Figures of Speech: How to Write Beautifully (with 8 of Shakespeare’s Best Examples)

Figures of Speech: How to Write Beautifully (with 8 of Shakespeare’s Best Examples)

16 Remarkable Comments

Have you ever wondered why many compelling novels are written in such a simple, flat and straight out dull language?

Their storylines may be exciting, their plots might have a drive, but the words and sentences themselves sound very uninspired. Every word a wasted opportunity. Too bad!

How can you avoid that?

This post will take you by the hand and lead you, step-by-step, to a more colorful, more inspired writing voice, in order for you to not just mesmerize your reader with your story, but also with your words.

We will look at the answers to these questions:

  • How is the best imagery created?
  • Which mental processes should you apply to craft poetic, beautiful language?
  • Is it all talent or can you learn it?
  • How do you hold apart the good verbal images from the bad ones?

Before we answer these questions, let’s equip you with a highly useful tool:

Your Checklist for Easy Self-Editing

If you want a checklist to examine your entire story for plot/character/dialogue/etc. problems, you can download that list here for free. Answer these 44 questions, and you will know exactly which issues, if any, your story has:

The 44 Key Questions to Self-Edit Your Story

And now, on to creating amazing images with the sheer power of your words.

How to Use Figures of Speech in Your Writing

Let’s get back for a moment to novels that are drafted in a language that makes them seem like written for toddlers.

Bestsellers are often written like this – because a significant part of the population does have the vocabulary of a toddler. Nevertheless, simple language doesn’t mean bad literature.

Take Orwell’s 1984, for example. It’s a book a 7-year-old could read – however, that kid will not comprehend its deeper layers. Some literature just focuses on subtext, some on plot, some on language, and some on other story elements – it all has the potential to be excellent!

So take your pick what you want to focus on. Maybe you don’t need beautiful language. But if language is important to you, then this article is for you.

The author who has kindly agreed to demonstrate enticing language for us is William Shakespeare, and the play of the day is, once again, Macbeth.

Take a look at this description of a lord sentenced to death, facing his execution in icy calm:

          “… he died

As one that had been studied in his death

To throw away the dearest thing he owned

As ‘twere a careless trifle. “

(Act 1, Scene 4, Malcolm)


In case you are wondering, “As ‘twere a careless trifle” means approximately “As if it was useless junk.”

Do you see the beauty of this image? Giving one’s life is compared here to tidying out one’s attic. How much more extreme, but at the same time how much simpler can it get?

And could it be any more relatable to the reader? Throwing away useless junk is a mundane activity each and every one of us has performed a million times before.

Where does an image like that come from?

This question almost sounds like the age-old question that is jollily continuing to annoy every author: “Where do you take your ideas from?” To this question, some popular authors respond unnerved with the obvious answers: “From my grandmother’s kitchen cupboard.” Or: “I shake them out of the funny trees.”

However, a more down-to-earth answer would be: “Talent really helps.”

How to Create Astonishing Figures of Speech (with 8 of Shakespeare’s Best Examples)

On the one hand, creating striking imagery is a skill that is hard to practice because it relies so much on association and intuition. These images come out of the subconscious.

Make no mistake though: It is possible to get better at creating imagery like that (more on this below).

But in order to improve, you have to be aware of what makes this figurative language so compelling. What ultimately draws readers towards it?

The elements that draw us in are their rhythm, their surprising elements, their beauty, their power – their capability to:

  • Resemble the Known; and
  • Touch on the Unimaginable

These pics are moving something inside of us – we just sometimes hardly know what it is. They work in a similar way as your fear of spiders: It’s a strong feeling, rooted in ancient parts of your brain, even though you are not aware of why you are feeling it.

Want a simple, boiled-down recipe of how to create great figures of speech?

Here it is:

1. Focus on what you want to express! Imagine yourself in the situation you are describing, or in front of the object you are describing. Feel it in your body. Grab the essence, the feeling of what it is all about – and make sure to turn off your brain and logical thinking.

2. Now take that emotion you are feeling and look where else you can find that very same emotion in totally different people, objects, situations, etc. Embrace that feeling, hone it, dwell on it, nurture it and endorse it… surf on it! Then start associating freely!

3. Feel big in your sentiments, feel not only what’s possible but also what’s hardly imaginable – feel the jungle, the sky…

4. Also listen to your inner voice: Which situations, people, objects make you feel that same feeling? Which completely unrelated topic gives you the same emotion? Remember any situation from your own life, whether it’s an everyday activity or a major event?

5. Then write it all down in a way that feels poetic to you. Just go ahead and pull that imagery out of your subconscious! For sure you are writing fiction because a part of your personality is very creative – and you can train putting that creative part of you to work.

6. Finally, you have to clean up: With your brainstorming approach, for sure bad images will come up too; it happens to every writer. The important thing is to weed them out. Scratch them, if they fall into one of the following categories, so you make sure to avoid these pitfalls:

  • Incongruous Images (E.g. “His anger put up above him like a thick umbrella”)
  • Cheesy Images (E.g. “Her kisses wrapped around him gently like velvet pillows and 1000 rose petals”)
  • Obvious Images (E.g. “As dirty as a puddle of mud”)
  • Overloaded Images (E.g. “The heavy chains of fear pulled him down into the deepest dungeons of his mind”)
  • Plain boring Images (E.g. “Green as a frog”)

That’s it. You will be left with smooth and original images only.

But what if you need a more detailed instruction manual for the sequence above?

Let’s look at the specific process of how to do this:

How to Dig Deep Inside of You for the Right Imagery

The process you can use for coming up with great figures of speech is the good old brainstorming.

That means… you storm your brain like a SWAT team would storm a supermarket occupied by kidnappers…? (whoa, where did that come from?)

Or maybe it means a storm of ideas is blowing through your mind.

Brainstorming means everything is allowed to come out. There are no limits and no censorship to your imagination.

First, write down as many ideas as possible, you can sort the good ones out later. I really want to encourage you to fail, to go over the top, to be crazy – allow yourself to pull out all of the conditioned filters society spent decades establishing in your mind.

Be free, be wild, let loose – that’s what art is all about. And be ashamed of absolutely nothing: That’s creativity!

In the end, weed out all of the images that seem incongruous, cheesy, obvious, overloaded or boring to you. You will now hopefully be left with that shiny gem of an image.

How to Create Astonishing Figures of Speech (with 8 of Shakespeare’s Best Examples)

A Useful Exercise to Create Figures of Speech

Here is an exercise for learning to associate without filters, and, if you will, to condition yourself to think free of conditioning: Take a random word and then say the first thing that pops up in your mind, your first association.

Now, even if it feels odd or not appropriate – don’t censor it! Really just put the first thing out there. Then continue with your first association to that new word, and so on and on… (Example: “Apple tree” —> my aunt has an apple tree in her garden; aunt, I love my aunt; love, I also love basketball; basketball, how will the Lakers do this year; Lakers, sex in a lake was great… get the system?).

You can ask somebody to give you a random word to start with and do the exercise in front of them. This will put more social pressure on you and therefore make the exercise more difficult and more effective.

If you are able to do this exercise in front of an audience, then you are becoming really good at freely associating.

If you apply the guidelines above, creating imagery will become easier and easier the more often you try it, until finally it will almost be an automated process for you. Like with writing in general and also with everything else in life, it’s extremely important you just stick to the process and practice, practice, practice!

A Couple of Damn Good Examples for Metaphors, Similes and Other Imagery

How to insert background info unobtrusivelyNow enough with all of the guidelines – let’s put this into practice!  The author who has kindly agreed to demonstrate it for us is Mr. William Shakespeare, and the play of the day is Macbeth.

In the following scene, Macbeth is feeling a little uneasy because the witches just predicted that he will be the future king of Scotland. Look how Banquo comments on it:

“Nothing in love: now does he feel his title

Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe

Upon a dwarfish thief”

(Act 1, Scene 3, Banquo)


Good stuff, isn’t it?

How do you describe the inhibiting feeling of high status and responsibility imposed on the character by the outside world?  How the awe and uneasiness of hearing the prediction that you will rule the kingdom one day, coupled with a certain flavor of you not deserving the honor?

Everybody knows the feeling of wearing a (heavy) piece of clothing that’s much too big for them. What an amazing and very poetic figure of speech!

These lines translate a purely psychological feeling into a physical sensation and therefore make it more palpable and relatable. Well done, Will!

Maybe Shakespeare got to this metaphor subconsciously, and the entire process just took him seconds, or maybe he had to think about it and it took minutes… who knows.

In any case, his mind seems to get back to the subject of clothing a lot, because he uses imagery about clothing several times in Macbeth.

How to Create Astonishing Figures of Speech (with 8 of Shakespeare’s Best Examples)

The next figure of speech is from the final act. Here, Macbeth tries to put his finger on the pulse of his country, whose people in his view have conspired against him and are betraying him (whereas in fact, they just want to get rid of the tyrant that he is):

          “Come, Sir, dispatch. If thou couldst, doctor, cast

The water of my land, find her disease,

And purge it to a sound and pristine health”

(Act 5, Scene 3, Macbeth)


Not only does water nourish the soil like blood here, but also do rivers and streams flow through the land like veins, so this is a beautiful metaphor. It also paints the feeling of helplessness about a disease, and the try to cure it by a useless and dangerously misguided measure like blood-letting.

In the end, the condition isn’t even a disease, but all to the contrary the cure to the people. The true and dangerous antibody is Macbeth himself.

Water and blood both stand for life, and the biggest part of blood even is made up of water. This entire thought, this entire feeling is wrapped up beautifully within two lines.

Now, a metaphor like this one might be laying it on too thick for your purposes, but of course feel free to tone it down, so it fits the language and the spirit of your novel, and also your genre.

In the next one, Macbeth is about to murder the king, who is established as a wise and kind man. Macbeth is only committing this murder to become the new king – but he is haunted by remorse already:

          “Now o’er the one halfworld

Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse

The curtain’d sleep: witchcraft celebrates

Pale Hecate’s offerings, and wither’d murder,

Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf”

(Act 2, Scene 1, Macbeth)


Shakespeare is creating a haunted atmosphere, apparently for no logical reason – it’s just a feeling creeping in…

Let me direct your attention to my favorite figure of speech in the entire play, the “withered murder”: What makes this “illogical” term so eerily fitting here?

Macbeth is about to commit an atrocious crime, to kill his noble lord, solely out of greed for power. So maybe “withered” means he is stretching his branches out widely, but with no healthy emotional or moral roots behind them to back them up.

Maybe it means bloodless, lifeless, devoid of health and sanity. Maybe it means deprived of joy and reason. Starving for water/liquid and blood. What effect does this language have on you?

By the way, again, there is another “withered feeling” in Act 5, Scene 3; this time it appears in the form of a “yellow leaf,” mentioned by a desperate Macbeth (“I have lived long enough: my way of life/ Is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf”). The word “withered” apparently triggered rich associations in Shakespeare, and rightfully so.

“Clothes” and “withered” – you can see that an author’s subconscious oftentimes circles around the same feelings and associations, and gets back to them time and time again like the tongue returns to a sick tooth. You can see this with many authors.

I also love the metaphor of the “curtained sleep.” What more is our sleep than a thick curtain drawn in front of our eyes?

Everybody sleeps; every single person in the world can relate to that image. Some canopy beds even literally have curtains to them, and I would imagine they were more common in Shakespeare’s times.

           “O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!”

(Act 3, Scene 2, Macbeth)


To feel the unpredictable, swift, silent, stinging and overwhelmingly toxic being of not one scorpion, but of an entire basket full of them sounds like a very powerful emotion. Do you feel the venom in this?

An image like this will not fit into the language of every novel. However, it’s often possible to use a milder form of it.

But Shakespeare used such a wealth of imagery in his play that some of it completely misses the mark (at least to me; if you have a different opinion, let me know in the comments).

Remember, Shakespeare is dead already, so I can say it out loud:

Not So Good Imagery in Macbeth (Sorry, Will!)

Let’s look at some examples that have overshot the mark by many feet.

           “Nay, had I power, I should

Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell”

(Act 4, Scene 3, Malcolm)


How to Create Astonishing Figures of Speech (with 8 of Shakespeare’s Best Examples)

Ask yourself this: Do you feel any subconscious connection between milk and concord? Does this image move you in any way? Does it work on several levels?

For me, the answers are no, no and no. This image sounds like it belongs into the above categories “incongruous” and “overloaded.”

You can see that the master had his bad moments too. Take this as encouragement. Luckily, he has equipped us with a couple of poor images for the purpose of motivation…

          “Whole as the marble, founded as the rock”

(Act 3, Scene 4, Macbeth)


“Founded as the rock:” This one has been used thousands of times before in literature, and one would assume even before Shakespeare’s times.

It’s even part of a proverb (“hard as a rock”). This one is very generic and belongs into the “boring,” or maybe the “obvious” bucket. It’s not imaginative and has no emotional depth. Don’t try this at home.

As some of these images are such car wrecks made of letters, it’s easy to see why creating great figurative language is one of the hardest things to do in all of creative writing: Even the best ones throw in a missed punch sometimes.

For you, that also means: Don’t be afraid to throw the bad images out of your draft.

         “That memory, the warder of the brain,

Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason

A limbeck only”

(Act 1, Scene 7, Lady Macbeth)


What was that? Did I hear somebody call out my name?

Oh, “limbeck,” I get it.

I’m actually on the fence about this one, but come to think of it, I do like it. Thinking about how memory and what we believe to be reason play us, the image seems enticing.

On the other hand, it’s too complicated, and that’s probably the reason why it took me a while to appreciate it. See, some writing can be smart, but nevertheless ineffective (like building pages and pages of multi-clause sentences). You don’t have to show off. You just need a good image.

Your Figure of Speech Writing Prompt

Finally, here is your writing prompt for today: Take a paragraph of your latest story and insert one captivating figure of speech. Or just write a random paragraph on the spot. However, you have to make its context clear, so we can understand and feel your image.

For this purpose, any other criteria is meaningless: Forget about characterization, plot or dialogue – just show us a couple of lines with a nice image and make sure we get its context. You should feel free to neglect any other writer’s duty, so you can completely focus on the power of imagery.

Post your paragraph (or even just a single figure of speech) in the comments below. Look at the checklist above! Get in touch with your subconscious! Feel the image!

And if you are looking for fun writing prompts with a twist, look at my writing prompts page here. You will find quality prompts for almost every genre.

The Back Cover of This Post

Let me say it one more time because it is so true: Great imagery is drawn from the feeling a situation, a thought, a person or else is evoking in you – feel it first, in order to be able to write it. Connect with the deepest possible layer inside of you, let loose and pull out all of the filters!

Only in the end should you trim the fat and weed out the failed ideas. Relentless practice will make it easier and easier to find figurative language that is fitting and unique to you.

Listening to your inner voice and connecting with your intuition to smell out the best imagery is great fun! You will sound like a true poet when you do it, like an artist, and you might even get a glimpse into the deepest corners of your self and learn something.

Do it; think large and feel big – because that’s what life and writing are all about!

Hamlet Robot Image: Валерий Качаев/

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16 Remarkable Comments. Join in!


    1. Mary Ellen

      I could also relate to this image, of someone being so cynical from power that he could pour the sweetest into the most evil. We feel he isn’t there yet, thus his quandary?

  1. Thamus

    Speaking of correct imagery — why are you using the image of Hamlet addressing a skull with his “To be, or nor to be” soliloquy? The only time Hamlet addresses a skull is in his graveyard speech, “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him Horatio …”

  2. Pamela DG

    Hannibal knelt before his daughter; her aqua eyes were like chips of glacial ice. Could she forgive his sins against her? Or, should her tongue render him lifeless?

  3. Mary Ellen

    Founded as a rock, whole as marble… as occasional editor of archaeological publications (and anthropologist myself),, I ‘feel’ this imagery quite well–the rocks, large stones or boulders are composed and re-composed (founded?) through ages of water, erosion, compacting soil, while marble was created more suddenly, not age upon age…I felt he emphasized that difference, yet comprehensiveness of how solidity is made…without going back to the Act and original lines, however, am making a statement that may have nothing to do with the context! Also I didn’t know ‘founded as a rock’ had been used before–I find it a very original one!

  4. Benjamin Houle

    Isabella Pushed her dark blonde, hair back, showing her round tan, face. As she let go, her hair cascaded, down onto her athletic, shoulders. Her aqua blue eyes, squinted, looking for the proper section. She picked up two, tubes of toothpaste and one dropped, to the floor. Little creases formed, above her nose as she bent over, to pick it up. She dropped it, in her handbag, then continued down the aisle. Her thigh muscles flexed, on her long tan, legs, as she walked down the aisle, in those shorts. Walking at the end, past the aisles, she pressed her supple red, lips together. As Isabella pushed groceries around, in her cart, bicep muscles flexed, on her tan, arms. With a grin, she picked up, a can of soup, curling it, as her bicep, bulged. She looked up, spotting herself, in an overhead, mirror. Her lips curled, in a grin, dropping it into her cart, with a playful, headshake. She walked to the register, unloading her cart. A short blonde, girl, smiled, as she rung up, her groceries. Isabella’s cheeks, scrunched, lowering her head. Her light, blue eyes glanced up, as the cashier, asked if she needed anything. Isabella looked off, for a second, then with a small, grin, said, no thanks. The cashier loaded her bags, in the cart, with a polite, smile. Isabella, walked, toward the door, slowly. A man with wavy dark, hair tucked under his hat, approached her. He seemed to hurry, as she approached the door. Her thumb, tapped on her handbag, as he approached. Isabella’s forehead, creased, as he walked up. With a big, grin, the guy just, commented, on how nice it was, to see an attractive, woman. Her rosy, cheeks, dimpled, as she answered. While approaching the car, her face, scrunched, remembering, the toothpaste, again. With a subtle, headshake, she put her bags, in the car. As she pulled up, her boyfriend Paul, walked out, in his dark blue, uniform. His shirt was partially, open, so his well-formed, pecs, were showing. He ran his fingers, across his tan, face, commenting, on the timing. His big tan, arms flexed, carrying the bags in. As they unpacked, Isabella kept glancing, toward her handbag. Her rosy, cheeks, creased, as they finished. She pushed on her handbag, letting him know. His tan, forehead, corduroyed, with a wince. His bicep flexed, flinging his arm, as he explained how this could affect, his security, job. Her face, reddened, slapping her handbag, asking, what she should have done. Her face, reddened, saying, she just forgot. His leather, boot, clicked, on the floor, leaning, on the counter. His tan, cheeks, creased, asking if she thought, anyone saw her. Her eyes, widened, with a wince, saying, she didn’t think so. Then, her blue, eyes, almost closed, asking if, she should return to, the store. He looked at the floor, with a gesture, telling her it’s the only way, to remedy it. With a supportive, smile, he Put his muscular, arms, around her, letting her know, he’d go with her. It was a very, quiet ride back, to the store. Isabelle tapped a finger, on her handbag, the whole way. He glanced over, a couple times, with a comforting, smile. As he parked, her eyes closed, tightly, wincing. He brushed her knee, saying it wouldn’t be, that bad. She got out, slowly, her forehead, delicately, creasing. He placed an arm, around her, as they walked in. She pushed her badge over, retrieving the receipt. She waited in line, again, twirling a loose thread, on her handbag. Her face, reddened, a little, as the cashier finished, with the customer. With a sigh, she held the receipt out, placing the toothpaste, on the belt. Delicate lines, bookended, her eyes, telling her about the incident. A small, smile grew, as the cashier, listened. Isabelle pushed the toothpaste, forward, about to speak. Then, she touched Isabelle’s arm, her cheeks, creased, in a smile. She told her, the toothpaste was on a ‘2 for 1’sale, so she’d already paid, for it. Isabelle’s head lowered, with a small, sigh. With a slight, wince, she told her it wasn’t on purpose. While she said it, the cashier’s face, softened. Then, she brightened, telling her it happened, to everyone. With a supportive, smile, Paul bumped her, saying, all that worry, for nothing. As they walked out, she mumbled, it wouldn’t look good, seeing we’re both, security officers.

  5. Benjamin Houle

    Isabella is a teacher, who wasn’t feeling well this morning, so she called in. She feels better by the afternoon, so she goes shopping. She picks up two tubes of toothpaste, dropping one. She picks it up, like a paperclip, that had fallen out of her purse. She just throws it, back in. She remembers at the checkout but, stays quiet. She’s headed for the door, when this man, approaches. He just hits, on her. She walks to her car, relieved. After a few blocks, she sees the red and blue lights, of a squad car, so she pulled over. She keeps checking the rearview mirror, nervously. The cocky looking officer walks up, tapping on her window. She tilts her purse, then, rolls down the window. The policeman notices, asking her to step out of the vehicle. She steps out nervously, thinking it’s gotta be the toothpaste. He quickly, searches the car, then makes her empty out her purse. She’s fidgety and nervous, so her suspects, something is afoot. He does notice the toothpaste, picking it up. She was about to confess when, he asks. If she always carried toothpaste, in her purse. She nervously, answers, not always. With a grin, he asks if she knows, why he stopped her. She swallows hard, answering no. He points to the rear of the vehicle, saying, one of her lights is not working. She winces, in relief. He asks, why did you think, I stopped you? She stares into space, for a moment, answering, I didn’t know. On the way home, she gets a call, from a friend. The first thing she says, is did you here about the robbery, at the store. She looks shocked, speechless. Her friend continues, how she thought it was suspicious, seeing how she called in. Isabella’s eyes tear up, starting to confess. But her friend laughs, I was just kidding. By this time, Isabella is a mess. She drives home, as her boyfriend Paul pulls up. He helps with the groceries, but he can tell, something is wrong. He looks off, saying, did ya’ hear, about the robbery, today? She turns white, as a ghost. With tears starting down her face, she asks, Man, does everyone know? She goes into a whole thing, not being specific, about what had happened. His eyes widen, asking, “At what point, did ya’ pull out a gun?” Her jaw drops, saying she didn’t. He goes on about how they said the thief, had a gun. She spills her purse, asking, show me a gun. His face, scrunches, saying no one would put it there. Finally, she picks up the toothpaste. She holds it up, saying, why would I pull a gun, to steal this? Just then, there’s a knock at the door. She opens the door, and there’s the policeman, standing there. She looks like, she’s going to faint. He has her sit down. Then, he asks, it seemed like something, was wrong and we’re looking for a suspect. But he added, I don’t necessarily think it’s you. Paul sits next to her, saying, confess. Now, the policeman looks like he’s going to act. She picks up the toothpaste, saying, It was an accident, but I took this, without paying. He looks dumbfounded, for a moment, then breaks out laughing. She starts to cry, asking why he thinks it’s funny. He explains that the criminal made them go to the safe, and got away with, over $25,000 dollars in cash. She looks at Paul, then the officer, with wide eyes, saying I swear, I only took this. He calmed her, telling her he believed her. She explained, and he said, she should go back to pay, and explain. She goes back, nervously, to the clerk. As she explains, she stopped her. Really, with all that’s gone on today, this is nothing. Then, she explains about the 2 for 1 sale. She looked about to faint, saying, You wouldn’t believe what I’ve gone through, because I called in to work. Her face, scrunched, do you know what it’s like, to stand in front of a bunch of kids, who don’t want to be there? With a headshake, she says, it’s horrible. With a slight, grin, the clerk asks, if she’s going to call in tomorrow. Her jaw drops, saying, are you kiddin’, look what happened, today. She pointed, saying, if they wanna be there or not, I’m gonna teach ‘em. With a grin, the clerk asks, you’re not an English teacher, are you? She chuckles, realizing how’d she’d been talking. No, I teach forensics, with an emphasis on how to use psychology, to catch a suspect. The cashier’s jaw drops, asking, you’re kiddin’ right? She looks off, saying, right about now, I wish I was. As they’re leaving, Paul asks, did you learn something, out of all of this? She nods, emphatically, Yeah, not to call in, unless I’m really, sick. He busts out, laughing, saying, Yeah right, why don’t ya’ teach that, to your students. She doesn’t find it funny. She admits, I know, honesty is the best policy.

  6. Benjamin Houle

    Isabella picks up two tubes of toothpaste, dropping one. She picked it up, like an item from her purse, then puts it into her purse. She continued shopping, then went up to pay. As she steps to the cashier, she smiles, asking, “Did ya’ find everything, ok?” With a nod, Isabella, says, “Yeah, thanks.” As she scans her items, with a grin, the cashier, says, “Beautiful day, out there, huh?” Isabella was scanning a gossip, magazine, turning, quickly, “Yeah, beautiful.” Then, she glanced at her purse, smile dissipating, as she thought, ‘Oh shoot, too late now.’ The clerk tallied the total, ending the transaction, with a smile. She put her groceries in the cart, with a smile, saying, “Thanks, have a nice, day.” With a half-smile, she said, “Ok thanks, you, too.” As Isabella approached the door, a man walked toward her. Her face scrunched, slightly, as she began walking a little faster, toward the exit. Just a few feet away, his lips curled, in a grin, “Fancy meeting a beautiful, woman like you, in a place, like this.” With a relaxed, grin, she asked, “Is that the best, ya’ got?” She kept walking, with a dismissive, headshake. She got in the car, after unloading groceries, sighing, “That was close.” As she started down the road, she saw blue and red lights, behind her. The cop walks up, tapping her window. She opens it, with creases between her brows, “Yes, officer?” His brows, sank, “Ya’ know why I pulled ya’ over, right?” With a slight, wince, she reached out, touching her purse, “Not really, Officer, why?” Wrinkles formed, bookending his eyes, noticing her reaction, saying, “Why don’t ya’, step out a’ the car.” Her eyes widened, getting out. He took her to the back of the car, saying, “Ya’ mind if I search, your car?” She glanced inside the car, mouth lowering at the corners, saying, “No, I guess not.” With a slight, nod, his eyes, crinkled, “OK, wait here.” She fidgeted, waiting, while he did a quick, search. He came back, with her purse, in hand. He held it up, with a smirk, “Mind if I, search this?” She looked down, then rolled her eyes, “No, do what ya’ gotta do.” He dumped the contents, noticing the unopened package, of toothpaste. He held it up, asking, “Ya’ always keep toothpaste, in your purse?” Her face scrunched, “No, not always.” A small, grin, grew on his face, saying, “Ok, you can take your stuff, and be on your way.” With a small, scowl, she asked, “Wait, why’d ya’ stop me?” His face scrunched, with a nod, “Oh yeah, ya’ got a brake light out, better get it fixed.” Her eyes closed, slouching, a little, “Ok, thanks.” His smile intensified, with a nod, “No problem, ma’am.” She turned, to get into, her car, with a wince, “No problem, my behind.” As she started to drive away, her phone rang. She answered, with her no hands, holder, “Hello?” Her friend’s (Kathy) eyes, widened, “Did ya’ hear about, the robbery, at the grocery, store?!” Isabella’s jaw dropped, pulling over. She put her hand, on her chest, trying to compose herself. Kathy’s face, scrunched, asking, “Are ya’, still there?” Isabella, put the phone back to, her ear. Her forehead, creased, “W-when did, this happen?” With a nod, her lips curled, in a grin, “I know, I’m shocked, too.” Isabella, closed her eyes, with her head, lowered, muttering, “You’re not, the only one.” Her face, scrunched, “Huh?” Isabelle’s eyes, widened, “I mean, when did that, happen?” She gestured, with lines, bookending her eyes, “Just a few minutes, ago! Isn’t that somethin’?” Isabella turned her head, peering, out her windows. Then, she turned, swallowing hard, “Yeah, that’s somethin’, alright?” Then, creases formed, between Kathy’s brows, “By the way, where were you?” Isabella’s face, scrunched, throwing a hand, over her mouth. Then, she removed it, slowly, blank-faced, “Um, I was just out, shopping.” Her eyes, flared, “Don’t tell me, you were at, the grocery, store!” Her eyes, almost closed, sighing, “Well yeah, a while, ago.” Kathy bounced, longfaced, “Shut up!” There was an awkward, silence, then she winced, “Well, it’s been a while, I was… pulled over.” Her friend bounced, again, “Did he, search ya?!” Now, Isabella’s scowled, “Yeah! I don’t know what…” Her face, scrunched, rocking forward, “Holy! He thought, I… was the thief.” Kathy’s face, pruned, “You weren’t though, right?” Her face, bent, “What do ya’ mean, were ya’?!” There was another, awkward, silence. Then Kathy, sheepishly, said, “Sorry, I just meant, of course, ya’ weren’t.” Isabella’s slouched, asking, “What did they take, anyway?” She rocked, forward, with squinty, eyes, “I guess, about $10,000.” She hit the steering, wheel, “No way!” She gestured, with creases, on her forehead, “Yeah, I know someone, who works there… she’s a cashier.” Isabella’s face, elongated, “What does she, look like?” She put her hand, at the height, “Well, she’s a short blonde, girl.” She winced, with a hand, on her chest, “Holy… that was probably, the cashier, that checked me out.” Kathy’s brows, rocked, slowly, “Did she find you, attractive?” With her face, scrunched, she rocked, forward, “Are you serious, right now?!” She put her hand, out, eyes, flaring, “Wo, wo, wo, I was just kiddin’.” She slouched in her seat, sighing, then said, “Sorry, it’s just been, one a’ those days, ya’ know?” Her lip, slouch, on one side, “Ya’ know, you must’ve, gotten out of there just, in time.” Her head rocked forward, leaning on the steering, wheel, sighing. Then, in a small, voice, said, “Yeah, I guess so.” She pulled back, with her mouth, falling open, “Did she stick up, that cashier?” She put a finger, to her cheek, squinting, “No, the office is to the left.” She swung, her arm, “I guess, the door was open, so he just, walked in.” Then, she, pointed, wincing, “He had a gun and everything.” Her eyes, closed, motioning, “Well, that explains, a lot.” Her eyes, opened, glancing over, “I mean, I see why, he search my car and… purse.” She whispered, with a scrunched, face, “Oh my… he must’ve been looking, for the perp.” Isabella’s face, scrunched, “The what? Are you on a cop show, now?” They both, chuckled. Isabella checked, her watch, with a wince, “I’d better get goin’, Paul’s gonna be, waitin’ for me.” Kathy turned, with a grin, “OK, glad you’re not a perp.” They chuckled, as Kathy, hung up. Isabella started, for home. She pulled in, right after, Paul. He knew she was shopping, so he carried most, of the bags. They got into the house, setting the bags, on the counter. She slowly, started emptying the bags, as he leaned, on the counter. She turned, with a wince, “You’ll never believe, how my day went.” He motioned, with a small, grin, “Go ahead and tell me, I know it helps.” Her eyes crinkled, for a moment. Then, she said, “Right, well anyway… first of all, the grocery store got robbed, at gun point.” His jaw dropped, motioning, “Were you, there?” Her face, rippled, with a headshake, “No, I had left, a couple, minutes earlier.” He touched her arm, with a soft, look, “Wow, that’s good.” With a slow, headshake, she mumbled, “Yeah, right.” Then, she unloaded, a couple, more items, Wincing, “There was something, else.” His brows, sunk, “Ok, what?” She bowed her head, reaching, for her purse. She reached in, pulling the toothpaste, out. She set it, on the counter, closing her eyes, “Gonna ask me, why I have toothpaste, in my purse?” He scratched his head, face, scrunching, “Ok, I give up, why?” With creases between, her brows, she motioned, “Well, I picked up two, and one dropped to the floor.” She bent over, slightly, “So, I picked it up, like something from my purse, and put it back. He held his hands, up, eyes, squinty, “Wait, so it dropped and you naturally, put it back… in your purse?” She nodded, slowly. Lines appeared, on his brow, “Let me get this, straight, “You dropped a toothpaste, trying to put it, in your cart.” He motioned, “Then, you picked it up, jamming it your purse.” Her face, wilted, “I didn’t jam, anything… I put it, in my purse.” His eyes, flared, “Did anyone, notice?” Her face, bent, “What do ya’ mean?!” Her face, bent, floating her hands, in the air, “Did anyone see me, JAM it, in my purse?” He readjusted his foot, clicking his heel, loudly, “What the h***, is with all the theatrics?!” She grabbed the toothpaste, face, bent. She thrust it, in and out of her purse, exaggerating it. She said, “Ya mean, did I jam it, in my purse?!” He started walking, away, with a dismissive, hand gesture, “I can’t talk to you, when you’re like this!” She threw the toothpaste, his direction, “Ya’ mean, when I’m jammin’ toothpaste, in my purse!” He stepped back, toward her, with a scowl. His voice, echoed, “Did ya’ stop and think, that people know, we’re together!” Did it enter your mind, that a security officer’s girlfriend… shouldn’t be stealing?!” She threw her hands, to her scrunching, face, “I didn’t mean to…” She motioned, “It just, happened.” She pulled her hands, away, with her wet eyes, showing, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean, to do it.” He stepped over, face, softening, “I’m sorry, too, I shouldn’t get upset.” She sniffled, pointing, “What should, I do?” His voice, lowered, with a nod, “You need to go back, with the slip and explain.” Her eyes, closed, “Jeez, I’ll be so, embarrassed.” With a hand on her shoulder, he said, “I’ll go with ya, it’ll be, ok.” Her face, pruned, “Ya sure?” His lip curled, in a small, grin, “Yeah, I’d say, they have bigger fish, to fry.” She looked downward, sighing, “Yeah.” Then, her mouth, dropped open, saying, “Oh! I forgot the part, about me getting, pulled over.” Lines bookended, his eyes, “Really? What happened?” She put the frozen food, away, saying, “Well, he made me get out, and searched my purse.” His head, rocked back, pointing, “Yeah, I guess they would be looking, for a suspect.” Right after, he said it, his brows, sank, “Wait! Did he say, why he, pulled you over?” With a slight, headshake, her face, crumpled, “I almost forgot ta’ ask him… but her said, I have a brake light, out.” His face, scrunched, “Ya’ sure, I just replaced ‘em, for ya’.” She had the perishables, put away. He motioned, “Grab your slip and we’ll, go back.” After a step, he raised, his hand, “Right after, we check, those lights.” They went to, the car. She turned the key, pumping, the brakes. He stood back, watching. With a headshake, he said, “Try the turn, signals. She tried one and he gave, a thumbs up. She tried, the other one, then he shook his head. He walked back, getting in. Her face, scrunched, “Well?” His face, wrinkled, with a headshake, “Well, if you had been, the robber, you would’ve, gotten away, with it.” Her head, snapped over, “What do, ya’ mean?” He motioned, with a scowl, “All your lights, are working.” He motioned, “Anything they found, in your car, would’ve been, inadmissible… in court.” Her face, elongated, with wide, eyes, “Ya’ mean, I would’ve gotten away, with it?!” He chuckled, “Yeah, ya’ would’ve gotten away with, the toothpaste caper.” She chuckled, backing out. They got to, the store and they could tell, all wasn’t back to normal, yet. When she got to, the cash, register, (Sandy)the blonde girl’s mouth, dropped open, “Oh my… you missed the robbery, by a couple, minutes!” Isabella’s looked, shaken, asking, “Are you ok, I mean, is everyone, ok?” She closed, her eyes, pointing, “Our assistant, manager, was the one, in the office.” Her face, scrunched, pointing, “She went home, for the day.” Isabella’s eyes, arched, “Well, I don’t blame her,” Then, her face, calmed, a little, “What can I do, for ya?” Her face, reddened, a little, pulling the slip, from her purse. Paul stood beside her, quietly, putting his hand on, her back. With a nervous, grin, she said, “Um, well I dropped a toothpaste, on the floor.” Sandy nodded, listening. She continued, fidgeting, “Anyway, I picked it up, like it dropped from my purse, and put it in there.” Sandy’s brows, sagged, trying to understand. Isabella reached forward, her voice, shaky, “I didn’t pay for it, cause it was in, my purse.” Then, her eye’s widened, leaning forward, “Oh, now I get it.” She looked at the slip, then the add, flyer. With a toothy, smile, she said, “It was on a 2 for 1 sale, you paid for one, so you’re good.” Isabella slouched, with a big, sigh, “Oh, I’m so glad, cause I didn’t…” Sandy stopped her, touching her arm, “I know, I see ya’ all the time, in here.” Another girl had opened a register, to take care, of the customers. Throwing her hand, to her face, her eye’s widened, with a tear, escaping, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get ya’, in trouble, did I?” With a soft, smile, she leaned forward, “That’s what we’re, supposed to do, help our customers.” Her voice became, unsteady, “Thank you, so much.” Her smile, brightened, “No problem.” She leaned forward, “Ya know, it’s my break, I’m gonna go out, for a smoke.” She motioned, “If ya want, we can talk, ok?” She glanced, toward, Paul. His lip curled in a small, grin, “Sure, whatever.” So they went out, to the side of the building. There was a picnic table, for breaks. Isabella sat across from her, with Paul, beside her. Sandy lit her cigarette, taking a drag, then blew it out, the side of her mouth. With a friendly, grin, she asked, “So, how was the rest, of your day?” She leaned, forward, with creases between, her brows, “You wouldn’t, believe it.” Sandy nodded, with a smile. Isabella continued, touching her arm, “After I left here, I got pulled over.” Sandy’s eyes, flared, swiping the table, “Oh my… they didn’t search your car, did they?!” She leaned, forward, talking in a loud, whisper, “Yeah, and my purse!” Sandy slapped, the table, “Shut up!” She motioned, with an exaggerated, nod, “They, sure did.” With squinty eyes, she leaned over, whispering, “What did they, stop ya’ for?” Now, Paul’s face, bent, joining in, “Well, a supposed, burnt out, bulb.” Her eyes, widened, leaning, forward, with a loud, sigh, “Ya’ mean, they were fine?!” Paul wasn’t quite so, quiet, “Yeah, so nothing they found, would’ve counted.” With a sly, grin, Sandy, touched, her arm, “Good thing, ya’ didn’t do it then, huh.” Both girls, chuckled. Paul didn’t find it, so amusing. Isabella bumped him, with a grin, “It’s just a joke.” Then, Sandy bounced, awe-faced, “Holy man! And you were sweatin’, the toothpaste.” They both, chuckled. Isabella’s eyes, flared, “He dumped out my purse, then asked me if…” She chuckled, continuing, “He asked me. If I always carried toothpaste, in my purse.” The two girls, lost it, laughing. Paul, just smiled, with a headshake. Sandy spotted the time, wincing, “I gotta get back, to work.” She took a piece, of paper and wrote down, her number. With a big, smile, she said, “Why don’t ya’ call me, and we can hang out, ok?” Isabella’s face, brightened, “That would be great, somethin’ good, came out of this, anyway, huh?” She chuckled, “Yeah, then her smile, softened, “See ya.” With a casual, wave, Isabella’s smile, warmed, “Ok, bye.” Sandy hurried over, giving her, a hug. she whispered, “You looked like, ya’ needed, that.” Isabella whispered, in her ear, “I always figured, you were nice.” She whispered, “Aww, thanks, I thought, the same thing.” Isabella withdrew, face, scrunched, “Really?” With a nod, her smile, brightened, “Yeah.” Sandy walked in, with a last, wave, “Bye Izzy.” She laughed, waving, “Bye, Sandy.” As they walked to the car, a smile grew, on Paul’s face, “While you’re havin’ a day like that… ya’ never think about, the good, that could come from it, huh.” With a big, grin, she said, “Yeah, I’ll have ta’ remember that, while I’m stealin’ toothpaste.” They both, chuckled, getting into the car.

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