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Fiction in A Flash Challenge” WEEK #20

Hello, today I participated in Author Suzanne Burke’s Fiction in a Flash. This is a weekly challenge in which she posts a photo and we are asked to create a work of fiction. The limit is 750 words and you are asked to link your post to her site. While you’re there, please check out her wonderful blog, social media and her action packed books. I have read and reviewed her books and highly recommend them!

It’s me, Jeb Ansley. I’m mullin’ over what happened at the Hornswoggle Casino. All I’m hearin’ is the swish of hooves tramplin’ switch grass. I’m ignorin’ the latest lava flow made by Heaven’s Volcano in the sky. Regret’s a cataract that blinds me to all the niceties and to literal direction.

It’s a good thing Amber, my horse, knows the way back to Brackett’s Creek . It’s home to me and what used to be my best pardner, Sully.

The day began pleasant enough, no duties at the ranch. We were all-fired up, rolling up them flapjacks like burritos and cramming them into our mouths.

Poor Miss Haverstock, the ranch cook, “Manner’s, boys.”

I’d apologized through a mug of squished batter, then hurried out the door. We’d stashed our pay for this day. No gettin’ roped into the usual bets at the ranch. We’d the resolve of a hungry dog turnin’ its nose at steak from the master’s table. Not too proud to say that we were a might proud.

Anywho . . . the day didn’t quite pan out. I’m an expert faro man and took the reins. Sully was happy to warm the chair and get an educashun’.

Turns out that perhaps a nod to last night’s moon should have been in order. Haverstock warned us, as she’d darned my socks for the “umpteenth time,” because I apparently refuse to cut my toenails.

“When the moon is crescent shaped, just like my oatmeal cookies when you take a bite out of one and throw back into the jar, claiming that you hadn’t actually eaten A cookie. Well, when it looks like that, not a good omen. By the way, that still counts as a whole cookie.”

Pshaw! Old hen. I wasn’t prone to put stock, beef or otherwise, into such hocus mumbo jumbo. I said so, and she’d balled up my socks, then tossed them at my face. The yawns suddenly plagued me, so I’d declared bedtime. As I walked the hundred paces to the Bunkie house that Sully and I had bought from the ranch owner, Hoggsbelly, I shifted an eye to that half-eaten space “cookie” and wondered if the hungry alien had bothered to dip it into the Milky Way first.

Well, bully for the spinster because today has gone from bad to worse. Every last morsel of currency was lost within few hours. Sully groveled for cessation, but dang it, quitters never win. Out of cash, I lied about wanting to hold Sully’s pocket watch to keep track of the time. It’s an heirloom from his great grandpa. I can’t help if Sully is a duffer and actually handed it to me. Now poor Sully needs a sundial.

Sully overacted and boo-hooed for its return, but no deal. He grew madder than a March Hare and tried to choke me, but I brushed him off like lint.

“Let’s just go home!” he bawled.

By all accounts, I meant to, but you see, we passed a faro table where the grand prize was a horse. Well, that little gambling flea bit me square in the arse and I just had to have it. I did an unholy thing, I pulled out the deed to our home and slapped it on the table. Sully was quickly restrained by some ruffians who promised not to hurt him if I bought them a drink afterwards.

Drumroll . . . I won! Got myself a beauty beast and we kept our lodgins’. I went outside to claim the prize and was admirin’ my score when I was thumped on the nogging by a whiskey bottle. The Lord saw fit to equip me with a head carved from granite, I recovered quickly and turned to face the yellow belly. It was Sully!

He was all possessed like and to tell the truth, it frightened me a wee bit. There was nothin’ for it, he raised the bottle for another strike, and I shoved him clean into a filthy pig pen, just behind him.

I speed wobbled to my new prize, took the reins, got on Amber and pulled foot like Sam Hill’s hounds were nippin’ at our hooves, well, at my heels, too, you git what I mean.

I’m home and I don’t expect Sully to return soon. Bunkie’s all mine changed the locks, though. I’m gonna hang that buffalo head outside, put a gold ring in its nose, ‘cause I heard that women like that sorta thing. Gud night, all!


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Author, Mark Bierman
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