Sunday, May 5, 2013

Prompt: Pixar Formula: “Once upon a time there was __________”

Once upon a time there was ___.
Every day, ___.
One day ___.
Because of that, ___.
Because of that, ___.
Until finally ___.
And ever since that day, ___.

Once upon a time, there was a very large dog named Fudge. Fudge was a very gentle boy, and quite handsome with his long-haired coat, he supposed. His Mama called him a Leonberger, a giant, her darling Fudge, and a clumsy oaf.
It made him sad when people acted scared of him, or fussed at him because his tail knocked things off the table, or he ate the tasty sandwich that was sitting right at head’s height on the counter, or he bounded around with too much energy.

Every day, Fudge resolved to behave so well that everyone would love and praise him for being such a good dog. But he could never remember all things people wanted him to do that would make him a “good dog”.

One day, there was a lot of activity in the house, cleaning and decorating and cooking in the kitchen. No one had time to play with poor Fudge. No one wanted him around, knocking things over with his big tail, or stealing tasty treats from the kitchen counters.

Because of this, everyone fussed at Fudge until he went to lie in the corner where his bed was. But even then, he was in the way because they had bought his bed while he still a pup, and he had grown and grown and grown much too large for it.

Because of that, when his tail or left back leg stuck out and tripped Mama for the umpteenth time, she yelled at Fudge, even though it wasn’t really his fault. “Out of the house, you big oaf! You’re always in the way!”

Fudge slumped and slunk out of the kitchen into the back yard, his head and tail hanging low. He sprawled under the oak tree, where the grass wouldn’t grow and the dirt was cool against his belly, with his head between his paws, thinking and thinking what he could do to be the “good dog” they all wanted. He really did try. It just never seemed to work out. Fudge was starting to think that he would never be a good dog, after all.

The sun dappling through the leaves made him sleepy, and Fudge dozed under the tree. His nose caught a strange smell and sniffed and sniffed until he woke up, lifting his big head to look around for what was different. When he looked up high, he saw black smoke spiraling out around the edges of one of the house windows. He watched it for awhile, thinking he had never seen smoke from the house like that before. Thinking he wasn’t supposed to go upstairs, and if he did, he wouldn’t be a good dog. Thinking he didn’t like that black smoke in the house. He didn’t like it at all.

Finally, Fudge stood and shook his thick shaggy coat. He decided he should go see what was making that black smoke upstairs, even if he got a fussing. Even if they yelled at him. He went to the back door and looked inside. He couldn’t see any of his people, but smoke filled the downstairs too. Now he knew he needed to find his family.

Fudge squeezed his nose against the middle of door and pushed. The door slid open a little bit and pinched his nose. He yelped and sat back. Smoke made a trail out of the door now, where it had opened a little bit. He didn’t like that smoke at all.

He tucked the tip of his paw in the door opening and pushed again. The door slid open a little more. And a little more. Soon he could fit his snout in, and it was easy to push it open the rest of the way.

The black smoke stung his eyes and his nose and his mouth, but Fudge ducked his head low and went inside. He went into the kitchen, and he didn’t even glance at the food up on the counter. There were no people there.

Fudge looked in the teevee room, but there was no one there. Finally, he went to the stairs. The black smoke roiled and churned all the way up the stairs. Fudge really didn’t want to go up there. He didn’t want to get in the smoke. He didn’t want to get in trouble. But Mama must be up there, and he had to find her.

His mind made up, Fudge bounded up the stairs as fast as he could.  He tried to stay low so the smoke wouldn’t get all over him. He didn’t like the way it felt, the way it smelt. He nosed open the first door, than there was Mama, asleep on the bed. Fudge trotted to her and nudged her hand, then her face. She didn’t wake up. He took her hand in his mouth and bit down oh so gently. He tugged on her arm until she started to fall off the bed. Fudge stopped. How could he pull her downstairs and all the way outside? Then Mama rolled on her side and opened her sleepy eyes. “Fudge? What’s—”

She jumped to her feet and cried out. Fudge shrank away, sure she would be mad at him for waking her up. Would she think he made the black smoke? She grabbed his shaggy ruff. “Fudge! We’ve got to get out of here! Come on!”

They ran down the steps and outside to the shady oak tree. Mama fell on the ground and coughed and coughed. Fudge crouched beside her and watched and worried.

Sirens sounded, and Mama looked up. “Fudge, you stay here. I have to go let them know the house is empty.”

She took a step away, then turned back. She knelt by Fudge and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his coat. “Fudge, you saved me! You are the best dog ever!”

She ran out to the fire trucks, and Fudge sat under the tree like she said he should do. He played her words over and over in his mind. The best dog ever.

And from that day on, he was.

Dogs in house:
Time writing:
50 minutes
May word count:


  1. Prompt: Pixar Formula: “Once upon a time there was __________”

    Once upon a time there was ___.
    Every day, ___.
    One day ___.
    Because of that, ___.
    Because of that, ___.
    Until finally ___.
    And ever since that day, ___.

    Once upon a time there was a fish named Sue. Sue lived in a deep, cold lake. Every day, Sue swam around the edges of the lake, and visited with her friend the crab, Bill.

    One day, after a big, big storm, Bill was not hanging out near the old sunk tree stump like usual. Sue swam all around the stump looking for them.

    On the far side of the stump, Sue noticed that what used to be a shallow finger of water near the shore (like Martha liked to bask in) was deeper than usual. Sue swam into the finger. It kept going. And going. Until, suddenly, it got even deeper, and widened out!

    Sue was in another lake. But, because Sue was a fish, she had not known there even _were_ other lakes. She had never been able to swim out of her own before. She was very confused. She swam back down the finger and hid behind the stump.

    After a while, she felt brave again--but not quite brave enough to go through the finger to the other lake again--and she swam back home. She tried to tell her mother about the other lake, but her mother told her there were no other lakes. She told her brother. He had heard what his mother said, and said the same thing.

    Sue kept looking for fish who would believe her, but no one did. Sue swam around the edges of the lake again, looking for Bill, but he was not there. By now the finger was shallow again. Sue swam into it, but it ended like she was used to.

    Sue had decided she had dreamt the whole thing, when she finally found Bill's father. She asked where Bill was (not telling him about the other lake because she now thought it was a dream), and he said Bill had gone to the neighbouring lake in the deep rains. Because Sue was a fish, she would have to wait for another deep rain to visit him. Bill was still too small to crawl all the way across between the lakes by himself, even though Bill's father could.

    Sue was happy that Bill was all right. Ever since that day, when there was a big storm, she would hang out by the stump and the finger of water, and look for the passage to other lake.

    1. Oh my, I was almost too embarrassed to post this one! I don't think I did this very well. Oh well.

      Yours is nice and sweet, and real story too!

    2. LOL I'm glad you did, very cute. I think that presenting the prompt as a Pixar model might lend itself to more child-like storytelling? You followed the spirit of the prompt, while I did more of the formula, I think. *shrug* An interesting exercise, at the least. Some of these I think are a little like "throwing at the wall to see what sticks"!