Ranch Yarns 2020

Happy New Year! Kid and Pal, et al. have rung up over two hundred yarns since they first showed up in May of 2017. So I have opened up a new page to accommodate them. I will go back to making us all scroll down to the bottom for the latest, so that you can easily read in sequence the happenings at Carrot Ranch as interpreted by these intrepid stock characters. 

be bold (july)

2020 Visions

“Kid, I had a good year. Was put through ma paces by you, but had some good times with Ornery, an’ heck, even told some stories an’ writ some buckaroo-ku!”

“Well, Pal, Shorty done so much this year; I reckon we kinda live vigorously through her, bein’ fictional ranch hands an’ all.”

“Think the word’s vicariously, Kid.”

“Yeah, vaquero-us-ly, that makes sense.”

“It sure was excitin’ when Carrot Ranch got headquartered. I still say, despite some a yer shenanigans, this here’s one fine oufit, an’ I’m happy ta stay on another year.”

“We ain’t here fer the pay, Pal.”


“I had a rough year. Accident’ly indangered the ranch by attractin’ unsavory characters an’ by encouragin’ Ornery an’ Pepe ta distill beans…”

“Dat still stings me too Keed.”

“Hey, Pepe. Yeah, seems all I did was argue with D. Avery or git the whole ranch riled up ‘cause a me; ever’one havin’ ta hep me outta the Poet Tree, or search fer me when ma think tank fell on me. I jist wanna hep, an’ all my ideas turn out flawed.”

“Don’t worry Kid, Shorty likes flawed characters. And you and I’ll work things out.”

“D. Avery?”

“Howdy, Yahoos.”


“Set by our fire, D., tell us ‘bout yer year.”

“Your fire’s burning bright. I had some successes this year, was more published and public, though I didn’t get very far with my very public resolution I made at the Ranch last January. Guess I’ll just recycle that plan. But I’m thinking you two are going to be more active this year.”

“Vigorous, like?”

“Busy. Read between the lines. I think Shorty’s going to use you soon as she figures out how.”

“Awesome! Should we give up our day jobs?”

“Kid, doin’ fer Carrot Ranch is yer day job.”


“I just wanted to tell you, Pal and Kid, that I’m all for whatever Shorty wants you to do. And I want you to know that of any of my writing, I enjoy you the most. You are seriously silly, and I like how you keep track of Ranch happenings. You both have stepped up when needed and even tried your hand at writing. You’ve really come along.”

“I been here all along, remember? But, jeez, are ya sayin’ goodbye?”

“No! Pal, I’m saying hello to a new year. You two have 2020 visions. I see you going places.”


“So you’ll have a whole new page of just 2020 Yarns. And maybe more front-page time, even though I still worry an off-Ranch audience isn’t ready to read you.”

“Kin we git Kid and Pal figurines made up?”

“Figures you’d start getting ideas, but I don’t think you’re ready for that yet Kid. You’re still just a legend in my own mind.”

“Kin ya organize our buckaroo-ku somehow?”

“Sure Kid.”

“Drive us aroun’?”

“Sure Kid.”

“Ya gonna have ta give up yer day job ta keep up with us, D. Avery?”

“Ha! I already did! I’m free come July!”


Broken Hearted

“Excusez-moi. Do you forget about me?”

“Oh, Pepe…”

“I weel go on your adventures too, no? Take da stage, pack da house?”

“Uh, well, Pepe, might be best if ya stay behind, like way behind. With yer particular talent ya’ve been known ta upstage others an’ clear a house.”

“Dees stinks! I have bean loyal frien’. You weel miss me. You weel need me an’ my bi-lingual ways at de border crossings. You weel regret leaving me behind. Anyway, you know I weel sleep out when you least expect. You weel hear my name on every wind that blows.”

CRLC January 2 Challenge “Hutch”

“Pal, ya ever git skeered we could git replaced?”

“Us? Heck no, Kid, we’re iconic. Stock character Ranch hands, dang good at what we do.”

“Yeah, but, seems like there ain’t a position these days ain’t dispensible. I know Pepe’s worried ‘bout automation at Buckaroo Nation.”


“You know he slips inta Headquarters now and agin. He found out Shorty’s frien’s got a fartin’ machine. Kin ya believe it?”

“Cain’t believe it could keep up with Pepe.”

“One time they was talkin’ spreadsheets, ‘member?”

“An’ you kept shovelin’ an’ spreadin’ an’ scatterin’ shift like farfennugens. Kid, jist hutch up.”

CRLC January 9th Challenge “Wife Carrying”

The Matter of Loggatha LeGume
My Beanie lies over the mountain, my Beanie lies over the plains…”
“Pepe Legume. Why ya singin’ sech a sad song?”
“‘Ello Pal, ‘Ello Keed. I am apart from my wife.”
“You have a wife?”
“Oui. Mon cher, mon petite Beanie. But her given name is Loggatha.”
“Well, where is Loggatha, why ain’t ya tagether?”
“Dere ees many times, many places when she cannot go where I can. Often she ees detained. Sigh. She ees warm and soft, dat one, but a solid partner, my better half. She carries me! But you know, dere’s a leetle Loggatha in everyone.”


Seeing the Finnish Line

“Kid, you bin kinda scarce.”

“What diff’rence it make Pal? Ain’t much we kin do with this prompt. We won’t be carryin’ on with this challenge.”

“Why not? I kin carry ya. Or you kin carry me. Jist so’s we git the job done.”

“This roundup is purty specific— wife carryin’. Ain’t neither one of us no kinda a spouse ta no one.”

“Kid, ain’tcha never heard a “work spouses”? Thet one person ya kin rely on an’ confide in at yer job?”

“The one who’s got yer back an’ you got theirs?”


“We kin take turns Pal.”

CRLC January 16 Challenge “Protest”

“Jeez, Pal. Tellin’ ya, Shorty’s all over the map with her prompts. Now a protest story? I cain’t write a protest story.”

“Thinkin’ ya protest too much, Kid. Ever dang week yer protestin’, or is thet jist whinin’? This here could be serious ya know. Stop yer whinin’ an’ complainin’ an consider the plight a them’s thet really git the short end a the rope.”

“Reckin I kin try, Pal, but I ain’t got Shorty’s machinations.”

“Do ya mean ‘magination? It’s a difference ‘tween seemin’ and schemin’.”

“Guess as long as she does the write thing it’s all good.”


Once upon a time Princess Buckaroo lived on a enchanted snow-globe peninsula.

“Writin’ after all Kid?”


One day all the Yooper Scoopers quit shov’lin an’ plowin’. They marched on snowshoes, holdin’ their shovels up like signs, protestin’ ‘gainst low wages an’ high accumulations a snow.

Princess Buckaroo retreated ta another story.

“Lit out fer another tale?”

“No, she went upstairs when the first story got snowed over.”

Snow kep fallin’. The Buckaroo Princess got out on snowshoes as ever’thin’ got buried over.

“What happened?!”

The Buckaroo Princess was at new heights; snowshoed right ta her north star.


“What d’we want?! 99 words! When d’we want ‘em?! Ev’ry week!”

“Kid, what’re ya doin’?”

“Rallyin’ fer a world wide writin’ community!”

“Kid, thet’s this here Carrot Ranch Literary Community an’ folks git served 99 words and prompts ever week. Ya got no reason ta protest. Things is as good as kin be imagined here at the Ranch. We exercise our right to write, sometimes write to right wrongs.”

“Don’t ya wanna protest fer higher PAY, PAL?”

“We’ll keep up with the upkeep Kid. Givin’ my wages ta Australia.”

“Yes! To the S.M.A.G. button.”

“I kin rally behind thet.”

CRLC January 23 Challenge “Bench”

“Dang. This prompt looks ta be a workout, Pal. Not sure I kin bench press 99 words.”

“Here’s Kid with the weekly whine. Speakin’ a beer, did ya see thet Shorty’s still visionin’?”

“Yep, she’s real big on vision questin’ an’ goal settin’. Got a positive outlook fer the future.”

“No, I mean Visions. She’s got a window looks out inta the past.”

“Does the Ranch have a window like that?”

“Window’s wide open. Folks kin reflect an’ let their ‘maginations run free range here.”

“Should shut that window. Ya never know what kinda characters might come through.”



“Well, jeez, Pal. Last week it was hands in the air, standin’ up protestin’, now this week it’s ‘bout settin’ down on a bench. Ya ever even seen a bench aroun’ here? I’ll set alright. Gonna set this one out.”

“So where ya headed, Kid?”

“Might’s well set in the Poet Tree.”

“Yer navel’s hardly a window on the world, Kid, but sure, go up yer tree an’ contemplate.”

                        history’s imprint

                        heavy stories come to light

                        bench pressing 99

                        lifting portal lids, mirrors

                        giving apparitions form

“Ya didn’t really follow the prompt Kid.”

“I went where it led, Pal.”

CRLC January 30 Challenge “postal carriers”

Eye In the MailStrom

“Any mail, Kid?”
“In this storm? I’m keepin’ an eye out fer Frankie. Reckin mebbe she’s holed up at Ernie’s?”
“I heard she’s had her eye on Ernie since Wanda changed zip codes. I jist hope if she’s there she keeps her hands off the corn juice. I always have ta one-eye it after thet but thet might leave Frankie in the dark.”
“Pal, we’s characters. But what’s our character? How d’ya s’pose folks see us?”
“Well, yer the whiny one an’ I’m the wise one.”
“Hmmph. Yer the cantankerous one. I’m the sofisticated one.”
“Look! Frankie’s here!”


“Frankie, come in. Kid’ll take care a Burt, put ‘im up in the barn.”
“Readers take note- Pal’s bossy.”
“Shush, Kid. They know I’m an experienced ranch hand thet’s earned the right ta delegate certain chores ta greenhorn hangers-on sech as you.”
“Yer both kind ta bring me in. It’s pilin’ up out there. Shoulda stayed in my cave, or stopped at Ernie’s. But I have a letter for you. Here. Now I kin git some shut-eye till the storm abates.”
“That letter’s bait. Who’s it from, Pal?”
“Dunno. Thinkin’ our writer has no clue either.”
“Hmmph. That’s characteristic.”


“Ok, Pal, I’m back. Burt’s rubbed down an’ fed an’ settled inta a cozy stall. Now, tell me about that letter.”
“Shush, Kid, Frankie’s gittin’ some shut-eye.”
“Wish she’d consider shut-eyes, Pal, cain’t she put a lid on that glass one?”
“Shush! Oops. Shhh. Kid, thet letter was… fan mail.”
“Fan mail! Fer you?!”
“The mail must go through!”
“Sorry Frankie, go back ta sleep. Who is it Pal?”
“It ain’t signed.”
“What’s it say?”
“Says they ‘preciate me is all. Why ya grinnin’, Kid?”
“I wrote it Pal.”
“Really? Why?”
“S’pressin’ ma gratitude.”
“Seems outta character, Kid.”

Special Delivery

“Frankie! Dang! Cain’t believe ya ventured through this blizzard.”
“Had to. There’s letters for Carrot Ranch.”
“Can we git ya anythin’ Frankie?”

“Yes, Kid, get me a glass so I can keep an eye out. I’m eyein’ that glass a whiskey too, Pal. Ah, thanks. Now. How ‘bout you read them letters I delivered?”
“This un’s from thet reliable Ranch hand Susan Sleggs. It’s ta ever’one at the Ranch:

Dearest Ranch Hands,
            I look forward to your stories. Lots of times you make me laugh and there        is always some excitement added, or thought to ponder. You’ve also   shown me how to accomplish meeting the prompt’s expectations,       especially during the Rodeo. You’ve helped me improve as a fellow           “hand.”
            Thanks for letting me ride with you.
            Susan Sleggs

Thank you for showin’ others how Ranch writin’ works.

Whoa. That’s purty heartfelt. Kid, you read this ‘un. Looks ta be a poem by the Poet Lariat.”

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Adore all the Hands at the Ranch
That one ‘hudret’ percent true
(Though mine own self I like alot –
Some days the prompts
Put me in a spot…)

We’re all seekin the right combination
To keep our friends attentions
Sharpen’ our pencils
Making sure our pens have ink
‘Specially when we choose
To challenge ourselves
Every week to the edge, the brink

Of what we think are limitations
Of our imaginations…
Keeping our learning sharp
Accepting all for their worth
Because characters matter
As we pursue and fine tune
The Literary Arts!

-The Poet Lariat (©JP/dh )

“Don’t thet jist sum it up?”

“Frankie ain’t the only one kin deliver.”

Q & A

“Does Pepe Legume use his scent as a weapon?”  (Susan Sleggs)

Dear Meez Suzan,

Eet ees I, Monsieur LeGume. I use your question to remin’ one an’ all dat dees ees a very safe place, dees Ranch, dees Buckaroo land, so no, dees scent for wheech I am known, eet ees my supar power, but ees not ever a weapon. While day say dat de best defence is a strong offence, I believe in de free range principles of dees Ranch, derefore, no fence. Where I come from we say ‘better a stinker dan a sinker’ an’ ‘just wait, eet weel dissipate’.

Suzan, weapons stink up de world. Try love.

CRLC February 6 Challenge “dog in the daisies”

Mail Call

“Thet Frankie agin? Frankie, poor ol’ Burt’s burdened with some bulging mailbags.”

“Pal. Kid. It ain’t Burt that’s burdened, it’s Shorty. This mail is all fer her. Condolences.”

“Well, here, Frankie, we’ll lighten Burt’s load an’ git these cards ta Shorty, try an’ lighten hers. Kid, lend a hand. Kid?”

“Think Kid just went up the Poet Tree, Pal. This does getcha, doesn’t it? I been thinkin’ on Shorty’s dog, thinkin’ ‘bout Burt— been dabbin’ at my eye all day.”

“Grievin’ are ya?””

“Tears a joy, Pal. I only got one eye, can’t do both; chose joy over grief.”

Not Bobo’s No-no

“LeGume! What’re you doin’ here?”

“You steel don’ like me Pal. Accept dat I am a character who lives here too. An’ jes now I am feeling ver’ bad.”

“We all are. Feelin’ bad fer Shorty an’ her fam’ly. ‘Memberin’ our own losses.”

“I am feeling remorse an’ regret. You see… I was at World Head Quarters. Last summer. I met Bobo, a lovely creature.”

“Yeah, so? Why regret?”

“I blamed dat dog for something dat I deed.”

“That stinks.”

“Eet deed, an’ I let dem tink eet was Bobo.”

“Jest let it go.”

“Oops. I just deed. Again.”

Taking Care

“Frankie, I cain’t git Kid ta climb down outta thet tree.”

“I’ll try, Pal. Hey, Kid? I was over at the cookhouse. Would you like some bacon?”

“Would I?!”

“Wood eye? No it’s glass. Now come on down an’ git some breakfast then git ta chores. Shorty needs you.”

“Sorry, Frankie, it’s jest that I got ta thinkin’ on my good dog. May she rest.”

“Well then you know what a time Shorty’s havin’ right now. Pepe has gone back ta Head Quarters, but you an’ Pal gotta ride the range.”

“Keep an eye on things?”

“Very funny, Kid.

CRLC February 13 Challenge “sugar report” 

Frankie Rides. Again

“Thanks agin fer the sugar cubes Kid. It’s got Burt eatin’ right outta my hand.”

“Reckon it’s another busy week fer you an’ Burt, ‘ey Frankie?”

“What d’ya mean, Kid?”

“Deliverin’ mail. Last week all them condolence cards, this week Valentines an’ love letters— sugar reports as she says.”

“Kid, I reckon those condolence cards and notes was letters a love too. Funny thing about mail. It’s all jest somethin’ in a envelope, ya jest don’t know; could be sugar, could be salt, looks the same. An’ some a this week’s sugar reports are sure ta be bittersweet.”


CRLC February 20 Challenge “library cat situation”

Do Ya Like Ma Hat?

“Kid, why’s thet ten gallon hat ya got fer yer half-pint head skiddin’ towards the door?”

“Why, there’s a cat in the hat! Must be from the library.”

“Ya picked up The Cat In the Hat at the library?”

“Took ma hat off when I was there, musta put it over their Rainbow.”

“An’ accidently kept the library cat under yer hat the whole way home? Thet’s an unlikely situation Kid.”

“It’s ma story an’ I’m stickin’ with it, Pal.”

“I kin tell ya what happens next. Yer takin’ thet cat back!”

“Or… we keep it!”

“Go, Kid. Go.”

CRLC February 27 Challenge “open road”


“Ever feel like hittin’ the road Pal?”

“Heck no, Kid. Look’t thet road in the picture. Hmmff. Looks as if it leads straight ta nowhere.”

“It’s straight like that so ya cain’t go ‘round the bend. I’m worried ‘bout Shorty. ‘Fraid she’s losin’ her bearin’s.”

“Jist her wheel bearin’s Kid. She’s on the road ta her North Star. Shorty’s picked the right path. She’ll find her way through storms a distraction.”

“S’pose so, Pal. Was about this time a year I got cabin fever so bad I took ta the road. Ended up here.”

“Still findin’ yer way, Kid.”

Shifty Move

“Look who’s here on her appointed rounds! Frankie!”

“No matter the weather, still have to deliver. Got a package for you Kid. What is it?”

“I had D. Avery send me the ultimate tome on open roads, so’s I could study up fer this week’s prompt. Look! Chicken Shift.”

“Well, all I can tell you Kid, is that little book is heavy. But also light. But not middling.”

“Depends on how ya read it, Frankie. But yeah, there’s some deep shift.”

“Hmmff. Kinda turned inta a road show, Kid. Mighta crossed a line.”

“Road, Pal. It’s about road crossin’s.”

CRLC March 4th Open Road roundup comments


“Frankie, whut’s thet thet ol’ Burt’s achompin’ on? Looks ta be some-un’s writin’.”

“Oh, no! Not again. Burt, you can’t be eatin’ the dang mail!”

“Mebbe it was food fer thought. Look’s ta a been writ by Doug J… thet’s all I kin make out from whut’s left. Frankie, if yer hoss keeps eatin’ the mail, you could git fired.”

“I doubt that Pal, it’s a government job. But I might get promoted. I’d sure miss bein’ out on the road, deliverin’ and visitin’ with everyone on my route.”

“Then you best keep an eye on yer hoss.”



“Pepe LeGume. Back from World Head Quarters, I see.”

“Yes, eet is I. I got wind of a problem here at de Ranch. Dees situation weeth de old horse eating Doug’s stories, eet stinks, no?”

“Ya kin say thet again.”

“Okay, eef you weesh. Dees situation weet de old horse eating Doug’s stories, eet stinks, no?”

“Yes, it stinks, Pepe. Got a solution?”

“Me? Oh, no. Dees ees a problem for de boss. I am just here to help folks air deir greivances. Thees weel pass. As my dear Logatha says, theengs have a way of working out.”

CRLC March 5  Challenge “Clarice”

A Horse of a Different Color (and gender and dietary preferences and gait and name)

“Hmmph. I delare!”


“Clarice! We have ta write about Clarice?!”

“Clearly, Kid.”


“Think ya mean ‘precisely’.”

“Z’actly. 99 words. No more, no less.”

“Thet heps with clarity, don’tcha think, Kid?”

“Not clarity. Clarice! I need hep with this Clarice prompt.”

“Here’s Frankie’s with the mail. Frankie, where’s ol’ Burt?

“He’s on furlough. Because of eatin’ up Doug’s flash.”

“Oh, yeah. Well, this un’s a fine lookin’ filly. But why’re you sportin’ a eye-patch today?”

“This filly’s got a rough gait, Pal. Bounced me so hard, I had trouble keepin’ my eye off the road. Dang Clarice.”


Lookin’ Good

“Ain’t likin’ this, Kid, it’s breakin’ with ma routine, makin’ me feel real outa place cuz we ain’t never been nowhere’s but Carrot Ranch or ShiftnShake.”

“Frankie done lost her glass eye ridin’ Clarice- dang hoss’s gotta gait like a jack hammer- an’ I reckon they mighta been by this way. We gotta hep her, Pal, she’s only got the one visualin’ eye; this other’s jist fer looks.

“An’ we’ll look good fer Frankie, but why’re we trackin’ through Fandango’s site too, what’s searchin’ fer Frankie’s eye got ta do with his One Word Challenge?”

“Word’s ‘visual-eyes’.”

“I see.”


Eyes On the Prize

“Tellin’ ya, Kid, we’re strayin’ too far from the Ranch. First bouncin’ through Fandango’s OWC… now where we at?”

“We cain’t give up, Pal. We gotta find Frankie’s missin’ glass eye. Mebbe the folks over here at Friday Fictioneers has seen it.”

“Kin ya see me rollin’ ma eyes? I jist wanna go home. On the range. Where the buckaroos play. Look, Kid, we’re the only ones ridin’ hosses. This place ain’t fer us.”

“Then why’s there a waterin’ trough? Let’s lead the hosses ta water, set an’ think.”

“Kid, look! Frankie’s eye’s in the trough!”

“Things is lookin’ up.”


“Okay, got it, so now kin we head back ta Carrot Ranch, git this eyeball back ta Frankie, an’ jist git back ta our normal routines, chores an’ sech?”

“You betcha, Pal, we’ll even take a shortcut, go by way of Crimson’s Creative Challenge.”

“Kid what’s her eye color, cuz somethin’ ‘bout this here eyeball don’t look right.”

“Oh, yeah, the eye color a this ocular prosthetic seems a shade off.”

“Oh shift, dang thing slipped outta ma hand, bounced inta thet concrete crevice.”

“Dang, it’s sure gonna be hard lookin’ Frankie in the eye an’ ‘splainin’ what happened.”


“Well Pal, back at the Ranch, finally. Cain’t believe we went all that way, keepin’ an eye out fer Frankie’s missin’ eye then lettin’ it roll down the drain.”

“I cain’t believe yer gonna make me be the one ta tell her. There she is now, saddlin’ up Burt. It’s thet dang fickle filly Clarice what caused all this ruckus in the first place. Dang hoss walks like a four-legged pogo stick.”

“Frankie. You got yer glass eye in. Thought it was lost somewheres.”

“Looks like I found it. Where you two been? You’re a sight for sore eyes.”

CRLC March 12 Challenge “tap”

Tapped Out

“Here comes Kid’s weekly whine, kin jist tell, the way yer tappin’ an’ huffin’.”

“Cain’t stand it, Pal. ‘D. Avery entertains Carrot Ranchers’?! Really? D’ya see D. Avery aroun’ here?”

“Done told ya, Kid, thet’s jist the way it is. Yer. A. Fiction. All. Character.”

“But I identify as real, Pal.”

“Why’re ya so het up on bein’ real Kid? Seems overrated ta me. Them folks got some real problems. Wrestle with yer ego by yersef, ya sap. I’m tappin’ out.”

“Where ya goin’?”

“Don’t really matter.”

“Does too!”

“Gonna tap the Poet Tree, try’n drum out some words.”


“Pal! Didn’t expect ta see you at the Poet Tree.”

“Had ta git outta the bunkhouse Shorty.”

“Kid gittin’ to ya?”

“Yep, an’ as I was goin’ out, LeGume was goin’ in. Thet’s two good reasons ta come out here.”

“Bunkhouse windows are fogged up. Those two boilin’ sap?”

“Wish thet were the case, Shorty. It’s LeGume a course. In there jist a’tappin’ out his tunes. I ain’t never got what ya see in thet Pepe LeGume.”

“Pal, Pepe’s a fine travelin’ companion.

            passing through

            trav’lin’ tagether

            pilgrims’ road”

“Whut Pepe passes lingers, Shorty.”

“But it’ll pass. Ever’thin’ does.”


Keepin’ It T’Gether

“Kid! We ain’t out on some dusty roundup. Git thet bandana off a yer face. I git our whole western mo-teef but ya shouldn’t be ‘round the Ranch lookin’ like a bank robber.”

“Ain’tcha heard nuthin’ Pal? Thought we was s’posed ta wear masks.”

“Not here on the Ranch Kid. Ya’ll skeer folks.”

“Mebbe I’m skeered, Pal.”

“I git thet Kid, but ‘member, this here’s a safe place, like always. Jist be cautious.”

“’Bout germs?”

“No. Well, yeah, but more ’bout inframation. Only take in an’ only spread what’s helpful and fact based. No matter who mighta said whut.”


“Jist scientific facts?”

“No alternatives.”

“I’m still skeered Pal.”

“That’s okay Kid. An’ since ya done wiped yer eyes with thet bandana, jist keep thet to yersef.”

“The fact that I cried?”

“Cryin’s okay, Kid. But keep thet bandana to yersef. Wash it an’ wash yer hands. Plain ol’ soap will do. Kid, you an’ me’re used ta bein’ on our own, but folks gotta realize it’s physical isolation bein’ asked fer, ever’one keepin’ a distance. But with all kinda devices available we kin still reach out, be social. What the Ranch has always done, world-wide.”

“Write on?”


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?”

Ta Hex With It March 18

CRLC March 19 Challenge “rabbit on the roof”

Smokin’ Caterpllars

“Kid, yer grinnin’. Figgered ya’d be scowlin’ over this wild prompt.”
“Didn’t ya hear? Shorty’s gotta surprise comin’.”
“What is it?”
“Dunno, jist that it’s a surprise fer me an’ you.”
“Huh. Prob’ly hookin’ the bunkhouse up with television. It’s rabbit ears she’s on about!”
“That’s receptive of ya, Pal, but I don’t think so.”
“Then what the heck is up with a rabbit on the roof?”
“Mebbe thet hare went over the rooftop ta see what it could see. It’s a unique rabbit. Ya know how ta catch a unique rabbit, Pal?”
“Ya ’neak up behind it.”


“Smokin’ caterpillars? Thet better be a litter-airy ref’rence. An’ look at us, comin’ in behind thet dang D. Avery. Kid, what the heck is goin’ on?”
“Jist chasin’ rabbits, I s’pose, Pal. Been kinda hard ta focus lately. An’ now I’m jist so excited ‘bout Shorty’s su’prise. Cain’t wait. Mebbe after the weekend we’ll see it.”
“Hmmf. Yer chasin’ rabbits alright. D. Avery know anythin’ ‘bout this su’prise?”
“Cain’t say Pal, not knowin’. We kinda drifted apart, disassociated, like. All I know is Shorty said it’s bigger’n a bread box, an’ it’s fer us ta take care of.”

Saddle Up Saloon; Bar None CRLC March 23  square-template20.png

CRLC March 26   Challenge”in charge”

 Kid’s Dilemma

“Pal, whut’s Shorty done charged us with this time?”

“Charged us with? Why, nuthin’ Kid.”

“Nuthin’? That prompt’s gotta lead ta sumthin’. Always does.”


“An’ asides that, ain’t we in charge a the Saloon?”

“Could say thet, I s’pose.”

“An’ we still gotta discharge our reg’lar ranch duties.”

“Yep. Purty sure there’s discharge in the barn fer ya ta shovel now, Kid.”

“Bullshift, Pal, why’s it always seem like yer in charge a me?”

“I jist take yer bull by the horns is all.”

“Mebbe I’ll grab them horns. Take charge a ma own self.”

“Yep. Mebbe, Kid.”

Tootin’ Rootin’ Round Trip

“Lookin’ rough, Kid. Where ya been, anyway?”

“Checked out Slim Chance’s outfit.”

“Why ever for?!”

“Took charge a m’sef. Yer always bossin’ me aroun’. Shorty’s s’posed ta be in charge, but she’s always nice, jist says ‘go where the prompt leads’; well Slim Chance tells folks where ta go an’ how ta git there.”

“Git where?”

“Where he wants ‘em ta go.”

“Real take charge sorta guy?”

“Sure ‘nough. Says, ‘Drink this kool-aid, it’s the best’, where’s Shorty jist has carrots out, fer folks ta take or not.”

“Yer back though?”

“Ferever. Ta re-charge on root crops.”



Saddle Up Saloon; All Good CRLC March 30  square-template20.png

CRLC  April 2 Challenge “pizza”

Doe Nay See

“Kid! What’re ya doin’? Why’s thet little whip of a poet tree all caged in here behind the Saloon?”
“Fer its own pertection, Pal. I got a bunch a kids!”
“Kids, Kid? Wish ya’d leave thet to someone responsible an’ sensible, like Aussie.”
“Not kids, Pal, kids, baby goats!”
“Goats? Ya got ta be kidding.”
“Zactly. Gonna raise ‘em up fer milk goats. Make cheese.”
“Oh, doe yer not, Kid. Ya’d think ya’d been ranchin’ long ‘nough ta know ta look fer certain credentials, if ya know what I mean. These are billies, Silly.”
“Buck! No goat cheese pizza!”

Saddle Up Saloon; Bar Hire CRLC April 6    square-template20.png

CRLC April 9 Challenge “shield your face”

Essential Characters

“Kid, where’s Frankie? I’m waitin’ fer a delivery a coasters fer the saloon.”
“Really, Pal? Times like this an’ yer worried ‘bout bar coasters? Even fictional folks is busy. Ernie’s runnin’ his still agin, makin’ ‘Corn-U-Cope-Ya’ll’, his homebrewed antiseptic lotion. With aloe.”
“Uh, hello. An’ where’s Pepe LeGume?”
“Pepe an’ Logatha been hunkered down sewing masks en masse, fer folks ta shield their face, pertect one ‘nuther. So let’s have Frankie send them coasters along ta Pepe, ta use as inserts.”
“Ok. Whut kin we do, Kid?”
“Reckon jist keep the Saddle Up Saloon open as an essential business.”

Saddle Up Fer M’fundays

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Characters Okay Morale Corral April 13

CRLC April 16 Challenge “crazy”


“Pal, ya reckon I got a beautiful mind?”

“Aw, Kid, here we go agin. Ya ain’t got a mind a yer own, ‘member? Ya come outta you know who’s mind.”

“Oh yeah. So I’m not crazy, but…”

“Jist leave it alone Kid.”

“Well, heck, Pal, ya seen her lately? Jammies an’ slippers all day long, sure looks like she’s in the cuckoo’s nest.”


“So Pal. If’n I did have a mind a my own, d’ya think it’d be beautiful?”

“Oh sure, Kid, purty an’ colorful like a Flea Circus. Now git ta yer chores, yer drivin’ me crazy.”

Horn 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 nobody knew 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.”

Crazy Shift

“Aw, shift, Kid, what’re ya up to?”

“Been thinkin’, Pal.”


“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?”


“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 apples 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

All Worked Out In the End

“Frankie! Long time no see. I been keepin’ an eye out fer ya.”

“Et tu, Shorty? Where is everyone?”

“Dunno. Oh, here comes Pal, but Kid an’ Pepe been kinda scarce. Might be the prompt. Talk a unicorns always makes Kid skittish. An’ the Saloon kin be a distraction. How ya doin?”

“Alright, but spring’s sprung on the other side a the mountain an’ ol’ Bert got inta someone’s flower garden, ate so many flowers an’ blooms he’s poopin’ in colors.”

“Rainbow colors?”

“Yeah, Pal. Why ya laughin’?”

“Kid an’ Pepe think Bert’s a uni-corn.”


“Don’t tell Kid.”


square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Wild, Wild Wist April 20 


CRLC April 23 Challenge “distance dating”

Distance/Time = Speed

“Distance, okay, and dates, that’s time… this’s a classic rate problem.”
“Speedy reaction, Kid. Don’t think thet’s whut Shorty meant though. Dates, not rates.”
“Alright, but work with me Pal. Could be long ago an’ far way?”
“Thet could fit, I reckon.”
“So, could write a fairy tale?”
“Yep. Could. Long’s it’s ‘bout some sort a lovin’ situation, in 99 words.”
“Once upon a time… (that’s the date)”
“Still don’t think thet’s whut she meant, Kid…”
“In a land far away… (a distant land)… they lived happily ever after.”
“They who?”
“Who cares? They’re happy.”
“I love old stories.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Revolution In the Air April 27 


CRLC April 30 Challenge “longboard”


“They’s openin’ up a ennertainment an libation establishmint over ta the Slim Chance Ranch.”

“Huh. We run sech a place.”

“Callin’ his place the Longboard Lounge. Claims ta have the biggist a ever’thin’.”

“Aw, Pal, that’s jist big talk. Bigger ain’t better. Don’t ya go worryin’ none ‘bout the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“Bigger pours, bigger portions…”

“We’re big on fun, Pal.”

“He’s offerin’ discounted prices.”

“An’ we ain’t never ast no one ta pay, Pal.”

“All ya kin write, he says.”

“An’ we say 99 words. Refreshin’ an’ satisfyin’.”

“Reckon thet’s the long an’ the short of it.”


square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Not Quite Karaoke May 4


CRLC May 7 Challenge “nourish”


“Kid, what’s cookin’? You ain’t stirred much. Figgered you’d be on ‘bout bacon, or carrots, or even ‘bout nour’shin’ yer poet-trees. Ever’thin’ ok?”
“I ain’t feelin’ it this week Pal, so you jist keep talkin’ till we git ta 99words. I’m thinkin’ I only got 9 in me this time aroun’.”
“Oh, lemme guess, Kid. Yer gonna riff somethin’ scatological, make shifty puns ‘bout manure an’ sech.”
“Not this week Pal.”
“Well, whut are yer 9 words then?”
“Might s’prise ya: ‘Soul food is Goodness and Love. Nourish one another’.”

Scion the Prize

“Kid, git in here! Dang. Shorty entrusted us with runnin’ our own Saloon, a place fer folks ta relax an’ rub elbows— git away fer a while. But then she done gifted ya with a scion, an off shoot a thet Poet–tree ya discovered outside the bunkhouse at Carrot Ranch.”

“Yep. So?”

“So, ya ain’t been tendin’ the Saloon! Yer always out back with thet offshoot an’ them kid goats an’—”

“An what, Pal? What’s the problem?”

“Ya gotta nurture the saloon, Kid.”

“Yep. An’ I gotta nourish the Poet-tree.”

“Why’s thet impor’nt?”

“’Cause it nourishes me.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Putting Up a Stink May 11 


CRLC May 14 Challenge “absolute danger”

All’s Well That Ends Well

“Ever been in danger, Pal?”
“Absolutely. Thet time the bull was seein’ red. Charged me like a Amazon purchase, but I thought ta jist grab thet bull by the horns. I honked fer Jesus, flipped right over thet bull an inta the creek.”
“Lucky landin’.”
“Ya’d think, Kid, but it’d been droughty. I landed in a creek without a puddle, an’ facin’ a rattler. First thing I thought was, tastes like chicken. Secon’, I’d have ta strike first. Lightnin’ reflexes.”
“You ain’t that fast Pal.”
“No. But lightnin’ struck thet snake, had it skinned an’ sizzlin’ fer my dinner.
“Lucky lightnin’ strike, Pal! Outta danger an’ dinner in hand!”
“Ya’d think so, Kid. But that drought had all the critters edgy an’ hungry. When thet mountain lion yowled at me I wasn’t sure if she wanted ta eat me or my rattler, still sizzlin’ warm from the lightnin’.”
“What’d ya do, Pal?”
“Afore I could think ‘bout thet, the rain finally came, hard and fast an’ thet creek swelled right up an’ my most eminent danger was a flash flood.”
“No, it warn’t about ta happen, was happ’nin’ right then, ‘an I was positively gittin’ washed away.”
“What luck, Pal. Um, is it good or bad luck?”
“It’s all good, Kid. I still had thet snake, still warm an’ sizzling’ from the lightnin’, held it up outta the water. An’ I was gittin’ farther an’ farther away from thet bull an’ thet mountain lion. So I jist went with the flow as they say, waitin’ ta see where I’d fetch up.”
“Sounds like you was goin’ downhill, Pal.”
“Downstream, Kid. The creek started ta flatten out an’ slow down an’ things came familiar. I had arrived. At the Ranch.”
“Lucky, Pal!”
“Ya got thet right, Kid.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Open Mic Poetry Time of the Sign May 18 


CRLC May 21 Challenge “hundred candles”

The Night Their pens All Lit Up

“I don’t git up here on this bluff much, Pal. Never at night.”

“Mind yer step, Kid. Now set yersef here an’ you’ll have a good view a the stars.”

“Under this pine branch? Cain’t hardly see the sky in this spot, Pal.”

“Look down. Ya kin see the whole wide Ranch from thet there spot.”

“But ya said ta git a view a the stars.”

“Yep. Down there, all aroun’ the Ranch. Look at ‘em sparklin’ an’ glowin’.”

“I see them twinkly lights Pal. Why there must be a hunnerd of ‘em! Ranchers carryin’ candles?”

“Yep. Stars all.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Blog Blusterin’ May 25 


CRLC May 28 Challenge “contradiction; hardrock & champagne

Conflictive Contra-dictions

 It was a dark an’ stormy night. A. Rancher sought shelter in the old mine shaft only ta find Buggs M. Lotts already holed up there. They got along like oil an’ water.

“Kinda cliché ain’t it, Kid?”

“S’posed ta be, Pal. I wanna show how these two don’t git along, ‘cept I’m gonna switch out oil an’ water fer… bacon, yeah! An’… brussel sprouts! No, that’s purty good. Bacon an’… maple ice cream! Wait, that sounds tasty.”

“Kid, ever’thin’ goes good with bacon. Ya’ll have ta git rid a it.”

A. Rancher was glad to see Asa O’Buddy…



“’Ello, Keed. Dees ees a tough prompt for you, non? Perhaps I can help.”


“Eet ees I, Pal.”

“LeGume, whut makes you think ya know any more’n Kid here ‘bout writin’? It’s a tough prompt all right, but jist stay outta the way. Kid’ll figger it out. Heck, LeGume, you don’t know shit from shine-ola.”

“Au contaire, Pal! Dees I know ver’ well. An’ Keed… we all know Keed knows sheet. Keed can shovel da sheet till da cows come home. Dat ees raw writing, non? But revizeeng! Dat ees polishing.”

“Puttin’ the shine on?”

“Write on, Pal.”


Dark green waves of thundercloud roiled over the mountain. A. Kidd searched for the cave entrance, seeking refuge from the fierce storm. Even as violent flashes of lightning tore at the darkening sky Kidd hesitated. Was someone already in the makeshift shelter? The sound of laughter echoed from within the hard-rock walls, seeped out into the rain swept night; or was it the keening sound of someone crying? Kidd stepped into the dark, kept a small flame burning and looked within. There was no one else.

When morning finally dawned the dew on the grass sparkled like green champagne.


Saddle Up Saloon; Recipe Rustlin’ June 1st 


CRLC June 4 Challenge “justice for all”

Fabric of the Nation

“Kid, what’re ya doin’ ta my fav’rite rodeo shirt?”

“Here, ya kin have yer shirt back, I jist wanted the fringe off it fer a flag.”

“A fringed flag?”

“Yep, represents fringe folk. An’ I gathered ev’ry kinda color an’ cloth imaginable. Gonna make a flag fer Buckaroo Nation.”

“Aw, Kid, let’s not be flyin’ flags here, not even thet inclusive one. Let’s take all thet cloth ya gathered an’ make quilts instead.”


“We kin give ‘em ta displaced folks, ta them thet’s on the streets an’ them who’ve taken ta the streets.”

“That idea warms my heart.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Craftin’ Plans June 8th 


CRLC Challenge June 11  “deep waters”


“Feels like a long while since we jist ranched.”

“Yep, it’s good ta be out ridin’ the range, herdin’ hosses, gittin’ ‘em ta greener pastures. Whoa. There’s a river. Think we kin ford it?”

“We ain’t gotta buy it Kid, jist gotta git acrost it. Carefully.”

“Water looks still.”

“Still waters run deep. We’ll git the hosses down ta the river, let ‘em quench their thirst an’ rest up. ***

Dang, Kid. I led ‘em ta water but cain’t git these hosses ta drink. Kid?”

“Shush, Pal. I’m a settin’ here watchin’ the river flow. Havin’ me a think.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Art Showin’  June 15th 


CRLC Challenge June 18 “vibrations”

Shaken, Not Stirred

“Really, Kid? Ya come limpin’ in here, all bruised, an’ yer blamin’ our writer?”
“She decided ta write that ma hoss threw me.”
“Thet’s outta character fer a Carrot Ranch hoss. Why’d it toss ya?”
“They was a rattlesnake.”
“She brought a rattler ta the Ranch?! Not cool. Folks gotta feel safe here.”
“Desperation, Pal. Realized time’d run out on the prompt, thought ‘bout the vibration of a rattler’s tail. I’m jist collateral damage.”
“This ain’t even well writ. An’ she give up her day job? She’ll go hungry at this rate.”
“Mebbe not. Claims rattler tastes like chicken.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Nix Fix June 22nd 


CRLC Challenge June 25 “I got life”

Got My Fingers, Got My Pal, Got My Hunger, Ain’t Got No Bacon…

“I’m hungry Pal. What’ve we got fer breakfast?”
“Outta bacon. Hens ain’t been layin’.”
“Dang, sure coulda gone fer some eggs an’ bacon. Mebbe you’d make me a smoothie?”
“Couldn’t even if we had the fixin’s. Yer fergittin’ yer blender blunder.”
“They was jist twigs.”
“Yeah, well, now ya know where birch beer don’t come from. S’prised ya still got yer fingers after thet. Shut thet fridge already, Kid. Starin’ an’ wishin’ ain’t gonna put food in it.”
“They’s a jug a milk. We got any cereal?”
“Thinkin’ we are a serial.”
“Aha! Here’s some cereal! I got Life!”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; The Band Plays On June 29


CRLC Challenge July 2 “blossom”


“Yer outta yer bedroll early Pal. Sunrise coffee?”
“Yep. Set an’ injoy it. Tell ya, sure is good ta be out ridin’ the range. Don’t git me wrong, Kid. I’m right proud an’ pleased Shorty’s got us runnin’ thet saloon. But it’s a lotta time indoors. Umm. Lookit dawn, jist beginnin’ down in thet east runnin’ valley.”
“I’m lookin’, Pal. Now shush, so’s I kin see it better.”
“I hear ya.”

Swollen budded dawn
Sun’s gold-rayed petals unfold
This new day blossoms.

“Promises ta be a bloomin’ beautiful day, Kid. Time ta ride out.”
“Write on Pal.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Walk About July 6


CRLC Challenge July 9 “Monreal Dorb”

The Shiftin A Nanjo Castille

A bunch a ranchers was havin’ a time at The Saddle Up Saloon

Kid was in the Poet-tree, jist a-howlin at the moon

When out a the void a the virtual, inta this site bright and vetted

Come a sketchy pair with bot-spring hair, appearin ta be two-headed

Steppin up ta the bar was Nanjo Castille! His presence cause fer alarm

Strollin’ with ‘im, eyes circling aroun, Monreal Dorb upon his arm

The bar went chilly quiet, afeared a these two spammers joined

But Shorty said “You kin stay, but here it’s jist play, so don’t be flashin bitcoin.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Carrot Cartin’ Characters Ain’t No Caricatures July 13


CRLC Challenge July 16 “scream inside your heart”

Bein’ a Pain

“Dang, not sure kin pull this one off.”

“What’d ya say Kid?”

“Huh? Sorry, Pal, was jist thinkin’ out loud.”

“Well fer cryin’ out loud, keep yer thoughts ta yersef.”

“Some a these prompts ain’t suited ta us. What’s a couple a ranch hands like us s’posed ta do with ‘scream in your heart’?”

“Fudge it. Try whinin’ in yer head.”

“That ain’t even close. Come on Pal, don’tcha feel my pain?”

“Yer a pain all right. Okay. They’s dif’rent kinds a screamin’, right? Like when someone’s so annoyin’ ya could jist scream?”


“I’m screamin’ in my heart.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; World Wide Wranglin’ July 20


CRLC Challenge July 23 “protecting nature”

Pal Speaks

It’s like this Kid: we got jist this one planet thet sustains us. Shush, I ain’t listenin’ ‘bout no Mars. We got jist one. So ever’one’s got ta do their part. Got ta do their part ‘cause we’s all part a the whole. D’ya see, Kid? We’re each a us a component; a piece a it, a part. Not apart. Don’t matter where in the world ya’s at, yer a part a this one world. It’s yer home. It’s yer food an’ shelter. It’s yer Mother.

green and blue Her robes
Love’s elemental colors
we’re threads in Her cloth

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Fetched In From the Fringe Fest- Live Recording! July 27



CRLC Challenge July 30 “crowning glory”

Acceptance As Kid’s Crowning Achievement in 3 parts

“Kid, whyn’t ya ever take thet hat off yer head?”
“Whyn’t you? Ain’t we s’posed ta wear these hats, bein’ ranch han’s an’ all?”
“Ya mean fer UV ray pertection out here on the range?”
“No, I mean fer our iconic stock character status. Ya know, brandin’, like… a look.”
“Yeah, well, now I’m curious. Let’s have a look unnerneath thet hat a yers.”
“You first.”
“Oh fer shifts sake, Kid, jist take it off!”
“All right. There, ya happy, Pal. Pal?”
“Oh I never ‘magined thet!”
“Lemme guess, a dirty sweaty hat ring?”
“Ya’ve got a uni-corn horn!”
“Why? Jist ‘cause I an’ you ain’t never ‘magined it? Someone must’ve ‘magined it, ‘cause there it is, a nubby little horn jist unner yer forelock.”
“Someone! Indeed! D. Avery! Dang her! Why in heck’s she doin’ this? Thought she di’n’t even like uni-corns.”
“Heard she’s got a couple neighbors up in them woods a hers is workin’ on her uni-corn issue. Mebbe she’s jist ‘sperimentin’.”
“Hey, stop puttin’ a hole in ma hat!”
“Jist givin’ ya room ta grow Kid.”
“Mebbe, Kid, it’s like Pinnochio, mebbe ever time ya whine an’ complain thet nub grows longer.”
“Hey Pal. Thanks fer doin’ ma chores. Don’t feel like goin’ anywhere’s like this. Uni-corn horn’s gittin’ bigger.”
“Huh. ‘Cause I know ya been workin’ real hard at not whining an’ complainin’. Mebbe thet ain’t the cause a it.”
“I been real calm, Pal, been mindful an’ grateful, an’ even practicin’ self-compassion. But when I git all like that, the uni-corn horn grows! This is some situation. Wunner what Shorty’s gonna say?”
“Shorty’ll be fine with it. Reckon she might even snort laugh.”
“That’d make this all worthwhile. Ya know, I’ve come ta accept this thing!”
“Kid! It’s gone!”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Interviewin’ the Interviewer August 3


CRLC Challenge August 6 “molten lava”

All Things Must Pass

“Hey Kid. Kid? Cat got yer tongue?”
“Whut? Ernie’s fallen inta the well?”
“Jeez, Kid, set yersef down, lemme git ya some cool water. Yer practic’ly steamin’. There’s beads a sweat big as marbles on yer face, yer tongue’s all swoll up, an’, not fer nuthin’, this ain’t yer best hair day neither. Here, drink up.”
“Shanksawwahhawtthawtt!! Ow! Wattah makes it hottah.”
“Whut happened Kid?”
“Was at Ernie’s. Ate. Chili. He. Made. Ow. Hurt.”
“Oh, Kid, ya shouldn’t oughtta done thet. Thet stuff’s powerful hot, stuff’s like molten lava.”
“No shit, Pal.”
“Yeah, about thet…”
“Mama mia…”


“Pepe LeGume. Long time no see.”

“Keed! I almost deed not see you. Why do you seet in dat stock tank?”

“Ah’m still overheatin’ from eatin’ Ornery Ernie’s hot lava chili. It burned me good, Pepe.”

“Why deed you eat it, den?”

“Didja know he uses bacon? Guess I ate too much too fast. It still burns.”

“Dees weel pass.”

“That’s what Ah’m afraid of, Pepe.”

“My dear wife, Logatha, she would advise you drink lots of milk and eat bread. Dees weel cool things down eenside.”

“Good idea. Ice cream?”

“You might, Keed. Dere weel be an eruption.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; The Brave of Buckaroo Nation August 10


CRLC Challenge August 13 “first flight”

Basket Case

“Whoa, Kid. Stop. Back up. What’re ya plannin’?”

“Pal, this is gonna be great! We’re gonna fly!”

“Prompt says anythin’ or anyone thet flies, but I’m tellin’ ya, Kid, I ain’t goin’ in any flyin’ contraption. ‘Specially if Pepe LeGume’s runnin’ it. What in heck’s he know ‘bout aeroplanes anyway?”

“Ain’t gonna fly in a aeroplane, Pal. Pepe’s got a more economical idea.”

“Oh, jeez, Kid, what’re you two up too?”

“We’ll be up, up and away in a hot air balloon! An’ guess how Pepe plans on fuelin’ it?”

“Oh, the humanity!”

“Pepe’s an amazin’ human bean alright.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Catchin’ Up With Susan Zutautas August 17


square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Guest Guessed August 24


CRLC Challenge August 27 “Lemon Queens”

When Ranch Chores Is a Drag

“Kid, where’d them two towheaded twins git off to?”

“Went inta the bunkhouse, said they’d be right out. They say they wanna work fer Carrot Ranch? Or the Saddle Up Saloon?”

“I reckon the Ranch. Tip an’ Top Lemmon are hardy hard workin’ cowboys. They’ll be a fine hep aroun’ here, ‘specially since yer always doin’ ever’thin’ but yer chores these days, what with thet saloon an’ all.”

“All this mention a the saloon, Pal. Reckon this is a crossover piece, huh?”

“S’pose… Whut?! Kid, who’re them fancy dancehall girls struttin’ along the bunkhouse veranda?”

“Introducin’ the Lemmon Queens!”

Cain’t Call ‘Em Yeller

“Pal, wipe that sour look off yer face. The Lemmon brothers’s still innerested in bein’ yer Lemmon Aid, cowboyin’ aroun’ the ranch. But sometimes they feel like gittin’ purty an’ performin’ as the Lemmon Queens. So I reckon they’ll be aroun’ the Saddle Up Saloon too. Win-win, right?”

“Reckon so.”

These hard workin’ cowboys

how far they do range

come outta the bunkhouse

how much do they change?


Boots now stilettos

checked shirt a sleek dress

Let these young cowboys

explore their own Wild West


Their hearts are good

kindness remains

Outsides don’t matter

here all’re welcome the same.

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Write On, Robbie August 31


CRLC Challenge September 3 “high winds”

What Was the Question?

 “Kid! Shut the front door!”

“Cain’t, Pal! It flew off its hinges! Never seen a wind like this, not even when the saloon became a salon.”

“O, my! Ever’thin’s up in the air. Whut was thet, jist blew by?”

“Reckon them was answers, my friend.”

“This prompt’s really made some waves. They’s whitecaps in the stock tanks.”


“In the stock tank?”

“No! Duck, Pal! The bunkhouse is blowin’ apart! Hunker down!”

……..   ……. ……. …….. ……..

“Phew. It’s over. Ever’thin’s blown flat. ‘Cept the Poet Tree!”

strong roots

words hold fast

life lines

 “Come on Kid, let’s see where them answers fetched up.”

Kid, Jung at Heart

“Kid, wake up, yer havin’ a bad dream.”

“Wha— Pal! Ever’thin’s still here! The Ranch’s jist fine.”

“A course the Ranch is fine, always has been, always will be.”

“So. Jist a dream.”

“Kid, what woulda happened if’n the Ranch hadda got flattened by high winds?”

“Reckon we’d all a pitched in an’ put it back t’gether.”


“Reckon it were a sign?”

“Yep, but, I’m thinkin’ tweren’t about the Ranch. One thing gits blown down, ‘nuther gits built. An’ if yer wunnerin’ when yer ship’s gonna come in, jist set sail already, Kid. Ya got a tale wind.”

Pal’s Wind Tale

“Seen mighty high winds in my day Kid. ‘Member one time winds was so strong they took the barn apart, all the boards and beams swirlin’ in the air. When it settled down thet wind had put the boards back t’gether its own way, had us a silo. ‘Nuther time it blew fer days an’ days. Carrot greens flew like feathers.”

“Still had the roots?”

“Yep. But the animals was upset, felt thet wind deep inside themsefs. All the hens give after thet was scrambled eggs. Milk cow was so churned up all we got was butter.”

“Unbelievable Pal.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; One Shy of a Six Pac at the Mic September 7

CRLC Challenge Sept. 10 “On the Radio’


“Pal, do you have a ipod?”

“I don’t.”

“Should git one.”

“I won’t.”

“Pal, we’re out here all the live long day, we should have a playlist fer when we work.”

“Yer hardly workin’, Kid. Jist leave the singin’ ta the birds.”

“Y’ever yodel, Pal?”


“Knock, knock.”

“Ah, jeez. Who’s there?”

“Little Old Lady.”

“Little Old Lady who?”

“Gotcha ta yodel, Pal!”


“S’pose all we need’s thet old radio in the bunkhouse, tuned to KROT. Weatherman says them high winds is slacked off. Says the skies are not cloudy all day.”

“Sportscaster says the Rodeo’s comin’!”


And the Ads Played On

“Yep, KROT’s a good station, plays jist what ya wanna hear when ya wanna hear it.”

“How da they manage that, Pal?”

“Reckon ‘cause they’s fictional, like us. Shush listen.”

Come shift or shine ya don’t need no fancy wine but fer a real good time try Ernie’s Corn Juice! Ernie’s Corn Juice— dis still the one fer fallin’ down fun.

“Ernie’s advertisin’ on KROT!”

‘Ello. Dees ees Pepe LeGume of LeGume’s Cleaning Services. Leave a shine behind! For a clean that lingers, hire LeGume’s.”

“More ads!”

Frankie delivers da letters with an eye to quality.

“Kid, iquit radio!”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Recipe Rustlin’ Returns September 14

CRLC Challenge September 17 “mice”

Of Mice an’ Shorty, a Contradictin’ Pair

“Pal, that a high wind a’screechin’?”

“Reckon thet’s Shorty. She ain’t so inclusive, seems like, when it comes ta mice. Screams inside her heart an’ outside too. Dealin’ with them little critters ain’t her crownin’ glory.”

“Huh. What happened ta protectin’ nature, ta justice fer all? This is crazy.”

“Well, she don’t like mice sharin’ quarters thet’s fer sure. I’s wunnerin’ whyn’t she jist go back ta the library cat fer hep? Rainbow’d show ‘em the open road all right.”

“Reckon she’s took charge a her mouse situation. Still… them resourceful little critter’s is jist sayin’, I got life.”

square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Karaoke II September 21


CRLC Challenge September 24 “snack”

Happy Trails

“Kid, we been ridin’ a long time, I could use some a thet trail mix from yer saddlebag.”

“It’s all gone, Pal.”

“Whut?! Ya ate all a it?”

“Didn’t eat none a it. We ain’t been on no trail, so I sprinkled it as we go so’s we kin find our way back ta the Ranch.”

“Dang it, Kid, I’m feelin’ peckish.”

“Uh-oh. Looks like birds an’ critters was too, they done pecked up the trail mix. Now it’s trail nix.”

“Dang it Kid. Ya got any other snacks packed?”

“Course, Pal. Have some carrot sticks an’ ranch dressing.”


“Cain’t b’lieve ya wasted all our good trail mix, Kid.”

“Ain’t wasted, Pal, jist got et by critters ‘stead a us.”

“Hmmf. What’s thet yer snackin’ on? Thet ain’t carrots.”

“Bacon jerky”

“Ya are whut ya eat, Kid.”

“How’ll we find our way Pal, now them critters ate my trail markers?”

“Kid, we weren’t never lost. Kin range far an’ wide an’ still be on the ranch.”

“Yeah, but—”

“Come nightfall you’ll see, Kid.”

“See what?”

“The glow a campfires. An’ you’ll see stars shinin’ bright. An’ look off there. See thet cloud a dust?”

“Rodeo’s comin’!”



square-template20-1Saddle Up Saloon; Tough Topics With Charli Mills September 28

CRLC Challenge October 1 “dusty trails”

Divergent Trails

“Jeez, Pal, I’m ready fer a vacation. Where we gonna go, anyway?”

“We? This is vacation, Kid. My vacation is gonna be time away from you.”

“What? Yer leavin’ me?”

“Fer a bit Kid. I’m jist gonna have some quiet time. Mebbe do some fishin’. Catch up with ma cuzzins. Ash and Dusty. Trales.”

“Ya never told me ya had cuzzins.”

“Ya never asked. They run a little farm jist west a the ranch. Raise turnip. At one time they figgered ta give Shorty a run fer her money.”

“Did they?”

“Nah. Turnips is too bitter.”

“Kin relate, Pal.”


“Don’t be bitter, Kid. Whyn’t ya use this time ta go back east? Check out thet fall foliage they talk about.”

“Too far.”

“How kin thet be? Ya got here from there didn’tcha?”

“Mean I’ve come too far. I ain’t goin’ back ta where you know who lives. Asides it’s cold there. Think I’d git homesick if I lef’ the Ranch. Reckon I’ll jist spen’ my time up in the Poet Tree. Have ma own quiet time.

Crimson foliage

Crackling conflagrant hues

Ignite morning frost

Burning campfire memories

Smoke’s dusty trails dream west

Yep, I’ll stay here, tanka anyways.”

CRLC Challenge October 8, “kid gloves”

While others tended to rodeo events or cracked their WIPs, Pal took a vacation, time away from Kid. Just for a while. Pal even left Carrot Ranch. Just for a while, for it had been such a long while since Pal had seen Cousins Ash and Dusty Trales.

Dismounting at their Turnip Farm Pal was greeted warmly. “Hey there, Cuz. It’s been a while.”


“We gotta git these turnips harvested.”

“I’ll hep.”

“You’ll want gloves.”

“Yep. Dang! These are Kid’s gloves! Ugh! I musta in’vert’ly took Kid’s saddlebag.”

Even on vacation, Pal would be burdened with Kid’s baggage.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kid was skedaddling to the Saloon, for as you may recall Kid has some goats out back of the saloon. Bursting through the swinging doors, Kid saw— “Shorty!”

“Kid. Shouldn’t you be vacationin’?”

“Worried ‘bout my kids, what with that prompt an’ all.”

“The kids are alright, Kid, the Ranch and the saloon are safe places for all.”

“Okay.” Kid then took in the quiet saloon. Shorty was so busy writing she hadn’t noticed the goat feeding from a stack of papers. Despite assurances, Kid did not feel safe and vacated, goat in hand.

CRLC Challenge October 15, “chores”

Thick As Thieves of Time

The call to chores went unheard and unheeded by Pal, for Pal was on vacation, an unprecedented October Rest. But visiting Cuzzins Ash and Dusty Trales at Turnip Farm was not restful for Pal. Ash and Dusty’s idea of catching up meant using Pal’s help to harvest their crop, working from sunup to sundown. Speeding along in the overloaded turnip truck, Pal felt lucky to have not fallen off.

“I’m headin’ back to Carrot Ranch, cuzzins.”

“Stay. Blood’s thicker ‘an water Pal.”

“Yep. An’ water is life.”

And Pal rode back to where the wells run deep and fresh.


En Garde, Le Pard

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, Kid worried about the kids. The billy goats had sampled Shorty’s manuscript and even ate write out of the story collection bin. Kid knew they didn’t have a chance against a champion goat wrestler like Shorty, who also had a thing for kid gloves.

Worried and desperate, Kid almost didn’t notice the rental car parked along the trail. Almost. Before Logan and Morgan returned from vista viewing or whatever chore had taken them away from their vehicle, Kid had those kids stowed in the back seat, knowing these two would care for the goats.

CRLC Challenge October 22; “spooky”

Unimaginably Eerie

With many dark miles yet between Turnip Farm and Carrot Ranch, Pal set up camp. A chill gust of wind made the flames of the campfire spark and leap. Suddenly there was a cowboy sitting just in the shadows across from Pal.

“Ya must be cold, pal, yer shiverin’.”

Pal couldn’t be sure if the stranger was laughing or if it was the wind in the cottonwoods. Pal squinted, for the smoke from the fire made it hard to make out the cowboy’s features.

“What’d ya say yer name was?” Pal quivered.

The cowboy’s eyes gleamed. “I didn’t say.”


The cowboy was wispy as smoke. Pal’s voice wavered. “This is phantasmic! Are ya… a ghost? A apparition thet haunts Carrot Ranch?”

“Nope, ain’t a ghost, but I do haunt the Ranch.”

“Did ya die some unimaginably horrible grisly death, mebbe in a flash, an’ thet’s why ya come back ta haunt the Ranch, a revenant thet spooks the Ranchers?”

“Not ‘xactly. A revenant returns from the dead. I ain’t never lived.”

“Ya mean— ?”

“Yep. I’m a character thet ain’t never been brought ta life. Jist flit beyond the veil a someone’s imagination, but keep goin’ unwrit.”


Swingin’ Along, Singin’ a Song (to the tune of Ghost Rider)

I’ve hid the kids in a car that I found parked

They’re with Logan an’ Morgan, but this Kid’s lonesome in the dark

Thinkin’ I done got lost, tryin’ ta git back ta the Ranch all on my own

Pal an’ me’re on vacation, Pal’s left me all alone

Dang ya Pal, where ever ya are

Dang them goat riders- in that rental car

The trail I found but ev’ry sound strikes my ear as eerie

Dang that spooky prompt, fer the first time Carrot Ranch is skeery

Wish I was with them goats—

Ridin’ in that rental car.

CRLC Challenge October 29; “life saver”

Whiskey in a Storm

“Ah, Ernie, you’re a lifesaver!”

“It’s jist whiskey, Pal.”

“Yer a port in the storm, Ernie, a safe haven as I go a-sailin’ back ta the Ranch.”

“Thinkin’ ya might already be three sheets, there, Pal. An’, ya look like ya seen a ghost.”

“I did, last week. It was spooky. Afore thet I worked my fingers ta the bone doin’ chores at my cuzzins’ turnip farm, an thet dispite wearin’ kid gloves.”

“Speakin’ a which, where’s Kid at?”

“Dunno. Took separate trails fer our vacation. Mighta saved Kid’s life, thet break.”

“Missin’ Kid, ain’tcha?”

“Been a long month.”


Bacon in a Storm

Though spooked, Kid made it back to Carrot Ranch. Kid had never been so long and far away from the barns and bunkhouse without Pal; the whole month had seemed like one long dark and stormy night. Now the sun rising over Shorty’s cookhouse was like a lightbulb overhead.


By the time Shorty came on the scene, Kid had stacked large rocks in a circle.

“Buildin’ a fire ring?”

“Foundation fer a lighthouse. Thinkin’ we need a beacon.”

“The Ranch is a beacon, an’ a safe harbor. Come on, Kid, I’ll fix ya some bacon.”

Kid lightened up.


Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy Neighbor Nov. 2 

CRLC Challenge November 5; “Lost Time”

Time of Hands

“Tellin’ ya Pal, I’m glad vacation’s done. It’s easier knowin’ how ta spend time when ya ain’t got so much free time.”

“Thet’s true Kid. I thought it’d be a good time visitin’ my cuzzins, but ended up more like doin’ hard time.”

“Ya spend any time at the Rodeo?”

“Was gonna but time flew. You?”

“Dang goats took too much a my time. I was ferever roundin’ ‘em up.”

“Once upon a time thet’s how Shorty got started rodeoin’— ropin’ goats.”

“She’s put her time in, fer sure.”

“Yep. Her time’s comin’. Now move, Kid. Time ta work.”


Saddle Up Saloon; Linin’ Up At the Mic Nov. 9 

CRLC Challenge November 12; “avocado toast”

Ahead a Ther Time

“Figgered ya’d be whinin’ ‘bout this prompt, Kid.”

“Ha! We’re all set. Avocado toast’s been on the Saddle Up Saloon menu since the get go.”

“It has?”

“Jeez, Pal. Pay attenchen. Thinkin’ we’ll add pasties to the menu too.”

“Oh, now thet’s a good idea. Kin we do thet afore November 16 when T. Marie Bertineau takes the stage?”

“Sure kin, Pal. An’ folks kin be thinkin’ now on recipes an’ reminisces fer November 23’s Recipe Rustlin’ at the Saloon. Heck, contact us at shiftnshake@dslayton.com , mebbe ya kin take the stage, tellin’ ‘bout favorite fam’ly an’ their foods.”


Avocado, yer so healthy an’ tasty

Smeared on toast or mushed in a bean dip

Oh, yer a fatty one

But yers is thet good kind

yer slimy goodness we don’t mind

good right to yer pit

“Kid, what’re ya doin’ ta thet Eagles song? It ain’t karaoke night.”

Don’t git me goin’ on guacomole, Pal

One a the best foods aroun’

Avocado an’ garlic an’ jalepenos too

In a salad, on chips or taco

don’t worry if green turns ta brown

guac less than prime is still sublime and it will do

“Engleson put ya up ta this?”


Saddle Up Saloon; House At the Corner Nov. 16

CRLC Challenge November 19; “toilet”

Tanks Anyway

“Pal, where ya headed? We need ta confer on the Saloon schedule.”

“Stand jist outside the door if’n it cain’t wait, Kid.”

“Ah, shift, yer headed ta the outhouse!”

“Nope. Shorty’s brought plumbin’ ta the bunkhouse, got us a flush toil-it. Now shut the door or it’ll be a blush toil-it.”

“Well don’t toil too long in there. What was wrong with the outhouse anyway?”

“Don’t be anti-septic Kid. My home’s my castle, I reckon I’ll set on the throne once in a while.”

“Jist hurry.”

“Won’t be rushed. An’ no job is finished till the paperwork is done.”

How an’ Zen

“Sorry, Kid, didn’t see ya in there.”

“Well I am. Kin shut the door anytime Pal.”

“Yep. Ya remin’ me a thet statue, The Thinker.”

“Settin’ an’ thinkin’, Pal.”

“Yep. ‘Cept might be more acc’rate ta call ya The Stinker.”

“Funny. The door?”

“What’re ya thinkin’ ‘bout?”

“Was readin’ here ‘bout a Zen master asked a monk, ‘Where will ya go after death?’ Monk says, ‘’Scuse me fer a minute, I gotta go to the toil-it.’”

“Deep shit, Kid.”

“Yep. After, might go set in the Poet-tree, write an ode ta the commode.”


“Pal. The door’s still ajar…”


Saddle Up Saloon; Recipe Rustlin’ Character Klatsch Nov.23

Saddle Up Saloon; Howdy Stephanie Davies!

CRLC Challenge December 03; “traditions”

Roots Crop

“Purty sure we’re gonna have a Yule log this year.”

“Why’s thet, Kid? Thet ain’t our terdition.”

 “Gonna be a holiday season like no other Pal.”

“Why’s thet, Kid?”

“Gonna be masked up.”

“Why’s thet, Kid? We’re fictional; exempt from all thet.”

“An’ we gotta snuff yer candles Pal.”

“Why’s thet, Kid? That’s my fav’rite terdition fer this time a year.”

“Thought ‘stead a roast beast we’d have baked beans.”

“Baked beans? LeGume!”

“Yep, Pepe’s gonna join us.”

“Thet Pepe LeGume’s a rootin’ tootin’ ranch hand.”

“Yep. So we wear masks. No open flames.”


“Be the light, Pal.”


“LeGume hangin’ out with us stinks, Kid. I ain’t likin’ it.”

“Pepe needs a place ta go.”

“Thet was last week’s prompt. Ain’t LeGume got his own folks?”

“Pepe is estranged from his wife.”

“He’s a-strange alright. Answer’s ‘No’.”

“Hate ta burst yer bubble, Pal. I already invited him.”

“An’ I said oui, merci. Pal, Keed, I weel keep my deestance.”

“Mmm. Yer cookin’. Thet date nut bread?”

“Dere was not so much available, so I am improvising.”

“Never thought I’d say this to ya, but thet smells good.”

“Eet’s all good, Pal. Ees sweet bread from raw carrots.”

Saddle Up Saloon; Servin’ Live Authors Dec. 06

CRLC Challenge December 10; “never dreamed”

Not So Prodigal Kid

“Hey Pal, how’ya doin’?”

“Livin’ the dream Kid.”

“Yep. Never dreamed I’d git dreamed up ta live out my days as a ranch hand.”

“Whoa. Kid, ain’tcha never movin’ on?”

“Where would I go? Sure this is a virtual ranch, but we got it real good here.”

“Dang. Never dreamed I might be ferever stuck with a greenhorn. Kid, shouldn’t ya follow yer own dreams, seek fame an’ fortune an’ sech?”

“This here’s fiction, Pal, but that there’s illusion. Done made my way ta where I am. Here I be.”

“Be-lieve yer livin’ yer dream Kid.”

“Write on, Pal.”



“I’m purty excited Pal.  Never dreamed Shorty’d git us a puppy.”

“Shorty ain’t gittin’ us a puppy.”

“But… I thought…”

“Get real, Kid. Thet’s Charli Mills is gittin’ a puppy.”

“Well cain’t we git a puppy too? A ranch needs a good dog.”

“Now yer an expert on what a ranch needs?”


“Did a ranch need elefints?”

“Was jist an idea, Pal.”

“Does a ranch really need goats? Where are them goats now? You couldn’t even keep a cat unner yer hat, Kid.”

“We’re gittin’ a puppy, Pal.”

“Ain’t neither.”

“We are, ‘cause I never dreamed we wouldn’t.”



“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.”



“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.”


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


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


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

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

Saddle Up Saloon; Rodeo Ta Radio Dec.14

CRLC Challenge December 17; “stiletto”

Kid’s Christmas Present

“Yer up late Kid.”


“A flash ‘bout stilettos?”

“Hmmph. How kin ya write ‘bout somethin’ ya cain’t walk in? I’m writin’ a letter. Ta Santy Claus.”

“Ya know he ain’t fer real.”


“Then why?”

“Miss him.”

“How kin ya miss Santy if ya know he ain’t real?”

“Reckon I miss believin, an’ all the other things I use ta know. Miss when Christmas weren’t so much ‘bout missin’ folks an’ what’s past an’ fears fer what’s future.”

“So what’re ya askin’ fer?”

“Nothin’ Pal! Jist listin’ ever’thin’ an’ ever’body I’m grateful fer. Right now.”

“Write on Kid.”


After a while, all thet countin’ a blessin’s put Kid asleep, an’ Kid dreamt strange sweet dreams.

“Santy? That you?”

“No, No, No!”

Kid dreamt thet one a the ranch hands was Santy Claus, so I sung ta Kid ta the tune a Jingle Bells:

Thet’s jist Doug ya know

lives way off down under

An’ when we are  gittin’ snow

he gits lightnin’ storms an’ thunder

“Reindeer! Their hooves clickin’ like stilettos!”

I sung agin:

Curly the pug nosed piglet

unbooted hooves on bunkhouse floor

An’ if ya were ta hear it

It’d sound like reindeer fer shore*

Mebbe it was Kid sleep talkin’ but I heard:

On longhorns, on unicorns, on Frankie on Burt

On to a ranch where no one gets hurt

Where every tradition stars and shines bright

Where all safely gather and all bravely write

* NOTE: The 99 mark has been reached. Read further at your own risk.


Party Like It’s Only 99

“Kid! Thought you said thet piglet was potty trained.”

“She is. She’s right here with me Pal.”

“Then what’s thet smell?”



“Oui, it ees me.”

“Thet’s right, fergot yer bunkin’ with us. Seems someone cain’t keep all her stories straight.”

“Hey, Pepe! Look’t you. What’s all this! Bells? Bows?”

“Oui, Keed, an’ geefts for you and Pal and thees leetle evergreen tree. Eets got roots, we can plant it later.”

“Shut the front door! Why it’s Tip and Top Lemmon.”

“Dey want to perform for us.”

“The Lemmon Queens’re gonna dance?”

“No. Dey weel prance! In stilettos!”

Saddle Up Saloon; Mixed Play List Dec.21

Saddle Up Saloon; Story Time Dec.28