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.

“Hey Pal.”

“Kid, how’s it goin here at the Saddle Up?”

“Purty good so far. As ya kin see, Frankie an Burt are gittin their second wind afore continuin with their mail deliveries. Couple a women I ain’t seen b’fore showed up. Mebbe they’re from back east. A little one with big hair an a big one with little hair. They went inta the Cowsino.”

“Thet’s right! First Friday of a new month, thet means a new prompt from the ol story spine slot machine. Well, I hope they have fun playin. Reckon they kin read the directions down below fer themsefs.”


“Cowsino? Hey, look, Marge, there’s an old-style slot machine! I told you this saloon would be a fun change for us.”

“Seems a bit gimmicky to me Ilene. Really? There’s a pig and a horse at the bar! When I said something about it that woman with the mail bag gave me a funny look. And those two in the hats? They’re just funny looking.”

“Be nice Marge. Come on let’s try this slot machine. Oh, interesting. It’s a writing game… using the three pictures in any order… okay, I’ll try…

Once upon a time that pesky little Cupid kept buzzing around like a deerfly until finally it bit the reluctant one-legged cowgirl princess.

Every day her cowboy cooed and wooed, brought her roses and stuff like that until they finally shacked up together.

Because of that he got complacent. There was no wooing and less cooing and he didn’t help with the dishes. She noticed the last rose forgotten in the vase, all thorny stem, its bloom blackened and brittle. She noticed that Cupid’s sting was beginning to fester and itch.

Finally, she pulled on her boot and walked.

“What do you think Marge? It’s 99 words exactly! The title is, ‘This Boot Is made For Walking’.”

“I think you should keep your day job Ilene.”

“That was fun. Now you try it.”

“Only if you go to the bar and get me another beer. Okay, let’s see…

One time a highly successful and skillful fisherwoman found herself in Florida, of all places. Every day she wanted to go fishing but what passed for creeks looked like ditches and were lined with alligators and snakes, not to mention snarly, snaggly brambles. Fishing was challenging until she switched her rod and reel for a small bow and arrow. Because of that alligators stopped chasing her bait and it was easier to maneuver. Her tall boots protected her from snakes and thorns. Finally, she’d found a way to put fish in the dish, but couldn’t wait to go home.

“Just in time with my beer, Ilene. Tada! Also 99 words, though I notice that is not a requirement for this writing game.”

“Really, Marge, you saw fishing from those pictures, not romance?”

“It was romantic, or at least Ernest thought it would be, a trip south.”

“Did you go to the beach?”

“Yes, we surf casted. I got snook and redfish. Ernest caught a jeep and gave up. Then he caught a sunburn which brought an end to some of the romance.”

“Maybe you should bring him to this place. Try a little ranch romance.”

“Do you think he’d mind that there’s a pig and a horse in the bar?”

“Probably not. He puts up with your friends, and they’re asses.”

“He doesn’t mind Nard or Nick— because they’re my asses.”

“He is sweet, your Ernest. Don’t let that one go, Marge.”


“Well folks, as you kin see, all are welcome in the Saddle Up an anyone kin try their hand at the story spine slot machine, as many times as they like. Come by ta write, read, or jist socialize.”

“Yep, this prompt is up all month an we’re open 24/7.”

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 than 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 shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

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