Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black


Kerry E.B. Black

A Holiday Drabble

This week, Charli Mills at issued a new challenge. “Not my monkeys. Not my circus.” The 99 word story I wrote is my interpretation. What do you think?

They’re All Our Monkeys

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

The weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break are educational blackouts in the elementary years. Even children who otherwise excel become as erratic as kernels in a hot pot. 

We teachers try to siphon some of the palpable excitement into thematic units and a holiday open house.

My students bring a visual representation of their family’s holiday celebrations. Inclusive. Concise. 

The new teacher grew ambitious. Her students created borax crystal snowflakes. Which led to paper cutout flakes. Which led to safety scissor fencing. 

Sometimes, I wish I could just say, “Not my monkeys,” but we teachers have each other’s backs.

The Wheels are Turning

Charli Mills at strolled through nostalgia in this week’s essay. Then she challenged us to write a 99 word story about a wheel. The season inspired my interpretation below. Please let me know where I can read yours, too.

Steady on the Wheel

A story told in 99 words

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

The weather cools, we celebrate another successful harvest, and we experience the seasonal wheel turn. Some call this a metaphor, but we dwellers of Vex Hollow know. As the earth wheels through the cosmos, and we with it, hapless holders-on at the mercy of the whims of nature, we recognize our tentative and fleeting existence. 

Call us superstitious, but we acknowledge old ways. There’s a spirit within each simple seed. We give thanks for the gifts, because we’re beholden to fickle fate and are but one poor harvest from starvation. 

So give thanks for staying steady on the wheel. 99 word challenge-24 October, 2022

Roll the Bones

A story told in 99 words for Carrot Ranch

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Dice rattled between Marlon’s cupped palms, potential prepared to burst onto green felted game board. A lucky roll! He punched the air with enthusiasm.

Surrounding players demanded, “Double down.”.

A more prudent man might have passed, taken his winnings and called it a night. Marlon, however, wasn’t known for his wisdom. “Sure!” He bared his shiny teeth with confidence, even if losing might cost him every Hollywood-worthy one.

He blew on the bones, single pips up, and tossed. He leapt, overjoyed.

“No way! Lemme see those dice,” The casino owner growled.

Unfazed, Marlon collected his winnings and whistled away.

Hero Work – a 99 word Carrot Ranch inspired story

Hero Work

A story told in 99 words

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

She didn’t think. When her daughter stumbled into danger, she acted. 

Cocooned in a maternal embrace, the girl escaped injury. Firefighters and ambulance drivers commented with incredulity. 

The church ladies proclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

The mother handed her daughter into their care. She paled, forced a smile that wavered into a wince. “I’ll see you in a bit.” 

Flashing lights and an urgent siren rushed her to the hospital. Xrays revealed the extent of the damage. Repositioned, crushed bone. Doctors inserted metal, casted. OT’s designed rehabiliitating exercises. 

The mother considered the injuries and pain worth her daughter’s precious life.

A new 99 Word Story

Charli at Carrot Ranch issued a new 99 word story challenge. Muddy tires! Below is my take on the prompt. Why not try your hand at it, too? Follow the link above, and let me know so I can cheer your successful completion of the challenge.

Driving Lesson

A story told in 99 words 

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Mia chewed her lip, shoulders tight enough to snug her ears. Heart pounding, gaze darting everywhere. Good speed. Not too close to the white. Not too near the double yellow with its onrushing traffic.

“You’ve got this.” Her mother depressed an imaginary brake on the passenger’s side. Her white knuckles belied a different story than her calm voice. “Stay in your lane.” Tone shift. “Back on the road!”

“You’re making me nervous!” 

The car veered further.

“Pull over.” 

While her mother checked for damage, Mia fought tears. 

Her mother pulled Mia into a hug. “Just muddy tires. Try again.”

99 buoyant words

Charli Mills issued a new challenge at Write of balloons on a bumper.

Here’s my take on the prompt. Please let me know where I can read yours.


Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Tailgating grew in popularity as the Steelers won football games. Stout-hearted fans arrived hours prior to kickoff with increasingly elaborate spreads served from the back of their vehicles. With parking at a premium, finding tailgate parties proved difficult at times. To become easier for invited guests to find, the Toggart family hung black and gold helium balloons from their bumper. However, many fellow tailgaters noticed the increased visibility the balloons provided, and they began employing the same technique. Soon, all of the bumpers outside of Three Rivers Stadium boasted sparking, helium-filled mylar balloons, a sea of black and gold.

Can you tell a story in 99 words that incorporates the word “swimmingly?” That’s the latest prompt from Charli Mills at How will you interpret this prompt?

I’ve a number of writing projects on which I’m working, but recently, I’ve experienced some setbacks. Nothing major, but certainly stumbling blocks. Still, like the hero in my interpretation of the prompt, I will take my deep, cleansing breath, plant my feet on the correct path, and make what strides I can. For you, though, I’m hoping all is going SWIMMINGLY!

Sink Swimmingly

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

After a bracing breath, she marched into the bookstore, smiled at a harried man ten years her junior, and withdrew her book from her shoulder bag. “I think you’ll want my novel on your shelves.”

The shopkeep paged through the volume while she filled the near silence with her elevator pitch and nervous banter. 

He closed the book and slid it across the counter. “I don’t think it’ll sell. Sorry.”

Her heart leaden, she thanked him for his time. In the anonymity of her driver’s seat, she steeled herself for the next bookstore, picturing the interaction finally going swimmingly.

This week’s Carrot Ranch 99 word Prompt

Charli Mills posted another charming essay this week. I hope you’ll stop by and read it when you have the chance. This week’s challenge was to interpret the phrase ‘floppy as puppy ears.’ Mine is below. As ever, I love to hear your thoughts on it, and it’s great fun to read how you’ve interpreted the prompt. So please let me know so I can stop by and read what you’ve written.

The Return

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

in 99 words for a weekly prompt.

The librarian lowered her glasses and fixed the patron with her no-nonsense stare. 

The patron fidgeted beneath her scrutiny as he slid the books across the returns desk. “They’re on time.” He offered a wavering smile.

She sniffed, never breaking eye contact. “You know, Mr. Monroe, I distinctly remember including bookmarks when you checked these out.”

“Um, yeah. Did you need me to return them, too?”

“No, I need you to use them.” She flipped the cover of the top book and ran a finger along the pages’ upper corners. “Dog ears are darling on puppies – not library books.”

Photo by RODNAE Productions on


Charli Mills challenged everyone to use “remote” to create a 99 word story by the 6th.

Mine is below.

Bereft on a Beach

told in 99 words by Kerry E.B. Black

I walk along a lonely shore. Without even the screeches of gulls for company, I count a half-hearted breeze my only companion. Overcast skies meld into the steely sea, and the sense of the monochromatic drips with tears – mine and the clouds’ – to inhospitable gray sand. Waves slap and hiss, strikes from inner turmoil manifested. 

I step over the transparent blob of a beached jellyfish. Within its carcass pulses malignancy. Dull driftwood ornaments the shattered black shells crunching underfoot. Values of darkness manifest along the shore, speckled reflections of my own failure. 

I squint, searching for an understanding soul.

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