Time for Tug-of-War


Hear  ye, hear ye…  Gather round… and all that jazz… er, rock, as the case may be.

It is time for another official Matticus proclamation!

A new Tug of War is about to be announced!

Like so many other things here in the kingdom, this tug-of-war is going to start with a reference to music:

“Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore.”

– Billy Joel “We Didn’t Start the Fire”


If you hadn’t already guessed it, the question that needs answering, the question we are going to solve once and for all is:  Which is the best soda/pop/cola/tasty beverage of sugar and caffeine?  Is it Coke?  Is it Pepsi?

But, before we begin the game, here are some rules (because all games must have rules, except Calvinball, of course):
1) Read the prompt.  (I know what you are thinking, “Reading, bleh, who wants to do that.”  But if you don’t read the prompt then you won’t be able to fully play along.)
2) Choose a side.  (You have to pick a side in tug-of-war, that’s kind of important.)
3) Write a post that supports your decision.  (We don’t need an essay, and we don’t give bonus points for brevity either.  However, we will be your friend if you do something creative.)  (You can also just leave your answer as a comment though in cases where a tie-breaker is needed, I’m going to count comments as only half a pulling point.)
4) Link back to this post so the moderator can count your support correctly.  (If you are super awesome and choose to play along and write a post.)
5) There is no fifth rule – just seemed like there needed to be another one – oh, wait, I know:  The fifth rule of Matticus Kingdom Tug-of-War is “You do talk about it.”  To anyone and everyone.  That’d be great.

The winning side will be the one that gets the most support, and their reward will be the knowledge that they chose wisely and eternal fame across the kingdom.

You have two weeks to get your support behind either Coke or Pepsi.  The first week of September I will begin to tally up the support and write up another post announcing the winner.

The Kingdom is throwing its support behind Coke.

I will admit that in a blind taste test I did a couple years ago, I got them wrong and thought Pepsi was Coke and vice versa, but when I know what I’m drinking I prefer the taste of Coke.  Is that psychological?  Probably.  Is it solely because I grew up in a Coke household?  Most likely.  Is it because I call everything that is a soda “coke?”  Well, yes, that’s maybe part of it too.  But, for the purpose of this tug of war, I’m going to argue it call comes down to the sweetness.  Pepsi is sweeter and when I reach for a coke, or a coffee, or a beer, I’d rather have it be bitter.  I like my food sweet but my drinks bitter.  I’m a big ol’ weirdo like that… but… Jester… so, it is what it is.

Now come on all you faithful kingdomites!  What is your favorite soda and why?  Let’s get this tug-of-war going!




In case you were wondering, this is the fourth official tug of war.  The first one settled that chicken and egg thing, the second one explored an important part of childhood, and the third one settled the ultimate Marvel verse DC comic battle.

The Problems with Ritual Suicide

Thoughts on weakness, bullying, and parenting… This post could have been written by me. Head over to Stories That Must Not Die and show your support and share your thoughts on the newest article:

Stories that Must Not Die

Usually vomiting makes one feel better, yet sitting in a pool of warm alcohol that I had just violently expelled out of what felt like every orifice on my face only made my head spin faster. Surely, this would get me out of this torture my brother’s drinking friends called Caps.

“Did you just throw up your last round?” asked one of my blurry competitors.

“Yeah, I think I’m done,” I answered the identical twin images in front of me.

“You softie. Now you have to drink two shots in the next round,” yelled another competitor.

Then the whole table chanted a derogatory word at me as they placed their hands on their heads in the shape of female genitalia.

The sad part of the story is that these are men that I considered my friends. For many men, this is a common experience—we anticipate compassion, yet we are…

View original post 1,039 more words

save point

They had created a written language all their own to hide messages from prying eyes.  They had a hangout they routinely gathered at to discuss ideas and formulate plots.  They had strict membership requirements to make sure that only the best candidates could join their ranks.  But, for a secret organization, as they styled themselves, they weren’t very secretive or organized.

Frank and Charles bummed rides from their parents and they met in John’s parents’ basement.  Their meetings rarely stayed on topic.  They had yet to agree upon a course of action or attempt a single coup.  Usually they ended up just watching movies and playing video games, their master plans for world domination left strewn across the top of their workbench, which every other night of the week doubled as a washing machine.

Everyone at school knew about their club, too.  The three members thought that because no one had approached with any interest of joining that meant they had managed to keep their existence somewhat quiet.  The truth, however, was that none of the other students wanted anything to do with their madness.  Frank, Charles, and John would have been find with that if they had known.  They’d have liked being thought of as mad.

They were mad.  Mad with a world spiraling out of control.  Mad about their inability to do anything about that.  Mad that they seemed to be standing alone against the bleak future.  As they went round and round trying to come up with something that might work, one brilliant idea for the rest of the world to latch on to and embrace before it was too late, they would eventually become mad at themselves too for not being able to agree on anything.

Their voices would raise, their fists would pump animatedly, and one parent of the other would yell down the stairs to “keep it down” or “knock it off” and then the three would roll their eyes, make truces, and take much needed breaks to clear their thoughts and start over.  The gaming consoles were never out of arms reach.

The fate of the world could wait until they’d reached the next save point.


I don’t know.  I picked one of the prompts and these were the words that came to me for it.  What would you write about for this week’s InMonster writing challenge?

Inspiration Monday logo

The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.


No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:






playground chat

Susie looked at Jake in disbelief, “But, why?”

Jake shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.  The toes of his right shoe twisting a hole into the soft sand of the recess area.  He looked away, embarrassed, unable to meet his friends gaze, and then looked back with a shy smile.  “I don’t know, that’s just what she said.”

“Say it again.”

“My mom said, ‘Jake, from now on you are confined to quarters!'”

“And when did she say that?”

“We were at the pizza place on Main, and I had just spent my entire allowance in the arcade.  She found out and went ballistic.  We’re talking full on meltdown right there in the arcade, in front of all the other kids, she hauled me off to the table and wouldn’t let me leave my seat again until it was time to go.”

“But, she didn’t ground you?”


“I forget, are those coin machines or dollar machines?”


“Hmm, so, she was saying your allowance was going to be paid in quarters from now on…  Nope, I don’t understand it either.  You can always just take the quarters to the clerk and he’ll happily switch them to dollars for you.”

“I know.  I’m a bit surprised my mom didn’t think of that.  I’ll just have to be more careful about staying down there too long.”

“Smart.  Anyway, it’s your allowance, why shouldn’t you get to spend it at the arcade?”

“I knew you would understand.  Hey, are you ready for today’s math test?”

Susie grimaced and shook her head no, but Jake knew that meant she would probably ace it.  She almost always did.  He rolled his eyes at her feigned distaste for the subject and made a mental note to sit with her a lunch so they could quiz each other.

“Come on, the swings just opened up, and we’ve still got ten minutes before the whistle!”  Susie raced off to the swings and Jake followed.


Word Count: 328

This bit of playground silliness brought to you in part by a true story, though I was grounded, and they were quarter machines, and I never got an allowance, but I did get in trouble for spending too much money at the arcade at the pizza place… twice… back to back weeks, if I recall correctly, and in part by this week’s Inspiration Monday writing prompts:


The Rules

There are none. Read the prompts, get inspired, write something. No word count minimum or maximum. You don’t have to include the exact prompt in your piece, and you can interpret the prompt(s) any way you like.


No really; I need rules!

Okay; write 200-500 words on the prompt of your choice. You may either use the prompt as the title of your piece or work it into the body of your piece. You must complete it before 6 pm CST on the Monday following this post.

The Prompts:


this one time at scout camp

 The Magnificent Seven – Vin (Steve McQueen): “It’s like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off and jumped in a mess of cactus. I asked him that same question, ‘Why?'”


Sitting around the cabin one night at Scout Camp, ten boys cramped into a tiny space in the woods, swapping stories by flashlight, telling truths and risking dares, we began to play a game.  It was a simple game that required only three things: bug spray, a lighter, and nerves.   Whichever scout’s turn it was would line the palm of their hand with a small amount of bug spray and then spark it aglow.  It wasn’t a natural fire, burning fluorescent blue in the dim light, and it was fascinating to watch the chemicals burn for a few seconds before the heat started to get uncomfortable.  Then a quick slap of the hands or a brush against a pant leg and the flames were extinguished.  It was simple as that, and then it was the next scout’s turn.

Round and round we went.  Each taking up the dare and risking the challenge.  Each pushing the limits and seeing how long they could last before fear, and pain, settled in and they frantically slapped away the small flames.  We were young, and fire held a powerful sway over us, and eventually the dares escalated.  It was inevitable.

So it was, the we lit one poor scout’s feet on fire.  Yes, feet.  He stood there for as long as he could and we all watched in awe of his bravery and resolve until it dawned on him that it might be trickier to put out those particular flames.  (Later he would say it was when he felt the bug spray flames dripping between his toes that he finally gave in to panic.)  He took off in a flash, out the cabin doors and dashing for the lake, for relief, for some sort of freedom from our temporary insanity.

Luckily he wasn’t hurt and he didn’t set the forest on fire in the process, but I will never forget the look on his face the moment before he sprinted out of the cabin, the image of his blue glowing feet disappearing into the darkness, or the sound of the remaining nine of us bursting into laughter so fierce we brought ourselves to tears.

Why, you ask?  Why would we do such a foolish thing and laugh about it?


Vin: “He said, ‘It seemed to be a good idea at the time.'”


Word Count: 447

This is my second contribution to Yeah Write.  I’m hoping you all got a laugh out of it.