Unbuttoned (part 2)

“Girls! Breakfast!”

Sissy slipped silently into her seat, her lip quivering as she watched her sister ease carefully into her chair.

“What’s wrong with you?” her grandmother asked the older sister. “You’re lame this morning.”

The girls’ eyes met. “It’s nothing, Granma.”

“Sure looks like something. Are you two going to do more than poke your breakfasts?”

Sissy hiccupped. The older girl hissed at her younger sister. “Button it.”

But the little girl burst. “She wouldn’t let those boys at me Granma, she let me get away.”

Their grandmother made the phone-call before gathering them close, rocking and humming.


I was peer pressured into providing a bit more of “Unbuttoned”. I almost wish I hadn’t written either piece but to not have gone where the prompt led would not have changed what is too often a true story for too many girls. I am not sure how to write the happy ending that this fictional family deserves.  Is there any kind of justice that undoes the damage done? There’s no lesson to be learned; these girls did nothing wrong. They are tough and stand up for each other so we can only hope that these characters have the resilience to not give up on themselves and will grow up as healed and whole as possible. 



The July 5, 2018, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes buttons. 

#Tanka Tuesday; Green Magic


dancing chanting leaves

verdant shamans conjuring

summer’s shifting shape

emerald incantations

cast and I am caught, spellbound


I haven’t played with Colleen’s Tuesday Tanka challenge in a while. Today’s the day. Here is a response to her latest, COLLEEN’S WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 91, “Magic & Green,” #SYNONYMSONLY. 




working-template-for-ff-challenges38.png The July 5, 2018, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes buttons. You can use the word plural or singular in different expressions, or focus on how buttons relate to a story. Go where the prompt leads. Charli’s post prior to this prompt was about the cycle of the hero’s journey as a story template. She suggests, “No one wants to answer the call, including your characters. Before you begin your tale about that bold woman in the button necklace or the cool man dapper and tailored, think about who they were before. Or think about the journey yet to come. What if she learns what it is to doubt? What if he’s torn and no longer in control? Poke into the hero’s journey.”

Unbuttoned,   D. Avery

“You’re back late, girls.”

“We’re sorry Granma.”

“You’ve lost a button off your beautiful blouse.”

“Um, I guess I have.” She glanced down at her rumpled shirt then at her wide-eyed younger sister, who still clutched her hand. “At least Sissy has all hers.”

“Well, I should hope so. Anyway, off to bed with you both.”

In the room they shared at the summer cottage Sissy now became the hero, gently helping her unmoving sister get ready for bed, speaking soothingly, her little fingers carefully unfastening each button, bravely ignoring the bruising. Silent tears rolled down both girls’ cheeks.


Click here for more.




One Handed

Uphill or downhill, biking was the only thing I could ever best Jimmy at but since he wasn’t there I walked my bike up the steep trail that led off the old quarry road, didn’t bother to mash the pedals the whole way, to arrive triumphantly weak kneed and exhausted at the spot where I would have waited for him to catch up, where we would have both had to walk up to the ledge overlooking the dry quarry.

His bike was still there where he’d left it, where I had left it, chain side down, like I’d told him a hundred times not to do. I avoided even looking at the trails, the one going up to the top of the quarry, the other winding to its bottom; I would never take either of those trails again, I never wanted to see that place again.

But I would retrieve his bike, didn’t want to leave it up there, so I pointed both bikes down hill, mounted mine to coast down the trail one handed while steering his with my left hand, a feat that Jimmy never mastered, rode like that all the way to his house.

I wonder what it would have been like to have gone to Jimmy’s funeral, but his mother, she said she couldn’t even look at me, said she didn’t know how I could have let that happen to Jimmy, and I had no answer for her, so here I was in his garage during the service, cleaning up his bike, lubing the chain before putting it up on the wall rack, the place where Jimmy’s bike was always kept through winter.

Then I pedaled home in the hot summer sun, taking the long way to avoid the church, taking the long way to put distance between me and that silent garage.

                                                                                                                                                            six sentence story.jpgThank you Denise of girlieontheedge for this week’s Six Sentence Story prompt, “exhaust”.

You may recognize this narration from Disbelief and from Burst

Sketchy Trio

working-template-for-ff-challenges36.pngThis was a sketchy prompt from Carrot Ranch for me this week. (June 28, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a sketch or about a sketch. Go where the prompt leads you to scribble.) I wondered if I was ever going to come up with a response. So I decided to keep it simple and tried to sketch one of my neighbors, a very large snapping turtle. That got the ink flowing. Next I riffed off of Charli’s post, in which she describes sketching as a literary artist. Finally, I sketched a scene that was led to my head by the prompt. I hope you enjoy and I encourage you to read at the Ranch. 

A Neighbor

We’ve met before on this lake. She’s a big one. Today she’s lazing just underneath the surface, her mossy plated shell a hub for four bumpy, clawed legs that dangle beneath her, for the spiny leathery tail ruddered behind, for her massive craggy beady-eyed beak-tipped head. She dives then comes back to the surface, sticking her snout out of the water, taking air in through flared nostrils. Seeing me, she swims silently away. I feel she’s ancient, wonder at her long life, but cannot begin to say what she thinks or feels. Out of respect I don’t even try.


The Sketch Artist

“Okay, let’s begin”, Officer Mills said, sketch pad in hand.

“He had a round face, with brown eyes.”

“No, describe him. Did he harbor a storm in his eyes? Did his past linger at the edges of his unspoken thoughts?”

“Umm, he was tall… about six foot four.”

“Six foot four?! How tall was he? We need a sketch. Was he simply tall like a tree, or did he walk in that head hunched way that tall people do, ducking through doorways, folding into cars?”

“I don’t know! You’re just writing words! Where’s the sketch artist?”

“Right here, literally.”


Heaven Knows

“Didn’t think it’d be like this. I always heard it was more like a movie, you know, your life replayed for you.”

“I was surprised too. A pile of sketches they hand you. Your own sketches.”

“So, you have to go back too?”

“Ha, you bet I do. Any of us with these skinny little sketchbooks have to retrain and go back for another lifetime. Next time, I’m going to make more time for sketching. For etching deeds and memories.”

“Yeah, they say if you get here with good stories to tell you’re all set.”

“Heaven knows, that’s life.”


Be Bold (JULY).jpg