Shirley singing Goldfinger, Elsie Burney read about a part of her own body she had never before heard about. It sounded like the name of some Greek Goddess and she pronounced it with the emphasis on the second syllable.
    Within one hour in the hot dusty afternoon Elsie’s consciousness was raised to murderous heights. What started as a revelation and vaguely pleasant surprise was turning into an all-consuming rage. He knew that she had a clitoris. He had this book that explained the power of this small hidden flesh, her own flesh, and he had kept it secret from her. All these years of excruciating friction, unpleasant bodily fluids and silent hopelessness and he held the secret all the time.
    Elsie could not examine herself using a mirror, but she did find the little bud with her finger and she stroked it for a sad moment. She went to the bathroom, washed her hands, poured herself a large glass of whisky.
    He had some explaining to do.

  24. Later he worried nightly about worrying. At 2am he dressed and listed every single worry he’d ever had and some he might have but hadn’t yet, put the list in his piggybank and cycled to the nearby River Medway and hurled it in. It sank immediately. Then he went back to bed grasping a marble egg and hibernated. He woke five years late, still clutching the egg with brow unfurrowed.

    He no longer had a job of course but didn’t worry about it. He founded Worries Anonymous and was encouraged by the large number attending his weekly meetings. Each worrier stood and gave their name and listed his/her worries in traditional fashion, on the lines of Alcoholics and Gamblers. Some were dreadful but that wasn’t his worry only the individual worrier’s. It didn’t worry him that no one appeared to make any progress. They seemed to enjoy attending but if they’d hated it he wouldn’t have worried.

    He bought several clutches of marble eggs and sold them to the worriers at a good profit. It occurred to him that this might be construed as immoral, but it didn’t worry him. He bought a stash of unperishable food with this modest income which lasted him for a little while, carefully eked out with the odd bowl of soup from a charitable cafĂ©-owner at closing time. He had never spoken to individual members other than to say well done after each report, regardless of the fact that no one had achieved anything, which didn’t worry him in the slightest.

    Eventually he was forced to abandon his meetings, due to an impossible debt of unpaid rent for the hall, of which he was well aware but unworried by.

    He passed away at the age of ninety-nine, worry-free, buried, nameless, in a pauper’s grave. 300 words.

    Mary Rose.

  25. She dreaded everything: the eyes of strangers, raising her hand in class, dropping the netball, report cards, exams. Disaffection. The spotlight. No balls, that’s her trouble, was her father’s verdict.

  26. Chrysanthemums made their way to the counter with an apology. The florist handed back his card and said, ‘Sorry, love’.

    His mother was in the garden when the phone rang.

    coll @

  27. Too busy worrying about single parenthood, Stephen never thought to warn him about women who’d steal your heart and butcher your soul. Too late now, the boy was serving life.

  28. She worried about: girlfriends, boyfriends, having no friends, getting pregnant, the last of which was to be the least of her worries. She couldn't have known it would never happen.

  29. Looking back now, with a career spanning nearly forty-five years, being a porn star consumed his life. Eventually a time comes when the clitoris king has to walk away.


  30. He felt it was like a great quest, the search for the clitoris. Among his friends, it had grown to mythical proportions. He wondered if women came with a map.

    Jamieson Wolf


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