A Small Protest

“Won’t!” The small face scrunches.

Father sighs. “I’d let you go like this, Arnie, but-”

“No no no!”

“Arrrnie,” Father begins, his tone less calm, “Daddy‘s wearing-”

“Daddy’s fart face!” A small tongue protrudes from the small mouth.

Father straightens. He takes a small arm in a big hand and marches small legs up big stairs. “That’s enough, young man! We do not stick our tongues out or call names.”

“Fart. face. Fart. face,” Arnie gasps at each stair.

“Now,” Father concludes, setting him at the top. “You’ll sit in Timeout, then you will put your pants on!”

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Enacted for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: protest

January 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!

Respond by January 21, 2019. Use the comment section to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit: Marcus Neto

©2020 Chelsea Owens

True Grit?

Sand grinds ‘twixt dusty yellers; red-shot eyeballs glint and glare; farm-strong flexes years-old cotton.

Spit.

Squint.

“Mmm-breeay!” bawls the milk-hung ma, denyin’ an’ defyin’ all. “Don’tcha touch mah babe; her drink.”

Shake.

Stare.

Laughter breaks ‘top wind-bent grass; ‘top cow-pied field; ‘top boy an’ cow. “‘Reckon she’s got best a’ YOU.” Cacklin’ grandpap crows and coughs.

Snicker.

Snort.

Eyes-bright pride waits, sideline spyin’: apple seed not far from tree. Rope loop lies in glove-sweat hands.

Set.

Sigh.

Brain-bright boy drops standoff staring; proffers dusty, gloved-hand oats.

Cow an’ calf come happy, hungry. Dad, an’ dad, shake worn hat heads.

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Rounded up for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week: True Grit. You can play, too!

September 5, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows true grit. You can use the phrase or embody the theme. Who or what has true grit? Go where the prompt leads you!

Respond by September 10, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit: Image by REBECA CRUZ GALVAN from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

The results of this contest are going to be delayed every time; until my children start free, public babysitting at the end of this month. Sorry.

I won’t make you wait any longer. This week’s winner is:

Darling Maisie

by Bruce Goodman

I can’t say I’m that crazy
About Maisie
And when I’ve had a few things get a bit hazy
Anyway, before very long she’ll hopefully be pushing up a daisy
Or two.

Almost inevitably she has to be regarded
As a favourite relative and not discarded
Because if I say otherwise I’ll get bombarded
And cursed and I can ill afford to be unguarded
In the matter.

There’s very little in Maisie’s life that I approve
But she’s fabulously rich and my lot is likely to get improved
Thus I’m feeling behoved
To love her and hope she dies soon, overfed and boozed;
My darling third cousin twice removed!

Congratulations, Daisy -I mean, Bruce! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

I really had difficulty narrowing things down. I think everyone did well at mis-matching meter, misspelling or misusing words, and tweaking rhyming patterns where they ought not to be tweaked. Bruce’s entry won by merit of it sounding the worst when I read them all aloud. Vocalizing helped me catch the true spirit of his terrible meter, and dub him the most terrible poet of them all (this week).

Good work to everyone! Here are the runners-up:

A Tribute to my once favourite brother

by Deb Whittam

We were brothers (political license here)
Who challenged the stars to duels
With the words we wrote.

We were comrades (more political license)
Who downed Guinness, ok perhaps not Guinness but its … political license …
As we coloured the sunset with our crayons.

We were amigos (Like the three amigos but my chest is hairier.)
Who took the wrong turn, not that I was navigating, hey Charles,
Then built mountains for astronauts to scale.

We were all we needed, just us, you know, you and me, two is better than one, ain’t it grand to be a duo and not in a band,
Who composed melodies that sent
Wayward angels into raptures of delight.

We were all of this and then,
My brother over the seas (Ok not technically my brother but political license and all that jazz)
You had the gall to beat me and now you are just a stop sign I will tear down and stomp on while pretending it’s your head.

—–

Auntie M

by Ruth Scribbles

Bless her heart
She’s just old
And loves to scold

Surveying the kingdom
Nothing is pleasant
No good words spoken
Especially about peasants

Leaves are trash
Unmade beds are a mess
Perfection is the name of the game
Otherwise out of the will
You’ll be unnamed

I fear she will live forever
And ever and ever
The one thing she didn’t perfect
Was how to undo the defect
Of living so long

And so goes my song
Oh my darling Auntie M
You are loved
With all your foibles
Oh my darling Auntie M

—–

Untitled piece

by Kytwright

My gran’s budgie ate Trill, he chewed up the seeds with a will,

He was imaginatively called Budgie Boy,

a mirror with a bell was his favorite toy,

which seemed to give him joy.

But when you opened the cage door,

he’d fly out and mess on the floor.

Then gran to no avail,

would try to coax him from the curtain rail,

my grandma’s budgie, who ate Trill.

—–

The Bongo Bingo Poet Beat

by Peregrine Arc

Oh! My dear old Uncle Mingo
How he loved playing his Bingo.
Russian Roulette in retirement with all his savings
Soon became his weekly misbehaving.

One fine day he died and was broke;
His lawyer gathered us around the table at the woke
“Nothing’s left, nothing at all;
And you owe me $3500 for telling you all.”

And now Uncle Mingo’s dead, it’s true;
I’m at his funeral, dressed in blue.
And when we turned from the grave
“Bingo!” was heard, shouted out by the knave.

—–

Uncle Fred and the Things He Ded

by Charles

From when I was young, ‘til when I’m dead
I’ll always remember Uncle Fred
When I was just a fresh-faced kid
He told me all the things he did
He climbed all mountains and fought all wars
He visited every nation’s shores
He had several PhDs
All attained with relative ease
He said he could do most anything
And even taught a pig to sing
My esteem for the man could not be higher
A brilliant man and accomplished liar

—–

Thanks for playing!! Come back in about 12 hours for next week’s prompt.

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Bruce: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to Terrible Poetry Contest #36!

Need a bit of guidance? Read my basic outline here. This is the sort of contest only undertaken by the satirical at heart, by the artists who know that starving is a silly way to be.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: A tribute to your ‘favorite’ relative. We all have them: that maternal aunt who means well, that grandfather who keeps asking when you’re going to make something of yourself, that sister who’s so successful you just want to bless her heart.
  2. Length is totally up to you, but I prefer short. Grandma probably does too, Dearie.
  3. Rhyming is optional. You do what feels right to you, like that time you were with what’s-his-face -remember? That didn’t end well, now did it? -Of course, your relationships usually don’t turn out for the best. I was just telling your mother, the other day, that…
  4. Speaking of, I’m sure your mother would have something to tell her bridge club if you made it terrible. We wouldn’t want yet another Christmas where I only have your collection of Star Wars toys to share in the family newsletter, now would we?
  5. Let’s not shock your relatives, unless cementing your status as a Black Sheep is your thing. PG-13 or classier is fine.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (August 2) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Ashwin Vaswani

Farmer Henry

Liza’s dad waited ‘nside the barn; toe tappin’, scowl deepenin’. Where was that girl? He’d sent ‘er ten minutes ago ‘n hadn’t seen hide nor hair since.

“Uhmmmooobreuhhh,” lowed Maybelle.

He patted the cow. “I know, girl. I know.”

Right as ‘e settled on fetchin’ ‘is daughter, a glimpse a somethin’ yeller showed in the winder. Shore ‘nough, ’twas Liza. She weren’t movin’ fast, which perplexed the farmer.

“Liza!” he holler’d. “Whatcha dallyin’ fer?”

Sniffin’ and silent, she showed ‘im what she’d bin sent after.

“Why,” her father ‘sclaimed, “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza. A hole!”

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Fetched and carried for Carrot Ranch’s writing prompt.

March 21, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a bucket of water. What is the condition of the water and what is the bucket for? Drop deep into the well and draw from where the prompt leads!

Respond by March 26, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Six

“Not that I knew much about being a dad,” Rob continued. He looked at his hands, his wife, his children, his hands. “I was …pretty freaked out about the whole idea but I knew I couldn’t have someone out there…” He paused. Cynthia leaned a little closer to her husband and squeezed his arm.

Rob breathed in deeply, the air sounding ragged at the edges. He released the breath slowly through his nose. “I just… thought I couldn’t let a kid, out there, had made be …well, be killed -or, to think another guy was raising my kid.”

Wil sat back upon her ankles, stunned. “People,” she said in a hoarse whisper, “people kill their babies?”

Jakob responded first. “Duh, Nina. Happens all the time.”

Cynthia cleared her throat carefully. “While I don’t know what you’ve heard or learned, Jakob, I think that’s a bit exaggerated to say it ‘happens all the time.'”

Shrugging again, he settled back to his original position of half-closed eyes and slouched posture. “Seems like it.”

“So Gwen- my moth- the woman who actually had me wanted to get rid of me?!” Wil asked, her voice rising in anxiety and pitch. “Like, permanently?!” Tears pooled in her wide eyes and she felt them run down her cheeks. Of course I won’t respond to Guinevere Greene! she resolved. Who would do that to her own child -to me?!

“Wil,” Cynthia said in a beckoning tone. “Wil; come here, Sweetheart.”

Wil complied; how could she not? Rising and stumbling over Jakob’s feet, she walked to her parents and sat at the available edge of couch to the side of her mother. With a gentle, loving touch, Cynthia brushed Wil’s loose strands of hair away from her tear-streaked face. Wil turned to face the mother she knew and loved. She sniffed dramatically and Cynthia bit back an amused smile.

“Wil… Guinevere, your mother, did want you.” Her mother paused, stroked at Wil’s hair, took Wil’s hand beneath her own. “Your father was only trying to explain his thinking at the time.”

“Then why,” Jakob, the statue, asked, “Didn’t this Guinevere keep Meanie?”

Wil closed her open mouth, surprised that her stepbrother had voiced the question before she had.

Now was Rob’s turn to clear his throat. “Erm, well, you see…. she wasn’t trying to get rid of you, Wil.” He rubbed at the back of his neck. “I think she just was a bit upset at things at the time and felt… well, maybe she felt like she would have to try to take care of you all by herself and just …um, well, maybe didn’t know how to do that.” He faced Wil and gave her a sheepish smile. “I lov- I liked Gwen a lot at the time we …were dating; but, honestly, she was a bit much for me to understand.” He coughed a nervous laugh. “Now that I’m older and can look back, I think she didn’t really understand herself either.”

They all paused to consider this, though Jakob may have been considering someone else of similar temperament.

“Anyway,” Rob said with more confidence, “I was saying that I told Gwen I would take care of you.” He sat up and smiled. “I didn’t quite know how to do that, and that’s when I went to the truck stop, and saw-” pausing, he caught Wil’s eye. His own eyes were twinkling with an unusual humor. She smiled, catching on.

Together, he and Wil chorused, “…The ugliest and scariest person I’d/you’d ever seen.”

 

Continued from Seventy-Five.
Keep reading to Seventy-Seven.

Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Five

Breakfast and cleanup passed without incident or smoke alarm, although the whole family kept eyeing Rob as if he might break out into spots.

“I suppose,” Rob began, once they settled in the living room, “I thought I could start by telling you all the truth, Wil. And you, Jakob …but I always told you the truth about your mom -my sister-” He seemed flustered, rubbing at his cheek enough to make it red, and blinking around at his attentive family.

“Not that your mother didn’t love you, of course, Jakob -” Cynthia added.

“S’okay, Mom,” Jakob said. “I’m over it.” He shrugged from his leaning posture against the armchair and looked bored.

Rob cleared his throat. “Hm.” He frowned as he studied his stepson, then turned back to his daughter. “Wil, you like hearing the story of how I met your -I mean, of how I met Cynthia.”

Wil nodded, and then realization flashed in her eyes. “Oh!” She sat up from her kneel upon the floor. “That -that -that’s how you met Mom, I mean- Cynthia, but then you, you…” She faltered; looking up at her father, then back to the woman she’d thought of as mother, then to her father again.

That story is true,” he said slowly. “But I don’t tell you a few things.” He paused. “Like, how I was out of work because I …well, I didn’t plan on needing to work so early in life.”

Jakob laughed, which startled Wil. “Were you f***ing around?”

Jakob Clair!” their mother exclaimed.

Jakob stopped smiling and looked down at his clasped hands. “Sorry, Mom,” he mumbled. After a pause, he added, “Sorry, Wil.”

Their father cleared his throat again. “The point is, I …hmm. Well, Jakob’s point is accurate in a way..”

Cynthia placed a hand on his arm. “Maybe you could just say that you were overwhelmed with some responsibilities you weren’t expecting.”

Rob smiled gratefully and sheepishly up at his wife. “Yes. That sounds good.”

“What do you mean?” Wil asked, her confusion coming across in her tone.

Her father met her gaze and gave her a half-smile. “How about I just tell you the story you know, with a few additions?”

Wil smiled in return; hers a full face-lighting that, unbeknownst to her, unearthed his memories of her birth mother like a sudden slap.

“Wee-e-ell,” he began, and composed himself. “I had just started a new job, at the factory I work at today. Just the day before I went to the truck stop, I had learned that I had …that I was a father.” No one even dared breathe to fill the silence. “But Gwen didn’t want to be a mother and wondered if I wanted to keep you.”

His eyes met Wil’s again. “I told her, ‘yes.'”

 

Continued from Seventy-Four.
Keep reading to Seventy-Six.

Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Four

“That’s okay, Wil,” a scruffy voice said from the hallway. “I’ll get the breakfast.” Wil turned and saw her father, but did not believe she had. Her father was never up so early on a Sunday, never so vocal, and never used her favorite variation of her given name.

“Rob?” Cynthia asked, her tone indicating a similar disbelief. She immediately began coughing and the man who looked and sounded like Rob crossed over to the couch to comfort her.

“You all right, Dad?” Jakob said, talking over their mother. He stood from a paused action of pouring cereal into a bowl.

Wil felt tears form; she blinked at them. “What is going on?” she cried. First, her father was calling her Wil and now Jakob was calling Rob Dad. If the hospital nurse had walked in and announced she, Nurse Bea, was Jakob’s real mother, Wil would not have been surprised.

Cynthia laughed through her coughing, which exacerbated the condition. “Get some water, please, Wil,” Rob instructed.

Wil complied, wiping at her sleeve and sniffling as she went. She filled a large, plastic cup Jakob handed her without comment, and walked to the living room unsteadily.

“Sorry to worry you, Wil,” her father said, once her mother was drinking the water. He sighed. “I’ve been awake for a while. I -” He ran a hand over the stubble of his unshaven face; over his right cheek. “I didn’t sleep much all night. Or the ones before.” Another pause. “I’ve been thinking about things.”

Besides the time she had asked him about whether she could kiss a boy in first grade, and the few moments she was able to get him to tell her favorite story, Wil had never heard such a long, voluntary explanation from her father.

The noise of the utensils drawer opening behind them made her jump. She turned back and watched Jakob open and close the refrigerator next, tread across the floor with milk and bowl, scrape a kitchen chair out, sit heavily upon it, then set his bowl down and pour milk into it. He began stirring his cereal with a *clink* *clink* of spoon against bowl. “Well?” he said, taking a mouthful of Wheaties. After swallowing, his next word was spoken more clearly, “Thinking?”

Wil faced her father again. Rob rose and moved to the nearby armchair. Frowning, he stood and pushed the armchair closer to Cynthia on the couch. He sat again, his face cleared, then he frowned again and rose once more. He looked at the two women he loved most in life and smiled. “I forgot the breakfast.”

Her mother wiped at a few lingering tears from her coughing fit and smiled in return. “That’s okay, Rob.” She and Wil watched him until he moved past the couch. While Rob moved around the kitchen, Cynthia swallowed heavily and drank more from the water. “While he’s getting that, Wil,” she directed at her daughter, “Would you please get my medications?”

Wil nodded, stood, and headed down the short hallway to her parents’ room. She stopped in the doorway and scanned the space for her mother’s bag. Since the last time Wil had been in the room, even more clothing and paperwork had joined the mess across the floor. Her father was the sort to keep things in their place, always looking faint at the sight of Wil’s bedroom compared to his own. Wil viewed the lumpy piles. Perhaps the world really was turning upside-down.

“Wil?” her mother called from the living room. Wil tried to focus. The bag. I need the bag. Searching for it by color would help, she knew. Red, she thought. Red, red, red -ah! She finally located it shoved between her mother’s side of the bed and the nightstand.

“Wil?” called her father’s voice, again using her preferred name. “Need help?”

“Only always,” she heard Jakob respond.

“Jakob!” (her mother.)

Wil stepped back through the detritus of the floor like a ballerina. After reaching the door, she felt safe enough to call back, “No, I got it. I’m coming.” She cradled the medium-sized bag that housed her mother’s small infirmary, and walked down the hall to her waiting family.

 

Continued from Seventy-Three.
Keep reading to Seventy-Five.

The Happiest Traffic Jam on Earth

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“When will we get dere?”

Sigh.

“It’s …uh, your turn to answer him, Dear.”

“Whe-e-e-e-en will we get de-e-e-e-ere?”

“I told you, Honey. We’ll be there soon.”

“Yeah. ‘Soon.’

“You said that a long time ago!”

“Alvy. Honey-”

“I wish you wouldn’t call him-”

“No! You said we go in duh car!”

“Yes, Sweetheart. Vroom! Vroom! Remember?”

“Not vrooming…”

“You said LITTLE ride in duh car!”

“Well, I meant-”

“You did tell him just a little ride-“

WAAAAAAAAAH!

“Dear, please. That’s not helping to side with him…”

“Are we picking sides?”

“WHEN WILL WE GET DERE?!”

“Your turn.”

Sigh.

 

Carrot Ranch Literary Society Prompt

The Teacher’s Child

The teacher’s child is up too soon,
Eyes a-rubbed and cereal spooned.
He’s all his clothes laid in a line,
All washed and pressed with Mother’s iron.
He knows the sun, both ‘rise and ‘set,
He knows who’ll be the teacher’s pet.

The teacher’s child can never shirk;
Can’t hide the notes about late work.
Can’t even hide behind his name;
The teacher’s clearly called the same.
And all his friends know this too well
When he’s greeted by the principal.

The teacher’s child must quietly chew
Another meal from the drive-thru.
“How was your day?” is not his own
When they fin’lly meet his dad at home.
Then he will always share his desk
With thirty other pupils’ mess.

The teacher’s child will wash his sheets,
Will feed the pet, will brush his teeth.
He’ll tuck himself into his bed,
Will tell himself a book he’s read.
And, though her time is far and few,
Will cherish his mother’s, “I love you.”