Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is a Drabble?

According to "A drabble is an extremely short work of fiction exactly one hundred words in length, although the term is often incorrectly used to indicate a short story of fewer than 1000 words. The purpose of the drabble is brevity and to test the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in an extremely confined space."

Here are some examples of drabbles written by me. The 100 words are as counted by MS Word, which is what we used in our drabble contests.

A Final Act of Love

Every morning, for 14 years, Patches ran around the outside of the house three times. This morning she threw herself into the activity until she was just a brown streak but after her run, she fell to the ground. Her eyes were unfocused and she seemed disoriented. She struggled to get up but each time she collapsed.
Sadly, Mary picked her up and took her to the vet. As the vet injected the shot, Mary sobbed. Although she knew there was nothing more she could do for her old and loyal friend, she felt like she was betraying a trust.

A Perfect Property Except . . .

On a Sunday morning drive we noticed a scenic property with an octagon barn and an octagon house.
My heart leapt when I noticed the For Sale sign. It would be a perfect Bed and Breakfast.
We pulled the brass knocker on the substantial wooden door. Upon entering we fell in love with the spiral staircase, leading to a massive master bedroom with a romantic balcony.
We went to lunch to discuss our offer. One of the restaurant’s customers overheard us. “My octogenarian grandfather hung himself in that barn.”
We told the Realtor we’d decided to look for another property.

The Eyes of Texas

An anonymous source at eBay reported a moldy bread auction that ended today with a $100,000 bid. The mold is shaped like the state of Texas.
The seller, Norma owns Paint, the horse half of the sensational llama and horse team of private investigators known as Flickertail & Paint. Flickertail and Paint are the heroes of a series of children’s’ stories including such favorites as Flickertail & Paint in Scotland, Flickertail & Paint in Ireland, The Christmas Caper, and The Missing Pigtails
Disclaimer: Since mold grows, the winning bidder is not guaranteed a Texas shaped mold upon receiving the bread.

If Only

I’d been thinking, if only we had bought the Italianate in the country that we both loved so much, our dreams of a Bed & Breakfast and llama ranch would have been fulfilled and I wouldn’t be sitting here now wondering what if.
Instead, I would be keeping rooms cleaned, bedding fresh, and llamas fed. I’d be meeting new friends and having fun planning and making delicious breakfasts. I’d be getting fresh flowers from the gardens for the guest rooms.
On a whim, I drove past the place today. It’s been torn down to make room for a new highway.

Jeff’s and Katy’s Secret

The floating log didn’t protect Jeff from the debris battering his weakening body. As he was about to lose his grip, it lodged against temporarily stationary debris. Jeff pulled his body onto the shore. Looking for shelter, he found a teddy bear. He curled up against it and fell asleep.
Jeff awakened to the sound of crying. He followed the sound and dropped the bear by the girl’s feet. “Fuzzy!” Katy hugged Jeff. For the next few days Jeff and Katy shared food and warmth. Rescuers found them snuggled together, asleep. “Is this your dog?” Katy winked at Jeff. “Yes.”

The Dress

Her dad was so proud of the dress when he brought it home for her.
She was invited to the prom but, tearfully, she said no. She knew her dad couldn’t afford to buy a gown and she had no mother to make one for her.
“I’ll see what I can do. You shouldn’t miss your prom.” Her dad hugged her.
By the time he earned the gown for her, the boy had asked someone else. She went alone and no one danced with her. She went home crying. And her dad held her in his arms and they danced.

The Super Bowl, According to Dogs

“What a boring football game! Lots of goodies on the coffee table. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?’
“I’m thinking of snatching that sausage and running for a touch down.”
“OK, go for it and I’ll block for you to stall them. “
“I’ll grab it when they least expect it.”
“Quick, they’re preoccupied right now by the Budweiser ad.”
“Oh, no, she saw you grab it. Look out, he‘s trying to tackle you. Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. Head for the kitchen and save half for me.”
“Oh, was I supposed to share?”
“Brat! Next time you block.”

For fun, give it a try.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flickertail & Paint in the Halloween Party

“Have you decided what kind of a costume you will wear to Mary’s and Tom’s Halloween Party?’ The barnyard was abuzz with the animals’ party plans.
Since G.G. stood for Grey Ghost, she thought it would be appropriate for her to wear a ghost costume but in grey rather than the traditional white. Everyone agreed she would be really scary. She would blend in with the shadows and with her soft cat-feet no one would hear her sneak up on them. She could get so close she could tickle them with her whiskers and purr or meow. “You can bet that’ll make most of the guests scream,” said William, the Turkey.
“Are you going as a turkey?” asked G.G.
“No, too dangerous. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I thought I’d go as a huge rat. Nobody’d eat a rat for Thanksgiving.”
“I would.” G.G. licked her mouth.
“You can’t go as a rat. I’m going as a rat,” said Rollie.
“What kind of a disguise is that? You ARE a rat,” said William.
“Exactly, nobody would ever think I’d go as myself.”
“Your odor will give you away.” G.G. grinned like the Cheshire Cat.
“Are you implying that I stink like a dirty rat?”
“You smell like food to me.”
“Everything smells like food to you.”
“Are you calling me a fat Cat, you bozo! Maybe you should go as a clown, Rollie.”
“Has anyone heard what the house dogs, Cookie and Coco are going as?” asked Paint the Horse.
“Probably humans,” giggled Rollie. “Mary and Tom treat them like human babies.”
“I heard Randy, the Ram and Sheila, the Sheep are going as a couple,” gossiped Gladys, the Goose.
“A couple of what?” asked Rollie.
“She’s going as Little Red Riding Hood and he’s going to dress as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“Are you going as Mother Goose?” quipped Rollie.
“Why not? I heard Carla the Cow is going as a bull.”
“Hey Flickertail, are you going as a wooly bully? Or maybe the Dali Lama? Oh, I know. I’ll bet you’re going as a Ramma Ramma Ding Dong.” Rollie rolled on the ground with laughter.
Flickertail laughed too. “Maybe I’ll go as a Bahama Llama,” he said.
“You and Paint should go as Sherlock and Dr. Watson,” suggested G.G.
Flickertail shook his head. “Too elementary.”
“What about Poirot and Captain Hastings?” said G.G.
“I rather liked Mrs. Oliver in Halloween Party,” exclaimed Henrietta, the Hen. “If you two go as Poirot and Hastings, I’ll be Mrs. Oliver.”
“What a clever idea!” said Paint. “We could all dress as characters from Halloween Party and reenact it.”
“Who wants to be the teenaged girl who was drowned while she was bobbing for apples in a house called The Apples, because she claimed she saw a murder?”
“Oooh me. I’ll be Joyce,” G.G. volunteered.
“Hastings wasn’t in Halloween Party,” Flickertail pointed out. “You’ll have to be Superintendent Spence, Paint.”
“No problem,” agreed Paint.
“I’ll be Leopold Reynolds, Joyce’s brother, who was also murdered when he tried to blackmail the killer,” said William the Turkey.
“I want to be Olga. I get to inherit Mrs. Llwellyn Smyth’s money when she adds a codicil and disinherits the Drakes,” said Gladys the Goose.
“You do recall that Olga’s goose is cooked and she never gets to see any of that money, right?” G.G. reminded her.
“I’ll be the forger, Lesley Ferrier, who tries to make it look like Olga forged the codicil,” said Frank the Ferret.”
“I’ll be Rowena Drake,” said Mallory the Duck. “At least, I’ll be one of the few main characters who isn’t killed.”
“I’ll be Michael Garfield. I get to create a magical sunken garden. I’ve always wanted to do something creative with dirt.” Rollie laughed manically.
“You are a dirty rat, after all.” G.G. shook her head. “I knew it.”
“Is everyone willing to take the time to rehearse until Halloween?” asked Flickertail.
Everyone agreed and the barnyard was full of props, apples, and animals for the next several days. They all busied themselves building backdrops, while Mary and Tom tried to guess what they were up to. When Mary finally asked Flickertail, he just smiled and said, “You’ll see.”
There was much excitement in the barnyard the night of the Halloween Party. Every animal, including Cookie and Coco, had roles in the play. None of the humans knew what to expect, but afterward everyone in attendance agreed it was a Halloween Party they would never forget.
Mary made a comment about how many of the characters “bought the farm.” Almost everyone decided to stay away from apples for awhile.
And like Mrs. Oliver, many adopted dates as their new favorite snack, at least temporarily.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flickertail & Paint, Nobel Peace Prize Candidates

Flickertail the llama & Paint the horse should win a Nobel Prize. They are peace keepers and peace lovers. They understand the value of teamwork, love, and friendship. They teach morality, history, and geography. They believe in helping others however they can. I think I will nominate them as candidates for next year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Flickertail & Paint, Barnyard Sleuths by Mary Russel

Flickertail & Paint, Barnyard Sleuths by Mary Russel has been accepted by a publisher and will be available soon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Flickertail & Paint Have a Garage Sale

“Mary and Tom mentioned going to a yard sale today,” said Flickertail, the llama.
“Why would anyone sell their yard? How would you get it home?” asked Paint, the horse.
“No, it’s supposed to be a way of getting stuff you want or need at bargain prices and for people to get rid of stuff they no longer want.”
“Sounds like a great idea. We should have a barnyard sale.”
“OK. I have some llama beans for fertilizer. Phewww, I’ll be glad to get rid of that. We can sell it at bargain prices.”
“Here’s some old straw hats. You don’t need those, do you?”
“No, put 10 cents on each of them.”
“What about these pitch forks, shovels, tack, and blankets?”
“We’d better not sell any of those. Mary might get mad. She still uses them.”
“You’ve been talking about wanting a new laptop. This would be a good chance to sell your old one.”
“Right. Put a hundred on that.”
“What about this hideous and itchy horsehair couch? Furniture should never be covered in horsehair. It belongs on horses.”
“I never did like that thing. Mary must not like it either since she stuck it out here. We’ll put $50 on it. Oh here’s some llama wool sweaters, coats, scarves, blankets, toys, and other stuff Mary’s been meaning to sell. We can help her out with those.”
When they had everything priced and displayed in the barnyard they put up a sign.
By noon they had only sold one straw hat for a nickel and G.G., the cat had borrowed $20 from Flickertail to go to the sale down the road.
They broke for lunch in the barn and put William, the turkey in charge of the sale. When they entered the barn there were strangers in the tack room trying on the llama wool clothing. Another stranger was drinking the last of the soda Mary and Tom stored in the barn’s refrigerator. Someone offered $500 for the used truck Mary had just bought for $5,000. Flickertail told him to go away.
When they finished their lunch and went back outside to relieve William, he was excited to tell them he had sold the shovel, pitchfork, feed, and hay for 50 cents. Horrified, Flickertail said “None of that was for sale.”
“Oh, I wondered why there were no price tags.”
At that point Paint noticed Mary’s new bicycle was missing and mentioned it to Flickertail. “Oh, William! PLEASE don’t tell me you sold Mary’s bike.”
“The neighbor kid is trying it out.”
About an hour later the neighbor’s husband from the garage sale down the road dropped by. “I’ll bet my wife would love that horsehair couch. I’ll give you $15 for it.”
Discouraged by the slow sales, Flickertail said, “Sold!”
A half hour later the neighbor came back with the antique couch. “My wife hates it.”
“Sorry, all sales are final.”
The neighbor took the couch back home.
At the end of the day, Flickertail and Paint tallied the total sales at $16.
G.G. came back from the neighbor’s yard sale. “Look what I bought!” she said triumphantly as the neighbor pulled into the yard with his truck. He dropped off the horsehair couch. “And I only paid $20 for it!”

Friday, October 2, 2009

Flickertail & Paint in the Missing Keys

Flickertail and Paint were relaxing in the barnyard under the shade of the apple tree. They were each enjoying an apple when they heard Mary calling frantically. “Flickertail, help. I lost my car keys.”
Flickertail looked inside the car while Paint checked the ground outside. Mary’s anxiety was growing as she was running late for an appointment.
“Sit down, relax.” Flickertail led her to a bench by the picnic table. “You aren’t going to find them any faster by panicking.”
“Take deep breaths.” Paint suggested. “Now close your eyes and remember the last time you saw your keys. What were you wearing?”
“It was warm like today. I was wearing my jean shorts and a tank top.”
“Check the pockets of your shorts,” said Flickertail.
Mary went into the house and checked. “Not there,” she said as she came back outside.
“Were you carrying anything?” asked Paint
“I already checked my purse.”
“Were you carrying anything else? Maybe packages or groceries?” prompted Flickertail.
“Groceries. I already unpacked them and put them away.”
“Go shake out the bags.”
Mary was getting frustrated again but she did as Flickertail suggested.
“OK, sit down again and relax.”
“I’m already late.”
“Flickertail handed her his cell phone. “Call and explain. You can reschedule. People lose keys all of the time. They’ll understand.”
Mary rescheduled for the next morning.
“Do you have a place where you usually put your keys?” Paint asked.
“In the glass bowl in the hallway as I enter the side door.”
“Did you use the back door since you had groceries? It’s closer to the kitchen,” said Flickertail.
“Oh my, yes I did. Now I can remember dropping them on the counter with the bags of groceries.”
“Do you mind if we come inside and help you check the counter, cupboards, and floor?”
Mary held the back door open as they entered.
Paint checked the back stairs, a ledge, and the kitchen floor while Mary and Flickertail checked the counter first and then the cupboards. After several minutes Flickertail said, “Well, we checked everything with no luck. When did you get groceries?”
“Yesterday afternoon.”
“I’m sure I saw your car leave last night.”
“Oh, that’s right Tom took it. It was parked in back of the truck and he didn’t feel like moving it to get the truck, so he just used my car.”
Mary picked up the phone to call Tom. When she hung up the phone she was shaking her head. She walked over to the laundry basket, reached in and took out the jeans Tom had been wearing. She checked his pockets and there were the keys.
“Get an extra key made right away and keep it in your purse so you always have it on you. It comes in handy if you lock your keys in your car too.”
Later that day Flickertail and Paint presented Mary with a small package. She opened it and laughed. Then she hugged her animal friends. “We thought about getting you a key finder that responds to a whistle but Flickertail said you can’t whistle so this one works when you clap.”

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Flickertail & Paint in the Pigtail Caper

The Hairy Hogs were jealous of Wilma's Pigtails and had been planning to steal them for sometime now. "Tonight is the night," Head Hog chortled.

While Wilma soundly slept they clipped one pigtail but just as they were about to cut the other she rolled over onto it. Not wanting to risk awakening her they decided to wait for another opportunity.

They high tailed it out of there before she awoke completely just in time to hear her scream as she looked in the mirror.

Running in the snow was difficult and as one of them tripped and fell into the others the pigtail was dropped in the snow leaving a track. They quickly ran into the surrounding woods to hide when Peggy Pig noticed a Flying Cow from the Super Speedy Flying Cow Delivery Service overhead. "Can you fly this to our secret island in the Bahamas?" "Of course, it'll be there first thing tomorrow morning," promised the cow.

"You idiot," snorted Head Hog. "She's employed by Wilma."

"I thought the Flying Cows were independent cowtractors," said Peggy Pig.

As Carla Cow flew with the precious pigtail she passed over Rita's Bull with the cell phone in his ear. Carla accidentally dropped the pigtail without realizing that she did so. The pigtail attached itself to the cell phone's antenna. Billy Bull shook and shook his head but could not dislodge the pigtail.

Meanwhile Flickertail and Paint had been called to solve the case of the missing pigtail and had discovered the pigtail track and pig hoof tracks. "The hoof tracks backtrack here," Paint pointed out.

"Why do you supposed they stopped there and turned around? Maybe the pigs hid the pigtail in the tree there." Flickertail searched the tree while Paint pawed at the ground.

Carla Cow returned while they were searching. "What are you looking for?"

"Wilma's Pigtail has been snatched," they explained.

"I know, I have it right here." Carla's triumphant look quickly turned to concern as she realized she no longer had the pigtail. "Oh no, I must have dropped it somewhere."

"Draw us a map of your route."

Flickertail & Paint asked everyone they saw along the route if anyone had spied an erstwhile pigtail but nobody had. Eventually they made their way to Billy Bull where they couldn't miss the pigtail still hanging from his cell phone. After they explained the situation to Billy, he cheerfully parted with the pigtail.

Flickertail and Paint proceeded to Wilma's where they returned the pigtail only to discover that Wilma had decided to cut off her other pigtail so that her hair wouldn't look lopsided.

Being a compassionate person, she donated both pigtails to tailless pigs.

Flickertail and Paint had the Hairy Hogs arrested and Peggy Pig squealed on her cohorts.

After Wilma saw how lovely she looked in her new shorter hairstyle she decided not to press charges.