New York is a city of inspiration. The energy, the buzz, the people–anything you want and many things you don’t are right at your fingertips. Michelle Haimoff’s story These Days Are Ours (which you can start reading on Figment here) is set in a post-9/11 NYC, where the young are entitled and a little on the wild side.
Every weekday for one week, we want you to write super short stories, each set in a different location inspired by Michelle’s New York City. Maybe it’s the foot of the Statue of Liberty and maybe it’s a fire escape on Avenue B. We’ll announce a new prompt and tag every day this week, and you’ll have 24 hours to write your brief 100-words-or-fewer story. Include TDAOflash and that day’s tag in your story’s tags section to be entered to win. Each day, one winning entry will be chosen by Figment staff. Entries will be chosen based on clarity and creativity. Each day’s winner will receive a copy of These Days Are Ours and some NYC tourist swag. Check back here each day for the next prompt and read the full promotional guidelines here. Watch the blog for the announcement of the week’s winners!
Ready to start?
Today’s location (3/16):
Write a scene set on a busy sidewalk.
“I walked to Fifth and headed downtown, looking at the store windows and the people. There were crowds around FAO Schwarz. Horse-drawn carriages. Portrait artists. The city wasn’t a whole lot quieter than it used to be.” (These Days Are Ours, p. 168).
Tag your story TDAOflash and TDAOflash5 to enter. Make sure to have your story up by 12p.m. ET on March 17.
Thursday’s location (3/15):
Write a scene that takes place in a busy restaurant at brunch.
“E.A.T. was packed on a Saturday afternoon. Everyone but Adrian was in Lacoste and khakis.
“I’m glad you were home just now,” he said once we were seated with menus in front of us.
“Yeah, that worked out well.” We were sitting by the window.
“I was hoping to talk to you, actually. Sober.”
“I looked through the circle of re painted-on stars on the window to see if I recognized anyone on Madison. “Well, I’m not generally a huge fan of sobriety.”
The waiter put an overflowing break basket in the middle of the table.
(These Days Are Ours, p. 180)
Tag your story TDAOflash and TDAOflash4 to enter. Make sure to have your story up by 12p.m. ET on March 16.
Wednesday’s location (3/14):
Write a scene set in the back of a taxi, or in which a character is talking to a cab driver.
“‘Who are you yelling at?’
‘The cabdriver. I tried to share a cab with this girl who’s friends with one of Passman’s friends, and she puked in the cab.’
‘Ew,’ I said. ‘Is she okay?’” (These Days Are Ours, p. 149)
Tag your story TDAOflash and TDAOflash3 to enter. Make sure to have your story up by12p.m. ET on March 15.
Tuesday’s location (3/13):
Write a scene set on the Empire State Building or other monument.
“I walked in purposefully with my bags. I hadn’t been there since I was a kind, and I still remembered seeing the computer chip grid of the city when we went there at night. I’d find my mom’s building. And Brenner’s. Central Park. The Washington Square Arch. I wouldn’t leave until I felt like I was in control of the city again. And if today happened to be the day the terrorists took the Empire State Building down, then I’d go down with it.
When I finally got to 35th Street, I couldn’t find it.
‘Where is the Empire State Building?’ I asked some guy standing outside a 9/11 store.
‘Here,’ he said, pointing to a security guard next door.
‘Is this the Empire State —’
‘The observation deck is closed,’ he said, not to me but to the group of tourists standing next to me.
‘Sir’ – I rearranged my bags – ‘excuse me. Is there any way I can . . . go up?’ I stood away from the tourists.
‘The observation deck is closed.’ Clearly he said this multiple times a day.
‘In light of recent events, visitors are no longer allowed entry into the building.’ Recent events happened six months ago.
I stood there trying to figure out how to convince him that I should be able to choose whether or not I wanted to take the risk. I wanted to tell him that I would have been perfectly happy to sign a waiver saying that if terrorists blew up the building while I happened to be in it, it would be my fault. People who didn’t want to get blown up could avoid the Empire State Building and the rest of us could hang out on the observation deck in peace.
I sighed, looking at him not looking at us. It wasn’t even worth asking when it was going to reopen. There was no specific point in the future when all of this would be over. It was a war on terror. I wouldn’t be able to go to the top of the Empire State Building until terror ceased to exist. I was angry not at the terrorists, but at us, for shutting things down. Where was all that “If we don’t go on with our lives, then the terrorists win crap? This was New York City. I should have been allowed to go into the Empire State Building anytime I wanted, twenty-four hours a day.” (These Days Are Ours, p. 87-88)
Tag your story TDAOflash and TDAOflash2 to enter. Make sure to have your story up by 12p.m. ET on March 14.
Monday’s Location (3/12):
Write a scene set on the top of a building.
“When he opened the door, the night air and the darkness hit us all at once like we had just jumped into a black swimming pool. We stood immobilized, trying to figure out where to go. He nodded to two white plastic lounge chairs. I walked over carefully, not sure of my footing, and we sat on them sideways, with our coats on, above the Upper West Side. There was a thin layer of black dust covering everything, but I didn’t care.” (These Days Are Ours, p. 63)