#99Word Stories, Broken Arm?

The September 26, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: Write a story about a broken arm. What happened? Is there a cause and effect because of the broken arm? Was the injury faked? Why? Go where the prompt leads! Submit by October 1, 2022.

In her post Charli shares this note:

Would you fake a broken arm for me? (based on a robin protecting another from potential danger at the cat farm) -- birdsers vs. cat lovers -- robin humping for worms or insects
<line>
The Isolation of a Lone Gunman
<line>
Find Your Happy Place as a Beauty Regime -- thrift store top -- earrings

Yes, a challenge. Here is a three part response, each 99 words. If you want to know the story you’ll have to go to the Cowsino  and look for it down in the comments. And be sure to try your luck with that separate story spine writing challenge while you’re there.

Shop Therapy by D. Avery

“It’s shop therapy day,” my sister said, “We’re going to the thrift store.”

Maybe because it was chilly and gray out, my sister gravitated towards a colorful cloak. But another woman, eyeing the racks like a cat, tail twitching, snatched it up first. “Early bird gets the worm,’ she said.

After a quick detour through bedding I appeared with my arm wrapped and hanging in a sling. “She wants the cloak for me. Because of my broken arm.”

The appeal did not work. “Eh. She looks like a lone gunman in that cloak,” I said. “Let’s look at earrings.”

XXX

“I’m relieved you paid for it, but I’d rather you’d left it.” Over the steaming mug of tea my sister’s eyes said she thought I was crazy for still wearing my improvised sling.

“Why? You make things up.” I squeezed another honey packet into my tea. “Maybe when you’re a famous author we can shop somewhere besides the thrift store. Go to a real tea shop and not this diner.”

“Never! That stuff has stories! And diners… OMG, maybe she is a lone gunman. It’s the cloak clutcher and she definitely has something underneath it. Shit, here she comes.”

XXX

“Your arm really is broken? Here, take the cloak. I’m finished with it anyway.”

The woman removed the cloak, handing it to me. She deftly tucked an elegant China teapot on the seat next to my sister then sat down, shielding it from view. She sat across from me, her cat eyes flashing a challenge.

“Wrap your teapot in this.” I undid my sling and passed it to her. “But the cloak is for my sister. I’d do anything for her. Except steal.”

“I bet you would too steal, if you had to.”

My sister sat up, sniffing a story.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch’s Cowsino to read the conclusion to this story and to hang out reading and writing for a while.

#99Word Stories, Mud On the Tires & #Six Sentence Stories, Knot

The September 19, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about mud on the tires. The tires can be from any conveyance or serve as an analogy. How did they get muddy and why? What impact does mud on the tires have on the story (plot) or characters (motivation)? Go where the prompt leads! Submit by September 24, 2022.

I continue to continue the story of the red convertible begun with the Red Convertible, then Swimmingly, and last week’s Balloons On a Bumper. I am adding a Six Sentence episode as well. Go to Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge to link up your Six Sentence Story and to read those of others.

Back Tracking by D. Avery

“Relax, it’s not a spider.”

Her husband’s voice startled her more than the string that brushed her face. She switched on the light, illuminating the motel cabin, a stringed balloon at the ceiling, her husband sitting up in the armchair, the portable oxygen tank in his lap.

“I put the top up on the convertible.”

“And stole a balloon.

“Just before this downpour.”

He was wheezing and didn’t argue when she gave him morphine drops.

“It came on fast.”

“It’s just rain,” she said. “What’s a little mud on our tires?”

He smiled wanly. “We should head home tomorrow.”   

Tangled by D. Avery

Still sleepless in the thin gray light of the drizzly dawn, she read the words on the heart shaped balloon that turned in a draft, Just tied showing, then the Knot, to and fro.

How often had she felt just tied; tied and tired, bound by duty, her attachment held by worn threads of habit? If she picked at the knot of their marriage, would pulling at one line cause it to tighten upon itself even more, or would the knot unravel before her like neat map lines? A tangled nest of heart strings, she mused.

“It’s been a good ride,” he rasped, reaching for her hand. Because of the knot in her throat, she only squeezed his hand back in silent agreement, then got up to pack the red convertible for the journey home.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Balloons On A Bumper” collection from last week. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

#99Word Stories; Balloons On a Bumper

The September 12, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about balloons on a bumper. Is it a spectacle, an occasion, an eccentricity? Why are the balloons there? Who is involved? Go where the prompt leads! Submit by September 17, 2022.

I find I am led to continue the story of the red convertible.

First, Red Convertible. Second, Swimmingly.

Down the Road by D. Avery

“Should we warn them?”

The giggling newlyweds disappeared into a motel cabin.

“They wouldn’t believe us.” Wheeling his oxygen tank, she followed him into their own cabin before unloading the remaining luggage and supplies from the convertible.

Preparing dinner in the small kitchenette while he dozed, she wondered at all that smiling bride hadn’t been told.

That night she dreamed she was popping the balloons that were tied to the honeymooners’ bumper, one by one. She awoke to rain drops bursting on the cabin’s tin roof. She sighed, realizing she hadn’t put the top up on the red convertible.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Swimmingly” collection from last week. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

#SixSentenceStories; Band

It’s time once again for a Six Sentence Story. I apologize for the following, I won’t duet again, but this is the story that came to me for the prompt word “band”. Thank you Denise at GirlieOntheEdge for hosting SixSentenceStories. Post your own HERE or just go there to read more Sixes.

Keeping Time by D. Avery

When Four-fingered Freida told Five-fingered Joe she wanted to join his five-piece band, Joe laughed and said, ‘What for, we’ve already got five five-fingered five-string pickers. Not to pick on you’, he remarked offhandedly, ‘but you’ve only got four fingers and a four-string’, for Joe’s band was a banjo band, five-string only.

Frieda, a chick with a lot of pluck, didn’t fret, and sure enough, she bumped into a guitarist. ‘Sorry’, he said, ‘I’m all thumbs’, and while that wasn’t exactly true, he did have an extra on each hand, which Freida didn’t find at all odd, and she told him how she came to be missing a thumb.

‘It’s the result of a digital error with a bandsaw.’

Six-string Sol didn’t mind, and in fact these two, picking and strumming, made beautiful music together, and that’s what counts.

#99Word Stories; Swimmingly

The September 5, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: Write a story using the word, “swimmingly”, which means “smoothly or satisfactorily”. What is the situation? Who is involved? Let the word take you into a story. Go where the prompt leads! Submit at Carrot Ranch by September 10, 2022.

This prompt led me back to last week’s challenge.

Road Trip by D. Avery

“How did we get here?”

“In this shiny new red convertible.”

“I mean Here. This.” He indicated his oxygen tank, his medical bag, swept his hand through his thin gray hair.

“Oh. The aging thing. I’ve no idea. I remember signing a contract with a young handsome man… something about in sickness and in health. It’s gone swimmingly.”

“Yes. Gone. Swimmingly… up Shit’s Creek. Next stop, Death.”

“That’s grim.”

“What do you expect?”

“I expect you to paddle!”

Eyes on the road, blinking back tears, she clutched the wheel of the red convertible, her emotions tangling in the wind.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Red Convertible” collection from last week. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

#99Word Stories; Red Convertible

The August 28, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: Write a story that features a red convertible. Who is driving or riding? Where is the car going? Maybe it isn’t even a car. Have fun and go where the prompt leads! Submit at Carrot Ranch by September 3, 2022.

This is a double 99-word story, because it wasn’t finished yet.

Convertible by D. Avery

“This is not how I thought it would be.” He looked at the bloodstained towel, pressed it back to his nose. “Used to think I’d get myself a red convertible for old age. Maybe die in that.”

“I always thought I’d kill you well before we got to old age.” She exchanged his crimson towel for a clean one. “You’ve got to pinch it more and talk less if you want the bleeding to stop.”

“It’s slowing down. Finally.” He smiled. “Not dead yet.”

She kissed the top of his head then fixed his oxygen tube. “No. Not yet.”


While he napped, she cleaned up after the latest nose bleed. She put laundry going, filled the portable oxygen tanks, and organized his medications. As she started to prepare dinner, she heard him clicking rapidly through the TV channels and begin his complaints of boredom. She tossed the dishrag into the sink.

“So let’s buy that red convertible,” she said, facing him. “Go touring.”

“What? Now?”

“Can you think of a better time?”

“You’ll have to drive.”

“Yes.”

***

He smiled in the passenger’s seat. “Not dead yet.”

She preferred yellow, but was willing to compromise while their journey continued.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Shame” collection from last week. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

#99Word Stories; Shame

The August 22, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: Write a story exploring shame as an emotion or theme. Consider how to use shame to drive a cause-and-effect story. How does it impact a character? Is there a change? Go where the prompt leads! Submit at Carrot Ranch by August 27, 2022.

This submission is the third in an unplanned trilogy. The first was for the “puppy ears” prompt; the second followed that as a 99-word Six Sentence Story. And now this.

Reimagined by D. Avery

This woman seems kind, look how she is with the children. Look at that garden! Go to them. It’ll be alright.

She clung to her imaginary friend. “No.”

I’ll go with you.

“I’m ashamed.”

Of me?

“No! Of me. Of my family. You know…”

I do know. I know that is your sorrow, but it is not your shame.

She sobbed then in the strong comforting arms of her imaginary friend. And when she opened her eyes, she was in the embrace of the woman, who told her she was safe now, everything was alright, she would be alright.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Floppy As Puppy Ears” collection from last week. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

#SixSentenceStories; Beat

Denise, of GirlieontheEdge, is our host for Six Sentence Stories that feature the word “beat“.

This week’s Six Sentence Story follows a recent Carrot Ranch flash that was perhaps too ambiguous. So here is a next scene in six sentences, and 99 words just for fun.

Imagining More by D. Avery

After looking over her shoulder, she lifted the spruce bough and ducked into the secret glade.

You did come back, her imaginary friend exclaimed, and in the dark too. Tell me all about the big scrumptious dinner you had.

“There wasn’t anything left, my brothers beat me to it.”

Wincing as she unrolled the blanket she’d brought with her, she announced that she was never going back there.

I can’t imagine how we’ll feed you, but we’ll think of something tomorrow, she smiled, happy that for now her friend was safe, peering with her through branches at the stars.