Saddle Up Saloon; Servin’ Live Authors

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

December 6, 2020

“Ernie! Yer tendin’ bar t’night?”

“Yep, Pal. Kid’s at a table front a the stage.”

“Thanks… um, Ernie, the shelves behin’ the bar are stacked with books.”

“Yep, Pal. You kin git a adult bev’rage if ya want, but I thought it’d be nice ta have books out front ‘stead a bottles. This saloon is fer readers an’ writers ain’t it?”

“Well, yeah, it is, Ernie… it is. ‘Scuse me, I gotta check in with Kid jist now.”

Friends, Ranchers, Readers, send me your steers…”

“Thet ain’t how it goes, Kid.”

“No? Dang, Pal, it seemed a fine speech. Considering the question of the colt of an individual—

“Khruschev, Kid? An’ thet’s s’posed ta be ‘cult’, not ‘colt’.”


“What’s with all the speechin’?”

“Jist thought I’d use some classic speeches ta practice my oration skills. Cain’t ‘magin’ how stressful it must be ta make speeches or ta read yer own writin’ out loud.”

“Oh. Thet’s right, it’s time fer anuther Five at the Mic. I always injoy seein’ an’ hearin’ the ranch hands readin’ their work up on the stage here. Some a these folks is gittin’ stronger an’ stronger. Shush now, let’s listen to Ellen Best.”

“Thought we was gonna save Best fer last.”

“Shush, Kid, she’s up first with a really beautiful story.”

“Oh, what a lovely love story. A lovely story a love. An’ Ellen did great up there. Ya ever perform on stage Pal?”

“Not on stage, but I sure’ve told some stories ‘roun’ a campfire. An’ think on this, Kid: what we might call litterture begun ‘roun’ a fire; oral story tellin’ is some a the oldest, richest litterture thet ever was. Reckon when Shorty puts out the call fer folks ta join her ever’ secon’ Tuesday, she’s invitin’ ‘em ta the fire. So let’s git D. Avery up on stage next. She might be the only one t’night thet’s actually at a fire; she’s got the woodstove crackling stage left.”

“That right? What’s that hangin’ cenner stage, her transpertation?”

“Shush it Kid. Let her read her story.”

“Was dat topia?”

“Dys-topia? Thinkin’ it were. Also thinkin’ thet satellite wifi ain’t all whut she thinks it is. But she’s by the fire, Kid.”

“Reckon so. An’ any writin’ folks kin jist contact Charli Mills ta meet up with other ranch hands ta listen an’ read at the fire ever’ secon’ Tuesday a ever’ month.”

“Yep. Didn’t have ta tell Australian poet Frank Prem twice; when Charli Mills made a later time so’s ta ‘commodate folks in other time zones he joined in with his wunnerful poetry. Shh, here he is now.”

“Kid, what’re ya doin’, cain’t ya snap yer fingers?”

“Mebbe, mebbe not. Point is, that was real fine. Tellin’ ya, Pal, speeches an’ poems is best heard read aloud by their author.”

“My speechin’ days are done!”

“Frankie? Hey there, Frankie. Have a seat. It’s Five at the Mic night.”

“Frankie, what speechin’ did you ever do?”

“I had call ta talk ta folks when I was head a my local union. ‘Member talkin’ ‘bout language.”

“Yeah? Which one?”

“The messy one. American English. Talked not so much ‘bout language but the words we choose from it. Ya notice folks now say mail carrier when it used ta jist be mailman? An lookit that. Mailman. ‘Man’ is half a too many compound words; don’t even git kicked back by spellcheck.”

“Whoa, Frankie. Stop. Back up. Ya tellin’ us thet yer speechin’ an’ advocatin’ turned terms aroun’?”

“Not jist me, Pal; it kin never be jist one person. But I did speak up when and where I could and should.”

“Way ta go, Frankie. Yer gonna like this next readin’ then. In speakin’ ‘bout her veterans’ group Susan Spitulnik speaks up ‘bout speakin’ up an even makin’ noise.”

“She was awesome. She’s gittin’ real good at this live readin’.”

“Trick ta public speakin’ Kid, is ta make eye contact with yer audience.”

“Uh-huh. So did you git nervous, Frankie?”

“Well anuther trick is ta have a little shot a courage afore hand. Ernie?”

“I’ll pour ya anuther, Frankie. But bravest speech I ever made was just the other night, front of a small but supportive group.”


“Yep. It was only nine words; a introduction followed by a admission.”

“How’d it end, Ernie?”

“It’s just beginning, Kid, a first step. Goin’ forward it’s gonna be work and it’s gonna be great.”

“Ohhh… Good fer you Ernie. That was a fine speech ya give, even if we weren’t there. But we’re here fer ya.”

“Thanks, Kid. What’s the hardest thing you ever had ta say?”

I was wrong. Have ta say it a lot, but it never gets easier.”

“Shush, you two. Paula Moyer is on stage now. She’s got a story ‘bout a guy who makes the right call.”

“Thet was tense. An’ then thet explanation. Thet guy was some quick on his feet.”

“Yep. That was quite a story. Whooie, Pal! What a nice mix a readin’s. Folks should know the next gatherin’ with Charli Mills is Tuesday, December 15, jist contact her if yer innerested. An’ ya kin join in but not take the stage here too.”

“Thet’s right Kid. Ya git a choice. An’ now we wanna thank ever’one who steps inta the saloon fer a visit as well as thankin’ those thet take the stage.

Free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch, Pal & Kid now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon . Got something to share? Take the stage! If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact Pal & Kid via

“Thet went pretty well, don’tch think, Kid? I jist hope folks step up fer the next Karaoke night in two weeks. We got a great response fer the first one, ‘member?”

“Sure do Pal. Folks sent us their lyrics ta familiar songs an’ some folks joined in in the comments. That was a lotta fun. Theme this time is seasonal.”

“Reckon anything goes. Hey, Kid, ya fergot ta turn the record button off. Shift, we’re still live… da— #########################################################

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  1. Norah

    What a great way to celebrate writers and their stories and poems. I love the opportunities created here at the Ranch.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      It is a land of opportunity isn’t it? Now, knowing there’s a Ranch inside, lifting the lid of my computer is like opening a treasure chest or a toy box.

      • Norah

        Perfect description!

  2. Ann Edall-Robson

    Always a pleasure to be able to listen to the readings after the fact. Another wonderful collection of writers doing their thing.

  3. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Wonderful lineup: great that Frank could join in from Australia with his poetry, loved your stories Ellen, D and Paula, and your reminiscences from your veterans group, Susan. I’ll be with you next time.

  4. H.R.R. Gorman

    Gosh, I want to do the next one, but there’s so much drugs to make! Wonderful work, everyone!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Um, might be a good time to remind folks that you’re the ranch hand who’s also a pharmar…
      You have two weeks (two weeks!) to come up with lyrics. It’s your time to spin the disco ball. Bonus points if your song is about working in a chem lab cubicle.

    • Charli Mills

      This is a critical time for science. Let’s all credit big pharma for working overtime to find a vaccine!

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Even if I were working on a vaccine for Covid, which I might be, I couldn’t reveal it. I will say that I work with special biomolecules, usually monoclonal antibodies, and not typically vaccines.

    • Chel Owens

      Do it! Do it! Do it!!

  5. Charli Mills

    I love how the characters are settling into their Saloon and interacting with those taking the stage. Nice show!

  6. Colleen M. Chesebro

    This was really cool. I enjoyed hearing the voices to accompany the names, the poetry, and the stories. Brilliant!! <3

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Readings every second Tuesday with Charli, then aired here… any and all can add their voice…

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Once I get moved I’ll get my chicken butt on there. I need to do something similar on Word Craft with our poetry. It’s always great to hear it spoken. I want to add a bunch of new rhyming syllabic forms this year. Hope you’ll pop in from time to time. ??

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Poet on the move!
        Know your landing will be smooth
        Poet finds her groove.

        I forgot about your move, yep, that can be a time taker. I’ll keep an eye on your prompts, I’m sure they’ll be fun. When you get settled maybe we’ll get you up on the stage for an interview/promotion/reading here at the Saddle Up.

  7. Chel Owens

    So… do I just stick out my hand? 😀 I’d love sharing as well.

    And, I loved the stories. I’m a sucker for accents. And dystopia (those poor cats, though).

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Are ya lookin’ ta hitch a ride ta the readin’s? Was sayin’ any writin’ folks kin jist contact Charli Mills ta meet up with other ranch hands ta listen an’ read at the fire ever’ secon’ Tuesday a ever’ month. Now I’m sayin’ thet due ta technological diff’culties an’ life, thet schedule won’t be adhered to. We’ll try an’ keep ya posted. -Pal

      • Chel Owens

        Sounds great, Pal! Thanks!

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