Reunion #sixsentencestory

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You may want to read The Connection and Knowing before reading this Six Sentence Story

The Reunion

Their college friends speculated that he was still off in the woods somewhere pursuing Sasquatch, or joked that maybe Bigfoot Bill had worked his way up and by now had been abducted by aliens; or they commiserated, said they couldn’t blame her for not staying with him; she met it all with a shrug and a small, noncommittal smile.

“You really miss him, don’t you?” and she gushed ‘yes’ before she realized her friend was of course referring to Bill, but it wasn’t Bill she was thinking of, it wasn’t Bill that had her counting the hours until she could head back.

“Nobody has seen him or heard from him, it’s like Bill just disappeared off the face of the Earth.”

She hid her wide eyes behind her tilted wine glass, startled, for that’s exactly what had happened.

Bill had come back, snooping around her campsite, asking her why she was still pursuing Sasquatch without him, but quieted when she invited him to walk with her along the cliff trail.

Shy and gentle, Sasquatch would not hurt anyone; but she was only human.

 

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The Six Sentence Story prompt is brought to us by Denise at GirlieOnTheEdge. The word this week is “face” and the link opens for readers and writers on Wednesday.  

 

Carrying Mail

copy-of-working-template-for-ff-challenges29.png  The Carrot Ranch January 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a postal carrier in an extreme situation. Even if you base your story on a true one, focus on the core trait of this postal carrier. Go where the prompt leads!                  

While Charli’s photo is a familiar scene to me, and my grandfather delivered to boxes like that for decades, I went with fiction. Go to the Ranch to leave 99 words of your own. PYOG. (pick your own genre)

***

When he first started, his route rolled through the seasons, each the same in turn. Christmas catalogues, seed catalogues and boxes of yellow chicks, postcards from traveling friends and relatives, fall catalogues; often letters, always bills. He knew his families by what he left at the end of their driveways.

Driving the same route, he now felt disconnected. He rarely saw a postcard anymore, seldom a letter, even had fewer bills to deliver.

Thank goodness for Helen. She and her son exchange letters every week. She says he’s doing well, was himself working in the mailroom at the penitentiary.

Vacation Time sixsentencestory

I have a little orchid on my windowsill, a plant that I admire for its tenacity and its reliability, as, for the fourth time, a spindly shoot gropes through the air, until it miraculously bears bloom in early April, the same time of year I received the plant as a gift.

The blooms come as banners of celebration, as emblems of resilience, and as reminders of the woman that gave the plant to me, a woman I’ll never forget, though I only knew her for five weeks.

‘Just leave the laundry here’, she said, ‘we have people for that’; it was her second trip, so she knew her way around.

It was she who said it wasn’t radiation; it was a getaway, a wild vacation for wild women like us who took our tops off daily to show our tattoos and catch some rays.

Her first time she had my kind; this, her second time, was different and she also did the chemo-cocktail cruise, her green Celtics cap a defiant and practical crown on her shorn scalp that cold winter.

When my vacation ended that spring she saw me off and gave me this little orchid, which I have kept alive as if her life depends on it; I tend the orchid, remembering that vacation time fondly for the experience and the people met and I hope they all are well.

 

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The Six Sentence Story prompt word this week is vacation. I am looking forward to February vacation and remembering a special one four years ago. Go to Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge blog to link up your own six sentences and to read more responses to this prompt.

The Bench

copy-of-working-template-for-ff-challenges28.pngHere is a very intriguing Carrot Ranch January 23, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a park bench. Use this gif to choose a timeframe and write the story behind that particular scene. Use the time as your title. Go where the prompt leads! 

I encourage you to read Charli’s post and to join in the challenge. And yes, Kid and Pal have something to say about the prompt too.

 

11:00

He might be retired, but he keeps busy, keeps fit in mind and body. Every day a brisk walk through the park, then some time reading the daily news; he keeps up with current events like it is his sworn duty and obligation.

So he assumes a scowl when rain interferes with his ritual, forcing him to repurpose the paper as an umbrella as he retraces his route. He retreats, dampened, secretly grateful for the rain that disguises escaped tears; he fervently and futilely wishes the world’s woes could be as easily washed away as a child’s chalk drawings.

  

17:00

I see you not seeing me, see that my chuckling hastens you on.

I recently read about the ground being a mirror-line for an inversion of two realms, the living and the dead walking sole to sole. I chuckle to think there’s a frumpy old lady sitting on a park bench upside-down underneath me.

Yes, I read. And I think. My mind is sharp, though a little stroke’s made talking difficult. The pigeons don’t notice.

I know I could have another stroke but I wouldn’t go to a doctor even if I could.

I’m braver than I look too.

Crying Rock D’Verse Prosery

“Yeah, right, a talking rock. What, with a Biblical message or something? Like if we hide our faces we’ll get turned into a pillar of salt? Come on.”

“Shut-up. Listen, there it is again.”

Pat remained skeptical, Chris was visibly alarmed, Kelly cautiously curious.

“Right? Swear to God, it does sound as if that big rock there is speaking to us.”

“The Rock cries out to us today,” Pat mocked, “You may stand upon me, but do not hide your face.” Pouring the last of his water on the ground he crumpled the plastic bottle and bounced it off the rock.

“Knock it off. This is too weird. I’m getting out of here.”

“Wait up. But I’m so bad, ooh, I’m hiding my face.”

And then Pat was silent, a shamefaced stone statue.

People of this hallowed Earth, face your selves! There’s no hiding!

 

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It’s Prosery time again at D’Verse  Pub for Poets. Using the line, “the Rock cries out to us today, You may stand upon me; But do not hide your face”, from Maya Angelou’s On the Pulse of Morning, we are challenged to write a prose piece of no more than 144 words (excluding title). Thank you Frank J. Tassone for hosting and providing the prompt. I wrenched the line into a flash, but with apologies to Maya Angelou and her beautiful poem.

Anew WWP # 140

wk-140-anew.jpg Did you know that Sammi Cox  hosts a weekly prompt where both the word and the word count change? This week the word is anew and the word count is 31. You can count on a fun challenge at the Weekend Writing Prompt and respond in poetry or prose.

 

“Anew.”

“Bless you.”

“No. The prompt word. Anew.”

“I knew the prompt word too. Last week it was devour.”

“I know. This one’s anew.”

“Bless you.”

“Maybe we should begin anew.”

Standing

“Staff members shouldn’t join student anti’s, Ms. Higginbottom.”

“Anti’s. My dad, a member of the NRA, called protesters that, Mr. Mathy.”

Mr. Massey the math teacher looked at Ilene, unsure of her lisp and her tone.

“But this is not my father’s NRA. Not by a long shot.”

“You give up one constitutional right, the rest are vulnerable.”

Incredulous, Ilene finally spoke. “Look at the reciprocals; not what they’re against but what they are for; that’s what pro-test means, testifying for a cause.”

“And what are these children standing for Ms.Higginbottom?”

“Life, Mr. Massey. They want to live.”

                                                                                  The Carrot Ranch   copy-of-working-template-for-ff-challenges23.pngJanuary 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Below is the 229 word first draft. I’m thinking I like the pared down stories better, getting the point across in 99 words. What do you think?

 

“It isn’t appropriate for a staff member to join in with the kids in this so-called protest they have planned, Ms. Higginbottom.”

“No? And why is that, Mr. Mathy?”

Mr. Massey the math teacher looked at Ilene, unsure of her lisp and her tone.

“I mean, I get it, they might be what my dad called ‘a bunch of anti’s’.”

“Yes, exactly,” Mr. Massey assented. “Always against one thing then another thing.”

“But this is the first protest these students have ever staged. It must be important to them. What is it they’re against, Mr. Mathy?”

“Guns. The NRA.”

“My dad was a member of the NRA. We had guns.”

Mr. Massey looked relieved. “So you do get it.”

“I get that this is not my father’s NRA. Not by a long shot. I stand with the kids. How could I not?”

“How can you encourage them to be against our rights to bear arms, to be able to defend ourselves. You give one right away, they all are vulnerable.”

Ilene stared at the khaki and oxford clad man, incredulous. “Look at it this way,” she finally said. “Look at the reciprocals; not what the students are against but what they are for; that’s what pro-test means, testifying for a cause.”

“And what are these children standing for Ms. Higginbottom?”

“Their lives, Mr. Massey, they just want to live.”

Reaching Six sentence story time

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While I would never question the authority of our host Denise regarding Six Sentence Stories, I would bend the rules. The following is a 12 pack, which for the math challenged is two groups of six sentences. I justify this by including last week’s word, “epic”, as if that makes up for my missing last week. This week’s word is “reach”, to be included in a six sentence story, no more, no less… Go to GirlieOntheEdge to play.
These characters you may recall. Episodes emerge haphazardly. Some are somewhat sequenced on the Ernest & Marge page.    

 

Reaching

Ilene and Lloyd joined the others for the briefing in Ernest’s singlewide where Nard reported that in all his years with Marge, he’d seen her cranky, but never in a mood, never like this.

“She’s in her she-shed,” Ernest updated, “Again; says she’s working on her sculptures but then nothing happens, no hammering, no welding— hell, she doesn’t even drink beer out there.”

The three men watched Ilene make her way down the trailer steps, the globed porch light a miniature moon sending her shadow lurching ahead of her on her epic trek across the Zen garden to the unlit she-shed, clutching a beer in each hand, just in case.

Ilene approached the she-shed with a bold caution, chattered loudly to herald her arrival, lest she startle Marge, spoke out loud, ‘Okay, I’m opening the door now’ as she slid the pocket door into its wall.

“No shit, Ilene, I can see that and how else would you invade my personal private she-shed space but through that door.”

“Jeezus, Marge, where in hell’s the light switch, there, now what’s going on, why are you being a cave bear, your clan misses you.”

Despite the warnings, Ilene was shocked to find Marge sitting in the dark, her welders mask pulled low over her face.

“Marge, what’s going on, you aren’t still being a jittery bride to be are you?”

Marge’s responses to Ilene’s questions were rendered even more monotone through her welders mask, which she, a known non-hugger, kept on as she endured the hug Ilene insisted on giving her.

Because of their size difference the hug was at first awkward for both of them, but Ilene turned her head, some of her piled hair twisting up under the welders mask and tickling Marge’s chin, but Ilene held on, pressed into her friend, reached around her as far as she could and squeezed her as tight as she could, told her she was enveloping her with love, told Marge she’d squeeze all the doubt right out of her; Ilene did not let go of her friend, not until Marge ripped a loud fart.

Then the two separated, laughed until they cried, Marge at last removing her welders mask so she could wipe her eyes; then the two drank Ilene’s beers in amicable silence, before she suggested they go back inside; “Ernest has more.”

“I know,” and Marge left her mask behind, led the way back to the steps under the pagoda style awning, returned to Ernest without a doubt.

Carrying Wives

prompt-chomp  The challenge from Carrot Ranch this week is to write a story about a carried wife, in 99 words, no more, no less. (Something to do with the Finnish history up there in Charli’s Copper Country.)

I relied on New England history to meet this challenge. All along the Massachusetts coast, Cape, and islands, place names reveal the historical importance of alewives, or river herring. The first 99 is the voice of Squanto, returned from an earlier prompt.

I also relied on Marge for a response and for a third brought back Fannie Hooe  from a past Ranch challenge.

Carrying On

Those first springs the bony fish were welcome food and they ate them gratefully. They used them to feed the hills of corn as I showed them to do.
Then, we all went to the rivers in the spring, carried full baskets of alewives to our families, our fields. They saw how it was, and early on these ones that came to Patuxet did not allow blocking the rivers as some English would do.
More ships came, carrying seeds, cattle, and swine. They soon forgot how the alewives carried them. The course of our streams are altered and muddied.

***

Missed Fit

“What do you mean, that bruise on your cheek is from Ernest?”
“Relax, Ilene, he was just messing around, said we should train for our wedding night. He tried to carry me into the bedroom but didn’t turn enough. Banged my ankle on the other side of the doorway.”
“Jeezus, Marge.”
“Oh, it gets worse. He dropped me when his back gave out. He couldn’t move.”
“Shit. What’d you do?”
“What do you think? I got myself up then I picked Ernest up and carried him into the bedroom. And there he lies, helpless.”
“That’s a helluva preview Marge.”

***

Fair Game

“Okay, Great Aunt Fannie, here we are at Heikinpäivä. Is your interest in the Wife Carrying contest because you were carried off?”
“Horse pucks! That’s what they say. I wasn’t ever carried off. Have always stood my ground. I’ve been known to get carried away a time or two, but that’s another story.”
“What do you think of this wife carrying contest?”
“Once a year, what the hell? I see it as a symbolic gesture of reciprocation.”
“What do you mean, Aunt Fannie?”
“Women-folk carry their men all year long. Without making a sporting event about all they bear.”

***

Hutch Hidings

copy-of-working-template-for-ff-challenges17.pngHeir Looms

Her hutch, passed down through many generations, has survived fire and flood. She used to keep her better china in it. Then pretty knickknacks and collectibles, her treasures, things she thought her children or grandchildren might want after she’s gone.

Framed photographs now line the shelves of the hutch, all in order— all her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren— first-born to last-born.

The photos bring tears. So many grandchildren gone already, leaving their young children, some addicts at birth, having to live with their grandparents— her own aging children. Will any survive to take her hutch? Who will curate its treasures?

***

The Carrot Ranch January 2, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something found in a hutch. It can be any kind of hutch — a box for critters or a chest for dishes. Go where the prompt leads!

Here’s two more:

***

Unassailable

His brother was adamant that they did not, would not ever, like their stepdad. When asked why, his reasoning was unassailable.

“Because, that’s why.”

Now his brother stretched tiptoed, his fingers groping the highest shelf of the dusty hutch that their stepdad had brought up from the barn, his motivation that they’d been told to stay out of it.

“He’s hiding something.”

A loud snap and howls of pain precipitated an evacuation of mice through the open hutch doors.

“That jerk!”

He decided, with or without his brother, he’d help his stepdad fix up the hutch for their mom.

***

His brother, dramatically icing his fingers, still sulked and scowled even though their stepdad allowed he should have mentioned why he didn’t want the boys in the hutch, even admitted he himself couldn’t bear the thought of scurrying mice. The man seemed relieved but squeamish hearing how the boys had tilted the hutch, shaking and banging it, the dog eagerly involved in the eviction of the mice.

His brother stayed back, but he happily went to the barn with their stepdad to bring out another hutch.

rwr-1This hutch would be his! What would he choose, a rabbit or hens?

***