Word Play: Empurple

It’s that time again, time to write a short story based on the word given out by Miss Cookie.  Today’s word is: Empurple.

According to dictionary.com, empurple means to turn purple or to flush.  That seems pretty straight forward, but the challenge is to use the word in a unique way.. or a way that one would not usually think of it as being used.  Now comes the difficult part.  Why difficult? The word “empurple” is pretty straightforward.  I mean, there are only so many things that can “turn purple” or “flush”.  I suppose things such as reddening cheeks and ripening fruit come to mind.  However, I think this just makes for more fun.  We’ll have to see how I do because as I type this, I have no story in mind: I make it up as I go along just as I always do.  Hang on, folks, it’s going to be a wild ride!


Lily licked her melting lollipop.  She held her mother’s hoof in hers as they both walked on their hind legs through the zoo.  It was a holiday, so every animal was out and about today and they seemed to have brought the whole herd.  The Lions were out with their prides, the male stuck in the middle of bickering children and gossiping wives.  Lily felt sorry for him but Mama always said that he got what he deserved.  She wasn’t sure what that meant, but she kept looking over the other animals.

There were Hippos with their layers of sunscreen and hats on: they didn’t like to be out in this heat for very long but their children seemed to be dragging them onward.  The parents looked as though they would melt just as Lily’s lollipop had but the kids seemed oblivious as they wailed from giant mouths.  “I wanna see the humans!” they would scream.  Lily shuddered.  She couldn’t imagine what it must be like to live in such a noisy family.

Her family was larger.  She had a great deal of uncles and aunts that always lived nearby and kept in touch.  They always seemed to travel together as well.  This often confused people when they were looking for just one of them, the individual lost among the stripes of the group.  Lily’s Mama told her this used to be necessary eons ago, when Humans ruled the world.  That always made Lily laugh.  How could silly Human rule the world?  They couldn’t even feed themselves.

Lily watched her lollipop drip down her black and white striped arm, empurpling her fur.  Purple and black, now.  She was staring at it when she ran into the backside of her cousin.  He turned around and stuck his long, pink tongue out at her.  She stuck hers out right back and made a funny face to boot.  Lily got along with most of her cousins but Claude was a pain.  He was always trying to annoy her on purpose and seemed to go out of his way to make her days miserable.  He would usually pester her on and on, throughout the day until Lily’s mind empurpled and all she could see was red.  She was usually the one that got into trouble by then.

They must have stopped to look at one of the exhibits because a large group had gathered around.  Lily pushed her way between some of her relatives and peeked out.  It was a group of Humans, sitting around a rock in the shade of a tree.  They just sat there, looking at all the animals who were watching them.  Lily wondered if they ever thought about anything.  She always marveled at their furless skin, especially when it changed colors if they were in the sun too long.  How did they do that?

One of the males was walking around, his finger in his nose.  This made a lot of the youngsters in the crowd giggle and prompted adults to take pictures.  The flashing cameras startled him and he began to yell and throw dirt around.  The zookeeper, a gruff Gorilla, had to come out and remind the crowd to turn their flashes off.  The Humans startled easily and the Zoo could not be held accountable if they were injured from them hurtling dirt or.. other things.

Just as he finished his sentence, a large clod of mud and grass beaned the back of his head.  Laughter erupted from the crowd but the Gorilla just snarled.  He turned and let out a thunderous roar as he beat his chest.  The crowd hushed into silence and the Humans retreated into their fake cave.  He turned to the crowd to let them know that only the most primitive forms of language were understood by the Humans.  He apologized for scaring the children, some of whom were now crying, and walked back inside.

Lily felt a hoof come down on her ears and turned to see Claude.  He was sticking his tongue out again.  Lily just taunted him.  “I bet you were one of the babies crying when the Zookeeper roared, Ccclllaaauuudddee.”  She drew his name out in a sneering tone.  Before he could respond, Lily’s Mama yanked her back to her side.  She didn’t like her to be out of her sight for very long.  She gave Lily a look that said two things: stay by my side and leave your cousin alone.  Lily sighed and they followed the crowd to the next exhibit.  Her hooves were getting sore and her mouth was dry.  She protested to her mother and was surprised when she agreed to go find some shade and a nice drink.

They found one of the vendors and sat down, between a giraffe family that was arguing over who got the last slice of veggie pizza and a sloth family that seemed oblivious to everyone around them.  Lily sighed and drank her soda, being sure not to spill it on her polka-dotted sundress.  Her Mama made it especially for the Zoo visit and she would probably get into a lot of trouble if she got it dirty.  She looked around at all the kids laughing or running around.  Lily didn’t get it.  This just wasn’t fun.  Who cared how the Humans lived?  They never bothered the animals..  Lily would rather be swimming or out playing basketball.  Silly Humans.

“Now Lily,” her Mama said, “It’s important that you learn how the Humans are.  We must never go back to living the way we did eons ago.”  But Lily didn’t get it.  She didn’t think they ever were ruled by these puny Humans.  Even if they were, they certainly couldn’t go back to being that way.  The creatures couldn’t even feed themselves!  They just walked around all day long, their fingers up their noses.

Lily had a friend at school whose parents were rich.  They kept Humans at home, which wasn’t exactly legal.  Lily had seen them a couple of times.  The parents had dressed the Humans up in funny costumes and taught them to bring them food and drinks from the chef in the kitchen.  It was kind of spooky and Lily shuddered.  So Humans could be trained to do simple things, that doesn’t mean they could think.

Lily sighed and drank the rest of her pop.  Silly Humans.. animals ruled the world now.

I tried to use the word in the straight forward and not-so-straight-forward way.  Hope it worked and I hope you enjoyed the short.  BB.

© Chelsea Roush. Unauthorized redistribution and/or reproduction is prohibited.


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