The bear looked up when the door opened, saw her come into the bar, watched her decide where to sit. Those three brothers were crammed into a booth, as usual. Was that disdain he saw in her eyes for them? Because they were pigs?

She went to a booth away from the three pigs, sat down briefly; too soft? She went to a high-top, clambered up onto the stool. Quickly got back down. Too tall? Finally she settled at the bar a couple seats down from him. He heard her sigh. Just right.

He must have been staring, for she glowered at him. “Do I know you?”

“We’ve met,” he growled.

She hadn’t changed much, older of course, and her golden locks had paled, were now shoulder length.

“Well I don’t remember and I don’t want to know you now.” She ordered a drink, kept looking at the door in the mirror over the bar. Noticing, the bartender gently told her to relax, that the big bad wolf frequented a bar on the other side of town.

She laughed nervously, didn’t say anything. She wasn’t afraid of the big bad wolf, but she was afraid of getting picked up for B&E. She scanned the room again and became doubly glad to not have sat at a booth. Why, she wondered, do people have to bring kids into a bar, when all she wanted was a quiet drink? It was a family of four, the mother tired and distracted, absentmindedly touching her short cropped blonde hair, as the boy and girl, twins perhaps, tussled and argued with each other while the father (not too bad looking even with his thick glasses), ignored them all. She finally recognized the woman, despite the short hair. She snorted; from one entrapment to another. She turned back to her drink. The bear was staring at her again.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

“I said I didn’t.”

“No, you wouldn’t, you left in quite a hurry. After destroying our property.”

“Oh… Baby Bear, all grown up. Look, that was a long time ago. Some porridge, a chair… I’ll buy you a drink.”

“You don’t get it, do you?”

“What, were you traumatized by a little girl with golden locks?”

“Yes, actually, I was. Not so much by the damage you’d done, but by how my parents reacted. Or didn’t react.”

“What are you even talking about?”

“If the cops had come, who would have been questioned more, you, or the bears? I wanted justice and my parents just said to suck it up, let it go, don’t start any trouble. You come into our neighborhood, enter our home uninvited, get into our stuff, breaking some of it, and I’m supposed to not start trouble.”

“That’s still not my problem.”

“No, of course not. You just breeze through anywhere you like, no worries about being welcome.”

“You don’t know me.”

“And you don’t want to know me. You don’t want to know that while my family and I were out for our walk that day we were alternately chased or run from for no other reason than we are bears. Like a bear can’t walk in the woods. So our walks are secretive and stealthy; then we get maligned for being secretive and stealthy! I was already feeling so low that day and then to see that my home, my room, my bed even, had been invaded…”

“I didn’t know. I… I shouldn’t have gone into your home, but I was running away, hiding out. I was scared, tired, hungry…”

The bear passed her a cocktail napkin. She wiped her eyes and blew her nose before continuing her tale. “My father had told some king a cockamamie story about me being able to spin straw into gold, and in a classic lose/lose situation, if I actually managed that, then I was to marry the king.”

“Wait- I thought that the king did marry that girl, but that she and her newborn escaped Rumpelstiltskin.”

“No way. I mean that’s the story, but me, I didn’t want anything to do with either of them, the king or that other creepy little man. I took off running first chance I got. Been running ever since.”


They sipped their drinks in contemplative quiet, ordered another.

“What was your father thinking?”

“I think he was using a metaphor, ya know, telling the king I could make the most out of a bad situation, look on the bright side… But the king took him literally and I didn’t have a chance.”

“Greed, that’s what does in poor people and bears, other people’s greed.”

“Got that right Baby Bear.”

Their musing was interrupted as seven dwarves noisily sat down at the bar, still in their work clothes, some boisterous, some belligerent.

She caught the bear’s eye. “You wanna get outta here?”

“Yes, that’d be just right.”


Take the High Road

dverselogo.jpg Over at dVerse, the poet’s bar, Sarah, ( in Poetics)  listed some street names for us,  suggesting that we “imagine what the street is like…or who might live there…or how the name came about”; that we “be whimsical, be dark, be quirky, be funny, be mysterious!” I used Silver Street, Buttgarden Street, Dragon Hill, Gas Lane, Potacre Street and a nod to Rope Walk in this fictitious romp of rhyme.


I grew up on Silver Street

next door to a boy with golden hair

Now I’m long away, my hair turned gray

But that boy he still lives back there.


Recently I meandered the old haunts

Poked around Buttgarden, then up along Dragon Hill

I dragged my ass past the Lane called Gas

Ended back at Silver, to see if that boy lives there still.


I found him still on Silver

Found him tending his garden plot

He was working hard in his big backyard

Tending an acre of pot.


It seems he’d found an elixir

For he was yet very much like a youth

His hair still gold, he hadn’t grown old

I swear I’m telling the truth.


As aging was getting me down

I took him up on his offer, together we got high

And this is no joke, must be the smoke

I began to feel twinkly and spry.


When I finally went to leave

He sent me off with a twist of rope

Yes it was hemp, brings such content;

To think I once thought him a dope.



A Gathering of Ingredients

Memorial Day. If I were back home there’d be a visit to the cemetery where both sides of the family’s departed lie in a hill that overlooks their hometown, my hometown. If I were back home I’d be at a family gathering, startled to find myself not among the young descendants patrolling and plundering the food table between play, but among the older generation whose stories the young might listen in on, whose recipes they might one day try to replicate. I wonder who made the beans for today’s gathering.

I made beans today. Where I find myself now I cannot find the beans my grandmother used, the navy beans, soldier beans, or Jacob’s Cattle beans. The shelves here mostly feature black beans and red beans, companions of tortillas and rice, and as I peruse my options I rub elbows with Jamaicans and Central Americans. Leaving with a bag of blandly named ‘white beans’ and a bag of black-eyed peas to mix things up, I nod and wish the other bean shoppers a good day. We will all memorialize some one and some place through our cooking of beans. I will remember history and family as I make baked beans, sometimes referred to as Boston baked beans, a New England staple since colonial times.

Baked beans take a bit of time, require being around the house, as they need to soak and simmer before the final cooking with the rest of the ingredients, which is the stage they are at now. Mine are in a crockpot, not the bean pots that my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother used. These three women and more are always in my thoughts when I make beans. I always stir in onions and also green pepper because even though my mother doesn’t include bell pepper in her beans, her aunt did. My sister-in-law’s mother does and her beans are darn good. She likely was implored to make her beans for the family gathering today.  Into the crockpot goes the chopped pepper.

I recall that my great-grandmother’s beans always featured molasses heavily, whereas my mother’s don’t, hers relying instead on maple syrup for her sweetening. My great-grandmother’s baked beans, almost black in color, were more akin to the old time beans of Bean-town, bearing the tradition of molasses in New England. My mother, especially when I was growing up, tends to use what is cheapest, nearest to hand, which is home made maple syrup. My husband’s mother favored brown sugar. Me? I acknowledge these three women, two now passed, and use all three ingredients; more than a concession to my bean making kin, it is a good flavor and texture combination. I also add a bit of ketchup and sandwich mustard, but I can’t recall who gave me that hint. It’s just what I do.

Traditionally salt pork was added to beans. Salt pork used also to be cheap and near to hand, especially for those of us that raised a hog, but now can be less available in a grocery store. I use bacon regardless, a thick cut if available. It still binds the beans together like the salt pork but is a distinctive ingredient that holds its own in the mix. For today’s batch I found hickory smoked thick cut bacon, which is smelling pretty good with the syrup right now.

I’m going to get up and give my beans a stir, maybe have a taste. The taste will stir memories.


Conversation is the current topic of Irene Waters’ Times Past blog post. Recently she also had us remembering “cooking with mum”. Go there to join the conversation. I attended no gatherings today but recalled gatherings past as I undertook a traditional food preparation. Making my own version of baked beans ended up being a perfect Memorial Day celebration. 


dverselogo.jpgdVerse Poets’ Pub bar is now open for Quadrille # 57. Kim from Writing in North Norfolk says she “welcomes dVerse Poets from around the world to join us in writing rain-drenched poems in the hope that together we can magic up a big enough umbrella to keep the rain at bay. Just be sure your 44-word poem contains some form of the word rain.” 



remember when you knew

exactly what to do?

in summer rain

join with the lake

frog eyed at the surface

a wondering witness

amidst the ricochet

of raindrops’ prancing play

skyward reaching drops rebound

leap up then crash back down-

right before your eyes.



working-template-for-ff-challenges26.png“Walter,” muttered Edna. He needed to borrow some gas so he could finish his mowing. George invited him to iced tea on their cool tree shaded porch.

“Sometimes I wish I had a small lawn like you,” Walter said, mopping his brow. “George, you should take some of these trees down. Enhance your property.”

“Walter, I don’t want to hear it again. We like the view as it is, dead trees and all.”

A woodpecker worked its way around a yellow birch. Wrens flitted among the lower branches.

“See,” Edna explained, “We aren’t the only ones who live here.”


A second response for the Carrot Ranch May 17, 2018, prompt: write a story about property values in 99 words (no more, no less).

Plummeting Values

rwr-1.pngAt Carrot Ranch, the May 17, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about property values. Perhaps its a home, business or pencil museum. What makes them go up or down? Go where the prompt leads. Respond by May 22, 2018. Go on over there for some good flash fun. Here’s my flash response with some background this week.


Plummeting Values

They sat together in their one bedroom apartment with their laptops, looking at real estate listings.

“There’s lots of listings that have everything we want, but are out of our price range.”

“Yeah… wait, look at this. It has a porch… big backyard…. family room… plenty of bedrooms and storage… and it’s less than our maximum.”

“Oh, it sure looks nice. That is the exact place I’ve imagined raising a family. Where is it?”

“Let’s see… located close to schools…”

“Stop. We can’t raise a family close to schools.”

“What, why not?”

“Why not?! Guns. Schools are dangerous places.”


“This is not a drill, evacuate the building!” With only that direction and information I escorted my math students out of the building, evacuating along with all the other students and staff. As it turns out the cause for the evacuation was that a man suffered some sort of medical incident and passed out at the wheel of his truck, striking the front of the school quite hard. No one was hurt. The noise was horrific and the building was, as they say, compromised. For many reasons of possibilities, evacuation was the right call. It quickly got sorted out and parents notified that all was well despite the sirens and cops on the scene.

Back to the students and staff evacuating the building before having that information. Both groups have drilled for the worst, knowing we were drilling; all we knew this time was that this was not a drill. Naturally, in the moment, imaginations filled in the blanks where there was no information. It turned out to be an unfortunate accident with no human harm done, but the kids were traumatized because they knew what it could have been. The students (and staff) were in a real situation of wondering if there was a shooter in their school, targeting their friends, targeting them. They were scared. This was about the same time as the Texas school shooting, which I heard about later.

Another learning opportunity; it took less than a class period, but we did not go back to dividing fractions when we returned to our classroom. My eleven and twelve year old students learned today how we respond to emergency, and how it feels to contemplate mortal danger. They’d learned enough for one day.

When will our lawmakers learn?

Pure Haiku


joyful notes composed

murmuration melody

sung in starlinged sky

© D. Avery 2018

D. Avery is learning to tap the internet and invites you to her blog, Shiftnshake, a place where she pours flash fiction and shots of poetry for online sampling.

I really liked the use of the word “starlinged” with its double connotations of the murmuration and the invisible stars in the sky during daylight hours …

This haiku is part of our Celestial Bodies theme!

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Constant Companion

six sentence story.jpgSix Sentence Story  time again! This week’s word prompt sponsored by GirlieOn the Edge’s Blog is “constant”. 

Jennifer was coming with him to Thanksgiving dinner, her first time meeting the whole family, and now he wondered if he should have explained more about his sister’s situation, but it was too late, here they were and there she was, greeting them at the door, making a fuss over Jennifer, and he just hoped that it would be okay.

When their mother led Jennifer off into the kitchen, his sister gushed at him, “She’s wonderful, Bob, really, I think so, and when Sherman comes down and meets her, he will love her too, I know it.”

“He’s here?”

“Of course he’s here, and Mother’s set a place for him at the table, as always, a place for my constant companion; I do wish you would be more accepting of him after all these years.”

“I wish she wouldn’t still set a place for him. Damn it, Sis, you are forty years old, it’s time you gave up your imaginary friend!”

Twittering Tales #84

Kat Myrman at like mercury colliding hosts a weekly photo prompt challenge. Write a tale in 280 or fewer characters. Here’s this week’s photo by malmanxg at unsplash with my 276 character response.



Traffic could be thick in this weather, getting around taking longer than usual. He would give her the benefit of the doubt.
And, actually, she had probably misunderstood the time, thought their date was for the next movie. Yes, that was it.
He would continue to wait.

Pining Crane

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Tortoise_Has_New_Year's_Dream_of_Crane_and_Pine_-_Kôbun_Yoshimura.jpgKôbun Yoshimura (Japanese, 1793-1863). Tortoise Has New Year’s Dream of Crane and Pine, 1854.

Pining Crane

Turtle dreamt of journeying. With sure steps Turtle began trudging along an uncertain path. Borne of Earth, yet bearing thirteen moons full upon her back, Turtle bore her journey with patience and faith.

After many cycles of many moons, Turtle was far from where her journey had begun. In the shelter of wise Pine, Turtle curled up to rest. Then Turtle awakened, transformed, as if again emerging from a shell.

As Crane, Turtle stretched feathered wings, stood tall upon two long legs, danced a dance of timelessness; as Crane, flew high over Pine, lucidly, all past illusions clearly visible.



My 99 words for the Carrot Ranch May 10, 2018, prompt: write a story defining “the charisma of cranes.” For centuries, cranes have inspired art and philosophy. You can write a crane story or create something new out of the phrase. Go where the prompt leads.