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October 8: Flash Fiction Challenge

An early memory is getting a pair of little white kid gloves to wear at San Benito County Rodeo. Maybe they were cotton. But in my memory, they linger as fine kid leather. Not from the hide of Kid or a young person, but from the hide of a young goat. Why were goats involved in buckaroo culture? I have no idea. I tackled them, hog-tied them, licked them (unintentionally, I swear), and apparently, I wore their hide on my hands. Well, we could pick that apart as perhaps an unusual childhood. But authentically buckaroo.

California is a region of assimilation. I can only imagine what a place it must have been under the stewardship of the many and varied tribes that lived there for thousands of years before the rest of the world finding out about gold in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Did you know that Indigenous people practiced fire management in California? I like to think of buckaroo traditions stemming from the rancho culture that arrived with the missionaries and their Spanish horses and cattle. People whose ancestors managed mountains and forests and coasts took to horses with a special kind of wisdom.

They say buckaroos evolved out of the vaquero culture, but they fail to say how much earlier influence came from the original Native Californians. With the Gold Rush, people from around the world flooded into California. Among them, two sets of Basque 3rd-great grandparents. They ranched a small place near Paicines and later ran the hotel in Tres Pinos. Through marriages and descendants, I can claim Basque, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Brazilian, Flemish, and Dane. Talk about the Californian melting pot. Each one of those heritages came under the direct influence of the vaqueros.

And I had the kid gloves to prove it. Well, maybe not the gloves, but the early gear we used spoke of our heritage. My grandfather was a rawhider, and I learned the basics. I know how to make rawhide, string it, and braid it. We carried riatas (braided ropes) and rode with bosals to keep a horse from tossing its head. We had hefty horns on our beautifully tooled saddles because we roped cattle in a certain style. My grandfather was a figure-eight roping champion at this same rodeo grounds where I once won my own championship (okay, it was just a goat, but I won a trophy). This video gives you a glimpse of the style of roping and the land where I was born as a fifth-generation Californian

If you want to read an insightful essay about the buckaroo culture I come from, the Library of Congress recorded a bit of it here.

Our own Flash Fiction Rodeo is unfolding with a new event every Tuesday. Kerry E.B. Black is currently hosting Fables and Tall Tales. Colleen Chesebro is up next, and her contest is the equivalent of the figure-eight loop to syllabic poets. Kid and Pal hit the Dusty Trail last week, and I took over the Saddle Up Saloon to host TUFF, a progressive flash fiction contest. Part Two posts early Monday morning and offers the first twist to the sequence of word count reductions.

I’m going to do my best to keep up with all of you taking the weekly challenges, but I may be eyebrows deep in my thesis. The complete first draft is due by the end of the month, and then I’ll be using NaNoWriMo to revise it. That might sound like crazy-talk, but I do have a strategy in mind! My first draft is a mess. I want to use November to make it more cohesive and streamlined so that when I go into thesis revisions with my professor and peers, I have a better working manuscript. On a side note — Danni is the daughter of a Basque buckaroo from Nevada. Her life was much different from my own, but I wanted to use a culture I’m familiar with, and when writing about the West, I reached into my own back pocket. With kid gloves, of course.

October 8, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes kid gloves. A prop in the hands of a character should further the story. Why the gloves? Who is that in the photo, and did he steal Kids’ gloves (of the Kid and Pal duo)? Consider different uses of the phrase, too. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by October 6, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Submissions are now closed. See our latest challenge to enter.

Dressed and Ready by Charli Mills

Annabelle’s mother braided her hair so tight her eyes tugged at the corners. “Ma,” she wailed, “I won’t be able to see.”

“Get hair in your eyes, young lady, and you won’t see to throw your loop.” Ma was all business about rodeo events.

Already Annabelle had on her boots, jeans, frilled shirt, turquoise vest, and a hot-pink scarf with a concho slide. Ma zipped up the back leg on each side of her navy blue shotgun chaps and tightened the belt. Her brand-new kid gloves would protect her hands.

All this for a chance to rope a calf.


  1. While others tended to rodeo events or cracked their WIPs, Pal took a vacation, time away from Kid. Just for a while. Pal even left Carrot Ranch. Just for a while, for it had been such a long while since Pal had seen Cousins Ash and Dusty Trales.
    Dismounting at their Turnip Farm Pal was greeted warmly. “Hey there, Cuz. It’s been a while.”
    “We gotta git these turnips harvested.”
    “I’ll hep.”
    “You’ll want gloves.”
    “Yep. Dang! These are Kid’s gloves! Ugh! I musta inadvertently took Kid’s saddlebag.”
    Even on vacation, Pal would be burdened with Kid’s baggage.

  2. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kid was skedaddling to the Saloon, for as you may recall Kid has some goats out back of the saloon. Bursting through the swinging doors, Kid saw— “Shorty!”
    “Kid. Shouldn’t you be vacationin’?”
    “Worried ‘bout my kids, what with that prompt an’ all.”
    “The kids are alright, Kid, the Ranch and the saloon are safe places for all.”
    “Okay.” Kid then took in the quiet saloon. Shorty was so busy writing she hadn’t noticed the goat feeding from a stack of papers. Despite assurances, Kid did not feel safe and vacated, goat in hand.

  3. Pete says:

    He never takes the gloves off. Ever. And if I try to make him a wrestling match ensues.

    “Germs are everywhere, Zia,” he warns.

    My brother, the six year-old scientist.

    He should have been outside playing in the dirt. Instead this Covid thing has really messed him up. I mean, it’s messed everyone up, but for him I fear it’s irreversible.

    When he’s asleep, Mom peels the gloves off, washes them with our masks. Once dry, she carefully works them back onto his stubby little fingers. Says they make him feel safe.

    Hmm. Maybe I should get a pair.

  4. Liz H says:

    Cuz something got me up before sunrise today, but it wasn’t technology!

    Home on the Range

    Cal coiled up his riata. He had no goals to improve on his already impressive rope skills, but granddaughter Flora required kid glove treatment these days.

    Grandson Jeremy had passed him up, carrying on the vaquero tradition through competition and education. Kids today wanted an excuse to put down their cell phones, to raise their faces to the sun. It was an unexpected but welcome blessing from the quarantine.

    Flora had kicked him out of the house early, even before his morning coffee. She wanted him out from underfoot while she attempted to wrangle the internet and home schooling.

  5. denmaniacs4 says:

    The Jokester

    I remember when it began.

    First grade.

    They abandoned me to a mocking mob.

    “Play nice. Make friends.”

    I tried, but what did they know.

    The rabble seemed as one.



    Maybe even smarter.

    One day, faced with aggression, I pulled off a sweet backflip. Landed it. Came up smiling.

    “Funny guy,” the bully said.

    My life’s river changed course.



    Bigger tricks!

    Fatter grins!

    Decades of idiotic hijinks.

    Three marriages!

    Three divorces!

    “Too much,” each said. “Always over the top! Puns! Interminable, heavy-handed humour! Release me.”

    Now I get it.



    Both need kidding gloves.

  6. Jim Borden says:

    sounds like you’ve got a viable plan for your thesis – good luck!

  7. floridaborne says:

    After reading this post, I now know where to enter the contest, but I took a hard look at the topic and the format of it and have to admit: There’s nothing I’m interested in writing about in that genre.

    Kid gloves? I have an idea already. 🙂

  8. […] This was written with the prompt to include a story with kid gloves provided by the Carrot Ranch October 8 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

  9. The Flying Son

    Lucas had already reached the top of the tree, almost faster than his Dad’s eyes could follow. Now he gripped with only one hand as he waved in triumph. ‘I’m the king of …’ but his words faded on the wind as a freak gust hit at the same time. He sailed to the ground with his arms outstretched like puny wings until he landed with a dull thud in his father’s arms. When he found his breath again Lucas whispered to his Dad ‘How’d you do that?’ His Dad smilingly whispered back ‘With kid gloves, my flying son.’

  10. Norah says:

    Turquoise shirt. We know who this one is, but she’s tackling a calf rather than a goat. I wish you success with completing your draft and revising in NaNoWriMo, Charli. Every step is a step closer to completion. So much writing going on in this rodeo. It’s a whirlwind – it will be tough for anyone to keep up. I wonder how many will TUFF it out. 🙂

  11. […] October 8: Flash Fiction Challenge – kid gloves […]

  12. […] Carrot Ranch FF Chalenge Oct 8 October 8, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes kid gloves. A prop in the hands of a character should further the story. Why the gloves? Who is that in the photo, and did he steal Kids’ gloves (of the Kid and Pal duo)? Consider different uses of the phrase, too. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by October 6, 2020. […]

  13. Jules says:

    Dear Charli,

    We all have unique childhoods. I think you gained much with yours. I don’t have any ranch experience so I went in a different direction with:

    No Kidding?

    The old woman kept her kid gloves on the table under the arc that divided the entryway of her apartment to the living space. It was not her intent to illude anyone. Unable to elude her own aging waiting for her own imagined ark to sail her permanently away into the heavens. She wore the kid gloves when she had company she wanted to allude to the perfect hands she once had, her fingers now knobby and bent from arthritis.

    When the young Cub Scout came to interview her, she smiled. He politely did not ask about her gloves.


    All the definitions are at my post of illude, elude and allude.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Yes, we are all unique souls with different experiences, Jules. That’s why voice is the one writer’s attribute that can set each of us apart and make creativity an endless succession of output. Follow what you know. Fun use of illude, elude and allude.

  14. […] to Carrot Ranch’s October 8 Flash Fiction Challenge where Charli Mills offers the them of “kid gloves” for these 99-word […]

  15. That was such a cool video! Thanks for sharing.

    • Charli Mills says:

      It was like a window back in time and yet good to see it’s a culture that still has some keepers of the traditions. I know longer remember how to throw that loop.

  16. TanGental says:

    Another side to Logan, today…

    ‘Morgan! Where are you?’
    ‘Hang on, I’m… what’s got into you?’
    ‘So why do you sound like you’re being mugged and why are you standing on a table?’
    ‘It’s… there… oh god! It’s coming…’
    ‘A spider? You’re an agoraphobe?’
    ‘Arachnophobe. Can you…?’
    ‘Squish it? Sure. I…’
    ‘Nooo. Just get it outside.’
    ‘What is an agoraphobe?’
    ‘Can we do this later? Please take it outside but don’t hurt it.’
    ‘You want me to use kid gloves?’
    ‘You can use lead-lined gauntlets if you’ll just take it outside.’
    ‘First tell me. Agoraphobe? Or I’m not going outside.’

  17. […] after reading Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week: kid […]

  18. […] was written in response to this week’s #carrotranch […]

  19. Unquenched

    He left them in the dugout without speaking. More than thirst might make his voice crack. Carrying the shovel, work gloves feathering out of his back pocket, he hoped he appeared confident to his family.
    He arrived at the spring, the once muddy surface now flaked, dried and split like old leather. He methodically pulled his gloves on, grasped the shovel and bent to his work, one scoop at a time. Each thrust of the blade was a prayer, each going unanswered until finally he stopped.
    Under a blistering blue sky he held his head in his gloved hands.

  20. […] The October 8, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes kid gloves. A prop in the hands of a character should further the story. Why the gloves? Who is that in the photo, and did he steal Kids’ gloves (of the Kid and Pal duo)? Consider different uses of the phrase, too. Go where the prompt leads!                                                                     […]

  21. […] This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes kid gloves. A prop in the hands of a cha… […]

  22. Charli, I’ve gone for a metaphorical take on kid gloves, along with a post linking the therapy journey with your hero’s journey. I’m sure you’ll be interested, but you might need to wait until you are less busy to check it out. My 99-word story is entitled
    The seven essential types of glove
    and here’s the post:
    The therapy journey and narrative structure

  23. suespitulnik says:

    Hi Charli,

    Your young goat rodeoing sounds delightful. Your schedule now sounds frightful…I’m rooting for you to accomplish it all…

    Unused Kid Gloves

    Tessa called Michael’s sister. “I got my divorce papers today and when I put them away in the hutch drawer I noticed a pair of exquisite men’s goat skin gloves I hadn’t seen before. I didn’t want to ask Michael about them just in case…”
    Becca’s laugh stopped Tessa’s comment. “I gave those to him thinking he would wear them while learning to wheel his chair. He informed me he didn’t want prissy hands with no calluses and I never saw them again. I am flattered he kept them. If they’re in that drawer, I wouldn’t mention finding them.”

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