Writing exercise: Write about a mundane activity, but incorporate random nouns supplied by others in the group, drawn from a hat.

Between the inner space and the outer night, four of us packed closely together inside the church’s door, our breath clouding the windows of the Narthex. Equipment littered the small space: a stack of binders teetered beside the recycling bin, a power cable strangled a miniature palm tree, and heavy black boxes of sound equipment framed a platypus someone had drawn on the chalkboard wall. All around lay disassembled shelves, collapsed paper lanterns, milk crates of odds and ends. Projectors. An Oriental carpet, 5-foot by 8-foot. What all these things had in common was that our pastor and his wife needed to fit them in their car and transport them to Pennsylvania for a conference. Bonus: pastor and wife also needed to fit in said car.

Outside, the trunk of the red coupe waited, seeming to cock its eyebrow at the amount of things we were about force-feed it. We got started. It was a tornado of lifting, shoving, sharing, and stubbing toes, punctuated by Tetris-themed advice. At last the church was empty and the car was full and we sent our friends on their way, wishing them safe travels and cheap clothes shopping: for the equipment left no space for a wardrobe.


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