Farmers, like wildlife, require predictable weather. Ice on the fruit or nut blossoms and after a bust year, the bank may own your place.

Same with marriage, in my experience. The wrong thing at the wrong time and you’re single again.

Late snow is Nature’s midlife crisis. It comes out of nowhere and disrupts the normal routines.

I got snowed on twice the same day. Orchards wiped out just as I’m leaving home with some clothes stuffed in a suitcase.

No school and the kids were having a good time building a snowman.


Photo by Jade Wong
For Sunday Photo Fiction

The History of Courage

“Son, you either have courage or you don’t. You don’t.”

“How do you know that?”

“You ran away from Chuck at school. You said so yourself.”

“I ran away because he’s a bully twice my size.”

“If you had courage, you would have stood up to him.”

“Why? That would have been stupid.”

“Because it’s the right thing to do with a bully. You can stop him from being a bully.”

“How is that going to stop him? Because he’ll get kicked out of school after beating the crap out of me? He doesn’t care about that. He’d like it. I’d be doing him a favor.”

“What about your self-respect?”

“My self-respect is fine. It’s your respect I’m worried about. Do I need to come home missing some teeth to earn it?”

“What if Chuck is bullying a kid even smaller than you?”

“Well, Dad, now that you mention it, let me remind you. Chuck was bullying me. Whose job is it to look after me?”

“I’m an adult. I can’t come to your school and beat up a kid.”

“You can come to school with me and speak to the principal. You can come with me to Chuck’s house and speak to his dad.”

“That’s… I’m… I’m not much of a… Your mother might…”


For terribleminds


A raven adopted me at my cabin in the north woods. I named him Edgar. We had a casual relationship, based on food and togetherness.

Edgar roamed the woods at will. One day, he brought home a crow, whom I named Allan.

Allan generally gave me a wide berth, unlike Edgar, who would perch on my shoulder. Allan and I competed for Edgar’s affections. I sensed that Allan was gradually winning.

When the two birds built a nest together and Allan laid eggs in it, I changed her name to Ellen.

The hybrid babies took me for their godfather.


For Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge

Twittering Tales #73


can i paint it?

what color?

i thought red.

no you can’t paint it red. we’d be the laughingstock. you paint a barn red.

all right, purple then.

what’s wrong with you? listen to me. paint it white. we do things right around here.


222 words
Photo by MabelAmber at
For Twittering Tales

my windmill


I bought the house because it was an incredible bargain. I didn’t think the windmill would be a problem. I signed the sale papers without reading the fine print.

I can’t build a swimming pool near the mill, or even start a garden. As an historic structure, it’s protected, along with the grounds around it.

The public must have access.

If the structure burns, I’ll be jailed without question.

I may not modernize it. No electrical equipment may be installed.

The bat problems may be mitigated but not abated.

I may not rent out rooms in it.

So I quit my job at the bank and reopened the damned thing. The green locals who grow their own corn and grains keep me in business.

It’s one of those lemons/lemonade things.


Words: 128
Photo by Fandango
For FFfAW Challenge



“You’re being released from the hospital in the morning, Don.”

“Good, Sancho. Is Rocinante well again?”

“Rocinante is out of the shop.”

“Well-fed and ready to help me?”

“The JLG 800AJ Cherry Picker is a durable and versatile machine, Don. It’s you I’m worried about. I want you to stay home, at least for the time being.”

“Not possible. I’m going back. The giants still menace the city.”

“They’re waiting for you in Golden Gate Park, Don.”

“Of course they wait, both Dutch and Murphy. Wait in fear.”

“No, I mean the police.”

“They want my help and they shall have it.┬áRocinante will carry me forward and lift me high enough to reach the giants’ arms.”

“The tourists are going to be murder.”


Words: 123
Photo by Fandango
For FFfAW Challenge


my mama told me not to hang round rufus. don’t see that boy no more. he’s not our kind she said.

he’s my kind i said.

your young just horsing around my papa said your not stable yet. it’s your first rodeo.

he’s lasso’d my heart i said.

he wrangled your brain papa said.

i forbid you mama said but without disrepecting her wishes i respected mine more and rufus and i galloped into the woods behind our barn. the moon was full and i was left unsupervised as the t-shirt says.

now i’m mama of the world’s first zebra-corn.


For Carrot Ranch

my woods


I grew up on the edge of woods. It was extensive and I spent a lot of time in it. When I headed off to college, my parents left their empty nest and moved to the city. I didn’t revisit my beloved woods for years.

Out of school, I went to work. I had ideas. I made a lot of money. Three-hundred billion dollars, in fact, which is… a lot of money.

When I finally returned to my woods, I found a subdivision. Average price of the midwestern homes in it, three-hundred thousand dollars. That is, one thousand homes per billion dollars.

Over a decade, I bought thirty-billion worth, thirty thousand homes. I built a twelve-foot wall around them. Removed the homes and built one for myself.

With the tracts for about forty-four homes per acre, the wall enclosed about one hundred and fifty thousand acres, or two hundred and twenty square miles. In the portions of the wall facing still-existing woods, I added portals that could be opened from sunset to sunrise, for the wildlife.

I had a new forest planted, and added a plank path that ran through it.

Now, in my dotage, I ride a golf cart out into my domain every morning.


Photo: Mike Vor
For Sunday Photo Fiction

The Laughing Man

My mom used to bring home men for pay.

I’d take to my room and stay there until they were finished.

You know the story.

Years later we’d sit together on the porch and get high.

“What about that one guy?” I said one time.

“The man who laughed?”

I nodded.

“His name was Stephan. He wanted to be tickled,” mom said. “My only customer who asked for that.”

“It’s a thing, I guess.”

“We came in and for a change,” mom said, “he wanted to tickle me.”


“That’s what I said. Why would you want to tickle me?”


“He said he liked me,” mom said. “He said he wanted me to experience what he experienced. You’re paying the freight, I said.”

“Did he make you laugh?”

“He started by putting in a tape. This was back when there were tapes. I said, what the heck is that?”

“Whale song, he said. I laughed at that but after a while it started to get to me. He had me on my back on the bed and he massaged my feet and then my hands. He stretched out my arms one at a time and shook them lightly to relax them. He massaged my scalp. All the time with the whales.

“He had a hypnotic voice. I was drifting. Then he touched my ribs, high up on both sides. It was unexpected. I laughed.

“He was an expert, much better than me at tickling. I’m sure he had tickled women before. I couldn’t control myself. It sort of escalated. I was out of my mind laughing.”

“And then, like he would do, I suddenly burst into tears. Like a well full of sadness uncovered itself in my mind. Memories. They overflowed. He held me until it was over. I was so happy. Glowing.

“Later I tried it with others but it never happened again.”


For Flash Fiction Challenge