Escape

six sentence story copyOnce upon a time there was a princess who enjoyed long walks beyond the castle walls for the small escapes these forays provided, but because this increasingly concerned her father, the king, who thought it high time she settle down, she knew she needed to make each walk count as if it were her last.

One day the princess stole out and finally sat down on a mossy log beside a lily pad covered bog, just enjoying the bird sounds in the filtered sunlight and the deep bass croaking from the bog, when she became aware of an approaching frog; he spoke first, telling her all about a curse, and how all she had to do was kiss him and then he would be released and she would have a handsome prince with whom to live happily ever after in his castle.

The princess bent down to pick up the frog, then hurled him into the middle of the bog before walking quickly along until she again slowed to enjoy the everyday beauty of the wooded bog.

When the princess noticed another frog that hadn’t yet noticed her, she spoke first, asked the frog if he was cursed, and he answered that he was not, that is he certainly didn’t feel cursed, in fact quite the opposite, he felt blessed everyday that he got to enjoy where he was.

He did tell her that it was good she asked if he was that kind of frog because there was a spell on him that meant that if any human kissed him she would turn into a frog. The frog was appreciative that she was respectful enough to ask his permission before she kissed him, didn’t mind that she took advantage of his spell to escape into another life.

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The word from Denise is “Escape”. Write a Six Sentence Story and link it at her site on Thursday. Check out girlieontheedge to read and write.

WWP #113 Enthralled

Breezes dance, sparkling shimmering footsteps visible as orchestras of light play across the lake’s surface. Ripples scurry this way and that, whispering, enthralled with the prospect of the coming storm. Heavy clouds trudge clumsily from the west, finally stumbling over the mountain. Birds rush to their perches in the trees. Thunder drums. It’s time!

 

Microfiction Flash History

working-template-for-ff-challenges34.pngIt’s not quite business as usual at Carrot Ranch this week. Yes, there’s a prompt to write 99 words, no more, no less. Yes, we are to go where the prompt leads. The change with the July 4, 2019, prompt? The challenge is to “write a story using your choice of microhistory from Keweenaw National Historic Park. Be historical, funny, or flagrantly fictional. Choose a character, time, place, or event. Be as creative as you want in telling the story (for those doing serials, how can you meld this into your own storyline?). Go where the prompt leads!”

 I have written two flash fiction pieces based on the micro histories of Ellen Dickens and Anselm Studer. These were real people with their own stories. What I have presented is fiction, unresearched and unauthenticated, just imagined stories inspired by the brief biographical information provided by the Keweenaw National Historic Park.

 

Ellen Dickens

Mama was Lewis’ wet nurse. We called him Lil’ Dickens, me and Mama, and his granddad did too, ‘cause he was always gettin’ into mischief.

His granddad, Old Mr. Dickens, he trusted me, put me in charge of keepin’ Lil’ Dickens out of trouble. Showed us both where to fish. It wasn’t so bad then.

Lil’ Dicken’s own daddy, couldn’t no one stay out of trouble with him. No one.

After Old Mr. Dickens passed I ran. Caught up with Lil’ Dickens, who’d run first. Lewis took me in like his sister. His own children call me Auntie Ellen.

***

Anselm Studer

When I was in New York I felt like I was still aboard ship on the churning sea. The buildings there towered tall but they were hollow rustling hives.

I came to the Keweenaw. Here there are no towering buildings. There are no great mountains like my homeland, but this place- these people possess the indomitable strength of the Alps. The miners call it sisu. I think of this Finnish word that defines my America as I build foundations for the new buildings.

This is something I know: the tallest mountains, the strongest communities, are built on solid foundations.

***

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Woundings

pastedgraphic-3.pngAt least this institution serves quickly, she mused, facing her husband across their fast food trays.

It had been a trying morning of endless appointments and disappointments, with the most hopeful statement coming from a nurse who told her ‘hang tough, it’s a process’.

“Flag’s at half-mast,” he said, “Someone didn’t make it back.”

Tears sprang to her eyes, prompting him to take her hand and reassure her, “Hey, it’s okay, look, I’m right here.”

Yes, he was right here, but he hadn’t made it back. The absence of visible injuries only made dealing with the VA a tougher battle.

***

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I’m mashing today. Thank you to Rochelle of Friday Fictioneers for the photo prompt, and J. Hardy Carroll for the photo. I also managed to use the prompt word ‘process’ from GirlieOntheEdge’s Six Sentence Story prompt. So there, 100 words, six sentences. Check out both sites to read and write.

 

Paint and Bells

working-template-for-ff-challenges31.pngMarge leaned down to speak with Ilene through the rolled down window of the El Camino.

“I’m heading out to get some paint.”

“Hop in Marge, I’ll drive.”

Marge’s maneuver was more of a plop than a hop but she did fit herself into the El Camino.

“I was headed to the hardware store myself, Marge. Wedding supplies.”

“Won’t be any wedding until I’ve finished painting the boys’ handiwork.”

Painting. Just a letter switch away from waiting.”

“That’d be wainting, wordsmith.”

Wainting– when one wants and waits and wants to wait at the same time; wainting. A dreadful condition.”

***

“What’s going on Marge? You taking your Paxil?”

“This is a big change, Ilene.”

“Marrying the man you’ve been living with? Marge, nothing’s going to change except that you’ll make Ernest so happy.”

“Will Mr. Biggs be happy if I don’t take his last name? That’s a change. Ilene, I’ve been Small my whole life.”

Ilene looked sidelong at her friend. Marge was contorted on the bench seat that was pulled forward so that Ilene could reach the controls.

“Hyphenate, both of you. Small-Biggs, Biggs-Small…Marge, it’s all good. And if you want, I’ll help paint.”

“Waint that be nice.”

***

“Jeez, Ilene, put the seat back so I can get out.”

Ilene was already out taking measurements of the El Camino bed. “Oops, sorry Ms. Small, I forgot you’re too Biggs for this vehicle.”

“Only when you have the seat crammed into the dashboard, Ms. Higginbottom. Let me drive on the way back. What’s with the measuring?”

“You put me in charge of decorating. You’ll have to wait and see.”

While Marge got her paint Ilene picked up a rectangular blow-up kiddie pool. She would transform the El Camino into the largest beer cooler the gang had ever seen.

***

Get it, Bells and Paint? They both peel/peal. The Carrot Ranch June 27, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves paint. It can be fresh, peeling or in need of a coat. What is being painted and why? Go where the prompt leads! I present a triple from the ongoing saga of Ernest Biggs and Marge Small

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Game, Set, Match

working-template-for-ff-challenges29.png“Marge, your she-shed is finished. The waiting is over. Go to your prince.”

Nard smirked. “Ernest’s just waiting for Marge to get back in charge.”

“Ilene, the wedding’ll be in the garage, get started on decorating. Lloyd, you get ordained, get some words together. Nick, invitations. Remember, I can barely stand you most days, so take care who you invite from the dealership. Kristof, since you still claim this peckerhead as your boyfriend, you’ll be involved too. You and Nard’ll take care of food. Ernest, we’ll need a lot of beer.”

“Ernest, you poor thing. The waiting is over.”

***

The June 20, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about having to wait. Who is waiting and what for? Think about how the wait impacts the character or the story. Go where the prompt leads!

These 99 words continue the situation of Ernest and Marge. The whole thing, including a longer version of this scene is on their page HERE.  

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Unconditional

six sentence story copySomehow this prompt word, release, prompted me to think of my Ag School Economics instructor’s mantra, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”, a cautionary truism of hidden costs and effects, of the eventual accounting of any give and take.

Release, as a noun, is synonymous with relief, about which is sung, “Any day now, any day now, I shall be released” and of which Rumi wrote, “You have been released from ten successive prisons, each larger and containing the last”.

If there’s no such thing as a free lunch, then maybe release is also impossible, for in both the Dylan and Rumi quotes ‘release’ in the passive voice suggests, as well as a lack of power, a condition or cost.

Action and intent are necessary for the relief that is sought; to be released, one has to release, to actively let go.

A lunch can be freely given, and if it is also freely received, without doubt and suspicion, both parties are released from any debts or obligations; this quality of give and take might be rare, but is not impossible.

The Relief people seek comes from seeking nothing else, of seeking without attachments or conditions; release comes not from being let go, but from letting go without expecting anything in return.

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These are the six sentences that came to me and I’ve let them go, freely.

And I have just recently become aware that it is Juneteenth. I don’t know if Denise did that on purpose or if it is a coincidence, but Juneteenth is “an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America.” (Wikipedia)

Talk about release. But are we free from our history?

The prompt word is release. Write and read Six Sentence Stories at GirlieOntheEdge.

Raw Literature: Tell Your Story

How can we write when everything’s wrong? A book festival celebrates writing, reading, and the human tribe.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By D. Avery

This past weekend I took time away from my regular work to peddle my written wares under the local author’s tent at the Nantucket Book Fest. This was my first time attending, and I was glad for the opportunity and exposure. If you’re wondering, I didn’t get rich, but I was enriched by the words of some of the visiting authors.

At the opening celebration of the Book Fest, three authors took to the pulpit (literally, it was at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House) to speak of their motivations. The question posed was, “How can we write when everything’s wrong?”

Ben Fountain asked, “How can we not?” The author of Beautiful Country Burn Again, also said, “I try to understand everything I can,” and spoke of language and writing being a tool for that understanding. Regardless of genre, writers are “the scouts and spies of the…

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Handing Down

working-template-for-ff-challenges27Kevlar vested cops have guns in their hands. We come out, single file, hands over our heads, newscasters already there, microphones in hand, reporting this latest shooting. Videos capture relieved parents’ hands stroking their children’s cheeks. Some parents’ hands flutter to their own wet cheeks. Some of us sit on the ground, heads in our hands, disbelief displaced by our knowing. Some put their hands together in prayer. Some of us stand together clasping hands, grief becoming anger. 

You let assault weapons end up in the hands of our classmates then tell us the world is in our hands?!

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The Carrot Ranch  13, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the work of many hands. Is it a cooperative effort or something else? Go where the prompt leads!

Continuing Education

six sentence story copy

The word from Denise this week is “extension”, the mission, to write six sentences, a story perhaps, that incorporates that word. I have had spotty attendance with the Six Sentence Story gang but endeavored to have a contribution this week. Go over to Girlieonthe Edge to read and write.

 Continuing Education

“It is fair, because I don’t grant anyone an extension, especially students that have missed classes as much as you have and who don’t seem to realize the importance of a final paper that is due tomorrow. Looks as if you have a long night ahead of you.”

“But, Sir, I do the work, I just need more time, you don’t understand…”

“What I understand is that everyone in my classes is expected to turn their work in on time, and that everyone in my classes learns the importance of punctuality and responsibility; that’s how one gets ahead in this world, not through enabling and extensions.”

The young woman stared silent and expressionless at the teacher before turning and slamming the door hard, racing down the steps and to the bus stop, anxious to get to her job before the night shift, her second shift that day, knowing that her brothers and sisters and incapacitated mother relied on her.

The teacher shrugged and wondered at the audacity of some of these students these days, always expecting the world to hand them a living.