This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something a character never dreamed would happen. The situation can be fortuitous, funny, or disappointing. Go where the prompt leads!
When I began my blogging journey in 2013, I never dreamed that I would:
- continue writing two or more posts a week for more than seven years
- participate in weekly flash fiction prompts at the Carrot Ranch year after year
- meet so many fascinating people from nearly every continent with varied backgrounds and interests
- make so many wonderful friends in the blogosphere whose encouragement and support is constant (thank you)
- become addicted to the conversations that occur on my blog and theirs
- enter into a rodeo contest, a writing one at that, and receive honourable mentions for my efforts.
The 2020 rodeo is over now, the winners have been announced and prizes been distributed. All submissions (except for the TUFF contest) and winning entries for all contests are available to read at the Carrot Ranch on the Rodeo Contests page.
Scroll below my response to this week’s prompt for my rodeo submissions.
She dreamed she could control the weather, but never believed she could. Until she did.
She wished it would rain.
‘It always rains in spring,’ they scoffed.
‘From a blue sky?’
‘Sometimes,’ they said.
She wished the rain would stop.
‘Showers never last long,’ they said.
‘I love rain,’ another said. ‘Can you make it rain forever?’
Rain fell, first gently, then in torrents. It rained for months, overfilling rivers and washing villages away.
They begged her to make it stop.
‘I can’t,’ she said. ‘I must have dreamed three wishes. I never dreamed this would happen.’
My participation in the 2020 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo
I entered three of the weekly challenges and was a judge in the fourth. I also entered the TUFF contest that was held over four weeks.
Here is a brief description of each contest and my entry. I hope you enjoy them.
#1 Folk Tales and Fables — Kerry E.B. Black asked participants to write an original folk tale or fable with a western feel in 99 words.
My entry (earned an honourable mention):
Snow White and the Seven Gunslingers
The huntsman made the all-too-common mistake of revealing everything before enacting the deed. Snow White kicked him in the shins and escaped into the forest.
Exhausted, she chanced upon a cottage. It appeared abandoned so she went inside and soon fell asleep on one of the seven beds. She was startled awake by a septet of menacing heavily-armed gunslingers.
When she explained her predicament, the gunslingers were outraged. “He’s a bad one, and she’s the worst. Stay here. We’re onto it.”
She heard them say as they rode out of sight, “Hi Ho! We’ve got a job to do.”
#2 Double Ennead Syllabic Poetry — Colleen M. Chesebro asked participants to write in a new 99-syllable poetic form she created for Carrot Ranch.
Pain — Inside and Out
Hoofs pound across the roof
Hunting a way in
The pillow muffles but still they thump so loud
Relentless drenching rains
Over all around
Hoofs pound inside my head
Brutal throbbing pains
Lightning lasers pierce my eyes I cry dry tears
The torture does not cease
Blinding like a rage
Hoofs pound inside my chest
Warning it will burst
While my clammy skin pours sweat in waterfalls
Pain grips my heart and shreds
What remains of me
#3 Git Along and Start Writin’ — Marsha Ingrao asked participants to write a 3-act story based on a western song in 99 words.
I was a judge, hence no entry.
#4 Wanted Alive — Sam “Goldie” Kirk asked participants to write a 99 word story in response to a wanted poster and the words ‘Reach for it, mister!’
My entry (earned an honourable mention):
“Reach for it, mister, and you’re dead!”
Henry meant it. He hadn’t squirreled his penny candy away to let others help themselves to it. Every night, more disappeared. He’d wanted to catch the culprits alive and receive restitution, but they’d become too greedy.
His wanted posters hadn’t helped. A stake-out was the only way.
Night after night he tried to stay awake, but every night he failed and every morning, more candy had disappeared … until now.
The startled intruder dropped the candy jar and disappeared into the darkness.
“I’ll get you next time!” Henry fired after the squirrel.
4-week TUFF Love contest — Carrot Ranch’s lead buckaroo Charli Mills asked participants to revise an original western romance through a 99-59-9-99 word process with each step requiring a different craft twist. Since the contest required all parts to be submitted, only the winning entry is published on the site.
TUFF Part 1: Original 99-word draft
Fortune teller said love’d arrive on a stage coach, but she’d given up waitin’, watchin’ and hopin’ years ago. The only thing ever arrived was trouble, and most of them in a skirt. She’d done alright for herself, runnin’ the only eatin’ house in town, servin’ up meals to ‘spectable folks, not them gunslingers and their sportin’ women types. She’d only had trouble once – addin’ a new dish to the menu and servin’ it up unannounced-like. Customers weren’t none too pleased when she served ‘em worms. “’tain’t worms,” she said. “It’s spaghetti. We’re in a spaghetti western, ain’t we?”
TUFF Part 2: 59-word Story with Original POV
Always independent that one, tough inside an’ out. Never needed no man, she said. No man ever good enough, as like. Spent her time ‘sperimentin’ and servin’ up grub in her eatin’ house. Never liked no trouble. One night trouble found ‘er. She served up some Eyetalian dish — spaghetti. Everyone spat it out, thought she was feedin’ ‘em worms.
TUFF Part 2: 59-word Story with Different POV
The fortune teller said love would arrive on a stage coach. I watched every coach for ten years. Not one eligible candidate stepped down — only gunslingers and floosies. Then one day, this elegant gentleman arrived. I thought I’d impress him with a new Italian recipe. He spat it everywhere. ‘Worms,’ he said. Like he’d never heard of spaghetti westerns.
TUFF Part 3: Three 9-word Taglines for Your Story
- Stage coach fails to deliver fortune’s promise of love.
- Serving meals no substitute for a helping of love.
- Italian spaghetti rejected. Spray deems it unsuitable for westerners.
TUFF Part 4: Final Revised 99-word Story with Prop
“I see love,” the fortune teller crooned, “arriving on a stage coach.”
She cut words from a travel brochure and pasted them above the door: “Amore. Prendere per la gola”. For years she waited, but no eligible men arrived — only gunslingers and floosies.
One day, an elegant gentleman with an exquisite companion stepped from the coach. Hearing they were siblings, she hoped an exotic dish might impress. Unfortunately, he accused her of serving worms. However, she was besotted. As they held each other close, she sighed, “I never expected to find love in a spaghetti western dish like you.”
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.