Howdy, Partner

There’s a knock on your door. When you open it, you find a cowboy—complete with the hat, boots, spurs, six-shooter, the accent, everything—standing on your front step. He claims he has no idea who he is or what he’s doing there. Write this scene, as you try to sort out his (and your) confusion.

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479 thoughts on “Howdy, Partner

  1. alyssasdgva

    There was a knock on my door. Who could be here at this hour? I groggily opened my eyes and got out of bed. who ever it is i’m going to kill them.
    “Why are you waking me up in the middle-” I stopped talking to fully look at the man in front of me. This guy is a weirdo! He’s wearing cowboy getup and is grinning at me like an idiot. It takes me a moment before I realize that i know this man. This is Alfred f. Jones. Now i’m really going to hurt him.
    “Alfred, what are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be on a date with Arthur tonight! Did you two get drunk, AGAIN.” I whisper-yelled at him.
    “How do you know my name, never mind, can you tell me where we are? I didn’t see any horses and he dragged me here which he says is where i live, but i live in a shack outside of town”
    “wha? i’m your roommate what are you talking about?”
    Before he could answer Arthur came up behind him and covered his mouth.
    “He is beyond drunk and thinks he is back in his cowboy days.”
    He fell into Arthurs arms and fell asleep.
    “well i guess he has to sleep on the couch tonight”
    with that i went back to bed.

  2. ultimatefrisbeegirl

    “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” starts my musical doorbell. I clap my hands. I can’t count my attempts at replacing that doorbell. Just kidding. Twenty-three. Grandma Evie had it installed when she lived here. I go to the door. Is the world against me eating my dinner in peace?
    “Congratulations,” I begin as I swing the door open. My sarcastic comment floats away as my mouth drops. A cowboy stands before me. Like the real deal, right-out-of-a-Western-film cowboy, complete with a black Stetson.
    “Ma’am,” he says, “I don’t know who you are, but I need help.” I blink and notice the lines of dust around his dark blue eyes, his muddy jeans, and one blood-soaked sleeve.
    “Are you a murderer?” I whisper.
    “I’m in serious trouble.” his deep voice and accent make me melt. “Stay here,” I say, “I’ll get you a glass of cold water and a washcloth.”
    “Thank you ma’am,” he says as I begin to close the door.
    BOOM! BOOM! Something screeches through the air and pounds against the porch. I’m knocked to the floor, my head spinning. Before I can stand, strong hands are pulling me up. The cowboy has me standing, kicks the door shut behind us and latches it while holding me up with the other arm. “What happened?” I say.
    “Do you have a basement?”
    “No.”
    “A closet?”
    “Yes, in my bedroom.”
    “Where?”
    I show him the way, my legs barely steady. My dinner is forgotten as he pulls the closet door closed behind us. “You okay?” he says.
    “Yes.” I can barely see him. He releases me and rummages about. I hear something heavy being laid against the door. Then we’re silent. I hear his pistol cock and jump. “I knew it!” I gasp.
    “It’s not for you,” he says wryly.
    “Then for who?”
    “It’s better you don’t know, but you listen to me. I didn’t mean to bring them here. Go into the back of this closet and hide in the clothes. I don’t want you getting hurt. They’ve come for me.”
    “Why?” I’ve gone cold. He doesn’t answer, because at that moment there is a sickening crash and splinter of wood. The front door. “Hurry!” he whispers, pushing me back. I go, starting to shake again. My breath is hot against the clothes and the house is eerily silent again.
    They’re coming.

  3. Mallen

    You step out of the shower and spritz yourself with lemon and vanilla body oil. This, you smile to yourself, is a good day to be you. Walking out of the bath, wrapping yourself in a huge over-priced body sheet from Neiman’s, you hear the door and you smile. He’s here. He, being the wonderfully perfect Jeff who flies the friendly skies for American Airlines during the week and alternates between operating a life-saving helicopter for the National Guard two weekends of the month and volunteering for the fire department. That leaves one weekend for his mother, demanding old bitch, and one short 48 hour period for you. But he is here, now, knocking on your door. Practically purring, you walk to the door.
    You drop your towel. And open the door.
    “Howdy, Partner!”
    The scream that erupts from you can be heard from at least a two block radius. Followed from the slam of the door in his 5 o’clock-shadowed face. Who was HE?
    “Mam?” came the muffled sound from the other side. “Can you cover yourself and let me in? I think someone is following me and I need to get inside.”
    You tell him to go, you don’t know him and you are expecting a very important visitor shortly and he should ‘hustle on down the road’. You scuffle to close the bath sheet and hold it closed over your wet and well moisturized naked body. You feel panic begin to build in your chest.
    “Partner, I do apologize but those rapscallions are getting closer, I am sure of it and I am going to have to come on in. I really do hate to barge in on ya, but ya leaving me no choice. Now back away from the door.”
    You are in a full thrown panic now. This ruffian is getting ready to break down your door. You yell at him to wait! Give you a minute to think. Did he promise not to hurt you if you let him in? Would he leave as soon as the danger passed?
    “I promise mam, you have my word as a cowboy.”
    Slowly you turn the knob. He walks in. This man is teeming with lust. He doesn’t walk, he saunters. He doesn’t look, he regards. He didn’t speak, he conferred. And you best believe when he made love it would be earth shattering.
    “Now, how’s about we try this again. Howdy, Partner.”
    “Howdy.”
    “Mam, you bout to drop your towel.”
    You tell him that you just might drop your towel. And when you drop it you just might walk back to your bedroom. And when you get to your bedroom you may lay down on your bed. While you are laying there you may get lonely. And if you did would he be so inclined to come and keep you company? And while you were there enjoying each other’s company you may get an itch you need scratched and as a certified cowboy with spurs, boots, hat and all would he be willing to help out a damsel in distress.
    “Well mam. I never could see a pretty little lady like you endure a hardship of any kind. But what about your very important visitor?”
    You had forgotten all about Jeff, and his perfect, do-gooding ass. Well you tell him, if we are interrupted he can just go visit with his old decrepit mother. It’s not every day a cowboy knocks on your door.

  4. mrswmoore7

    “Uh, yes can I help you?” I asked the tall, striking cowboy as he stared back at me. He had on the full armor of a true cowboy. His cowboy hat, boots, spurs, and his six-shooter with a sexy Texas accent.
    “Uh yeah I was looking for Kelly McKlain.” His accent thick. He was tanned with brown hair pulled back into a pony tail and had sad brown eyes.
    “Sorry but you have the wrong address?”
    He didn’t move. He stayed in place. And then I saw the corners of his mouth twist into a hidden smile. “Can I come in?”
    I was taken aback because I didn’t know this cowboy. What if he was a mass murderer cowboy? How would I know? “Uh I don’t even know your name. What is it?”
    “Big John,” he said amusingly, staring at my dark brown eyes as they blinked rapidly.
    “I…I’m Payton but there isn’t a Kelly McKlain by that name who lives here.”
    “Sorry to disturb you ma’am,” the cowboy tipped his hat and began to walk away.
    “Wait,” I shouted.
    The cowboy turned back around and faced me, arching his eyebrows.
    “Uh, you can come in for some coffee and maybe we can look up this Kelly McKlain you’re looking for.”
    Big John tipped his hat as he strolled inside my house.

  5. Kemter

    Why are the walls and the ceiling the same color? That just simply doesn’t make sense. I should have Lucile paint them. She’s a wonderful artist, Lucile. One day she came for a visit. I had no idea who she was but she came for a visit; that’s my good Lucile.

    She came at the right moment too. Clever Lucile. I was staring out the window, watching the rain and feeling so lonely and sad. I didn’t even hear her come in. But in a blink she was behind me, touching my shoulder.

    I remember she spoke so soft and sweet, “Hello there, you don’t seem happy.”

    And I thought, well how ‘bout that. She doesn’t hardly know me and she can tell the feelings I’m feeling. I thought she might be friends with Ms. Dillan. Ms. Dillan is also good at that, but she wasn’t supposed to come until the day after tomorrow.

    But Lucile wasn’t friends with Ms. Dillan, she told me so. She wasn’t supposed to be in my room at all she said. I wasn’t afraid of Lucile though, even though she didn’t wear the right clothes for someone visiting in my room. Lucile was nice.

    She drew me a picture right on the wall. I did tell her that was against the rules but she said, “Don’t worry,” in her pretty voice and I stopped worrying. Just like that.

    Lucile can be like that, she doesn’t have to follow the rules. She used so many colors on my wall then, it was beautiful. Like the picture the sun paints over the blue sky when it wakes up and goes back to sleep. Lucile was like the sun.

    Lucile can be a tricky one though; she skipped out of my room again while I was looking at her picture without saying goodbye.

    I didn’t much mind though; you just can’t stay mad at a nice little thing like Lucile. I stared at the colors on my wall all day that day. Until my friends came to take me to the movie room. They said the painting was beautiful, but they were lying. My friends do that sometimes. They looked at the wrong wall, that’s how I caught them this time. I told them so as we walked to the movie room. I like catching them in lies.

    We watched a cowboy movie, with the real cowboys riding real horses. I asked some of my friends if they had seen Lucile anywhere, but they hadn’t. She would have loved the cowboy movie I know it.

    A cowboy would make her less lonely. I wish I had a cowboy too, but I have my friends in blue. They always wear blue, but Lucile didn’t wear blue. She could use a cowboy who didn’t where blue and feel less lonely.

    I lie back on my bed, the sheets white like the ceiling and walls which makes no sense, and close my eyes to see that picture one more time in my head. It was gone when I got back from the movie that day. I think one of my friends stole it right out of the wall.

    A tap tap tap, comes from my door. How strange, it’s not time for my friends to come visit yet and bring dinner. It must be the thief then, returning the picture on the wall.

    “Come in.” I say grumpily with my eyes closed. I want to surprise myself when I see the picture from Lucile again.

    “Howdy partner,” a voice says back.

    I open my eyes and see a cowboy like in my cowboy movie. He even has the big hat which only the real cowboys are allowed to have.

    “You must be looking for Lucile,” I tell him happily, “but she’s not here yet. She’s going to paint the wall again! You know it doesn’t make sense that the walls and the ceiling are the same color. Lucile will fix that when she comes back.”

    1. Scarly

      This was really interesting, written from a child’s point of view:) I really enjoyed this and it kept me intrigued the entire time. I wonder who the woman was and who this child is. It doesn’t specify a gender but I think it’s a boy. And I feel like this woman, Lucille, is his mom visiting him, wherever he is. That’s just what I thought of, but I loved this.:) Keep up the good work! *claps*

    2. jhowe

      This was very nicely done. The patient seems to have a vivid imagination and invents characters that visit her in her room, like Lucile and the cowboy. Though it was very sad, I loved it when her friends looked at the wrong wall when viewing the painting. I liked this a lot.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        And so did I. You write with a lot of emotion. The patient still has some marbles left to work with, more so then most people with dementia. I’m looking forward to your next post.

    3. Critique

      This was such an interesting well written story. I’m thinking the MC is a young man with a mental disability – possibly Down Syndrome? I look forward to more of your writings Kemter :)

    4. harmonee72

      that was great!! I know Scarly read the story from the point of view of a child – but i read it from the point of view of an senior in a senior’s home – or someone with dementia or something like that …. and that’s the great thing about writing – and reading it – everyone sees a story in a different way …. i enjoyed this very much!!! thank you for posting it! i’m new to this site and have literally just registered but i do plan to try out some writing myself – you’ve been an inspiration!!

  6. GuitarSlim

    The pounding on the door jarred me out of my daze. I’d been sitting at the table, staring bitterly out the window at the simple headstone that marked my brother’s still-fresh grave.

    Don’t know who the hell would come calling on a day like this – the weather was coming in from the southwest, and the dull, slate-gray sky was spitting sleet at the cold, indifferent prairie.

    Before I could take two steps, the door burst open, the figure standing in the entryway reeling with the effort. He was tall and slender, his hat pulled down low to hide his face. His clothing was smeared with dirt and mud, to the point that his shirt and pants were nothing more than shades of brown. He was swaying a bit, and I could tell he was disoriented.

    Looked like he could’ve been a hand from the Bar-T, the ranch a few valleys over. Maybe he got thrown from his horse, bumped his head and lost his way. No overcoat, so he must have been desperate to be so far out in weather like this.

    “Can I help you with something?” I offered cautiously.

    I could see beyond him to the horse pasture; he’d already helped himself to one of my roans, because she was tied to the hitching post outside the door.

    “Need a saddle…” he began in a breathy Texas drawl, slumping forward and twisting to the side. The back of his shirt was covered in blood, and I could see a pair of holes where two slugs had obviously found him.

    Shot in the back…just like my brother…

    The stranger slid a silver-plated Colt revolver out of the holster on his hip, pointed it in the air and cocked the hammer.

    He raised his head just enough for me to see his eyes. They were beady and black as coal, and despite his weakened state, they were staring at me with a cold, piercing intensity. A flash of recognition hit me. The silver pistol, the Texas drawl… It was Hale McCready, a callous and frequently drunken no-account who was wanted for theft and murder. The murder of my brother, in fact. I’d never actually seen him before – but I knew it was him. Didn’t look like he knew who I was, though. He was clearly on the run and just happened to end up here. He meant to steal a horse to get away – and probably kill me in the process.

    But I had different plans.

    Off in the distance now, I could see a group of riders coming up over the hill toward the house. The sheriff and his deputies, no doubt. Probably tracked Hale here, and I’m sure they had plans of their own to take him in. Hale dropped to his knees and seemed on the verge of passing out. I didn’t have much time. I quickly ducked into my bedroom and grabbed my Winchester. The metal was cold in my hands – a fitting instrument for what he had coming.

    My heart was pounding wildly as I came back around the corner. He was still on his knees, pointing the Colt in my direction. The muzzle traced a figure-eight in the air as he struggled to steady his aim. I leveled my rifle at him and cocked the hammer. No, I had different plans indeed.

    1. Scarly

      Ha:) Good plot going on here. I like how this villanous cowboy was near his death bed and still had killing in his bones. I also like the cliff hanger; the narrator could have killed him or maybe he had plans to torture him. Anything could happen. You made one teeny tiny itsy bitsy mistake though. Being a gal from Texas would make me Texan:3 So accents would be Texan, or more hypothetically accurate, Southern works too. Enjoyed your story! Have a good day!

    2. jhowe

      This is a good story. Hale deserved to get plugged with the Winchester. The MC stayed cool and collected the whole time, waiting for his opportunity. I liked how you avoided using the word ‘cowboy.’

    3. Critique

      Enjoyed your story! I like how you left me pondering the ‘different plans indeed’. My imagination pictures the MC as a girl and she will plead self defense when the posse arrives :)

  7. Observer Tim

    I opened the microwave and the smell of popcorn immediately filled the kitchen. I drank in the fake butter aroma that brought me back to golden days of yesteryear, when Mom, Dad, Eric and I would go to the movies. That was the plan tonight too, though this time it was only me and the movies would be playing on TV in the living room. Eric was away at his writer’s group and I was getting some quality “me” time. I dumped the popcorn into a paper bag and picked up my paper cup of soda. This would be a night to lose myself.

    The knock at the door made me jump, just like one of those old scary movies. We live on the fourteenth floor of a so-called secure building, so people knocking usually meant neighbours. I set the food down and went to answer it.

    I pulled the door open and stopped dead. My jaw dropped. There was a cowboy standing there, right out of a Clint Eastwood movie. He wore a greatcoat and duster over his shirt and vest, and below his chaps were rugged pointy-tipped cowboy boots. He smelled of dust and sweat and horses and … other cowboy things.

    I swooned, partly because I’d always loved those movies and partly because the smell of cow flop was a bit overpowering. He caught me in a rugged arm and pulled me close. I couldn’t tell whether I gasped because of the smell or because of the real concern I saw in his steely blue eyes.

    “Are you all right, miss? What’s your name?”

    “Wah-wah-Wanda.”

    “Well, Wawawanda, what’s a pretty young gal like you doing all alone in this godforsaken place?”

    “The city’s not that bad…”

    I trailed off and looked around. The hot sun was beating down on the dusty ground and the wind raised tiny dust devils around us. We were standing in the doorway of a dilapidated shack in a small town that even the ghosts had deserted. And my popcorn was gone!

    “What the fudgesicle?”

    But I already knew what the problem was. Eric. My idiot writing-obsessed brother had somehow written the entire world out of existence. I wasn’t sure how he did it, but he just had to be involved. All that was left was me, a ghost town, and a kind-of-hunky cowboy that I had just created on my word processor. I think I’ll call him Dusty.

    I could tell my brother hadn’t written this because Dusty wasn’t poking me with his stiffened rod (which Eric would have some lame excuse for, of course). Disgusting. I looked at Dusty again, as his personality details started moseying their way into my head. Well, maybe we can come back to the ‘stiffened rod’ around chapter eleven or twelve, after I’ve gotten to know him…

    I hit the ‘print’ button and the page came out. As I stared at the words I finally understood what Eric felt after he’d created something. I was hooked.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      You come roaring out of nowhere with a classic story. Your descriptions, “He wore a great coat and duster over his shirt……He smelled of dust and sweat and horses…” are as real as they get. And the final sentance…. “I hit the print button…” is exactly how I feel when I create a character. Thanks for the ride, Tim.

    2. agnesjack

      I liked the playfulness, descriptiveness and, dare I say, dusting of mischievous innuendo, Tim. Loved the line, “as his personality details started moseying their way into my head.”

  8. Doug Langille

    Cowboy Games
    ============

    The Cedarwood Home for the Elderly stood at the end of a dead-end street in a rotting burrough of a dying town, a bit of irony not lost on the staff and residents– well, some of them anyway. The arrivals came in minivans full of harried yet frenzied families. The departures left in black stationwagons where the back seats were always quiet. The visitors’ lots grew weeds from disuse.

    Eileen taught grade school for nearly forty years before retiring and within two years her son, David, dropped her off with a peck on her cheek. Another two years passed and he’d visited regularly at first, then phone calls, and finally silence. She wished him a happy life, but loneliness crept in to her days. She slept those away and enjoyed the nights instead.

    Mister Jameson, three doors down, wandered the halls in the wee hours, sometimes clothed strangely and sometimes not at all. The word on the ward was that syphilis turned his brain into cheese. No one knew about his life before Cedarwood, his tenure longer than everyone else including the staff.

    This one night, Eileen’s mood wasn’t the best. She conned one of the orderlies into fetching her some brandy, an easy enough task for a woman not afraid to peddle her charms. The liquor burned her throat but made the time more tolerable.

    She considered the length of the tie on her house coat and wondered if the wall sconse light would hold her weight, assuming her courage held. A noisy hooting and hollering from the hallways interrupted her pondering, and when there was a loud knock on her door, she startled and stuffed the fuzzy would-be noose under the mattress.

    “You in there, Eileen?” said the familiar voice through the door, this time drawling like a cowboy from a bad western movie.

    She yelled at the door. “Go back to bed, Mister Jameson. It’s three in the morning.”

    “I have a six shooter pointed at your door. You best come out, little lady. I hear you got a bit of booze to lubricate the joints.”

    Eileen smiled to herself. The wall sconces would be there tomorrow. Tonight, there waited another lonely soul. She walked over to the door and opened it.

    “Greetings, Marshall Dillon.”

    “Howdy, ma’am. Might I come in for a spell?”

    Mister Jameson wore cowboy boots and a felt brimmed hat. He wore no holster, but his pistol looked loaded with lead and ready to fire. She closed the door behind him and let her house coat fall to the floor.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Chill bumps actually Doug with the last sentence. Romance never dies when one searches for it or it appears st three in the morning at a nursing home. That’s what I refer to as the human spirit. You pointed that out so well in your story. For 500 or less, your tale packs so much of life in it. In my humble opinion, this story has elevated the entire forum. Let’s see what the other writer’s have to say about this.

    2. lionetravail

      A nicely unique take on the prompt, and tackling challenges! Nicely done on several levels: exploring sexuality in the older/nursing home resident, for one. Given the word limit, it’s excellent. My sense is that, for Eileen, the suicidal thoughts are more contemplative than actual/desperate, and perhaps in “Marshal Dilllon’s”, ahem, line of fire, she will find reasons to stay away from the wall sconces. :)

    3. agnesjack

      Go for it, Eileen, I say. The picture you painted of the nursing home with the forgotten residents was spot on. Maybe Mr. Jameson can keep Eileen from the wall sconce for a while. Nicely done, Doug.

  9. AnthonyChrist

    This is way over the 500 words, but ya’ know who’s counting right?

    Jen & the Identity

    It was nine ‘o’ clock in the morning and I had to skip breakfast, because I was extremely late for school as usual. I promised my Math Analysis teacher that I would start to get to school on time as it was beginning to take a negative toll on my grades. I never ceased to disappoint myself or everyone around me.

    As I was making my way towards the living room, I noticed the TV had been left on the news station and before I could shut it off the doorbell rang causing me to groan. I assumed it was the next door neighbors wanting to once again complain about something that was obviously out of our control. They were a wicked kind of people, forever seeming to attempt to drive my mother and I out of our house. We’ve lived here edging towards nine years; we weren’t going to let some weird corrupt people try to kick us out.

    I’m Jen Mandrose; daughter of the Clara Mandrose…we were fighters and we fell in love with our beautiful town Johnstown.

    I swung the door open and sent the guests the sassiest stare I could conjure. It failed due to the amount of auburn hair frolicking in front of my face.

    “Howdy, little lady!” came a boisterous male voice. What were we back in the old west? I brushed my hair away from my eyes and saw a boy my age dressed in a cheap cowboy costume.

    Maybe I was still dreaming?

    “Howdy, little lady!” he repeated.

    “I heard you the first time.” I snapped while he flaunted a cheshire grin. I did NOT have time for immature games. Knowing my friends back at school; they probably paid this creep to come mess with me as a departing prank since it was close to grad. Well they picked the right time to do so! “Who paid you? Marcus? Teresa? Sara?”

    “Young lady, I can’t recall the moments before I had awakened so you may see why I’m balled up. If you were to be so kind as to lend me a helping hand, I’d appreciate such. If not, I’d have to pay you through nose.” He replied managing to uphold the creepy grin.

    Balled up? Pay you through nose?

    I sighed running a hand trough my hair making my stress as apparent as necessary. Maybe this joke would’ve run itself through with hilarity, but I just didn’t have the time of day to fool around. “Dude, stop calling me little lady and young lady, because you’re just as old as me and if I’m not correct I think you’re in the back of my Economics class…” I trailed off and examined him. Those dark hollow eyes and pale skin with bad acne couldn’t be reciprocated by anyone else. Better yet, who would want to look like that?

    Yup I definitely went to school with this loser. When I made this wary, the guy shifted weirdly and he sort of flinched; answer obtained.

    “Look I won’t tell Sara or any of the others that I caught you in your funny little act okay!” I pleaded trying to get this guy from under my skin as quickly as possible. “I’ll tell them like some weird guy dressed up in a cowboy suit really got on my nerves this morning, and that I’m scared that you might be some stalker I met online to make it sound like you really put in some work.”

    “Now ma’am-“

    “Don’t call me ma’am either.” I demanded uncaringly interrupting him.

    “Miss, I’ am not familiar of the people which you speak of.” And still the lies continued.

    I rolled my eyes. I could care less of anything he had to say now; I just wanted him to be gone. “Could you remove yourself from my front porch now? What do you even want?”

    “I-uh-I…” was all he could get out imitating a broken record. Sweat was beading down his face and his eyes were nervously scanning the area. What was with this jerk? Did he not know how to end this useless attempt at a comedic prank? He was only making himself look more pathetic and persistent. I gave him a chance and he still kept jabbing at me. “May I use a phone?”

    “Oh. You’re a cowboy who knows what a phone is; unique.” I deadpanned before digging in my pocket to find that it was empty. “I left it inside. I’ll be right back.”

    I made my way back inside the house up to my room knowing that when I came back, he probably would no longer be there. It was typical Sara Whittlock behavior; when the road gets sturdy, lie to yourself, runaway and never look back. I was so going to get her back, it’s my new side-goal to end off the year as a senior.
    I didn’t even go all the way to my bedroom. I walked right back to the living room to discover the “cowboy” had fled from the scene. I definitely had it in for Sara and I couldn’t wait to get to school.

    “A major alert for the citizens of Johnstown,” I overheard from a reporter on television. “There’s a tragic break of news that residing schools have been put on lockdown due to the search of a young man who’s going to the resident’s houses claiming to emit from the old west before brutally attacking his victims. There has been a count of up to five deaths and seven injuries in the past hour and…”

    I drowned out what else was said as my body was triggered into a state of paralysis. My lips fell slightly agape as my heart began to slow down. My face was glazed and I knew at that point the world around me had ceased to exist. Today I woke up from bed, frantic about not being able to attend school on time not knowing it may have been the last time I would ever be able to attend school ever again. Today I had spoken with a killer. Today I discovered sat four rows in front of the devil.

    I felt disembodied; I was numb.

    What if he was still outside somewhere? I panicked as I had dashed forward to shut the door completely jolting out of my state of condition. Abruptly, life around me came back to life and I was able to feel again. I went over to the window aside from the door to look out on the porch, but just as I was doing that I heard the words of my demise.

    “Howdy, young lady…” someone said in an aggressive tone. The curtains flew open and I saw on the dirty glass, the face of an angry and isolated sociopath.

    And it wasn’t a reflection.

  10. agnesjack

    Crazy Maudie was just finishing “planting” the plastic flowers in the front window boxes of her trailer when she heard a crash. She raced inside to get her shotgun.

    “It’s those dang kids again, Gus!” she said to her husband who had been dead and buried twenty-seven years. Then she went blazing out of the back door, yelling, “Git! Git! Git!” to protect her prized piles of junk on the half-acre lot behind the trailer.

    She didn’t see anyone, so she took a walk through the maze of piles and around the fenced perimeter.

    “Musta scooted when they heard me comin’,” she said with a wink toward Gus’s old chair when she came back in. “Lordy, they do keep me spry.”

    Just then, a knock came at the front door.

    “What now, sweet Jesus?” Maudie said.

    A young, cowboy with dark, curly hair was standing on the threshold looking a little dazed. His shirt was bloody and his hat looked stomped on. There was blood trickling down from a cut on his forehead.

    “Ma’am?” he said.

    “Lord above,” she said with eyes popping and mouth agape, “it’s Billy!”

    She grabbed his arm and pulled him inside.

    “Looks like a bronco finally got you, Billy. Sit down. No! Not that chair. That’s Gus’s. Let me clear off this one,” and she took a pile of old rodeo flyers off another chair and placed them atop a pile of old newspapers on the coffee table.

    “Ma’am?” he said again. “Is that my name? Billy?”

    “Why, sure. What else would it be?” Maudie said with tears in her eyes. “Let me get something to clean up that blood,” and she navigated her way through the indoor maze to the kitchen.

    She came out with a clean towel, some gauze and antiseptic.

    “Oh, Billy,” she said as she dabbed his head. “What happened to you? I waited and waited after the rodeo. Then Gus came and held my hand and said you’d left town for good. Did you go to Montgomery, Billy? Did you go there without me?”

    “I don’t know, ma’am,” he said.

    “You were the best broncobuster in Idaho. The best. Then you just up and disappeared. June 16, 1958, you just up and disappeared on me, Billy.” She was crying outright, now.

    There was something about this woman with the wild gray hair and the delicate hands that made the young man feel for her. She reminded him of his great-aunt Sheila, who had been both tough as nails and delicate as orchids. Suddenly, his mind cleared. He was no broncobuster. He was a computer programmer from New York who had cracked up his rental car on the way to the dude ranch were he was to spend his vacation.

    “Uh, ma’am,” he said, using the cowboy voice he’d been practicing for weeks. “Thanks for your hospitality, but I must be saying adios.”

    “Aw, Billy,” she said.

    “Ma’am,” he said. “I’m not Billy, but I, uh, have news about him.”

    “Oh?” she said.

    “Billy was, uh, killed by one of his broncos the day after he left town, but he had always planned on coming back for you.”

    “Oh, Gus,” she said to the empty chair, “Did ya hear that? I knew it, Gus. I just knew it.”

    With that, Billy, whose name was really Sheldon, tipped his hat to crazy Maudie.

    “Ma’am,” he said, and let himself out.

    1. gamingtheblues

      I like crazy maudie. If not her face, at least her property and demeanor were very vivid to me and I enjoyed picturing her patrolling with her shotgun and talking to her passed husband’s chair. Semi sad but ultimately amusing little story here.

      1. agnesjack

        I liked crazy Maudie, too, GTB, and had fleshed her out much more in the beginning, but had to cut back to get the cowboy in and keep close to the limit. People who live on the isolated edge like this have always fascinated me.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          You captured me again, Nancy. A computer programmer from New York as a shining knight in armour, coming to the rescue to set crazy Maudie’s mind, finally at piece. I’ve read three in a row now, Tim, Doug and yourself.

          What a joy to be a member of this forum. Go Hurricanes!

          1. agnesjack

            Thanks, Kerry — and I agree. I feel fortunate to have found, and be able to participate in, this wonderful forum of unique writers.

    2. lionetravail

      Nicely done- Crazy Maudie is iconic, and Sheldon kind (if confused).

      Seriously, Maudie would be a great recurring character or supporting character in a story :)

      1. agnesjack

        Thanks, lionetravail. I think I will have to find a place for Maudie. As I mentioned to GTB, I had written much more that I had to cut. For example, her shotgun wasn’t loaded, and so rusty that if it had been loaded it would have been more of danger to her than to anyone she pointed it at. She really came alive for me. I liked her.

  11. UnusDeo

    “Well, you sure aren’t at the saloon.”

    Why did I say that? Seriously, a guy’s got amnesia and that’s the first thing I could think of. I mean, the cowboy clothes don’t quite help, but why add insult to injury.

    “I mean seriously, are the Village people looking for new members?”

    Dammit. Normally, I’d be proud of this moment. I mean, not insulting a man with no memory. I’m not proud of that in the slightest. Seriously though, I’ve never been this witty in my life.

    It wasn’t like I was completely unaware of the situation or anything. It could have been tarradiddle. I could have been on the receiving end of a prank or something. I wouldn’t exactly understand the cowboy gimmick since I’m not a huge fan of westerns or anything.

    Oh, and there’s the fact that I just moved here. So, it was probably easy to rule out that this was a prank by the friends.

    “I’m sorry, please come in. Have a seat on the couch.”

    I got the man some water and watched as he tried to sort things out in his head, occasionally following his thoughts with a sip. I was still weary of it being a prank. I mean, it’s one thing for a man to knock on your door claiming to have no prior knowledge of his life. It’s another thing to have a man fully clad in old western clothing, speaking as if he stepped directly out of the 1880s, tell you he didn’t remember a thing about himself.

    “So, did you come to with the giddy up- I mean, get-up?” I really couldn’t help myself.

    “Whaddaya mean?” I think I only confused him further.

    “Were you wearing that when you woke?” I clarified.

    “Well, I reckon I wouldn’t be wearing anything else. Don’t exactly have a wardrobe.”

    “Of course. Amnesiac. Right.”

    It’s not to say that I forgot so quickly. I was just trying to catch a prankster off guard.

    “Where were you when you woke?” I continued the questioning.

    “Well, I was layin’ on the cold, hard ground with some feller blowing loud noises in my ear.”

    Hmm . . . I wonder.

    “Just to clarify, you do know what a car is, right?” I had to ask.

    “Sir, I do still remember basic knowledge,” he responded.

    So, why the hell are you wearing cowboy gear and SPEAKING with a COWBOY ACCENT?!?!

    At this point, it was clear that I could rule out time machines being involved. It still didn’t explain a damn thing for me. He’s a citizen of this era. Even with amnesia, shouldn’t he retain that he’s not a real cowboy? Maybe his brain reprocessed knowledge incorrectly.

    I don’t know why I’m trying to guess the science behind it. I never graduated. More importantly, it looks like I’m actually entertaining the idea of this guy actually forgetting his memories and this not being a huge prank. Man, if it turns out this is a prank, I’m going to lose it.

    We may have talked for hours. What could have caused it? He didn’t experience any trauma. The only pain he remembers was the horn blowing in his ear. What was the last thing he remembered prior to passing out? Running. I know, pretty vague. Why was I still believing this? Oh wait, that’s the question I kept asking myself. After awhile, I just decided I needed a drink.

    “Let’s just watch some TV.” With a button press, the screen lit. As it lit, I simultaneously dropped the remote and headed towards the kitchen. I know, I’m a multitasking pro.

    The sound of the television quickly matched and surpassed my speed. I completely forgot that I was watching the game before I let the guy in.

    “Tonight’s top story,” it was the news. Not out of the ordinary after the game, “an accidental discharge causes two horrific disappearances.”

    Great, just what the guy needs to see, the positive side of the world.

    “Earlier today, a little boy was killed at his own birthday party when he was shot in the face by his own father. The incident occurred when the young boy somehow got a hold of one of his father’s colts from his gun collection. During that party, the young boy mixed the actual gun in with the plastic ones. His father had the unfortunate luck of grabbing the gun and pretending to shoot his son. However, he didn’t expect what would happen next. People at the party say that the father ran off in horror and hasn’t been seen since. If you . . .”

    I may have been pouring that drink far too long. I could feel the brown river running over my hand as I paralyzed with shock.

    “HE WANTED THE PARTY!” The very next thing I heard.

    I dropped everything and dashed back to the living room. The forgetful cowboy was now the tearful cowboy. In that moment, he forgot something else. He forgot his surroundings, even the screen that stood between him and the reporter.

    “HE WANTED TO BE JUST LIKE ME! HE WANTED TO HAVE ‘COWBOY STUFF’ JUST LIKE PA!” His sorrowed yelling continued. “I DIDN’T KNOW HE’D GET IN MY COLLECTION! HELL, I DIN’T KNOW HE COULD LOAD BULLETS! I JUST WANTED . . .”

    At this point, his accent began to vanish. He stopped yelling, but he continued his tirade.

    “I just wanted to show my son the life of a cowboy.”

    With those words, he passed out.

    After he fainted, I may have stood for about five minutes, but it all felt so timeless. He was running, right? And he suddenly passed out . . . just like now.

    He didn’t suddenly catch a case of amnesia . . . he made himself forget.

    I gained the courage to run to his side after giving a quick call to the police. I tried yelling, I tried slapping, all to no avail. Suddenly, he began to open his eyes.

    “Who- who are ya, feller? Better yet, who am I?”

    No. This was not a prank. Not at all.

    [I legitimately tried to make it shorter than this. I really did.]

  12. UnusDeo

    “Well, you sure aren’t at the saloon.”

    Why did I say that? Seriously, a guy’s got amnesia and that’s the first thing I could think of. I mean, the cowboy clothes don’t quite help, but why add insult to injury.

    “I mean seriously, are the Village people looking for new members?”

    Dammit. Normally, I’d be proud of this moment. I mean, not insulting a man with no memory. I’m not proud of that in the slightest. Seriously though, I’ve never been this witty in my life.

    It wasn’t like I was completely unaware of the situation or anything. It could have been tarradiddle. I could have been on the receiving end of a prank or something. I wouldn’t exactly understand the cowboy gimmick since I’m not a huge fan of westerns or anything.

    Oh, and there’s the fact that I just moved here. So, it was probably easy to rule out that this was a prank by the friends.

    “I’m sorry, please come in. Have a seat on the couch.”

    I got the man some water and watched as he tried to sort things out in his head, occasionally following his thoughts with a sip. I was still weary of it being a prank. I mean, it’s one thing for a man to knock on your door claiming to have no prior knowledge of his life. It’s another thing to have a man fully clad in old western clothing, speaking as if he stepped directly out of the 1880s, tell you he didn’t remember a thing about himself.

    “So, did you come to with the giddy up- I mean, get-up?” I really couldn’t help myself.

    “Whaddaya mean?” I think I only confused him further.

    “Were you wearing that when you woke?” I clarified.

    “Well, I reckon I wouldn’t be wearing anything else. Don’t exactly have a wardrobe.”

    “Of course. Amnesiac. Right.”

    It’s not to say that I forgot so quickly. I was just trying to catch a prankster off guard.

    “Where were you when you woke?” I continued the questioning.

    “Well, I was layin’ on the cold, hard ground with some feller blowing loud noises in my ear.”

    Hmm . . . I wonder.

    “Just to clarify, you do know what a car is, right?” I had to ask.

    “Sir, I do still remember basic knowledge,” he responded.

    So, why the hell are you wearing cowboy gear and SPEAKING with a COWBOY ACCENT?!?!

    At this point, it was clear that I could rule out time machines being involved. It still didn’t explain a damn thing for me. He’s a citizen of this era. Even with amnesia, shouldn’t he retain that he’s not a real cowboy? Maybe his brain reprocessed knowledge incorrectly.

    I don’t know why I’m trying to guess the science behind it. I never graduated. More importantly, it looks like I’m actually entertaining the idea of this guy actually forgetting his memories and this not being a huge prank. Man, if it turns out this is a prank, I’m going to lose it.

    We may have talked for hours. What could have caused it? He didn’t experience any trauma. The only pain he remembers was the horn blowing in his ear. What was the last thing he remembered prior to passing out? Running. I know, pretty vague. Why was I still believing this? Oh wait, that’s the question I kept asking myself. After awhile, I just decided I needed a drink.

    “Let’s just watch some TV.” With a button press, the screen lit. As it lit, I simultaneously dropped the remote and headed towards the kitchen. I know, I’m a multitasking pro.

    The sound of the television quickly matched and surpassed my speed. I completely forgot that I was watching the game before I let the guy in.

    “Tonight’s top story,” it was the news. Not out of the ordinary after the game, “an accidental discharge causes two horrific disappearances.”

    Great, just what the guy needs to see, the positive side of the world.

    “Earlier today, a little boy was killed at his own birthday party when he was shot in the face by his own father. The incident occurred when the young boy somehow got a hold of one of his father’s colts from his gun collection. During that party, the young boy mixed the actual gun in with the plastic ones. His father had the unfortunate luck of grabbing the gun and pretending to shoot his son. However, he didn’t expect what would happen next. People at the party say that the father ran off in horror and hasn’t been seen since. If you . . .”

    I may have been pouring that drink far too long. I could feel the brown river running over my hand as I paralyzed with shock.

    “HE WANTED THE PARTY!” The very next thing I heard.

    I dropped everything and dashed back to the living room. The forgetful cowboy was now the tearful cowboy. In that moment, he forgot something else. He forgot his surroundings, even the screen that stood between him and the reporter.

    “HE WANTED TO BE JUST LIKE ME! HE WANTED TO HAVE ‘COWBOY STUFF’ JUST LIKE PA!” His sorrowed yelling continued. “I DIDN’T KNOW HE’D GET IN MY COLLECTION! HELL, I DIN’T KNOW HE COULD LOAD BULLETS! I JUST WANTED . . .”

    At this point, his accent began to vanish. He stopped yelling, but he continued his tirade.

    “I just wanted to show my son the life of a cowboy.”

    With those words, he passed out.

    After he fainted, I may have stood for about five minutes, but it all felt so timeless. He was running, right? And he suddenly passed out . . . just like now.

    He didn’t suddenly catch a case of amnesia . . . he made himself forget.

    I gained the courage to run to his side after giving a quick call to the police. I tried yelling, I tried slapping, all to no avail. Suddenly, he began to open his eyes.

    “Who- who are ya, feller? Better yet, who am I?”

    No. This was not a prank. Not at all.

  13. drnoag

    The door was of a regular type. It was not unusually wide or unnecessarily tall. Within and on one side of the door, shadowed under starving moonlight, was a man; -ish, a man-ish. On the other side of the door was Blink and one of the rooms which, were one so inclined could, when systematically compiled together with the rest of the attached rooms, be considered a home. How the door became a two sided portal instead of a wall was not a very complicated series of events which led to the door being opened by Blink and which began, as these things did, with a knock.
    The man had a crooked smile which seemed to be creeping further into the sides of his face; a face lightly veiled by the shadow of his leather Akubra. Blink thought of black spiders nesting under the bed. Where the hat met the man’s head, sweat or worse could be seen. It climbed down and plastered long hair to his neck. His hands twitched and grew around pistols with the fattest cylinders Blink had ever seen. Although, Blink was something of a recluse, he hadn’t seen any save those that decorated Clint Eastwood movies.
    The man was able to convey bits of information, through speech and rampant gesticulation even if it did transmit in some Jibberjabber-Jackjaw-Heehaw style to Blink. As if someone had started to encode the message, originally in English, but given up on the way. So, instead of a coherent string of communication, Blink was left to piece together bits of jargon and physical movement which populated within the eye of his mind as mad threats, ferocious troubles, and an indiscriminate, waking hunger. It was the kind of hunger that had sat dormant through a wilderness of cold only to just be shaken alive by the smells and sounds of a season replete with offerings.
    Blink had been watching Discovery. After looking into the eyes of this Wild West, gun slinging maniac, he was quickly reminded of, and more quickly forgot about, a fungus which would cultivate inside the body of an ant. The fungus would grow and prosper and ultimately infect the ant’s central nervous system. It would cause the ant to seek out a high perch – high being relative – and, once found and achieved, to sit and to die. The fungus would then grow out of the ant at an alarming rate, especially when Discovery did that rapid time dilation thing. Finally, it would grow spores and ejaculate its fungal offspring into the Aether. This fungus could OWN the ants. If that was possible, what else was?
    This guy, this cowboy-ish, was surely ridden by something that didn’t start life inside his head. Blink wished that discoveries would stay on the goddamn television and off his front porch.

  14. opalescence

    The knock came around midnight, scarcely audible through the pounding rain. Fleetingly, she considered ignoring it – sitting quietly in the orb of dim light radiating from the dusty lamp until the visitor left. But it was likely that, on this night, the consequences of leaving it unanswered would be severe. Her joints and the floor creaked in unison as she stood, hobbling across the room.
    She heaved the door open.
    “Nice costume.” She held the basket of candy out to him. He looked a bit old for Halloween, but the industrial-sized bag of lozenges she’d bought was still nearly full, and lord knew she wouldn’t live long enough to eat them all. Besides, a costume that elaborate deserved a reward. “Here, take one. Or all of them.”
    But the man did not reach forward to take any. Instead, he removed his sopping cowboy hat and stood awkwardly, squinting in the bare-bulb porch light as moths flitted around his head. “Sorry to bother you so late, ma’am, but I’ve found myself in a…predicament.”
    “Predicament?” Marian gripped the lozenge bowl tighter, eyeing him with suspicion.
    “I reckon I’ve been in an accident of sorts.” There was a musical twang in his voice that brought to mind the western movies of her childhood. “You see, ma’am, I haven’t the slightest idea how I ended up on this here farm of yours. Can’t remember much anything at all.”
    “Well, you’d best come in and dry off.” She could phone the police and they would take care of it.
    “I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
    “Oh, nonsense. I’ll make some tea.”
    The man hesitated, wringing water from his hat, before stepping inside. She escaped into the kitchen. As the teapot warmed, she considered him. He was certainly polite for someone clearly insane. Or was he? Who was she to decide he was insane, anyway? She’d leave it up to someone else to decide. Opening the cupboard, she fished a teabag out.
    She found the cowboy in the living room, staring at a framed painting that hung on the wall. She held the mug out to him, and he took it absentmindedly, his gaze remaining fixed on the barren prairie depicted in the painting. He didn’t seem to notice as she crossed the room and picked up the phone, slowly punching buttons with her arthritic fingers.
    “I can remember some things, you know.” A thoughtful look crossed his face. “Relentless sun. Hooves thudding on cracked earth.”
    Marian looked down at the phone in her hands.
    “When the wind rustled, I listened for voices, but I never heard anything. But at night the stars seemed to pulse in time with my heartbeat, and I felt whole.”
    A sense of stillness, deep inside her chest, began to bloom. Placing the phone back on the receiver, she joined the cowboy. Together they stared at the painting until the frame retreated beyond the edges of the vision, until the house around them faded away, replaced by barren land and endless sky.

  15. melissafield

    TWO COWBOYS

    I flop down on my big, green comfy couch. It’s old, ugly and puts people off. Kinda like me. At one time I wasn’t so old. Or ugly. But I never was much good at makin’ friends. I guess it’s because I don’t say much. You’d think I was pinching them on the inside the way they squirm and fidget when I go quiet.

    Sometimes I think I was just done born in the wrong place. A man like me shoulda been born in Montana. I’m pretty sure there’s a man out there that looks just like me, talks just like me, except he’s a real cowboy. He’s my dimensional twin, or somethin’ like that. I saw it on the Twilight Zone. Everybody had this twin walking around and it was their spittin’ image, except they grew up all different.

    Best darn thing I’ve ever seen. Mostly ’cause I know it’s true. Sometimes you see somethin’ like that and it’s strange and you ain’t seen nothin’ like it before, but you get a feeling. You get that tingle on your head and that feeling like hot soup in your stomach and you know it’s real.

    I kick my feet up, pop the cap off my beer and there’s a knock at the door.

    Hmmmm. I ain’t expectin’ company.

    I saunter on over. I consider for a brief second putting on a shirt. I realize it don’t matter. Whoever it is, if they don’t like the way I look, I ain’t gotta care. They’re them and I’m me and that’s the start and end of it.

    I open the door and for a second it feels like the room shifts. I feel all sideways and lean against the door frame to steady myself. There before me stands a cowboy, spurs, gun holster, and all. And ain’t it odd, seeing this fella dressed like this in the middle of the city.

    He tips his hat to me.

    “‘Mornin’,” he says.

    I sip my beer. I got that feeling. The head tingly and warm stomach feeling.

    “How can I help you?”

    My mind flashes back to that episode, about the twins who were maybe the same person, only separated. In the end, when one twin found another, somethin’ happened. They would sort of disappear. Except not disappear, they’d just go somewhere else. Somewhere they were meant to go together. It was a dimension, always different. There were a million of them dimensions.

    “I been lookin’ for ya,” he says.

    Before I can respond my beer bottle is on the ground. I never saw this, I just know ‘cause I felt it fall from my hand.

    I suppose my neighbors will come home, find my door open, the beer on the ground, and get pretty darn upset. I can’t help that though. It’s too late for me to say where I’m going, I can only feel us slipping into the darkness, travelling down the tunnel, two cowboys goin’ to another dimension.

  16. Stormsent

    Home

    “Okay, I understand. I just thought…” Stopped in mid-sentence, an episode of ‘The Lone Ranger’ seeped in. She turned off the phone. “Joshua… Joshua,” calling to her 11 year old son. “ Time for pj’s and bed.”

    Joshua was unmoved. He continued his play, bonded to the TV, one of the wonders of wireless connections.

    “Josh-u-a.” This, the enunciation that pried action out of her son, sent him to his room.

    Moving all things from the kitchen bar, she sat out several plastic shot glasses. Their placement carefully measured. A folded bar cloth added; bar stools precisely arranged. She set the front door ajar, dimmed the kitchen lights and waited.

    The front door swung open; a silhouette stepped in. Eyes circling the room quickly stopped at the bar. Pulling his hat off; batting it against his pants caused a whirling of dust. His holster weighed heavy against his hips; he gave it a tug, searching for some relief. The pistols shifted slightly. The leather didn’t.

    Tipping his head at the barmaid, she put down the glass and pulled out a bottle. He didn’t have to ask; she knew what he liked.

    “It’s been a while.”, she said quietly while wiping the bar. Lifting her head, she searched for his eyes. “Been alright?” No response. She slid the bottle closer. Pouring the amber liquid he stared at it briefly and drank it quickly. Then he looked.

    “I ever tell you bought getting caught up in Dog Leg trail? Thought I’d never git outta that place. Hotter than hell, de by God. Cut backs ev’ry few steps. Not sure ole Buddy was gonna make it either. Thought we’d both be meetin’ our Maker that day.” He poured another one and drank it immediately. Put a real hurtin’ on my feet. Walked as much as Buddy. He’s been with me near 10 years now.”

    “That long? My, doesn’t time get by fast.” She wiped out a shot glass.

    “Thinkin’ bought gittin’ some new boots this trip. These took their last steps ‘bout four days ago.Sanders still got his place?”

    “Yes, he does. Right where it’s always been. You remember Sanders? Goodness, it’s been years since you mentioned him.” She poured him another one. “On me.”, she patted his hand.

    “You know, if that young fella and his Indian Buddy of his hadn’t a by, might not be standing here today.” He pulled up onto a stool. “ I was trying to make it short between Double Gap and Last Spur. Didn’t much work out. Wore a mask…”, his eyes started to drift. “Gave me a pause. Gave me and Buddy some water. Didn’t know me, saved us though.”

    There was a noise at the edge of room.

    “Hello Jay”, again with her quiet voice.

    “Howdy Miss Liddy. Just stoppin’ in for a bit.” He stood by the old man.

    “Daddy…. I’m sorry. You have to go back. Jay’s gonna take you home.”

    “Home?”

    “Yes Daddy.”

    He looked around… There was no amber filled bottle, he wasn’t wearing boots or hat. He patted his sides. He didn’t have a holster with pistols.There was no barmaid. There was a woman he didn’t know and she had tears in her eyes. He was puzzled.

    “I love you Daddy.” She leaned to kiss him, but he pulled back.

    The old man faced Jay, “I ever tell you ‘bout the time I got caught up in Dog Leg trail? I thought I…”

    Jay reported, “Cancel silver alert. Patient located. ETA 30 mins.”

    1. MJ Munn

      Very touching story, Stormsent. Understated and sweet. You did a fantastic job writing the middle section through the eyes of the father and transitioned seamlessly from “Miss Liddy” and back again by the end. Wonderful post.

    2. lionetravail

      Nice writing, lovely and sad together. Only critique I have is the transition with Jay’s arrival- the ‘noise at the edge of the room’ didn’t connect when the daughter said “Hello Jay”, and I had to reread an extra time or two. Overall, a really lovely story.

    3. jmcody

      This was a very touching story. Not only did the daughter know exactly where her father would turn up, but she provided a setting that would help ease his reentry into reality. Your story showed the importance of listening to the stories of our old people, even if we’ve heard them before, and even if they don’t seem to entirely make sense. (My story below was based heavily on my own family stories.)

      Not sure if you want input on grammar or just overall reaction. I did have one minor grammar pet peeve: “Tipping his head at the barmaid, she put down the glass…” You are mixing up your subjects. He (the father) was tipping his head, so he should be the subject of the second half of the sentence. “Tipping his head, he…,” or you could say “He tipped his head at the barmaid, and she…”

      Lovely story. Thanks for sharing this.

    4. gamingtheblues

      I thought this was a very sweet story as well. I had to re-read it quick as well to get what was going on, perhaps the Jay entering transition could be a tad smoother but the heart of the story was beautiful and I enjoyed this one.

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