#SixSentenceStories; Range

The word from Denise at GirlieontheEdge is “range” to be used in six sentences exactly. This Six Sentence Story began here two weeks ago with Verge. I followed “On the Verge” with two 99-word stories (Walking the Line) and then again with another pair of 99-word stories the following week. (Balancing Acts). I’m not sure I want to pursue this or the direction it takes here, but I do know this is all I have for SSS right now and am grateful to these characters for showing up to play.

What’s Cooking? by D. Avery

“You sure are at home on the range,” Bob remarked to Daddy.

“Hate to correct you, Boss, but this isn’t a range, it’s a griddle, and right beside it is a grill, and since Katie claims this is all a circus, I guess that makes me a grease monkey.”

 “Not my circus, not my monkey,” Katie the waitress chimed, but she smiled as she said it. “Coming through,” she warned as she squeezed by Daddy carrying a stack of plates behind the counter, “Doing the diner dance.”

“Let’s go somewhere tonight where there’s more room for us to dance.”

Bob laughed, said he’d never seen Katie speechless before, said he hoped Daddy wasn’t cooking up trouble just when things were going so well.

d’Verse Prosery; In the tender…

Launched by D. Avery

I’d always loved boats. So when this guy Gray hired me to run his tender with him, ferrying people between their moored liveaboards and yachts to the docks, I was thrilled. I passed his test, I guess, talked with him about boats, showed him I could tie a couple useful knots, that was it.

Usually the most dangerous part of the job was sunburn, but there were days when the weather would turn fast, the placid harbor becoming windswept chop. On one such day, our craft plunging wildly, I suddenly was launched into the waves, no longer in the tender.

“Gray! I—”

“Swim!”

Undisturbed by my wailing and flailing, the storm raged on, and I was swallowed whole by the swells. I was sinking and would surely drown, but then Gray grabbed me and hoisted me aboard.

“You can’t swim?!”

Now he asks.

I puzzled together this 144 word story for d’Verse, the pub for poets, where Lisa is hosting today’s Prosery. The challenge is to write a piece of prose of no more than 144 words that incorporates the given set of words in exactly the order given, but may be broken up with punctuation. Today we are to use the line “In the tender gray, I swim undisturbed“, by Celia Dropkin, from, “In Sullivan County”.

#99Word Stories; “Not my circus, not my monkeys”

The November 28, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the saying, “not my monkeys, not my circus”. What is the situation that would spawn that aphorism? Have fun with setting and characters! Go where the prompt leads! Submit at Carrot Ranch by December 3, 2022. 

Here is another pair of 99 word stories that continue the “Oh my” pair from last week that continued a Six Sentence Story, On the Verge. These flashes do not answer the question of who the woman is that is housing the father and daughter but is where this prompt led. Besides, I still don’t know.

Balancing Acts by D. Avery

In the casinos I always stayed close to Daddy and stayed out of his way, not interrupting or interfering with his work at the slot machines or roulette table. In the diner there wasn’t room for me behind the counter by the grill where he worked, plus daddy said it was dangerous. When the waitress came in and saw me sitting on a counter stool, she rolled her eyes. “Really?”

“Really,” the owner said.

The waitress tied her apron and sighed, “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” Whatever that means.

“That’s right the owner said. “I run this zoo.”

XXX

It sure seemed like it was that waitress that ran the diner. She was everywhere at once, which made staying out of her way hard. Every time she walked around me or told me to move out of a regular’s spot she’d sigh. “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

She was never still. If she wasn’t tending to customers or clearing tables she was rolling silverware in a napkin, just so. When she got busy with customers again, I stood on a bucket and rolled silverware, just like I’d seen her do.

“Clever monkey!”

I smiled back at her.

Carrot Ranch is undergoing technical difficulties so we can’t yet read the “Oh my” collection from last week. But there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE. And you could always check out the Saddle up Saloon. Read Sherri Matthew’s article, For Queen and Country, or go to the Cowsino to try a fun writing prompt brought to you by Kid and Pal.

Story Stitching; #Fandango’sFlashbackFriday

I am taking Fandango up on the idea of reposting something from earlier times. I don’t have anything that was posted on November 25, but found this from the 24th, November 2018. Wow. That was eons ago. I miss Sue Vincent. She was wise, creative, and generous. I was honored to be a guest on her site. I remember this essay came about from conversations at her Daily Echo and from discussions at Carrot Ranch, a site that continues to inspire me. This read requires a couple of clicks, but that’s time travel these days.

Guest Author: D. Avery ~ Story Stitching

Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Fiction or non-fiction, we write into the truth. We feel the story and layer the details onto the page. We rework the scraps until they bloom — the quilter, the painter, the metal worker, the writer — we all work in scraps until we have captured the story that speaks our truth.  – Charli Mills

Mountain Cove. Art Quilt by Barbara Williamson

When I was a kid most homes had a sewing machine with a pile of old clothes nearby. Any buttons were removed and saved as a precaution against future losses, the cloth cut and used as patches on our torn jeans. The rags might also be turned into braided rugs or become pieces of a quilt. My quilt was a memory keeper, with prints and material still recognizable and recalled from their former incarnations. Surely the quilter was an artist.

Where I come from most people have in…

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#99Word Stories; “Oh, my.”

The November 21, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “Oh, my.” It can be used in storytelling or dialog. What is the cause for such a response? Have fun with this one! Go where the prompt leads! Submit at Carrot Ranch by November 26, 2022. 

Here is a pair of 99 word stories that continue a Six Sentence Story, On the Verge.

Walking the Line by D. Avery

Daddy liked cooking and was good at it. Working the line, he wore the same expression as when he was on the verge in the casinos. The owner was so glad to have him that he let me stay in the diner while Daddy worked. It was warm, and we got food.

When he got his paycheck at the end of the week Daddy swung me.

“Cashout, Peanut.”

But Daddy didn’t cash his check. Instead he showed it to the lady that answered his knock at the door.

“Oh my,” she said. “You did it.”

“You bet I did.”

XXX

I held onto Daddy as we stood on the stoop of the lady’s small house. Finally, she invited him in. Finally, she noticed me.

“Oh, my! How you’ve grown!”

I clung to Daddy even tighter.

“You were just a baby.”

“Daddy,” I whispered. “Is she my mother?”

He knelt down. “No Peanut, but she mothered you.”

“Sometimes, Penelope,” the lady said, “You cut your losses. Sometimes you take a gamble. I did both with your daddy. And I promised if he quit gambling, you both could stay here. Would you like to see your bedroom?”

My bedroom? Oh my!

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

#SixSentenceStories; Verge

A Six Sentence Story is a story told in six sentences, no more, no less. This weekly writing challenge is hosted by Denise at GirlieOntheEdge. The current challenge word is “verge”. The linkup is open through Saturday. Go there to leave six sentences and to read the work of the other Sixarians.

On the Verge by D. Avery

I didn’t bother asking Daddy if he thought we might get a room, or even if we would be eating today; I knew the answer would be, ‘Not now, Peanut, I’m on the verge’ but he never said if it was the verge of winning big or losing big and his face never gave anything away, he always wore the same perplexed smile at either outcome.

The verge could last for hours, his fortune going up and down like that carousel horse I rode once, with Daddy seeming both near and distant and I would lean in close then, listening to his tactics and theories for beating the glaring gluttonous machines at their game, not sure if he was teaching me or just talking to himself as he constantly strategized to keep his ride going, switching machines, switching bets, trying to build his total way up before cashing out and I would know if he’d spring for a hotel room or if we’d be sleeping in the car again.

This night he was down more than he was up and I was wondering if it had gotten cold out since we parked the car, when a man came over and watched Daddy play, standing too close and holding a wad of cash right out in his hand, which Daddy always says is asking for trouble.

I couldn’t hear what the man said to Daddy, but they looked at me, then the cash, and then Daddy pulled me away fast with an expression I had never seen before.  

He cashed out before we left, muttering that it was barely gas money so the cashier said ‘Better luck next time’, but Daddy informed him that there was not going to be a next time.

And we haven’t been to a casino since, but all Daddy will say is that he’d seen how much he had to lose and would never gamble again.

#99Word Stories; Lie

The November 7, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a lie. What is the lie? It can be subtle or blatant. Who tells the lie and why? Is it an unreliable narrator? Go where the prompt leads! Submit at Carrot Ranch by November 19, 2022.

After writing this story in my head I finally typed it out and it came to 141 words, which I have included here. Then I pared it down to 99 words for submission at Carrot Ranch. Which do you prefer?

Younger Cousin (141) by D. Avery

The first lie was mine, on that long ago night. ‘It’ll be fun.’ 

We lied about her age to get in. We’d agreed to stick together but the crowd swallowed us up and we were separated. I was worried sick about her and when I finally found her, I was sick. Then she tended to me! Said it was okay, said everything would be alright.

She never would talk about what happened. She started living her life as if it didn’t matter, said she was in control. Said I could mind my own business, she was a good mom to her kids, each with a different father and not one dad. When she started using she said she could handle it.

‘Please,’ I begged, ‘Stop.’

‘Why?’ she asked.

‘Because I love you.’

‘You’re a liar,’ she said. ‘You never loved me.’


Younger Cousin (99) by D. Avery

The first lie was mine. ‘It’ll be fun.’ 

We lied about her age to get in. The crowd swallowed us up and we were separated. I was worried sick about her and when I finally found her, I was sick. She said she was okay, said she’d be alright.

She started living life as if it didn’t matter. Said she was in control. Said I could mind my own business, she was a good mom. When she started using heroin, she said she could handle it.

‘Stop,’ I begged.

“Why?’

‘Because I love you.’

‘You’re a liar,’ she said.

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

#99Word Stories; Squeak

The November 7, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes something squeaky. What is squeaky and why? How does it move the story or disrupt a character? Listen, write, and go where the prompt leads!  I’m squeaking in late with this response that continues these 99 word stories.

Long Silences by D. Avery

The red convertible sat quiet in the driveway, the top still up.

On the return trip home, he’d told stories from their shared past; sometimes ones she’d forgotten or some appended with an insight she hadn’t considered before. Talking wore him out so his narratives would be followed by long silences, though silence had its own percussions; his raspy inhalations punctuated by the squeak of the portable oxygen tank.

She hadn’t told any stories, didn’t talk over his whistling breathing, even though the sound grated on her.

Now she was surprised at how haunted she felt by its absence.

Be sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Wheels keep On Turning” collection from last week and the “Bones” collection from the week before that. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s responses HERE.

#SixSentenceStories; Branch

A Six Sentence Story is a story told in six sentences. This writing challenge is a weekly event, but my muse has been ornery lately. But here is a response for the current challenge, with the prompt word “branch”. Thank you Denise at GirlieOntheEdge for hosting SixSentenceStories. Post your own HERE or just go there to read more Sixes.

Broken Branch by D. Avery

“Here, now, my darling, my dove, let’s not fight, I am extending the olive branch.”

And there it was, his usual peace offering in a chilled thin stemmed glass, skewered olives balanced on the rim, trailing an oily sheen in the dirty vodka martini that never failed to smother her smoldering anger.

“I wasn’t fighting, I only was trying to get you to listen,” and she knew this was true, again, and that again she wasn’t heard.

But again, his answer was to make drinks and usually she would put aside her anger, would succumb to another bleary armistice, would forget what it was she even wanted to say.

But not this time, this time she would not accept the terms of the truce, this time she’d say one thing, if only to hear it herself.

“No, I’m going to a meeting,” and she stepped, boldly, shakily, out the door.

#99Word Stories; Bones

The October 24, 2022 story challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch is to: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about bones. It can be any genre or tone. Is it spooky, irreverant, poignant? Go where the prompt leads! Submit at Carrot Ranch by October 29, 2022.

You might remember a double I wrote for the January 23, 2021 prompt, which was “Light At the End Of the Tunnel“. This response features those characters.

Something More by D. Avery

A corncob pipe rolls on the dash as the boat plunges and heaves, plunges and heaves through the chop.

At the helm of Skipper’s boat, it’s more than chill headwinds bringing tears to my eyes.

A solid sure boat. Skipper built it himself.

“Boats— just skin and bones. And something more,” Skipper would say, twinkling.

Skipper’s light has gone out.

I idle the engine.

“Ashes to ashes.”

I dump his remains into the waves. Then his corncob pipe. I watch pipe and ash and bone bob and sink before steering towards shore with a following sea.

“Fair winds, Skipper.”

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