A Dish Called Denial: A Short Story #amwriting #comedy #RomCom

Is it wrong that I hope the knife slips and he cut off his fingertip? Sam is not a cook! He can’t even microwave a hot dog, yet for her, he seems to be making the extra effort.

I shouldn’t care. Sam isn’t my boyfriend, any more or at least at the moment. My boyfriend’s name is Earl, Earl H. Hemshawl, as he likes to introduce himself. I don’t know why he needs to give his full name. He said it had something to do with coming off more official-like or some foolishness like that. I don’t know.

Most of the time, for twelve days out of the thirteen that Earl and I have been an item, I haven’t even thought of us as being official. It’s a vicious cycle for me, one he has no clue about.

Earl doesn’t have a clue about many things. He’s just too nice to notice the mean in people and dang it I am mean! I think that is why Sam left me. He left me for her.

She is vile, I know.

They’ve been all googly-eyed for each other for three months now. It’s a phase. It’ll wear off soon enough and when it does I will be right here to pick him up and forgive him for his transgression. Make that, transgressions, as in plural.

I mean look at them. She’s got him playing the fool by the way he looks and acts. I mean he never looked at me like that nor did he do silly stuff like taking a cooking class! And why would he? Taste my roasted chicken and peach cobbler and you’ll understand.

Goodness! The world has gone to that dark, hot, place where that old sloop-foot devil dwells, by the way women can’t cook these days. I am certain half this class could burn water and that isn’t even possible. Blondy aka the temptress-formerly-called-Jezebel is one of them.

Clearly, her mama didn’t teach her a thing besides sniffing behind some other woman’s man.

Hold up a minute. Earl’s got tears in his eyes. This man is no good when it comes to onions.

TIMES UP SO THE END FOR NOW!

*I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of a full-length novel I have no choice but to write one day in the future. I think I will name the main character Ingrid…not sure of a surname yet but one will come in time. Anyhow these are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt July 31st, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Battle of the Books is Here!: Which will be Published First? You Decide!

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Go to www.candicecoates.wordpress.com for more details!

The official kickoff of the Battle of the Books, a competition between two of my novels where you the reader get to vote and decide which book will be indie published first has begun! 
WARDEN vs NEXUS GATE 

Read sample chapters of and cast your vote for the novel you think should be the first published.

Click HERE for more details!

NOVEL 1: WARDEN

 


warden-coverBook Flap: 
Ever since the bizarre death of her grandmother, Maeve Grandie has made it her sole purpose to be reliable, even if that means living a dreadfully predictable life. The only sense of adventure Maeve experiences is in her dreams. The only problem is her peculiar hereditary condition that gives her rashes on her hands and arms, turning the veins of her arms a screaming azurite blue, not only gives her weird dreams but causes her to sleepwalk as well.

But what would happen if those dreams that carry her into a bizarre land where people can cause their arms to ignite with blue flames and tear open the sky with their bare hands is not really a dream at all?

What if the dream world, Maeve finds herself suddenly trapped in, is actually a true world of wonder but one she is somehow destroying just by being there?

Senior Warden Vincent Jasper of Trident finds himself facing that very real and immeasurable danger when a young woman in the ugly pink nightgown interferes with an arrest right before disappearing through an Unzoned Door in the Universe causing the very threads of the Cluster and Realms to ripple and stretch, putting it and the lives of all who live within it in grave danger. Not only is the woman unknown but she keeps opening Doors and is somehow hiding right underneath his nose.

Can Jasper and his team along with the rest of Trident, apprehend this villainous threat clad in garish pink flannel and ruffles? Or will they find out that she is not the threat at all but the weapon of someone else, all before their side of the universe collapses?

nexus-gate-4037-the-animal-coverNOVEL 2: NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL

 

Book Flap: Most important rules of time surveillance; never disrupt your host timeline and never step into the future. Decorated Surveillance Specialist Vivian Leona of 6037 has broken both.

Losing her husband, John Joseph Spruce, in the Nexus of time past, Vivian mistakenly pulls the wrong man into the future, a man recorded by history as having died on that very day in 1837. The consequences for keeping him alive in the future could prove far worse than Vivian bargains for, especially in the American South’s New Golden Age, 4037, where any overt emotion or cause of such, like racism, is seen as a deadly contingent—‘conditions’ cured only by euthanasia.

Slave foreman and bounty hunter ‘Tucker’ John Josephus Spruce of 1837 is called ‘The Animal’ by those he hunts, and a ‘necessary evil’ by those who enlist his skills, but are his ‘talents’ enough to keep him alive when he steps into a deadly snare set twenty-two hundred years in the future where he is now pawn and prey?

Will Tucker John’s instincts lead him towards retribution for his abduction, or will they make Vivian his only ally while setting him on an unexpected hunt for the one not only out for his blood, but the very woman’s he’s purposed to destroy?

RULES FOR THE READER:

  • Read teaser chapters of both books. (NEXUS GATE  and WARDEN)
  • Follow the link at the end of the Chapter Teaser back to the Voting Polls here and cast your vote for which story YOU think should be indie Published first
  • Leave your constructive criticism for both stories
  • Follow www.candicecoates.wordpress.com!

See you at the battle!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Pour Timing: Short Story #BlogBattle week 78

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Pour Timing: A Short Story

“Oh, Clem, this is portent! I knew it the moment you stepped in the room!” Daisy wrung her hands together, a sign of nerves but the smile playing at the corners of her mouth said otherwise.

Clem, Clement Tilling, rolled his storm-grey eyes and lowered himself in his favorite recliner. He said, lifting his ebony brow, “Important, you mean?”

Daisy frowned. “No. I am literate, thank you.” She gave a sweep of her arm directing his gaze to the rows of books that lined her walls, many of them dictionaries. Daisy had buried herself in learning ever since she’d married. Her husband was older by more than two decades and extremely indulgent, yielding to her whims even if that meant filling half his spacious home with dusty old books.

“Ah, using your word of the week-”

“The day.”

“The word of the day. And are you certain you are using it correctly?” Shifting with the hope of moving the focus from himself he tried a slight jab at her. Picking at his cousin usually got her feathers ruffled enough that she’d lose her train of over-the-top thought. It didn’t work this time.

Instead, Daisy’s full-lipped smile spread across her face. “I’m still working on my structure of sentence where the word is concerned, however, I am confident that I have effectively used it in line with its meaning.”

He shrugged and leaned back as the maid-Eillee, Eillee Dennett was her name- entered the room carrying a tray of treats and tea. He has hardly in the mood for any of it. Still, he allowed her to pour him a cup, three lumps of sugar and enough cream to cover them before drowning it all in dark, fragrant brew. She was always so attentive.

She smiled at him and he returned the gesture feeling his suddenly, foul mood slip. Eillee seemed to have that effect on his nerves. She had the effect on everyone he supposed. He even knew her name. That could have been because at one point they were closer in social standing. that was before his mother married his step-father.

Vernice Cavanaugh had an effect on him too, one that made bile rise up each time he thought about her.

He took a sip of the tea savoring its sweetness before Daisy slapped his arm causing a bit to splash onto his saucer.

“It’s a sign, Clem! You being there just as Vernice arrived. And right after your break up with what’s her name.” That dreamy look washed over Daisy’s face.

What’s her name? Her name was Agatha!

Clem frowned. The scent of too much leather and ink had clearly addled her brain the way that too much laudanum could. None of this was a sign. It was actually just poor timing.

Setting down his tea he took hold of her hand, “It doesn’t matter that she is here,”

“But you said Hell would freeze over before you two would ever be in the same room together again, let alone at the same time. And she said the moment it happened you’d both know the truth, that you were actually meant to be together.

“And you were just in the same room! A sign and a right good one. I mean the thought of Hell had my hide burning.” She gave a shudder. “I am a bit naughty at times you know and the heat gives me hives.” She winked at him and squeezed his hand. “It’s a sign. Portent. You ought to pursue it. Fate will flay you if you don’t” She took a bit of a fig cookie before frowning and setting it back on the table, snatching up a brownie instead.

Clem let out a sigh. “It’s not possible. I can’t even bring myself to entertain such a thought.”

“Can’t or won’t, Clemmy?” Vernice’s voice, once so smooth, it dripped honey, now made the hairs on his neck stand on end and his eardrums feel as if they were bleeding.

Clem shot to his feet with such speed that Daisy nearly choked. Ire rose in him like lightening. With a bit too much force he whacked Daisy’s back all the while piercing Vernice with a heated glare.

Daisy grabbed his hands, “Well, Vernice I didn’t expect you to call on us so soon. This is indeed portent.” She gave Clem another wink.

Clem felt his flesh go hot and cold. Every hateful word he’d practiced against Vernice in his head seemed to slip into dark oblivion leaving him to stand there clammy and quiet boiling over without an answer. It was a good thing to have lost those thoughts, he reasoned. None of them were those of a gentleman.

Mustering his nerves with a silent prayer he forced himself to calm. “I hate the name Clemy, Vernice. If you cared one wit about me you’d have honored that.”

Vernice took calculated steps into the room. “My apology. Seeing you only reminded me of old times…times when we were friends.” She gave a coy smile.

What was she playing at? Not willing to find out, Clem tossed the hot tea down his throat and sucked it back as if it were liquor. “Well, we are certainly no longer that.” He forced a smile of his own which only made her come closer as if she could woo him into submission the same way she had seven years ago when she’d shamed him and broken his heart. She wouldn’t get the chance to do so today.

“We could be again. I’d like that. I mean I understand that I deserve nothing short of your temper, especially after what I did. I was young and foolish.”

Young! By all accounts she was considered an old maid at five and twenty and that was seven years ago. She most certainly knew better than to toy with an honest man’s affections especially after accepting his suit.

“I no longer hold you in my temper,” he lied. “Still, I can’t offer you friendship.”

Vernice’s blonde brow rose. Daisy’s mouth dropped open. “But it’s portent,”

“Daisy!” He gave her a warning look. Daisy stuffed her brownie in her mouth.

Vernice finally frowned. Her gaze challenging. The threat of it made his heart give a wild tattoo. “On the matter of friendship or anything else with you, for Daisy, I can’t. For you, I won’t.

That made Vernice take a step back. She suddenly looked desperate. Clem had no idea why nor did he have any desire to find out. He only wanted to be left alone!

“Why!” Both women sang just as Eillee entered the parlor. It was as if a ray of light from Heaven shined down upon her.

Before he knew what he was doing, Clem drew her to him and anchored her there, his hand cementing itself to the curve of her waist. Her closeness sent a sizzle through his every nerve. “I can’t and won’t because Eillee Dennett and I are in love and are engaged to be married. I asked she accepted and that is that!”

Eillee took in a deep breath, her protest ready to be vocalized. Clem did the second dumbest thing that came to mind, besides announcing their false engagement. He quickly covered her full lips with his and kissed her until she all but swooned then he towed her from the room while her wits were as tangled as his, closing the parlor doors behind them.

He’d worry about her killing him later.

THE BEGINNING

*I have to say ‘The Beginning’ because I intend to visit this story again away from my blog. I hope you enjoyed my entry to Week 78 Blog Battle. This week’s KEYWORD: PORTENT and my GENRE: COMEDIC ROMANCE. My word count was 1200 words. To read the entries of others, you can do so by following this LINK.

*Image taken from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/en/tea-cup-pocket-watch-time-classic-599911/

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

The Very Same Ones: Flash Fiction

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The Very Same Ones: Flash Fiction

My mother, grandmother, aunts, and even my great aunts and great grandmother, all used to say, ‘Never by a man a pair of shoes. They will be the very same ones they walk away from you in.’

I always thought that was rubbish, just an over spun wive’s tale or superstition that had been wickedly past down from generation to generation. It always made me wonder why we tend to pass down warnings of fear and negativity instead of positive reinforcement? I never had the courage to ask any of the matriarchs in my family about this behavior and never intend to.  I’m not much of a boat-rocker, but I am a listener…maybe even a spiteful listener.

So when I became an adult and entertained my first real life relationship with an adonis of the opposite sex I made certain during our short six month relationship to never by him a gift at all especially not shoes, that was until he became a bit clinging and time consuming with the whisper of marriage on his lips. I was only 19. He was 19. Marriage was something I wanted but just not to this guy.

Love is fickle when you are a teen toeing the line of your twenties. So what did I do? I bought him a pair of shoes. Suffice it to say, not a week later I caught him kissing a girl from English 101. I was shocked, not that he’d cheated with this particular girl, but by the fact he had done it…wearing the shoes I’d bought him.

I’ve had at least eight relationships since then, all of them ended on my terms, all of them walking away in my shoes, the very same ones I purchased them. Several gents were gifted the very expensive running shoes. I couldn’t wish them away fast enough.

I think however that like a cat has nine lives, I have run out of all of mine. Warren has been steady on with me for nearly two years and he isn’t whispering marriage he is shouting it so loudly that I think my ears are bleeding.

I’ve given Warren three pairs of shoes and in return I have gotten a parakeet, a orange tree and a three carrot diamond ring. I believe I am stuck…seriously. But that’s okay because I really like Warren. I love him. I think I’m afraid he is too good to be true.

I gave him a pair of running shoes for his birthday three weeks ago just to try my luck one last time. He just texted that he is thinking we should get a dog when we get married. He’s at the pet store, looking at puppies now.

What shoes does he have on? The very same one’s I bought him. He said he’d run over to my place when he’s finished.

THE END

NOTE: This story is INDEED FICTION. No men or shoes were hurt during its creation. :D

All She Really Wanted: Flash Fiction #Blogbattle Week 44

Tis Tuesday, Blogbattle Tuesday, Week 44. The Keyword: WORM. My Genre: DRAMA. I hope you enjoy my flash fiction attempts and change of pace this week. New year, new things! To read more stories using this week's word click HERE, and be carried away to the blog of Rachael Ritchey! Enjoy.

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All She Really Wanted

“Don’t you want this anymore?” What she could only describe as confusion laced his voice as he questioned her.

She stood still as stone, her lips pressing closed in tandem with her eyelids. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him. She’d hoped that her sealed silence would be all that it took to make him believe that she didn’t want what he offered her.

Regardless of what she had said before, she needed to take back her ground-regain control. She needed him to believe the ‘no’ in her silence even though she felt the clawing burn of her visual lie searing up her throat, threatening to expose her with a shout.

It would not be in acquiescence. Dry earth did not acquiesce to water. It drank it up because it craved it, needed it. She craved everything he offered her with open hands.

The touch of his fingertips against her arm wormed its warmth clear to her desperate belly.

She stammered to breath but she couldn’t undo her mistake. The inhale of the atmosphere was enough to cause her to cave.

Growling, she snatched the greasy wrapper from his hands and attacked the steaming loaded cheeseburger with a ferocious vengeance! Ignoring the oozing of the secret sauce that dripped recklessly down her chin and onto the cashmere sweater-he’d bought her for their 11th wedding anniversary-with splats of pickle and onion, she all but swooned in surrender.

New years resolutions be dashed! The double-decker loaded cheeseburger with the secret sauce was all she really wanted.

THE END

Like A Ton Of Bricks: Part 5 Of A Horse Called Shenanigans #Blogbattle Week 39

Blog Battle Tuesday strikes again! This week's WORD: BRICKS, my GENRE:WESTERN as we continue with A Horse Called Shenanigans. If you've missed prior installments you can find them here, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 or Part 4. To read other stories written by some AMAZING writers and bloggers, you can do so by clicking HERE and checking out the world of Rachael Ritchey!

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Like A Ton Of Bricks

If he sunk any further down into the bath water he was definitely going to drown. But Dalton couldn’t help himself. It was as if with each incriminating word the Soiled dove read concerning Smokey Patches and Thunder, he was feeling more and more exposed. It really got worse being that most of the article was about Thunder aka Shenanigans, and her notorious tirade.

As the story of the ‘robbery’ continued the more excited the dove became, the louder Shenanigans brayed until…”Oh no,” Dalton sloshed his body in the water, a good amount of it landed on the woman’s feet. She gasped.

The sound of cracking wood and women screaming down below could be heard clear upstairs. Shenanigans’ braying grew louder, as if it were right on the stairs followed by the ruckus of swear words and broken bottles.

“You got my shoes wet, Mister! Ain’t nobody ever tell you leather and suds don’t mingle!” Oh the dove was mad. That was for sure. Dalton gave her a worried look and then swung his attention back to the closed door and the heavy clomping on the stairs, the braying now sounding like moans.

The dove glared at him and then fanned at the door. “Pay those sounds no mind. Leonard is here today and once a month he causes a ruckus downstairs.”

Dalton gulped, knowing better. “Is that what you think that is?”

“Oh I know it. He’s a loud one, but Suzy seems to like him.” She shuttered. “That clomping on the stairs must be Mable, thought. I swear that gal sounds like she wears a ton of bricks on her feet. Might as well. Her clodhoppers are as big as a man’s. She’s a little rough around the edges.” The dove pranced towards the door, the soggy news article dangling from her painted fingers. “I’ll tell her to quiet it down.” She winked.

Dalton grabbed her arm with a quickness. The dove’s cheeks flushed red, a hint of fear lighting her eyes. He loosened his grip. Clearly she had been handled roughly herself a time or two. He quickly pulled his hand away grabbing the edge of the tub instead. “I apologize, Ma’am. I-I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just didn’t want you to open the door. ” Especially not in the face of an old, irritated mare whose hips were pressing up the narrow stairwell, bowing the wood planks of the wall into the bathroom.

Dalton’s eyes widened. The dove had seen it too, again she didn’t seem shocked as much as bothered. “No, I am definitely going to have to say something. Mable is going to have to go on a diet. Beaten the stairs is one thing, bowing the walls is another.” She pulled the door opened and gasped as a steamy burst of horse breath blew at her hair fallowed my an irritated bray.

Dalton froze still. The dove stiffly turned and faced him, a mischievous smile growing on her ruby lips.

~   ~   ~

“Woohoo!” Eldy cried out as she galloped out of town, her new tin star gleaming with a sweet spit shine. She couldn’t have had a better time blowing off her steam than she had blowing holes through the town she’d worked so hard to escape, and it was all sanctioned by the law!

Now she was the law! If only her Pa could see her now. Heaven’s the man would have been proud. Was no skin off her brow though. She made sure to put on a good bullet slinging show, winning some mighty fine respect before flaunting her feathers as the less than sportsman like winner, just as Pa would have had her do. And that was all well and fine being that she wasn’t a man anyhow so she didn’t have to be a good sportsman, and ‘humble’ her middle name was not…it was Sweet.

Clearly, her parents had lofty ideas.

But now with a belly and satchel full of vittles, none made by herself lest she’d been leaving town a few trots away from having the trots, her purse lined with cash and her chest brandishing her lawman’s star, Eldy was ripe and ready for her mission.

She slowed her horse down to a good prance and took that moment to offer the good Lord a prayer of thanks. She’d been asking Him for direction on what to do once the shackles of that old town were broken from her wrist and now that she was free, the answer seemed clear as the blue sky above her.

Eldy “Elderberry” Sweet Milcratt was called to be a tinman…or tinwoman. The only thing she had to do now since she’d proven her salt slinging bullets was prove her wit by out witting two notorious bandits. Seemed easy enough.

Armed with the knowledge she had about Side Nose Willy, she felt the odds were definitely in her favor. She just had to prove it, and she was good at proving things.

TO BE CONTINUED…

All Washed Up: Part 4 Of A Horse Called Shenanigans #Blog Battle Week 38

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Blog Battle Tuesday! This week's Word: FALLOW. My Genre: WESTERN as we continue with A Horse Called Shenanigans. To read previous installments click Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3. To read other stories written by other Blog Battlers, click HERE and take your journey to Rachael Ritchey's Blog!

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All Washed Up: Part 4 of A Horse Called SHENANIGANS

Eldy slide the large buckle belt around her tiny waist before jabbing a stiff finger into the Sheriff’s chest. She’d had enough of all their idiotic words and sorry attempts of pacifying a “female.” Truth be told she was tempted to put a bit of metal in each of their hides for the debacle that had landed her in her knickers and gagged with silks.

No, the only thing to make her happy was a tin badge and some walking papers. Eldy “Elderberry” Milcratt had had enough! Baring her teeth she said, “If another one of you buffoons tries to tell me I ain’t man enough to handle these here fire arms I’ll be liable to show you, draw style.”

The Sheriff’s brow descended in a huff. “Now, Ms. Milcratt there is no need for you to be contemplating violence with men of the law! All we’ve tried to do, all we’ve done-”

She cute him off. “All you’ve done is let a new Bandit ride off with the town’s earnings, my earnings, and then walked Side Nose Willy right out the front door with a wink and a smile!” She fumed. “And now ya’ll have put me in a position whereas I have no choice but to defend my honor!”

Sheriff threw up his arms and turned. “I ain’t got time for this! I have a bandit to catch. No, two!”

“As if ya’ll could. The only reason you got hold of Side Nose in the first place was a’cause of Smokey Patches, well his horse anyway. You lot couldn’t catch a cold not even on the worst day of winter belly sliding in your undergarments.”

That got Sheriff’s attention. “Now you’ve gone and said enough Ms. Milcratt! I swear if you weren’t a skirt I would take you out back and teach you a lesson!”

Eldy flicked his tin star badge. “Tell you what Sheriff. You get your best shooter and meet me in the square in half hour. We’ll do a dual of targets. You win, I’ll hang up my shooters. But if I win,” She raised her chin and stared him in the eye. “Then I’ll be having a badge, a horse and enough rations to go and round me up a pair of bandits, all legal style.”

Sheriff smiled. “Little missy, the world is going to be a safer place with you back in the kitchen with those guns out of your reach. Well, safer with the guns gone from ya at least. You have a deal!”

~   ~   ~

Dalton felt absolutely scandalous sitting in the deep water of the soaking tub. Wasn’t that he was shy of his own skin, he just hadn’t thought that a soiled dove would try to help him bathe. His skin was more red from embarrassment than the heat of the water. He had managed to convince the lady he wasn’t in need of her “care” or her company but she didn’t budge from the room, which only meant Dalton had to keep his eyes way up or way down.

The dove’s corset was so tight that if the poor thing sneezed her goodness and mercy would be exposed on both ends!

“Is there anything I can get ya, sweetheart?” Her long clumpy lashes batted atop her painted face.

“No ma’am. I’m doing just fine so if you’d like to run along…” He saw her blonde curls sway from side to side. She wasn’t going to budge. Dalton swallowed. He couldn’t sit in the water forever, he would catch  consumption, and she was sitting on the towel. Didn’t help at all that Shenanigans was making that sound again. The one that said she was restless. That only meant trouble and no matter how many bank notes Dalton had in his possession, he certainly couldn’t afford much more of that.

Dalton snapped his fingers. “You know what, Miss, if you wouldn’t mind grabbing me a paper that would be quite nice.” He offered a smile, hoping that would get her to exit the premises. Instead she gave a saucy smile of her own, pulling a folded paper from beneath her thigh.

“I’ve got one right here. Let me read it to you.” The dove started with the weather moved on to politics and then with a sense of excitement read the part about the new bandit in the territory. A fella called Smokey Patches and his horse Thunder, the pair who’d robbed Side Nose Willy.

With each word Dalton felt the water grow colder and his stomach knot. Shenanigans gave a loud bray.  He sank deeper into the water.

~  ~  ~

“Yes sir, the back 40 has lay fallow since that boy and his mare rode off not too long ago. See since his Pa died, things just ain’t been the same. Dalton has had a rough go of it. Life ain’t never been easy on him.” Cleophas blew into a hanky and bowed his head with enough solemnity that anyone passing by would have thought he was witnessing a funeral.

The reporter wrote down all his words. “So you think harsh living pushed him to a life of crime? Turned him to the bad?”

Cleophas’ chest puffed out as if to fight. “Now I ain’t say the boy was a crook or bad! Hell, his the finest kid I done ever met! And if you question it again, you may find yourself answering at the end of Ole Hoot.” He tapped the double barrel shotgun he’d been leaning on as if a cane.

The reporter went pale. “B-but you said he was the bandit!”

“I said no such thing!” Cleophas argued. “I said he was the one in them drawings. But I never said my nephew was a crook. Dalton is a God fearing Christian man. Loves the Lord. This mess about Smokey Patches is all a misunderstanding that I aim to clear up by washing his name of falsehood.” He jutted his chin.

The reporter appraised him. “You do know it was you who sent us the telegraph. No one knew who Smokey Patches was til you said so.”

Cleophas hadn’t thought of that. All he’d thought about was the money he was getting paid for the interview. And with the amount of trouble he had just put on Dalton’s head by the time the paper was printed, he was going to need it to give the boy a decent burial.

Cleophas gulped. He was no better than that old raggedy mare, Shenanigans.

TO BE CONTINUED…

I went 80 words over, but I guess that is alright. I hope you liked this installment. Shenanigans is prepping for curtain call! See you next week!

I’ll Drink To That: Part 2 of A Horse Called Shenanigans, #BlogBattle

Hello again Blog Battle Tuesday! This week's Word is: BOTTLE and my GENRE: WESTERN. I am going forward with a continuation of "A Horse Called Shenanigans." Click HERE for PART 1. To read other stories by fellow blog battlers or even to join in the fun yourself, click HERE.

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I’ll Drink To That: Part 2 of A Horse Called Shenanigans

Cleophas sputtered and spit out most of his sun warmed beer. He was already well beyond half passed buzzed but he wasn’t so in his cups that he couldn’t read good. More than anything he could see just fine, and that picture sketch of the raggedy mare running off from a bank with a bandit flapping in the wind could be none other than Shenanigans! And by default, his idiot nephew, Dalton.

Heck! He knew that she-devil, moody old horse anywhere, and the story to go along with it was definitely in line with her lack luster character. Dalton, well, he like always was just a prop in her plays.

Chewing down curses that would have earned him a good slap to the back of his head if his mother was still alive, he read the big bold letters of the paper again, “New Bandit Shoves Side Nose Will Aside and Flies off in Smoke and Thunder.” Cleophas let out a riotous laugh after scrutinizing the name they had given his thieving nephew, especially in the strong name of “Thunder” they had dubbed Shenanigans; “Smokey Patches,” They had called him Smokey Patches. They said it was for the patched up job he’d done in robbing Side Nose Willy and the smoke he’d kicked up in his riding off.

It was the worse name a man could earn for a pitiful crime as robbery!

If a man was going to have his neck stretched for a crime he could at least die with a decent enough name. “Your Pa would die right this minute if he knew about your life of crime, Dalton. That he prolly would tolerate but Smokey Patches, well that just can’t be forgiven.”

He leaned back in his chair and picked up the other bottle of warm beer. The day’s chores had ended an hour early and as to tradition, Cleophas shared a beer with his best friend…He just did all the talking an drinking alone since Rutger, Dalton’s Pa, had decided pushing up daisies was a less tasking chore than mucking out stalls.

To each his own, Cleophas thought swallowing down the malty brew. Staring into the sunset, crossing his booted feet at the ankles he said, “You know Rutty, we done our best with that boy of yer’s. Ain’t much in his head to begin with so we ain’t have much to sculpt if you catch my reckoning. But one things for sure, he ain’t never been a bad kid, now that mare of his,” He spit. “Best we can do is leave ’em in the hands of the good Lord, let Him sort out this stink for the boy.”

He took another swig, this time from his own bottle. A smile folding the silver whiskers of his swarthy face. “Mayhaps we can come into some better fortune ourselves. People like to know about new bandits and what not.” He sat in a few moments of silence, the caterpillar brows of his face doing a dance as if he could hear his brother talking.

He slapped his thigh with his calloused hand. “Now if that ain’t a good idea, Rutty my boy, I don’t know what is! Sell the boys tale to the papers, make it sound all sad and sob. Well, having you for a Pa is sad and sob, no offense. Truth be told you and that boy cost me a fair share of coin over the years, especially that dang mare. Me getting to make a few good bucks letting the world know how, well I’ll drink to that!”

~  ~  ~

Side Nose Willy felt like their head had been split like a Sunday dinner pie! Sweet Lord the pain radiated down into the very tip of their nose. Letting out a groan, Willy managed to sit upright and with that single action came the events that landed him right behind bars. If that wasn’t bad enough, the smug look on the inept deputies face really chaffed Willy’s pride.

“Well look who done decided to grace us with their consciousness. Its been almost three days you been out cold, taking up bed space.” A nasty smile spread across the man’s face. Willy hated smug men. “Now don’t you go worrying yourself about the bill for your stay, seeing as how you was robbed in all. We have a fine payment plan laid out for folks of your ilk. Its a stretched out payment plan if you catch my meaning.”

Willy’s eyes narrowed. The deputy continued. “In the meantime one of them gal’s from the Milk House will bring you over a plate to eat. We are civilized Christian folks here. Man deserves a good meal before he meets his Maker.” With that he tipped his hat and walked off whistling a familiar tune about hanging folks.

Willy leaned back against the cool of the cell walls. It had been a while since they’d had a good meal, the least he would do was enjoy it. Then, then he would make his escape and find that dusty mare that cost him his winnings and that idiot rider who’d landed him behind bars.

TO BE CONTINUED…

So Stinking Charming: A free flow write-novel excerpt

The wind whistled through the trees, toying with their leaves with the same mischief that it toyed with the long curls of his hair. Arlen irritably pushed the unruly tresses from his eyes, and tried his best to mask his face with intimidation. He realized it was all for naught. The woman certainly didn’t take him seriously, not now that his hair had been so terribly mussed and his clothing tossed and pulled by the wind.

“Do you dare laugh at me?” He asked, drawing as much starch to his voice as he could, just like he had done the other times. If the woman had only his voice to contend with-the deep baritone sound that could easily be likened to thunder when he was angry-she might have trembled beneath his steely gaze. But as it was, Seauthatch Arlen Leuville had a face and hair that contradicted his tone-his true demeanor he could easily mask.

It was his appearance that had often got him in more trouble than anything. Even with his height, standing just a few clicks above six feet, and muscles ripped and lean with hard sinews and strength, Arlen had but the face of a child-a babe really.

He blessed God that now, closing in upon his thirtieth winter, his jaw line had taken hold of its hard, square form, even his nose, that had been thankfully-though painfully broken-was now just slightly off set, garnering him a more dangerous appeal.

Well, at least he had thought it so up until the moment this woman had called its crook and slant handsomely endearing.

There was nothing to be done for his pale blue-green eyes lined with the fullest of long, dark lashes, nor the natural blush to his cheeks, nor the blasted golden curls that crowned his head and danced about his shoulders. Ridiculously shiny is what they were, and shamefully bouncy.

Arlen looked like a girl…a girl with a beard and a bitter demeanor for being so…pretty.  Had his older and younger brother’s not been cut down in their prime, none of his looks would have mattered, but he was the last in the line to be king, and though he rued having to leave his priestly garbs behind, he would do so, because he had not choice.

He had long since accepted that he was a man cursed; cursed to hardly be taken seriously because of his looks.  Cursed to rather pray and seek peaceful reconciliations rather than war.

It was partly his own fault, not that he had any say in being the only of his father’s son’s who looked just like his mother. He had no care for blood, and had likely made more enemies during his short stint as a man Knighted, than he had during his long time as a man of faith.

The truth was, he often gave his opponents a good “what for” beating them in submission but never having the heart to kill them. So he foolishly left them alive and sometimes prayed for them as they lay bleeding, teaching them about the gift of forgiveness and the dangers in grudges.

As it stood, he was certain there were at least a small army full of bested opponents, waiting to seek their revenge. Thinking about it, he ran his large hand over his thick neck, and choked down a dry knot.

If things didn’t change, if he didn’t change, Seauthatch Arlen Leuville, the second son, once sworn a priest but now called to be king, would be a dead man.

He cleared his throat and put his mind back upon being fierce, “Lady, do not tempt me with your silence,” He growled, gripping her upper arm. “Do you not understand that you are now my prisoner?!”

Her light brown eyes lit up, not with fear, but a bizarre amount of delight, swirling into a color akin to molten chocolate. She touched his chest clad with leather and chain mail, rubbing her long ivory fingers upward until locking them within the links of the chain mail.

Arlen’s cheeks burned red which only made the woman press herself further into his grasp. “Oh, sir knight, is that what this is, a spiriting away?” Her voice was breathy.

This was definitely not apart of the plan. He was definitely cursed.

She freed one of her hands and slid it around Arlen’s solid waist and thrust her body closer to his. “Is this what love feels like? The truest of love at first sight, for that is what I felt the moment you entered my garden? Oh, sir knight,” She pressed her cheek against his chest and toyed with a lock of his hair, just like the wind had. “Tis so charming!” She exclaimed.

Arlen grimaced. So. Stinking. Charming! He was supposed to be fearsome not charming! It did not benefit at all that he had no understanding of the language of women. They were constantly mistaking his intentions. Although he figured he would need to eventually get a wife to be queen, and he did like the ladies, but he was way out of touch with those things having been groomed for the priesthood of Spirit Hill…he shook his head, he would cross the lady-wife- bridge when he got to it, and he had no intention of getting to it today!

“A beautiful angel,” The woman continued, “Rescuing his maiden from the grasp of the old evil baron who seeks her hand. I am besotted, sir.” Her eyes fluttered closed and her pink lips were wetted and puckered.

Dear Lord! Arlen was beginning to panic. He palmed her face with a gloved hand and as swiftly as he could spun out of her grasp. He was no good at this; the small army of enemies, an equally growing number of maidens who where supposed to be his captives for ransom but were now pining for his stupid, pretty face, and-He looked around the woman and sure enough he had won another enemy-another angry Baron out to spill his blood.

Stomping his foot Arlen ran towards his destrier and lept upon its back without a hitch. The maiden, her guards, and an angry Baron chasing behind.

This was not going to be a good day.

THE END…FOR NOW

So, yet again a free flow write that has transformed into a piece from a story that I have recently thought up. Title? “So Stinking Charming.” As always, I begin writing without an destination in mind. I just start plucking away and wait to see what happens. “So Stinking Charming” is intended to be a Fantasy and Romantic Comedy-A tongue and cheek expression of the world of Kings and Knights; second sons and damsels in distress. This case, Arlen/Seauthatch (So-Thatch) may actually be that damsel himself until he meets the right lady to help him get on his feet. I hope you enjoyed this peek into his world. 

Cheers

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