Seeking Wisdom

Back at Carrot RanchCharli Mills‘ prelude to the prompt (In 99 words (no more, no less) write a wise story; Go where wisdom leads you) reminded me of this poem from the classic book, Chicken ShiftBut then I managed to hatch a new 99 word piece of fiction for the prompt too. 

Seeing the Other Side

I’ve got a lot of stories, none have been told

I’m not very wise for someone born old.

I’ve long been a miner, never seen the lode

I’m the chicken just starin’ ’cross the road.

I’ve got lots of where I’ve been, got lots of what’s behind me

But I still don’t know where I am, and don’t know where to find me.

I’m not exactly fleeing, ’though I’d like a place to hide

Crossing isn’t just about seeing the other side.

I’m walkin’ and I’m walkin’, some might say I’m lost

I’m that chicken that finally went across.



Alien Anthropology

“Strange. They develop automation, even as they suffer obesity, depression and anxiety. They have many devices for communicating, but they aren’t saying anything. They desire access to information but don’t seem to value knowledge, with no apparent interest or ability in interpreting or analyzing information.”

“They are poisoning, mining, and bombing what’s left of their natural environment… They are ruining this planet. We should just take over.”

“No, our orders are to just observe and to seek wisdom. We shall consult their older people.”

“And artists?”

“Yes, and we’ll visit the ancient sites and natural wonders.”

“We’d better hurry.”



Dearly,  D. Avery

Some have had to trade so dearly for it. They lost their hair. Their skin got burned. Oh, they paid, gave the proverbial pound of flesh, or more, first in general terms, a lump, a mass, then specifically, a breast or two, some glands. They lost their balance. They lost their mobility and independence in the deal, negotiated the terms of their dignity in exchange for more. Throughout these transactions they realized true value, learned and taught lessons of living and of loving. They traded so dearly for something we sometimes waste, often claim to have none of. Time.

A second take on the May 11, 2017 prompt for Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about trading. It can be the profession of old or of modern day traders on Wall Street. It can be trading places or lunches at school. What is traded? Is it a fair deal or a dupe? Trade away and go where the prompt leads you.


Wishes, D. Avery

 Once upon a time, there lived an old man and an old woman. They had little in the way of possessions, and wanted for nothing. Nothing very unusual ever happened and they noticed small miracles everyday. They gardened and gathered and occasionally fished in the stream that coursed through the meadow.

One day something unusual did happen. A talking fish offered them three wishes if they’d let it go.

This amazing trout ended up in the same pan that more ordinary trout had. The couple smiled at one another, not wishing to trade one of their days for anything.

Written for Carrot Ranch. May 11, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about trading. It can be the profession of old or of modern day traders on Wall Street. It can be trading places or lunches at school. What is traded? Is it a fair deal or a dupe? Trade away and go where the prompt leads you.

Back to the Well

unnamed-11-e1462409384457From Zoe, this week’s cue is SHAKE.

six sentences, any genre

This one is a follow up to Well Wishing from a couple weeks ago.

Shaken,       D. Avery

 Rushing from their beds to the front porch, standing in water up over their knees, they were shaken not just by the unfathomable water, but also by the silence, by the absolute absence of birdsong, of breezes rustling grasses and leaves, of any sound, save themselves. Except for the steady rise of water, all was still; even the spread of dawn’s light had stopped, arrested low on the tree topped horizon.

“How can this be?,” he queried, scanning in vain for the car, though it clearly would offer no escape.

They looked at each other with a hope of relief when the water, up to their waists now as they clung to the porch posts, seemed to cease its rising. Then they felt a shaking, a profound tremor, and the water pulled at them like a rushing tide that swept them off the porch and swirling helplessly into a whirlpool that finally disappeared into the old well, now visible in the wet and matted yard. At the end of the rutted lane, beyond the dripping car, the for sale sign that they had neglected to remove listed in the sodden ground.



Resurrections , D. Avery      

There are still mason jars filled with sweet pickles, dill beans; jars of raspberry and blackberry jelly, apple-butter. The potato bin is down to the last board, but there should be plenty.

With spindly white sprouts, the potatoes feel about for spring. These are rubbed off. The potatoes need to feed us a little longer before the leftovers can go back into the ground.

The ice isn’t yet out in the lake, though peepers are singing in the beaver meadow. Soon there will be fiddleheads and wild onions, then cattail greens.

Soon enough there will be freshly dug potatoes.


Written for the Carrot Ranch flash challenge:                                                                                                May 4, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about comfort food. How can this familiarity influence a story or character? Is it something unusual, like Twinkies from the 1970s? Or is it something from home, from another place or time? Go where the prompt leads.


I was very excited to see the cue word, chickens, for the six sentence challenge from this week, as I just so happened to have written the book on chickens.

See?     D. Avery’s Books!

Product DetailsChicken Shift                                                                                                 Session poetry, best served as bathroom or bedside reading. Also suitable for coffee table. Philosophy-lite that will satisfy your questions about chickens that cross roads.  Can be taken as seriously as you deem appropriate.

So I will submit a poem for my six sentence response this week, page 33 of Chicken Shift; Poems of Crossings & Roadkill.  (The best unread poetry collection about road crossing chickens and muskrats that’s out there, bar none)


Barred Rock

A chicken walks into a bar

then realizes she’s in the wrong joke

sits beside the gorilla anyway

orders a Jim and coke.

She looks to her other side

and who is sitting there?

Eating shoots and leaves

she sees a Panda bear;

and in the backroom, reserved for cigar smokers

she sees a group of dogs, around a table playing poker.

She has another drink, says, “I lay, but I don’t lie.

I’ve got to cross the road, though I can’t think why.”

The gorilla was gallant, he picked up her tab

and he suggested it’d be best to cross the road by cab.


Written in response to SundayPhotoFiction, a photographic prompt for two hundred words.  

ICU, D. Avery


What she had read about writing was proving to be true. It was hard! But now, having dealt with every need and distraction, now she would finally write.

Except, now what? Another distraction.

Pesky fly. It would evade her half-hearted swats, then settle on the keyboard, always next to the alt button.

“I could write alternative facts”, she said to the fly. “Frankly”, she confided, “I have no idea what to write about.”

The fly flexed its front legs then turned toward the c and v keys.

C… V… V. is what she had always called her sister.

The fly hovered, then daintily primped itself on the 8 key. U…i; i…, u.

Suddenly that day, that phone call, that time in the ICU; that memory washed over her. The fly buzzed her again, again landed in front of c v. And then she remembered her sister before, remembered how even a pesky fly that others would swat and squash, V. would gently urge out of doors.

She saw the fly go out the window she hadn’t even realized was cracked open. Confident now at the keyboard, she knew what she’d write about.

“I c u V.”, she smiled. “Thanks.”


Extractions, D. Avery

After straining the rust, he combined their gleanings. His children had become experts at extraction, at syphoning gas and oil from the abandoned and decaying automobiles. Their specialty was in finding smaller machines that others overlooked, lawnmowers, leaf-blowers. Today they found almost five gallons of gas, three of oil. It was good, but what was the current rate?

“I’ll be back.” His voice was husky and raw. Trading was dangerous. And necessary. His children watched him go.

He hoped for a good rate. The last time they were only giving a quart of water for each gallon of fuel.


Written for Carrot RanchApril 27, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes oil. It can be an oil refinery, the raw product or used as a commodity. How does oil fit into a plot or a genre? Go where the prompt leads.

Well Wishing

Six sentence story in response to this week’s prompt, cue word, “well” at 

Well Wishing,   D. Avery

They were very pleased with the place, such a deal, it was all they had wished for, despite the rundown condition, despite the lack of power and water, toting drinking water in for now with a plan to maybe later dig out the old well.

They went down to the well and dropped a rock, then another and another, listening in vain for its landing in the dark below, hoping for a splash, but hearing nothing at all, not even the tunk of rock on dirt.

But later, when returning to the well for her forgotten sunglasses, she thought she heard a gurgling sound, and another dropped stone sounded a very clear splash, though very far down. When they checked the next day the water level was visible and they rigged a rope and bucket that they might draw water, planning on having it tested later for potability, but for this trip they were now motivated to start scrubbing and cleaning the long unused cabin.

Lying in their sleeping bags that night she remarked how strange the change in water level seemed, but he tiredly mumbled reassuring words about water tables and springs and how they simply didn’t hear the splash at first, and they both were soon asleep after a good day’s work.

They woke at dawn’s light, which shimmered on the water that was up over the hood of the car, and that now lapped over the top step and under the door of the cabin on the little rise of land overlooking the submerged well.


Homage,                   D. Avery

That immobile travel trailer under the trees is a sanctuary. It stands on columns of humble cinder blocks, the destination of a pilgrim. Inside it is luxurious. There’s an abundance of books, one comfortable bed, and small altars enshrined with shells and pebbles. Yet this trailer overlooks the actual temple.
IMG_0483While the red-capped stewards drum rhythms on riddled trees, juncos sanctify the space with their spring rituals, alighting on a rounded glacial erratic before continuing their northern pilgrimage.               This omphalos stone holds all the answers for the pilgrim, but there at the center, the questions have now drifted away.

Written in response to Carrot Ranch  flash fiction prompt: April 20, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a navel story. It can include a belly-button, feature an omphalos (geological or cultural), or extend to navel-gazing (used in meditation or to describe excessive self-contemplation). Go where this oddity leads you. Also at :