February 4: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at  https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com

February 4, 2021

Once upon a time…

No…. that’s not right for an essay… 

Sometimes when I am stuck for a response to a prompt I just put pen to paper with those words, once upon a time, and that gets something started. So you can tell that I am stuck. Some guest host! But I have learned from experience that those words might get me unstuck. I learned it through writing experiences here. I learned by doing.

Once upon a time I often gave attention to learning because once upon a time I was an educator, a teacher of children. I found that I was always studying teaching and learning, well after the formal training. The best opportunities to learn more about teaching and learning were those times when I was a student myself and reflected on the experience. Many of us have to (or choose to) take continuing course work for our careers, but we might also take courses for other interests. When you do, if you’re lucky, you’ll see that great teachers are everywhere.

The instructor for the motorcycle licensing course I took years ago was a natural born teacher. The course could have been used as an exemplar for primary school teachers. The men in the group seemed embarrassed at first to pretend to be applying brakes and clutch at our seats but I appreciated the development of muscle memory and safe supervised practice before hitting the track. On the track, skills were scaffolded, riders were coached, privately corrected, and openly encouraged and applauded by the instructor. People felt safe and successful. We all encouraged and applauded one another, even as we watched and learned from one another.

Once upon a time I sat right seat fairly often, beside my husband who pilots a Cessna Skyhawk. I didn’t presume that I could fly the plane but I learned enough about navigation and how the instruments worked that I became comfortable with flying, and helpful at times. I know enough to recognize good piloting. I recognized a good pilot and teacher when I had occasion to fly daily in a larger plane. I would always move to the front of the nine-passenger plane and sit in the co-pilot seat. The pilot recognized that I was familiar with flying. If there was no one else on board that morning I got to learn more about flying, by doing. The pilot met me where I was at, and my capability and confidence grew.

Both these teachers I mention had experience and expertise but not ego. They were calm and confident and loved what they did so much that they were eager to share and teach others.  They reveled in their students’ successes.

I don’t want to race motorcycles or do stunts. I don’t want to fly a plane, not as the pilot in command. And I certainly don’t want to do what Charli does here every week. But I’m sitting right seat this week with a hand on the controls so that our friend can focus on her thesis and other course work. Hang on. Let’s see if I can land this thing.

Once upon a time, before I became a teacher, I substituted in others’ classrooms. Some classrooms were a joy to be in. In those classrooms students followed known routines and were engaged in relevant, meaningful tasks. I was the nominal adult in charge but was learning more than anyone. I learned about the power of classroom community. I saw that the successful classes, the ones that gave energy rather than drained it, were communities of learners that respected and encouraged one another. Building a solid, safe classroom community is what I aspired to when I answered the call to teach, for it’s the foundation for learning. When I did become a teacher with my own classroom, I was rarely out. I didn’t want to miss anything! But there were times when I had to be away and have a guest teacher come in. And I was so proud of my students (and myself) when the guest teacher reported that they learned something, that they had fun, that the class seemed to run itself.

Once upon a time I found this place, Carrot Ranch, and as I tend to do, I watched and learned even while examining that process. I saw a community of writers that are at the same time a community of learners and teachers. I learned by doing, and I was bold enough to do, to write, because I was in a safe place. Besides, all the other kids were doing it! I was fortunate to have walked into one of those classrooms that hums with engagement and laughter; where the teacher models and encourages creativity; where she is also a learner, honing her craft as both writer and teacher.

This is what Charli is doing now. In addition to working on her novel for her MFA, she is also taking courses to become a teacher of writing. Mere certification! She is already a teacher. Charli has provided a safe space where a community of writers comes together to practice and to learn from one another. People of all levels leave their ego outside the gate but share their experience and experiments with writing. We know that learning requires risk and also that learning is fun and rewarding. In this classroom there is empathy and there is laughter. In this classroom all are welcome.

One level of learning is imitation, valid even when that imitation falls short of the example. This week at the Ranch things look the same but are not the same. But we know the routine and will follow the model as best we can. A prompt will be provided and I will even attempt to present the responses in collected form next Wednesday. This is a learning experience for me. I thank you in advance for your patience and indulgence and your participation.

Once upon a time” is a phrase that readies the reader/listener to be transported to a magical time and place. The phrase sparks anticipation and also soothes with its predictability. Carrot Ranch is a magical place. I look forward to Charli’s posts every week, like the child who finds refuge and resources for hope and growth within the classroom. Despite the happenings of the outside world, despite more immediate concerns in our lives, we can come here every week and be sustained and uplifted by this community, a community that we can count on and learn from.

And no, the photo has nothing to do with this post or prompt, but Ms. Mills is out for PD and that one from 2015 has the correct date so it’ll do.

~D. Avery

February 4, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a substitution. How might a character or situation be impacted by a stand-in? Bonus points for fairy tale elements. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by February 9, 2021, to be included in the compilation (published February 10). 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.

American Boarding School by D. Avery

My black hair flutters to the hard plank floor, dead crows windrowed around the stiff boots that bind my feet.

They point at me, repeat a sound.

I tell them my name. Pointing at myself I repeat my name. They beat me.

They point at me, call me that sound, make me say it. The sound is sand in my mouth.

I point at myself. I speak my name. They beat me again.

I say that other name. They smile.

I learn to keep my real name close. I will run with it, will leave their chafing boots behind.


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  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Helpin’ Hams

    “I git this past Monday was a special event post, the Sue Vincent Radio Classic; an’ I git Shorty’s in the weeds, so our writer’s heppin’. Don’t mind switchin’ things aroun’ fer that. But our writer didn’t once mention us Pal.”
    “Mebbe figgered we’d all ‘preciate a break.”
    “But the saloon!”
    “It’s still there, Kid. But the weekly challenges gotta go on. If yer lookin’ fer somethin’ ta do, ya kin respond ta this challenge.”
    “Hmmph. Substitutin’? Somethin’ standin’ in fer somethin’ else? Got nuthin’ fer that prompt.”
    “Where ya headed?”
    “Takin’ ma puglet fer a walk. Come Curly.”
    Tootin’ Rootin’ No Disputin’

    “’Ello dere Pal. Ees Keed here?”
    “Pepe LeGume. Long time no smell. Kid’s walkin’ the hog. Did ya happen ta catch this week’s prompt? Kid’s already whinin’ ‘bout the switchin’ an’ substitutin ‘roun here lately.”
    “Stub-shit-toot-eeng? I do not know dees word, Pal.”
    “Means steppin’ in, temper-arily.”
    “Oh, I have stepped in eet before. An’ de air, eet was rank.”
    “No, LeGume, fillin’ in.”
    “I am a feeller upper Pal. Go beeg or go home, ey?”
    “No, fillin’ in fer someone cain’t be there ta do the job themsefs.”
    “Pal. Some teengs cannot be stubshittooted. I keed you not.”

    • Norah

      It’s okay, you guys. There’s enough limelight to share. That’s what we do at the Ranch. We cooperate. We don’t compete. Unless there’s a rodeo, of course. 🙂

      • Norah

        Sometimes we teacher folk can’t help ourselves. ????

  2. Sarah Brentyn

    Thanks for stepping in, D. Great post and prompt. Substitute teaching can be…er…difficult. You make it sound easy. I never subbed but was a student numerous times when the class had one. *cringe*

    The picture is perfect. Don’t you hear the magical horses talking to each other?

    Bonus points for fairy tale elements? I do love a challenge. 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I’m not so good. I put out that challenge and didn’t manage it. Yet.
      I’m thinking it’s right up your alley. Can’t wait. No pressure.
      And thank you.

      • Sarah Brentyn

        You’ll manage it. You always do. No pressure. 🙂 I may not this time around but I’ll try.

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Oh, bother. I missed it. How the HELL-O! I don’t know where this week went.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Loved this tale of dangerous substitutions and palace intrigue. And, where did the week go? I am just getting to organizing now so this is in!

  3. Norah

    Great post, D. I agree with everything you’ve said about Charli and the Ranch. I never liked substitute teaching much. I preferred my own class and, like you, hated to be away from them for even a session, let alone a day or more.
    I love your prompt, but now I’m think I must have missed the last date. I thought we had until the 9th for it. Oh well, it was ready to go, I just delayed posting because … Now another one.
    Your flash is terrifying. It’s not the best way to learn. I hate to think of life being like this for anyone.

    • Norah

      Phew! It’s okay. I’ve got until the 11th for the other one. 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Are you referring to Charli’s last post, the Special Collection Challenge? That comes due after this one, respond to that one Feb. 11.

      I wrote the post, put in the prompt and then was Yeesh, oh, yeah, I need to have a flash response! This is what came. It is a reference to the horrible history (and not so terribly long ago) of Indigenous People being forced into boarding schools and anglo-cized, under the guise of education. The genocide against native Americans was/is cultural as well as physical. (And I know you can tell me native Australians suffer similarly.)

      • Norah

        I was referring to that post, D. I was confused there for a while, but sorted that out.
        That’s a horrible history and there is still so much of that type of thing going on in the world. Hopefully we are starting to walk to a happier tune for more.

    • Norah

      Hi D., I’m back with my story, minus the fairy tale elements. I enjoyed this one though. Thank you. 🙂

      Special Substitution
      “Where’s my Burger Special? You promised!”
      “Here, sweetie.”
      “Burger Specials have chips, not carrot sticks!”
      The carrot sticks plummeted to the floor.
      “I substituted them, hon. Carrot sticks are healthier. We want to be healthy, don’t we?”
      A mouthful of half-chewed bun adorned the table. “That’s disgusting!”
      “Multi-grain’s healthier. Try some more. You will like it.”
      “I don’t want substitutes.”
      The poorly-disguised plant-based patty frisbeed across the room.
      The parent hauled the protester from the restaurant.
      “You promised Burger Special!”
      “You’ll get something special, as soon as we get home.”
      “There’s no substitute for proper parenting,” tut-tutted a diner.

  4. Jules

    Hi D., Thanks for filling in. I need to get moving on my entries to Sue’s Rodeo.
    When I read your piece for this prompt – I envisioned just what you explained to Norah. Substitutions like that were throughout history – many different religions made folks convert. Not a good situation. I went to two of my favorite books for my inspired piece. Please enjoy (the tale and notes too):

    Shady Characters

    Alice looked up into the tree and saw a golden shiny outline of an insect.

    “I was expecting a smile to evolve into the Cheshire Cat, who are you,” she asked?

    “I am the shade of a cricket, I once assisted a wooden boy a long time ago, but once he became real he no longer needed me,” the bug sang in a singsong voice.

    Alice did not think before she stomped her foot and cried; “But I am a real girl!”

    Jiminy sighed. How’d he end up in Wonderland. Maybe Peter’s Neverland would be better? So he vanished.


    1)ORIGIN OF SHADE; before 900; 1960–65 for def. 29; (noun) Middle English s(c)hade,Old English sceadu. Shade in mythology: In literature and poetry, a shade is the spirit or ghost of a dead person.
    2)In the book Pinocchio by Collodi, the cricket (Disney named Jiminy) appears to the puppet Pinocchio as a ‘shade’. Advising Pinocchio to return coins that he had taken from Geppetto.
    3)Jiminy is based on the Talking Cricket from the original Pinocchio book that Walt Disney’s film is based on. … However in the film, the cricket is named Jiminy and instead of being a cameo character, he was made into a major character and joins Pinocchio on his journey to becoming a real boy.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thanks Jules. I just copy and pasted the February schedule in the comments. I hope lots of people give the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic a go. They have until the 19th to respond to that event.
      And yes, forced/coerced conversions, name changes- it takes the I right out of identity and is cultural violence, really.
      As for your response, you get the bonus points! In fact you sent me back to Marie-Louise von Franz’s “The Interpretation of Fairy Tales”, in which she discourses on the shadow-hero or shadow companion of the main character.

      • Jules

        Wow… Thanks Teach. Some days you learn one new thing and other days you just get directed to amazing research. I’ve never heard of Marie-Louise von Franz. I did go looking and read some amazing stuff including these quotes from the Wiki site (from) her book;

        “The fairy tale itself is its own best explanation; that is, its meaning is contained in the totality of its motifs connected by the thread of the story. … Every fairy tale is a relatively closed system compounding one essential psychological meaning which is expressed in a series of symbolical pictures and events and is discoverable in these”.

        I have come to the conclusion that all fairy tales endeavour to describe one and the same psychic fact, but a fact so complex and far-reaching and so difficult for us to realize in all its different aspects that hundreds of tales and thousands of repetitions with a musician’s variation are needed until this unknown fact is delivered into consciousness; and even then the theme is not exhausted. This unknown fact is what Jung calls the Self, which is the psychic reality of the collective unconscious. […] Every archetype is in its essence only one aspect of the collective unconscious as well as always representing also the whole collective unconscious.[23]:1–2 (chapter1)

        Some really deep ‘Shift’ for sure.

        I knew nursery rhymes could have some deep meanings and sometimes are just plan gifted with back story which may not have even been there at all. And sometimes others just take apart beloved tales of our youth by digging into the authors background and possible political intents. (And I’ve only had one cup of java this morning!!)

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I really enjoy her books. They show the universal appeal of fairy tales for the Jung at heart.

    • reading journeys

      Thank you Jules for the comments & FF re: shades! That reminded me of clones in Sci Fi – may try to write a sci fi FF; or fantasy /horror with shades???

      Great post D. !


      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Thank you. I look forward to your flash!

      • reading journeys

        This FF was so much fun! Will submit my story soon.

      • Jules

        Saifun… ooh shades of drones!!! Um Clones… reminds me of Data’s nasty twin ‘Brother’!! I say go for it!!

      • reading journeys

        So many different ideas — all fun to think /write about. Will submit my FF soon.

  5. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Here is some of the schedule that Charli included in her last post:

    February 10 Special Host Collection
    February 11 Sue Vincent Reblog Parade (no challenge)
    February 17 Special Sue V Collection posted
    February 18 Regular Flash Fiction Challenges return
    February 19 Contest ends
    March 22 Winner and Runners Up Announced

    You might say, February will be special. Please join in because this is about all of us and our legacy as writers.

    • Jules

      Thanks for the reminder. I finally got off my ‘duff’ and placed my order for two of Sue V’s books and submitted both a poem and a flash fiction piece. 😀

      • Jules

        I had ’em written, but I didn’t want to submit ’em until I ordered the books. Which will hopefully arrive sometime next week. 😀

  6. Anne Goodwin

    I love this substitution! Ever since you joined the Ranch you’ve been actively supporting and encouraging. I love your descriptions of learning about learning, and the modest way you’ve shared your expertise. Plus the humour:

    And no, the photo has nothing to do with this post or prompt, but Ms. Mills is out for PD and that one from 2015 has the correct date so it’ll do.

    I’m still laughing.

    I recognised the subject of your flash from the first line. I think I once wrote on that theme, but I’m pretty sure yours is better.

    I’m still confused about the overlapping challenges, but I’ll get there.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      You will get there, Anne, I’m quite sure of it, with personal challenges added to the mix.
      Thank you for your kind words. This was another fun learning experience. Next: the collection!

      • Anne Goodwin

        Well, I’m not sure the image fits the prompt when it was first used – I’ve checked, it was my giddy aunt!

        I hope you approve that I’ve posted this week’s flash along with my contribution for 2015. And I’ve dedicated this one especially for you:

        Sometimes a dog is just a dog

        A friend’s new puppy steals the show at our Zoom session.
        A substitute child.
        Mutts a-leaping fracture my thoughts and scare my muse from my morning walk.
        A substitute for purpose – a dog’s a god – in aimless times.
        Government wags the daily vaccine stats. Opposition barks the death toll.
        Their substitute for crisis management: Getting Brexit Done!
        Yet Sigmund, whose habit killed him, declared: Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe.
        Even he succumbed to canine charms eventually and leant on man’s best friend to soothe his aching jaw. The world’s awash with substitutions. So should I get a…?


      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Love the poem! (And didn’t you recently tell a certain metrist at a certain saloon that you were not a poet??) You are correct about the picture now that you mention it- it didn’t match the 2015 prompt either. So it’s all good, a fine substitute. Okay, I will head over and see what else you have over at your weebly (never wobbly) site.

      • Anne Goodwin

        Maybe a prose poem. I’m inching towards that territory.

  7. Jules

    I couldn’t leave Jiminy hanging…

    Shady Characters (Two)

    Jiminy must have taken a wrong turn at the stars that lead to Neverland. Somehow though the place reminded him of something familiar. Hopefully it wasn’t the Neverland Ranch – That particular Michael never did grow up did he?

    Piglet felt a little breeze that made him sneeze. and saw a shimmy shine outline of an insect. And he knew just what to do about faded fairies. You had to clap to give them life! The shade of the cricket solidified. Piglet smiled welcomingly.

    “What’s your name,” Piglet asked in his quiet way? “Welcome to Hundred Acre Woods little cricket!”


    Note: When I was a little girl I got to see the stage play of Peter Pan with Mary Martin as Peter. When Tinkerbell was in trouble and her life light was fading…Peter asked the audience to clap to bring Tink back to life. And of course we all did!

    Notes from yesterday… Part One
    1)ORIGIN OF SHADE; before 900; 1960–65 for def. 29; (noun) Middle English s(c)hade,Old English sceadu. Shade in mythology: In literature and poetry, a shade is the spirit or ghost of a dead person.
    2)In the book Pinocchio by Collodi, the cricket (Disney named Jiminy) appears to the puppet Pinocchio as a ‘shade’. Advising Pinocchio to return coins that he had taken from Geppetto.
    3)Jiminy is based on the Talking Cricket from the original Pinocchio book that Walt Disney’s film is based on. … However in the film, the cricket is named Jiminy and instead of being a cameo character, he was made into a major character and joins Pinocchio on his journey to becoming a real boy.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Ha! And now the classic Winnie the Pooh. I saw that one performed live on stage, at the Stowe Playhouse. I was probably only four years old but I remember it. I will be happy for youngsters when they can again see live performances, there’s something so much more enriching than a screen version. Students and former students did a marvelous performance of Peter Pan prior to Covid and yes, we clapped even more life into a lively performance.

  8. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Wanda, Who Steps Out, Steps In

    “Wanda! What’cha wande’rin’ this way fer?”
    “If the prompt fits, follow it, Pal.”
    “Ya sure are known fer substitushuns, Wanda, always wand’rin’ out at knights.”
    “I do ‘preciate the lance a lot, but ol’ Ernie, the prince, always welcomes me home.”
    “He’s one of a kind.”
    “What kind a substitutions ya’ll offerin’ Pal?”
    “Well, Kid’s out walkin’ the puglet, the hog whut fills in fer a dog. An’ while Kid’s out, Pepe here’s fillin’ in with sidekick banter.”
    “Meant, what d’ya have ‘stead a coffee? Ernie don’t keep drink aroun’ no more.”
    “Oh. Got nuthin’ like thet corn juice.”

    “Dees ees too convenient, no?”
    “What’re ya raisin’ a stink ‘bout LeGume?”
    “Dees seems contrived, dees secondary characters showeeng up.”
    “Secon’ dairy? Git it right LeGume, this here’s a ranch, the number one ranch.”
    “Eet seems dere ees a ulterior moteev. Want to know what I teenk, Pal?”
    “Already know thet ya steenk LeGume.”
    “I teenk dat dees extra flashes are substituting for promotion of Keed’s upcomeeng publeecation at Story Chat. I teenk dees ees to provide da readers weeth backstory.”
    “It’s true, Pal. This… the quiz at the Saloon…”
    “Hope Kid substituted names ta pertect the ‘denities.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank you Ritu. And congratulations on your artful accrual of bonus points!

      • Ritu

        Thank you so very much! <3

  9. denmaniacs4

    I confess a challenging post. I don’t say that lightly, D. So, faced with that complexity, I searched my less travelled recesses of thought and settled into a deep pocket of hitherto slitherto unsorted linterature…

    Once Upon a Time to Be in the Sward

    I will not be me tomorrow.

    I have shed my skin.

    All that was me.

    Though I will no longer be me, I will still be where I am seen.

    Others will see me.

    Fewer in this time of isolation, I allow.

    We have all become less than we once were.

    Before the virus, we were the sum total of our world.

    We were whom others saw.

    And we chose to be seen.

    Now, the sward has grown into the sky.

    With no skin, I gloriously glide through the sheltered greensward.

    I am free to be no longer me.


    • Jules

      Like that other song somewhere: Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose. …
      And then when we get freedom – what do we do? Fly away.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Ah, here’s one of my mentors and models now. And I don’t mean that lightly. Thank you for accepting the challenge. You have a way with words Bill. Linterature— isn’t that the writing inspired by excessive navel contemplation?
      Yes, we have substituted much and lost much and too many lives because of the virus. So, despite sleekly composed slitherature, ‘glorious glides’ and talk of being free, I feel a heaviness to these words of transformation. Somehow I also sense life as a river of consciousness snaking through this poem. It’s a beautiful poem.

  10. Doug Jacquier

    Great intro and inspired contribution, D.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Truly inspired. The ranch is a spiral of inspiration. I love it here.

  11. Doug Jacquier

    Here’s my take.

    Even Grandmas Get Lonely

    Little Red Riding Hood let herself into Grandma’s cottage, couldn’t see her, so she went into her bedroom. A startled Grandma sat up quickly and pulled the sheet up to her neck. ‘Who’s that other person under the covers, Grandma?’ ‘Just a visitor dear, no-one really’ Grandma said nervously and LRRH suspected Grandma was in grave danger. She quickly pulled back the covers and a wolf’s head was staring at her. Grabbing Grandma’s tomahawk, she split the wolf’s head wide open. ‘Oh, what have you done, dear!’ cried Grandma and removed the false wolf’s head to reveal the Woodsman.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Oh my. I have long had my doubts about the characters in that story, in particular the woodsman. LRRH is now in a spot, isn’t she? Or will Grandma be seen as the vixen villain? When I was a teacher this fairy tale (and Goldilocks) always got the students writing and arguing and taking different points of view. I might not want to lead the discussion as to why the woodsman was in grandma’s bed in wolf’s clothing…

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Oh, and congrats on the bonus points!
      (Sure hope folks know these bonus points are as virtual as the whiskers on Curly the pig’s snout and even less useful)

      • Doug Jacquier

        You mean they’re like loyalty card points? 🙂

    • denmaniacs4

      Doug, brilliant. I got a splitting headache just reading this tale of sweet old Lady Chatterley and her staffing problems…

      • Doug Jacquier

        Thanks, Den, but I dips me lid when a comment is far funnier than the original piece. 🙂

    • Liz H

      Wait! Gramma was into Furries?
      Gotta geta lock for that cottage door…

      • Doug Jacquier

        Like I said, even grandmas get lonely. 😉

      • Liz H


    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Doug? Did ya put it in the machine, or are those pesky goats back? (I just peeked back there and didn’t see it and know you’ve had issues with the wildlife before)

      • Doug Jacquier

        No, I just put it in the Comments this time round. Sorry if that’s fouled up the system. Or maybe a wombat ate it? 🙂

    • Doug Jacquier

      Clever stuff 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      You sure do get bonus points! That was a fun tale.

  12. Hugh W. Roberts

    Thanks for stepping in and sitting in the teacher’s chair this week. I think the prospect of sitting in and learning something new is a powerful place to be. Not only can we learn from it, but what we learn can be shared with others. However, there are certain things I would not be the stand-in for – snake charmer, feeding sharks, cleaning out the elephant house or standing in for James Bond.
    I’m sure you’ll be invited back, D.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thank you. So far, everyone is behaving, staying on task. The next new thing I tackle will be collecting these fine flashes. I am technologically challenged so… yeah.

  13. floridaborne

    This one was a lot of fun. 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I’m glad you found it so.
      I didn’t find a story from you (yet) at your site.
      I haven’t peeked into the collection machine yet.

      • floridaborne

        I have an L5 problem — inflammation of the nerve root — and can’t sit for very long right now. I didn’t put it on my blog.

  14. reading journeys

    Hi D. , and Jules!

    Ended up writing two FF!
    Influenced by sci fi , sea stories, westerns, & historical fiction!

    Thank you both for the inspiration! –
    One FF is about deep sea submersibles;
    the other is about a cowboy – the horse pic was stuck in my brain…

    Please feel free to use either one or both if possible.

    Thanks again.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I look forward to reading both. My next learning experience is going into the collection machine and sorting through the wonderful contributions. Wish me luck.

  15. Ann Edall-Robson

    Back in the day – another phrase for back when dirt was fairly new, or I remember when, and of course, when I was younger – substitute teachers did not get the respect and attention of the class. As a student of the time, it was our job to make substitute’s experience as horrible as possible. Unless…They were fun, could teach without us knowing, and MOSTLY were liked by the students body.
    You fit the criteria of an awesome sub-teacher in every area, D. Thanks for stepping in for Charli.

    Bear Grease
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    How many batches? She shrugged her shoulders and looked at the failures in the garbage. Once upon a time, she had watched her aunt make these cookies without a recipe. Each pinch and handful of ingredients melded together, resulting in a delicious treat. Why couldn’t she make them from memory? Giving in, she opened the cookbook to the inside back cover. She could feel her face redden as she read her aunt’s instructions. The substitution efforts would have made her aunt laugh. Replacing bear grease with bacon grease and then butter was the culprit? Back to the drawing board!

    This link will take you to meet my aunt, and offer up a chance to try her recipe (with modernization), if you are so inclined.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      First, thank you for your kind words. I was, as a student, a big part in some some teacher wannabe’s career reconsideration. That helped me going in. The sub is not the one to be pulling tight at the reins, but must certainly have a firm hand on them.
      I did go meet your aunt. Even lard now seems old timey, but was the mainstay of many a recipe. Thanks for the flash and the recipe!

  16. Sam "Goldie" Kirk

    Thank you for stepping in, D and allowing the fun to continue as Charli does her stuff!
    Is it one submission per person or can we enter more? I remember reading one entry per person but not sure whether that’s for weekly prompts or special contests.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The one entry per was likely for the contest. With the weekly challenges if the prompt leads to two or three, that’s okay. It happens!
      And thanks. Yep, we’ll keep on keepin’ on so Ms. Mills can focus.

  17. Liz H

    A little fairy tale, nursery rhyme, and a slice of life in a magical wood:

    Four and Twenty

    The Hunter’s moon rose high as Henry knelt, pulling the pie out of the oven. Dear Liza’d been sent, holey bucket in hand, to gather autumn leaves for decoration. For their 154th anniversary, he’d sworn to make the pie on his own, [Continue ]

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The master of twisting tales has spun another! (and collected a heap of bonus points, which, incidentally, are made from the same fabric as the emperor’s new clothes.)

      • Liz H

        Will save for summer, warmer days! ????????????

  18. suespitulnik

    Hi Dede,
    Thank you for continuing to learn and as Charli, allowing us to ride with you. The line you liked classes/classrooms that gave energy instead of draining it resounded loudly with me. Carrot Ranch certainly is an energy-giving safe place to play and grow. I too appreciate being here on a weekly basis. It’s my anchor.
    I’m ashamed to admit my grade-school class sent substitute teachers home exhausted, until the middle of fifth grade. Our regular teacher left for pregnancy leave and she gave us what for about being nice to our new teacher because she wasn’t a substitute, she was going to be with us the rest of the year. I remember we cooperated and liked our replacement very much.
    Good luck with the compilation process. I’m sure you’ll nail it. On to the prompt…

    Out of the Mouths of Babes

    At a church dinner, a precocious girl about three appeared at Michael’s side. She looked over the wheelchair then patted his longest leg stump. With total innocence, she asked, “Why don’t you grow new legs like Pinocchio grew a new nose?”
    Michael laughed, “Pinocchio didn’t lose his nose like I lost my legs. The nose he had grew longer. A man can’t grow new legs.”
    “Why don’t you wear those fake ones I’ve seen you walk on?”
    “Because they aren’t good substitutions for my real ones. They make sores on my stumps.”
    “Oh. Will you give me a ride.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The compilation process… nailed it? No. Failed it? Yes. But back to it. FAIL means “first attempt in learning”. Funny, one of the things I thought retirement would get me away from was these dang computers. Anyway, all will be well with some help from some friends.
      Michael’s little friend has to be admired for her forthrightness. And she’s certainly willing to make the most of his wheeled situation. Keep ’em coming!

    • Liz H

      We should all be so sweet and innocent! And have someone as understanding to answer in return for kindness and acceptance! Lovely flash!

      • suespitulnik

        Thanks Liz

  19. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Thanks Jules! First in for bonus points!

  20. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Nothing can go wrong today,” she purred…. sounds like Hugh-bris!


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