Trifecta: Week ninety-nine

It has been a while since I tried the Trifecta challenge. This week is special, so I thought I’d have a little tickle at it. Nothing clever or fancy, just a small sketch brought to mind by the week’s word choice.

[box title=”The Prompt” style=”glass” box_color=”#659a95″ radius=”5″]This week we are giving you a page from the Oxford English Dictionary.  The ninety-ninth page, to be exact.   From this page, you can choose any word, any definition, to use in your post.  (Please type your chosen word in bold, so we know.)  And instead of our typical 33-333 word limit, we are asking for 99 words exactly.

– See more at: [/box]


Pops was remote, quite alien to us – the rank stench of pipe smoke clinging to his hair, his soft brown moleskins, and his corduroy jacket. We played at his feet and thought him some kind of Omnipotent, his head up there in a puff of cloud. He spoke little and infrequently but when he did, speech moderated by the pipe stem gripped fast between his yellowed dentures, it was always to promise a penny:

“Ah’ll gi’ yer a penny if’n yer pop dahn t’baccy shop ‘n fetch mi spills…”

— and always a stinking hug with the penny.



  1. October 15, 2013

    I love that smell. It describes my grandpa too. By the way, I’m using baccy too. As a poet, I’m not to confident in penning a short plot, but 99 words seemed less overwhelming somehow. Welcome back to Trifecta. I hope you stick around because I enjoy your writing.

    • October 15, 2013

      Thank you, Angie.

      I loved the smell of tobacco in the tin, but hated the smell of it being smoked, or the stale aftermath. I really wanted to write about the sweet smell of my father’s rolling tobacco, but somehow ended up with Grandad’s stinky old pipe. 99 words was insufficient to portray the old despot and now I feel that I need to set pen to paper and write a proper piece.

      • October 15, 2013

        It was my grandpa’s rolling tobacco and pipe that lingers for me. I’d like to read your longer piece when you finish!

  2. October 15, 2013

    Brilliant, descriptive writing. This works superbly as a character profile; in so few words, I can get a real sense for who “Pops” is. And the dialogue is wonderful. 🙂

  3. KymmInBarcelona
    October 16, 2013

    The description of Pops is wonderful – down to the kids on the floor. The sentence you gave him rounded it out perfectly!

  4. Kir Piccini
    October 16, 2013

    I really liked the way you wrote his dialogue , because I love when things are written like they gives it another layer. Very nice.

    I could smell him.

  5. October 17, 2013

    What a great image – I can picture Pops perfectly. Nicely done.

  6. October 17, 2013

    The stinking hug made me chuckle. I never cared for tobacco smells, whether it be pipe, cigarette or cigar (but cigar just might be the worst…)

    • October 17, 2013

      Pops is a compound of my two grandfather figures, though largely on my paternal side and maybe with a little literary licence chucked in. On my maternal side, my Great Uncle (who filled in as granddad) was apt to use “stinking” as his favourite epithet, in the place of a more offensive expletive. I think the “stinking hug” was the sulky child in me coming out- the one who was forbidden to swear. There are certainly several layers embedded in a mere 99 words here. Not intentional, but I see it now that it is written.

      I checked with my DH and “stinking” was a common epithet in his part of Yorkshire too: “Stinking heck!” replacing the more offensive “fucking hell!” So it was not simply in Sheffield, or West Yorkshire and certainly extended as far as East Yorkshire, if not farther. We both agree it has been many years since we heard it used this way and I wonder which part of my subconscious dragged it up.

      As I remember it, the word “stinking” acquired all the offensiveness of the more common vernacular, purely through it’s meaning and intent. It was every other word with my Grandad and I found him to be a nasty old bugger. (“Old Bugger” then being a common local term of almost-endearment, actually)

  7. October 18, 2013

    Beautifully descriptive. Thanks for being a part of our big 99th!

  8. October 18, 2013

    I can actually see and smell him, and almost even hear his gruff voice. Danged good writing, this.

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