“ZAX?” Shelly asked, staring at her tablet screen.

“It’s a word, dear,” Tim said. “A zax is a tool used by slaters.” (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include Baby 2014 and Blabylon 5. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….


Note: For some obscure Scrabble-legal words, check here and here.


“Yeah, right,” Shelley said. “What, exactly, is a slater?”

“A stone cutter who works with slate,” Tim replied.

Shelley rolled her eyes and looked at her letters. Q-U-E-S-C-A-I. Hrmm. Was SAX a legal word, or an abbreviation for saxophone? What about EX? It wouldn’t score much but she couldn’t afford to miss a turn. Not against someone with a menacing screen name like BetterLetterMeWin.

“I’ve got nothing,” Shelley muttered.

“Lemme see,” Tim said.

Oh sure. Shelley knew how that went. Tim would “see” and the next thing Shelley knew she’d be turning off the late show and going to bed. Alone. On the other hand, he was good at this.

“Just this one word,” Shelley said, handing him her tablet.

“Oooh,” Tim said moments later. The glow in his eyes reminded Shelley of something out of a SyFy movie. He handed the tablet back. “Take a look.”

“CAZIQUES?” Shelley asked. “What the –?”

“A term the conquistadors used for indigenous chiefs in the West Indies,” Tim said. “It also set the record for the highest single-word score in Scrabble history, when played across two Triple Word Scores. Which you couldn’t. But still.”

“You’re cheating somehow,” BetterLetterMeWin sent in the game’s text screen. “No way that’s a word.”

“It’s not only a legal word,” Shelley replied, “but the highest-scoring single word in Scrabble history. So there.”

She could have sworn the tablet growled. Or maybe that was Tim.

“I was going to be nice,” BetterLetterMeWin replied. “Now we’re playing for real.”


Have fun!