CRLC Challenge; Mud

The Carrot Ranch October 14, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that embraces the mud. What is the mud, real or metaphor? How does it transform a character or place? What happens? Go where the prompt leads! EXTENDED DEADLINE Respond by October 26, 2021. Charli’s post this week is an invitation to embrace the suck (and support) that is NaNoWriMo. I don’t know about that, but these four flashes came pretty quickly, once I allowed Nick out of the pen. Still just playing though, with no plot or premise. Nick is a lesser character but one who has worked with Marge for years at the dealership and has had bit parts in this sorta series. Ilene we first met in “Stumped”.

Slip Sliding

“Marge, Nick’s here! Does he have to stay?”

“I was here first Ilene.”

“How can that be? You just got here.”

“I mean I was here, you know, in this town, working and hanging out with Marge and Nard and Lloyd, well before you showed up.”

“I know why I don’t like you Nick, but I can’t figure out why you don’t like me.”

“Forget about it. Tell me how you lost your leg.”

“Who said it’s lost?”

“Come on, what happened?”

“Mud wrestling gone bad.”

“What? Really? How’s that happen?”

“Alligator.”

“Really?”

“No, I’m just pulling your leg.”

XXX

“You two stop your bickering or you’re both going home.”

“Yes Marge. Ok, Ilene, what are you drinking? I’m getting a round.”

“Mudslide, please and thank you.”

“Whoo! Mudslides? Those can be a slippery slope.”

“Naw, they’re nutritious and delicious.”

Nick put aside his beer as well as his animosity and drank mudslides along with Ilene.

“Ilene, you do lean you know,” he slurred. “Tell me again how you lost your leg.”

“Mudslide.”

“What?!” Nick slammed his drink down on the bar, looked down at his legs.

“Torrential rains, slippery slope— wipeout.”

“Really?”

“No, I’m just pulling your leg.”

XXX

“Seriously, Ilene. What happened to your leg?”

“Enjoying these mudslides Nick? It’s a change from your usual beer diet.”

“They’re definitely delicious and nutritious. And I ain’t feeling any pain. But you’re avoiding the question. What happened to your leg?”

“I’m answering the question. See, you will feel pain. Tomorrow. No, stay the course, Nick, it’s too late now. You’re on that slippery slope. See, I once had such a headache from drinking mudslides I wished for anything to make it go away. The Devil appeared, traded my leg for the headache.”

“Really?”

“No, I’m just pulling your leg.”

XXX

Marge and Ernest helped Nick and Ilene out of the bar and into Ernest’s truck with Nick arguing that he could walk home. 

“It’s raining Dumb-ass. The way you’re flopping all over the place you’d end up face down in a mud puddle. Get in.”

“Yes Marge.” 

“Jeez. You’re never like this on beer. Whatever prompted you to drink mudslides?”

“He saw that’s what the cool kids drink,” said Ilene. “Thought it might give him a leg up.”

“Hey! What happened—”

“No more.”

“— to Lloyd tonight?”

“Oh. Lloyd’s looking for my leg.”

“Really?”

“Just pulling your leg.”

#SixSentenceStory; Video

The living history museum, with its docents in period costume and its primitive houses and technologies, left the family in a reflective mood. 

“It’s hard to believe people lived like that Dad, I mean, it doesn’t seem like very much fun. And think about the health conditions!”

“That’s the way it was back then. We did keep some of their sustainable technologies, but much had to go if our species was to survive.”

They rode their bikes back to their modern community with its cool tree lined streets, its composting toilets and organic kitchen gardens, grateful to not have the debilitating video games and other electronics that had made living in the 21st century such a challenge.

The word from Denise, honorable host of Six Sentence Stories, is “video”. Use the word within six sentences, no more, no less. Write, read, comment, repeat.

#SixSentenceStory; Fountain

“Yes,” the hiker agreed, “This is very good water, I’ve only once tasted better, in fact it was somewhere up in these hills.”

The man was of an indeterminable age and very fit; I had the feeling he could hike all day without stopping but he sat with me where I rested by the stream and told me about a remarkable experience.

“I was certainly lost, thirsty and exhausted from clambering up and down steep ravines, when finally I came upon a flat wooded area and at its center was a fountain of sorts, smooth limestone in the shape of a nautilus such that water spiraled up and spilled out the top in the center, a continuous flow though it seemed to defy gravity. 

“I cupped my hands and drank the sweetest, purest water you can imagine before resting with my head against the fountain, quickly succumbing to sleep. When I awakened there was no fountain, no water, and though the path out became clear from that vantage point, I have never been able to find that spot again in subsequent hikes.”

He shook his head as if in wonder of his own story, and when I suggested maybe it had been a dream, he said at first he thought so too, but that it’s been over two hundred years since he drank from that fountain.

I’m in with a Six! The SixSentenceStory prompt this week is fountain. Thank you Denise at GirlieOntheEdge for hosting. Click on over to read more Sixes and to leave six sentences of your own.

CRLC Challenge; Across the Water

Down East

When her husband left she was most concerned about retrieving the boat. 

She hasn’t run the boat for years now, has her groceries delivered dockside every other Thursday. Told Jeb she’d understand him being late because of rough weather, but if he ever showed up early or out of the blue she’d tan him. 

She’d be polite when he delivered, just; said ‘thank you’ then ‘have a good one’; his signal to go. Jeb didn’t even cut the engine.

Was Jeb of course that found her, sprawled on her rocky shores as if still looking beseechingly across the water.

The Carrot Ranch September 30, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase, “across the water.” It can be any body of water distant or close. Who (or what) is crossing the water and why? Go where the prompt leads! Respond by October 5, 2021.

CRLC Challenge; Author’s Chair (another one)

These ones are grateful for their shelters, are proud of what they have built, though their houses are not as warm as our nush wetus. Even Bradford’s home is not as comfortable as Swany’s was in Cornhill. But like Swany, he has a chair and a small table where he marks on big leaves they call paper. Bradford reaches for his bible as Standish reaches for his musket.

I want this magic, these marks the English make and interpret. When I am sachem, Bradford will be obliged to share the secret of marking leaves. I will know this power.

Here’s another one for the Carrot Ranch September 23, 2021, prompt to, in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about an author’s chair. It can belong to any author. Where is it located and why? Does it have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

Yes, this is another 99 from the viewpoint of Tisquantum, also known as Squanto. While the literature indicates Tisquantum did aspire to depose Massasoit and become sachem, I am only speculating for the sake of flash fiction that he may have aspired to learn to read and write. But he quickly became fluent in spoken English and was shrewd enough that he might have seen some advantage in written language to himself. For more on this historical figure, check out the pilot of the Saddle Up Saloon’s ‘Author’s Chair’.

CRLC Challenge; Author’s Chair

Over at Carrot Ranch the September 23, 2021, prompt is to, in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about an author’s chair. It can belong to any author. Where is it located and why? Does it have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by September 28, 2021. Use the comment section at Carrot Ranch to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

The Gift

“My surprise is this secondhand chair?”

“Overused and underappreciated.”

“No, Dear, it’s a nice chair; used but—”

“I wasn’t talking about the chair.” 

“What inspired you to get me this chair, of all things?”

“It’s an author’s chair.”

“So, it’s valuable?”

“Priceless.”

“Belonged to somebody famous, a well-known writer?”

“Not yet. But someday. Is it comfortable?” 

“Very. A good fit. Tell me though, what makes this an author’s chair?”

“Your butt.”

“My butt?”

“It’s time. I’ll fix up the boys’ old bedroom. Your new commute will be from the coffee pot to this chair.” 

“To this author’s chair.”

I do hope you go to Carrot Ranch to read about a virtual Author’s Chair that will be a regular feature at the Saddle Up Saloon beginning in October. This is an opportunity for you!

CRLC Challenge; Big Black Horse

The challenge from Carrot Ranch? In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads! Respond by September 21, 2021. Use the comment section at Carrot Ranch to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines. Here are two from me.

Fair Play

“These aren’t like Lucienne’s team of Morgans.”

“No, they’re not Hope.”

“And they’re not like the horses we saw at the pull this morning.”

“They most certainly are not. These are fancy riding horses.”

Hope studied the high stepping horses in their fancy tack. “That one Daddy. The big black horse.”

“She’s a beauty, alright. And big. Are you sure?”

“Yes Daddy.”

“Do you want help getting on?”

“I can do it Daddy.” Stepping into the high stirrup and swinging herself into the saddle, Hope rode round and round while her father watched from the edge of the carousel.

Medicine Horse

A shadow softened the sharp rays that pinned him to the sunbaked ground. He opened his eyes to see the soft nostrils that blew a cooling caress; saw an unshod hoof of the big black horse that nudged him until he struggled onto its back. 

‘What big black horse?’ the townsfolk asked. 

Recovered, he would avenge himself against the men who’d left him to die. But their horses, still saddled, a boot hanging in a stirrup, clattered into town ahead of the big black horse. 

‘What big black horse?’ the townsfolk asked, for there was no sign of it.

CRLC Challenge; Cooking Show & SixSentenceStory; Island

On Course

It was a marvel what she produced in such a short time and with so little space, just a narrow counter top and a butcher block kitchen island. 

She commandeered the small kitchen, flour clouding the roiling tempest of her activity. Then, while the oven did its transformative work she swabbed the surfaces and restored calm as she stowed the dishes and debris from her preparations. Snapping a table cloth over the butcher block, she displayed her confections. There was Black Forest cake, lava cake, and even rocky road ice cream. The butcher block was an enchanting desserted island. 

The September 9, 2021, prompt from Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the cooking show. It can be any cooking show, real or imagined. Who is there? What happens? Make it fun or follow a disaster. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by September 14, 2021. Though the Six Sentence Story link up isn’t open until Wednesday, I needed the boost of this week’s prompt word ”island” to help me over the hurdle of Charli’s prompt. So, there it is, 99 words in six sentences.

#SixSentenceStory; Deal

It’s Six Sentence Story time again, prompt word ”deal”. This is what came this week, six sentences, in 52 words. Go to GirlieOntheEdge for the link to more Sixes and be sure to leave one of your own. Anything goes, as long as it’s a Six.

Yes

They have converged at a crossroads and are conversing…

“Really, you’re the real deal? So… like, what is the deal, what do you want from me?”

“I don’t make deals; I want nothing for myself, but do want your actions and words to come from loving kindness.”

“Jesus!”

“Yes.”