What’s in a Name?

Mimi’s mum named her something, “fun, cheery; a bit totty.” To say Mimi’s actual personality fell short of that was a wee understatement. Had she been allowed an opinion, Mimi would’ve chosen a sensible moniker like Mildred.

“Mildred? Whoever’d want to be Mildred unless she thought to run a convent?” Mum would’ve said, had she still been around and not jumped before the pilot gave the all-clear at the Seniors’ Skydiving Surprise.

The Surprise was how little liability the company claimed.

What had gone through Mum’s head before passing, Mimi wondered, apart from that church spire? She’d never know.

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©2020 Chelsea Owens

Don’t ask where this came from, in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week:

May 14, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that answers the question, What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you are in absolute danger? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 19, 2020. 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: Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Anarchists and Aliens

Despite overwhelming evidence of humanity’s intelligence and observational abilities, Dr. Straussnüd’s research covering the period shortly before the collapse of civilisation appeared to lead to one conclusion: that people failed to utilise said abilities in order to avert subjugation and demise.

For, for what other reason did the records he had unearthed bear markings of carefree ignorance on the part of Earth’s inhabitants?

When a literal invasion of alien species flashed its conscience-altering devices, they had not followed admonitions. Why? Once informed, audio records proved their leaders to have yelled, “Shield your faces!”

Straussnüd frowned. He required further study.

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Photo by Miriam Espacio on Pexels.com

I’m not sure where this came from, but it’s in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

April 9, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that declares, shield your face. It can be a knight of old, a doctor, or a senior citizen. What is the circumstance? Who makes the declaration? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by April 14, 2020. 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.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Earthquake

It isn’t loud, the sound of impending doom. It isn’t quiet, but it isn’t loud.

I’d always assumed the opposite.

Instead of a sudden dislodging of one’s solid footing with a sudden tap-tinkle-tumble of Grandma’s antique urn that had rested too near the mantel’s edge –

I expected a fanfare. I anticipated an alarm. At the least, I thought there’d be a Horseman.

But, no.

As I clutched my children against the shivering wall and listened to the silence that shook my world, I learned: there’s only the rumble of the moment.

It isn’t loud, the sound of impending doom.

Earthquake

Fallen debris is seen at a building at 500 South and 400 West in Salt Lake City after an earthquake on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

Written, then considered for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo ©2020 KSL Newsmedia

Throwback Thursday: Zombie Lunchlady

I had intended to continue H.R.R. Gorman‘s story today, but ’twill have to wait till morning. In the meantime, enjoy a three paragraph story I wrote back on October 18, 2017.

3 Paragraph Story: Zombie Lunchlady

Doris stood there, hand on hip, trying to figure out what to say. She’d already used up most of her standby phrases; things like, “Don’t forget, employees must wash their hands,” and “A smile will go a long way.” What worked for all the other ladies had not worked for this newest employee.

“Wash your hands” had led to the new hire carefully removing one hand, rinsing it, reattaching it somewhat sloppily, then attempting to repeat the process with the other one. Encouraging her to smile had sent the entire first grade screaming and running away from the queue.

Today, Doris had come to school ready for whatever came to mind. She’d thought to ask her fellow long-timers what they suggested. Looking hopelessly around the group, however, she realized they would not have any suggestions for the new girl. Rather, she had rubbed off on them already. They stood in a similar posture to hers, listlessly lolling their heads about and groaning. Doris cleared her throat anyway. Alerted, they all began shambling closer.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Fred’s Best Friend

“He’s in t’flowers again.”

“Mmm-hmmm.”

Mae put a hand on a hip and glowered at Fred. The look failed, on account of his facing open-hood engine and not openly-hostile wife.

“Fraey-ed!”

“Mm?”

Fred hunted around for some lost cap or perhaps a lost widget. His wife was a determined sort, bound to hold her position till he acknowledged her.

“Fred!”

He couldn’t keep up the pretend-hunt. “Yes’m?”

“I say-ed that yer old dog’s out in m’flowers agin!” She whined. “I jest planted them daisies!”

Fred found his wrench. “Ah, Mae. I say t’let the old dog have his day!”

Played out in response to the prompt from Carrot Ranch: a dog in the daisies.

February 6, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme “a dog in the daisies.” It can be any dog, real or imagined. Push into the setting and as always, go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 11, 2020. 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.

©2020 Chelsea Owens
Image © Charli Mills

The Hereafter, Aloft

She came every day at 5:00; after making her way from the bus [D’you need a hand, Mrs. Parker?], down the sidewalk, to the bench.

She needed more and more assistance from those sweet young nurses [What if we skipped the park today, Mrs. Parker?] with each passing day.

The birds know her. Chirping – flitting – pecking. She laughs at their avian antics.

[Come with us.]

“What?” Emiline Parker glances around. A sparrow eyes her.

[Come fly.]

“…Why?”

[You’ve cared. It’s the least we could do.]

Considering, she nods. The birds alight; a new friend among them, an old life behind.

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From this gif, as prompted by Charli at Carrot Ranch.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

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

It’s By Design

“But, men are better-suited to a job. Women are nurturers, better-suited to home life and childcare.”

She looked his way, watching her nonverbal incredulity fly over his head.

“You think work’s some sort of vacation, but it’s difficult. It’s boring, too.”

She could see the piles of laundry behind him, an out-of-focus background to his immaculately-suited person. Disorder framed order: a juxtaposition between her expected daily high point and his.

“It’s true. I read a study that women are happier at home.”

She sighed, wondering which pile hid happiness.

“Trust me.” He kissed her pale cheek. “It’s by design.”

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What came to mind for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: to include the phrase “by design.”

December 26, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the phrase by design. It can be used in any manner — a label, a mantra, a story. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by December 31, 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.

©2019 Chelsea Owens

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Butcher (Carrot Ranch TUFF Rodeo)

TUFF is a contest where the story goes through a first draft of 99 words, a parsing down to 59 words, a butchering down to 9 words, then a revisit to 99 words again.

99 Words

Jacqueline studied the tiny, harmless beans in her palm. Was it her imagination that they glowed, or did she need a hand-washing as much as Mama always said?

“I tell ye,” the old peddler said, “They’s magic!”

Magic or no, she couldn’t keep staring. Jacqueline pocketed her treasures. Yanking at Bessie’s rope, she headed on to the butcher’s.

Mama wouldn’t be impressed by anything short of a month of food, Jacqueline knew. She shrugged to herself. At least she’d haggled the peddler down to a tongue and brisket. Who knows what mama would’ve said about losing a whole cow?

—–

59 Words

Jacqueline studied the beans. They rested against her dirty palm, seeming to glow.

“They’s magic,” the peddler insisted.

Mama wouldn’t agree, any more than she would to strangers or dirty hands. Jacqueline sighed, pulled at Bessie’s rope, and headed on to the butcher’s.

At least she’d haggled down to a brisket. Mama’d never agree to losing a whole cow.

—–

9 Words

Jacqueline wondered if beans were magic enough for Mama.

—–

99 Words, Final

Jacqueline studied the beans in her dirty palm. Was the peddler right? Were the beans glowing? Maybe Mama was the honest one, and all she needed was a good hand-washing.

“I’m telling ye,” the old peddler insisted, “They’s magic.”

Magic or no, she couldn’t stand around staring. Jacqueline pocketed her dubious treasures and took up Bessie’s rope. Mama wouldn’t be impressed by anything if they were late for the butcher’s.

Jacqueline shrugged to herself. At least she’d talked the peddler down to a tongue and a brisket. Who knows what Mama would have said about losing a whole cow?

—–

Typed and entered for Carrot Ranch’s TUFF Rodeo competition: Beans.

©2019 Chelsea Owens

 

Young Will for Prezident (Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest #1)

They say Young Will came tearin’ into this here world like a bolt a thunder. His mama woulda agreed; ‘ceptin’ she’d add that he were more like bulls through china once his legs growed and ‘e started runnin’.

And run Will did! He just about run everyplace -walls notwithstandin’.

No; nothing or nobody stood in his way. I reckon that’s why ‘e didn’t ‘llow somethin’ as teensy as impossible to slow ‘im. When ‘e heard anyone could be prezident, he went right home and ‘nnounced he were next.

That’s why, on ‘nauguration day, his mama was the least surprized.

—–

Type and entered for Carrot Ranch‘s first Rodeo Contest: tall tale.

©2019 Chelsea Owens