Creative Copy Challenge #111

Today we have Sara Schmidt, a freelance writer, activist, artist and homeschooling mom, choosing the words for our writing prompt challenge. Her lucky number is 11, and she was born on 11-11, so it’s cool that she’s choosing for challenge 111.

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. Mudslide
  2. Ewok 
  3. Lactose intolerance
  4. Creep
  5. Kiss the Rain
  6. Funnel
  7. Pusillanimous – characterized by a lack of courage or determination
  8. Larkspur – plants of the genus Delphinium, with spikes of blue, pink, or white irregular spurred flowers
  9. Castrate – to cause pain to any male reader reading this.
  10. Poplolly – an affectionate term, little darling

NOTE: Don’t copy and paste from MS Word. Use a program like notepad that removes formatting or just type in the comment field itself. Also, finish your submission, THEN bold the words. Thanks. (And don’t forget to tweet this and share it with your friends.)

Resources you should check out:
Thesis: Best Damn Theme on the Web
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there


133 Comments on “Creative Copy Challenge #111”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    I felt out of place.

    Like a mudslide without mud.

    Like an Ewok in a dunking contest.

    Like a lactose intolerant cow farmer.

    Like a non-creepy, creepy crawler.

    Like a man kissing the rain in a rainless desert.

    Like a funnel without an opening.

    Like a pusillanimous gladiator.

    Like a replanted Larkspur inside a kitty litter pan.

    Like a castrated bull eating mountain oysters.

    Like a poplolly inside a lollypop bag.

    Yeah, I knew my wife only asked me to hold her purse for a few seconds inside the crowded mall, but it felt like a lifetime.

  2. Here is my entry today, and I won’t lie to you when I say it was inspired partially by true events as I am lactose intolerant myself.

    A few moments savoring the steam wafting from the marvelous cup.  Feeling like you could kiss the rain as you sat there enjoying the poplolly caramel latte so sweet and lifting you literally can feel the pusillanimous instincts being driven away as courage and strength flow into you.

    That is when things started to turn South fast, stomach growling like an Ewok you didn’t even consider the lactose intolerance issue and the fact that dairy is used in the latte.  You can feel the stomach bubbles creep and would rather become a castrate than endure pain of the impending mudslide that would funnel out your backside.  You race toward the nearest restroom only to find it occupied, struggling and moaning in pain a slowly growing crowd of people start watching you startled and somewhat alarmed.

    Another wrenching wave of pain, simply consuming a small beverage as if you had grazed on a pound of toxic  Larkspur flowers.  Finally some chance luck as the restroom door swings open and you beeline for the porcelain god, a shrine with which you will be spending the next hour or more unfortunately.  Let this be a warning you think, I can’t allow dairy into my diet again.

  3. Anne Wayman says:

    The mudslide dislodged the Ewoks and revealed their creepy lactose intolerance. A voice gargling “Kiss the Rain!” came through the funnel hidden by the pusillanimous comic character hiding behind the larkspur. I wanted to castrate the little poplolly.

  4. Cathy Miller says:

    Death & the Detective Series
    This winter was one mudslide after another. And now it was really cold – okay, cold for San Diego. Wrapped in her warm, fuzzy coat, Maggie felt like a bad imitation of an Ewok, puffed up from lactose intolerance.

    As she began to creep down Interstate 5 towards work, she hoped San Diego could kiss the rain good-bye. It had been an unusually rainy winter.

    “So spoiled,” she smiled to herself.

    Maggie’s thoughts drifted to her day ahead as the Encinitas police district psychiatrist and profiler. Capturing a serial killer had become the district’s obsession. The district funneled almost all its resources into finding the killer and his capture had become very personal – to Maggie and Detective Brett Connors.

    Maggie wondered if her pusillanimous behavior stemmed more from having the killer dump a body on her balcony or from the threat of the very sexy detective getting past her defenses.

    Okay, she wasn’t going down that path. Shaking off an anxious feeling, Maggie glanced at the clock. She had a 9 a.m. meeting with a colleague from Larkspur (in northern California) and she had some last-minute research she wanted to finish.

    It was an interesting case, except for its victims. A serial killer in the small community had a very disturbing calling card. He, or perhaps more likely she, would castrate victims before dumping them alongside a deserted road.

    “Come on, Poplolly,” she coaxed, using her nickname for her 1985 VW Bug, “let’s get off this highway to nowhere.”

    With her mind on the meeting, Maggie didn’t notice the dark sedan following her down the frontage road.

  5. Jenny Lesnansky says:

    I sat at the bar, sipping my Jack, with my hands wrapped around the tumbler as if it were a lifeline. Which, at this moment in my life, it was. Even though my eyes were cast down, my long hair covering the sides of my face, the man sitting three stools down from me slid over, dragging his Mudslide along with him.
    “Can I buy you another?” he squeaked, and I lifted my eyes long enough to take in his short stubby legs, his bushy hair that he had obviously spent hours on, trying to create that “just rolled out of bed” careless look that was popular among men much younger than he had been a few years ago. His glistening fat lips wrapped around the straw in his drink, sucking hard, at the same time his beady squinting eyes of no discernible color fixed on my breasts. The man was an Ewok.
    “No.” I stated. And dropped my head back down to hang over my drink.
    “You sure?” he pushed,”I love to make a woman like you feel good. We can start with the drinks…” he trailed off, running Vienna sausage shaped fingers along my knee. I took my hand off my glass long enough to swiftly backhand him; not hard, just the right amount to make it heard across the bar, so that the few other late morning drinkers, sad as they were, glanced up at us.
    The short man gulped, “I suddenly remembered my lactose intolerance“, and began a bowlegged creep across the room, heading for the bathrooms. I put my mouth to my glass and savored the sting of the whiskey on my tongue. The bartender went back to cleaning glasses, and someone started the jukebox up. As a womans mournful tones wound up, crooning, “And if I could kiss the rain…” I suddenly wished wholeheartedly for a funnel; a way to fast-track the whiskey into my stomach, and on to my bloodstream. Having lost my job at 8 a.m., showing up to work hungover for the third day in a row, I had found myself in a state of pusillanimous desperation, and had quickly headed here, to my favorite bar, the one where no body knew my name. I wanted to drink. And drink. My plan was to put glass to lips repeatedly until dark came and I could shuffle home, maybe sleep. I had hoped for silence throughout this endeavor, had not planned on the need to verbally castrate someone, but it instilled in me a new low, and I hunched even more. Suddenly, the door of the bar opened, and the midday light sliced through the smoke, stabbing my face and making my eyes tear. I looked up, but with the light behind him, I couldn’t make out the man who strode in, until he was upon me.
    Holding a close of larkspur, trembling, my father brushed my hair from my face.
    “Hello, I’ve been looking for you. Your boss said I might find you here. Its been so long…my poplolly…”
    And hearing my pet name come from his lips, feeling his strong hand on my face, I crumpled. I tucked myself into his arms, and cried. Enough was enough. I gave myself up to my sorrow, my pain, and let my daddy rescue me.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jenny: Outstanding storytelling! Welcome to the CCC. Wow, that was good. From your information in my admin, it appears you don’t have a website. Change that pronto and put your writing up for everyone to see. 🙂
      Everyone welcome Jenny to our addiction. What did you think of the challenge? I’ll add your name to our CCC Community Links page now.

    • Sara says:

      Wonderful, Jenny!  I’m so glad you came to  play & I hope you keep coming back to play in the future, too. 🙂

      • Jenny Lesnansky says:

        Hey thanks, Shane! Happy to be here, happy to be writing again. Thank you for creating this outlet.  I thought the challenge was great! I’m definitely going back to look at previous challenges. And I do see a new addiction in my future! Thank you Sara, and thank you for the link.

        • Cathy Miller says:

          @Jenny-Welcome to CCC!

          When work becomes a mudslide of emotions, come on over to CCC to sort them out. You will worship before the golden shininess of CCC, like an Ewok to C-3PO.There is only welcome at CCC, where even lactose intolerance looks kindly upon the milky walls.

          Our characters are creeps and lovers, buffoons and poets. They kiss the rain and make it storm, always creating a funnel of creativity. Our community fights the demons of a pusillanimous life, leaving a larkspur of words that castrate the devil of doubt.

          So, Poplolly, welcome to CCC and all the joy that it can bring.

    • Enjoyed the story, and detail with the surroundings.

    • margaret says:

      Great writing, Jenny…welcome to the CCC

    • Welcome, Jenny! I loved that story. I look forward to reading more from you 🙂

  6. […] day! And if you’re snowed in or just feel like playing with 10 super fun words, come play at Creative Copy Challenge today, where Challenge 111 features word prompts chosen by yours […]

  7. margaret says:

    The other day I saw something on the news that made me gag as though I were suffering from a severe case of lactose intolerance. I’m usually a very live and let live, love life, “kiss the rain” and
    love the larkspur type of person, but when I saw this it made my blood boil.

    Hugh Hefner is getting married again!! This time, the poplolly du jour is twenty four years old!
    This old creep is no better than a child molester and maybe his next medical procedure should be
    one of the castrate persuasion!

    I am not pusillanimous of the mudslide my comment may instigate when I say that I would rather
    “F” an Ewok than that cryptkeeper old letch!

    Now, see what has happened?…I’ve gotten myself so worked up that I’ll have to go have a funnel cake to bring back my sweet side! (that one’s for you, Shane!) 😉

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Margaret-LOL! I don’t know which is worse-Hugh Hefner or the 24-year-old who loves (snicker) him. 😀 Love the poplolly du jour. Too funny!

      • margaret says:

        Ewww, it’s just gross, Cathy. Youre right about the “poplolly” what kind of little whorebag signs on for something like that? (don’t be shy, Margaret, why don’t you really say what you mean? LOL)

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ma: You had me at F an Ewok. Super, super, super funny. Okay, I’m super, super, super hungry for a funnel cake right now.

    • Really funny, ironic that I just read that Playboy app is coming to iPad today too on a tech blog.

      • margaret says:

        Ah, Justin, it is a sad commentary on our society that glorified pimps are rich and famous and really hardworking regular folk have to struggle so!

        • @margaret isn’t it true though about entertainers, while teachers who educate our children get paid peanuts with no incentives, yet stars who just entertain in sports or movies get paid in 8 figure incomes?
          If half the money was paid to scientists, researchers, educators, society itself would advance faster.

    • Margaret, who needs Perez Hilton, anyway! This is a great rant. I love the cryptkeeper old letch.
      I didn’t know that was news. Thanks for the update 🙂

  8. I blamed Tony for the pusillanimous Ewoks slugging it out in my head and stomach the next morning. Who knew the delicious mudslides we drank, that night, contained cream? He knew that I was lactose intolerant, and knowing that he knew, I was ready to ascribe all manner of heinous motives to his failure to disclose the ingredients to me. In a barely suppressed fit of rage, I savaged the Larkspur and devoured a handful – raw. If it didn’t kill me, it might stay my hand and keep me from castrating the little creep. Suddenly, all the negative feelings – not to mention the roiling mess in my stomach – came rumbling up through the funnel of my esophagus. As I hunched over the flower bed, retching, I had a sudden urge to kiss the rain that had begun to fall, drenching me in cool, cleansing water that smelled of ozone and springtime. Meanwhile, Tony slipped in through the garden gate, crept up behind me, and dared to ask, “How’s my little Poplolly?” Fortunately for him, I was too drained by then to throw him anything worse than a withering glance.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Holly: Excellent: The whole time I was saying, “Hit him with the shovel, hit him with the shovel,” but the way you ended it was just as powerful…and that there is the art of writing.

    • Excellent, Holly. I appreciate that you felt it was “better through the attic than through the basement.” (must send memo to @Justin, LOL)

      • @Shane – I’m not much of an herbalist, but I did a little digging and there’s one member of the Larkspur family that’s historically used for medicinal purposes, one of which is to treat suppressed rage. 🙂 Trust me, my character wanted to bop him with a rake.
        @Mitch – I must admit that I am not lactose intolerant, don’t know anyone who is (well, now, there’s Justin) and didn’t research the symptoms carefully. But I wasn’t in the mood to describe anything in the basement.

    • margaret says:

      Holly, Holly, Holly….you and Justin just changed my plans to make four-cheese lasagna, potatoes au gratin and cookies and cream milkshakes tonight! 😉  (fun write)

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Holly-wonderful write-you could just feel how p***ed off she was.

      • Thanks, everyone! P***ed off and SICK (and when I’m that kind of sick, I’m p***ed off on general principles. Add a sadistic prank by a “friend” into the mix, and…well, I could feel the venom dripping off my pen.)

  9. It was Friday night and she was in the mood for chocolate. This was never a good sign. She ordered a MUDSLIDE from the adorable looking server who batted her eyes and squeaked like an EWOK. My LACTOSE INTOLERANCE led me to the tequila list, and I ordered three shots. “You’re a fucking CREEP,” she whispered as the waitress walked away. Just then, our song “KISS THE RAIN” echoed from the dj’s sound system, and the memories of better days slowly oozed down my cheeks, like oil down a FUNNEL into my heart. She began quoting Melville, using his words “despised as a PUSILLANIMOUS, lazy, good-for-nothing” as a knife to cut deep into my soul. I turned and stared at the beautifully arranged LARKSPUR centerpiece at table 12. I could only hope to CASTRATE her rambling with the dead look in my eyes. I broke my silence, “Hey POPLOLLY, do you really want to discuss this now?” I’ll never get married again.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @MidWest Musing: One hell-of-a 1st submission! Welcome to the CCC. That had a fantastic flow, and I’m a huge fan of the surprise ending, too. Glad you made it here and hope to see you back here every Monday and Thursday when we have the challenges. I’ll add your name and url to the CCC Community Links page next. What did you think of it?

      Everyone welcome Midwest to the addiction. PS. Saw your tweet about your submission. The date link of your post will allow you to link directly to your post by the way.

      • @Shane Thank you for the kind words.  I LOVED it.  it was a good release and got the brain working.
        I will be back.
        and thx for the tip on the link.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Midwest Musing – Welcome to CCC!

        More intoxicating than a barrel of mudslide shots, but without the ewok-coated tongue of someone suffering from lactose intolerance, CCC will creep into your veins and take hold until you want to kiss the rain and dance naked in the snow.

        Funnel that addiction in another submission and you’ll overcome the pusillanimous punch of life as you lay a larkspur carpet of words that castrate the fear and embraces the poplolly community of love.


    • Can feel the venom in this one.

    • Yowza! That really touched a nerve, actually. You got that one nailed!
      Welcome and well met!

    • Clarabela says:

      A mudslide is a good way to start any story, especially if it is topped off with homemade vanilla ice cream.

  10. Morning, at last. The day didn’t so much announce its arrival as it merely shoved the night winds rudely aside. The gray dawn lay heavy on the rolling plain, cloaked in a creeping mudslide of warm fog. Larkspur was the first to awaken.

    “chee bana foo non?” Are you sleeping still, big brother?

    “ya banee sump, gah!” Not anymore sleep, you twitter box! Zalil yawned and stretched in vain toward a castrated sun.

    “shee pada jaw coofy.” Today, we kiss the rain.

    “fento.” Obviously.

    The brothers chatted idly, there being nothing else to do in the universe. Far in the distance, the first of the cattle materialized from the morning mist. Zalil, accustomed to the grazing beasts, ignored them. Larkspur, more easily excited, began a nervous chatter that stirred the hive and greatly annoyed his older brother. Finally, Zalil barked:

    “lee gana foo tana! fip tanee jaw fenti.” Worry less the grazers, you pusillanimous Ewok! Evident is the coming rain.

    The implication was that any downpour would likely cause the cattle to halt their advance towards the amaranthine patch where, in their stupidness, they usually dined on the poisonous plants, receiving an ironic taste of the discomfort of lactose intolerance. Sadly, the admonition did little to quell Larkspur’s babbling. tanee jaw was strong water. Larkspur would much rather sway in the gentle mist of pada jaw. Zalil neither knew, nor cared, that his brother was agitated by his outburst. He just wanted Larkspur to shut up.

    Slowly, even as the cattle came inexorably closer, the dawn darkened into a menacing faux twilight of roiling rain clouds. The twin threats were too much for poor Larkspur.

    “gana ponada! irp tanee jawjaw!”

    Others in the field took up the warning: Beware the grazers come the mighty rain!

    Zalil himself became alarmed. However, as the eldest, it was his duty to calm the hive-hub: the group of others, including Larkspur, who were closest to his scent. Reluctantly, he shuddered mightily, giving off a pungent waft of his essence. Simultaneously, he cooed embarrassing nonsense:

    “zee paw doo fanada. yee mando polana.” Safe is our little Poplolly. Happy are the Bunhunnies.

    It was no use. A deafening roar, like ten thousand screaming Larkspurs, preceded a massive funnel cloud chewing angrily on grazers.

  11. @Shane @Holly you are so encouraging. Most of my stories wind up being intros to my games. I actually have more than a half dozen short stories scattered around my blog.
    My favorite is “The Oxymoronic Hydroponic Tubers”.
    Thanks for the short story structure chart.

  12. Joe Passmore says:

    Pusillanimous creep with lactose intolerance seeks Ewok to share larkspur, mudslides and kisses in the rain. Likes lollypops and funnelweb spiders. All timewasters castrated.

  13. Jennifer says:

    TGIF! This week has been a veritable mudslide of deadlines and indecision. Work funnels through myriad streams, the due dates creep upon me with the urgency of a castrated bull in rage.
    Alas, I have not the energy to attack my work. I am not a child of winter. I want to loll about in my flannel sheets while the snow descends. I feel a pusillanimous spring-ward beckoning, calling for the showers so that I might kiss the rain then watch the larkspur peep its sweet head through the dead earth, poplolly harbinger of a warmer day.
    I wish I could blame lactose intolerance or some other ailment for my lack of vim and vigor, but I don’t suffer any maladies that would allow hibernation. I am but a tired little Ewok, returning to my cave, awaiting the groundhog and his empty promises.

  14. Cheryl says:

    My darling, my poplolly,

    Please don’t think I am a pusillanimous creep for running out on you last night. I panicked when I realized that the delicious mudslides you made for us had aggravated my lactose intolerance. I will be on your doorstep tonight with larkspurs and funnel cakes. Please don’t castrate my affection and leave me outside to kiss the rain, when I would rather be inside kissing you.

    I remain,
    Your loving ewok

  15. Buford hauled the pole back and whipped it forward in one smooth motion. The tied fly landed lightly in the water, only to be yanked back again and again. “Fly-fishin’ is hard enough without yer poplolly prejudices,” said Buford.

    “I’m not lactose intolerance,” said Bubba, “I just don’t see how ya stay uprite inna stream without ’em.”

    Buford didn’t even look around. “Shaddup. Yer slowing down mah castrate.”

    Bubba eyed the banks suspiciously. “Might be in fer a mudslide ‘kiss the rain don’t stop soon.”

    Funnel be gone then fer shure,” said Buford.

    “You said I was pusillanimous, yet I have arrived forthwith!” hollered Clyde. He just appeared in the larkspur on the right bank.

    “Howdy get here?” asked Bubba.

    Ewok‘d, I reckon,” said Buford. “Now hush. If y’all creep talkin’ y’all’ll scare da fish!”

  16. Isabella says:

    Just when Isannah thought things couldn’t get worse, they did.
    A horrifying mudslide left her village in ruins. Her family separated after this natural disaster and there was a creep seeking her out. She considered seeking the guy out and demanding what his problem was. Maybe her wit could somehow cut him like a steel knife; castrating his soul.  She was only 17 and she was deathly afraid that she wouldn’t be able to make it in the real world on her own. The inability to defend herself has eventually deemed her the title ‘pusillanimous.’ Standing timid in front of a NYC post office, she began to ponder her options. If she stood around any longer she could be scolded for loitering. She has a slight hint of amnesia, not being able to remember how she even got to the city. She awoke in a dumpster, feeling like an Ewok.  Tapping her foot she calculated the total amount of change she had hanging in her pocket and how much it would take to board a bus far away from there. She walked away from the post office, taking a sharp left turn into a dark alley. She slammed her back against the old brick building and slid down the wall; clutching at her hair in frustration. Her stomach was twisting into unbearable knots, like a person with severe IBS or someone lactose intolerant. Slowly, she drifted into a deep slumber.
    Like a drum her heart beat with brute force. Tears welled in her icy blue eyes and dripped down her pale heart-shaped face. She opened her eyes to find herself lying in a meadow. Peering around, she saw that the meadow was really an opening; almost like the trees were people at the Olympics watching the runners on the track. These trees made way for the Larkspurs to envelope the large opening in pretty shades of blue, pink and white. She looked down upon her dress, white and tattered. Her skin was pale. Milk white is what most people would categorize It as. Isannah looked up at the sky and noticed the sky growing darker and darker. Just then, she heard the snap of a twig and turned her head quick to the right and gasped. A tall shadow emerged from behind a large oak tree and proceeded to approach her. Swallowing hard she squeezed her eyes shut and clenched fistfuls of her dress.
    “Why so tense?” Isannah slowly opened her eyes and raised her head to gaze at the man standing in front of her.
    “My poplolly.” He whispered softly, kneeling in front of her. He took her face into his hands and gazed into her eyes. His eyes were a soft, light brown and his smile was brighter than the stars in heaven. The moment she locked eyes with this man her heart felt like it was going to explode. Her heart was the bomb and he was the detonator. Her stomach dropped like a funnel protruding from ominous storm clouds.
    “Can…I help you?” She stammered. His face was inches from hers and she could only imagine what came next.
    “This is living proof that you are a jewel.
    A diamond in the sky,  a pearl in the ocean.
    I just love how the gentle breeze ruffles your hair and how the sunlight makes you glow”
    She gazed in confusion then it finally clicked. He kissed her lips softly then murmured without parting,
    “Like that, you kiss the rain.” 

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Isabella: Another super read. I like how you held back some information from us. As Sol Stein says, don’t fill the box to the brim; let your readers do that. I love when that happens…but of course I want to know more. 🙂

      • Isabella says:

        Thank you! So far I’ve done two today and I already went through the archives and picked out some other previous challenges to work on. Thanks for creating such a wonderful page for the public to access and enhance their unique talents!

  17. Sara says:

    Larkspur, vervain, funnel…”
    “That’s fennel, you dolt!” Creep screeched at her husband, Crawl. “Can you not read your own wife’s handwriting?”
    “Of course, poplolly,” the pusillanimous elf murmured. “Are you sure you want me to make you this woodland mudslide, my doe? Last time, it bothered your lactose intolerance, and the ewoks were shoveling–”
    “Yes, yes, you old barmpot! My moon time is near and if I don’t have my clove and hops concoction, I will castrate you with my claw before you can kiss the rain!”
    “Of course, sweet blossom,” Crawl managed.

  18. Kelly says:

    SUMMER, 2000
    Grey-blue larkspurs kiss the rain along the garden path this chilly morning, funnelling me to the back yard to cradle my morning coffee (a touch of sugar, no milk, thanks to my lactose intolerance) among the birds who love my handmade birdfeeders as much as my heart’s work, my flowers, at this time of year. Crass blue jays throw birdseed that doesn’t meet their high standards to the ground, where fat little sparrows, bundled in their brown feathers like ewoks, creep along for an easy feast. Pusillanimous chickadees tread at the edges of one feeder waiting for the jays to finish before taking their daintier meals. My favorite, an Oriole daddy, treks through a daisy-edged mudslide to locate worms for his noisy chicks; like a castrated opera singer, he chirps out to them from below, “Poplolly, Poplolly, back soon.” I’ll miss them when I’m gone.
    With the last sips of coffee, I rise from my stone bench, pick a few naughty bits of clover from inside the east flowerbed’s edge, and head inside to finish packing.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: Great visuals and such a relaxing read. I was just telling my friend today how blue jays, cardinals, and woodpeckers eat the cat food each day on my porch. I had no idea how big woodpeckers are. The breed I see are about a foot long.

      • Kelly says:

        Shane—LOL. Stop feeding the ol’ peckers??
        Oh, and did you stir a memory there—We’ve got a woodpecker who returns each spring to see to it that no one in my complex sleeps past 4:30am ’til July… that ought to be happening just as soon as all this ice melts.   😦

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Kelly: I hate to harm anything needlessly, but those big peckers started banging on my house!!! With all the trees they decided they would try to penetrate my house. I had no other option to use the bb gun. I didn’t hit them, but I got the message across. They have not returned so hopefully the warning was all that’s needed.

          • Kelly says:

            Shane—I’m all for leaving nature alone when possible, after all we’re the ones in their way… but those guys can do some serious damage. My dad left some alone who’d decided his roof was a lovely place to hang out one year—and by the end of the year he had to have most of his chimney replaced. They pecked right through his brickwork. Ay-yi!!

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Kelly: And I usually wouldn’t mind a bird or two nesting, but damn those woodpeckers were huge. They would have made a manhole-sized opening in my roof just to get in and out. 🙂

  19. Clarabela says:

    I has been a while. so I might be a bit rusty.Here goes…

    Despite her lactose intolerance, she quickly gulped a bowl of oatmeal, grabbed the funnel, a shovel and put on her heavy work boots. Running down the muddy hillside to the barn, she could just begin to see the damage the mudslide had caused. Her dogs, Larkspar and Ewok were anxious after the storm and ran along side their master through the open pasture.
    There was serious damage to one of the barn’s walls. The livestock would need to be moved. ‘Would the grain be ruined? Why am I living on a farm anyway? I am  a writer. What made me think I needed to live out here to be more creative?

    She slowed to a walk  for a moment to marvel at the beauty of the farm she had inherited five years ago from her aunt.  Everyone in the family wondered why the old lady had left a farm to their citified cousin. But she knew. She understood. “Poplolly”, her aunt used say, “My little Poplolly, you are the only one who loved this place as much as I do.” Now it was hers and she did love it, even though it was a lot more work that she ever thought it would be. So here she was, five years and two books later standing up to her ankles in mud in her broken down barn. Her third book, Kiss the Rain would soon be finished and she would say good-bye to the country and head towards a more tropical climate.
    These thoughts swirled through her mind as she worked clumsily to move the horses and other animals to a more secure area in the barn. Even though she lived on the farm and worked in the yard surrounding the house; planting flowers and even a small garden, she rarely ventured into the barn. A farm hand had been hired to handle ‘real farming’. The young man did everything, he could castrate a bull, drive a tractor and  he did a fine job of make the farm a profitable venture. But now here she was… alone in the barn.
    Did she see something creep over there in the corner? What is that? Picking up a pitchfork, she walked toward the dark, damp corner of the barn with a pusillanimous caution. She knew better than to poke around in dark corners. Just then…what is that? …. eyes? SNAKE!!!!
    She could still see the beady black eyes of the snake coiled up in the corner of the barn  as she ran up the hill to the house. And she could still remember its slithering body as she packed her suitcase and got into her car headed for civilization and no more snakes.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Clarabela: It’s been over three months! So glad your back though. Wow, you could have been talking about me here. I live on 5.5 acres with two horses. Excellent write. And the black snakes…they live in my basement. Big suckers. 🙂

      • Clarabela says:

        I have a major fear of snakes! I can’t even look at them on TV.  I would have to  sell my house if I ever saw a snake anywhere nearby.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Clarabela: I still have to get under my crawl space and replace the insulation they knocked down. The pieces that are hanging down have big round holes in them where the snakes crawl through. I’m not looking forward to replacing these sheets, but I have to because my kitchen above is freezing to the touch of my feet. My cats kill the small ones, but they stay clear of the real big ones. Found some skins that look like they were 12 feet long.

  20. Avenged in Blood Chronicles Part 53

    There was a radio playing the dark of the basement in accompaniment to the dripping of water. I heard that old ”Kiss the Rain” song. I can’t even remember who sings it. But no matter. I continued to creep along the darkened hallway.
    There was a strange collection of art on the walls. Dried larkspur, an Ewok from Return of the Jedi, and a house sliding down a mountain during a mudslide. The rich can be eclectic.
    I imagined that I was walking into a funnel. I had yet to see anyone and the choices of navigating were as slim as the choices of the lactose intolerant in an ice cream shop.
    Another deep breath. This was not the time to turn into the pusillanimous weakling. I was ready to barge in there and castrate Mueller and his poplolly bodyguards were mine.

  21. Laurie says:

    She is such a poplolly... even if always seeming to be up to a bit of mischief! I went out to find her at the bottom of the hill after an apparent mudslide. I asked her what she was trying to do on top of that muddy hill in the rain. She said well of course I was going to kiss the rain! But that didn’t work so I was wondering if I got a funnel if I could catch enough of it to kiss the rain. It was then that little Harold come by- she had always thought him to be a little creep– she wanted to castrate him as he was always trying to kiss her. But that dog of his was as cute as can be! It looked like an Ewok! Who knew Shitzu’s were the inspiration for the creation of an Ewok! Oh no it peed on the Larkspur! I had to clasp my hand over her mouth to keep her from shouting at Harold. Then I told her she should come in for some milk, and she said if she didn’t kiss the rain she couldn’t have no milk as it would leave her with a lactose intolerance. I laughed at her imagination and told her one could never say she was pusillanimous! Of course she looked at me puzzled and said that didn’t sound like something she wanted to be! She ran over and hugged me and said funnel? I want to kiss the rain!

  22. Aaron Pogue says:

    The First Myth (part 1)
    Addan discovered fire. It floated in the air, angry and red, and when his eyes fell upon it, it spoke to him.
    “A son of man! Poplolly, the day has come at last.”
    Addan shook his head, baffled. He blinked his eyes, squinted, then blinked again. But the thing remained unchanged — a ball of flame a little larger than Addan’s fist, suspended in the air just beyond the edge of the cliff.
    His eyes sank to the edge of the cliff. That was what brought him here. And then he understood. This was some manner of madness, some last gasp of self-preservation meant to castrate his dark resolve. He set his jaw in grim determination, and hauled himself up onto the ledge.
    It had been a treacherous climb, but he could scarce have expected anything else from a prominence known throughout the Keys as the Impossible Cliffs. There had been a spot, two-thirds of the way up — a funnel in the cliff face, that had given him a smooth climb right up until the cool afternoon showers came in from the scene.
    The Addan had nestled in a crook in the cliff face and turned his face up to kiss the rain…but soon he’d learned how the funnel had been carved from the hard stone, when the rain brought a mudslide pounding down the cliff face, and it was all Addan could do to cling on.
    Now, though…now he was at the peak. His clothes were rich and well-made of the local animal fur, his hair a shaggy black, and now that he was dressed all over in the thin patina of mud with only patches of hair and fur showing through, he looked like some sort of over-tall Ewok, crouching their among the scrubby trees and larkspurs that made a home on this high vantage.
    For a moment he rested on his heels, knees bent, catching his breath. Then he rose to his full height, and found the flame waiting right at eye level. A sarcastic smile tugged at his lips, but he ignored it. He looked beyond the flame, out at the vast sea that stretched all the way to forever.
    Then he turned and looked back the way he’d come. The height was dizzying, and from here it gave him a clear view out on the whole of his world — verdant green islands climbing up out of a rich and placid sea, enough in size and number that they would take a young man three years to visit every one of them.
    Three years and seventeen days. Addan knew it for a fact. And, really, he could have gone faster, but he’d lingered in every village the Keys had to offer, listening to their stories. Hoping. And always disappointed.
    There below him was the whole world, and it wasn’t enough. We might think his life was rich and exciting — faced with the daily challenge of survival, battling the ocean’s swells and the fierce panthers that hunted in the night. (How much more interesting than our great enemies: depression and anxiety, lactose intolerance and restless leg syndrome?)
    But to Addan, it was all too small. He’d been everywhere in his world. He’d heard all seven of his people’s stories. He was bored, and desperate, and in a way, he was all alone. Even sitting at his own tribe’s campfire, surrounded by friends and family who loved him, he had felt the need creep over him, and he had known what he must do.
    He shook his head now, and raised his eyes to the flame. His imagination, hoping to make him pusillanimous, but it wouldn’t work. Not now. In a way, this only made it easier. He wanted a world where faerie flame hung in the air and spoke into the minds of men. He wanted a world with more stories than one man could ever count. He wanted a world where heroes climbed the Impossible Cliffs…and learned to fly.
    He took a deep breath. His heart was beating fast now, but it wouldn’t stop him. He shook his head again, tried one last time to blink away the searing image of the flame before him, and then he set his feet. Ten paces across the ledge, and then a thousand paces down to the sea below. He nodded, and sighed, and readied himself to run.

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