Tutu Lady’s Unicorn

A writing exercise from A Writer’s Path:

Include all of these elements into a scene: a helicopter, a hula skirt, nostalgia, and a billfold.

Write a scene with a lethargic auctioneer.

Begin a scene with this line: Haven’t they ever seen a unicorn before?

Haven’t they ever seen a unicorn before? Malia Kalani thought, as she watched the auction house employees set the small, aged ceramic Unicorn on table. She was near enough to over hear the two large Hawaiians talking about the piece.

“Brah, wat dis?” the extra-large guy in the loud Hibiscus print shirt asked. He nodded toward the small unicorn they had just placed on the table.

“No can tell.” The second man answered, shrugging his large shoulders, his tank top moving up to expose his belly. “Horse?”

“Fo’ real?” asked the first guy, looking puzzled.

“Fo’ real cuz.” The second guy nodded his head wisely. Giving the small Unicorn a last glance, both men moved on to the finish setting various items out. Malia rolled her eyes, Lolo Buggahs!

This auction was one of the smaller, open air auctions scheduled this month in Honolulu. Malia had been going to each one, looking for this exact unicorn. Setting there, it didn’t look like much, but to her…it was the only thing left of her Tutu Lady. She’d been away at school on the mainland when Tutu Lady Leilani had died. She hadn’t been able to come home for her services. Money had been tight in those years. She’d often joked with her roommate at school that nothing but mini dust bunnies inhabited her billfold. Once she had been able to come home, she found that the one thing she really wanted of Tutu Lady’s was this little unicorn.

Malia walked up to get a closer look at it. Yes…this was it. She felt the nostalgia of her early years, the times she’d spent at her Tutu’s small house near the beach. Reaching out, she stroked the fading gold flaked horn, feeling the small chip in it. She smiled. Ahhh…she’d been seven when that had happened. She’d been just come from the local hālau, still in her little hula skirt. She’d been so excited! The hālau was going to perform at the Ala Moana shopping center on King Kamehameha I Day. In her haste to tell Tutu Lady, she’d knocked the little statue over on the table where it sat. Seeing what she’d done, she’d let out a howl, tears forming in her eyes. Tutu Lady had wiped her tears, kissed each of her cheeks, and set the Unicorn upright. The only damage done had been the chip in its horn. A voice broke into her memories.

“E komo mai.” A small, wizened man was standing at the auctioneer’s stand. “Welcome.” Malia stepped back to her front row seat, seating down and clutching her numbered paddle tightly. The man could hardly see over the stand. His voice sounded rusty as he started the auction.

“First up is a nice painting of Madam Pele, rising from the lava of Kilauea, on Big Island.” He paused, looking out over the group gathered in front of him. Or rather, those that he could see. “We’ll start the bidding at-” another pause, as if he was deciding what to start it at. “Ten dollars.”

A woman’s voice called from the back, “Ten!”

“Eleven!” a man counted from the right of Malia.

The auctioneer didn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry to move the auction along. In fact…Did he fall asleep? Malia asked herself, looking at him, seeing his head nodding, eyes closed.

“Eh!” a deep voice called out, again from the back. “Braddah! Lesgo…no Moi Moi!

The little man startled awake. He banged his hammer on the stand. “Sold!” There was a confused murmur in the crowd. The little man looked befuddled for a minute, “To the man there for eleven dollars!”
He pointed to the little unicorn, “Next up…this little horned pony.” Malia tensed up, she wasn’t expecting any competition, but still…”Opening bid will be Fifteen dollars!” Malia’s arm shot up, her paddle waving in the air.


“Twenty!” a deep, husky voice countered instantly. Malia whipped her head around, trying to see where the voice had come from. She couldn’t see a paddle in the air. But she wasn’t going down so easily.

“Twenty-Five!” There was note of determination in her voice.


Who the hell was this guy? Malia thought, once again turning and seeing no one. Frowning, she bid again.

“Fifty!” There were twitters coming from the other bidders now, as if enjoying the battle that was going on. All over a small, ceramic unicorn.

“Five hundred!”

Malia set stunned. She couldn’t go that high. Her paddle slipped from her fingers as she realized that she had lost this last connection to her Tutu Lady. Tears formed in her eyes, slowly rolling down her cheeks.

“Going…going…going…” the old auctioneer whizzed “GONE!”

Malia sat in seat for a few minutes, her tears flowing. A shadow fell over her. She looked up, into the rich brown eyes of a tall, muscled man. He smiled at her.

“Hello Malia.” He spoke her name softly. In his hand was Tutu Lady’s unicorn. Her eyes widened, recognizing this man.

“Kade?” she whispered. Nodding his head, he smiled at her. They had been sweethearts from grade school all the way through high school. When she’d gone to the mainland for college, he’d stayed in Hawaii, choosing to attend University of Hawaii at Manoa. The distance had proved too much for their relationship.

“Malia” he said, as he dropped to his knees next to her. “I’ve been looking for you. I’d heard you were home-“

“Looking for me?” She interrupted.

“Yeah. I know it’s been a long time, but I’ve never stopped loving you.” He confessed. “I’ve waited for you to come home.” He paused, “Is there a chance for us again?”

Malia felt warmth wash though her body. Kade had been her one true love. Seeing him now, as a man and not the boy she’d left behind years ago, she realized he’d always been the only one for her.

“Yes…yes.” She whispered, “Oh Kade!” She threw her arms around him, nearly knocking him over.

“Whoa sweetheart!” He chuckled. He moved her back into her seat, and held out the small unicorn.

“Malia Kalani -“ he asked “Will you marry me?”

“YES!” She squealed, taking the small statute from him, her eyes shining brightly, her tears now from the happiness she felt. He stood, sweeping her into his arms; turning he walked toward the small helicopter setting in the parking lot, waiting for them.

Blackbeard, Inc

A writing exercise from A Writer’s Path

Write a scene with a recruiting company for pirates.

Begin a scene with this line: Why is the world upside down?

Include all of these elements into a scene: a bucket, a rainbow, curiosity, and a TV remote control.


Strident ringing shattered the quiet of the plush office. “Alright, alright.” A woman muttered as she came into the office, “I’m coming already!” Reaching across the sleek glass desk, she grabbed the handset. “Blackbeard Inc” she answered, “Annie Gilly speaking.” Moving around the desk, she dropped into the leather chair behind it. She grimaced and held the phone away from her ear, the voice on the other end raging at full volume. The man’s angry words filled the immediate space around her. She caught the gist of what he was bellowing about. It seemed Captain Hook had lost his First Mate…again. She waited until he stopped to take in some air, and then swiftly cut in.“I understand you’re upset Captain.” A note of false sympathy in her voice “But this is the fourth crew member you’ve lost in the last six months.” She tapped a key on the iPad that set in front of her. “Did he go the way of the other three?” Annie asked out of curiosity as she brought up the list of available First Mates waiting for positions in New Providence.
Now talking in a more contrite voice, Hook related that his missing First Mate had indeed been pirated away by that scallywag from Neverland.

“Ah…So Pan’s recruiting again?” Annie asked, making a mental note to let Blackbeard know. Peter Pan had been a thorn in the pirates’ communities for months now, pilfering crew from all ships. No one knew what he was up too, but the pool of crew for hire was rapidly dwindling. She frowned looking at the very short list of First Mates on her iPad. Only three names were listed. Hook was silent now, waiting for Annie to find a fifth First Mate.

“I have three names on our books. Would you like me to send them too?” She asked. Hook grumbled a yes and rattled his email address. Annie grabbed a pen from the bucket shaped pen holder on the desk.

“Can you repeat that please?” Annie asked. She repeated as she wrote it down on a pad next to her iPad. “capt_hook@jollyroger.org, correct?” Hook confirmed it was.

“Alright.” Annie said briskly, “Let me get this list to you.” She paused, listening to Hook, “Yes, I’ll let Capt. Blackbeard know about Pan’s activates as soon as he returns.” She paused, listening, “I’m sorry but I’m not at liberty to give his itinerary out.” Annie rolled her eyes as Hook continued to talk. When she just couldn’t stand it anymore, she broke into whatever he had been whining about “Oh I’m so sorry Capt Hook but I have another call coming in.” Her voice was overly sugary sweet. “Thank You for being such a loyal patron of Blackbeard Inc.” With that she softly replaced the handset in the cradle of the phone.

Annie sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. She’d been running the recruiting agency for six weeks now. Alone. And where is that Freebooter Blackbeard? Annie thought, a scowl now marring her pale, smooth face. Off drinking grog and chasing rainbows looking for that next pot of gold! Leaving her, his First Mate, to run Blackbeard, Inc.

Walking across the room, Annie dropped into the soft cushions of the overstuffed leather sofa. The pirate business just isn’t what it used to be, she sighed as she reached for the TV remote. Too high-tech now. CNN sprang to life on the 60 inch flat screen that hung on the wall across from her. Annie’s mouth dropped open, there on the screen, was the Jolly Roger, sailing into the port, Pan at the wheel. And hanging from the yardarm upside down, surrounded by the missing crew members, was Captain Hook.

Annie started laughing. She bet Hook, not the sharpest crayon in the box, was asking himself… Why the hell is the world upside down? So that’s what Pan was up too, she thought. Still chuckling, she rose from the sofa just as the phone on the desk started ringing. Reaching it, she picked up the phone, sinking into the chair…her chair.

“Blackbeard Inc, Annie Gilly speaking.” She smiled as she got back to the business at hand.

The Jester

A writing exercise from A Writer’s Path

Begin a scene with this line: Clocks aren’t supposed to stand still like that.

Include all of these elements into a scene: a wine glass, a translation book, awe, and a puzzle piece.

Write a scene with a court jester who doesn’t think he’s funny.


Clocks aren’t supposed to stand still like that, Jasper the Jester thought to himself as he stood in front of the twin thrones. He was sweating profusely under his jester’s suit, standing there, waiting to be acknowledged by the King. He’d travailed far for this chance to perform for the Court. He failed at everything else he’d attempted to do. How hard could it be to tell a few jokes? Jasper shifted slightly, moving from one foot to the other. Easy if you’re funny, he thought morosely, which I’m not. No sense of humor, no magic tricks up my sleeve, just nothing.

He’d lost track of time standing there. The unmoving hands of the large clock behind the thrones provided no help to tell the passing of time. The King cleared his throat, dragging Jasper’s eyes back to the two people setting in front of him. The King, a burly man with stark white hair and rather unkempt clothing was setting slouched in his seat. A frown marred his face as he looked at Jasper. The Lords and Ladies in attendance murmured at his frown, as one taking a step back.

“Well Jester” he muttered, seemingly disinterested in the whole proceedings. “What have you for us this day?”

“M…M…My Liege” Jasper stammered out, his voice squeaky, stalling for time. The King rolled his eyes.

“Yes…Yes…get on with it!” He instructed, waving his hand at Jasper. A slim, graceful hand touched the

King’s sleeve, the Queen’s tinkling voice interrupting him.

“Stop it Bertie!” she admonished the King. “Let the poor man gather his wits!”

Jasper’s gaze swung her way. She sat next to her husband, in one hand a delicate wine glass, half filled with a rosy colored liquid. In the other she held an old book, The Book of Translations. Jasper noticed that while the King was disheveled, the Queen was dressed immaculately.

Her hair was piled high on the top of her head, making Jasper gaze in awe and wonder how her long neck could hold her head up. Her deep crimson dress was fitted tightly to her plush body, accenting each curve of her figure. And the neckline of the dress…one look and Jasper felt his face turn a fiery red. She took a drink from the wine glass to hide the smile on her lips.

The King’s looked at his Queen, a petulant scowl on his face.
“He needs to get on with it Penny.” He huffed, “I don’t have all day.” He looked back at Jasper. “He’d better be funny or he’ll go the way of the last jester.” The Queen sighed in annoyance.

“As if you have anything better to do?” she said, under her breath. The King’s head snapped back in her direction, but she smiled sweetly at him. Then she waved at Jasper to start.
He cleared his suddenly dry throat, glancing with longing at the Queens’s wine glass. Oh what he wouldn’t give for a drink right about now. Clearing his throat, he jumped right in.

“Three dragons walk into a bar… there were no survivors.”

He paused, waiting. Silence. Seconds seemed to stretch into minutes. Nothing. The King just stared at him. Jasper heard a mouse scratching some place close by. He swallowed and tried again.

“A King walks up to a barmaid and says, Is that a rod of lordly might in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”
All those in the hall gasped as one, taking another step back. The King turning red in the face, the Queen snickering. Quickly, without stopping to think, Jasper tries one last time.

“A Jester walks up to a Queen and says, Is that your new spell, Stunning Jugs, or is it all natural?”

Stunned silence fills the hall. Not even a gasp is heard, even the mouse has quieted.

A soft chuckle comes from the Queen. She begins to laugh uproariously, gasping “…stunning…jugs…”
The King turns to look at her, as if she’s lost her mind.

“Penny?” He asks confused. She just waves to where Jasper stands, looking like death. Not wanting to look the fool, the King issues a rather fake sounding chuckle. The chuckle soon becomes a forced laugh. After a few minutes, the room follows suit, no one wants to be seen NOT laughing when their King is.

Waving his hand amid the fake laughing in the hall, he bellows over sound “Jester…You’re hired!”

Jasper, his eyes growing wide, mouth moving like a fish out of water, is speechless. Looking over at the Queen, she winked at him as she lifted her ample breasts and jiggled them at him.

Jasper dropped into an unmanly faint.