Each of these 'flash-fiction/non-fiction' (around 500 word) stories are inspired by a randomly chosen single prompt word each week. I plan to write 50 or more small reads for you to enjoy in an otherwise dull moment throughout the year.
Hopefully, my readers will continue to gain pleasure from them - as I cover many genres and a multitude of subjects. Here is a developing list, along with each chapter's tiniest description to whet your reading appetite.
KEEP YOUR COOL GIRLS - 'confidence' - 3/1/2020 - coincidentally, cows are such curious critters.
DESCENT INTO DESPAIR - 'deep' - 10/1/2020 - it's a long, long way down.
PERISH THE THOUGHT - 'comfort' 17/1/2020 - deep sleep... the stuff dreams are made of.
OCCY'S OPUS - 'sing' 24/1/2020 - when all you want to do is sing your heart out.
EXIT - 'exit' 31/1/2020 - a graceful attempt to advise you to get outta here quick!
STEER CLEAR - 'escape' 7/2/2020 - when Mother Nature speaks, you'd best listen.
STEER CLEAR (Part Two) - 'hunger' 14/2/2020 - the tides of Life itself ebb and flow, as well.
THE WIND BENEATH HER WINGS - ticket' 21/2/2020 - having sailed the seas in a car, now we fly along the roads.
HEAVY HEARTS - ‘fight’ 28/2/2020 - though ‘Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone’… stolidly.
MELTDOWNS - prompt: 'melt' 06/03/2020 - some ‘meltdowns’ are quite gooey, but most appealing.
SIBLINGS - 'distant' 13/3/2020 - strange bedfellows indeed.
BIRTHDAYS - ‘sudden’ 20/3/2020 - some St. Patrick's Days are even more important than others.
HELLO KITTY - ‘penalty’ 27/3/2020 - they say the penalty should fit the crime… hmm!
MON AMI - ‘friend’ 03/4/2020 - ‘the other woman’… ohh no-o-o!
GOOD FOR SOME - ‘appear’ 10/4/2020 - it REALLY is as good as it appears… and sounds.
WHEN THEY BEGIN THE CUISINE BEGUINE - ‘start’ 17/4/2020 - culinary delights that stretch the imagination along with the taste buds.
PROJECT EARTH - ‘plan’ 24/4/2020 - but please sir, I love my Earth already - especially my small corner of it.
TECHIE TRAUMA - ‘found’ 1/5/2020 - thanks to computers and such, we humans discovered untapped depths of patience.
IMAGINE - ‘imagine’ 8/5/2020 - it's just a name, after all… isn't it?
SHAKEN… not STIRRED - ‘tremor’ 15/5/2020 - it was not only hearts a-tremble, THAT time…
OF MICE AND MEN - ‘kind’ 22/5/2020 -
SUR-REAL - ‘bet' 29/5/2020 -
HUNTER'S MOON - ‘hunt’ 5/6/2020 -
DREAD DAY - ‘priority’ 12/6/2020
NO PAIN, NO GAIN - ‘anticipation’ 19/6/2020
LEAP OF FAITH - ‘direction’ 26/6/2020
DEAR DIARY - ‘agree’ 3/7/2020
THE BEST TEDDY BEAR'S PICNIC - ‘crooked’ 10/7/2020
JUST ANOTHER CHICK-FLICK - ‘straight’ 17/7/2020
TISSUEFUL OF TEARS - ‘damage’ 24/7/2020
HOLEY-MOLEY - ‘confusion’ 31/7/2020
OUTDATED - ‘date’ 7/8/2020
HAVE WOOL, WILL FLY - ‘mistake’ 14/8/2020
FOOL'S MATE - ‘narrow’ 21/8/2020
ONCE UPON A YESTERDAY - ‘quality’ 28/8/2020
A PURPLE PATCH - ‘step’ 4/9/2020
THE RIGHT ROYAL BOOT - ‘end’ 11/9/2020
A PALER SHADE OF LIE - ‘question’ 18/9/2020
HOLY MILKAREALLY? - ‘power’ 25/9/2020
HOLY MILKAREALLY ?- PART TWO - ‘lazy’ 2/10/2020
MOTHERHOOD MOMENTS - ‘donate’ 9/10/2020
MYOB - ‘root’ 16/10/2020
FLIPPING FLORENCE - ‘slip’ 23/10/2020
LARCENOUS LIQUEUR - ‘hard’ 30/10/2020
HIGHER-ARCHY - ‘experience’ 6/11/2020
A CAUTIONARY TALE - ‘close’ 13/11/2020
JUST A HOP, SKIP, AND JUMP - ‘set’ 20/11/2020
NO LAUGHING MATTER - ‘down’ 27/11/2020
ALIBIBABA AND THE FORTY BEEVES - ‘story’ 4/12/2020
WELCOME… PERHAPS? - ‘run’ 11/12/2020
WHEN THE END IS NIGH - ‘milestone’ 18/12/2020
SOME LIKE IT HOT! Part One - ‘tradition’ 25/12/2020
(prompt: 'confidence' 3/1/2020)
"Oh boy. Here they come. This should be good... ?" Ridiculous... don't be stupid, I told myself. And myself answered, Yes, but... they're cows, and cows hate change—even if it's in their best interests.
Despite earlier curiosity when we began the new fence, our milkers had accepted it was OK to see us working there daily. But today was different. Today the gate was open to the new 'race' (a long walkway), along the top of each paddock, leading to the dairy. Today there was an electric fence each side.
We knew the solution to the 'stock breaking out and getting into the crop paddock' was an electric fence. Our wallets (and our bank statement's boring focus on red figures) solidly dictated we grin and bear the almost daily disasters, and apply more patches to the patches of what we wishfully called fencing.
We dreamed it and sketched it, time after time; pored over suggestions in magazines and planned some more; which paddocks to connect, how to afford it... AND all those gates? At last, the 'switched on' day was happening as the 'girls' met the new beast on the block. In time, they would develop a strange knowing or sensitivity to whether it was 'live', by putting their noses up close without actually touching the wire... but no such confidence existed on this initiation day.
At first, they all bunched up into an impossibly small, tight group, refusing to take the first step into the unknown. The sheer force of numbers pushed the first shrinking violets into this no-man's land. With widened eyes, they approached the wire—up to a hair's-breadth away. Whether the first cows to have their shocking experiences were nudged by the cows behind, or chose their fate, the reaction was identical.
"A massive bellow... that was first." Kanute still laughs, though the thought of touching an electric wire with a wet nose IS a bit 'shuddery'. "And their eyes rolling back so you could only see the whites. Looked like they'd gone blind!"
"... or insane," I add. Can't help myself, now I'm laughing too. A few of them licked the wire to be sure! "They looked completely crazy when they hung their great tongues out of one side of their mouths—and managed another huge bellow. Like demented creatures in the throes of a Shakespearean death scene."
"... and then they charged down to the bottom corner of their paddock, kicking their stupid bloody heels from side to side, with us shouting to them, "STOP! You'll waste all your milk." Now Kanute's laughing helplessly. There's something so ridiculous about a mature cow capering about like a calfie. The worst part was the rest of the herd also charging about, despite having no idea what had happened. The bellows of the first victims had said IT was 'bad'—and that was enough for the rest - they were believers.
I was not laughing when I had to round them all up again. This time however, I was able to shut the paddock gate behind them before each cow had to check it out for herself—not once, but three times! With a repeat of the demented drama each time, also.
"They were buggers to get back through the race that night," Kanute says with a frown. But then he grins, "... but they never touched it again. Not once!"
(prompt: 'deep' - 10/1/2020)
There was a woman sitting alone at the end of the bar, her bent head and drooping body fairly shouting her despair and obvious pain... of heart and spirit. Five years ago? Really? Five years since THAT skiing season when her heart-breakingly handsome husband, the Marquis de Lyons, had sat beside her at this famous àpres ski bar at Meribel. An involuntary shudder briefly shook her thin frame as the memories crowded back in like petulant children, each demanding to be heard first .
Less than two weeks into the official snow season, she thought. And once again she was watching him ride the cable car to the highest take-off point of the Grand Slalom, ready to defy the odds once more. Rocking from one foot to the other, among the expectant crowd far below, the Marchioness couldn't help a flutter of errant nerves. Glancing furtively at the upturned, confident face of Jean Pierre, the Marquis's manservant, she felt a sense of calm cloaking her doubts. So often he had told her how his heart had once been filled with dread, every time he reluctantly witnessed his beloved master performing the steep and demanding downhill run of the course - all 1400 ft. of it. But no more. Not since so many victories had been so hard won. None knew it was not the Marquis's destiny to win this one.
The trauma of the accident was far behind them all now, as were those horrific hours, days and weeks when they doubted he would survive, then came to believe he would never walk again, let alone pick up his treasured skis and fly like a bird once more down the terrifying slopes. Challenge enough for the able-bodied - but now with one 'real' leg and the other an amazing blade-runner substitute, it was simply unthinkable. On those intolerably pain-filled days it took a greater stretch of imagination than either thought themselves capable of to move forward. But something always spurred them on. More often than not it was the Marquis's favourite saying - _what does not kill me, makes me stronger_. And it did... for a time.
Beyond all expectations, he returned to the sport that was his life. Bizarre that just when they had both reached a place deep inside when, on a good day, they could look upon the handicap as having little more than nuisance value, his valiant heart gave up it's ferocious battle. And her heart broke.
Although much time had slowly and painfully dragged by, a return to this place had taken almost more courage than the Marchioness had ever summoned up, and had it not been for the kindly promise of Jean Pierre to care and share their common memories, she knew she could never— A hand settled gently on her shoulder and she felt again that sense of calm enfolding her, enabling her to sit tall once more, as she turned with a sad smile.