I wrote two responses for the latest challenge issued by https.carrotranch.com :

January 4, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Copper Country. It can be any place, fictional, historical, or on another planet. Go where the copper leads. Respond by 9 January to be included in the Carrot Ranch compilation.

Low-balled

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 Jenkins wiped grime along his plumber’s bottom.

The homeowner, a single mother of two, wrung her hands like an old-time heroine.  “What’s the damage?”

He cleared his throat. “How long were you away, Ms. Rowen?”

“A week. Make-a-Wish gave my littlest a trip.” She hugged the kids. “It was the kindest experience we’ve ever had, right boys? Then we got home, and the basement’s flooded.” A nervous giggle escaped.

Jenkins considered the pipeworks, yards of stolen copper mined from the vacationers’ house. He estimated the cost. A minimum of $5,000. More than she had, he suspected.

So he low-balled.

 

copper

 

Parenting

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 Heather combed through the older woman’s thick hair, separating it into sections using plastic clips. Layers of steel and silver gave way to a small cove of copper. She ran a finger along the silky strands, recalled brushing and braiding when her mother’s head boasted autumn, not winter, a child mothering.

                She blinked back tears. “You were an awful mother.”     

                Her mother shrugged, unconcerned. “Orphans don’t know how to parent.”

                Heather’s scissors snipped, creating the requested fashion.

Heather’s children dominated her every thought, their needs always first; not at all how her mother raised her. “Yet somehow I learned.”  

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