Copper Country

Written by Charli Mills

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

January 11, 2018

Copper Country by the Rough Writers & Friends @Charli_MIllsWelcome to the Keweenaw, the original Copper Country in upper Michigan where miners from around the globe migrated to work for over 150 years. The University founded by the mining industry remains a world-renowned technical and engineering school. And copper nuggets can still be found on the shore of Lake Superior.

But this is not the only Copper Country or its only interpretation. Writers from around the globe have gathered like miners to delve this prompt for nuggets of stories told in flash fiction.

The following is based on January 4, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Copper Country.


Francis Stacker Dutton: Copper Country by Irene Waters

Funny how things turn out. Here I am. An Englishman born in Germany ending up in South Australia. Sheep was my game. Fine merino. I had an eye; could pick fine fleece from inferior. My sheep went missing. Looking for them changed my direction. Found copper and started a mine. Needed miners so I went to England to find ’em in Cornwall. Sold my mine shares instead and wrote a book about South Australian mines. Made a fortune. Didn’t have to work but ended up South Australia’s Premier. Seat of Light. Ironic. Can’t have light without copper. Copper country.


Copper Country by Abby Rowe

Before the mine closed, Poldice was copper country. When I was nought but a cheel, I’d see the men trudging down the village, gads in hand. No help found from boss or owner, but, if you kept the Knockers sweet with crusts, our Dad would say, they’d rap and tap to guide you to the lode.

Young Jory Pascoe was not so wise. They say he ate each morsel to himself, so the Knockers hammered and bashed the faults ’til the roof caved.

Mrs Pascoe’s famed pasties, so fine you couldn’t refuse them, were the death of her son.


Pass the Pasties by Annette Rochelle Aben

Mom always made us pasties. We grew up eating the pocket meals filled with beef, potatoes, rutabagas and onions. Her father’s people were from Cornwall, England and that is what they ate.

Years later, I married a man whose grandmother was from Cornwall, England. He and his family ate pasties too.

One year, he took me on vacation to Copper Harbor, Michigan. Beautiful country. We saw black bears on Brockway Mountain. Enjoyed a Woody Herman concert in the haunted, Calumet theatre and we ate pasties. Because that’s what the “Cousin Jacks” and “Cousin Jennies” would eat in Copper Country.


Up Harbor by D. Avery

The Strawberry Moon, low on the horizon, trailed a coppery sheen. A chain of beads glimmered with each paddle stroke, their dripping the only sound as she sliced along the shimmering path of moonlight across the harbor. Playfully she pursued the moon, mirrored in the water, always just out of reach. Finally she stopped paddling, just sat, rocking gently, cloaked in the soft fleece of moonlight. The moon had risen higher, a shiny penny in the sky, and she smiled to herself, feeling truly lucky. “But, time to return. Goodnight, Moon”, she said aloud. “Shit, where’d my paddle go?”


Fuzzy Thinking-From the Writers Perspective by Bill Engleson

We needed a place where we could…you know…just be, just serve and project. Whatever you think of us, we all started out with the best of intentions. Sure, some of us proved to be bad pennies. They weren’t worth a plug nickel to begin with.

We all start out shiny and bright, but the sparkle quickly tarnishes.

So, when that actor, Joe Penny…played Office Phil Buchwald in S.O.B., suggested we buy our own country, well, no lead balloon there. ‘Course, you can’t buy much country these days, but we acquired land in Northern BC, called it Copper Country, eh…


Grandpa Amlodd’s Dragon by Roger Shipp

“He’s not supposed to be green, Jess.”

The six-year-olds gazed high atop the old stone barn. Bedtime stories of Merlin… Arthur… and dragons… filled their heads.

“Grandpa Amlodd smithied the copper dragon to protect our farms. Now look at him.”

“The copper dragon has to be freed.”

Racing to the farmhouse, the boys quickly did what they did at school. They googled.

“Ketchup!” They explained at the same time.

Armed with two ketchup bottles in one hand and the extension ladder from the gardening shed penned under their opposing pits, the boys set off the release Grandpa Amlodd’s dragon.


Mixing Metal by Juliet Nubel

She had always known why their village was nicknamed “Copper Country”. You just had to look around.

Everywhere the same metallic orange tint to the hair, the same green rain-washed patina in the eyes. Even their skin bore the same burnish of the sun.

But not James. He was just a little brighter, shinier, his green eyes with a hint of the ocean in their depths.

Nine months after they wed, their little princess arrived. She wore pale cream skin, azure eyes and finely spun blond curls.

Who would have thought that copper mixed with copper could make gold?


Prospecting by Jules Page

Jade was looking for ideas. So she had gone on a road
trip. Patina was a different shade of green. And that was
all she was finding in this abandoned town. Copper roofs,
shutters, statues. It must have been a thriving community,
once. Now it resembled a ghost town.

The old man at the rustic general store had said there was
still buried treasure in Tawnytown about twenty miles north.
He hadn’t exactly said what element was.

As a jewelry artist, Jade began snapping photos. Jade
thought that working in copper with jade might give her a
new angle.


An Alternative Discovery by Charli Mills

Christopher Columbus informed the Queen. “Your Majesty, a great procession sails from where the earth ends.”

“Is it possible?” she asked Ferdinand. They gathered, soldiers honing flint-knapped spears, the royals at a safe distance, all praying to God.

Invaders clad in red metal came in the name of Gitchigumee. Flint spears shattered, no match for glimmering red weapons.

Many who survived that day in 1492 succumbed to foreign germs. North America wiped out most of Spain, enslaving her children to dig in the New Copper Country.

If only Christopher’s Queen had known to make weapons of the native metal.


Coppers Bring Copper to Utopia by Anne Goodwin

The visitors try to impress us, as usual. We stifle our yawns. They tell us they’re coppers, but we can police ourselves. He empties his pockets of a handful of coins and a card. “Electronic money. No need for coppers.” We hate to disappoint him, but we’ve no need for money at all. “Look how it turns from orange to green as it loses its shine!” But we’re not impressed by decoration. “Don’t touch it! It’s dirty.” The coppers disagree. “Copper kills bacteria and viruses.” Really? We took a sack and in exchange for a lorry load of gold.


Low-balled by Kerry E.B. Black

Jenkins wiped grime along his plumber’s bottom.

The homeowner, a single mother of two, wrung her hands like an old-time heroine. “What’s the damage?”

He cleared his throat. “How long were you away, Ms. Rowen?”

“A week. Make-a-Wish gave my littlest a trip.” She hugged the kids. “It was the kindest experience we’ve ever had, right boys? Then we got home, and the basement’s flooded.” A nervous giggle escaped.

Jenkins considered the pipeworks, yards of stolen copper mined from the vacationers’ house. He estimated the cost. A minimum of $5,000. More than she had, he suspected.

So he low-balled.


Copper Country Destiny by Ann Edall-Robson

Her destiny had changed forever on that fateful night, or had it? The lightening laced sky had been accentuated with the screaming, crying, flashing lights and tangled metal. Her potential as a great athlete who had lived for each practice, for each competition ended there and then. The accident had taken its toll on her young, exuberant lifestyle. It was her great personality that kept her from being shunned or worse. Her gentle eyes that spoke volumes, captured hearts. The Copper Country lineage prominent throughout her bloodlines would now be passed onto every foal born to the Palomino broodmare.


Copper Country by Pensitivity

It had started as a joke, then a recognised charity event, this Mile of Pennies.

Then it became a significant tradition when visiting the county to place a penny next to the last one and cement it in place.
The mile stretched to two, then three, then fifty, a single line of coppers, leading from the centre of town to somewhere not yet determined.

Only pennies were allowed, nothing of any higher value, they came in all currencies from all countries.
It became known as Copper County, even though the pennies had long since been covered by the Highway.


Logan and Morgan are Go by Geoff Le Pard

‘What made you scared as a kid, Logan?’

‘Lots of stuff, Morgan. Dad’s nose hair. The vacuum cleaner hose…’

‘No, like when were you most frightened?’

‘When my poo turned blue. I was five. Thought I’d die.’

‘How come? You eat copper sulphate? That turned my hands blue.’

‘I liked Thunderbirds.’

‘Is this going somewhere, cos I think I’m on a different bus to you.’

‘Thunderbird two is green, right?’

‘I’m waiting, Morgan.’

‘I ate the icing, turned my poo blue.’

‘I didn’t know they made icing out of copper sulphate.’

‘Lots you don’t know Logan.’

‘Troo dat, Morgan.’


Nearly Pictureless Frame by Daniel C Julian

At the bending end of a gravel road along a forested ridge far and away from the nearest town, down a half-mile of rough path over hill and through dale, on some flats beside a gushing little creek, there stood a tiny shack. One whole wall of the shack was a bay window looking out on nothing but trees, and before this window was a writing desk upon which sat an old manual typewriter. Clickety-clack, DING, brrack and clickety clack some more, the machine made its music as the writer wrote. It was the tale of the Copper King…


Copper Country by Pete Fanning

We worked fast. Kendall handed off the pipes and I ran them to the truck.

“Easy with the noise.”

I nodded. With arms overhead, his pits were sour and his sweat reeked of Schlitz. He looked to me through a haze of smoke, his Marlboro drooping with his smile. “Few hundred bucks running under these floors.”

A teaching moment. Mom’s boyfriend couldn’t always tell you the day, but knew to the cent the market on metals. Kendell could strip a house clean in a few hours before getting off to the scrap yard—Copper Country, as he called it.


Fields of Copper by Heather Gonzalez

In the early morning, when my family is sleeping, that is when I watch the sun rise over dancing wheat and I hold my breath to listen for music. Leaving the urban jungle for the countryside was the best thing I could have ever done.

I once spent my nights disassembling copper pipes for profit, now I spend my mornings gazing upon the fields of copper. I know that one day the truth will catch up with me because no one can stay in hiding forever. But until then, I will watch as the sun rises over Copper Country.


The Last Bastion by Anurag Bakhshi

The town looked dead, as everyone had gathered in the castle to celebrate our victory.

The war between zombies and humans had been going on for decades. The entire planet was under the rule of zombies, except Copper Country, which kept resisting with unprecedented bravery.

And then, just in the nick of time, we discovered that copper could ‘kill’ zombies.

Rejuvenated, we gathered all the copper in the kingdom in one place…

…and destroyed it.

The castle had not taken too long to fall once it ran out of copper.

We zombies now had complete control over the world.


Copper Country by Eric Pone

Hunter woke up from the copter crash tasting blood in his mouth and dizziness reminiscent of a hard nights drinking. Copper country can be a relentless place but as he fumbled with the belts he felt confident that he could evade the ops teams looking for him. “Great….well this experimental went down lovely.” He mumbled as he extracted himself to snow HK10 at the ready. Footsteps in distance met by a Pop pop then nothing. He knew his dad was leading the search. He also knew that he would make it really hard on them to find him.


Copper Country by Michael

There was great excitement as the date for the Annual Lenten Ball to be held in the White Rose Ballroom of the Copper Country School of Arts.

Everyone dressed up, there was much polishing of boots, ironing and starching of shirts and collars, hairdressing appointments and new dresses ordered and adjusted.

Copper Country and its tiny hall was all that was left of a once bustling town at one time boasting six pubs.

All that remained now of those days was the hall and us, the locals from all around, dressing up and having a night of homemade fun.


Copper Country by Robbie Cheadle

“Complete darkness always woke her. With the crime problem escalating in her city, she felt very vulnerable and slept with the bathroom light on. The light had gone off and who knew why. She slipped out of bed and peeped out of the window at the neighboring house. That house was also in darkness. Somewhat mollified, she went back to bed and eventually fell asleep. The following morning, she discovered that the copper power cables had been stolen during the night causing the power outage. It seemed that her suburb was the new copper country.”


Parenting by Kerry E.B. Black

Heather combed through the older woman’s thick hair, separating it into sections using plastic clips. Layers of steel and silver gave way to a small cove of copper. She ran a finger along the silky strands, recalled brushing and braiding when her mother’s head boasted autumn, not winter, a child mothering.
She blinked back tears. “You were an awful mother.”
Her mother shrugged, unconcerned. “Orphans don’t know how to parent.”
Heather’s scissors snipped, creating the requested fashion.
Heather’s children dominated her every thought, their needs always first; not at all how her mother raised her. “Yet somehow I learned.”


A New Puppy by Susan Sleggs

“Is it time for a new dog?”

“No! Maybe. Sandy was such a good girl how can I replace her so soon?”

“Because a pet is a companion. Maybe a different color or breed.”

“Has to be a cocker spaniel, but another color is intriguing.”

I went to meet a litter that was almost ready at the breeders.

“The mom’s name is Fancy. She’s from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

“Looks like she got dyed in the copper mines there.”

“Yes. We named her daughter, Miss Revere, like the pans.”

“I could call her Revi; sounds more doggish. Consider her sold.”


The Coppersmith by D. Avery

Patriot and artisan, Paul Revere made a variety of contributions to the American War of Independence. The pen was a strategic weapon, and Revere, using copper plates, made political cartoons and illustrations, including his famous and inflammatory engraving of the Boston Massacre. Brawnier contributions had to do with munitions and weaponry. Yet many associate Revere the coppersmith with the making of alloy bells and with pots and pans. Let’s. Let’s melt down brass cartridges and copper bullets and make a pot to cook shared meals and bells to ring in peace. Surely we have the resources to do that.


Looking For Change by Michael Fishman

I was shocked when Kristy Benson, a year older – a senior no less – said yes.

To me! You believe it?

If I had the words I’d tell you how beautiful Kristy is, but my vocabulary, it’s, you know, just so-so, so you can use your imagination.

Problem was coming up with money. I got some extra hours at the theater when Deliverance opened last weekend – Burt can bring them in – but I needed more so I took my brother’s penny collection and sold it down at “Copper Country” for $17.00. He’s 19 and he’ll understand; he’s been in love.


Copper Country (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

“And it took me forever to clean the damn kitchen! If that man would learn I’d prefer a reservation to his cooking, I’d be so happy…” Michelle’s voice trails off as her office door snicks shut.

Jane pauses her filing, transported back in time to her mother’s kitchen, her child self scrubbing those hated copper-bottomed pans with steel wool until they gleamed. What she wouldn’t give for a meal home-cooked just for her! For her own kitchen to clean!

Her mother’s kitchen, closed to her since their estrangement. It seems a lifetime ago now, in a country now foreign.


Earworm by Liz Husebye Hartmann

“I swear, if you sing that one more time, I’ll push you out the hatch myself.”

“Aw lighten up, Schmitty,” Dirk laughed at his co-pilot. “I just can’t wait to get home!”

“You and me both,” the co-pilot muttered.

The swept low over the canyon, lining up for their annual supply drop to the Earth outpost. Next stop: Moon Base Nine, Home Sweet Home.

“This is the song that never ends
Yes, it goes on and on my friend…”

“That’s it, Dirk. Here’s your parachute…”

“Too late!” He dropped the payload and flew up and away from Copper Country.


Secrets by FloridaBorne

“Another basement, Dr. Williams?”

Dust flew around my hand on the oak railing.

“Your paper about copper mines in Michigan, and worldwide trade over 10,000 years ago, turned heads.”

At basement bottom, a coffin-shaped box was being carried out the door.

“What is this place?”

“The world can’t know humans vacillated between space and stone-age for over 1,000,000 years. You’re caretaker of this secret.”

I was in awe of a radio built 950,000 years ago when the door slammed.

I heard it lock.

Behind the door was a message: “You will not leave this place until you die.”


The Land of Bobbies! by Ritu Bhathal

Wherever you turned, they were there.

If you popped out for a bite to eat, guaranteed there would be at least four you would see in the establishment.

On your way to work, you were sure to be flanked by a couple.

Putting your rubbish out on collection day, there would be eyes on you.

Even in your home, you couldn’t escape. At least one family member was going to be one.

Still, at least you felt safe, if a little intimidated, by their presence.

That’s what you got for moving to Copper Country – The police were just everywhere!


Copper Country by Drake Scott

“Now listen to me Judith, you need to understand the situation here. It won’t be much longer until they’ll be able to pull one proton from a zinc atom and whamo! turn it into copper. The tech is there and its getting pushed through regulations as we speak.”

Judith’s heart sank as she thought about what that would mean for her family who’d owned the copper mine for the last two Earth centuries.

“But its not too late. Sell the mine before the market crashes and you can walk away a winner. The offer is good until Tuesday…Earth time.”


Ray, Arizona by Mr Macrum

Atop Teapot Mesa, a Great Spirit cast sad eyes over the mile deep mine below. He had witnessed mountains grow tall and rivers gouge deep. He had never seen creatures as destructive as these puny humans busy carving out the base of his home. Did they not understand they were only hastening their own destruction?

Great Spirit shrugged. He was but a witness tasked with remembering all that he saw and reporting back to Her. He was her eyes. It would be up to Her how to handle these ingrates and the overwhelming insults they heap onto her back.


Elemental Problem by D. Avery

“Hey Kid.”“Hey Pal. Got a copper?”

“Ya mean sheriff?”

“No, copper.”

“Ya mean like a penny?”

“No, ah, heck Pal, I may have ta cop out on this round-up. I don’t know nuthin’ about copper or copper country.”

“Gonna cop a plea of ignorance, Kid?”

“Yep. Anyway, the hosses’ve left some gems for me ta shovel. They’s all shut up in the barn what with all the snow.”

“That’ll test yer mettle.”

“Yeah, I’ve shoveled so much shit I should git a medal.”

“So whyn’t ya try shoveling some regarding the shiny orange metal?”

“We’ll see.”

“Cu later.”


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  1. Ritu

    So many fantastic entries yet again Charli! i am always overwhelmed by all the different takes!

  2. Believing Sight Unseen

    Really impressive entries … well done all … I couldn’t get my head around this one!

  3. Judy E Martin

    Some fabulous entries here ,Charli. Well done, everyone! 🙂

  4. floatinggold

    Wow! So many interesting entries.

  5. Colleen Chesebro

    What great stories. I love this challenge, Charli. <3

  6. Rebecca Glaessner

    Wow! Catching up after my holiday hiatus and the Ranch has grown exponentially! So much variety now. Some sci-fi popping up regularly too, tugging at my imaginative heart strings. Loving it. Inspiring work from all the writers here. Just fantastic. Thanks for sharing everyone, and once again, to Charli, for her undying dedication to the Ranch.

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