While raking leaves Bill thought back to the farm his parents had with asparagus, pickles, pumpkins, corn, hay and soybeans.  The chores back then were not so bad. He hoed corn from the beans and stacked baled hay.  There was the busy time of  harvesting, but harvesting had to be done.

The worst were those chickens. He’d reach his hand under a sitting hen to gather eggs only to have it pecked.  Sometimes he’d shoo them off the nest.  Sometimes they wouldn’t go.  

He wouldn’t want some hen doing that to him, but he had to get those eggs.

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s October 15 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of chores.

Whispers and Echoes published one of my very, very short stories, “Lecture”. I wrote it for the Tiny Terrors theme and I am grateful to Sammi Cox for selecting it.

Among other challenges this month, Ronovan Writes announced an annual spooky 13 challenge today and the Carrot Ranch Rodeo is going on.

Trail Through Autumn Trees

Kid Gloves

“You see how those trees hug the shore. They didn’t wear kid gloves to do that. They grabbed on with everything they had. You’re going to have to deal with Bernard the same way.”

“How many times do I have to tell him to stop drinking? He’s like a misshapen piece of fired pottery that can no longer change.”

“Those trees look unchangeably misshapen to me as well. The problem is not every tree that grabbed the shore was able to hold on long enough for strong roots to develop. 

“If Bernard doesn’t change he’ll fall off the shore.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s October 8 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the them of “kid gloves” for these 99-word stories.

More Tree Roots

Dusty Trail

The horse stopped.  Bill saw the rattlesnake ahead of him. It was coiled ready to spring. Bill and the snake stared at each other waiting to see who would make the first move. 

Bill had no fear of snakes.  Indeed some people thought he was one himself especially with the crafty way he dealt with people.

The snake began acting strange.  It uncurled itself.  Instead of leaving in the brush it twisted itself into a circle and put its tail in its mouth.

That was all Bill needed to see. He pulled out his revolver and fired.

“Stupid snake.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s October 1 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of dusty trail for these 99-word stories.

Near Cripple Creek

Snacking on Jezebel – Carrot Ranch

“How would you distinguish Baal from Yahweh?”

“Yahweh gets things done.  After the prophet poured oil on Jehu, proclaiming him king, he ran off.  Jehu’s officers thought the prophet was an idiot until they heard the announcement: Yahweh anointed Jehu to drain the swamp.  Jehu killed Jehoram and Ahaziah. At Jehu’s command eunuchs threw Jezebel from her window.  While Jehu and his men got refreshments, dogs snacked on Jezebel.”  

“That’s a gruesome story.”

“Jehu killed Ahab’s entire family and anyone he could get his hands on associated with Baal.”

“I see. Beware when Yahweh has His fill of you.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s September 24 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of snacking. You can read more about Jehu in 2 Kings chapters 9 and 10 where it is told in more detail and better than I have.

This is Yom Kippur. Although unrelated to the story, after listening to Jonathan Cahn’s Yom Kippur Broadcast, I put the finishing touches on the story:

Jonathan Cahn Yom Kippur Broadcast
Prairie with Mist in the Field

Mice, or Rather the Mouse

“There isn’t much we mice can do.”

“Let alone one mouse”.  

“What has a lion ever done for us? He’s probably trapped for a good reason.”

And so they tried to discourage Tamar from helping the lion escape from the ropes binding him.

“If you’re going to help him, don’t lecture him about his diet.”

“He might eat you.”

“Or smash you.”

Tamar recognized him. He’s the one who let her go. A quiet voice told her to gnaw the rope and then get out of the way.

So she did and when she did the other mice helped.

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s September 17th Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of mice. This is a retelling of Aesop’s Fable of the Lion and the Mouse.

Morning Praise

Songs One Can’t Forget – Flash Fiction

“I hope the kids don’t remember that song you used to sing to them about the bird and the word.”

“I didn’t sing it for long. When they got older, I pretended to be the voice of their doll, Sweetie Baby.”

“You know, we still have that doll in case they ever want it.”

“It’s good to keep stuff like that. Actually some of those old songs aren’t any goofier than the ones they sing today. No wonder we’re all messed up.”

“At least the grand kids don’t know the song.”

“Unfortunately I sang it to them as well.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s September 10th Flash Fiction Challenge. Charli Mills offers the prompt to use something heard on the radio now or in the past.

September’s Yellow

High Winds – Flash Fiction

The only high winds were Windy, the wolf, so Straw, the pig, built a house of straw. Brick overbuilt with bricks. Stick used what was lying around, sticks. Both annoyed Straw.  “It’s not fair!” Straw complained to Windy. He wanted all three houses.

Windy went to Stick’s home and blew it down. Chomp! He ate Stick.  Then he went to Brick’s home. Brick gave Straw a key. Straw lent it to Windy. Chomp! 

When Windy returned Straw squealed, “Perfect!”  Windy, mind-blown as ever, thought: yummy.  Chomp! He (gasp!) ate Straw.

Moral: Some high winds can take your breath away.

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s September 3rd Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of “high winds” for these 99-word stories.


Lemon Queens – Flash Fiction

They call themselves the Lemon Queens, bitter as a lemon and twice as nasty.  Don’t get me wrong. I love lemons. I even eat the rind. But those two with their cursing, spitting and hostility give lemons a bad name.

I have no intention of kneeling to these queens to pacify them. That’s just what they want. That’s just what they’re not going to get.

We arrested them last night.  They hurled a trash can through a store window.  Their lawyer insisted they were peaceful protesters. Then someone bailed them out. Now someone will have to arrest them again.

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s August 27 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of “Lemon Queens” for these 99-word stories.

Bright Sunset Through the Trees

First Flight

The interviewer wanted to know whether Bird was scared when he jumped out of the nest for the first time.

Bird said, “Technically I didn’t ‘jump’.  I flew.  My wings moved.  Soon the nest was far below me.  I don’t know how it happened. It’s not like jumping. There’s a difference.”

The interviewer wondered, “Really? What’s the difference?”

He clarified, “You see, any monkey can jump out of a nest.  You know as well as I do what will happen.  I’m not going to go there.  But birds, well – how do I put this? We don’t jump. We fly.”

Linked to Carrot Ranch August 13 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the theme of “first flight” for these 99-word stories.

Watching Me Take a Photo With Suspicion

Lava Hot

When twelve Brett told his aunt that chickens were dinosaurs. She laughed. What a stupid kid.  

Brett’s mind was lava hot, hot enough to melt chaos into understanding.  After reading that chickens were dinosaurs he looked at the hens in the chicken house who’d peck when he reached for the eggs they were sitting on differently.

True, they were smaller.  True, they had feathers.  True, they didn’t really run like Tyrannosaurus Rex.

When seventy another nugget of reality melted in his ever hot lava lamp of understanding. What if his old aunt was right? What if they weren’t dinosaurs?

Linked to Carrot Ranch’s August 6th Flash Fiction Challenge. Charli Mills offers the theme of molten lava, real or metaphoric, for the 99-word stories.

August Blooms