#SixSentenceStories; Rivalry

Fraternal Rivalry

Over the counter of his farm and hardware store Bill Goodman chatted as he rang up Rob Cross’s purchases, “Yeah, my brother’s having a heck of a sale at his truck dealership, and he told me that your brother drove off in one of the fanciest models on the lot.”

When Don Cross brought some paperwork into the dealership Mark Goodman mentioned how his brother Bill had noted that Don’s brother had one of the best yard and gardens in town, “But why shouldn’t he, with that new tractor and all that good grass seed and compost, right?”

Later, each in a shiny new truck loaded with goods, the Cross brothers drove past the diner, grim faced and headed in opposite directions.

At the diner counter, the two Goodman brothers contested, as usual, over who would pick up the lunch tab, both laughing and smiling as the waitress reminded them of whose turn it was. Both Bill and Mark tipped her well, as usual, and knowing protest was futile she just laughed with them and said again that she couldn’t say which one of them had the nicest smile.

“We can’t say either,” they chimed, “It’s our greatest rivalry.”


It’s time again for a story (or poem, or what have you) told in exactly Six Sentences (or lines or stanzas, or what have you). Hosted by Denise at GirlieontheEdge, the prompt this week is “rivalry”. Swing by to read more and to leave your own response.

#SixSentenceStories; Connection Deux

It doesn’t rain but it pours. Here’s a second Six for this week’s “connection” prompt, kind of a prequel to my January 13th Six, entitled The Usual. Thanks again to our host Denise and to all the Sixers.

Connecting

“Only thing hotter than this weather is you, little lady, but my rig’s fully air-conditioned; you and me could get real comfortable.”

Flirting with the regulars that she had rapport with made a big difference in the tip jar, but this guy was just plain hitting on her so Deborah gave the paunchy truck driver the cold shoulder, was terse and monotone in reeling off the specials while she took his order. He ate his meal in silence and didn’t order dessert.

When another driver Deborah didn’t recognize asked her, “What’s a nice gal like you doing in a place like this?” she was about to shut him down too, but at second glance Deborah smiled back, shrugged, and said that it was a long story.

“Well,” the other woman said, “I’d really like to hear it.”

Deborah had a new regular, one that she immediately felt a strong connection to.

#SixSentenceStory; Connection

The word from Denise at GirlieOntheEdge this week is “connection”. The rules? Write a story, (or poem or memoir), that is Six Sentences, exactly, and includes some form of or connection to the word “connection”. Read and comment on your fellow Sixers’ Sixes, a great way to connect with other writers.

Rain Maker

He crept out of bed, careful not to wake her.

He noticed she was sleeping later and later these rainy days, though upon awaking she would badger him about silver linings and rainbows and being your own sunshine— her usual Kumbaya crap.

He was as fed up with her and her sunny disposition as he was with the incessant clouds and drizzle.

He quietly got dressed as rain drummed grayly at the window.

Reaching again into the dresser drawer he flushed as his fingers grasped ahold of it and he drew it out, held it, almost reverently at first, the metal as gray and cold as the damp dawn.

She couldn’t tell him that there wasn’t a connection between weather and state of mind.

CRLC Challenge & SixSentenceStory

I’m a little late, but not too late for this week’s Six Sentence Story. The prompt word is pawn, and I almost let the living chess idea go, but then the Carrot Ranch prompt to use the phrase “hit the road jack” was the extra impetus for the following six-sentence 99-word story. Thank you Denise, host of Six Sentence Stories, and Charli Mills, 99-word guru buckaroo.

Fair Game

Live chess, with human pieces; Roman had expected blunders but this, the pawns refusing to move, was beyond the pale.

“We serve no king!”

Except for the short-lived knights, everything was in gridlock, and though the opposition moved cautiously, it was over for the king’s court quite quickly.

Roman clambered down from the platform and stalked onto the chessboard to confront his pawns, only for them to tell him what he had already witnessed— they would not advance, even in their own defense.

Roman watched his white pawns turn and applaud the black queen’s demand.

“Hit the road Jack!”

CRLC Challenge & SixSentenceStory

A two part response to the April 15, 2021, Carrot Ranch prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that seeds generosity. Who is generous and why? Think of generosity as planting a future outcome. Go where the prompt leads!The second part is 99 words and six sentences for Denise’s Six Sentence Story prompt, “walk”.

A Good Fit

“You’re very kind, but you don’t need to buy me clothes.”

“I expect reimbursement. I’m not that generous. But I saw these pants and thought they’d look good on you. Try them on.”

“They fit just like all my slacks— no slack. Ugh. Just break out the ice cream. I give up. I’ll be a size 14 forever.”

“That’s less than16. Plateaus happen. Besides, look at the tag— 12! You’re going down, Girl.”

“Woohoo!”

She smiled, knowing that this “success” would motivate her friend in her weight loss efforts. It had been worth her effort in changing the tag.

*****

“Forget the ice cream, it was too long a battle getting down to these size 12’s, I don’t want to lose ground; let’s go for a walk while you’re here.”

To her surprise, her friend set a faster pace than usual.

“You’ve got some real pep in your step today!”

“Be honest, do these pants make my ass look fast?” and she walked even faster, breaking a sweat. “Maybe I should buy them in another color.”

“Um, you know what, I am feeling generous after all and so in celebration of your success, the next pair is on me.” 

#SixSentenceStory; Home

It’s Wednesday, Six Sentence Story link up day, with the word of the week being “home”. Use that word or some form of it in exactly six sentences between now and Saturday. Find the linky at Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge blog. This Six is also in 99 words, the form used at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community for their weekly flash challenge. I’m too late for the recent “swift passage” challenge but it helped me here. Speaking of the Saddle Up Saloon at Carrot Ranch, there are now poetry challenges to be sampled there every first and third Monday, each open for a month, and this Monday, the twelfth, our own Clark Farley will be interviewed by fictional characters Kid and Pal.

Battlefield

Guides met me right away, with assurances of swift passage and a guaranteed berth. They would have preferred I take their advice but they have to honor the wishes of their charges and I’d made a promise to myself and to my family.

And so I am not where the guides advised me to go but neither am I where so many others, in stunned and stubborn denial, remain.

No. I promised those I love that I would come home.

I’ve been mourning my decision though, for I’m learning that we ghosts feel more haunted even than the living.

#SixSentenceStory; Service

This introduction will serve as my Six Sentences this week, as I am storied out. Trust me, it would be a disservice for me to force myself to write and then force that gibberish on you, dear reader. So after these six sentences you can read on or not— the quota having been met, you are under no obligation to read more, but there are extra servings. Actually I am serving leftovers, a remake of a November 2019 post where I followed our own Sixer  Lisa Tomey to LivingPoetry because I was intrigued by the prompt to show gratitude to another poet. I immediately thought of Robert Service, whose poetry I’ve known and related to since a youngster fortunate to have crossed his path if not in time, then in place, and so first I present one of his poems (not The Cremation of Sam McGee) and then one of mine in humble imitation. As always, thank you to hostess extraordinaire Denise for the weekly serving of prompt.

The Amateur Poet, by Robert Service

You see that sheaf of slender books

Upon the topmost shelf,

At which no browser ever looks,

Because they’re by . . . myself;

They’re neatly bound in navy blue,

But no one ever heeds;

Their print is clear and candid too,

Yet no one ever reads.

Poor wistful books! How much they cost

To me in time and gold!

I count them now as labour lost,

For none I ever sold;

No copy could I give away,

For all my friends would shrink,

And look at me as if to say:

“What waste of printer’s ink!”

And as I gaze at them on high,

Although my eyes are sad,

I cannot help but breathe a sigh

To think what joy I had –

What ecstasy as I would seek

To make my rhyme come right,

And find at last the phrase unique

Flash fulgent in my sight.

Maybe that rapture was my gain

Far more than cheap success;

So I’ll forget my striving vain,

And blot out bitterness.

Oh records of my radiant youth,

No broken heart I’ll rue,

For all my best of love and truth

Is there, alive in you.

Thank You Robert Service by D. Avery

Robert Service, Yukon poet,

You’re read, please rest assured!

Even doubt, you dare here show it,

Yet raised me on your words;

I’ve walked the land that you once tread

You inspired me, you know;

Your poems, first I ever read,

Your shared words like sourdough.

You grounded me with your meter,

Gave wings to me with rhyme;

Gave me poetry! What sweeter?

Gave courage to write mine;

Your ballads inspired children’s play,

When young I lived up north;

Further reading, you’d more to say!

I learned a poet’s force.

You wrote of war, you wrote of love,

Wrote life, great and tragic;

You brought to Earth the stars above,

Wakened me to magic;

Sometimes still, when I take up pen

It’s you who shows the trail,

Leads on, into the wild again

Courting heaven and hell.

From you I learned of garrets bare

of mining phrase and rhyme

panning for all that sparkles there

rich treasures writ sublime;

Upon my shelves your books still stand

Precious alchemic gold

When reading you I’m young again

Imagination bold.

#SixSentenceStory; Filter

It’s Six Sentence Story time again, in which we are given a prompt word and the challenge to write a story in six sentences, no more, no less. Sometimes, while the end marks may only number six, the sentences get stretched, the syntax strained, semi-colons and conjunctions pushed to their limits, as in the following. Regardless, here’s Ernest and Marge, actually working in Ernest’s two bay garage. Thank you Denise for the prompt and the link up.

Unfiltered

“Mrs. Blanchard, what a surprise, that is, well, I thought, since that last time, that is, well, I thought you only went to Henry’s now for your auto repair needs.”

Sensing Ernest’s discomfort, Marge shut the hood of the car she’d been working on, stepped forward, and extended her oil stained hand to the infamous Hildegard Blanchard.

“Hello, I’m Marge Small; I can have a look at your car for you Mrs. Blanchard,” but the infamous Hildegard Blanchard just stared at the extended oil stained hand, then looked Marge up and down, and snorted “Small?” before turning back to Ernest.

“Henry has become simply impossible, like all the others, Mr. Biggs, but tell me,” she said, hitching her chin towards Marge, “are you really this desperate now, or is this some sort of equal opportunity employment scheme?” which caused Ernest’s eyes to grow even wider as he watched Marge over the infamous Hildegard Blanchard’s shoulder but to his surprise Marge just shrugged and said again that she’d be happy to let Mrs. Blanchard know what was wrong with her car, so Ernest assured Mrs. Blanchard that Marge Small, in addition to being his fiancée, was a top notch mechanic and diagnostician.  

The infamous Hildegard Blanchard snorted again but led Marge to the parked vehicle that blocked the open garage bay door, and after wondering aloud how someone like Marge could land a man when she clearly had never even heard of a manicure, she explained that while she couldn’t say what was wrong with her car, she was certain it wasn’t running properly but that none of the auto shops could be bothered to look at it, let alone fix it for her.

Even wide-eyed hand-wringing Ernest seemed surprised by Marge’s immediate and incisive diagnosis, when she said, “I can tell you right now, without even lifting the hood, Mrs. Blanchard, if you had a filter this car would be running smooth as silk,” so he asked Marge what kind of filter she thought the car needed, but she clarified; “I’m talking about Mrs. Blanchard, Ernest, the car’s needing a tune up is just a symptom of her problem.”

Theory; SixSentenceStory

Tomorrow is the day, the day that Denise of GirlieontheEdge opens the link for one and all to share in Six Sentence Stories as writers and readers. That link will be open through Saturday. The prompt words get posted on Sundays and this week’s is “theory”. I wrote the story that came to me and it was thirteen sentences long. I prefer the syntax of that version better, but manipulated, twisted and stretched those sentences until they fit the rule of Six sentences exactly while remaining close to the original. I would not want to read this out loud.

Proving

Oh, he had a theory or two about that woman moved in next door, but he wouldn’t let that get in the way, that had nothing to do with his growing vexation with her, no— let her wear her hair short, wear men’s clothing, it’s a free country, but some of her freewheeling needed to stop at the fence line, and by gosh, he was going to have a talk with her about her squawking free range chickens, that wandering dog, and while he was at it maybe he’d even demand she do something about the dandelion field that passed for her lawn and he was so deep in thought, practicing his lines in his head as he marched up the path, he almost collided with his new neighbor as she strode down the path swinging a basket.

“Why hello!” she laughed, “I was just bringing you some goodies, but why don’t you come have some iced tea on the porch,” and when she saw him taking in the lawn, now devoid of yellow blossoms, she pulled a bottle out of the basket, explaining, “This is last year’s dandelions, not my best year, but it’s good wine; I’ve just started another batch to celebrate good times ahead and look, here’s some eggs for you, I hope you might use them, even with only three hens, they lay more than I can eat by myself, but all I’ve ever wanted was to keep hens, so here they are, ‘the girls’, finally.”

The dog rose stiffly and padded to her, putting its chin on a knee, which today was just covered by a cotton skirt.

“Good old Gus, just a puppy when my husband passed; he can hardly hear or see now, but he manages, and I don’t think I could have managed my cancer without him… but enough about me! I shared my theory with Gus and the girls that our next door neighbor was shy but would drop by eventually, and here you are!”

“I don’t think I’ve ever had dandelion wine,” was all he could manage to say, shy as he was.

Kaleidoscope; SixSentenceStory

All the Colors

Even though I could barely see through the dim blustery swirl channeled by the headlights, I didn’t worry that he kept driving into the snowstorm; he wouldn’t allow himself to become mesmerized by the dizzying white fractals rushing at the windshield. He said he’d get us home; I trusted him.

I had unlatched my seatbelt so I might be more comfortable; because I was plumping my coat around me as best I could, fumbling with the heater yet again even though it was as far up as it could go, I don’t know what happened, what we hit.

There was a crack in the windshield, a sparkling symmetrical web radiating out from where my head struck. I sensed that he was uninjured, but immensely disappointed in himself because of what happened to me; I wanted to tell him it was okay, that I was okay, warm even.

I glanced back, saw all the colors of my life as if through a kaleidoscope but the tunnel was brightening, bursting with pure white light; I turned to it and continued home.


The above is a Six Sentence Story in response to the prompt word “kaleidoscope”. On Wednesday our prompt provider, Denise, at GirlieOntheEdge, will post the link up and we shall all share our stories told in exactly six sentences. You have through Saturday to link your Six.