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.

CRLC Challenge; Whisper

Dialects

My people are few in number. These English built over their bones, grew their crops in our fields. 

Now these English at Patuxet have, for the first time, plenty of food and are sharing their harvest and the fowl they got with the Pokanokets, who roast deer and heat pottages. Both Bradford and Massasoit need me to interpret. Massasoit’s people number twice the English. All are fed and entertained. It is a good time for Massasoit and Bradford.

Wind whispers in the dry cornstalks. Red leaves rustle and drop. These sounds come to my ear in my own language.

This is yet another of my Tisquantum (Squanto) tellings which I talked about while in the Saddle Up Saloon’s Author’s Chair . This scene from the mythologized “First Thanksgiving” seems fitting for Indigenous People’s Day, and meets the October 7, 2021, prompt from Carrot Ranch.

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes whispers. It can be beautiful or creepy and any genre. Where are the whispers, who are they from, and what do they say if they say anything at all. Go where the prompt leads!

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Chel Owens would have you know that anyone, yes, anyone, can poem. Click over to the Saddle Up Saloon for her suggestions and savory example. Try it! You can do it!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Whew! Welcome to Anyone Can Poem, the time when we scare away the I-can’t-coyotes and embrace the I-will-wallabies.

Yes, our rodeo has wallabies.

Thank you to all the amazing poets who responded to my challenge to murder their children -erm, to remove their unnecessary or superfluous words.

Now, after taking out extra adverbs, adjectives, and grandiose language; we will spend this month filling our poetry with the best words.

How do you choose the best words? Easy.

  1. Decide what your poem (or, intended poem) is about. What moment do you want to capture; what feeling do you want the reader to feel; what action do you want to encapsulate?
  2. Which form (metered, rhymed, free verse, specific syllable count) do you feel works best with your theme?
  3. Take time to free-write descriptors, actions, feelings, colors -WHATEVER about the poetic moment.
  4. Pick your favorites from Step 3. Form phrases. Make it…

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#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’.

Saddle Up Saloon; D. Avery in the Author’s Chair

There’s a new feature at the Saddle Up Saloon. Every second Monday, beginning next month, the Author’s Chair will be pulled out for any writer to read something and then answer questions and comments. This is a trial run as I try to see what could go wrong. (I am still unsure how the audio finally managed to get there!) Let me know what you think and if you would like to take a seat in the Author’s Chair.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

“Pal, I thought the Author’s Chair feature weren’t till October.”

“Yep, hopin’ ta git someone ta read on October 11th. This here’s like a pilot.”

“Well, I’m sure it’ll take off. Okay, so we won’t have much of a role ‘cept ta innerduce, somethin’ like:

Howdy, D. Avery. Welcome ta the Author’s Chair.”

“Hello Kid. Pal. Thank you for trying this out with me.”

“What did ya bring ta read t’day?”

“I want to share something you haven’t seen but that was prompted through the weekly challenges. You might recognize Tisquantum, more commonly known as Squanto, from responses to earlier Carrot Ranch prompts. This following one I wrote for the recent “Big Black Horse” prompt:

Reined In

They were the size of moose. Slany called those animals horses. He laughed when I asked if they tasted like deer.

I remember a black one I saw, bigger and more…

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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!