“Howdy, Pal. Take care a yer hoss then set a spell.”
“Kid! Yer s’posed ta be gittin’ the Saloon ready! What’re ya doin’ jist settin’ there a’whittlin’?”
“Whoa! Ya kin stop yer yellin’ at me Pal. It ain’t what it looks like.”
“Looks ta me like yer settin’ on yer ass jist a’whittlin’ when yer s’posed ta be gittin’ the Saloon ready fer thet quiller. She’s gonna have a re-tirin’ shindig fer D. Avery.”
“Looks kin be receivin’, Pal. I ain’t jist settin’ on my ass. Ma cell phone’s in ma back pocket. Got it set ta vibration.”
“A cell phone, Pal. Got it muted so we kin still hear the crickets. An’ if yer really astute you’ll see that first bit’s 99 words and has this week’s Carrot Ranch prompt word in it. Got the phone handy ‘cause I’m givin’ that so-called writer a ours a bit more time ta change her mind. But so far she says she ain’t comin’ by. Ain’t gonna be no shindig.”
“Reckon ya should text the quiller an’ offer ta refund her deposit.”
“There weren’t no deposit. Nobody aroun’ here has ta PAY, PAL. Though they could.”
“Huh. So if thet re-tirin’ shindig ain’t happenin’ we ain’t got nuthin’ goin’ on here this week. We ain’t got no ennertainment or nuthin’ lined up fer the saloon. Dang thet D. Avery! Why ain’t she comin’ by?”
“Says she cain’t be hangin’ ‘roun a saloon on a school night, still has two more days a school.”
“Ridin’ thet one right through ta the buzzer, ain’t she?”
“Yeh, mebbe that’s it.”
“Yer face is all scrunched up Kid. Is it thet phone goin’ off in yer pocket, or are ya thinkin’?”
“I’m thinkin’ on why she won’t let the quiller throw her a party.”
“Mebbe we should git Doc Ranger ta come by.”
“Should Doc Ranger anal-eyes the matter she’ll only figger out what I already been tellin’ ya— D. Avery’s a pain in the ass.”
“The Ranger’s got degrees an’ sech fer this kinda ponderin’.”
“Thinkin’ the only two degrees relevant here are 0 and 360. They both point north.”
“Seems like thet’s goin’ full circle. If thet’s whut D. Avery’s doin’, why not celebrate?”
“Thinkin’ she’s a chicken, is what.”
“Ya might be onta somethin’ there, Kid. She wrote the book on chickens. Reckon she’s finally found the pluck ta cross the road hersef, see whut’s on the other side. Mebbe it’s jist her time. Check this out:
When comes the time, a road’s the place
The destiny some hens embrace
Chickens rise and leave the nest
To make their dreams manifest.
Their sojourn can’t end unless it begins
So they head out to look within
Pilgrims of regenerate faith
These chickens cross, they go with grace
They cross a road they pass that test
Continue on their illimitable quest
Till comes the time when they stop, content
They know themselves and where they went.”
“D. Avery wrote that? And published it? And gave up her day job? Yikes. With a plan like that, no wonder she ain’t inta celebratin’. Sure hope her students kin do better math an’ her. Sayin’. Here’s a thought that might cause some dissension; maybe she’s crossing without any intention, maybe just wandering, not paying attention; maybe road crossing hens aren’t worth any mention.”
“Yer bein’ kinda harsh, Kid. Leavin’ a career’s a big deal.”
“She’s kinda harsh, Pal. Listen ta this:
For all you who have wondered why’d
the chicken cross— here’s the scoop:
it’s not about the other side;
she just couldn’t abide the coop.
She’s leavin’ friens an’ kids behind in that coop, Pal, quittin’ on ‘em.”
“Thet’s enough, Kid. Mebbe she’s modelin’ somethin’ good fer folks, ta take a risk an’ take car a yersef. Reckon they’s all happy fer her. Look, here’s Will, a colleague a hers:
“Huh. Seems like our so-called writer knows shift. Kinda remin’s me a someone…”
“Here’s another colleague a hers:
My mentor has been a mentor a time or two.
She says ‘it’s been a wild ride, and I end with you’.
Who knew I could fly up to the sky?
She did, from the start.
My mentor taught me many lessons of how to be
the type of teacher who was thoughtful like she.
Who would build benches, fences & trust.
Who would do what is right & do what is just.
My mentor reminded me to work & to play
life was short she always did say.
When it came to emails she’s taught me less is more.
The words were important but must come from the core.
My mentor was a chicken & I her squid.
Dede, thank you for everything.
Love Always, the Kid”
“Relax, Kid, it’s a different kid, aka the Cisco Kid, aka, Squid. She’d been a fourth grade writin’ student a D. Avery’s, then ended up bein’ a math teacher with her.”
“Well, yer right, Pal, there don’t seem ta be no hard feelin’s.”
“But there are feelin’s. We’ll leave her be, let her git through the final school days with her kids.”
“But Pal, what about the folks that come by the saloon? We still ain’t got nuthin’ lined up.”
“Let’s jist ask folks thet might come by ta reflect, mebbe in 99- or 59-words a prose or poetry tell ‘bout a time they made a big change fer themselves. Could be a made up story even; kinda hard ta tell the dif’rence ‘roun here anyway.”
“So if folks come by lookin’ ta relax an’ sech, we hand ‘em an extra prompt? ‘Cause our so-called writer nixed a shindig here at the saloon? Hmmph. Told ya that D. Avery’s a pain in the ass.”
“Yep. But she’s our pain in the ass. Write on, D.”
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 them via firstname.lastname@example.org.