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Saddle Up Saloon; Putting Up a Stink

Saddle Up Saloon

“Ya mean ya ain’t got nuthin’ lined up fer this week? Dang, Kid! We best skedaddle an’ git ta the Saloon ASAP.”

“Jeez, Pal, ya don’t need ta call me a sap, I feel bad enough as it is. Cain’t believe I let Shorty down. Dropped the ball. Screwed up.”

“Enough idioms!”

“Pal! Stop callin’ me names already! I ain’t a idiot. Jist…”

“Jist drop it Kid. Ya say ya ain’t been by the saloon much lately. Did ya leave it locked up?”

“Heck no, it’s open 24/7 ‘member? I left Ornery Ernie ta serve folks ‘at might come by. Last I saw ‘im he was singin’ along ta Willie’s Whiskey River.”

“Oh, fer karaoke? How’d he do with the lyrics?”

“R’fused ta change one line, said tamperin’ with a Willie Nelson song’d be a crim’nal act.”

“Reckon so. Whoa. Stop. They’s a few hosses tied up out front Kid.”

“Yep. There’s ol’ Burt, so Frankie must be in there. Ernie’s mule’s out back with Pepe LeGume’s burro a Canadian affairs.”

“Hmff, LeGume. They’s some hosses here I don’t rec’nize. Thet’s a fine bay on the end.”

“That’s Blackjack. You can look over my horse but speak soft, let him know you’re there. He can’t see.”

“Howdy Ma’am. Reckon we’ll jist follow ya back inside, see whut’s goin’ on. I’m Pal, this here’s Kid.”

“Danni. Danni Gordon.”

“Name sounds f’miliar. S’pose ya’ve met these other characters.”

“I like her horse!”

“Bet’cha do, Frankie. Whyn’tcha try tradin’ her bay fer Burt? Then ya could be the blind leadin’ the blind.”

“Funny, Pal, but you’d only be half right, as I at least have my left eye.”

“I see. Frankie, have ya been keepin’ an eye on Ernie? He seems a little drunk there behind the bar.”

“Oh, he’s alright, he’s only half drunk. Danni here’s got him into Whiskey Ditches, and they’re half water. Water’s good for ya.”

“Uh-huh. Who’s thet settin’ aside a Danni?”

“Hard to keep an eye on that one. Little squirrely; seems a might short on postage.”

“Jist wunnerin’ if she should be heading home, ya know? Oh, here she comes. Ma’am.”

“Charmed, I’m sure. Matilda Windsor. You may call me Matty.”

“Oh, yep. You was here fer karaoke. Done yersef real proud. Kinda surprised ta see ya still here. Ain’t some’un s’pectin’ ya ta be comin’ home?”

“That ‘some’un’ is likely chasing me around Twitter, poor thing. I shall get where I’m going in due time. Karaoke was so entertaining, I thought I’d see what you publicans have planned next.”

“Kid, ya wanna tell the nice lady what ya have planned fer the ev’nin’s ennertainment?”

“Well, I, uh…”

“Sharts? Mademoiselle Gordon, I too am an expert on sharts, but do not know why you eenseest dey be old.”

“Pepe LeGume, you numb-nut has-bean, she’s a archaeologist. Shards. Pieces a pottery an’ artey-facts.”

“Hope yew ain’t lookin’ fer skel’tons aroun’ the Ranch, there Missy. Ain’t nobody got nuthin’ ta hide ‘roun here.”

“Aw, Jeez. Kid, fix Ernie anuther Whiskey Ditch, hold the whiskey. Take over b’hind the bar.”

“I like her horse!”

“Frankie, shush. No more highballs for you!”

“Pal, would you ever stop yammering about my eyeball? You don’t know who these two are, do you?”

“Who? Danni and Matty?”

Who? Danni and Matty? Yes, Danni and Matty! They ain’t round the Ranch regular yahoo characters like you and Kid.”

“Or you and Ernie and Pepe?”

“Touché, touchy grouch. No. They are real characters.”

“Ya mean they ain’t fictional like us?”

“They’re fictional characters. But they each have their own novel!”

“Well, what’re they doin’ here?”

“Same as any of us. Taking a break, getting away from their writers. Lookin’ ta be entertained.”

“Alright, folks, might’s well tell ya. Kid got side-tracked an’ ain’t got no ennertainment lined up.”

“That’s it! Matilda Windsor is coming home.”

“No, wait Meez Matty, Mademoiselle Weensor. Dees steenks, eeet ees true—”

“Funny you should say thet, Pepe.”

“Pal. Pleaze. What da world needs now ees common scents. Eet steenks, dat Keed messed up, but just serve a prompt. I am trying to get a sense of dees saloon. Dere have been teengs for da ear, and dere have been attempts to reach out to doze weed good taste— why not serve up someteeng olfactory?”

“Ah, jeez, is this one a them puns, er is it yer secon’ languidge sitcha-ashun?

“Ees a call for common scents, Pal. You serve savory libations for the palate, no? Serve up a prompt dat appeals to da nose.”

It’s not a bad idea, Cowpoke. Heck, there’s lots of material wafting off of Ernie alone. I could tell you what a dig smells like. Or Ike’s roses. Or his grandmother’s spaghetti.

“Kid? What d’ya think?”

“I think next week folks should plan on a poetry slim—”

“Don’tcha mean slam?”

Slim, ‘cause it should be short. I’ll git more on that later. But fer t’night, tell ‘bout a smell in 9, 59, or 99 words. Could be a good smell, could be a bad smell, but jist describe it or what it evokes fer you. BOTS, fiction, poetry, whatever.”

“Oui! Dees makes scents! Share your responses in the comment section.”


Warm smells— morning sun, stirred by bacon and coffee. (9 words by A. Kidd)


These characters are here at the saloon without the knowledge or permission of their writers. Danni Gordon, the main character of a work in progress by Charli Mills, may be familiar to you from 99 word scenes presented in the Carrot Ranch challenges. Matilda ‘Matty’ Windsor has also shown up for 99 word scenes, and is the title character in Anne Goodwin’s upcoming 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 writer.


If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .



  1. Charli Mills says:

    Ah-ha! That’s where Danni went! She’s needed back at the novel. We’re working on a triptych of scenes, something called sequencing where one scene sets up, the second carries out the action, and the third responds to the conflict. If we’re counting words, the whole of the sequence is 7,500.

    Thought I’d leave a different triptych of 99-59-9. Good scents you got wafting at the Saloon, well, maybe not from Pepe, but it’ll pass.

    The familiar smell of Ramona’s spaghetti eased Danni’s fears. Ike’s grandmother always simmered the sauce for hours. She’d take five cloves of peeled garlic, crush them with the flat of a large butcher knife, and add them to the sauce while the noodles boiled, giving the kitchen a distinct pungency. Ramona believed that if you simmered the garlic too long, it lost potency. Same with the rosemary. Cut fresh from the window pot, the leaves released the stem with an aroma of pine needles. When Ramona hugged Danni, she reeked of comfort food, its familiarity blanketing their tearful embrace. (99-words)

    Ike would spend the night in jail where it ponged metallic and sterile. There had been no allowance to go before the judge. Freya assured Danni that if Ike agreed to counseling, given his clean record, they could get leniency for him as a troubled veteran. But the arresting deputy reeked of humiliation, his face blackened by Ike’s fist. (59-words)

    Danni slept alone, inhaling what trace of Ike lingered. (9-words)

  2. Skunk cabbage, verdant
    From dark earth resurrected
    Bold unfolding spring

    Plain and humble, first the flower then the foliage push through early spring mud before snow has fully receded from the forest floor. One inhales skunk cabbage in concert with the tangible smell of lingering snow, a shadowed coldness, along with the hopeful smell of spring thaw, of warming wet earth clutching thin rays of sunshine. Any one of those elements will stop you in your tracks, make you breathe deep, take in the cold, the warm, the pungent insistence of the skunk cabbage. Spring! It’s a heady cocktail.


  3. TanGental says:

    Good of you guys to give those long suffering characters a break. Morgan says he loved his time and what was the name of the whiskey Ernie had in the unmarked bottle. He thinks it might be an own brand. Logan tells me he’s in therapy again.

  4. Matty missing overnight? There’ll have to be an investigation. Not sure about her hanging around a bar either – she tends to prefer tea to beer. Presumably Danni was able to look out for her. Probably better than the night she slept on a staircase without a friendly face around.

    I’m sure she’ll be glad that you noticed her, however. And I imagine she’ll be back soon to share some strange odours. Right now she’s at the Mad Hatter’s tea party researching her 99-word story for last Thursday’s flash fiction prompt.

  5. Norah says:

    The Saloon is always entertaining, whether entertainment is scheduled or not. The craic is good.
    I can breathe in the aroma of A. Kidd’s 9 words. Nice.

    • Kid was a little concerned for a bit to suddenly realize the day had come and- nothing. But a good establishment runs itself, though I was surprised at who all was hanging out there.
      I love that you used the term craic! I haven’t heard that in years, not since working alongside the Irish in my summer job.
      Thanks Norah, Kid will be relieved to hear that disaster was averted by the quick thinking of Pepe.

  6. A very cool mash-up! I think even your salonniere might be willing to participate in karaoke if you have the right songs!

  7. susansleggs says:

    Scents from Nice to Nauseating

    The scent of fresh baking cookies makes my mouth water
    But when left too long turn to stinky black smoke
    The smell of freshly mown hay reminds me of my childhood
    But the barn it goes to stinks of money, which is actually animal dung
    Fresh cut flowers in a vase on the table make me inhale deeply
    But oh, the water they come out of after wilting can make one gag
    The wafting of Polo aftershave lets me know my man is near
    But after he’s done exercising, he needs to get close to the shower not

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