Altitude Anonymous

-“Hello, and welcome -yet again- to our meeting of Altitude Anonymous. I am your group leader for this quarter, Slim J.”

“Hi, Slim J.”

-“Thank you. Let’s open this meeting with our Share Session. Who’d like to start?”

…..

-“Anyone?” “Ah. Yes, of course; Bean P.”

“Alrighty. So, as you know, I’m the team lead in a high profile sales environment over at-“

-“No names, Bean.”

“Yes; of course. Silly rule but -as team lead, I oversee operations on both the East and West Coasts as well as inspiring the logistics and marketing departments in global aspir-“

-“Shares are two minutes, Bean.”

“Two minutes. Right. Well; okay then. -Team lead is, as you know, vital to any organization. Without my input and direction, no one would know which end went where -ya know what I mean?”

-“Beeean.”

“Right.” *Ahem.* “Step Three’s humility and I met my goals and did very well. As always.”

=”Oookay, then. Er… good work, Bean.”

“You’re welcome!”

-“Who else wants to share? …Gian T? Yeah; go ahead.”

“Hi. I’m Gian T.”

“Hi, Gian T.

“My weekly goal was walking in a small person’s shoes, so I took mah girl’s heels and hit the clubs -but that bi-“

-“Giaaan”

“Er; that beautiful woman’s got tiny ass feet so I broke ’em right away and was barefoot all night.”

-“Thank you, Gian. Anyone else?”

“I have one.”

-“Okay.”

“Hello; I’m Lank E.”

Hi, Lank E.”

“Hi. Hi, guys. I’ve really been trying to not not see -you know- little people. It’s so hard! They’re like kids: popping up behind your cart or standing in an aisle with the peaches right behind you-“

-“Um, Lank-“

“An’ then there’s that time I got in my truck ’cause, you know, my truck -and I drove over a little person’s car but luckily they weren’t in it when I back up they just hadn’t parked it in a very obvious spot. But, that’s what I’m saying: that the little ones are so darned hard to see-“

-“Ms. Lank?”

“Just Lank, thanks. Yeah, so, I didn’t do so great at seeing littles. Better luck next week, I guess.”

-“Well! It’s getting late so let’s wrap up with The Altitude Anonymous Pledge.”

I, LaSliGiaPecTalBig, am tall, but I can think small. No matter where I go, I can move slow. When others are in the way, I can politely say, “I respect your space, ‘though I can’t see your face.”

-“Thanks, guys -and gals. Pecos has the treat next time. See you then.”

©2022 Chel Owens

Swipe Right

Stanley Klülez stared across the candlelit table at Cindy Titepaunts. She looked just like her profile picture -a rarity. Stanley had started making a game out of how much his dates would differ from their appearance, as girl after girl after ‘girl’ proved …surprising.

“So.” He cleared his throat. “Do you like the color pink?”

Cindy, dressed head to toe in varying shades of coral, salmon, and rose, blinked at him. “Obviously. Do you like bargain-shopping?”

Stanley puffed out his chest in his cuffed, oil-stained coveralls. “Of course!”

He smiled happily as she snorted. This date was going swimmingly.

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by Jep Gambardella on Pexels.com

Written in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: swimmingly

September 5, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word, “swimmingly.” which means “smoothly or satisfactorily.” What is the situation? Who is involved? Let the word take you into a story. Go where the prompt leads!

That Ole Road of Life, Maybe

One day I walked a piece down the road; it warn’t no road of any consequence, see -just an ordinary one with rocks and dirt.

Photo by Onanini on Pexels.com

But mostly dirt.

It were the people I come across what were special. The people are always what makes a road interstin’ (I say) and the people in this case were nothin’ short of that.

First, a-course, was an old woman all full of tales an woes an mind-yer-manners. I brushed her off, also a-course, cause I know more an’ my elders -but the one thing about her I recall was her eyes. She grabbed at my face, see, with her hands; and she stared right into my eyes with hers. I telled right off she was dumb-blind. -On account of her milky gaze hoverin’ somwehere round my shoulder.-

“You take note” she said; or maybe it was, “Watch the road;” or maybe somethin’ ’bout cookies -I confess my stomach felt a mite empty- Leastaways, I’ll always remember those milky eyes: so deep with ‘perience, starin’ off to forever.

Next, I ‘member an old dog. He looked like Coon, my favorite when I was five. (Coon got done run down by a truck when I was eight; dumb dog.) But I loved that flea bag of fur. And he loved me. An’ this dog on the dirt track lifted his head all sad an’ he howled.

-And I remembered that Coon would howl like that when the ambulance ran by, like he knew what was what and was practicin’ for the funeral song that was shore to come.

I patted the dog like I had for Coon (“It’s all right, Boy”) and kept on keptin’ on.

Right past him was a preacher like you only see in stories these days. He waved his arms and spoke of heaven and hell, and did I know where I was going?

“Well, yessir I’m goin on down this road,” I tells him.

An’ he said did I know if I was saved? and I said I didn’ even know what needed savin,’ and afore I turned the bend and left him behind he’d slapped that Bible in his hand and waved a warnin’ finger but I still don’ know what needs savin’: him or me or Bibles.

I passed more people; a cat; another dog. Why they was all stuck where they were, like signposts on the road of life, was beyond me. Why couldn’t they move? Why was they all out there just waitin’ on me? I ain’t no one special, no more’n the next fellow. I ain’t keen. I ain’t got talent. I barely has the brains to carry on conversation -least that’s what my Pa would say.

Down that track I trudged, kickin’ up dirt and rocks. I can’t rightly say how far. I can’t even say how many souls I weaved round or talked to or was talked to. Seemed like forever.

And then, that’s when I realized it was. Forever, I mean. See, I’m walkin’ that road still today -whatever ‘today’ might be. I’s still talkin’ to th’ dogs an’ the granmas an’ the preachers.

Mostly, I aim to be a signpost one day. Maybe it’ll be when I finally listen.

The Measure of a Man’s Best Friend

The Greyhound halted. This was where $200 took James. He disembarked, shouldered his prison-issued backpack, and read the station’s name: Kum & Go.

“Here to rob it?”

James swung to see a man by a pickup; opened his mouth, then shut it. The man had no legs. The truck had a dog.

-But not just any dog. “Buttercup!”

The yellow lab hurtled out and licked him, desisting at her master’s call. James had trained her in prison, as a service animal for a wounded soldier.

James looked up, and both men saw each other -clearly- for the first time.

©2022 Chel Owens

Oh my goodness, Charli! Don’t ever make me do that, again! -I mean, This was written in response to Charli’s prompt at Carrot Ranch:

May 16, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about when a newly released prisoner meets the disabled veteran who adopted the puppy the prisoner trained behind bars. The prompt is based on the short story I wrote for Marsha Ingrao’s Story Chat. Yes, rewrite my story in your words, 99, no more, no less. Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by May 21, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form [on the site]. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
  3. Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
  4. Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #177: Aztec Cookie

Explorer’s Log, Quintilis 1502

Some days we find nothing -nothing to warrant the persistent sun, the steaming jungle, nor the rude accommodations. Each day drags longer as it pulls us further from a return home. The beating hours are enough to drive a man mad.

There’s a capuchin examining me. He knows what I think.

The men bear these stresses better than I, used to hard labour as they are. They say to have hope. Or, they may have said there was no hope; my grasp of the local dialect is still tenuous.

Aha! Dhorman comes as I write, bearing that broad, white grin of his. He holds something as he comes, shouting. What is he shouting?

“Cookie?”

©2022 Chel Owens

—–

Written in response to Crispina Kemp’s Crimson Creative Challenge.

In Which Amelie Believes, and Disappears #99Word Stories

Scritchy scratchy wax on wall, she thought. No matter. It was the shape she needed right.

*Sniff* a hand ‘cross red nose and puffy eyes. *Stomp stomp stomp* she heard those hobnailed boots but they .stopped. off the other way.

She breathed and scritched and scratched, the purple crayon unwilling to give its wax without a fight.

“There,” she said, and loved the circle she’d formed from the bit of crayon abandoned in the hallway.

“I’m Amelie, and I believe.”

Stuttering hand reached to the middle of the circle. Pushed. And disappeared, where *stomp stomp stomp* can’t find her.

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels.com

For Carrot Ranch’s prompt this week:

March 28, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about disappearance. It can be an event, act, or subtle theme. Who or what disappears? Does it fade or explode? Can it be explained or experienced? Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by April 2, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form [on the site]. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
  3. Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
  4. Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.

This is The End…..

She hadn’t thought The End would be like this. Nope. She, Sarah Biven, had pictured earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, tsunamis. Families would live in trees. People would fight wars.

Degradation of society proved, instead, to not be instantaneous.

It started with peanut butter.

It did! Sarah could not find her favorite, then could not find any. Funny, she thought, that The End meant no peanut butter. Then, it meant no grapes, no bananas, no meats, no paper goods at all. People rushed to install bidets …till the water ran out as well.

If only -she reflected- they’d not run out of peanuts and meat, she’d at least have had those wars. And what would they fight over? Toilet paper. Some things matter more than others …in The End.

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by Vie Studio on Pexels.com

Forty-Niners Folk Song #99Word Stories

I’ll tell ya ’bout the year we seen
A thousand-thousand chasing dreams
They sought for El Dorado’s prize
‘Neath California’s azure skies
Mining-mining
All day long
Forty-niners
Sing this song
Ned left his wife and their love-nest
Left their new babe to go out West
He ain’t found gold, but don’t you fret
He’s learned to dig and drink and bet
Digging-digging
All day long
Forty-niners
Sing this song
Jim found some dust away down there
He spent it all on golden hair
Next day, Jim panned and found some more
He went right back to that ol’ h-ore…
(Final chorus, past the word count)
Panning-panning
All day long
Forty-niners
Sing this song

©2022 Chel Owens

Sung ’round mining towns for Carrot Ranch’s prompt this week: January 31, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the ’49ers.” Who or what are they? What is the significance of the number? Do you follow the Gold Rush history or venture into new territory? Go where the prompt leads!

Annabell(s)

Annabell Wilkins toddled everywhere Mommy did; at least, she tried to.

“No, Annie,” Mom stopped her. “No mud.”

“No, Annie. Not the hay bales.”

“No, Annie! Yucky!”

Annabell Goatkins had a similar problem. Wherever she toddled, Mommy Goatkins nudged her back around.

“No, Annie!” Mom bleated, “No pail!”

“No, Annie. Not the cows!”

“No, Annie! Yucky!”

The unfortunate kids wandered the yard in a crazy zig-zag, landing behind the barn with a bump! They sat and stared at each other, big-eyed and curious.

“Annabell!” Both mothers called -but only when they heard, “No, Annie!” did Annabell(s) know to come.

©2021 Chel Owens

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Written for Carrot Ranch’s weekly prompt:

December 2, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the littlest Christmas goat. Who does the goat belong to? What is happening? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by December 7, 2021. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.

Grandpa’s Tool Shed #flashfiction — Norah Colvin

My good friend, Norah, shared this sweet short fiction piece:

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write about tools. Whose tools are they and how do they fit into the story? What kind of tools? Go where the prompt leads! Charli, of course wrote about writer’s tools and provided a multitude of links […]

Grandpa’s Tool Shed #flashfiction — Norah Colvin