Olympic Games Unraveled

After four years of training, you’ve finally made it: To the Olympics. Your sport (fill in the blank) is highly competitive this year. As you take in the scene on your first day of competition, you notice that a member from another country is cheating. What do you do? Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.


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89 thoughts on “Olympic Games Unraveled

  1. PeaceLoveWriting

    My breath was heavy. My heart pounding as I stepped onto the volleyball court. I could see the opponents’ faces gleaming with glory (well, in reality, sweat). I looked around at my team, proudly strutting our uniforms, which said, “Sicilia” in white letters, while our uniforms were pink and black.

    My eyes darted to the opposing team. I felt like my eyes popped out of my head. “No, this can’t be happening. No. No. No.” , I muttered to myself. First off, I was going against my own people: Puerto Ricans.

    But there was something else that I felt wasn’t right.

    The whistle blew, and I swallowed down the lump in my throat. I would be in the front. Great. Me, a 5′ 2″ sixteen-year old, in the Olympics. I stared at my competition, scanning my competition. “Lopez, Gonzalez, Hernandes, Rodri- Wait. Marissa Hernandes? Oh no.”

    Marissa was my “good ‘ol buddy from Middle School”, if you know what I mean.

    But, I saw her take a pill.

    And it wasn’t any pill.

    It was steroids, by the look of it.

    I reported it to the referee, and Marissa scowled.

    She had been demanded to leave.

    I smirked, and she rolled her eyes. The whistle blew again, and I focused on the other team.

    I knew Marissa would be furious.

    But for now, I had a volleyball game to play.

  2. ReathaThomasOakley

    A general comment. This morning I’ve been collecting all the Annie stories I’ve written here, immediate reason so a ten-year-old grandson can read them, then to try to pull them into something submittable. While doing that I’ve been rereading lots of other stories and was again struck by all the talent here. If someone was really ambitious, I think there are several books of short fiction on this site. For those new here, or for those who want to revisit some great stuff, go back and read. Also, there are so many names that no longer are posting here. I miss them.

  3. Witt.Stanton

    I took a last drag on my cigarette, letting the smoke curl in the air. “You cut the security cams, right?” I glanced over at Jared, who nodded, then lifted the flag in the air. Silence washed over the dorm hallway as I crouched down.

    Reid, my loyal partner in crime, climbed onto my shoulders. I hooked my arms around his legs and stood. We swayed for a terrifying moment, then I regained my balance. With a grin I kicked the skateboard ahead, watching it bump over the uneven tiles, and jumped on.

    Jared pulled us to a stop, inches from the spray-painted starting line. He held up his phone and began recording, adapting his announcer voice.

    “Welcome our 2016 Summer Olympics here in breezy California,” he said, facing his camera with a mischievous smirk. “With us today are two brave idiots, both of whom will be competing to annihilate and obliterate your World Record in pro-boarding, a highly glorified version of the classic skateboarding. Here’s looking at you, UC Berkeley.”

    I felt hands on my back, pushing us forwards. The board shuddering under our combined weight. “And off they go, racing towards glorious victory. Wait, were you saying something, Berkeley? I can’t hear you over the sound of our higher ACT scores.”

    The skateboard started to pick up speed, skimming over the cracked tiles. Reid let out a whoop. This was more like it. “Now rounding the first turn,” Jared narrated from down the hall, “our champions fearlessly take on the second half of the track.”

    I began to loop through the commons area, narrowly avoiding the corner of the sofa. The crowd cheered, and Reid swore at me.

    Jared continued on. “Indeed, let’s take a moment to appreciate how far they’ve come in four short years — once rookies, now leaders in the renowned Stanford Senior Olympics!” I forced the board around another turn. This time we weren’t so lucky. I felt my hip slam into something, a shock wave of pain rippling down my side.

    “Looks like trouble on turn two, we’d better. . .” My leg gave out as I tried to put weight on it, which caused me to fall backwards and — thanks to “equal and opposite reactions” — the board to launch itself into the nearest wall. I heard glass shatter.

    Clearly more lucid than me, Reid tried to bail but ended up pulling me down on top of him. I hit the floor hard. My vision swam, and I cursed myself ever contemplating the combination of drinking and the carrying a 120 pound genius on my shoulders while skateboarding. I groaned and closed my eyes.

    “. . .okay? I need you to. . .and don’t. . .” Jared stood over us, phone in hand and a concerned expression on his face. I blinked up at him.

    “I think I broke something,” I said. Reid was sitting up by this point, and I felt him freeze underneath me. I suddenly felt the need to clarify. “I heard glass shatter, before I fell. We’ll need a glazier.”

    Finally, Jared smiled. “You did prove something with your fall. The UC Berkeley couldn’t have made that same turn. Not if they were going as fast as you were.” I frowned at him, but Reid was suddenly grinning. Jared swiveled the camera to face us.

    “We don’t like cheaters, Berkeley, and neither do the unofficial judges of this fine, non-existent Olympic sport. But I praise the gods of default victory. That being said,” laughed Jared, “we win.”

  4. Kerry Charlton




    [Part one and two on my blog kerrybcharlton.blogspot.com]

    The flight cabin hummed with activity with Natasha broadcasting “Mayday, Mayday,” and Vince filling her in on what went on in the rear of the plane. Finally an answer from the Kansas City Airport,

    “What‘s wrong?:”

    Natasha handed the phone to Vince,

    “We had an attempted hijacking here but it was thwarted.”

    “Any medical emergency?”

    “Yes, both pilots are dead. two federal agents shot, three agents dead along with six dead hijackers.”

    “Sounds like a war, let me connect to the airport manager, but I’ll continue. What about plane condition and who’s flying it?”

    Natasha quickly jumped in.,

    “I am Natasha Ivanoff. I have a multi engine active license.”

    ‘Plane condition please?

    “Windows blown out, oxygen masks on. Request permission to lower altitude.”

    “I have you, see new coordinates, Drop slowly to 18,000 feet and switch auto pilot back on. We’re clearing you in, approximately 45 minutes.”

    Vince quickly entered the main cabin and made an announcement. A doctor approached him,

    “These agents won’t last an hour, how soon can we land?”

    “Forty five minutes according to Kansas City. Are you sure the other three agents are gone.?

    “Unfortunately yes but one hijacker is still alive.”

    “For God’s sake, keep him that way.”

    “All I can do is try.”

    As the plane approached the airport, ground control briefed Natasha on the landing procedure. She responded calmly as he ran her through all the instruments, length of runway and wind direction. The plane made a dead approach and at two thousand feet, the auto pilot switched off. All traffic had been diverted, emergency equipment stood by.

    Wheels touched the runway once, airborne, touched a second time, airborne for a moment and then the plane settled to the runway. Natasha flew a plane four times the size of any she had any experience with. She reversed pitch, used the engines for brakes, swerved once slightly on the runway and then eased to a perfect stop close to the end of the runway with only 120 feet to spare.

    Emergency equipment, medical ambulances waited as the door opened. Swat teams entered first, then medical. The landing was broadcast with a live feed to Fox News as well as major networks. So much for cover for Vince and Natasha, as they remained on the plane while the agents and one hijacker were attended to. Natasha hesitated in front of the main cabin and waved to the grateful passengers as they exited next..

    Two FBI agents entered the plane,

    “Miss Ivanoff, Mr. Donahue, please stay on the plane with us for a moment. A request from the state department, it’s for your own safely. We need to get you away from the reporters who are here. You’re going to be national news and heroes. Unfortunately, according to the state department, we are to take you immediately to McConnell Air Force Base for security purposes.”

    “How about some identification from you.”

    The agents showed their papers to Vince. As the plane emptied, the bodies still remained. Four more agents entered the plane door and circled the couple as they descended the steps to waiting cars, four of which had their engines running.

    The chief of then Kansas City FBI introduced himself,

    “Brian McCloud,” he said. “after what you’ve been through, we’re taking extreme caution in traveling to Wichita.”.


    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, really nice work continuing this saga. Natasha is turning into quite a gal. I do hope you are working on the rest of this. I can hardly wait until the emails are introduced. Are you a pilot? The jargon sounded authentic.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Reatha, The emails will be wrapped around the four people murdered in the last 6 weeks who were connected one way or another to the DNC. Different names of course and different murders. Don’t want anyone coming looking for me. Good idea, Huh? Guess who we’re going to blame it on? Well, not the democratic nominee. It’s a secret!!!

  5. Ananfal

    It was hard to keep looking forward, when the urge to look back was getting stronger with every step. Every advancement, every accomplishment, cast a shadow behind her and some part of her wanted to see how far that shadow went. It was so hard.

    She struggled to keep going, to not stop. She pushed herself, her blood, sweat, and tears fueling her. Her breath came in gasps, her muscles ached, and yet she did not rest. She could not rest. She had to keep moving.

    It was so hard.

    Was there ever a place, a time, where she could go no further? A pinnacle? A peak to the mountain that she had climbed, is climbing, and would climb, for many years? If there was, she couldn’t see it yet. Only death offered rest, an end to the ceaseless struggle that she undertook willingly, for the betterment of all.

    One breath, another. She kept count. It helped her focus ahead of her, ignore the cries of her body to stop. She couldn’t stop. It was so hard, but she couldn’t stop.

    There were people behind her, beside her, but none ahead of her. She was a trail breaker, a record setter, a history maker. She was new, but the struggle was old. She would go until she could go no further, but others would go ahead. She would never be forgotten, but she would be surpassed. Her struggle would be honored.

    She struggled for herself, her family, her country, her world. She struggled for all.

    And all would remember her.


    I’m not sure what this is, or where this came from. Hopefully it makes sense to you all. I can’t even begin to explain the respect I have for those who fight every day to go farther, set records, and push themselves to their limits. It’s only right that the Olympics honor them.

    1. kittycat4ever

      I found this to be very powerful. I got the idea that she was a runner. Her feet hitting the ground, going one step further than she thought she could go with every footfall.

  6. Observer Tim


    When you include attendants, judges, technical staff, reporters, and athletes, there were seventy-two people at the Orbital Olympic Village; it was the largest collection of humans ever gathered in space. I’d thought everyone had learned their lesson when Brown and Kromynko were both caught cheating in the Human Darts competition, and I was almost right.

    Gaston O’Neil of Canada was a pig. He came in fourth in the Human Darts, took the gold in Men’s Space Dancing, and placed eighth in the Men’s Zero-G Sprint. The only sport I beat him in was the Co-ed Zero-G Slalom, where I took silver to Aiko Nakamura’s gold. But that wasn’t what made him a pig.

    When a group of fit young men and women that large are put together in an enclosed space, things happen. The only nod to sports ethics I can give Gaston is that he didn’t seduce judge Nkumbe until after the Space Dancing; his earlier foreign affairs were kept among the athletes. Maybe I’ve just got sour grapes because three women turned me down for him.

    Aiko Nakamura and I hit it off when we got stuck together on the observation deck for half an hour during a meteor drill. Her family in Kyoto were off the walls with pride, and she even had me take a snap of her doing the ‘V’ with the moon behind her for her sister Usagi. I got her to take one for my mum and the lads at the Crown. She congratulated me on catching Brown, both for my observation skills and because she hated cheaters. After that we were fast friends.

    On day four I was with some of the blokes at dinner (Aiko was on sleep-break) listening to Gaston go on about his conquests. He was a regular Genghis Khan he was, saying he wanted to share his national pride with as many of the ladies as he could: what happens in space, stays in space. Then he started asking a lot of personal questions about Aiko, including some rude ones about sleeping arrangements which a gentleman doesn’t answer.

    The next day I took a phone call from mum and was heading back to the village and spotted Gaston with Aiko, one arm around her waist while they were sucking their lunches through straws. He knew just enough Japanese to ignite the stars in her eyes, and I could see where things were going.

    What did I do? I did the only thing I could; I hate cheaters too.

    “Gaston, remember you’re scheduled to call your wife next orbit.”

    The camera crew happened to be recording some leisure time shots at the moment, so it was the slap heard round the world – several times. I hear he and the missus had a long talk later.

    As for me I’m only saying this: what happens in space, continues in Kyoto.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Most enjoyable, by the end I was thinking, humans, even just 72 of them, are the same wherever they are, in a small town, in a school, or at the Orbital Olympic Village. I will say again, as I have before, the worlds you create for your characters are so very real and wonderful. I also really liked the names here.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        A++++ story Tim. Reatha hit it solid on the nose, your reality even in a space story is so real, it amazes me. I think I know your secret, human emotions amd passions and weaknesses interwoven with the descriptions of the locale. We, as a reader take them in like a Mounds bar, gobbling everything on your written page, clever you!

  7. ScottP

    Ada was happy to finally be able to focus on the reason she was at the Olympics. It was time to focus on fencing. As Ada walked into the arena with her coach, her focus to visualizing footwork, hits, feints and attacks. Her focus was on winning. She was in her zone. The zone is great when fighting or practicing or studying. It was not so great when trying to navigate through a new arena.

    “ADA!” Coach Z shouted. She looked up and it took a moment to find his face. He looked amused and annoyed. He cupped the side of her face in his hand, making sure she was focused on him.

    “Ada, I love your focus on winning. It is why I enjoy coaching you. I know you can win gold this year. But you cannot win if you go the wrong way.” Ada looked at him with confusion while trying to grasp the deeper implications of his words.

    He continued, “I called for you four times and you did not hear me. You were focused on winning. That is good. But you were about to walk into the men’s locker room. That is not good. Come. We must watch Ms. Solynchki’s match.”

    Ada blushed, feeling some of her tension leaving her body as she followed Coach Z to the center of the arena. Sonya Solynchki was Ada’s nemesis and likely opponent in Ada’s match later today. Sonya was good, but Ada was always just a little better than Sonya. This gave Ada confidence.

    Sonya was matched up against Cecilia Vecchi from Italy. Sonya and Cecilia saluted each other and the match was on. Cecilia jumped to an early 4-0 lead but Sonya seemed uncharacteristically calm. Ada has seen Sonya lose her cool much easier than this. After the second round, Sonya was beating Cecilia 10-7 and it wasn’t long until Sonya had 14 hits. One more hit and Sonya would win.

    There was something about Sonya that screamed confidence. Cecilia unleashed a furious attack to start but Sonya seemed to see each lightning-fast attack and parried them effortlessly. Once Cecilia started to tire, Sonya finished her off with a dramatic fleche!

    Sonya was the first to remove her mask and smiled at Cecilia. Ada always thought of Sonya’s smile as more of a sneer. Cecilia removed her mask. Her face showed more confusion than anything. She congratulated Sonya on her win and dejectedly walked back to her coach. Sonya walked towards Ada with her mask under her arm.

    “Congratulations, Sonya. You looked really composed out there.” Ada said.

    “I did. Didn’t I?” She smiled. “I am looking forward to our match. Things are going to be different today.”

    As Sonya turned to leave, she dropped her mask. Ada noticed something glowing inside the mask which was weird because there should only be lights on the outside of the mask. Was that a heads up display inside the mask? No, it couldn’t be… Could it?

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Hmmm, this certainly left me puzzled. Will there be more? Interesting take on a sport I know little about. You might want to consider finding another word for focus in the beginning.

  8. UnclePizza

    831 words, and not one of them so much as glances at the prompt. Sorry about that, but I just couldn’t find a way to work it into the next chapter:

    Of Sins and Ash – Part 7

    The priest stood in front of the church and gazed impatiently at the horizon. It would soon be dusk, and the soldiers had still not returned. He began to worry that La Bruja had eluded them, or worse yet, had somehow overpowered them. He knew that his fear was irrational – unfounded even – because he served God, and God protected His servants. Yet still…

    He had learned about fear as a boy in Spain, growing up in a household with an abusive father and an older cousin who tormented him relentlessly. But then, when he was twelve years old, the inquisitor arrived in the city and established a tribunal in the name of the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Three days later the church bells called the parishioners to the main plaza in front of the church. Under a slate-gray sky, a woman and two men were led into the center of the plaza where bundles of wood were laid waiting in front of large wooden stakes. It was obvious that the three prisoners had been tortured, for they were limping badly and their torn clothes were stained with blood.

    He had stood with his cousin near the front of the crowd and watched priests nail the prisoners to the wooden stakes as their sentences were read. Because the woman had repented her sins, she was granted mercy and garroted before the fires were lit. He had been fascinated to see the men writhe in pain as the flames seared their flesh, and their shrieks of agony excited him in a way that he had never known possible. In a flash, he saw how serving God would be his salvation from his miserable, fearful life, and he made a vow to himself that he would one day be the one to light the fires that cleansed the earth of the damned.

    Several weeks after the first executions, while walking past the church he noticed the inquisitor talking to a priest in the courtyard, and it struck him that God was giving him an opportunity. He approached the men, waiting politely to the side while they talked in low tones before the priest walked hurriedly toward the building where the accused were being held.

    The inquisitor scowled at the youngster, expecting him to run off in fear as others always did, but he merely smiled. Then, he surprised the inquisitor by kneeling before him, bowing his head, and saying, “Please, your eminence, God has asked me to help you serve him.”

    After a painfully long silence the inquisitor finally spoke, and in a menacing voice said, “You have seen how I serve God?”

    “Yes, your eminence.”

    “And you wish – you believe that God has asked you to help?”

    “Yes, your eminence. It would be an honor.”

    “An honor…or a pleasure?”

    “They are the same when serving God, your eminence.”

    He remembered how the inquisitor had smiled as he blessed him, and taking him by the hand, had said, “Rise, my son. You shall assist me, and if you do as well as I believe that you will, I will prepare you to enter the seminary. There is a new world across the sea, as I’m sure you know, and we need priests to help cleanse it for God.”

    The priest’s reverie was broken by the sight of dust rising on the mesa. Soon, the riders came into view, approaching swiftly in the faint evening light. They slowed as they neared the church, coming to a stop in front of the priest while their dust drifted along the road. As the lead rider dismounted, the priest asked, “La Bruja?”

    “God’s will is done,” the soldier replied. “And now you will hear my confession?”

    “Of course,” said the priest. Then, seeing the boy for the first time, asked, “And who is this boy?”

    “He was with La Bruja. She may have kidnapped him for he seems to be glad to be with us.”

    “And what has he told you?”

    “Nothing, Father. It seems that he doesn’t speak. Perhaps La Bruja put a spell on him?”

    “Set him down. I want to look at him.”

    The soldier who had carried the boy lowered him gently to the ground, where the child looked around curiously. “Poor child,” said the priest. “It’s a blessing that you rescued him from that witch and her spells. We shall consider that your penance, and your sins absolved.”

    “Thank you, Father. And the boy? What now for him?”

    The priest walked up to the boy and took him by the hand. “I will take him into the church,” he said as a large raven landed atop the church bell behind him. “I shall train him in the ways of God, and prepare him to enter the seminary when he is older. We will need more priests in this new, strange land.”

    As the priest began to walk with the boy, the raven above him cawed three times. The boy tilted his head and smiled.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      I do believe some considered the Spanish Inquisition a sport. The priest’s response to seeing his first burning was chilling. The honor/pleasure question was also pretty frightening. This is a great path to take your story. I’m sort of sorry La Bruja wasn’t around longer as a human. She was fascinating.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I feel some of Reaper coming into you conscious. I mean this in the best possible way. He is a master of what he writes. I find the entire story fascinating, how some in the name of religion [any religion] can become so obsessed with the idea of what God has chosen for their duty. It started well before the inquisition and way before Christ.

  9. Namaqua

    I looked at the star strewn sky as I walked outside in the cool and lonely morning. For that moment, I wasn’t here, in Rio for the olympics. There weren’t about a thousand talented and well trained athletes in the hotel beside me. Here, walking in the driveway of the hotel at 5am, I was just me. My mind was tempted to think about the days events, how as a starter in the relay it practically all fell on me to dictate our victory, but I ignored it. Instead I focused on the stars, on the quiet, on the stillness.
    I finally turned around when I saw the glint of light in the horizon and made my way back into the hotel and into the noise. Then it began, the preparing, the last minute pep talks…on and on until we finally got to the grounds.
    “Ladies, this way to the changing rooms”, an attendant screamed leading the way.
    I walked with my team mates and caught the eye of a lean woman with a large number on her front. Our eyes met and she gave me a friendly smile which I returned with a nod.
    I’ll never forget that womans face, all the wonders I had seen during that time and that womans face was one of the things I could describe with perfect detail. Only a few minutes to go until the race…I was terrified. I could feel my palms begin to sweat and my feet started to shake.
    “You shouldn’t worry about anything, the woman said to me as she took sip of water, this is alot easier than you think.”
    That face, how could I forget that face. It kept on popping into my mind. That face, screwed up in pain as she put that needle into her arm three days ago, that face as her pupils widened as the drug took effect, that face that smiled at me as i walked into the room. The face of a cheater.
    The inspectors came in then, checking each of us for drugs and I lined up with the rest as we were checked each one. Then they were done, the woman went undetected. They hadn’t caught her.
    The inspectors gave the okay for us to leave the room, and turned their backs to us.
    “Uhm, Inspector…” I said nervously.
    All eyes turned to me, including hers.
    “I think you should check her arms.” I finished, focusing my mind on the stars so I didn’t have to think.
    They looked at me with surprise, even doubt. But i held their gaze, my mind on the morning and the quiet.
    After a few agonizing seconds, they shrugged and walkes purposefully towards the woman with the face, her pupils wide with fear…maybe more.
    “Madam,” they said full of formality and politeness, “if you could please roll up your sleeves…”
    No, I don’t think I can ever forget that face.

  10. UnclePizza

    It turned out that the rumors were true. Don’t ask who told me (I can’t tell you), but word was going around our dorm that the other guys were going to cheat. I didn’t believe it at first, but since I was the tech guy on the team, the rest of the guys talked me into checking it out.

    So the night before the final race I got my gear together and we drove across the compound to where the other guys were staying. We killed the lights and coasted silently into the parking lot, stopping where I had a good line of sight into their dorm. The shades were all drawn, but it didn’t matter – all I needed was clear access to their wireless network. It only took me a moment to sniff out their hidden network and then another minute to crack the encryption, and boom, I was in. For all press their country gets for super high-tech innovation, their security was pretty simple to bypass. But I’m not here to brag…

    Once I was in their network I started tracking down all of their devices – mostly phones, tablets, and toys like that. A couple of laptops. And then I found the secure development server. It took another few minutes to crack into it, and once I did it only took a moment to confirm the rumors: these guys had built holographic technology into their batons! And it was good! I mean, these guys had not set foot in the stadium the entire time we were in Rio – they simply projected their holographic images onto the track using the technology in the batons. They just sat in front of the console in their dorm and ran the show from there! That amazing come-from-behind miracle finish in the quarter finals? Bah – just a mirage! I’ll bet they were rolling on the floor laughing themselves into spasms when they saw how the crowd went wild over it.

    But OK, as amazing as their technology was (it really did take my breath away), they WERE cheating. And no way were we going to let them beat us. Years of training, sacrifice, and pouring our hearts into it, winning our way up through trials, making it here to the Olympics, winning our way to the finals, and then losing the gold to CHEATERS?! No way! We were the best damn 400-meter relay team in the world, and we were going to prove it tomorrow!

    At first the guys just wanted me to erase the subroutines that they were going to use and make them run a real race. But I had a better idea, and once they heard it, the guys agreed to it quicker than I could hack your Facebook account.

    I’d looped through the code and saw that they had another come-from-behind miracle programmed for tomorrow. But instead of erasing it, I simply made a few edits, and timed them to activate immediately before the race. That way when they rehearsed it beforehand they would have no clue.

    The next day arrived, and the stadium filled with fans waiting to see the big race for the gold. The starting gun sounded, and as expected we took the lead right away. The other guys kept gaining, and as our anchor runners were on the home stretch the crowd went wild. A huge roar went up as the other guy pulled into the lead with only twenty meters left! Then, just before the finish line, his shorts dropped from around his waist, tripping him up at his ankles. As he face-planted half a meter shy of the finish line, our runner blew past him to first place and the gold that we’d worked for all our lives!

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      You know, UP, the way technology has progressed since my first visit to Disney’s Haunted Mansion and the holographs thirty years or so ago, I can imagine this being possible. Clever solution to the cheating.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Talk about funny, this was it. All the high tech stuff just to drop a pair of racing shorts. What a lead in tho. Beautifully done, tension high and expectation great. As far as the tech. stuff, I have no clue but it doesn’t matter. The story’s complete. Did your MC manage to get a photo shoot of the last 50 yards?

        1. UnclePizza

          Glad you liked it Kerry. I was actually going to have the MC add an extra line of code to make the cheater’s “parts” look unusually small just to add insult to injury, but with the [suspected] filter stopping posts I figured it might get blocked…

  11. ReathaThomasOakley


    “Poor, old dear. It’s worse today. Be prepared.” From her bed she could easily hear the conversation in the hall, night aide to day aide, her keepers. Did they think she was deaf?

    “What if after breakfast we wheel her outside? It’s a nice day and I certainly could use some sunshine and fresh air.” The women laughed.

    “Rough night?”

    “No, no, just a little, hmmm, maybe just not enough sleep.” From her bed the woman struggled to speak.

    “Oops, almost forgot why I’m here.” Footsteps came closer. “Good morning, Mina,” she boomed in that fake cheery voice that made Mina want to scream. “I’m told you’ve been a naughty girl again.” Then the laugh.

    I’m not a child, Mina thought. I was never a child.

    “Looks like Susan’s got you all cleaned up, fresh for breakfast, then how about a nice…”

    “No!” Mina pulled up all the energy she had to get that word out. “Must watch, must watch, must…” Suddenly the words were too much, her wind was depleted, just like 1968 when the high Mexican air seemed too thin to breathe, only now, here in South Georgia, the air was so heavy and thick Mina often feared she’d choke on it.

    “Mina, Mina, Mina, calm down,” strong arms slipped under Mina’s weak, thin ones and soon she was in the wheelchair, heading down the long hall. In some ways this was the final indignity, being pushed in full view of other residents, casual visitors, she who once could run, could jump, could love. Tears formed as Mina remembered that long ago day, that day that changed everything.

    They’d been warned that there’d be testing for doping that year, but nobody took it seriously until Hans-Gunner was ousted for beer. Beer, they’d asked one another, beer?

    That night, in their secret place just outside her dorm, Mina’d listened quietly as the beautiful boy from Kenya explained the herbs his mother’d dried for him and sewn into the pouch he wore on a leather strip around his neck. She knew all the risks she was taking just being there with this slim, powerful, dark skinned runner, so a few brown leaves hardly mattered, hardly mattered.

    Now, Mina wept as she was rolled to her place at the communal table and a bib was placed around her neck.

    “Ah, Mina, don’t cry like that, you’re gonna upset Elaine.” The horrid, whispered, voice in her ear sounded like those voices from long ago, the voices that seemed to come at her from everywhere, that only stopped when she’d looked into those brown eyes and denied everything, denied him, then told.

    “Look, scrambled eggs, your favorite. Eat up, then we’re gonna go out and look at the roses, you know you like roses.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Oh, this was a powerful response and a clever way to include the prompt. One liitle mistake, how it can tuirn a lifer upside down, you’ve proven that here. And then to enter Mina’s mind and feel the shame for being wheeleed in a wheel chair, helpless berfore the world. I never thought about that side of it, from a wheel bound person. This one surely got the old gray cells thinking. Beautiful writing as usual.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks, Kerry. I often think of elderly athletes, actors, writers, watching the world, trapped in bodies and minds that don’t work as they once did.

  12. Kerry Charlton

    Thanks John, you have great taste in music, goes along with Ray Stevens. Believe it or not, Beaver, Oklahoma does exist and the national cow chip throw is held there every year. There are only two ways to throw it, over-hand or discus fashion.

    1. jhowe

      There’s a company in Kalamazoo, MI called Beaver Research. They manufacture commercial cleaning products. They have a bevy of products but their founder is a younger, kind of outgoing individual and names the products in clever and sometimes irreverent ways. To name a few: Beaver Brite, Beaver Munch, Beaver Cleaner, Nut Scrub, Beaver Lube. He got in a little trouble on that last one and changed the name to White Lightning.

  13. jhowe

    The crowd applauds politely as the last performer takes the stage. An NBC coordinator waves frantically and an official runs on stage to tell the representative from Latvia that the commercials are still playing and he has to make another entrance.

    It’s the first time in history that magic is an Olympic event. The Russians are doing well and seem to have the medal platform sewed up. Magicians gain no advantage by tinkering with artificial performance enhancing methods, so they were allowed to compete. Money, though, is playing a major role and the Russians have pulled all the stops. The higher tech the performance equipment and gadgets get, the better the judges score the magicians. My trick, with the disappearing cat, ended with low scores and a crowd of people wanting to buy my cat ampoule to use at home. I thought using Kate Upton as my assistant would help but they saw right through that ruse. The American coach is extremely distraught that Copperfield and Criss Angel developed a sudden fear of all viruses beginning with the letter zee.

    The Latvian magician stands in the middle of the stage. He wears no fancy garb and has no equipment. He raises his arms and people begin to boo. His body begins to vibrate and a sheen of sweat forms on his face. One by one, people in the crowd begin to transform into predatory animals. A hyena snarls and a lion roars. Wild dogs and wolves begin to run amuck. A crocodile slithers in the aisle. A panther leaps to the stage and corners me. It raises its head and exposes long dripping fangs just as a grizzly bear swipes at it with a huge clawed paw. I scrabble behind some stage props to hide.

    The animals, thousands strong, find the exits and charge into the crowds outside the arena. I hear screams and roars and the running of feet. I tremble from my spot and see the magician on stage, trancelike, his arms still raised. I grab a fire extinguisher and creep behind him and swing with all my might. His head explodes in a cloud of red mist. And then the lights go out. Seconds later, the crowd is on their feet applauding wildly as the lights come back on. The Latvian bows and leaves the stage, head intact.

    Later, I see the Latvian, wearing his gold medal around his neck. He avoids all questions from the press. I follow him to the magician’s quarters and call out to him. He turns and our eyes meet. He knows that I intended to cause him great bodily harm. He also knows that I know of his advantage. Real magic beats illusion any time. He tells me to go ahead and tell if that’s what I want to do. We both know it will do no good.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      What an example of great imagination woven through this story. It held me breathless when the MC knocked his head off. Gallant try but nothing beats the force. It is magic to cram an entire, vivid story in so few words. Bravo, John

  14. Pete

    Yes, it bothers me. Because what gives them the right? Victim status? World crisis? And now the media darlings stand together against the throng, beaming like beacons in the white sands. They’ve been given a shot at the gold because of a hardship while I’ve spenta lifetime sacrificing, since middle school, with personal trainers and coaches, attending camps and drills while my friends ran off to the lake.

    I was blessed with talent. They were struck by terror. It’s not that I don’t have compassion, but to see them over there, smiling like stars while I go unnoticed because I’m from an actual county, it’s distracting. Arent’ the olympics about, country? Not refugees, or ROT, as they’re called.

    Finally I’m here. And I’m invisible.

    So many people here, so many questions. I smile because of the many different languages, buzzing like a gnat trapped in my ear. It’s a symphony of confusion, and I can’t help staring at my own black jacket, unable to fathom where I am or what I’m doing.

    I know that we are the dogs of the sport. The gate crashers. It is strange how we are somehow separate from the games as much as a part of them. I’ve traded bracelets with a runner from France, shoes with one from China. I’ve never seen such a thing. And yet, I do not care to win, only to be seen by my family. I’ve heard that one billion people will be watching. Maybe my parents will see that not only did I make the journey, alive. I made it here, to Rio.

    I am to run. To compete. For a few minutes, on that track, I will live.

    Oh please. I’ve been running my whole life too. What, you think it’s easy to be annointed? To be counted on? To carry the expectations to medal all the time? The money, sponsors, the parents, try that out for a change. Instead it’s all about how you jumped off a boat. And that makes you qualified, gives you a spot to take what’s rightfully mine on a world stage? No, not happening. That’s why I’ll do whatever it takes. Whatever., I did whatever it took. Yes, whatever.

    I’m so excited to race. To compete. To be seen. The attention is unnerving, but the exposure I welcome. Exposure to my home, to my family, to the war, even if some of the others are bothered. I do not ask for this, for them. I only want to enjoy this chance of a lifetime.

    Spare me your hi moms. Your talk of borders and starvation. Because I too, know starvation. I’ve been starving myself since I was fifteen to get here. To qualify, to medal. To wear my flag, a real flag, not some vague fake entity.

    This is a chance of a lifetime. And the pressure is crushing me. So you want to run, let’s run. I do not need motivation. Let them pass over me, interview the poor refugee team. But guess what, come to the finish line and I’ll show you where I live.

    A strange feeling engulfs me as we take our places. I am not nervous, quite the opposite, I yawn. There is little to be afraid of once you’ve been capsized in the seas, holding your little sister afloat through the night. This is easy. This is fun.

    Why is he smiling? This is our lives at stake. Maybe he doesn’t understand that this is not a qualifier. This is real. My heart is pounding. I’m so tight. I might throw up. This is it.

    This is it. My limbs feel free and easy. I am ready to fly.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      The build up to the actual event is amazing. A life time of preperation is flashed before the reader. The runner is right, he is free, he is ready to fly. Bravo

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Through the years I’ve been moved by so many of the athletes’ stories, this year even more so. You’ve captured these two sides so perfectly. That final line is beautiful.

  15. Observer Tim


    Jessephas Brown is in the circle, flexing his knees and waiting for the magnetic clamps on his boots to release. His enviro-suit is brilliant in American red, white, and blue; the Yanks are the favourites by a tiny margin in Microgravity Precision Jumping, a.k.a. Human Darts, in the first Olympics with an orbital venue. Points are awarded for accuracy: Brown’s personal best is seventy-one centimeters off target, while Wong from China has seventy-three. In perspective, that’s two centimeters difference after a 250-meter jump.

    Me, I got a ride up here because the Americans paid a third of our entry fee; they “subsidized” several countries to send athletes up here because we bootstrap on their space program. The Russians and Chinese did the same, and the ESA just filled their shuttle with their own competitors. There’s thirty-five astroletes up here, mostly to give the “big four” (USA, China, Russia, and Spain) someone to beat.

    Brown crouches back, legs like tensioned springs; the target is revealed, and three seconds later the magnetic locks on his boots release. He’s off the platform in a shot, not bothering to use any extra time to adjust his kick-off.

    His trajectory goes up on the board as eighty-three centimeters off target; he’s allowed one course correction with no calculating equipment. The general rule is to make it about the two-thirds point of the jump, and that’s where we gather to watch, since it’s the most exciting point of the course.

    I happen to be watching Brown’s faceplate at the mark; most people are watching his pack, waiting for the telltale vent of high-pressure gas of his course correction. That means I’m the only one that sees the numbers flash in front of his face for a fraction of a second. He fires the gas and makes his correction.

    Did I see those numbers? I think I’m the only one that did. Can I accuse the Americans of cheating? What if I’m wrong?

    Kromynko from Russia is mumbling to the judge; from the grim expression on the Russian’s face I can tell he’s accusing. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound; I float over to another judge.

    “I think I saw some numbers on Brown’s faceplate.”

    “You know how serious that accusation is.”

    I nod. Brown posts a world record sixty-one centimeters.


    In the end they found that Brown was using quick-dissolve edible electronics to measure and calculate a better trajectory. He was disqualified and got a three-year suspension; Kromynko got two years for using a microscopic laser pointer. Lin Wong took the gold for China, followed by Jesus Franco from Spain for silver and Aiko Nakamura from Japan for bronze. I, Bryan Holmes of Britain, placed a respectable fifth after that bastard Gaston O’Neil from Canada. But that’s another international incident…

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Imaginative, well-rounded in factual fiction. The tension was there in force and the sport flashed dramatic. Sometimes, I think you’re pulling my leg, other tines not but the sentence, “In the end they found that Brown was using quick-disolve edible electronics to measure and cakculate a better trajectory,” Just blew my skin off.

  16. cosi van tutte

    Oh. My. Gosh. Like, where has all the time gone? Yesterday was like four years ago for real! and I was just starting my training. But to be totally honest, I’ve been training for this, like, for forever.

    The training was so brutal and painful. Like, there were some days where I was like, no. I can’t even. Like no. Hand in the air. Not looking you in the eye. Just not one even.

    But like yee-ah. Here we are in the Olympics. Me and all my girls. We are sooo like totally ready for this. Personally, I couldn’t be any readier. Like, we are going to go out there and tell those boys like how badly they stink at our sport. And they’ll be all “Ehhhh. We like totally don’t stink.” And I’ll be all in their face and all “Like for sure you do. You’re all stinky McStinkersons who like live on Stink Street in Stinksville 101.”

    “Oh, Tiffy! Tiff! Like, oh. My. Gosh. Tiiiiff! Come here. Like, I’m totally getting interviewed over here.”

    “Interviewed? Like fer reals?”

    “Totally reals.”

    “Ohmigosh! I totally need to get my nails done if I’m going to be interviewed.” She ran off.

    So, yeah. That’s Tiffy. She’s like a total spazzmatic most of the time, but like wait till you see her out there. You’ll be like awestruck and like all “Oh. My. Gosh. Like, how does she even do that?”

    “Oh, Ginny! Like—”

    “Ohmergersh! Like you won’t even. Like you so won’t even. Those boys are like so gonna cheat.”

    “Like, duh. Obviously. How else can they beat us at—”

    “No! Like ohmergersh! You so totally don’t get it. Like, they are like literally. Like gonna. Like cheat. I heard them like talking about it and they have like all of these like outrageous cheat plans that like are so not like like like. They are so totally not like!”

    “Ginny. Like totally get a grip. They may be cheaters. But we girls are like total pros. We’ve sooo got this.”

    So, like it was totally awesome to talk to you guys, but like me and my girls have to go beat the boys right now at our like totally revered sport – Gossiping On The Phone. And we will like so totally beat them. Like totally fair and sooo square.

    1. Observer Tim

      Nice to see the Valley Girls were able to raise a team for this one. They’re going to face some serious competition from the New York Clubbers and the Puritan Grandmothers, though. I knew something was up when you didn’t reveal the sport, but the final surprise is delightful!

      Do people really talk like that? You must have spent too much time listening in on one-sided phone conversations. That means you’d have to end up either being a writer or a Fox News reporter. I’m glad you chose the former… 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Delightful piece of fluff. There isn’t a man walking the earth that could beat them. My sister-in-law would be at the top. I called her one time to see how my brother was doing, an hour later I finally got a word in, ‘well, how is he anyway?” Like man, this was like a cool, you know, story.

    2. jhowe

      Loved the light hearted romp. I was waiting for the sport to be revealed… gossiping: now what? What happens when two people talk to each other in this way? It seems there would be no regard for whose turn it was to speak.

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      Cosi, until I checked out your bio I was certain you were a teenaged girl just recording her friends. I don’t personally know any teenaged girls right now, but if I did I think they’d sound like this. Just great.

  17. igonzales81

    This is my time.

    I’ve worked at perfecting my art since I was twelve years old. The brutal training, the inhuman conditioning: it broke so many. But I endured. I’m ready for this, and I will not be stopped.

    Six years ago, I took the single in the North American Regional, then swept the European. Medals and trophies piled up, right alongside endorsement deals with Stiga, Yasaka, and Donic. The money was great, the fame was nice, but I hadn’t gone as far as I wanted.

    Four years ago, I missed qualifying for the singles, had to go with the doubles. Carried a partner with a broken wrist through three rounds, but went down in the fourth, and ate silver. I didn’t like the taste.

    Then came the scandal, the accusations. Doping was a big problem, and even the accusation brought big trouble. But I beat it, in test after test and hearing after hearing. They couldn’t bring me down.

    Now I’m back, and out for blood. I’ve put away the Brit, the German, the Canadian (oh, how he cried). Even the Japanese have fallen to my prowess. The only one still standing against me is the Korean champ, three times a gold medalist, a legend in every respect and deserving of the title. It’s the single greatest challenge I’ve ever faced.

    I’m so looking forward to this.

    Last night, on the eve of finals, my trainer brought me a video, a confession by a disgruntled former medical staffer, accusing my opponent of juicing for the last ten years. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not; just a whiff of this will bring him down. I could take gold by default.

    I told him to toss it.

    I won’t have anything tarnishing my glory. I want to beat my opponent, to break him and take the medal for myself.

    Now it’s time. The stage is set and the stands are packed, thousands of fans eager to see sweat and blood. I’ll deliver.

    I tighten my laces one last time, chalk my hands with a slap that sends powder flying.

    Then I take up my paddle, spin it in my hand to set the grip, and face my foe across forty-five square feet of Masonite, the net between us hanging still in the expectant silence. I can see his eyes; I can see the fear there.

    It’s my service to start. I bounce the small plastic ball on the table, gauging tension and airflow. My every sense if perfectly attuned, and my gut tells me I’ve got this.

    This is my time.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Neither did I. I have watched the ping pong competition before and am amazed at the shots they made. I used to play a lot and have a great table in my garage. So if you’re anywhere close to SA. Let me know, I’ll try to be merciful. Your story builds great tension, shows sacrifice in training and I was positive it was tennis, nice diversion.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is the most tension I’ve ever built up over table tennis. And you win a prize for the first real Olympic event used in your story! You did a great job on the “road to victory” story; I can almost see this being in an “Olympic Moment” piece. Very nice! 🙂

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Wonderful. I think sports like this are usually overshadowed by the “big” events, but you’ve given us a true athlete and competitor. Great job.

  18. kittycat4ever

    The 2112 Olympic Games have begun and my heart is racing. We are the best team in the Federation of the Amercia’s and every one of us is a girl. They told us we couldn’t do it, we’d never make it. It was a thing for guys, quit trying. We shut them all up and now stand in the stadium looking up at the crowd as we stand on the animation platform.

    We are the Forbidden World. Leader: (Me) Pikagurl20. Sniper: Dazzle104. Gunner: Gamerpetz. Gunner2: Special4u. Heavy: GurlPWNED

    Hearts thumping, we lay our hands on our chests, shouting, “VR Gear Online!” It echos throughout the stadium as all 12 teams virtualize into the level with their opponents. Each set of teams has a different level to keep things interesting. First up we are going head to head with Team Enterprise in the Rainbow Level, as usual, they underestimate us and are consequentially crush beneath our dainty little feet.

    Next, we face off against Team Hackerz in the Diablo 13 Nightmare level. The VR here is so real, sometimes I find it hard to tell which reality is real. With each breath we take it scalds our lungs from heat of the fires around us. We can taste the ash and sulfur in the air and the feel the hot coals beneath our feet. If you’re too slow and a demon claws you feel it burn like a red hot iron against your flesh. The screams you hear aren’t some soundbite, they are your own.

    Moving forward, bow in hand i hear the soft beep before Dazzle’s voice fills my mind. “Pika, you’ve got crawlers 100ft on the left with 1 spewer in the center. Hackerz is about 1/3 of the way through already, I can’t figure out how they are so far ahead!”

    “Got it Dazzle. Thanks for the heads up. Hackerz is known for living up to their namesake. Lets keep it clean and earn it fair and square. This is our year, we’ve worked too hard to fail now.”

    Gamer’s voice broke in, “Understood.”

    “You got it boss.” Special said.

    PWNED pouted, “Awww, if you say so. As long as we get to kick their teeth in.”

    “10-4 Boss lady, I assume you got a plan though?” Quipped Dazzle

    I paused long enough to kill a living corpse and smile, “Yeah, we are going after the Crypt Keeper.”

    All four of their voices broke into chatter at once.
    “Are you crazy?”

    “You said WHAT?!”

    “Are you trying to kill us?!”

    “If we are doing this Jenkins style, then I’m gonna need more ammo.”

    Heading towards the next unexplored area I schooled them all. “Hey, do you want to lose? Do you want everyone to say they were right, that we never should have made it this far? We have only one chance at winning this, kill the crypt keeper and skip straight to boss fight WITH epic gear or we punk around and lose it all. Who wants to win?”

    A moment of silence follows, then PWNED speaks up, “I’m in. Lets do this.”

    Special is aghast, “PWNED! Are you-”

    Gamer interrupts her saying,” I didn’t come this far to lose, lets take him down.”

    Leaning up against a tree to reload, Dazzle looks at me and smiles almost shyly. ” I’ll follow Pika to hell and back. So I’m obviously going with.”

    The girls, my team, my friends tug at my heart with their faith. “Special you in? We can’t do this without you.”

    Special pauses for a moment, examining her frost whip before giving us a slow grin. “Well they say hell has no fury like a woman scorned… Let’s teach Hacker’s how its really done.”

    I set my equipment to max, setting rapid fire at my go to before waving my team into the most dangerous fight of our careers. But hey, its just a game. I think.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Extremely exciting. Sounds like a female ‘dirty dozen’. The more impossible the task, the more go power. The last sentence is a killer, nice job.

    2. Observer Tim

      Great job capturing the feel of competitive gaming, Kitty. I wonder if VR is ever going to be part of the Olympics? You really generate the feel of being there. There are a few shaky grammar bits, but that’s natural given this venue. Nice job! 🙂

  19. Kerry Charlton


    Bret Maverick Hollister III, grew up in Beaver, Oklahoma, home to the national cow chip contest. He threw his first chip at the age of seven and as with his grandfather and father before him, became a legend in Beaver. In two thousand and fifteen, he bested all the others with a throw of 149 feet and 10 inches. His secret, look for perfectly round patties with some moisture left in them. The minimum size had to be 6 inches in diameter with no limit to size.

    An old cow poke showed up one day and gave him a remarkable tip. Since you had more than one throw, the old wrangler, advised him to spit on the chip before throwing as well as licking all fingers on your throwing hand to get a better grip on it. It took a while to get used to the taste but after a while he didn‘t notice it.

    Bret became engaged to Betty Sue, Lauren, Sally Turtletop a few months before the Olympics and they decided to spend their honeymoon and work on a tramp steamer to Rio in order to save money. Since they didn’t allow women aboard, Betty Sue Lauren Sally cut her hair short and strapped her breasts tight so they didn’t show.

    Everything went as planned until one day one of those babies worked itself loose from the straps and played Peep-a-Boo through her blouse. The men on the tramp took a vote and decided to let Betty Sue Lauren Sally have free reign. To their delight, she ended up as a fabulous cook for the men.

    Rio showed on the horizon just as Bret ran out of practice chips, much to the relief of the entire ship. Betty Sue Lauren Sally washed the deck every night as the men watched and looked for another Peek a Boo.

    During practice, Bret watched the Russians cheat by peeing on the chips to give them more weight against the winds. So he let it slide and tried it himself. A neck and neck finish on the last day, Bret was slightly behind until Betty Sue Lauren Sally gave him a hint against the Russians,

    “No,” he said, “ not on you shiny Peak a Boo, am I going to do that.”

    “Don’t you want the gold metal, Bret?”

    “Not if I have to do that to win.”

    “Oh for heaven sakes, I’ll do it first.“

    “Do you love me that much?”

    “No but I want the gold for a wedding band and a drop necklace for my pet pig.”

    .She proceeded to show him how, threw a practice chip and watched it sail forever.

    Bret was first to throw the last chance to win. As the stadium hushed in silence, he picked through the chips, found one he liked and before a TV audience of half a billion people, he licked it from one end to the other and threw it 187 feet, 7 inches for a new world record. The other contestants were throwing up, gagging and retching all over the chip field.

    Is there a moral to this tale? Perhaps………

    If you’re going to stick your tongue out, you better be dern sure how to use it.

    . .

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you igonzales, there should be. Think what a good time the Russians would have with this. Doping up wouldn’t be a problem for them. Lots of Vodka would help.

    1. kittycat4ever

      I originally skimmed this and assumed it was poker chips being thrown, got to the end and decided I missed something. Re-read it from start to finish and then gagged a little. Nicely done.

    2. Observer Tim

      Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haa! This is a brilliant down-home folk tale, Kerry. I’ve never competed in a cow-chip throwing contest (willingly or otherwise), but they do have them around these parts (Alberta). This is just so wonderfully silly that I could see it happening.

      This is a great way to start the day; even if you’re grossed out, you know nothing worse is going to happen… 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Exactly! That’s what I thought when I wrote it. I described this to my wife, she took one look at me and said, “I’m not reading it!” Thanks for the kind words.

    3. jhowe

      Who knew there were this many techniques for throwing cow chips. I personally wouldn’t try the last one, but who knows what one would do in the heat of the moment. It reminded me of an old Jim Stafford song about a famed cowgirl: ‘Yippee Yi Yay, Cow Patty.’

    4. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, Kerry, Kerry. In Ucross, Wyoming, the home of writer Craig Johnson, there once lived a man, Buck Bader was his name, celebrated in reality and myth, who would open his doors to visitors, and anyone willing to brave the asthmatic Chihuahuas could view his collection of interestingly configured cow chips. I read this and thought of Buck.

      Did your wife ever read this?

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Well no she didn’t. Her hair is red you know. Never moveth a redhead, lest you be a pile of bones resting in the dirt. Thanks for the read Reatha. You have an address I can send this to Buck?

        1. ReathaThomasOakley

          Kerry, since it’s been about twenty years or so since last I encountered Buck, I doubt he’d still be in Ucross, but if you’re interested, Google Buck Bader, Ucross, Wyoming, for how he looked back then. I was trying to find a poem about him by former WY Poet Laureate Tom Rea, but couldn’t. For another take on the topic, do a YouTube search for Reincarnation by Wally Mcrae, a friend from over thirty years ago when I was living and raising kids and writing on the plains of Eastern Montana.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Got you Uncle, did you ever date A GIRL WITH FOUR FIRST NAMES? No, neither have I . I knew you’d get a chuckle out of this. Thank you for the laughter, it makes me feel good.


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