Carving Out 99 Words at a Time

working-template-for-ff-challenges-1.pngCarrot Ranch prompts… at first I have nothing. (Really? Chisel?) If I’m lucky Kid and Pal get something going and that’s fine, a Ranch Yarn will do. But I’m noticing things often come in threes, including responses to the prompt. Here’s another treble, or triple, or trio, whichever you prefer, in response to the Carrot Ranch March 14, 2019, prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a chisel. Use chisel as a noun or a verb. Think about what might be chiseled, who is chiseling. Be the chisel. Go where the prompt leads!”

My first take was to utilize and incorporate the last nine Carrot Ranch prompts; the second is a follow up on Marlie’s homeschooling; and finally, Marge is feeling a little nervous since the last Six Sentence Story. It would appear there’s a couple of serials happening. I guess. Neither was planned and are not planned. They just appear in response to the prompts. Let me ask you this: Do you mind that three stories get posted together? Is it times three or times 1/3 ?   

The Renovation

Looking back, she saw clearly what had appeared such an enriching adventure, to leave everything behind and move into an old beach house with her new love.

‘It was worth you selling your house and property,’ he’d said. ‘We’ll fix up this bungalow together, our love nest.’

Everyday he called her his Valentine. Everywhere were signs they only interpreted as good. Wobbly weather hewn porch supports were colonnades. The damp, clammy sea mist was romantic.

Going for lumber, he took her bankcard. ‘Just for back up.’

Another night, sleepless and alone, the only sound mice chiseling in the walls.


Learning Curve

“What did you say Marlie?”

“Basswood. Google said it was a good carving wood, and then I learned we had it in our front yard, except we’d been calling it Linden, and I cut a piece of it to carve. Daddy taught me how to carve, Mommy. Mommy! You’re not even looking at my carving.”

She wasn’t, either; she was looking quizzically from Marlie’s bandaged hand to Marlie’s quiet father.

“Daddy taught me how to be real careful with the knife and chisel, but that was after I’d used the limbing saw. That’s when Daddy taught me about first-aid!”



“Jeez, Marge, you’re turning the trailer upside down these days.”

“It’s needing a good spring cleaning, Ernest.”

“Now with a hammer and chisel?”

“Ending the ice age in your freezer.”

“That’s a brilliant solution, Marge.”

With a sculptor’s eye Marge placed the chisel and hammered out great chunks of hoary frozen food while Ernest looked on.

“We should name our kid Invention. Get it?”


Marge told Ilene about it on their walk.

“Ha! Good one. You, the mother of Invention.”

“Ilene! I don’t want to be a mother! Damn it. Things were so good.”

“Go talk with Ernest, Marge.”



20 thoughts on “Carving Out 99 Words at a Time

  1. Ha! I’m so pleased you did three. I’d be happy if you did 3×3.
    I love the first with all the prompts mashed in. But it wasn’t a mash-up. It’s very clever, and so sad that she got taken for everything.
    I can see why Mum wasn’t looking too pleased, but at least Marlie is learning a lot.
    Mother of Invention – that’s a good one. If Marge is worried about the possibility, she’s younger than I thought. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was stumped with “Chisel” but somehow all the most recent prompts fell in and there was a story.
      Then the other two characters stepped up, once the ink started flowing. They’re like sharks in the pages I suppose, attracted to the smell of ink.
      The other thing I’ve been doing with some of my flash responses is paring them down to 269 characters or less for the #SFFiction contest on twitter.
      Thanks for coming by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s something about threes. 10 years ago I was driving back from a writer’s workshop where everything had come to me in threes and when it shows up, I call it the triad! Pushing into nothing and coming up with three is a good deal. Marlie is learning, and so are her parents! Marge is at that terrifying age when a woman thinks she’s too old but her body’s still fertile. Chiseling ice seems like nesting…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: To Chisel « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  4. I love where the prompt pulled you, D. Avery. And three is the perfect number, though I could have read more. This comment of yours resonated with me. “I was truly worried, as usual, that I wouldn’t be able to chisel out a 99 word story this week. Then I stopped worrying.” The key to creativity – letting go.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Misspoke and Miss Placed | ShiftnShake

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