Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #7

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

October 26, 2017

Murderous Musings:

When Good Folk Turn Bad At The Rodeo

By Sherri Matthews

Saddle up, tighten your reins and pull on your riding boots. And while you’re about it, watch your back, because wicked wranglings are afoot at the Rodeo. Western or English? Doesn’t matter. Thrown off a few times? Never mind. Devious, deadly or just plain dangerous, it’s time for some murderous musings.

Long fascinated with the dark side of the human heart, I read a lot of True Crime. Not for the gory details, neither for the whodunit: I want to understand the why.

As a memoir writer, I need to explore the true motives driving the story. I wonder how many of us ask ourselves, if truly honest, what might we be capable of if pushed too far? What would be our not so perfect storm?

But it never occurred to me that I could explore this through fiction. This memoir writer doesn’t write fiction, of any kind.  I can’t; I shan’t; and I won’t. But Charli Mills had other ideas. “Oh yes you can,” she said with a knowing look in her eyes. We’ve never physically met, but I’d know that look anywhere.

So I gave it a go, playing it safe at first with a touch of fiction based on a true story – a BOTS, I came to learn. Bashing out 300 plus words was the easy part; telling the same story in 99 was not.

But with practice it got easier and soon I was hooked.  And then the unthinkable happened: characters appeared from nowhere with ideas of their own and there I was, writing flash actual fiction.

Today, I continue to relish the delicious freedom I get from writing these bite-sized bursts. Coming up for air from my memoir, my fictional characters lead me away from the confines of memoir’s truth, allowing me to freely explore their world of darkest revenge, immorality and twisted justice.

This, I now understand, is why most of my flashes contain murderous undertones. What better way to blow off writing steam? I can’t remember what I was dealing with in my memoir when I wrote ‘Homemade Cider’, but I have told my husband he has no need to worry:

Homemade Cider by Sherri Matthews

They had shared their hopes and fears; heck, they had even shared husbands.  Now, as the two elderly women sat on the porch swing, a faded, hand-made quilt stretched across their bony knees, they said nothing. Only the crickets strummed their twilight song.

“I wish I had known,” sighed Mave at long last, shifting beneath the quilt.

Ellen rubbed her eyes and yawned.

“I didn’t want you to worry.”

“But you needed my help…”

“You were busy.  Anyway, Bob helped me bury him under the apple tree.”

Mave grinned. “Well at least he’ll make great compost…nothing beats homemade cider.”

###

I asked Charli to share her flash fiction process and how it’s helped her explore the ‘why’ in the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, the subject of her work in progress historical fiction novel Rock Creek:

‘London historian and biographer of Wild Bill Hickok, Joseph Rosa, claimed that the Rock Creek incident of 1861 remains among the most debated gunfights in the American West. At the heart of the debate are two questions writers often ponder — who is the villain and why?

My family handed me a myth growing up. The story goes that the first man Wild Bill Hickok ever shot was my third great-grandmother’s brother; my Uncle Cobb McCanles. Talk to any Hatley, Green, Paullus or McCandless and they’ll curse the villainy of Hickok, tearing the man down as a coward, shorter than history makes of him.

Talk to the descendants of Hickok and they’ll tell you what a fine and upright man Bill was. It’s understandable for families to cheer for their own kin and clearly see the murderous intent in the other. But add historians to the mix and you get more myth and romanticism. Hickok, one historian from Kansas wrote, was a chivalrous knight. A Nebraskan historian responded that Cobb McCanless was a family man cut down in front of his 10-year old son.

No one can definitely answer why. Why did these men clash in a deadly way?

Flash fiction became instrumental to my historical investigations. Writing tight snippets, I considered what it was like before and after Cobb’s untimely murder. These flash fictions became a way for me to explore emotion, reaction, pain and consider who was truly the villain. You’d be surprised by who has murder in mind, and readers like surprises. It’s all in the ‘why’.

The Day After by Charli Mills

“I’m not ready for this.” Sarah had spent the long night alone at the sod house, scrubbing congealed blood from her hair. The stained dress she burned in the woodstove. Several Pony Express riders came by to convince her leave on the morning stage to Denver. Hickok was not one of them.

Leroy settled a trunk with her belongings in the back of the buckboard. “It’s best you come with me, Sarah. Emotions are running hot.”

“Cobb?”

“He’s dead.”

“I know. But…a funeral?”

“He’s already in the ground.”

Sarah’s scalp itched. Triggers pulled in haste left no mourning time.

###

Now to the contest! Write a flash fiction in 109 words, no more, no less and weave a murderous vibe through an every-day setting, either in thought or deed.

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Submit your entry using the Contact Form below.
  2. 109 words, no more, no less, will be counted exactly. Title excluded.
  3. Weave a murderous vibe through an every-day setting, either in thought or deed.
  4. Add your name and email address, but please note, judging will be blind.
  5. Deadline for submission is 11:59 EST Tuesday, 31 October. Any entries received after this date will be disqualified.

CONTEST NOW CLOSED. WINNER ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 19.

CHALLENGE OPTION: If you don’t feel up to entering a contest, please feel free to respond to this in the comments as a prompt challenge. Weekly Flash Fiction Challenges resume November 2.

Judging

Go where the flow takes you, with bonus points for a twist that shocks the judges:

Mike Matthews, sound-boarder, proof-reader and husband extraordinaire; Hugh Roberts, friend, author and blogger with a deliciously dark flair for short stories; and me, Sherri Matthews.

We can’t wait to read your entries.  Have fun but don’t forget to watch your back: you never know who might be lurking in the shadows at the Rodeo.

NB: As providence would have it, I am in the throes of our house move this week. Huge apologies for my lateness in replying to comments, but I will return before the 31 October deadline.  Many thanks to Charli and Hugh for holding down the fort in the meantime.  

Next up: The Ultimate Flash Fiction (TUFF) by Charli Mills on Tuesday, October 31.

Announcement of Winner

Winner will be announced at Summerhouse and  Carrot Ranch on December 19.

Save

You May Also Like…

TUFF Winner Announced

TUFF Winner Announced

Everything about the TUFF Rodeo contest was difficult. TUFF is an acronym for The Ultimate Flash Fiction. The contest...

239 Comments

  1. Charli Mills

    We are now live with Rodeo Contest #7 — until murder unfolds! Sherri, you’ve given us a deliciously wicked direction for our fiction!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Hi Charli! In great haste to say thanks so much for the opportunity to host my true wicked wranglings of the heart, ha! Let’s hope this Rodeo Contest stays live and doesn’t die in the dust! And also to you and Hugh for holding down the fort until I can get back here properly asap. Great comments and flashes here just from a quick scan, can’t wait to get my teeth into them…ooops, I mean read them… in full. Love it…see you very soon! <3

      • Charli Mills

        Wicked Wranglings of the Heart — I love it! Lot’s of deadly musings headed to your new place. Kicking up dust is more likely! Hugh’s been great, riding over to the Ranch. Sharpen your teeth, Sherri, lots to sink them into! <3

      • Sherri Matthews

        Those deadly musings are going to make for some great reads, think I need to buy a new toothbrush…gotta look sharp for the Rodeo 😉 Hugh’s a star…you both are… 😉 <3

      • Charli Mills

        You are looking sharp, with gleaming teeth, Sherri!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Haha!!! All the more ready for Fred!

    • cam8510

      I just realized that for contest #7, I didn’t put my name and contact info with the story. Should I resubmit or will it be okay since I put my name and email on the form along with the submission?

      • cam8510

        Me thinks I put this question in the wrong spot.

      • Charli Mills

        Hey Chris, I just checked and you are good to go!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Hi Chris! I’ve got your submission safe and sound 🙂

  2. Charli Mills

    I have to admit — it was fun to think of murder. After I posted and started to write one of my own, I naturally thought of rodeos. I wondered what would make a rodeo clown commit murder. And this funny idea popped into my head. I think I understand why Sherri finds this form of fiction both liberating and entertaining.

    CHALLENGE (NOT CONTEST)

    Lipstick for a Rodeo Clown by Charli Mills

    Hubert outlined each eye with black liner. It had been Neva’s. Next, he penciled his lips the way she did before applying cherry-bomb red lipstick. He giggled. He loved Neva’s lipstick. Carefully he brushed his brows and powdered his face.

    “Next up at the Tonopah Rodeo and Stampede, bull riders!”

    Hubert danced a jig when the announcement gave way to the roar of the crowd. Neva wouldn’t be scowling among them. He’d be free to clown around, distracting bulls and wearing the make-up she refused to share with him.

    “Rodeo clowns don’t wear Maybelline, Hubert. Use face paint like others.”

    Her last words to a man coveting cherry-bomb red.

    • julespaige

      Red….such a passionate color…

      • Charli Mills

        A crime if passion!

    • cam8510

      Thanks, Charli

    • Norah

      Neva should have shared! But then we wouldn’t have this fabulous story.

      • Charli Mills

        If only she had! What was a Rodeo Clown with lipstick envy to do? 😀

      • Norah

        Exactly! How difficult is life meant to be?

    • Sherri Matthews

      Oh Charli, for someone who has always found clowns rather disturbing, your flash is the perfect wicked wrangle! Hubert was pushed too far with the Maybelline putdown. I wonder, was he born with it? Neve will never know… Brilliant…love this! 😀

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! Great use of the Maybelline tagline, Sherri! It made me snort-laugh!

      • Sherri Matthews

        As did your flash Charli…in fact, I keep short-laughing everytime I think about it…and I will never be able to watch a Maybelline ad quite the same again! 😀

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Oops, I replied to you in the wrong space, Charli. And I do love how you brought in that clown.

      Night Musings

      “Would you stop that infernal pacin’ an’ jist git some shuteye!”

      “I don’t like this Pal, it ain’t right. This here is a nice safe community, ever’one says so. Folks gotta feel safe here. No, this ain’t right.”

      “Jeez, Kid! Yer mutterin’ an’ pacin’ is kepin’ me from my much needed rest. What in the blazes are you on about now?”

      “Murder!”

      “Murder?”

      “Murder.”

      “I already regret this, but Kid, what’re you talkin’ about?”

      “This latest rodeo event, that’s what.”

      “Twitterflash?”

      “No.”

      “The bull ride?”

      “No, #7… murder.”

      “Kid, it’s just fiction.”

      “Fictional lives matter.”

      “Kid, there’s seriously gonna be a murder if’n you don’t shush up.”

      “G’night Pal.”

      • Hugh's Views and News

        Thanks for kicking the contest off. Love how you included some of the other Rodeo contests in this piece.

      • julespaige

        “Fictional lives matter.” …

        What a line it just brought me to tears.
        I’m laughing with delight… while the other half of my brain goes deliciously dark…

      • elliotttlyngreen

        I am feeling the Kid; like I am on the verge of just snappin! Yet due to This insane Rodeo. It is too too much! ! Are we serious here?!? Seriously!?! Already!?!

        Naw really I’m actually good cuz i think i just got a great flash come to mind. Gotta write it.

      • Sherri Matthews

        Them night musings will turn any situation murderous if the kid don’t watch it…I’ll be watching my back this evening! Great flash D 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      You are a well of clever puns, D.!

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, indeed!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much for the reblog Judy…the beast is indeed unleashed!!!

      • Judy E Martin

        It’s a pleasure, Sherri 🙂

  3. Judy E Martin

    Looking forward to this one Sherri ????????

    • Hugh's Views and News

      Thanks for sharing, Judy. Am answering in Sherrie’s absence as she’s moving house. ????

      • Judy E Martin

        You are welcome Hugh 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Sherri is, too! She was delighted to share her murderous musings with us!

      • Judy E Martin

        She surprised me with her dastardly dark

      • Charli Mills

        She’s got a repertoire of dark fiction, including some of my favorite wicked (and hapless) characters.

      • Sherri Matthews

        Haha…’darstardly dark’…I do love surprises Judy, giving as well as receiving 😉 😀

      • Sherri Matthews

        You thinking of a certain werewolf by any chance Charli? 😉

      • Charli Mills

        I might have a soft sot for a certain hapless werewolf.

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much for entering Judy…can’t wait to read it! 🙂 😀 xxx

      • Judy E Martin

        Oh, I hope you enjoy it, Sherri 🙂

      • Sherri Matthews

        I know I will Judy! 🙂

      • Judy E Martin

        ????????

  4. Ritu

    All entered!!!!

    • Hugh's Views and News

      You’re always so quick off the starting line, Ritu. ????

      • Ritu

        Hugh… if I leave it too long I forget to do it! And might as well make the most of my half term free time! ????

    • Charli Mills

      Way to go, Ritu!

      • Ritu

        Yay!!!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much for entering Ritu! You were definitely quick off the mark, well done and good luck! xxx

      • Ritu

        ???? thanks Sherri ! Xx

      • Sherri Matthews

        🙂 <3 Ritu! xxx

  5. Juliet Nubel

    Good morning Sherri and Charli,
    I loved this post and ooooh am I excited about this one. Just about to send it now. Here we go….

    • Hugh's Views and News

      Thanks, Juliet. I’m Hugh (one of the judges) and am responding to comments in Sherrie’s absence, as she’s in the middle of a house move.

      • Juliet Nubel

        Hi Hugh, yes I read that in Sherri’s post. Thanks for replying. I’ve been thinking about this contest for a few days. What is it about murder?
        I remember you well in fact, Hugh. I wrote a follow-up to a six word challenge on Jenny’s Sunday Scribbles after you posted a comment on my entry. It was especially to answer your question ????
        Have a lovely day!

      • Hugh's Views and News

        How kind. Thanks, Juliet. I always enjoy hearing about inspiring people to write. The comments section is a great place to find new ideas.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Juliet! So glad you are excited about this one!

    • Sherri Matthews

      And I will say good evening to you Juliet! So glad it got you fired up for some murderous musings! Can’t wait to read your entry, thank you so much for entering and good luck! 🙂

  6. Chris Mills

    Dark stories of murderous rampage on the ranch remind me of a song by my favorite singer/songwriter, Tom Waits…Murder in the Red Barn. Submitted. I look forward to reading your dark side.

    • Hugh's Views and News

      Thanks, Chris. Sherrie is in the middle of a house move so, as one of the judges, I’m responding to comments on her behalf.

    • Charli Mills

      I have a book on Tom Waits. Interesting one it is, too.

    • Sherri Matthews

      Oooh…murderous rampage. Now we’re talking! Not sure I’ve heard of Tom Waits…need to check him out with a song title like that 😉 Got your entry, thanks so much Chris!

    • Hugh's Views and News

      Thanks for sharing the latest contest, Irene.
      Best wishes,
      Hugh

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Irene!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much for the reblog Irene. Sounds like you’re getting into the spirit of things with those crime writers. Can’t wait to see what wicked wranglings your dagger and poison quill turn up…a few backs being watched as we speak, no doubt… 😉

  7. julespaige

    OK I just submitted my contest piece. I didn’t want to run out of time –
    I had the idea brewing last night and I percolated it before my morning cup of java. Hope is passes muster… (bwahaahaah…)

    I might think of a challenge piece too. One thing at a time though.
    Oh, can as in other contests if we are graced with such brilliance can we enter more than one contest piece?

    • Hugh's Views and News

      I can’t see anything in the rules that says you can’t, so go for it.

      • julespaige

        The second piece (which I couldn’t resist…) is going in the challenge section… I’ll just see if I can rattle the marbles for an additional contest piece.

    • Charli Mills

      Not having caffeine might sharpen the murderous musings, Jules! As with the other contests, you can enter more than once if the darkness takes you there. 🙂

      • julespaige

        ….I may have another one brewing…

      • Charli Mills

        Dark brew…!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Dark brew indeed! Glad Hugh encouraged you to go for it Jules…you’re on a murderous roll! Hugh…we’re going to be busy! 😀

  8. Judy E Martin

    Well I have unleashed the inner evil and entered! ????????????????

    • Charli Mills

      Woohoo! You are flexing your writing chops, wicked writer! 🙂

      • Judy E Martin

        I am doing my best Charli, thanks for the encouragement 🙂

      • Sherri Matthews

        What Charli said! Couldn’t say it any better…you go girl!

  9. A. E. Robson

    Well, this part of the rodeo is entered. Looking forward to the next go round. Good luck to all the contestants.

    • Charli Mills

      Good to see you, Ann! Thanks for supporting everyone!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much for your entry Ann, good luck!

  10. julespaige

    For a challenge piece I’m….

    Horsen’ ‘Round?
    (109 words)
    ***

    Them dang cow pies the horses done cloppsright in the
    middle of it. ‘Cas Abner can’t think to vere ‘round them when
    he’s making deliveries. And he ain’t a one to have to care
    for the critters once he done brought hiself home. An’ Molly
    and Sal don’t like crap stuck in their shoes. So after supper
    I got take a bucket brush to the barn. Got’s to check ‘m
    every darn day.

    I’s gotta make ‘im his meals and clean up house too. One
    o’ these days I’s gonna saddle up Molly and put a pack on
    Sal after I smother Abner in his sleep with cow pies.
    ***
    JP/dh
    ***
    Cloppsright isn’t a real word. It came up in another prompt.
    And after a slight adjustment “Horsen’ ‘Round?” also fit for
    this challenge piece. (I only had to remove one line.)

    • Liz H

      “after I smother Abner in his sleep with cow pies”

      I don’t know Abner from beans, but the picture is crystal clear! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      That’s some sharp horsin’ around and great dialectal dialog! What a way to go…!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Love it! I’ll keep quiet about mine and my brother’s antics with cow pies as kids, but smothering someone wasn’t one of them. Although…maybe I should have thought of that… 😉 Cloppsright is a great word, sticks right with you. Great flash Jules!

      • julespaige

        Living near the PA Dutch/ Amish we have our share of Cow Pies and Road Apples and you don’t need a calendar to know when it’s spring.
        Just stick your head out the window… Yum…not!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Haha…sounds like Somerset! Although no Amish. Cow pies and road apples aside, you must live in a beautiful place 🙂

      • julespaige

        Slowly getting built up too. But still some pasture land left. 🙂

      • Sherri Matthews

        Glad to hear…same here!

      • Charli Mills

        I don’t know, Sherri…that’s a story I’d like to hear!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Haha…bring on those BOTS! 😀

  11. Liz H

    ‘ “Oh yes you can,” she said with a knowing look in her eyes. We’ve never physically met, but I’d know that look anywhere.’

    And that’s the heart of an online Flash community.
    Love it! <3

    • julespaige

      Liz,
      Ah… is that the look of “Watch out world I’ve got a pen and I know what to do with it? – Look. We just get ‘keyed’ up and have to play…

    • Liz H

      Okay, Flash written and submitted.
      Ready for the first snow to roll in here!

      • julespaige

        Snow? How far north are you…
        We haven’t had our first hard frost yet.
        Stay warm.
        🙂

      • Liz H

        Minnesota. It’ll melt by day’s end tomorrow, though. But…winter is here. :-\

      • julespaige

        South central…but more South east, PA –
        It’s almost 7 am and the sun ain’t up yet.
        And it’ll be worse when we have to ‘Fall Behind’.

      • Liz H

        All good things come to those who wait? 😉

      • julespaige

        Maybe… just, maybe 😉

      • Liz H

        Lol!

      • julespaige

        I know you are probably not going to believe me… but I’ve just put two pepper plants in my enclosed back patio because they still have peppers and even a bloom. The coldest morning we’ve had this month was 35 F. I didn’t even have my heat on until about a week to ten days ago.

        Our local seasonal farmer’s market’s last day is October 28th. I just bought some seconds (not so pretty perfects) tomatoes and acorn squash today). …You ever think of getting a green house 😉

        Our seasons pretty much follow what the calendar says. So It’s not winter yet! Not until the middle of December.

        But it does depend on what side of the Alleghenies one is on. They get cooler weather on that other side quicker. 🙂

        Stay warm my friend!

      • Charli Mills

        What is snow but the murder of fall. Hang in there — my first “big laker whiteout” was stunning.

      • Liz H

        “The murder of Fall”
        Timely observation for this Flash challenge!

    • Charli Mills

      Isn’t it, though! I love it, too! <3

    • Sherri Matthews

      Honoured to belong to such an amazing online community. Thanks so much Liz and good luck with your entry! 🙂

      • Liz H

        We are fortunate, indeed!

  12. robbiesinspiration

    Not sure if I can write about a murder but I am thinking!

    • Charli Mills

      That’s the trick — “muse” about it! 🙂

    • Sherri Matthews

      Even just a thought will do Robbie…it might not actually happen, but who knows? 😉 Good luck!

      • Charli Mills

        I think that’s what I found fun — I didn’t really have to think of an actual, murder but imply one.

      • Sherri Matthews

        Exactly! That’s what’s so delicously dark about this genre 😉

  13. julespaige

    Leave me alone with my lap top… and you get a second entry….

    I’m on a roll. I guess reading murder mysteries for the last month or so has helped?

    (I am having way too much fun.)

    • Charli Mills

      I’m so glad you are having fun!

      • julespaige

        I’m dreaming of these things now. I had to get up around midnight to pen an idea so I wouldn’t lose it… egads!

        Oh, yes. I am having fun too.

      • Charli Mills

        It must be those peppers on your porch! 😀 I just picked a green tomato, our only one, yesterday. Frost hadn’t hit hard yet, but today the snow did! Supposed to snow until May.

  14. Norah

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    Got murder on your mind? Here’s a chance to work it out; in fiction anyway – contest #7 in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo #FFRODEO.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing, Norah!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much for reblogging Norah 🙂 <3

      • Norah

        My pleasure, Sherri. 🙂

  15. Norah

    Great prompt, Sherri. Best wishes with your move. I hope all goes well.

    • Charli Mills

      Sherri does murderous musings so well in her flash fiction writing, it’s fun to join her in this genre.

      • Norah

        She does. I’ve even entered. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, my, when educators have murderous musings! :-O

      • Sherri Matthews

        Haha…I feel so proud to inspire those murderous musings! I’m seriously chomping at the bit to read all the entries. Thanks so much for your wonderful encouragement Charli 😀
        Thanks so much for entering Norah 🙂 So glad you’ve enjoyed the challenge! We’re moved in…now to find everything, ha!

      • Charli Mills

        You’ll have lots of good reading, Sherri! Look what you started. 😉

  16. TanGental

    a bit of a challenge piece this – it must be the cheese…
    Making a Killing
    Jeremy was always eating. No-one knew he had a disorder that meant he never felt full. They just thought him hungry, then greedy, then morbidly obese. And when he said, with a sad repetition, ‘I could murder for my dinner’ or ‘I could kill for that burger’ that made him quaint, but harmless.
    He warned them that boot camp would end in tears; they thought he was just ‘being Jeremy’.
    When they found him, after ten days without food, surrounded by the corpses of the clinic’s staff , frying the Director’s viscera in lemon and sage, he shrugged. Prison was many things, but devoid of food it was not.

    • julespaige

      Eek…. There actually is some disorder where humans consume humans.
      And not just that tribe somewhere in the jungle.

      (I watch too many CSI Shows…)

      • TanGental

        yep, you need to turn over to the kiddies channels now

      • julespaige

        I tend to watch (when I’m not reading or writing…) the Food Channel, Hallmark Mysteries or the few CSI shows. I can’t get into Sponge Bob Square Pants… or even some of the adult comic shows. Just tell me another story…. without any nasty clowns.

      • TanGental

        Oh ok, more coming up

      • julespaige

        We always want more from clever and ‘Gental’
        folks… I might be one when I’m not opening my mouth to exchange feet…
        *she says attempting to eat humble pie…*

    • Liz H

      Delightfully grotesque!
      (Why did you not submit this as a Contest piece, fer Pete’s sake?)
      😮

      • TanGental

        I had a go at the comp so thought it a bit greedy to have two goes, but thanks for the encouragement Liz

    • Charli Mills

      “Lemon and sage”! Well, he did warn them, and lucky for all he’ll not have to find spices for the guards.

      • TanGental

        true, but it’s good to be a seasoned psycho…

      • Charli Mills

        You were just waiting with that line, weren’t you?

    • Sherri Matthews

      Geoff, I must be a bit twisted but I am laughing still at your story. The thought of ‘being Jeremy’ to his loved ones, yet all along he literally meant what he said. Haha…I can picture him now. I’m also reminded of that famous Jack the Ripper quote when he sent ‘t’other kidney’ to Mr Lusk, stating he had fried the other for his tea and that it was ‘very nice’. I wonder if he used lemon and sage for seasoning too? Love, love, love it… 😀

      • TanGental

        Glad it hit the sweet spot!

      • Sherri Matthews

        It certainly did Geoff 🙂

      • Sherri Matthews

        That it did! 😀

  17. julespaige

    No… folks, when you leave me to my own devices…
    I’m like the Energizer Wabbit… I just keep going:

    Hoping to attract the darker side… with:
    A Rhyming Lure, Writing’s the Cure

    • Charli Mills

      You are a writer on fire, Jules!

      • julespaige

        It’s a slow burn…

    • Sherri Matthews

      Dang Jules…I want those batteries!!!

      • julespaige

        (I think we need to borrow ’em from the younger folk… namely my grand-children!)

      • Sherri Matthews

        A drawer full would do fine if they don’t mind!

  18. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:
    Another killer contest at Carrot Ranch. Would you commit murder for a cash prize? In a flash! The Flash Fiction Rodeo rocks on.

    • Charli Mills

      You’r killing it, D.! Good work!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much for the reblog D 🙂

  19. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/flash-fiction-rodeo-contest-7/

    Just trying the challenge.

    Just Desserts

    “What I want ain’t on the menu, sweet cheeks.” His usual prelude to a grab at her ass.

    He was a regular. She and Annie disagreed about the regulars, this one in particular, but Annie was the owner as well as the cook. “He’s just having a little harmless fun”, Annie would say.

    He always sat at her tables. If she worked the counter he took a stool. “Lean over the counter, show me your specials.”

    She straightened and endured his dessert order. “Gimme a taste of your cream-pie.”

    “I knew you’d say that”, she said. “Here you go, made it special. The pie is to die for today.”

    • julespaige

      And y’all thought there weren’t gonna be nothin’ you could bring to the table? T’wern’t no humble pie that’s for sure.

      A little diner justice. That tastes mighty fine!

    • Liz H

      Oh sweet, sweet revenge!!

    • Charli Mills

      Just desserts, indeed!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Ahhh…great flash D. Sweet justice with a cherry on top (I imagine). He had it coming, just not how he expected 😉

  20. elliotttlyngreen

    Well that eerily came along easily… perhaps a discovery of genre i may be more adept at writing. ??

    This is wild, in the sense that i have sort of always struggled writing characters into conflict because i think i just care too much about them. Or maybe my characters have always been too personal. Anyways, a vastly different angle for me. Yet another great contest Rough Writers! ! Opening doors and uncharted realms. Thanks! ! !

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, I like that you’ve had this realization, Elliott! Perhaps you have found both a genre and a writing angle. 😀

      • elliotttlyngreen

        I have been watching a lot of horror flicks in the past year or so, something i never got into. Of course i cant watch anything without considering how it was written, and how to write it…. Oh my poor characters may be in grave danger =]

      • Charli Mills

        Movies are great for craft study because most follow the three-act pattern and many are examples of the hero’s journey.

      • Sherri Matthews

        I find the same with psychological thrillers. I can’t watch them without tearing them apart in my mind. What’s the real story? Good gone bad or born evil? Nature versus nurture? Pushed too far? I would kill to write a great screenplay like that. Ooops… perhaps I should rephrase that…. !

    • Sherri Matthews

      Thanks so much Elliot, so glad you’re enjoying the contest!

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Thanks! ! Im having a blast with the whole #FFRODEO

      • Sherri Matthews

        It’s wonderful isn’t it!

  21. cam8510

    This is my first challenge during the Rodeo. I’ve already submitted for the competition. I hope you enjoy, “From My Window, I Watch.”

    From my window, I watch the girl who walks my street at night. Weeks ago, I witnessed a man drag her into the alley. Maybe she hadn’t made enough or skimmed some off. Fists fell, boots rose. She landed in a heap.

    #

    I watched.

    He came back.

    Fists and boots put him on the ground. I grabbed his hair and jerked.

    She hit me from behind. But I knew the game. He put her up, fed her. I finished, ear to ear, and pocketed his cash.

    From my window, I watch. New clothes. New boss. And if she doesn’t make enough or skims some off, I won’t beat her.

    • Liz H

      God that’s dark. Love it… well done!

    • julespaige

      Wow… if that is your challenge piece I can’t wait to read your contest piece!

    • Charli Mills

      That some wickedly good writing, Chris!

    • cam8510

      Liz, Jules, and Charli, I appreciate the comments. This Rodeo certainly gets the creative juices flowing.

      • Charli Mills

        Yes, it does! And just in time for NaNoWriMo! Or NaNoRebel…

    • Sherri Matthews

      Chris, that is seriously dark. Even the title makes me sit a little straighter in my chair. Love it. Thanks so much for entering, can’t wait to read your contest flash, and good luck! 🙂

      • cam8510

        Sherri, Thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into this part of the Rodeo. I’m glad you liked my challenge story. I probably would have submitted this one, but the other was already in, and I did want to have a challenge submission this time.

      • Sherri Matthews

        Very kind of you Chris, and I’m thrilled you entered both the contest and the challenge. Thank you!

  22. dgkaye

    Fab contest Sher! And that’s where you’re hiding, almost in the new house yay! I love your description of no way writing fiction, that’s always been my position, so I’m proud of your girl! Maybe, just maybe, I’ll sneak in. 🙂 xx

    • Charli Mills

      Sneak in if you dare, Debby! 😀 Sherri is in her new home without internet, but zimmering her dongle. I’ve learned much from Sherri on the art of memoir and have delighted to see her stories in fiction develop.

      • dgkaye

        Oh yes, I’m so impressed with my friend Sherri. And I know she finally is going to settle in to her home. She dinged me on FB from her mobile lol. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Dinged or dongled…? Lol!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Oh I am feeling the love here Debby and Charli! 🙂 <3 Thank goodness for the zimmering dongle with my internet woes to keep in touch with you both! <3

    • Sherri Matthews

      Aww Deb, thanks so much as always for your unfailing support.Even when I’m in hiding, behind boxes or otherwise lol, you’re always there, cheering and encouraging me on. And both of us being memoir writers, we get that ‘no way writing fiction’ feel lol 😀 But if I can do it, so can you! There’s still time to sneak one it, if you feel so inclined with a murderous musing! But no worries if not…you know where to come if you decide to flash up a fiction another time…In between writing the memoir, of course! 😉 <3 🙂

      • dgkaye

        Thanks again Sher for the invite. I actually was contemplating it, and I shall see how much I get done today. I’m in the publishing process of book cover, blurb writing and soon to receive edits back from editor, so a bit hectic. But if I don’t I’ll be reading! And yes, I will hop on eventually! <3 xoxo Happy Halloween Sher. Huge hugs xoxo

      • Sherri Matthews

        Wow, you are one busy lady Deb! You’ve got enough on your plate, which makes your support here and at the Summerhouse even more wonderful. You’re a star! There’s always time later for some flashing lol! Hope you had a Happy Halloween too…quite for us, but I’m just so happy to have my black cat back, no matter what day of the week it is 😀 And thinking of you with your edits and look forward to hearing all about your latest book launch! Huge hugs right back… <3 xoxo

      • dgkaye

        Thanks so much girlfriend for the kudos. <3 xoxo

      • Sherri Matthews

        Of course Deb…likewise! <3 xoxo

      • dgkaye

        Always Sher. <3 xo

  23. Sherri Matthews

    Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    Wouldn’t you know it: the same week I host Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #7 over at Carrot Ranch, I move house. It was supposed to happen in July, but how else to keep up with my broken record/cliche fashion Summerhouse phrase, Better Late Than Never? But we did it and more on that in another post! Today, I’m thrilled to reblog Murderous Musings: When Good Folk Turn Bad at the Rodeo. You’ve got until the deadline at 11.59 EST 31 October to write a 109 word flash fiction weaving a murderous vibe through an every day setting. Shock the judges with a great twist for bonus points. As always it’s free entry with a cash prize. Read on for all deviously dastardly contest details. Huge thanks to Hugh Roberts and Charli Mills for holding down the fort with replies to comments, as this in great haste until I’m able to return. Will do so asap and before the deadline. Huge apologies to D Avery for dropping the ball timewise and not re–blogging her Bucking Bull Go-Round Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #6 that went live on Tuesday, but there’s still time to enter if you gallop over to this link today: https://carrotranch.com/2017/10/24/flash-fiction-rodeo-6/
    Judges Hugh, Mike and I can’t wait to read your murderous musings and really hope you’ll join us. And look out for the final contest #8 live next Tuesday with Charli Mills’ The Ultimate Flash Fiction.
    Have fun everyone, see you soon and remember, watch your back for this one: you never know who might be lurking in the shadows at the Rodeo…

    • Charli Mills

      We know you are lurking, having incited murder and then moved! Is that so the coppers can’t find you? 😀 Funning aside, I’m so happy to have you leading the way with this contest, Sherri! <3

      • Sherri Matthews

        LOL! The timing does seem rather coincidental, I admit. Those coppers, so far, haven’t got a clue 😉 Fantastic to be here…thanks so much once again Charli! <3

      • Charli Mills

        Keep the coppers clueless! And good luck with all the unpacking in your new hideout!

  24. Norah

    Great post and challenge, Sherri. It’s interesting to hear about the ways in which flash fiction has benefited your writing. I know I have always enjoyed reading your blog and fiction, and am waiting to have the pleasure of reading your memoir. I’m certain it will be a fine work. I remember reading your Homemade Cider story earlier. It gave me a smile now as it did then. Thank you. Charli’s Rock Creek flash is interesting in the way it explores the question of guilt. Will the real villain please stand up. Probably not. There is rarely a black or white answer, only multiple shades of grey. Well done, both of you.

    • Charli Mills

      It’s been great fun to watch both of you develop fiction and characters as we’ve flashed at the Ranch. <3

      • Norah

        It’s been fun to join in, and to watch everyone else develop too. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        That’s one of the joys of the rodeo!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Flashing at the Ranch has opened up my writing in ways I never could have imagined! Not to mention belonging to such a fantastic literary community. You guys are the best! <3

    • Sherri Matthews

      Aww Norah, you are always so incredibly encouraging, both you and Charli. Thank you so much…I’m just thrilled you’ve enjoyed this challenge and not thought too badly of me with my confession of wicked wranglings, ha! I’m honoured that you remembered Homemade Cider! I can see those two women now, but I am not sure what really happened…other than a bad end for the husband. Maybe I should write it again and find out 😉 Ahhh…the beauty of flash and fiction! And yes, I too was fascinated with Charli’s exporation of the why behind the crime. What a wonderful Rodeo for us all! 🙂 <3

      • Norah

        The Homemade Cider could be a good candidate for “TUFFing” it out. It has been a fun Rodeo. With just one last contest to go, I’m already getting my spurs ready for next year! 🙂

      • Sherri Matthews

        And I’ll be spurring along right beside you Norah! I love your TUFF idea….hmmmm….let’s see! What a great time this has been, so thrilled to join in! 🙂

      • Norah

        It has been fun, but TUFF is being a bit elusive for me. Must get it done. Must get it done. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, I think Norah is right. It would be a good one to explore through TUFF…in 2018!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Bring on 2018!!! <3

  25. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    I intend to join in sounds fun! Going out now for a while to enjoy the sunshine but will come back later with darks thoughts of murder in mind, Sherri, Charli! Never written murder before so it might be a bit lame but always good to try new things. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Hope you come back with bright dark thoughts, Marje! 😀

    • Sherri Matthews

      Keep those dark thoughts rolling Marje…thanks so much for entering! A new challenge keeps us on our toes…and watches our backs 😉

  26. julespaige

    Putting this in as a Challenge entry. While it has some ‘trump’
    it might be a little mushy…

    Challenge piece 109 words

    Title: The Cereal Killer

    When playing Bridge it was hard not to use political
    posturing. None at the table supported the same parties.
    So it was agreed to leave disagreements in that realm for
    other times.

    There was always one who just couldn’t stop from putting
    Their two cents in when it wasn’t wanted. Spoiling this
    leisure time in the retirement community.

    Ernie had just about all he could take from the haughty
    Frederick. It was too bad that the ladies might miss him.
    And who was going to question the death of an eighty nine
    year old man with no family?

    Ernie poisoned Fredrick’s oatmeal. Took a week for Fred
    to expire.

    JP/dh

    • Charli Mills

      Cereal killer! Great challenge, Jules!

    • Sherri Matthews

      I had Cheerios for breakfast…should I be worried?

      • julespaige

        I thought Cheerios were bagel seeds….

        No, not to worry – but check your oatmeal… if you are around Ernie.

      • Sherri Matthews

        I do enjoy a bowl of oatmeal, I admit… and bagel seeds? You’ve got me with that one!

      • julespaige

        🙂

  27. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Just entered the competition hope you received my entry okay.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, Marje! It came through on a dark and stormy night…

    • Sherri Matthews

      Yay…got it safe and sound Marje and can’t wait to read it! Dark and stormy night? Now that’s what I’m talking about, and it being Halloween and all… Good luck! xxx

  28. julespaige

    Another challenge piece… Maybe it could have gone in the Humor Event?
    Is there such a thing as having too much fun. At least I didn’t ‘cut the cheese’.

    Title : Dante’s Meltdown…
    (109 words, and yes it is downright cheesy…)
    _
    The Big Swiss, wasn’t like the cheese. He was more like
    Herman Munster. And it would take an Abbot’s Gold to
    move him. Unless of course you were Ms. Natural.

    Dante was desperate. There were some holes in his
    his impromptu responses to the private Gumshoe’s
    questions about the bad axe saga and left him in dire
    need to either leave Sandy Creek and the new
    relationship he was building with Bella Lodi and her
    Uncle Baron Bigod.

    Dante cried begging Ms. Natural the Fat Bottom Girl who
    was the Farmer’s daughter. She agreed that Finn was not
    in the Fellowship Too. Big Swiss’d kill Figaro Finn for her.
    _
    JP/dh
    _

    Note : Swiss, Muenster/ Munster (OK I took a little liberty
    with that…) , Abbot’s Gold, Ms. Natural, Dante,
    Impromptu, Bad Axe, Saga, Sandy Creek, Bella Lodi,
    Baron Bigod, Fat Bottom Girl, Farmer, Finn, Fellowship Too,
    and Figaro are all names of cheeses.

    (I did use a net found alphabetical list of cheeses to ‘grate’
    haphazardly at best the names that came my ‘whey’… )

    • Charli Mills

      We’re all funny now that the pressure to be funny is off! 😀 Grate names of cheese and clever story! Melt it all down and get into my fondue pot!

      • Sherri Matthews

        LOL Charli 😀

    • Sherri Matthews

      Well you certainly strung me along with this one Jules…reminds me of a young woman by the name of Somerset Brie who went on a hot date with a nice bit of Danish Blue. Sadly, it didn’t work out. Would love to know whey… Ha! See what you’ve started? Loving your flashes…and like I said, send me over those batteries if you can… 😀

      • julespaige

        So kind of you to keep the Limburger… away. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        No, whey, what a story! 😀

      • Sherri Matthews

        Lolllll….whey to go! 😀

  29. Pete

    The text message came at lunch.

    DUKE MURDERED KEMPER

    Sam started to type “How?” or “When?” but what did it matter? He’d gotten sloppy. Careless. And now, retracing his steps, he knew he was to blame.

    He was with Kemper last.

    Arriving late, Sam found his wife on the couch, a glass of wine at the ready. Beside her lay a disemboweled monkey. Duke at her feet, busy with the stuffing.

    “Noah’s asleep?”

    His wife shot him a smile fit for a boss. She picked up the shredded monkey. “Found this guy over in Northside, Took some surgery but it passed inspection. Now we have to dump the body.”

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! I’ve witnessed a couple of such horrific disembowelments. Stories of dogs and kids and teddy bears! Great framing, Pete. At first I was thinking the Boss was all kinds of wicked psycho. Nope, just a mom covering for dad and the dog!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Haha, me too Charli! The boss wasn’t who I imagined, loved the twist, and thankfully no gore here, stuffing notwithstanding. Great flash Pete 🙂

  30. Gloria

    Okay. ..I’m finally moving out of my comfort zone! I’ve just entered my very first writing competition! Yeah!!

    • Sherri Matthews

      Yay, thanks so much Gloria! Got it, safe and sound; I’m truly honoured to receive your very first writing competition entry and wish you all the best 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Fabulous, Gloria! So glad you stepped out and onto the Ranch!

  31. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    Well, drat. I so wanted to get an entry in for this one, but the double deadline today killed me. Got in just under the wire for #7, but will have to sit this one out. Boo.

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, drats, Lisa! It got intense by the end of the Rodeo, and you rode well!

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

        I’ve really enjoyed it. I think I’ll be posting the “murderous vibe” this morning as a challenge. Off to saddle up.

    • Sherri Matthews

      Glad you entered the challenge Lisa…great flash!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #7 | But I Smile Anyway... - […] Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #7 […]
  2. Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #7 – Hugh's Views & News - […] Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #7 […]
  3. A Rhyming Lure, Writing’s the Cure… | Jules in Flashy Fiction - […] Ranch Rodeo continues with Murderous Mussings What words or thoughts can you agues… Challenge or contest, all for your…
  4. Halloween Music And A Homecoming | A View From My Summerhouse - […] amazing support for the Flash Fiction Rodeo running at Carrot Ranch.  I was thrilled to host my Murderous Musings…
  5. High school sweethearts – Creative Busyness - […] This post was written for the Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #7. […]

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading