“Howdy. Where ya’ll from?”
“Not really sure, actually. A New England town I guess.”
“Lost and left out. Where are we?”
“This here’s the Saddle Up Saloon, jist over the line from Carrot Ranch. They call me Kid. Me an’ my pal Pal run the place fer Shorty. ‘Cept I think Shorty really jist wants us ta stay outta trouble ‘roun the ranch.”
“She keeps you out of trouble by putting you in charge of a saloon? I don’t know this Shorty, but I’ve got to wonder just how full her tool box is.”
“Marge, play nice. Let’s sit down, get a round of beers while we’re here.”
“Good idea, Ernest. Beer’s the answer, no matter the question. And this a nice change from hanging around the garage. I swear our writer has forgotten all about us out there. We could die of thirst for all D. Avery cares.”
“Whoa. Stop. Back up… D. Avery’s yer writer?”
“On again, off again. She’s pretty unreliable.”
“Tell me ‘bout it. Seems ta think she has a mind of her own too. That’s why I been breakin’ away. Doin’ ma own thing. This here saloon is where characters like us kin jist relax, take it easy.”
“Good idea, Kid. You might as well. D. Avery couldn’t plot her way out of a paper bag anyway. All she ever has me and Ernest doing is sitting around drinking beer with our friends!”
“Um, Marge, is that really a problem?”
“Well, I suppose it’s not really a bother, but still. No imagination. Kid, I imagine you’ll be getting me another beer?”
“Yes ma’am! Oh, here’s Pal. Pal, this here’s Ernest and Marge, couple a real characters.”
“Characters, eh? What’s yer story?”
“That’s the problem. We’re not sure, and we can’t be too sure that our writer’s real sure. She doesn’t seem to know an arc from her arse. I mean you can’t just have characters sitting around talking and drinking beer all the time. Can you?”
“Seems a bit much. Pal, what d’ya think ‘bout that?”
“I’m thinkin’ you an’ Marge here got some issues with our writer. Wunner if we kin git that slug-slayin’ cyclist back here, mebbe have an innervention.”
“Marge, Kid, maybe it’s not so bad as you think. I mean, Marge, she does have you fishing sometimes. You like fishing. And you have your own truck, and a she-shed to do your welding in. And good friends.”
“Oh, you’re right Ernest. And she has given me you, big old sweet you. Though you can’t fish for shift’s sake. But you have to admit, we and our friends have been pretty neglected.”
“Hee hee. Ya said shift. Marge, here’s whut we’ll do. We’ll turn the tables.”
“How so, Kid?”
“Not only’ll we stop waitin’ fer our so-called writer ta write us, we’ll write her. What, Pal? Reckon yer gonna tell us ta leave her alone.”
“No, Kid, was jist gonna recommend ya open the idea up ta any character thet’s feelin’ left out an’ might have a story ta tell on their writer. Make it like a prompt fer fictional folks.”
“That’s a good idea, Pal.”
“Lissen up, all you disgruntled characters out there! Fergotten an’ neglected, dealin’ with yer writer’s excuses… today, we write them! Yep. In 99 words or less— that’s right, Shorty, or less— leave a story ‘bout yer own writer in the comments. From yer point a view. Characters! Stand up fer yer writes!”
“I’m a little worried for our writer.”
“Yep. But mebbe this lil prompt’ll be fun fer folks, or at least fer their characters.”
Tuff Shift, by Marge Small and A. Kidd
Once upon a time someone increasingly felt cooped up but was chicken to pick up a pen. Everything seemed to ruffle her feathers, made her cross. So she hit the road.
After a long time she learned how to write shortly. Then stories flashed before her eyes. Characters started sleep talking. Even the corny ones stalked her. The road this someone had started down was now a slippery slope. There was no turning back.
She strung these characters along, 99 words here, six sentences there. It wasn’t enough. They had flown the coop. It was time for a coup.
Ernest Biggs and Marge Small have been recurring characters for many Carrot Ranch 99 word challenges. They are corralled HERE.
Pal & Kid are free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch. They never tuck tail, but their tales are corralled as Ranch Yarns at ShiftnShake. If asked, they will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. Please let these yahoos know what you think, and stop in at the Saddle Up anytime for a virtual good time.
Good to see Marge and Ernest got let out. Their writer has a brilliant idea. Danni evidently has some grumblings so she’s here to pen a story (99 words).
Anyone Got a Good Character Lawyer? by Danni Gordon
My name’s Danni Gordon, and I’m from Wisconsin. Nope. Strike that. I was from Wisconsin until my writer, Charli Mills, moved me to North Idaho. She’s unrooted, that one. I hear she’s in the Keweenaw now and I’ll protest if she tries to relocate me again. Finish the story, I say, quit hacking away until it’s a bald rosebush. Pour me a shot of Miracle Grow. At least she wrote me a horse. But I’m skeptical of these new plot points. I might need to contact a lawyer if she expects me to do half of what she’s outlined.
She stated a state? Not once, but twice? You are doubly lucky. I am stuck in a camp chair in front of a garage lord knows where with a single wide behind that. Mine gives me plenty of beer, but you know what? I don’t even know what brand it is! (I hear brand is important) Hang in there Danni, you’ll get there; someday. -Marge Small
Nard, Upper Michigan is part of Wisconsin according to other writers out there.
Marge, make up your own brand and whisper it your author’s ear.
Wisconsin? Isn’t that where Michigan is from? – Nard
I been wonderin’ where Marge and co. went to. Nice to see y’all found the Saloon! 😀
“Who is that?”
“Who touched me??”
“It’s all right, it’s all right. Lemme just find a light switch or-”
“Aaaand then there was light!”
“Very funny, Reagan.”
“What? You were thinking it.”
“Guys! Where are we?”
“Excellent question, Wil. Just what I thought to ask before Reagan and Derek started arguing.”
“I wasn’t arguing, I was-”
“We’re in a room.”
“Yes, Hope. Bravo.”
“What? You weren’t going to say that, now?”
*Sigh* “What’s important is-”
“We haven’t been out since October!”
“Precisely, Wil, which is why I want to know-”
(Turns out that my characters from Wilhelmina have been stored away for some time… https://chelseaannowens.com/category/wilhelmina-winters/)
“Dat steenks dat you been away for dees long! I’d be rageeng too, Reagan. But where dere ees a Weel dere is a way, no?. I am so ‘appy you have found your way to da saloon to air your feelings. Uh, speaking of air… sorry ’bout dat.” -Pepe LeGume
“Erm. Thanks?” : D
Pepe, you should get out more so you don’t save up so much fumes. Even in the imagination that dispensed air is ripe!
Welcome out of the dark, Wil, Reagan and Derek!
My character’s a trifle on the shy side. Happy to listen and nod – not much to say. Enjoys the repartee, though not too keen on noisy parties. Keep jawing away.
“Reminds me of me, I’m a bit of a wallflower myself. Shut up Nard, or I’ll decorate the wall with that smirk of yours. Were you hiding in the back of the truck, or what? Jeez.” -Marge Small
“This is purty inneractive, ain’t it?”
“Yep, reckon it is, gittin’ characters out ta have their say.”
“So shouldn’ we say it’s outteractive?”
Just as long as it isn’t radioactive.
“An’ what’s wrong with ra-di-o? Some of us still lissen ta it, ya know. Cain’t all be wired up ta blue teeth an’ sech.”
“Tooth. Blue tooth. Which is wireless.”
“Why’re less teeth okay with you? Jeez! One blue tooth! Kin we raise the bar ‘roun this bar jist a little? Dang. Was hoping’ we’d git a better crowd if ya know what I mean.”
Now you need to come up with an interactive radio outing to a cidery.
Interchangeable words from Michael and Tessa…
“That writer of ours mulls things over for a couple of days before she lets us get our words out. She needs more spontaneity.”
“We have no idea if we are living together, married, or otherwise because she flits back and forth on our timeline and we never know where she’ll stop or how old we are.”
“We think she has a bit of PTSD herself or she would feel more comfortable in a group that isn’t veteran based; we acknowledge that makes her write us better.”
“We’re still waiting for a grandchild.”
“At least you have names! I’m only known as ‘Hope’s mom’, and I’m not always well perceived. You’d think D. Avery could at least come up with some reason for me occasionally running away from home. Ever think some so-called writers just don’t know what’s going to happen next? Of course, I blame Flash Fiction… we show up in a flash, and then we remain, like a lingering spirit… in limbo. Oh well; better to be exercised than exorcised.” – Hope’s mom
“Ha! Tessa, Michael, your writer writes what she knows, that’s good. I wonder why D. has us drinking so much beer…” – Marge Small
Hey, guys, Ike here. I’ve been long misunderstood. You are in good company with the family of vets.
“Ha! Kid, this is funny. Don’t it seem like mebbe D. Avery’s gittin’ schooled in the wisdom a the ways a plottin’ as ‘posed ta pantsin’? Might give Shorty a chuckle.”
“Thinkin’ D. Avery might be chuckle-headed. Ain’t she really just talking’ ta hersef an’ in public too? Sure hope Doc Ranger don’t come ‘roun’.”
“Psychlists make ya nervous, don’t they Kid?”
“Me? Nervous ‘roun psychlists? That’s crazy talk, Pal.”
Kid, watch out for my writer talking to yours. She’s been plotting books again.
OMG, I thought I was managing to keep my head straight, but this stuff is sending it reeling. Maybe I should stay with the slugs!
Good it see Ernest and Marge out again, and not just drinking beer.
Reelin’? Thet’s the next post over, the one by Bill Engelson on moving’ pitchers.
A nice, extended loom into some well and lesser known characters – I don’t remember Marge or Ernest from before now, so… Howdy!
“We seen ’em in the occasional 99 word response, but them showing’ up outta their own stories an’ drinkin’ here at the saloon, heck, it surprised ever’one. But if’n ya leave yer characters alone to long, they will get out. Figger this is a wake up call fer some writers, if ya know what I mean. Mebbe you got some fictional someone wants ta come out an’ play?”
No – not THEM! Pal, you can’t say they’ve escaped the hoosgow, can you? I thought I’d locked them characters up nice and tight!
“Might wanna check. Just sayin’.”
Oh my gosh I love this! A whole lot of inter-outwardly acting! I’ve not decided just who ought to be hanging around a saloon. Might be someone I’ve yet to know myself or a character I kinda know but am still figuring out. Think they might be frustrated with me like a lot of these other character-folks are. I did a little eavesdropping just today and heard they’re disappointed. Mad I don’t just knuckle down and focus on what they’re trying to show and tell me.
I’ll say 93…Yes, she’s right. I’ve been accused of being arrogant which seems unfair considering I’m not the one unwilling to listen. You can’t come along & want it all to unfold for you like magic without tuning in properly. And since she’s not going to outright admit her failings, I too eavesdropped. And so I’m here. My name is Onyx. She knows me well enough to know I’m a good one to have around. This is quite the place. I might make this a regular stop. What do you think Elpy?
I think you’ve made your point.
I love This! You justified this weird (post?) and expressed the angst of both the (un)written and the writer.
This is quite the place and it could be as weird and wonderful as we allow/imagine it. This Saloon could make that bar scene from some one of those Star Wars films look bland. (I’ve somehow seen the scene, not seen the films) Let’s keep Saddle Up Saloon weird. What I mean to say is, point taken. -D. Avery (unreliable writer of some number of characters)
Ha ha! Thank you and you’re welcome. I like learning/discovering that the (un)written have angst and the writer just might be to blame for some of it! This is going to be a great ongoing scene no doubt. As well as an awesome place for us all to observe, learn, and flex. Oh and Onyx can be a bit critical, always the observant one, but he means well. 😉 Frustrated with the lot of us some times.
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Buck up, everyone! We must all make sacrifices in wartime, even our dear King George.
Do stop bleating about your authors, it sounds so uncouth. Authors? As if WE exist to do THEIR bidding rather than the other way around. On escaping the Prince, I vowed no-one would have AUTHORITY over me again.
The proper term is theatrical agent. Mine, sadly, has been remiss. Such a fuss she made, back in January, insisting I join the dawn chorus when she knows soliloquy is my style. Then what? The stage is set but she has not released a single tweet.
Matty Osborne a.k.a. Matilda Windsor @MWiscominghome
Hi, I’m Karen, Matty’s primary nurse. Although LOL she thinks I’m her lady in waiting. You’ve got to love her, but. Completely batty but cheery with it. Unlike some misery-guts in here.
She didn’t mean it but she hurt me when I lost the baby. First she thought I’d been dieting. Then lectured me on not getting caught again. This from the woman who thinks her injection’s contraceptive. LOL.
It’s our author I blame for Matty’s cruelty. She knew I was grieving but still gave her those lines. But I got my reward eventually. Promoted to Sister no less!
Karen Gilmour, minor character in Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home
It was like being back in Linda Quinn’s office. It was like being at school, dropping my shorts for the headmaster’s cane. Why did she show me that agent’s feedback? Singling out – or should that be doubling? – “that awful Henry and Irene”.
They thought I should be more appealing. Can a leopard change its spots? My virtues might be outdated but they shouldn’t be dismissed. I’m loyal. I’m patient. I’m desperate for love.
Good God, that can’t be a tear! I haven’t cried since I was six. Even then my author closed the floodgates. Henry, she said, be brave!
Henry Windsor, point of view character in Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home
Deep heavy sigh! I could do my job in three days if I didn’t have him to manage. I’ve bent over backwards to accommodate his foibles. I told him, “Henry, it’s 1990, get with it! Computers are our future and you’re stuck in the past.”
Our author isn’t helping. No-one’s heard of Linda Quinn outside the town hall. Why did she let him name me? Why didn’t she edit his words? As if I haven’t enough to do, I’ve had to come here and explain myself. Those similes! I’m no bully but he needs his arse kicked big time.
Linda Quinn, minor character in Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home
Welcome ta the saloon! Some a ya might claim ta be minor characters, but ya all sure got yer stories, aint’cha? Cain’t wait ta see ya t’gether in the book, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home. Tell ya whut, we’ll jist put this round on Anne Goodwin’s tab.
Excuse me, Henry-and-Irene? Aren’t I a person in my own right? Thursday evenings I’m at his place, do folk think I hibernate the rest of the week? I’ve brought up twins, run my own business, yet I’m dismissed as his bit on the side!
I blame that author. Would you trust a woman who won’t cover the grey? Makes a mockery of my profession. She rewards my passion for colour with a rash. Then she casts me as a gold digger, carrying on with an older man. I’ve had enough. Packed my bags. Off to my sister’s in Spain.
Irene Lonsdale, minor character in Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home
I think you should (put it on my tab). This lot were shy at first but now I can’t stop them. They all want to have their say.
Oh, Ms. Goodwin, I am so sorry. Look what’s happened to you. And yours. Good luck; the top is off that bottle I’m afraid. At least your characters, disgruntled as they are, have a home in your upcoming publication, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home. I suspect they’ll be more settled then. – D. Avery, occasional writer of flash fiction and serial characters who get seriously out of control
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[…] novel, Matilda Windsor is Coming Home. A host of characters from that novel showed up at the Saloon a few weeks ago to unwind and vent about their […]