Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino July 2022

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

July 1, 2022

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.


“What’re ya so excited bout Kid?”

“It’s the first Friday a July Pal, Cowsino Night! Ever first Friday we git ta pull the handle a Shorty’s slot machine an let the stories run wild.”

“Stories come outta thet machine?”

“No, Pal, the stories come outta the folks that come by ta play. Jist use the three images ta spark a story an leave it in the comments fer folks ta read.”

“In 99 words?”

“Nope, it doesn’t have ta be 99 words, more like seven sentences that follow the story spine. The rules is listed down below.”

“Sounds like a lot a fun, Kid.”

“Yep. Fridays is fun days here at the Saloon. So far we’ve had H.R.R. Gorman, Ruchira Khanna, an Sue Spitulnik take the stage ta tell us bout dif’rent aspects a the writers’ world.”

“But on Cowsino Night the stage is fer anyone who’s inspired ta write, prompted by these three images.”

“Yep. So pick up yer pen, folks, ya kin create as many stories as ya want. We’ll read and talk with ya in the comments.”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more then one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

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 built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via

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  1. Scott Bailey

    Stepping Out
    Scott Bailey

    Big Jim, who now has long blonde hair, a sweater covered with hearts and identifies as a woman named Janice, is still upset with her appearance; it seems there’s just no disguising those huge feet.

    One night Janice was out drinking Mint Juleps with a group of pretty tough hombres, and she told them of her dissatisfaction with her giant clod-hoppers. The Cowboy and the cop and the fireman and the construction worker all looked at the Indian and asked “Do you think that Shaman Witch Doctor friend of yours could help her out?”

    “Of course he will, but he will need a green angular thing with a dotted line around it as payment,” the Indian said.

    A meeting was arranged and a deal was struck and a few months later Janice proudly returns to the bar where she wheels her chair down the handicap access ramp and shows off her stumps.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      She got what she wanted, with some help from some friends. It takes a village. People of all stripes made it to your story! Jackpot!

      • Scott Bailey

        ‘It takes a village. People’ I just laughed out loud!

    • Jules

      Wowzers! Talk about wish granting! And being happy with the results. Guess Janice will now excell at chair dancing!

      • Scott Bailey

        I know, right? There’s probably a cautionary tale somewhere in that story but I was just trying to use a “diverse” character like we were discussing here a week or so ago. I thought it would be interesting if I used the “diversity” merely as a back-drop or a story setting and then let the story itself take an odd turn.

      • Jules

        Odd turns make people think.
        One would hope so, anyway.
        A good write. 🙂

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Well done, Scott, you nailed all three of the picture prompts. It made me giggle.

  2. Jules

    Hmmmm – Gem, Julip and jogger… Gotta put on my thinking cap 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Jist jig one out Jules! Yer sure ta write a winner.

      • Jules

        I’m having some issues leaving comments – I tried twice directly at the Cowsino post; But it won’t show up – so I’m putting it here (it is also on my blog, but maybe it doesn’t like the title as a link):

        The Not So Silent Generation?

        Gigi called her spiked ‘Juice’ Go-Go! And she liked to Part-Tay!! And when everyone pitched in with the meal, all the better! Maybe not every day, but adults needed their time to jell and gem with other folks not having to worry about wrangling toddlers.

        No politics allowed either, because that kind of talk just got the men folks up in arms. And then that might stop the dancing. Folks ‘round these parts didn’t need electronic gizmos, just meeting up with the neighbors here or there. Because that was the way they were brought up to have fun.

        © JP/dh

        Note; The generation before the ‘Baby Boomers’…was called The “silent generation” are those born from 1925 to 1945 – so called because they were raised during a period of war and economic depression.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Sounds like these people knew how to have fun. For some reason it reminded me of this song:

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      It’s meant to be just that- fun and inspirational. This is something Charli was doing on facebook I think. It now gives Kid and Pal something to do here at the Saddle Up. Perhaps you’ll try your luck.

  3. Ann Edall-Robson

    Half Full or Half Empty
    Ann Edall-Robson

    Back in the day, in a saloon far away, or so the story goes, on the days they are open, the bartender arrives before daybreak to prepare the saloon’s specialty beverage. He sloshes the libation into a couple of glasses, to about the half full mark, or half empty, depending on which barstool you’re sitting on. Every day, it’s said, before the light of day, he swaggers to the table beside the window, the one he keeps the reserved sign on, and leaves one of the glasses in the same particular spot.

    Legend has it, that he saunters back behind the bar, and waits, keeping an eye on the half filled, or half empty glass sitting on the table by the window. They say, eventually the light filters through the window, yet never at the same time; and then, it’s said, is when the reflections of the beverage float like green diamonds shimmering around the room.

    Rumour has it the bartender lifts the other glass from the bar, silently solutes the table and the photo he keeps in his wallet. A picture taken back in the day, or so the story goes, of a blonde girl he had done some conversing with, here in the saloon, sitting at the window table, consuming the saloon’s signature drink, a mint julep he had laced with a shot of green liqueur, or so the story goes.

    • Scott Bailey

      Nice story, Ann, I like they way you made it into a legend and the repeated use of ‘they say’ and ‘so the story goes’ and things like that, give the story a light hearted feel, as if to say to the reader: this may or may not be true but here it is anyway. I liked it.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        Thanks Scott. Like you say, it may be true or it may not.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I know you to be a straight shooter Ann, and commend you for keeping this story straight. And, so you know, the glasses are both half full, or so I’ve heard told.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        Thanks, D. As for the glasses, as I mentioned, it depends on which bar stool your sitting on, and quite possibly how long you have been sitting there.

    • Jules

      Oh, I like this very much! 🙂

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        Thanks Jules

  4. denmaniacs4

    It’s Saturday night and all the world’s aflame…

    Segue’s Step In The Right Direction

    Once upon a time, Segue, who, rumor had it, had never had an original thought, found his favorite cocktail at a high school reunion mixer.

    Every day after that, having descended into a newfound appreciation of intemperance, he/she/they prefaced breakfast with a twist of lemon and a splash of gin.

    Until of course, a sober life became an afterthought and,

    Because of that, his well-constructed life, once the epitome of balance and structure, unraveled,

    And because of that, his family, his means of employment, and his station in the community all disintegrated,

    And because of that, he fell on even harder times, a diamond in a newfound rough,, as it were, dressed in outside clothes, shoes much too large, his habillé in chaos.

    Finally though, with memories of moderation flicking through his punctuated noggin, he recalled the glory of his earlier life, a life before his high school reunion, a reunion that triggered unexpected trauma, the tragedy of adolescence, the incomprehensibility of youth and he slowly regained his sense of self and though his losses were never fully redeemed, he returned to the world and lived a full and peaceful life, expiring one Halloween when frightened by a small child wearing a Trump mask pleading for forgiveness.

    • Jules

      I was just watching an older episode of ‘Midsummer Murders’ and one of the characters… fits this to a “T” –
      though he had quite a different ‘ending’. 😉

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      A fine spiny tale. He got his life back in order only to die such a horrid death.

  5. Liz H

    So, I’m a little late on getting this written, but here goes. Happy 4th of July and let’s celebrate the independence of the not-so-tiny town of Heffinger Hollow

    Story Spine for The Saddle Up Saloon (07/04/2022)

    Once upon a time, before we wandered east of the sun and west of the moon, sweet breezes blew across prairie and lightened the cold hollows of the mountains above Heffinger Hollow. Every day, Hugo, general giant and man about the town, walked down the hillside and greeted man and woman, beloved pet and child, and any and all fluffy gray squirrels, tipping his tiny green hat to one and all.
    Until there was the incident of the spunky spelunkers and his normal victuals in short supply, due to an unreliable delivery service from UPS.
    Because of that, Hugo got creative with his cooking, and the Gods and Goddesses were pleased, and the villagers of Heffinger Hollow decided to go up the mountain and bring barrels of their best with them.
    Because of that, they all decided to go local and organic, and trade out spunky spelunkers for sheep as the main source of protein, and capitalize on Hugo’s flair for the unusual and delectable; he traded in his little green hat for a towering green chef’s cap.
    Because of that, the town of Heffinger Hollow became a destination location for gourmands and people dedicated to green living and sustainability, and delivery of supplies and repopulation of like-minded individuals.
    Finally, delivery services improved to the extent that Hugo could get his favorite, Hot Seasons Cheddar Sprinkles ™ whenever he desired, and they all lived happily, no longer hungrily, ever after.

    • Liz H

      LOL, looks like it’s a far stretch to include the three images, now. Does that first one look like a tiny green hat? The second a fancy, locally sourced liquid refreshment? I hadn’t pictured Hugo as a blond, but maybe that’s a new look, or maybe he gets a giant girlfriend, with all his success and settling down?

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      There’s always room for Hugo i the Cowsino. Barely. Okay, it’s a stretch, and a fun one.

      • Liz H

        He wanted to see what all the hubbub at the Cowsino was about, maybe try to compete with Pepe Legume’s singular talent, just for a…hoot.

  6. Liz H

    Story Spine for The Saddle Up Saloon #2 (07/04/2022)

    (Black diamond, pink mint lemonade, sporty blond person in jeans & tennis)
    Once upon a time, sometime last week, Greta turned on her taps to fill the pitcher she kept in the fridge with cool, clear water, but at this time, no water came flowing from her tap, not even a dribble, not even from the tap in the basement that hung over the gray, granite washtub.
    Every day, for at least a month, she tried and failed to get water, and every day she called a plumber, the head of the city’s water and utilities cooperative, her mayor, and everyone else she knew, even considering the burly neighbor across her back yard who she’d tried really hard to not give the eye every time he mowed his back yard in a muscle shirt, oversized fluorescent yellow Nike’s, and short, tight cutoffs; Greta didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.
    Until finally, she noticed: his lawn was ever green while hers was crisped into brittle straw, and he kept mowing his treeless, unshaded lawn, week after week.
    Because of that, Greta decided to pay him a visit and find out his secret; totally unaware that the biggest secret was the one she had been unable to perceive.
    Because of that, she gave in to desperation – she was that thirsty — and decided to ‘ski the black diamond hill,’ which was really a double diamond as she preferred the fairer sex.
    Because of that, she knocked on his door and was greeted by a lovely, fit woman in blue silk pajama bottoms and a black silk shirt, holding out a tall, pink lemonade with three cubes of ice, a sprig of refreshing rosemary floating just inside.
    “Finally,” Greta’s neighbor sighed, ‘I thought you’d never say hello,” and after that, the water was flowing just fine between their two properties.

    Is this better? Lol!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      All I know is I’m going to try rosemary in my next lemonade. It’s good there’s no secrets anymore between these neighbors though. The drought is over for Greta.

      • Liz H

        Those long dry spells…uffda! Greta and neighbor…represent!

  7. Scott Bailey

    Cowsino After Dark
    (don’t read if easily offended)
    Scott Bailey

    There once was a lad named Scott,
    who’s hearing was so poor he said “What?”
    This Lass he anointed,
    Lip synced and pointed,
    “Get down on your knees and eat Twat!”

    Because he may have been drinking,
    And the others are certainly thinking,
    He’s clearly an ass,
    Without any class,
    Let’s ban him for life without blinking.

    The girl in frame three had a notion,
    The drink in frame two was a potion,
    The gem in frame one,
    Was clearly the sum,
    Of Cowsino’s slots when in motion.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Wow, a story spine in limerick form! As for the content, well, that can happen when there’s slots in a saloon I suppose.

      • Scott Bailey

        I do have to apologize for that rather bawdry fifth line, you see it was well past beer o’clock when I was writing it and in my enthusiasm for completing the limerick I must have let my creativity wane. And while I can’t promise I’ll never ruffle any feathers in the future, I will pay closer attention to where I draw that line.

  8. Miss Judy

    This came to me in the middle of the night, hope it’s not too late.

    One day, walking the beach looking for shells, Gerry happened upon a very strange object – green, almost black in color and shaped like a diamond, the gem shone with a very bright aura.

    Picking it up and examining the gem, Gerry decided she needed to go to Mr. Merryweather’s Gem Emporium to have it examined and find out its worth.0

    Gerry dropped in at the Emporium and Mr. Merryweather took one look at the gem, handed it back telling Gerry, “You need to take this to Dr. Finius T. Freidman in the City, he’s the expert.”

    It had been a long, hot day on the beach and it was quite far to the City so after boarding the train Gerry ordered a lemonade for the trip.

    Gerry found Dr. Freidman in his shop on Main Street, who looked at the gem and quickly climbed a ladder to the top shelf and pulled down a dusty little-used copy of “Very Rare Gems of the Orient.”

    Finding the gem on page 392 Dr. Freidman said, “This gem is over a thousand years old, very rare indeed, most likely is off a sunken pirate ship; I offer you 3000 Casino chips.”

    After exchanging the gem for Casino chips, Gerry walked to the door, turned back and said, “Thank you Dr. Freidman, pleasure doing business with you.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      3000 casino chips! That’s priceless! Kid and Pal usually deal in cow chips, casino chips are better. You’ve played well and garnered this enriching tale. Thanks for sharing.

      • Miss Judy

        Thanks! I am posting on my site tomorrow and giving a shout out to the Saloon.

  9. Michael B. Fishman

    Beth decided that she’d do the one thing her friends – and her therapist – warned her against which was to try liquid courage.

    But she was sad.

    And she was lonely.

    And she was tired of being sad and lonely on Saturday nights so she rationalized to her reflection in the back bar mirror: “Hey, I’m an adult, right?, and I’m going to have fun and what could be the harm in a drink, or three?”

    Beth set her fifth empty glass down on the bar, hopped off the stool and with arms windmilling, warming up for the dance, she bounced the dance floor. Sugarhill Gang’s beat was moving her feet and the spinning green disco ball set her head in directions that made her forget about being sad and alone. She threw her head back and spun and laughed and spun and like an impact sprinkler sprayed bourbon and mint-scented vomit in a circular pattern over the entire dance floor.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Ohhhh, ewwww. Spew. Yeah, that’s one thing that could go bad, but hey, for a moment she felt great.

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