Color me something new, something bold. Color over the mistakes and past regrets. Pick up a brush and paint bold strokes, flashy colors. This is a time to refresh.
Writers met the challenge with colorful stories full of emotion, surprise, horror and humor. All the paint cans opened to reveal a rainbow collection.
The following are based on the June 27, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves paint.
PART I (10-minute read)
Charli’s Starlings by Chelsea Owens
No one knew where the starlings came from. One day, the sidewalks and light posts and old brick buildings were bare; the next, they were scattered with flight.
Up and down Shelden Avenue elderly friends stopped their morning walk and children pointed and pulled at parents’ pants.
Winged, irridescent forms swooped up a wall. Yellow-beaked stills observed from flower pots. A proud male perched atop an awning.
Passersby soon realized that, lifelike as the birds were, they existed solely as pictures. For one woman, that mattered little.
She kissed her paint-stained fingertips in fond farewell, turned, and headed home.
Three Mistakes by Tony Amore
“The first mistake,” he says, “is not loading your brush with enough paint.” Nodding, I steady the ladder as my father works deep blue where wall meets vaulted ceiling.
“The second is pulling and dragging,” he looks down gauging how much attention is being paid Glasses perched at the edge of his nose; a bead of sweat hanging there. “Push into the space where the wall meets the ceiling,” he insists. “Push don’t pull.”
He teeters and jerks slapping a blue smudge across pure whiteness. Dabbing it with a damp rag, he notes the third is not being tall.
Paint on a Smile by Richard Dee
Mom used to say, “whatever life throws at you, paint on a smile and get on with it.”
Easy to say. Not so easy to do. Stood in front of the mirror, eyes blackened from too many tears, the memories still fresh, the smell of him not yet gone.
“C’mon,” the voice of Mom had been replaced by the voice I knew so well. “I’m not here and staying in won’t bring me back.”
I opened the drawer, the paint was all there, in bottles and tubes.
I had his blessing; it was time to face the world again.
Perfect Paint Product by Tien Skye
I looked at the botched paint job. I could have hired professionals but I insisted on doing it myself. I started scrapping away at the paint and started sobbing.
“What are you doing, son?”
“That was a lousy paint job and I just want to repaint it!”
He frowned as he processed my blubbering. “You want to repaint the entire wall because of that small mistake? Besides, the table goes there and it will cover up that section.”
“I want a perfect job! I just can’t let it go!”
He stared at me for a moment. “Can’t? Or won’t?”
Paint by Pete Fanning
Painting with my son is messy. Mom makes him put on too-small clothes. I change too. Once we’re sufficiently hideous, it’s to the backyard—to whatever we’ve thrown together from pallets I’ve brought home. Birdhouses, treasure boxes, last time I built a planter.
We slap it on thick, until paint is slathered on our knees and we’re picking it from our fingers. I try to teach him to go with the grain of the wood, but my son is an against-the-grain type of guy.
I like that about him. He’s not afraid to make mistakes.
He’s taught me so much.
Challenge Accepted by Ruchira Khanna
“I dare you!” he said with a snort and arms on his hips.
“I accept the challenge!”
Now ‘have to wait for the right moment!
Soon sleep encroached my athletic brother who had come home after playing a game of soccer in the scorching sun.
I was quick to collect my mom’s cosmetics and tiptoe in his room, and the process of painting started.
I painted the foundation gently on his tanned face with a brush; created a mole on his left upper lip with a liquid eyeliner; the Cindy Crawford style! Then concluded with painting, his lips red.
Natural Beauty by Susan Sleggs
The bride stared at herself in the hotel room mirror, horrified. Her soon-to-be mother-in-law had insisted they go for a makeover. They had their hair painted with highlights and their faces painted to clown level, or so the bride felt as she never wore make-up. She and her fiancé were naturalists, working and playing in the wilderness.
The door flew open, her benefactress strode in and handed her make-up removal towelettes. “My insistence you look like me was wrong. I apologize; we have enough time to get you back to natural, how my son loves you.”
“Thank you. Mom.”
White Washing by Sally Cronin
One angry brush stroke at a time, the old man painted across the words on his neighbour’s garden gate,
They were a lovely family, who had been kind to him since they been granted asylum three years ago, and moved in next door. Having recently lost his wife he had been lonely, but they invited him in each Sunday for dinner, did his shopping when he was ill and the father often popped around for a chat after work.
The least he could do in return was to white wash over this mean spirited graffiti before they discovered it.
A Green Field by JulesPaige
In the room she never wanted, in the house too far from friends, Essie was allowed to paint one wall. It didn’t make up for not being included in what should have been a family decision. At least that’s how she saw it. So she took her time with her artistic eye spreading green.
To add insult to injury, Essie’s father was impatient that his youngest was taking so long. “It’s not rocket science,” he shouted!
Knowing that Essie would never win, all she could do was plot her escape. In the room that would now be her sanctuary.
Art Class 101—Portrait Painting by Norah Colvin
The task completed, he took a fresh sheet of paper and sketched the teacher with an enormous warty chin and hair sprouting like an unravelling steel wool pad. He added her name and then, with a flourish, his. He nudged his neighbour whose stifled guffaws drew attention. When the teacher investigated, only the task was visible.
Behind the papers, the portrait remained forgotten at class end. Until discovered by the teacher.
Later, having no satisfactory explanation, he was sentenced to weeks of lunchtimes painting bricks.
Years later, when he was a famous cartoonist, they delighted in telling his story.
The Girl on the Bridge by TN Kerr
Stavo picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder
the cans rattled together, they shifted in the sack
Tonight he carried mostly blues, greens, yellows, and greys
He took the path through the park, from his van to the bridge
His canvas was already chosen so he promptly set to work
Shaking each can before use
Ducking down as cars passed
He painted a portrait of Caledonia
The young girl with colourful corkscrew hair and full, lush lips
He never sold his work
Just put it out- to be loved or hated
By whoever happened across it
The Muse by Pratibha
It did not surprise me anymore, this struggle between holding on and letting go. It has started recently, but I had felt myself giving it more thought with every stroke. It was his doing; I wanted to scream but did not want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he could provoke me.
I stepped back to look at the painting.
Earlier, I was bolder in colors and the grandness of the scenes, while he taught me to add the details. The muse had become the teacher I was not ready to please. He still demanded it all.
Paint by Anita Dawes
I’m ten years old; it’s the middle of Summer.
My father gives me a bucket of whitewash,
a large paintbrush, telling me to paint the front fence.
The only thing on my mind is the cool blue lake, my friends waiting.
That’s where I should be. Not being used like a work horse
I’m a kid; I need fun before I’m old.
I stood in front of our fence, trying to make my arm work,
then it came to me.
Give everyone something to talk about.
Paint a lake scene.
Dad wondered why folk were looking at our fence…
Painting Clouds by Colleen Chesebro
I measured the pigments into the old jelly jar using an ancient long handled spoon used only for my spell casting rituals. Slowly, I dribbled rain water from the last storm into the vessel and stirred with a clockwise motion. My eyes snapped shut as the colors swirled behind my lids pulsing with a life energy that desired recognition.
The contents of the jar spewed forth in a magnificent arc of light gracefully materializing into the shape of a rainbow – a manifestation of the divine. I smiled, content to paint the clouds with the stuff dreams are made of.
Painting the Butterflies by Anne Goodwin
On the fifth day, God created the birds and beasts. But, as midnight loomed, he still hadn’t started on the invertebrates, so he delegated them to the angels. The angels, however, were too ham-fisted to paint the delicate wings of the moths and butterflies, so they handed over the brushes and paint pots to the elves. All the colours of the spectrum, apart from dark green, which ran out painting the rainforest on the third day. It was a minute to midnight when they checked God’s list, which is why the dark green fritillary is primarily orange and black.
It’s Not About The Paint by Geoff Le Pard
‘You decorating, Logan?’
‘I was fed up with the colour.’
‘I always thought it was one of those pretentious ‘white with a hint of snot’ thingies.’
‘It was Forest Dapple.’
‘You’re kidding? Which bit of that “yesterday’s cappuccino” effect was forest and which dapple?’
‘You’re right, it was just brown. Now it’s Sunshine Glory.’
‘But a really deep and inspiring yellow that speaks to love and harmony.’
‘Sort of lemony, then?’
‘Why don’t you decorate your flat rather than scoff.’
‘I plan to, tonight but I’m going much bigger than my flat.’
‘I’m painting the town red.’
Evening by Joanne Fisher
“Let’s go out tonight and paint the town red!” exclaimed Zana.
Krystal smiled. When Zana mentioned painting the town red, she sometimes meant it literally, given her proclivities.
“You planning to go out and have fun, or go on a killing spree again?” Krystal asked.
“The two aren’t mutually exclusive.” Zana pointed out.
“Yes, but killing loads of people ends up being rather messy doesn’t it? Maybe we should just stay in and order some room service.” Krystal suggested.
“Now that’s a great idea! The staff here look very tasty!” said Zana enthusiastically.
Krystal rolled her eyes and sighed.
Paint Chips by Bill Engleson
“They look–so colourful.”
“Thank’s. That’s precisely the reaction we’ve been seeking. Try a few.”
“There’s quite a selection, isn’t there? Its hard to choose.”
“They look appealing, don’t they? That’s all a result of our community consultation. Our WORLD consultation, really.”
“The world, huh?”
“Our oyster, so to speak. From the get-go, we were out to corner the market.”
“Wow! Ambitious! And all of it based on a person’s colour personality?”
“You betcha. Very scientific. The four key elements, earth, air, fire, water, the primary colours, our magnificent colour wheel…”
“Yet, they’re just potato chips?”
“Crunchy, colourful and delicious.”
Independence Paint by Frank Hubeny
The hot afternoon brought a sinister cloud extending across the western horizon that painted the sky behind it dark. From the distance of our heroes on Earth they could not estimate its speed, but they knew it would be upon them at any moment.
“That is the largest alien vessel I have ever seen! It covers the sky.”
“It’s a storm cloud. We need to reach shelter before the downpour.”
“It’s part of the rebellion to liberate the universe from the evil empire. They want our planet as a base of operations.”
“I hope not.”
Then the aliens landed.
Paints of Peace by H.R.R. Gorman
“Dance well.” I stroke my fingers across my son’s cheeks, drawing symbols to praise the creator. “Please the gods and praise their creation.” The white paint of peace applied, I clean my fingers then swirl them in a blue paint made of crushed berries and buffalo fat. This will remain smooth through the day while the white clay cracks and falls. I hope my paints strengthen him throughout the ceremony.
“It is excellent, mother.” My son in his ceremonial clothing exits the tent.
A white soldier frowns and, through the translator, growls, “Why are you painted up for war?”
Home to Say Goodbye by Kay Kingsley
I sat and let out the exhale I’d been holding in for years. Coming back home didn’t mean I had a home to come back to. It’s not like it was, anyhow. My parent’s death shattered our family scattering us kids, we abandoned the only home we’d known.
Quietly she called at first, then stronger, she beckoned.
In two weeks, eminent domain would swallow her whole and I think she needs to grieve, we both do. So, we visit in the sun as I scratch at her paint flakes and thank her for calling me home to say goodbye.
PART II (10-minute read)
The Interview by The Dark Netizen
Thank you sir, for agreeing to do this interview.
“That’s okay. Let’s get on with it.”
Sure, sir. Before beginning, any message for your fans?
“It’s just a medium I’m adding. I’ve always spoken to my fans through my paintings.”
Of course. They are definitely most expressive. What is the secret behind your unusually emotive paintings?
“It’s the water I use.”
Wow! Is it imported from a secret place?
“Imported? No. My tears give my paint their magic. Earlier, when I was a poor nobody, they were tears of sadness. Today, they are tears of joy and satisfaction…”
Born This Way by Tina Stewart Brakebill
What would he say when he saw them? Sparkly and pink, they matched her t-shirt and her lip gloss. Or would have, if she’d been brave enough to wear lip gloss. Baby steps. That’s her plan. Painted nails today. Maybe painted lips next week.
What was she so afraid of? She needed to live her true life. She needed to tell him! And she would. Soon.
Still, she remembered his menacing tone before last year’s talent show. “No son of mine is going to strut around like a painted whore!”
So, less Britney. And more … what?
Pretty in Pink by Annette Rochelle Aben
I had never had my nails done professionally. But since I was now a female business executive, who did a lot of public speaking, it was suggested that I spruce up the ends of my fingers.
The nail tech was chatty and did a great job! We chose a bright shade of deep pink polish and everything was perfect.
She admonished me to use the side of my finger to open my car door, lest I break the new nails.
Sheepishly, I walked back into the salon a few minutes later. Smiling, she said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
House Painting 101 by Nancy Brady
Julia always liked bold, bright colors, and she was tired of having walls of cream, beige, or off-white year after year. Just this once, she and her husband picked jewel tone colors for their new home.
The living room was now midnight blue; the kitchen, burgundy, and the bedrooms, cypress green; even the den was turquoise. Still, the baseboards were painted white to match the ceilings.
Their friends and family were shocked by the boldness. “How will you ever be able cover over the paint? If you decide to sell the house?”
“We won’t,” they said. “Our heirs will.”
Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Liz HusebyeHartmann
We’d started with a couple buckets of ice blocks, and another couple with dried ice. These’d cool down the backyard while creating thick fog in our North Minneapolis back yard. Full sun, tropical temps; we’d lost a bar bet around nude sunbathing in a semi-public place.
Friends showed up to gloat, but brought their own buckets of ice…and craft beer. We decided to paint our side of Mrs. McCready’s ugly adjoining fence, Tom Sawyer style. Fog to cover from neighbors’ prying eyes, ice to keep things cool. Brilliant!
Seemed like a good idea …
Wish we’d remembered sunblock.
Paint and Bells (Part I) by D. Avery
Marge leaned down to speak with Ilene through the rolled down window of the El Camino.
“I’m heading out to get some paint.”
“Hop in Marge, I’ll drive.”
Marge’s maneuver was more of a plop than a hop but she did fit herself into the El Camino.
“I was headed to the hardware store myself, Marge. Wedding supplies.”
“Won’t be any wedding until I’ve finished painting the boys’ handiwork.”
“Painting. Just a letter switch away from waiting.”
“That’d be wainting, wordsmith.”
“Wainting– when one wants and waits and wants to wait at the same time; wainting. A dreadful condition.”
Paint and Bells (Part II) by D. Avery
“What’s going on Marge? You taking your Paxil?”
“This is a big change, Ilene.”
“Marrying the man you’ve been living with? Marge, nothing’s going to change except that you’ll make Ernest so happy.”
“Will Mr. Biggs be happy if I don’t take his last name? That’s a change. Ilene, I’ve been Small my whole life.”
Ilene looked sidelong at her friend. Marge was contorted on the bench seat that was pulled forward so that Ilene could reach the controls.
“Hyphenate, both of you. Small-Biggs, Biggs-Small…Marge, it’s all good. And if you want, I’ll help paint.”
“Waint that be nice.”
Paint and Bells (Part III) by D. Avery
“Jeez, Ilene, put the seat back so I can get out.”
Ilene was already out and taking measurements the El Camino bed. “Oops, sorry Ms. Small, I forgot you’re too Biggs for this vehicle.”
“Only when you have the seat crammed into the dashboard, Ms. Higginbottom. Let me drive on the way back. What’s with the measuring?”
“You put me in charge of decorating. You’ll have to wait and see.”
While Marge got her paint Ilene picked up a rectangular blow-up kiddie pool. She would transform the El Camino into the largest beer cooler the gang had ever seen.
Repainted Landscape by Ann Edall-Robson
It had been two years, but Tal remembered the day vividly. A wall of smoke and flames coming towards the ranch. Neighbours banding together to do what they could before everyone was told to leave. And then the wind changed in their favour.
Tal stood beside his horse looking out over the valley at the still visible aftermath of that raging firestorm. The healing shades of green across the land accentuated the shards of brown-black. Haunting sentinels of burned trees left behind with the scorched fencing. The blatant reminder of Mother Nature’s power to repaint her landscape, anytime.
Dream House by tracey
She felt like Myrna Loy in “Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House” as she recited paint colors to the contractor.
“I am still figuring out my office”, she confessed. It felt terribly important to get the color exactly right in the room she would spend the most time in.
Since she couldn’t even narrow down a color family she was going by name now. She wanted something literary like ‘Writer’s Retreat’ or ‘Chapter and Verse’.
She flipped through the paint chips and read ‘All Your Dreams’. The palest of pinks, more of a rosy cream. Her future in paint.
A Coat of Paint by Abhijit
There was agreement that the room needed a fresh coat of paint. Disagreement was on the choice of color. Daughter wanted a pink color. Mother wanted a yellow or a white, a color that was bright. Father preferred green, the color of almighty, but also a wanted consensus. As controller of purse string, father had hoped that his wish would prevail.
Time passed. Consensus eluded. Father passed away. Daughter got a job and moved to a different city. Property changed hand.
Today, standing before the brightly painted two storey building, their old home, the memory of earlier times flashed.
Protest in Paint by Floridaborne
I loved my home on a half acre in the rolling hills of North Carolina with a fenced-in yard. It was 1979, and hubby did his job so well, they didn’t need him any longer.
It was easy for an engineer to find another job, and our home sold in a month, but the cost of housing in Wisconsin gave us few choices. At that time, homeowner’s associations were not common. We didn’t know until the day of the signing that we couldn’t have a fence.
In protest, I painted my home psychedelic green. It glowed in the dark.
New Paint by Joanne Fisher
“Has he gone colour blind?” My aunt asked.
We had just pulled up at my dad’s house and seen the new paint job. His entire house was now a rather shocking turquoise colour. A colour I had never liked. Still it had always been his favourite, and I wondered why.
I was now living in Christchurch so it had been a few months since I had seen the house, and now the entire family was coming here for Christmas. They ended up being as mortified as we were.
Dad was his usual self and dismissed our opinions with kindness.
Golden Snowdrops by Valerie Fish
It said on the tin ‘Golden Snowdrops’; he said it looks like vomit.
Painting a room two weeks away from your due date is no bundle of fun, making me feel nauseous, and last night hadn’t helped.
I’d been nagging him for weeks to decorate the nursery, when I dared to mention it again yesterday, I should have known what was coming…
‘Why can’t you do it?’ he bellowed. ‘You’ve nothing better to do now you’re home all day.’
Then the punch came.
I fear for myself and my unborn baby.
Tomorrow I’ll go and get some more paint.
War Paint by Deborah Lee
Caroline peers over Jane’s shoulder at Jane’s reflection in the mirror, her breath hot. “Why doll yourself up?” she says. “You’re not going to find a boyfriend here.”
Janes snaps the compact shut. “I’m not here for a boyfriend. I’m here because it’s my job.”
The restroom door slams shut as Caroline huffs out. One step closer to fired, Jane thinks.
It’s not a job, it’s a war zone. War zones require war paint. Magical protection: It’s not blush, it’s a shield. Transformation: Look like who you want them to think you are.
Maybe she should buy some woad.
Something Different (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
“Want some paint for that brush?” Danni smiled, remembering. Her brushing a mammoth tusk, Ike standing at the edge of the mud with his fishing pole. The first time they met.
A wet nose nudged her hand while she cleaned shards and the paint brush flew from her grip. It dropped to the concrete of the barn floor. “Det, you are a pesky hound.” She patted the dog and picked up the brush. Maybe she should paint.
If Ike wanted to do something different, then she would too. Danni left for the hardware store to pick out cheerful yellows.
Meditations by Sascha Darlington
There’s meditation in painting. The up-and-down strokes whether with a brush or a roller. Up and down.
I didn’t tell my family Scott left me.
Cornflower blue, up and down.
They never liked him, although they pretended, because that’s what you do for family.
Apply masking tape around baseboard. Paint the baseboard: white.
“You’re family’s overwhelming. You’re overwhelming.”
I use a smaller brush, which takes longer without the mess.
I still hear the slam of the screen door, the Metallica song wailing over his car speakers when he started the engine: “Nothing Else Matters.”
He won’t be back.
War Paint by Kelley Farrell
Lilli plopped two tubes of lipstick down in front of her mother.
“Red for strength and energy.” Her mom admired the purple tube and cherry red lipstick.
“Black to signal you’ve been here before.” At this her mother frowned.
“You know I don’t like you wearing black lipstick.” Lilli rolled her eyes and huffed.
“Mom, I really think black lipstick is the least of the problems here. Besides, you need war paint to show the cancer who’s boss.”
Lilli’s mom tucked the black tube into her pocket.
“I’ll just keep this with me … to show the cancer who’s boss.”
Gardeners by Saifun Hassam
The garden shed was Tanya’s canvas. In summer she painted twining tea roses on one wall. In fall giant bronze chrysanthemums sprawled across another wall. In winter she painted pine needles and acorns on the back. In spring her neighbor Vinnie helped her scrub and wash the walls. She painted pink and purple hyacinths near the door and planned another season of flowers.
Vinnie brought fresh veggies from his garden and Tanya made his favorite casseroles. Their children said they should marry. Vinnie and Tanya grinned. They were seventy, great garden buddies and loved those casseroles. Leave it that.
Smile! by Di @ pensitivity
In our first house, we were fed up with grey walls in our lounge, so decided to buy a large tin of white emulsion and a colour syringe to tone it down a bit when we decorated.
As it turned out, one syringe didn’t do very much to the white so we added another, stirred it all together and set to.
We couldn’t have matched the original colour better if we’d tried. The only difference was the large smiley miley we’d put on the wall behind the stairs before starting which still showed through when the lights were on.
Anhalonium by Kenneth Cahall
At night, Devin painted abstracts. Once, I sat sipping coffee watching him paint. I asked about the unusual smell of his paint. He told me he’d added peyote for that nuclear test site green color and laughed.
His laughter continued but his mouth wasn’t moving. Then Devin, his painting, everything in the living room floor slammed into me. Now Devin and I were in his painting. We could see it in the mirror across the room: Devin holding his paint brush, me holding my coffee mug.
“I like this one better than your others,” I admitted.
“Thanks,” said Devin.
A Painted Poem by Susan Zutautas
I had a picture painted in my mind
But where was I going to find
Someone who completed me
To give them my hearts key
Then one night
My heart took flight
Meeting you, such a delight
I want to paint you a picture in a poem
How long it was, how long I roamed
To find a person that would love me
One who wanted to spend an eternity
The night I met you I started a new life
One year later we became husband and wife
Thirty-two years have now passed
Baby it has been a blast
Painting Passion by Ritu Bhathal
“Mrs Smith, you can come and sit over here.”
I put my book into my bag and sat at the chair indicated by the technician.
“What are we doing today, Mrs Smith?” She smiled at me, awaiting my answer.
“I’d like my nails painted please, Jemima.”
I chose my colour, a deep red, always my favourite.
Red, the colour of passion
Apt for our date night.
It had been a long time since we’d been out together, as a couple.
Usually, it was all about the children, but tonight was for us.
Time needed, to keep the romance alive.
Standing in It by D. Avery
“What’s goin’ on Kid? Why’s all the furniture out here on the porch?”
“Stop right there, Pal. Don’t come in. I decided ta pitch in an’ hep Shorty spruce up the ranch. Decided ta paint the floor of the bunkhouse.”
“Oh, yeah, thet looks real good, Kid. Looks like yer almost finished, too. Jist thet there corner left.”
“It’s gonna be awhile, gittin’ this bit finished.”
“Thet’s ‘cause yer standin’ in it, Kid. Ya done painted yersef inta a corner. Reckon you’ll be waitin’ on the paint ta dry.”
“Yep. Reckon they’s worse things ta have ta wait on.”