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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

Always a Rocker

Charli Mills and the good folks at https://carrotranch.com/2019/08/01/august-1-flash-fiction-challenge/ want 99 word stories using the prompt “a rock star.” 

 

Always a Rocker

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

A silvery line of drool punctuated the vacant expression that landed David in the locked down unit with nineteen other impaired individuals. Once he commanded a tour bus and bested the world’s stages. Now his wheelchair and a disease kept him captive. He stared into private abysses until the activities girl arrived. 

 

From her music player, drums drove a beat. Keyboards provided the backbone. Guitar wailed. 

 

David perked up. He recognized the song. His song. 

 

She sang. 

 

With an anemic voice, a mere ghost of his past, he performed.

 

The girl patted his shoulder and nodded. “Once a rocker.”

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Words

This week, Charli Mills and the https://carrotranch.com gang wrangled 99 word stories interpreting the prompt “for one day.” Writing a story in 99 words is a challenge, indeed. This is mine. Its first incarnation was much longer, but to comply with the challenge, I pared down to the essence of the story. I’d love to know what you think of it.

 

Words 

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

A toddler plied her mother with questions at a check-out line as the mother stacked goods onto the conveyor. Another toddler sat in the next cart in line, limp-legged and watchful. “You have such a sweet baby,” the harried mother said to her line-neighbor. “Mine won’t shut up. I wish I could have silence for just one day.” She chuckled darkly and turned when the cashier asked, “Paper or plastic?” without noticing the grimace on the mother-behind-her’s face. 

 

That mother’s child was born mute, and how she longed to hear even one word from her child. Even just one.

Review: Snow Pants for Isabella written by Debra R. Sanchez, illustrated by Cassidy N. Bodnar

With bright illustrations by Cassidy N. Bodnar and a charming, bi-lingual storyline by Debra R. Sanchez, Snow Pants for Isabella is sure to please the picture book set. My own children are a bit old for picture books, but they enjoyed the strong-minded character and had fun trying to read the translations on the facing pages. (I’m certain we butchered the pronunciation, but at least it gives them an introduction to other languages.) The story follows the individualist, Isabella, who knows what she wants and sets out to get it. The message is clear. Be yourself. What a lovely thought!

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Snow Pants for Isabella by Debra R. Sanchez is available for purchase at Amazon and Tree Shadow Press.

Review: Wait Till Helen Comes written by Mary Downing Hahn

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn is a ghost story written for younger readers (MG). A creepy plot, moody scenery, and ridiculously self-absorbed parents make this interesting My 9 year old found its scary bits titillating, while his older sister enjoyed the ideas of forgiveness and family.

The story follows a newly-blended family. Dave and Heather joined Jean, our main character Molly, and her brother Michael. The parents uproot the kids and plunk them in a renovated church in a wooded, lonely countryside. They expect the kids to keep an eye on each other, though the youngest, Heather, repeatedly expresses hatred for her new stepsiblings. The littlest girl lies and plays emotional games to get the older kids into trouble.

Then, Heather befriends a ghost from the church’s cemetery, a ghost with as much guilt and anger as Heather.

This ghost of a little girl named Helen may have bad designs on her new neighbors.

It’s up to Molly to ignore the nay-sayers who don’t believe in ghosts and don’t help with babysitting, master her own fears, and solve a long-standing mystery.

Although published in 1986, this ghost story held the interests of my kids.

Koala Kingdom

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com challenged everyone to use a Koala in a Kingdom in a 99 word story. This is how I interpreted the prompt. What do you think?

 

Koala Kingdom

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Beth retreated into her imaginings where her stuffed koala reigned and she served as his loyal subject.

There, nobody ridiculed her childish ways or belittled her stuttered speech. There, she read beautifully, and the court gathered from miles away to hear her recitations. They applauded and admired instead of laughed and tormented. 

Beth labored over tongue placement to produce the correct sounds, to please her liege. She calmed her voicebox and sing-songed to get by difficult passages and emulate her dream self.

Beth’s mother listened from the doorway as Beth’s articulation improved with each session in the Koala Kingdom.

 

Oh, Marshmallows!

In many of her essays, Charli Mills shares the struggles she and her husband experience at the VA. This week is no exception. 

Despite the challenges she faces, she always encourages her fellow writers and readers. This week, she asked at https://carrotranch.com for 99 word stories about paint, which brought to mind this little story. I hope you’ll enjoy it and visit the ranch to read the other stories.

 

Oh, Marshmallows!

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Polish remover seeped through the cotton ball, chilling Ava before she swiped it across Mrs. Birdseye’s fingernails. The old lady smiled vacantly. “How much will this cost, Sweetie?”

Ava patted the resident’s hand. “I’m a volunteer, Mrs. Birdseye. You don’t pay me.” Ava indicated the polishes displayed in front of her manicure kit. “What color do you like? Pink matches your sweater.”

Mrs. Birdseye reached her trembling, unoccupied hand toward the bottles, upsetting them. Her eyes widened. “Marshmallows!”  

“Quaint cuss word,” thought Ava as she retrieved the bottles. 

“No, Mrs. Birdseye!” An aide brushed by. “Those aren’t marshmallows. Don’t eat the cotton balls!”

 

 

Faith

Charli Mills from https://carrotranch.com asked us to write a 99 word story about waiting. This is what sprang to my mind.

 

Faith

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

We waited together for the results. Kinda gross, really, staring at a plastic stick I’d peed on, but in the end, a plus told us. A baby! My tears drenched his shoulder as we embraced.

 

Anxious, we held hands at the obstetrician’s to hear the baby’s heartbeat. Quick as a bunny, it raced away with our hearts. 

 

At the ultrasound, we watched her suck her thumb and chose her name. Faith. We painted the nursery, anxious to meet this precious child.

 

But one day, I bled. I rushed for help, but no amount of waiting brought back our Faith.

Charity’s Childhood

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com asked anyone interested to write about gender in 99 words. No more. No less. 

Here’s my take. What do you think?

 

Charity’s Childhood

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Charity played football while wearing her tutu and tiara. Her Barbies explored sunken treasures, donned armor, and battled evil warlords. She named her bike Ragnarok and imagined charging into battle every time she pedalled, yet she stopped to admire flowers, searched for fairies in mushroom rings, and danced like Shirley Temple.

Deeana broke from a group of gossiping classmates, manicured hands on her designer jeans. “Charity, why do you think boys like you because you can hit a baseball?”

 

Charity’s nostrils flared like a wolf scenting prey or a doe ready to flee. “Why do you hate me because I do?”

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