Page Turnin’

Belatedly, a nod to the new year. Kid and Pal want you to know their new page is up, their third, cleverly titled “Ranch Yarns 2021” which follows “Ranch Yarns 2020” and “Ranch Yarns ’17-’19” before that. These pages are where you can catch up on the antics of these fictional Carrot Ranchers who of their own volition respond to the Carrot Ranch Literary Community prompts every week. You may have caught Kid’s recent interview HERE. This past year Kid and Pal wandered off the Ranch for the first time and rode roughshod through some other blog hops. They settled down when the Saddle Up Saloon opened at Carrot Ranch, as Charli Mills left it to them to run the place. What could go wrong? Some things did go wrong, but through the miracles of fiction, were righted by the end. Whether it’s to take the stage and perform, or to just sit at the bar and comment, all are welcome at the Saddle Up Saloon, located in the wildly mild west of Carrot Ranch.


Lookin’ Back an’ Goin’ Forward

“It’s a new year Pal. Tell ya what, I ain’t inta all this visionin’ stuff.”

“Any hindsight on 2020 then, Kid?”

“Ain’t gonna put on rose colored glasses. We all know what went on, an’ is goin’ on, but there’s other places fer that conversation. I’ll ‘centuate the positive lookin’ back.”

“Thet’s why Shorty built the Saloon last March. Givin’ folks a pos’tive place ta come ever week fer a break an’ mebbe a laugh.”

“Thinkin’ Shorty’s jist keepin’ us corralled.”

“Thet too.”

“It worked.”

“The corrallin’? Or the morale-in’?”

“Both! I look for’ard ta more a the Saloon.”

*******************

“So yer lookin’ for’ard, Kid. Thet’s visionin’.”

“Is it? How d’ya see the Saddle Up down the road Pal?”

“Jist want the Saloon ta be a frien’ly hangout where folks drop by an’ say howdy, mebbe git up on the stage an’ showcase themselves an’ their work.”

“Yeah… Pal, in ‘ddition ta the Saloon, we was in dang near a hunnerd fifteen 99-word yarns last year.”

“Think fame’s changed us Kid?”

“Naw. ‘Sides we’re jist legen’s in our own minds— or someone’s mind.”

“S’pose. But thet someone’s corralled our “Ranch Yarns” here.”

“An’ we’re ridin’ for’ard at Carrot Ranch!”

Wanted: Real or Fictional Folks ta take the stage.

Kid Interviewed; facts on the fictional ranch hand

So, I went by tnkerr’s place and was hipped to a prompt by LRose, who brings us The Blog Propellant. The prompt this week is to: “Interview someone! Real or imagined. Come up with five questions and three follow-up questions to your interviewee’s answers. The Interviewer can be in first person, or a third person character.” I am featuring an interview of fictional character A. Kid, known as Kid. If you want to know more of Kid’s story go HERE. Go to The Blog Propellant for more. Who will you interview?

Interview of  A. Kid, aka Kid:

There are disclaimers that you are in fact fiction. Are you for real?

I am fer real, that is I’m pro-reality, well, mebbe not all realities, there’s some realities I’m def’nitely aginst. But yep, I’m really a real fictional character.

            What book are you in?

I ain’t in no book; I got me a real job, two jobs now. I’m a reg’lar hand at Carrot Ranch, not a Rancher or Rough Writer, but a fictional hand that takes care a chores. That shift don’t shovel itself, if ya know what I mean. An’ me an’ Pal also run the Saddle Up Saloon, a virtual waterin’ hole at the ranch, jist over the line.

If you could be in a book, any book, what book would it be?

Bet yer thinkin’ some sorta Western, ain’tcha? But funny thing is, since endin’ up as the residint greenhorn at Carrot Ranch I been rethinkin’ genre an’ tropes an’ sech. Yep, I’m willin’ ta talk like this, but we gotta ‘member a literary community knows no one time, place, or perspective. Anythin’s possible. I’m also thinkin’ my writer don’t read ‘nough fiction, an’ thinkin’ I’d ruther jist stay on the ranch than be in a book, but mebbe I’d be in somethin’ like Herman Hesse meets wild west, meets Cuckoo’s Nest. Yep, I’d git along jist fine in Howard Frank Mosher’s True Account, a novel tells ‘bout his fictional characters beatin’ Lewis an’ Clark ta the Pacific.

What’s the best thing about being a fictional character?

If my writer is payin’ attenshun she kin git me outta jist ‘bout any situation. ‘Course, if she were payin’ attenshun, she woulda kep me outta trouble in the first place, but I kin git inta trouble an’ count on gittin’ safely outta it. The worst case scenario’s been my writer cheats an’ takes an extra 99 words ta resolve my problem. Bet you real folks wish ya had it so good.

As a fictional character living and working on a virtual ranch, do you ever feel stuck?

Golly, no! First of all Carrot Ranch is boundless, a world wide literary community, so there’s lots of safe space and fascinating folks from all over. Every week there’s a new prompt so it’s never borin’. An’ ev’ry fall, in October, there’s the Rodeo, a fun flash fiction writin’ contest that’s open ta one an’ all, that’s always real excitin’. Ev’ry Tuesday there’s innerestin’ columns from dif’rent Ranchers. An’ a course there’s the Saddle Up Saloon that I’ve been runnin’ with my pal Pal since last March. We git ta meet great folks, artists of all sorts from all over, an’ we even git some other fictional characters in. ‘Cause even yer fictional characters need ta take a break now an’ agin, jist relax with those of us that git it, git away from their writers an’ the narrative. An’ there’s karaoke, which ain’t quite karaoke, an’ Five at the Mic, which is live readin’s, ‘cept they’re recorded. Tell ya what, if I was ta be stuck somewhere, couldn’t pick a better place than Carrot Ranch an’ the Saddle Up. Actually, I did pick it.

            So you never get off the Ranch or away from the Saddle Up Saloon?

Well, ever’thin’ we’ve done, me an’ Pal, is archived on the Ranch Yarn pages at our writer’s blog, ShiftnShake. An’ one time we did git away an’ blog hopped through some other prompts but it was prob’ly weird fer ever’one involved. I was glad ta git back ta the Ranch after that. But who knows, mebbe I’ll git out there agin.

What are your resolutions for the new year?

Like I said, I’m in a real good place. The real folks are real good, the other characters are lotsa fun. I been busy takin’ care a my puglet—

Puglet?

Well, it’s a piglet, but at first I thought it was one a them pug puppy dogs, but as the song goes, love the hog ya got, so yeah, I have ta walk the hog, an’ take care a all my kids—

You have kids?

Yep, goats, an’ they’s a lot a work, always gittin’ inta stuff, chewin’ on the poets’ tree an’ they et some a the weekly challenge submissions, but I resolve ta take better care a them an’ ta take good care a my puglet an’ ta jist keep havin’ fun with ever’one at the Ranch. I jist wanna write the occasional buckaroo-ku an’ I want folks ta come by the Saddle Up Saloon an’ jist have a good time, mebbe take the stage even. ‘Cause me an’ Pal do innerviews too ya know. Bet ya’d recognize some a the folks has been by. So yeh, I jist wanna keep on with all I got goin’ on. An’ I sure hope an’ pray fer yer real folks’ situation out there ta git better an fer y’all ta have a happy healthy 2021.

CRLC Challenge; Never Dreamed

You know what’s going on here. You see the image from the latest Carrot Ranch 99-word challenge, presented by Charli Mills. You know that you can expect something from me here in response to the prompt, sometimes calling up recurring characters, sometimes discovering new ones, sometimes entering one 99-word response, sometimes more, but always going where the prompt leads. But did you know that in addition to what I put here on my home page I always come up with a Ranch Yarn’ for the readers at Carrot Ranch? Did you know that Kid and Pal have been fictional ranch hands for some time now? In addition to being weekly regulars at Carrot Ranch, their yarns are on their own pages here at ShiftnShake. Since March of this year Kid and Pal can also be found every week at their very own fictional watering hole, The Saddle Up Saloon. There they provide entertainment and interviews. Did you know they’d be happy to have you drop in and even take the stage?

This week, in response to Charli’s announcement that she is expecting a puppy, Kid has decided to get a puppy too.December 10, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something a character never dreamed would happen. The situation can be fortuitous, funny, or disappointing. Go where the prompt leads!In three:

Doggoned

“Kid, where’n heck ya been?”

“Saw a advertisement fer young dogs, fer sale at the Slim Chance Ranch. Slim seemed real tickled, me wantin’ a dog. Hopin’ you’ll be happy fer me too Pal.”

“Hmmf. Uh, Kid yer pup’s got kinda a flattened face.”

“It’s its breedin’, Pal. This here’s a puglet.”

“Uh-huh. Kid yer puglet ain’t got much fur. It’s kinda pink.”

“She ain’t fully growed. Like baby rabbits or mice.”

“Uh-huh. Kid, why’s yer puppy wearin’ booties?”

“Slim did that ta pertect her paws, said they ain’t fully developed. Yet. Never dreamed I’d have my own puppy!”

***

“Kid, it behooves me ta tell ya somethin’ ‘bout yer puppy.”

“What kin ya say ‘cept how dang cute she is? Look’t her waggin’ her tail. Might call her Curly. What d’ya think a that?”

“Oh, it’s a fine name fer yer puglet, Kid, but—”

“Look’t how she likes ta be scratched behind her ears.”

“’Bout them ears, Kid…”

“Hey, it’s Shorty.”

“Hey Kid, hey Pal. Oh, Kid! Yer gonna raise yer own? Musta gone down ta Slim’s.”

“Yep, got a puglet of my own. Gonna train it ta hunt.”

“Really? Never dreamed there’s truffles on the Ranch.”

***

“Truffles?”

“Truffle huntin’ might work out, Kid, but I figgered you’d be raisin’ this piglet up fer bacon. Not surprised ya went ta Slim’s when he advertised young hogs fer sale.”

“Hogs?”

“I’m more of a hoss person, but I’d say ya got yerself a real fine piglet, Kid.”

“Piglet?”

“Jist keep her outta the carrot patch. I ain’t fergittin’ yer trouble with goats, Kid, but reckon we kin accommodate yer bacon project.”

“Bacon?”

“Takes a lot Kid, ta raise yer own, ta look yer food in the eye.”

“Never dreamt I’d give up bacon. Come Curly. Good girl.”

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.”

“Uh-oh.”

“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?”

“Um…”

“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

 

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This essential establishment is OPEN! 

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 averydede.1@gmail.com 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.

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Open 24/7   Fresh Fun Served Ev’ry Monday

 

To Hex With It

Be Bold (JULY)So, here’s the deal. Kid and Pal are fictional ranch hands who identify as real. (That’s been an ongoing issue.) Up till lately they have lived relatively quietly at Carrot Ranch and also have their own page here, if you want to catch up. Up till lately they were content to just comment on Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch  posts and prompts. I had thought to give them their own blog but failed miserably at setting up with the new and improved WordPress machinations. But as some of you have noticed, these two seem to have busted out anyway and are doing business here on my front page in addition to their regular chores at the Ranch. I am going to continue to use this Carrot Ranch banner when Kid and Pal have something going here, though these are not your regular Ranch Yarns. These are irregular times and while these two came up with a plan to remain times neutral at the Ranch, they will allude and intrude on current events here. And, as you can take the ranch hand off the ranch but can’t take the ranch from the hands, well, the following is in 99 words, no more no less.  

One more thing… if you’re looking for something to do, these two wouldn’t mind at all if you left a six foot comment, that is twelve syllables. They aren’t too fussy about accents.  

 

To Hex With It

“Pal, all yer time at the Poet Tree n’ ya got no poem? Not even a haiku?”

“Bless ya, Kid. An’ don’t fergit ta haiku inta yer elbow crook. Anyways, I’m thinkin’ if folks is gonna try poetry they should use iambic hexameter.”

“Really? I am a bit sick of six.”

“Stop draggin’ yer feet, Kid. Jist think of it as a 12 pack a syllables.”

“Oh…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

“Don’t be a Dickens, Kid.”

Carry on, hearts be strong, share positivity

help, share, extend your care, show true humanity”

 

 

March 12: Flash Fiction Challenge

All Normal, See?

“Pal, you’re back from yer time at the Poet Tree. Got some lines that rhyme? Ya been out there fer four days.”

“Seems longer, mebbe ‘cause a spendin’ some time with you, tellin’ ya ta jist keep it t’gether. I ain’t come up with a poem, Kid, but I gotta plan fer us.”

“Plans is hopeful. What’re we ta do? Gather up supplies? Stay put? Keep our distance?”

“Shush Kid. We’ll do the z’act opposite. ‘Cause Ranch plans ain’t changed. So we’ll take advantage a our fictional status an jist keep ta our chores here. No more, no less.”

###

“Uh, Pal, what’re my chores again?”

“Jist shovel shift, Kid. Hope folks find ya more amusin’ than annoyin’. Figger folks got enough ta worry ‘bout. At the Ranch they kin come close, enjoy a tale or two ‘roun the fire. Yer ta stop yer whinin’. ’Member this is a refuge fer the real folks thet come by. They kin say what they gotta say, but all us fictional folks is jist gonna injoy our normalcy.”

“I see. Too bad.”

“Why’s thet?”

“I got a fictional six-pack a purell fer Frankie an’ a case a tp for Pepe.”

“No shift?”

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

First, the roof-bergs broke loose. Great hunks of condensed ice thicker than a doorstep slipped from the eaves, crashing onto the garage with such tremendous force that my neighbor ran to the side of my house. I happened to be coming down the stairs at the moment and saw a flash of sun on ice before I felt the shock of vibrations that accompanied the blow. Spring wears heavy boots in the Keweenaw.

Next, came the tapping, drip-drip-drapping of water seeping from beneath the remaining bergs, ice sculptures, and packed drifts of geological snow layered storm by storm. A rapping, louder than water tapping, sounded at my door — ’tis a neighbor, nothing more. Cranky (as in Sew Cranky, not So Cranky) smiled and informed me that the maples no longer slumbered. Sap was flowing. Her husband came over and tapped our tree.

Now, this is no ordinary tree. It…

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