Daniyal Mueenuddin begins his short story “Nawabdin Electrician” with this dazzling line:
“He flourished on a signature capability…”
For this prompt, borrow that line and see what unspools. You can write a few sentences, a paragraph, or a complete short story. You can write about a con artist, a pastry chef, a dog whisperer, a steel trap memory, an atom-knitter (as our own Suri Purefoy writes about in "One Night's Notice
")... or any other remarkable skill.
And if you'd like to read the full intro paragraph to “Nawabdin Electrician," here it is:
He flourished on a signature capability, a technique for cheating the electric company by slowing down the revolutions of electric meters, so cunningly done that his customers could specify to the hundred-rupee note the desired monthly savings. In his Pakistani desert, behind Multan, where the tube wells ran day and night, Nawab’s discovery eclipsed the philosopher’s stone. Some thought he used magnets, others said heavy oil or porcelain chips or a substance he found in beehives. Skeptics reported that he had a deal with the meter men. In any case, this trick guaranteed his employment, both off and on the farm of his patron, K.K, Harouni.
The story in its entirety can be found in Mueenuddin's collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders,
a National Book Award Finalist.