Quest for the Lightning Banjo

Reverse Cards Against Humanity writing prompt

5 Cards:

  • A banjo made of lightning (Rumor has it, in the LA County jail, you can trade 200 cigarettes for __ )
  • A small bee fluent in German (I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a __ )
  • Centaurs (My gym teacher was fired for adding __ to the obstacle course)
  • Stabbing the shit out of a Capri Sun (Why I am sticky)
  • Death by vicious insults (Matching card forgotten!)


The harsh sun beat down on the parched earth outside the cafe. I was sitting at a table, relaxing in the shade under an umbrella, and stabbing the shit out of a Capri Sun. The straw had bent, and could no longer puncture the pouch of flavored high-fructose corn syrup. Scowling, I took a knife from my boot, and slashed the pouch open, drinking the sweet liquid straight from the silvery container. I can’t get a good treasure-hunt on without a decent sugar buzz.

Word had come to me of a lost artifact, something hidden deep within the mountains and valleys of this desert land: the legendary banjo made of lightning. There were those who said it had never existed, that it was only a legend for children and fools. But I knew better; I’d paid off a small bee fluent in German to infiltrate the Deutsches Institut für Geheiminstrumente and extract files on anything useful. It had returned, buzzing along with a floppy disk, which contained maps and information for an expedition which would recover the one, the only, banjo made of lightning.

My snack finished, I stood up and gazed at the badlands on the horizon: that was where my goal lay. I saddled up my horse, and rode out of the town.

It was two nights later. I had just made camp when I heard the thunder of hooves approaching down the valley. My heart jumped into my throat; I’d been warned of the vicious centaurs who roamed over these lands, and took an unfavorable view of outsiders.

“Wake up, human!” I heard a voice yell outside the tent. “Wake up, and face your death!”

Standing up, I pushed the tent open, cautiously stepping outside. I was surrounded by at least twenty centaurs, with at least eight rifles trained on me.

“What do you want?” I asked them, sweat trickling down my brow.

Their leader cackled manaically.

“You have a choice, human — face our champion in a duel, or die here and now!”

I swallowed. “The duel it is!” I decided.

“Very well!” the leader responded. “Prepare yourself for a duel — a duel to the DEATH!”

“What is my weapon?” I asked.

“The sacred weapon of choice for today is-” he paused as another centaur whispered in his ear “-scathing insults? Who — whoever’s self-esteem is damaged more, will die?”

I smiled. “I accept.”

Their champion emerged from the herd, looking slightly confused.

“H-human, your — you are weak?”

“Champion,” I responded, “your entire race is a result of a bio-engineering mishap!”

The champion looked visibly saddened at my volley.

“Human, you, uh, can’t run very fast.”

“That’s ok, I’ll drive a car, which I can fit inside of, and which does not get tired, or sore, or hungry, or hot.”

The centaurs murmured.

“I really wanted a car,” the champion murmured. “They look so cool, and go so fast.”

“I can also fit in elevators, and live in cities, and rent apartments,” I continued on.

“Please, no more,” the champion said, crying a little. “We can’t do so many things. We have to just live out in the desert.”

“I can go on airplanes, and wear pants, and -”

“No more, no more!” the champion said, a stream of tears rolling freely down his face. “Please just go. Our culture is so young and fragile.”

Victorious, I watched as the centaurs sadly cantered away, leaving me in peace.

The sun rose bright and early the next morning. I checked my map, and realized that I would reach my goal that day. Surely enough, just as the map showed, there was a cavern at the base of a cliff, which went deep, deep into the Earth. Entering it, I turned on my flashlight and began the descent.

The Earth was dark and heavy over my head. My feet crunched along the cool ground. My treasure was just ahead — I saw a glow, and turned the corner.

There it was — the legendary banjo made of lightning. Reaching forward to grab it, scarcely believing my luck, I touched it. I was instantly vaporized. It was made of lightning, after all.

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