This isn’t really an exercise–it’s what I wrote for the Write-Off at the Midwest Writers’ Workshop. I thought it was pretty good, but I guess it didn’t have enough monkeys.
Prompt: write the first 100 words of the story that follows this beginning:
Ruth St. Clair took one last look at the divine mess on her desk and turned off the lights to her office in the Primate Lab of the Hudsonville Municipal Zoo. She closed and locked the door before stopping to bid her neighbor adios. Next door, Manuel Llosha played what appeared to be a game of Angry Sudoku. Or was it Battleship Basketball?
“So this is how you solved big cat cancer immunity puzzle, eh?” Llosha waved and zipped his mouth shut.
St. Clair nodded. Slapped the bulletin board between their offices and went to her car. As she unlocked her sister’s hand-me-down Honda, a scream burst from the African Savanna.
What I wrote:
The zombie virus progressed unpredictably. Someone they’d received recently must have kept enough of his cognitive ability to recognize the horror of his situation: trapped in the Savannah with other milling zombies, a tub of Thorazine-laced water, and a platter of Nutriloaf chunks. She picked up her cell anyway.
“The perimeter’s clear, St. Clair. Go home.”
She closed her phone. The zoo opened on Wednesdays, to let family visit. She thought it was cruel, and crueler for the zombies if they could recognize faces.
She leaned against the car and thought–like usual–that she would resign tomorrow.
Then she blew a kiss toward the American Prarie. “Goodnight, Pete. Goodnight, Annie.” And returned to her empty home.