At Right Angles #SixSentenceStories

“Tommy, lay your G.I. Joe flat on the counter like this- that’s a straight angle; now sitting up straight like this- 90 degrees or a right angle; bent forward- acute; and leaned back- that’s an obtuse angle.”

“Like my daddy in his recliner chair- he’s obtuse! What’s so funny, Liz?”

“Marlie, I bet Tommy would rather play outside, maybe that’s enough math for today.”

“Yeah, Marlie, let’s go back to the dirt pile, besides my daddy says girls aren’t that good at math.”

“Go, before I get an acute headache.”


six sentence story copy

Here once again are Marlie and her Destiny Doll, recurring characters in Six Sentence Stories and 99 word flashes for Carrot Ranch. This week Denise gives us the word “angle” to use as we wish as long as it’s presented in six sentences exactly. Go to GirlieOnTheEdge for the link up. 

Love at a Distance CRLC Challenge

square-template32.pngHere I am, days late with the Carrot Ranch April 23, 2020, prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about distance dating. It can be any genre, era, or setting. Who is dating, and why the distance? How do the characters overcome, accept, or break up because of the distance? Go where the prompt leads!” As often happens the prompt led me here and there and back again with three responses, all different.

First, the response that is closest to the prompt idea. As Charli also talked about scenes in her post, I thought about continuing the idea of this story in sequential 99 word scenes, with dating, marriage, and divorce all being done remotely, but kept it to this and its (potential) happily ever after.

Remote Connection

The zoom host had been transferred so many times that neither could say how they were connected, just that they were. By the time they slowly closed their laptops, finally ending that first meeting, these friends of friends of friends were more than friends.

There were more zoom times, just the two of them. Both wanting to make a good impression, they started wearing underwear again, wore clothes that required buttoning. Tabletops were cleared and neatly arranged with flowers and stemware for simulcast dinners.

They both had been working from home, isolated, for weeks.

Why not?

“Let’s quarantine together.”


I’ll also include here the Ranch Yarn that came of the prompt. These usually serve to get the prompt rolling for me.

Distance/Time = Speed

“Distance, okay, and dates, that’s time… this’s a classic rate problem.”

“Speedy reaction, Kid. Don’t think thet’s whut Shorty meant though. Dates, not rates.”

“Alright, but work with me Pal. Could be long ago an’ far away?”

“Thet could fit, I reckon.”

“So, could write a fairy tale?”

“Yep. Could. Long’s it’s ‘bout some sort a lovin’ situation, in 99 words.”

“Once upon a time… (that’s the date)”

“Still don’t think thet’s whut she meant, Kid…”

“In a land far away… (a distant land)… they lived happily ever after.

“They who?”

“Who cares? They’re happy.”

“I love old stories.”


Finally, a 99 word poem which the prompt led to, but also led by my current reading, yep, a biography of Walt Whitman. While not exactly a tale of dating, this song of self is about a changing relationship that suffers with distance. 

Phenomenal Pluralism

Thou the seer, I the sayer

blind words the steps

that led astray

till I was, saw I,

muted by growing distance

voiceless without thy eyes.


I the sayer, thou the seer

so far away wandering

my own words I could not hear

as days grew long knowing only half

feeling my way back remembering

thou my heart, thou my laugh


Life dreams this— reunion realized

to be again we two as one

I with thee, see from thy eyes

to speak now our words that shape us whole

I as thou

my self my original child my soul.



Bridging #SixSentenceStory

Donna appeared calm but from the opposite side of the river she watched, alert and ready, for anything could happen; the risks were real.

Duane had pointedly not fallen for any of this wilderness bullshit as he called it; he hadn’t sniveled in the dark with it’s unfamiliar calls and whistles, hadn’t whined at the muggy mosquito miles, the knee scraping granite mountain trails, the nasty iodine flavored drinking water; hadn’t blubbered and confessed around the sterno cook fire. So he knew the others expected him to go first now, to just cross that swirling current as sure footedly as Donna had, to leap stone to stone until he was on the other side, high and dry, safe and sound, as angry and unassailable as ever.

Donna’s posture was neutral, patient, even as she silently assessed the situation on the other shore, as she read Duane’s body language, read the composure of the rest of the group, already drifting away from their nucleus, already beginning to reorganize. Duane must have read the group too, for suddenly he was three rocks into the torrent before he paused and Donna saw that he was wild-eyed, afraid, and she held his gaze and willed him on, put her eyes on the right rock, nodded imperceptibly when he committed and reached and stepped and leapt, teetered, but caught his balance and continued, until he grasped her hand and let her help him with the last step up the bank to solid ground.

Grateful Donna hadn’t said a word as he crossed, Duane knew that she had seen his fear, but that didn’t make him mad this time, and anyway he didn’t have time to think about that because Rashon was up next and he knew Rashon needed words of encouragement so Duane focused on Rashon and told him how to go —easy does it, one boulder at a  time—  while Donna stood behind him, beaming.


six sentence story copyThe prompt word for Denise’s Six Sentence Stories is “bridge“. After writing my six sentences I realized there’s no tangible bridge in the story. Thank goodness for titles and intangibles. The link up is open through GirlieOntheEdge for you to read other Six Sentence Stories or to leave one of your own. 

Bookshelf Poems #D’Verse



At D’Verse Pub for poets Björn would have us find a poem in our bookshelves. How cool is that? I look up and see:




a time to dance


spoken revolution

between worlds

the hidden life of trees


Too easy! The stack was right there. (And, yes, I excluded Brown Girl Dreaming from the poem because it didn’t seem to fit. But Jacqueline Woodson’s books are a good fit for a young adult or middle school audience and I highly recommend them and her picture books. Brown Girl Dreaming is autobiographical free verse poems.)

A trip upstairs gives us a poem by the great poet Wendell Berry but from titles of his essays:

IMG_1716.JPGHome Economics

gift of good land

what are people for?

the unsettling of America

It all stands on affection

standing by words

Life is a miracle.


The first stack is uncovered/recovered books found at the “take it or leave it” shelves at the dump before the shelter in place orders. This eclectic pile was taller but I am getting through my finds. Obviously my shelved books are arranged in some sort of order but I enjoyed seeing Wendell Berry’s superb and lyrical essays turned into a poem by collection titles. (His poetry volumes are on the opposite shelf amongst the poetry books.)

You know, maybe I will undo my order, sift and sort through the many titles, arranging and rearranging until a poem emerges— no! If I start it will be a slippery slope of the type secluded people should avoid. But here is this:


Nero fiddles

“A time to dance!”

Unsettled brown girl

standing by words

dreaming of America



between worlds

caged birds sing

spoken revolutions

but everything is broken

It all stands on affection

but everything is broken

The hidden life of trees

harbor prayered wings

nesting, wresting

gifts of good land

insisting through bursting buds

Life is a miracle!

(What are people for?)


Karaoke At the Saddle Up Saloon

Karaoke Coming Soon! Come Crow and Croon at the Saddle Up Saloon

“Clever, Kid, but how we gonna manage thet? We ain’t set up fer sound.”

“I hear ya Pal, but it ain’t quite like that. Won’t be no actu’l singin’.”

“Then it ain’t actu’l karaoke, but okie-dokie, what’cha got in mind?”

“Figger on havin’ folks rewrite song lyrics ta a familiar tune. Ya know, like Weird Al.”

“Thet could work. Ya got a theme?”

“Nope. Jist keep it fam’ly frien’ly. Any tune, jist give credit an’ apologies ta the original a course. Then put yer lyrics and/or link right in the comment section fer the May 4th Saddle Up Saloon post. Or, if’n ya send somethin’ ta me c/o afore April 30th, mebbe that’ll be right in the post!”

“So yer sayin’ ta pick a song, then put yer own lyrics ta it an’ come by the Saloon on May 4th ta inneract with the crowd?”

“Yep. Or send it ta me at earlier ta mebbe be featured right up on stage.”

“Think folks’ll be put off thet we’re fictional characters?”

“Naw! Fact, they kin have their own characters do this karaoke thing for ‘em if’n they want, put their own spin on it.”

“What if folks don’t know ‘bout the Saddle Up Saloon?”

“Well they should jist come by an’ check it out! ‘Member, it’s a place fer folks ta drop by, relax an’ have fun at a saloon run by us, Kid and Pal, fictional ranch hands at Carrot Ranch. We’re open 24/7 with somethin’ new posted ev’ry Monday.”

“Thet’s right, Kid. This comin’ Monday, April 27, we got a historian comin’ by. It’s gonna be a might highbrow fer us, edge-u-cational as well as ennertainin’. Then, week after thet, we’re hopin’ ta have folks take part in this first ever Saddle Up karaoke event.”

“Jist fer fun. See ya soon ‘roun the Saddle Up Saloon.”


April 27: Hysterical History            

Pal & Kid are free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch. They never tuck tail, but their tales are corralled as Ranch Yarns at ShiftnShake. If asked, they will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. Stop in at the Saddle Up for their freshly served fun. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .

Returning CRLC Challenge

square-template28Though a response to the Carrot Ranch April 16, 2020, prompt to write a story about something crazy in 99 words (no more, no less), it is also a follow up to two Six Sentence Stories, Rebuked, and Rebuked Again. You might want to read those first. 


“Guess we’ll pack up,” said Bill.

Of course hunting was off. Aaron noticed they’d removed the bolt from his rifle. “You guys must think I’m nuts.”

Harry spoke. “Dad’ll know what to do.”

Always Dad; not my dad, or our dad. Dad. But theirs. Not Aaron’s.

“Guys, let’s go sledding down Bear Hill. Like that time.” He saw the brothers both smile at remembering a long ago weekend at this camp with their dad. And with him. Aaron remembered having a crazy idea then that he could be their brother too, could say the word dad capitalized, fully formed.

Crazy Shift CRLC Challenge

farcow5.gifHorn Blowin

“Shorty’s on ‘bout uni-corns agin. “

“Shorty’s crazy ‘bout uni-corns.”

“I ’member the second uni-corn prompt, February 22, 2018. Was you ‘roun fer the first, June 4, 2014?”

“Course I was ‘roun the Ranch. Jist didn’t know it yet. Kin tell ya thet was Shorty’s 100th Carrot Ranch post ‘an her 14th 99 word challenge. If’n ya read thet post you’ll see how steady she’s been all these years. ‘Ceptin’ fer the uni-corn thing. She suggested, ‘snap the halters off our inner unicorns’. Hmmf.”

“Well, Pal, it don’t git more free range ‘an that. Mebbe uni-corns ain’t so crazy.”

square-template28.pngAt Carrot Ranch, the April 16, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something crazy. Laugh like crazy, show the setting of stir-crazy or go off the rails on a crazy train. Have fun with the word and the situation, but go where the prompt leads! (Respond by April 21) 

The prompt seems to be working for my yahoo characters better than for me. So indulge them if you will for four sequenced Ranch Yarns, each 99 words, no more, no less..

Crazy Shift           (Like Craft Cider, Comes in a 4-Pac)

“Aw, shift, Kid, what’re ya up to?”

“Been thinkin’, Pal.”


“Thinkin’ Head Quarters should reflect the Ranch an’ vice versa. I’m fixin’ on how ta fix hosses inta uni-corns. Ya’d think it’d be an easy thing ta git toilet paper tubes…”

“Kid, ya cain’t jist braid tubes onta the forelock an’ call thet a horn. Ya gotta look it the hoss’s genes.”

“Yer stir crazy. Hosses don’t wear jeans. Oh! Genes. Reckon I could start by s’lectin’ the hosses got stars on their foreheads.”

“Blazes no, Kid. Ya gotta look fer the ones got stars in their eyes.”


“Gonna send Pepe back up ta HQ, ta utilize his connections ta the universities. Thinkin’ there’s some nerds with time on their hands could do some genetic engineerin’ fer this uni-corn project.”

“Kid, they’s all workin’ on more practical things than horned hosses. Anyways, Pepe’s out there scratchin’ his head, eyein’ the groun.’”

“Huh… Pepe!”

“Keed, look. Dees ees not farfennugen.”

“No, too big. Are they skittles?”

“Dees ees too beeg to be Skeetles. Ees size of horse poop, but colors of da rainbow. Keed… dees ees unicorn excrement!”

“You mean?”

“Oui! Dere ees a unicorn on Carrot Ranch!”


“Let’s hit the trail! Why, if we kin find this uni-corn we’ll… we’ll… uh, Pal, some hep here?”

“Hep yersef. Jist what will ya do if’n ya track down thet uni-corn?”

“Reckon I’d rope it.”

“Uh-huh. Then whut?”

“Well, guess I’d lead it back ta the Ranch. Corral it.”

“Uh-huh. Or git it inta a stall. Think it’d be happy, roped an’ corralled?”

“Not at first. But…”

“But what? You gonna tame it?”

“Yeah. Tame it an’ train it. Till it’s—”

“Docile as any old plug?”


“Some things cain’t never be undone, Kid.”

“I’ll leave it be.”


“Pal! I have foun’ the true power a uni-corns!”

“Shift! Kid I thought you was gonna leave thet animal alone!”

“I am, Pal. In fact Pepe an’ me been goin’ roun’ gatherin’ up any rainbow colored droppin’s so’s to protect it. I been takin’ the uni-corn manure out ta ma little off-shoot Poet Tree behind the Saddle Up Saloon. An’ that tree is growin’! I’ll be climbin’ out on a limb in no time.”

“Ya been outta yer tree fer a while. We kin all use some buckaroo-ku these days, Kid.”

“Okay, Pal.”

among friends

gathering rainbows

crazy shift



This essential establishment is OPEN! 



He hadn’t expected they’d get shot at for trying to land at the airport.

It’s not the virus, just cancer; her dying wish is to spend her last days at the cottage.

He flew low along the deserted shoreline, circled back into the wind. Resisting the compulsion to shield her face, he kept his hands clenched on the yoke, Nose up, come on, there it is, yeah!

Here we are, Dear, let’s just catch our breath before getting you settled in the cottage. I’ll unload the plane before the tide comes in, then together we shall enjoy the sunset, you and I.

****   ***   ****

six sentence story copyLanding             

Wondering what he would do now, he guided the Cessna in wide lazy circles, climbing higher and higher over the airport below, found her hand when she mumbled groggily, told her gently, Almost, Dear, we’re almost there.

Though he’d anticipated some trouble on the ground he had expected to at least be allowed to land, where he’d prevail upon their mercy. We’ve been quarantining, we don’t have that dreaded virus, he’d imagined himself explaining, it’s just cancer and her dying wish is to spend her last days at the cottage.

But the tower voice, terse and tense, had informed him that if he continued his approach he would be shot out of the sky, told him You’re not landing here, just go back where you came from.

Flying away from the airport, he descended, then flew low along the deserted shoreline, turned the plane one more time, into the wind that bent the dune grass, slowed the plane as much as he could, Nose up, nose up, come on, praying the wheels didn’t dig in or a wing drop and catapult them and now the prop flicked slowly, slowly round like the last bit of film off the reel and he flew that plane, hovered it, hands gripping the yoke when what he really wanted to do was shield her face and protect her, but he held on, Here we go, come on, there it is, yeah!

You slept through the landing, Dear, a couple of bumps, but not bad, I’ll just catch my breath before I carry you to the cottage and get you settled, unload the plane before the tide comes in; then we shall enjoy the sunset.

****   ***   ****

The first is 99 words and six sentences, the second six sentences and 280 words.    The 99 word challenge from Carrot Ranch was to include “shield your face” and the Six Sentence Story prompt from Denise at GirlieOnThe Edge is “circle”. 

Saddle Up Fer M’fundays

See that new widget just to the right? No, we don’t really look at the widgets, do we, and for all I know it looks totally different on your device. But my top widget is the graphic for the weekly Saddle Up Saloon feature at Carrot Ranch. If you click on that widget you will be transported to the Saloon archive page at Carrot Ranch. If you follow Charli Mill’s blog, or if you pay close attention around the blogosphere and surrounds, you will have noticed that Mondays are fun days at the ranch and that my Ranch Yarn mainstay characters, Kid and Pal, are running a saloon. Yep. Fiction is funner than facts and that’s the truth. New posts at the break of Monday, or midnight Sunday, your choice, but -ish either way.

The Saddle Up Saloon is a judgment free, pandemic-free zone, so come unmasked, ungloved, and hug at your own discretion. Come to relax and unwind or to rub elbows and be seen on the scene. And, you or your characters are welcome to be featured guests, artists, or to even work the bar.

Since the introduction of the Saddle Up Saloon both Chelsea Owens and Anne Goodwin  strode through those swinging doors. This week we are visited by fictional friends Ernest Biggs and Marge Small who, along with Kid and Pal, offer an opportunity for your own characters to step out and step up. Next week, April 20, Geoff Le Pard will unleash two of his mop-topped characters into the Saloon, that event already being touted as the latest British Invasion.

Anything is possible in the world of fiction, if you can imagine it. Check out the Saddle Up Saloon and email me at with Saloon in the subject line if you have an offer I shouldn’t refuse. Ideas welcome.

Disclaimer? Fictional characters Kid and Pal are in charge.

Anything you’ve said or printed may be used to promote you.


Open 24/7   Fresh Fun Served Ev’ry Monday


Owning WWP#152

wk-152-nomad.jpgSammy’s weekend writing prompt is to use the word “nomad” in 68 words exactly. Here’s my go. Click HERE to leave 68 words of your own or to read the other responses.

All who wander are not lost. A nomad knows the land well without owning it. Loved land remembers and provides; we map the future for our children. Light footprints across cherished places can be followed.

What one holds is not the measure of who one is. Possessions one cannot carry are too great, a burden; false titles are costly. Green pastures and waters of rest belong to all.