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Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino August 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.

“I sure am glad ta be back at the Ranch Pal, jist in time fer another Cowsino! Always feel like I won the lottery when I see that slot machine whirlin out story prompts.”

“I agree Kid, we’re some lucky ta have the Saddle Up Saloon where ranchers kin take the stage an the Cowsino where ranchers kin try their luck at the slot machine.”

“It ain’t luck, Pal. Ya gotta play ta win, an any playful practice at writin kin only build yer skills.”

“I reckon yer right bout this writin prompt Kid.”

“Whoa! What’re the odds a you agreein with me not once but twice! This is my lucky day. Think I’ll step up ta the slot machine an see if a story drops out.”

“Good luck Kid. Yer gonna need it.”

“Thought we agreed this ain’t about luck. Okay, let’s see… tree, ketchup, bear…

Once upon a time trouble was brewin fer B.B. Bearkly.

Every day he went into the trees ta see the forest ‘cause that’s where folks told him he needed ta be.

Until one day he went too far an lost his bearins.

Because of that the wheels of his 4-wheel drive monster Smartcar stopped turnin.

Because of that he had to walk, walk, walk, though he was still lost.

Because of that walkin he got all fit an then content too, out there in the woods an he decided ta stop tryin ta catchup ta all them folks who told him how he oughta be.

Finally he knew where he was an didn’t never wanna leave an lived happily ever after out among the trees.

“What d’ya think Pal?”

“Eh, I think yer lucky Shorty likes ya. Ya sure this has verisimilitude?”

“Versimilitude, Pal? Really? It’ll truly do an I jist hope others come play too.”

“Me too Kid. Folks, leave yer stories down in the comments below. We’d love ta read em an chat with ya!”

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


  1. It’s fun to see Kid and Pal here. I’m going traveling so I won’t join but it’s looks super.

  2. Once upon a time a man wanted to become a yogi, fir he’d been told it would be the sauce of eternal peace.
    Every day, in the hope of attaining nirvana (or some other band), he chanted the mantra his guru had given him
    Until one day he felt that he wasn’t making any progress and that he would never reach this blissful state (or any other State) before he died
    Because of that he returned to his guru for advice.
    Because of that the guru told him to persist for a further three days and if he still felt the same way, to end his life.
    Because of that the man intensified his meditation and chanting until it consumed every moment of the next three days.
    Finally, at the end of the third day, he became at one with the universe.

  3. suespitulnik says:

    Once upon a time, there was a bear in the woods, and wanting to be a human he stole a camper’s backpack and map.
    Every day he did what people always ask about a bear doing in the woods.
    He was desperate to figure out the map, but because of ketchup stains on it, though he followed it the best he could, he ended up back in the same spot after walking for hours.
    After a few days, he was hopelessly hungry and lonely because all the campers had rushed away from where he traveled.
    All the other bears ran away too, because they thought their friend had gone crazy.
    A few more days was all he could take; he ate the map, threw the backpack on the ground, and rushed into a jumble of berry bushes that were teaming with huge black caps.
    Finally, he left the trail to get a fresh cold drink in the stream and watched from afar as people came back into the area.

  4. Sparks shot skyward with the addition of another log on the campfire and the quiet conversation stopped, knowing this was the announcement that the evening story time, hosted by the wrangler, was about to begin.

    He cleared his throat, took a sip of whisky-laced coffee, and began, “You have probably wondered why I keep a rifle in the scabbard on my saddle and why it rests beside me where I bed down…this is bear country, and always will be.”

    Everyone had been cautioned about bears and wandering off; but the vice-president of the company, the one whose head office had arranged for this team-building retreat, had been making his own rules in this group of greenhorns over the last few days; and the wrangler figured there was no time like the present to send the safety message home, AGAIN!

    “The clearing filled with wild raspberries that we rode through this afternoon, is where it happened, and I can see by the look in your eyes you think I’m about to give you a lesson on wild fruit, but I’m not; although some say when the berries are ripe it looks like ketchup has been spattered all over the bushes.”

    Taking another sip of coffee, he said, “It was our last morning on the trail and, like what will happen tomorrow morning, the ranch sends out a crew to meet us here to take the gear back, and provide us with a gourmet breakfast.”

    “While they were clearing up, and everyone was gathering their bedrolls, we discovered that one person was missing, so one of the crew and I went looking for him back down the trail towards the raspberry patch; and sure enough, we found him, passed out with raspberry juice smeared on his chin and an empty mickey bottle in his hand; and if that wasn’t enough to deal with, then we got to watched a bear fling the guys backpack into the air only to have it settle around its neck and when he tried to get it off he ripped it and ended up with an open map in its paws,” his shoulders moved in a quiet laugh, “we don’t know if he passed out from the booze or coming across the bear.”

    The wrangler picked up his rifle, emptied the last of the coffee onto the dying embers, and said, “You might think I’m joshing, that’s up to you; but since tomorrow’s your last day in the saddle, I suggest you turn in and get a good night sleep, the crew will be here at daybreak with your breakfast, and there’d best be no wandering off. ”

    • See, Kid, this here rings true, this here un’s got thet verisimilitude.
      Kid? Kid? Kid! Git back here, yer ta stay outta thet berry patch!

      Thanks fer this here tale, Mz Ann.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Great story, Ann and mastery of the story spine. Your description of ripe raspberries as ketchup splattered on bushes is a clever use of a prompt. Jackpot!

    • Jules says:

      Some folks don’t take to warnings well. City slickers often think just cause they live in the concrete jungle they can jiggle anything and everything. Like Chari said; Jackpot!

  5. Cute stories all, verisimilitude and everything. Ever notice how narcissistic verisimilitude is…4 Is! ~nan

    • Hey Pal, I think Nan’s gonna step up ta the slot machine next! Yeehaw!

      • Jules says:

        Awe I can’t bear it. My story ain’t showing up where it’s supposed ta, mebbe cas I was using a link for the title. But that never made a bother before. So no link;

        Here it is:

        About an Hour in Heaven?
        (A haibun in 99 words – just because I could)

        so dandy
        gift certificate
        for bookstore

        Bear in the woodland shelves of books. I fill my arms, blank books, children’s books, at least one on poetry. Though no treats from the in house cafe at this time. Who’d want to eat books anyway? Devour, yes. No condiments necessary! Just time to relish each and every page. Catch up on humor or mystery sandwiched between history…. Now I just have to make room on my home shelves. Maybe donate some oldies but goodies to the local library. That’s my plan.

        up stairs, down,
        around some kiosks
        check it out

        © JP/dh

        Note: A relative sold off some books and took store credit. Took about an hour each way to get to the store and back… One trip of perhaps several to come. Lucky me!!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Jules, I found your comments in spam! Not sure how the comment heist happened, but I recovered your goods.

    • Jules says:

      Charli, thanks for taken me outta spam. Seems the Cowsino just doesn’t like my links. This seems to be a regular thing. If my story doesn’t show up – I’ll email you or D… before I pine. 😉

  6. Jules says:

    I’ve been busy. But I made time for the Cowsino in a 99 word haibun! I really hope to be back soon to read!!

    About an Hour in Heaven? e
    (A haibun in 99 words – just because I could)

    so dandy
    gift certificate
    for bookstore

    Bear in the woodland shelves of books. I fill my arms, blank books, children’s books, at least one on poetry. Though no treats from the in house cafe at this time. Who’d want to eat books anyway? Devour, yes. No condiments necessary! Just time to relish each and every page. Catch up on humor or mystery sandwiched between history…. Now I just have to make room on my home shelves. Maybe donate some oldies but goodies to the local library. That’s my plan.

    up stairs, down,
    around some kiosks
    check it out

    © JP/dh

    Note: A relative sold off some books and took store credit. Took about an hour each way to get to the store and back… One trip of perhaps several to come. Lucky me!!

    • Miss Judy says:

      Gotta love a used bookstore! I hope it is a pleasant drive. BTW what is a blank book – one for a writer I assume?

      • Jules says:

        Miss Judy,

        Thanks for asking… it was a nice ride. But it was a hot day and the store (an old one didn’t really have enough cool air. So that’s why we only stayed for about an hour. It also sold new books. But I tend to gravitate to used books just to save money.

        Blank books are perhaps another name for journals? Some have lines others don’t. But the covers are very unique. Some anyway better than ‘Harriet the Spy’ using just an ordinary school composition book – they used to only come in that black and white (sort of spotty but not quite animal pattern), but now come in blue, red, green etc.

        The blank book I found did not have lines and also came with a ‘cardboard book sleeve’. Like some fancy art books, more than just paper jacket. The Slipcase (classic) has the title “A Flight of Butterflies’ And has another unique feature – no binding. The covers are purple with what I think is the Japanese word for butterfly on the front. And I just discovered that on the revers of the blank pages (I was looking for copyright info… has different butterflies on every page. On the back… which I thought could also be the front – has the title in English – A Fight of Butterflies; The Metropolotan Museum of Art – Thames and Hudson. The cover and back have one continous ‘page’ – though there are ‘bends’ for the 8″ x 10″ pages to rest at rest in the ‘cover’ (about 3/4” thick)

        I found the copyright page; 1979 Library of Congress Catalogue Card number 55-64943. The preface has a lovely little story and I will share this little end part; (the preface was) “Written in the spring of 1904 by Yoshi So at the house of Yosida in Kyoto. Translated in part from the prefae of an early edition. A note to readers. This, like other Japanese books, is meant to be read from wat would be the back of a Western book.”

        So, Thank you Miss Judy for helping me to explore more of a treasure than I thought I had possessed. While the backs of the pages are blank – I think I shall not disturb the ‘Flight of Butterlies’ with any of my writing! 😀

      • Miss Judy says:

        Journals – as I thought.
        The Butterflies book sounds beautiful and a wonderful story to go along with it. As I read i wondered if you would write in it. I think you made a good choice.

      • Jules says:

        I might write about it… but not in it. 😀

    • Always glad ta see folks playin in the Saloon, an Kid an me know how ya like ta play with 99 words an haibun. Thinkin it’d be a great place ta git lost in, thet there bookstore, thet musta been a treasure map thet bear was a-readin. Hope yer not too busy ta read them books.
      Jist wanna remin ya thet it don’t have ta be 99 words at the Cowsino an thet folks is encouraged ta try out the story spine.

      • Jules says:

        With a bunch of stuff going on I’ve had to dole out my time etc… Maybe I’ll try another entry? At least I did make some time this morning to read the Cowsino entries!!

        Looks like my comments for this Cowsino are OK’d. It just seems that it is always the first entry of mine that ends up in spam. I’ll just have to let Charli or you know when it happens… being stuck in limbo isn’t fun. 😀

      • Jules, goin forward, I kin set Kid onta this spam issue, see if thet greenhorn kin sift shift from shinola back in them barns. We all injoyed thet haibum, ya always go where the prompt leads an thet’s important. All good.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Jules, your story is playful and also relatable. I can be that kind of bear in a forest of bookshelves.

      • Jules says:

        I’m not sure why the Cowsino doesn’t like my comments… to start anyway. Please do check the spam of CR regularly. If I ever post twice – the same thing…you only have to post one.

        Please see the reply I made to Miss Judy – she helped me find more treasure!! Turns out the blank book was filled with ‘A Flight of Butterflies’ 😀

  7. Miss Judy says:

    Once upon a time, Mama, Papa and Baby, although he wasn’t really a Baby but a strapping young boy, set out to the forest for a picnic under an unusually giant pine. They built a fire, roasted hot dogs and ate them slathered with ketchup.

    As the day wore on, they fell asleep down by a river that ran close by. Awakened by the crackling and popping of dried leaves and brush, the forest was ablaze. They had forgotten to douse their campfire. They ran and ran and ran with the other forest animals – bears, deer, rabbits, mice, and all. Fire crews responded post haste and were able to contain the blaze before it got too far out of control.

    When the family returned sometime later, all around was waste except the unusually giant pine. Why was it spared? Well, you see, it wasn’t a tree at all but a cell phone tower disguised as an unusually giant pine.

  8. The Rescue by D. Avery

    Once was a bear that everyone around looked up to, because not only was he was a rather tall bear, but, being a bear, they assumed certain things about him.

    Folks were always saying things like ‘You know where he does his duty, don’tcha?’ and they claimed he knew the woods like the back of his paws; said he was tough and brave.

    None of these things were true, but when little Tommy Tourist, (unbeknownst to his craft beer aficionado parents, who were deeply distracted by their hobby), disappeared from the Greenrock Café’s outside patio it was the bear that was called on to find Tommy and he felt duty bound to go into the woods to search.

    He gathered some supplies and studied a topo map and hoped no one noticed how hopeless he felt, unable to make any sense of the shadings and squiggly lines that passed for a map. But he did notice that the bottle of catsup was missing from the Tourists’ table and then he noticed dabs of catsup on the ground every few feet. He appeared quite confident and competent as he set off into the woods but it was only the Hansel and Gretel strategy of little Tommy Tourist that enabled the bear to follow the trail.

    The trail finally ended at a fir tree where little Tommy, still clutching the catsup bottle, slept soundly in the fragrant needles at its base. Unfortunately, chipmunks had also found the trail and licked up all the catsup, but little Tommy was able to lead the bear back to the café. Amazed to see their son holding the paw of a large bear, Tommy’s parents asked for a pitcher.

    • Jules says:

      Assumen’ stuff jist ain’t nice. But I’m glad it all worked out in the end. A fun read with a happy ending is a good way to start my day! Thanks.

  9. Why do I think the parents (or the author) had already had a pitcher or two? 🙂 Fun piece.

    • There’s mebbe some likeness there Doug. Our writer, thet is me an Kid’s writer, is a bit of a hobbyist an while not much fer honin her craft, will certainly down a draft.

  10. The bear crawled out from the trees in the backyard looking a little lost and confused.

    It stood up straight and sniffed its surroundings and then started walking straight toward my brand-new Kamado Big Joe II 24” ceramic grill.

    Marcia picked up Marna and ran into the house.

    Mark Jr started to cry and sped after them.

    I eyed the kids’ hamburgers resting on a plate next to two $32.00 a pound cowboy steaks marinating on the side shelf of my grill – my brand-new Kamado Big Joe II 24” ceramic grill – and then in quick order: the bear ambling toward the brand-new Kamado Big Joe II 24” ceramic grill, the steaks sitting tastefully on the never-before-used side shelf of my brand-new Kamado Big Joe II 24” ceramic grill, the bear, the steaks, the brand-new Kamado Big Joe II 24” ceramic grill, and finally back the bear before I turned and ran to catch up to my family.

    I turned back to see the bear pick up the ketchup bottle filled with my homemade marinade and drink it down like someone who’s just spent two weeks in the Mojave Desert and then walked 1,800 miles along dry riverbeds to my backyard. The last thing I saw before the door shut behind me was a joyful-looking bear smashing a 400-pound, and brand new, Kamado Big Joe II 24” ceramic grill like it was made of out of Tinker Toy pieces while holding two expertly marinated cowboy steaks in one massive paw.

    Later, after I stopped crying, I sat on the couch and turned on an episode ‘Bobby Flay’s Barbeque Addiction’ and watched him make a yogurt jalapeno dipping sauce.

    • NO! Not the brand-new Kamado Big Joe II 24” ceramic grill! An the cowboy steaks (expertly mar’nated).
      Michael, this here is a tragedy if ever there was one, but ya told it in sech a way, not gonna lie, I laughed out loud. From beginnin ta end, this was a right amusin story.
      How’s thet dippin sauce, by the way?

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