Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community

The TUFFest Ride (Part 1 of 5)

Okay, I wasn’t one of the five writers selected by the judges for this TUFFest ride; however I was shortlisted and have been encouraged by Charli to participate… so here goes.


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“We begin the TUFFest Ride with a free-write. You have five days to draft 297 words to the prompt: mudslide. Your technical challenge is to include at least three of the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, sound). This is the story you will revise and rewrite as a final entry throughout TUFF.”


GERONIMO

by

Kelvin M. Knight

‘Mudslides are great. Nothing beats a mudslide!’ 

‘Really?’ Fenton peered over the top of his monitor.

‘Really, darling.’ Dressed like a lemon soufflé, Terri nodded. ‘I want you to enter the mudslide race at the village fete this year.’

The dutiful husband, Fenton got straight to work. First up, mud wrestling videos. He found female mud wrestlers to be particularly educational. The way mud entered every nook and cranny to ensure maximum slide ability.

‘Fascinating.’

Lurking behind Fenton, Terri glowered. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Practice makes perfect.’ He gave Terri that certain toothpaste smile.

‘Practice makes permanent.’ She stomped away.

*

Come fete day, Fenton felt faint. The height of that muddy slide! ’You did this deliberately,’ he grumbled. ‘You know I suffer terribly from vertigo.’

‘You can always wimp out.’ Terri appeared draped over the arm of a mountain of muscles. ‘I know someone who won’t.’

Fenton could see from the dreamy look in his wife’s eyes that she was going gooey inside. ‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall.’

‘The bigger I am, the faster I slide,’ squeaked Mr Muscles.

‘We’ll see.’ Steeling himself, Fenton marched up the stairway, chanting something his Nanna said, ‘Don’t stare up the steps, step up the stairs.’

He peered over the top. The slide plummeted away into a canyon. And this platform was so tiny. Wind buffeted him. Legs trembling, Fenton gripped wobbling handrails. Their coldness did nothing to cool his fevered brow.

‘I can’t do this. I won’t do this.’ Bile rose. He spat the vile taste out.

The pistol cracked. He teetered. Someone tittered. Behind him? Shoved… hard.

Whoosh.

Mud splattered him, swallowed him, spat him out.

‘My hero!’ At the bottom, Terri threw herself at her trembling, spluttering husband. ‘I knew you would conquer your fear!’

(297 words)


After Penny Gadd’s comment in the comment section below, I opted, while still in the 5 day deadline, to fashion a swift re-write of a more important part of the story… creating the story you have just read, above. My original finished and posted version – Revision A – is below so people can see the power and invaluable nature of constructive criticism.


GERONIMO (Rev A)

by

Kelvin M. Knight

‘Mudslides are great. Nothing beats a good mudslide!’ 

‘Really?’ Fenton peered over the top of his monitor.

‘Really, darling.’ Dressed like a lemon soufflé, Terri nodded. ‘I want you to enter the mudslide race at the village fete this year.’

The dutiful husband, Fenton agreed then got straight to work. First up, mud wrestling videos. He found female mud wrestlers to be particularly educational. The way their bodies embraced the mud before embracing one another. The way mud entered every nook and cranny to ensure maximum slide ability.

‘Fascinating.’

Appearing behind Fenton, Terri glowered. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Practice makes perfect.’ He gave Terri that certain toothpaste smile.

‘Practice makes permanent.’ She stomped away.

*

Come fete day, Fenton felt faint. The height of that muddy slide! ’You did this deliberately,’ he bemoaned. ‘You know I suffer terribly from vertigo.’

‘You can always wimp out.’ Terri appeared draped over the arm of a mountain of muscles. ‘I know someone who won’t.’

Fenton could see from the dreamy look in his wife’s eyes that she was going gooey inside. ‘The bigger they are, the harder they fall.’

‘The bigger I am, the faster I slide,’ squeaked Mr Muscles.

‘We’ll see.’ Steeling himself, Fenton marched up the stairway, chanting something his Nanna used to say, ‘Don’t stare up the steps, step up the stairs.’

The platform at the top swayed. Bile rose in Fenton’s throat. He gulped. How he despised that vile taste. He conquered it by smelling the mud, feeling its texture – so earthy, so smooth.

The pistol cracked. He teetered. Someone tittered. He felt himself shoved forward.

Mud, mud, glorious mud. It splattered him, splurged him, swallowed him.

‘My hero!’ At the bottom, Terri threw herself at her coughing, spluttering husband. ‘I knew you would conquer your fear!’

(297 words)

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Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community, flash fiction

THIS HAPPY PLACE

I am munching my way through an anthology, LIFE in a FLASH by Geoff Le Pard (one of the Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s leaders), and I was compelled to pause after reading Geoff’s flash fiction story Happy Place (at 32% – can you tell I am reading the Kindle edition?!). I paused for several reasons. To reflect on the subtleties and nuances of Geoff’s story, and because this was the fourth or fifth in two days when happy places (and Unicorns) had been brought up in conversations I’d had or things I’d read or been shown. Needless to say, the following story of mine just flowed.

I hope, as always, you enjoy my words and storytelling (showing), and it would be lovely if they inspire you to write a story about your Happy Place.


 

THIS HAPPY PLACE

by

Kelvin M. Knight

There’s somewhere I go where the rain doesn’t shine and the sun doesn’t snow. A place where rainbows ripple then fan the sky with colours whose names I do not know but I do know they bring music to my ears.

A song begins, heavenly sounds that make my soul skip, make these unicorns far far away tip, their amazing horns towards me.

Lightning arcs and this circle of friends spark into life around me. Past, present and future friends. Ones I never knew. Friendships I never grew. An ever expanding crowd of them surrounding me, connecting with me, willingly supporting and encouraging me, allowing me to be me as I connect and gladly support and encourage them.

Now I feel set free, whereupon these friends and those unicorns merge into one, someone who raises his head and spreads His arms wide; welcomes me home to myself. My true and authentic self. Once and forever.

(155 words)

Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community

MY LONDON MARATHON

Update on 24/09/18

My story was published in the Carrot Ranch collection for this photo prompt – see Part I – third from the bottom. Many thanks to Charli and all the ranch leaders for corralling this collection together so we might feast our eyes and hearts.


September 13, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes pasta. It can be spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, or any variety. It can be a meal or a work of art. Go where the prompt leads.

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I hope you enjoy my story.


MY LONDON MARATHON

by

Kelvin M. Knight

I squinted through the rain. The other competitors looked comically savage – the way their dyed hair dripped down their faces. These fun runners were out my league. Hugging my bin liner coat, I felt under dressed. I felt under trained. I should have done more. These words were my epitaph.

Still, I eat more than anyone else at the pasta party yesterday evening; those complex carbohydrates would be on my side, along with this pantomime horse, this giant banana, and this woman with a refrigerator chained to her back.

Seeing the BBC camera swing my way, I waved furiously.

(99 words)

Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community

MY LOG CABIN

Update on 17/09/18

My story was published in the Carrot Ranch collection for this photo prompt – see Part II – 1st story.  Many thanks to Charli and all the ranch leaders and all who took part. What an epic collection of 99 word flash fiction.


This weeks flash fiction challenge over at the Carrot Ranch is to write about an epic workplace – real or imagined – in ninety-nine words exactly.

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I hope you enjoy this, my second bite at the cherry.


MY LOG CABIN

by

Kelvin M. Knight

Briefcase in hand, I kiss my wife at the patio door. ‘See you tonight.’

‘Have a great day at work, darling.’

A short stride across our lawn and I am here, where everything’s clean and pine fresh. Varnish shines the floor. An uncluttered desk smiles. There are no pictures, no ornaments. This empty space. This creative space.

Free even from books, those to be read and those to be filled – my precious notebooks.

Relaxing in my chair, I open my briefcase, remove my laptop. Tranquility washes over me. Nodding, I let this blank screen write its story upon me.

(99 words)

Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community

NEW BEGINNINGS

Update on 17/09/18

My story was published in the Carrot Ranch collection for this photo prompt – see Part II – penultimate story.  Many thanks to Charli and all the ranch leaders and all who took part. What an epic collection of 99 word flash fiction.


This weeks flash fiction challenge over at the Carrot Ranch is to write about an epic workplace – real or imagined in ninety-nine words exactly.

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NEW BEGINNINGS

by

Kelvin M. Knight

Blades of grass lifted the stones like they were grains of sand – stones bigger than me. Walking over this grass, I felt as though I were walking on springs – those metallic contraptions Father used to create timepieces – despite time measuring being forbidden.

‘Forbidden yet fantastical.’ These words flowed from a forest whose leaves rose into the sky, over and over, like rippling water.

Ignoring them, I sat crosslegged and thought, Hullo, I’m your new apprentice.

‘I know.’ A man appeared before me brandishing two crystal balls.

‘For me?’

‘For yours. For mine.’ Laying them at my feet, he disappeared.

(99 words)

Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community

SECOND 24 HOUR FREE WRITE -LISTENING

I know, I’m late again. Sorry, Charli. Sorry ranch leaders. This time, I think I have a valid excuse for missing the second of the Carrot Ranch’s excellent 24 hour free writes: I was on a retreat, with no electronic gizmos, not even my trusty pair of headphones. Nevertheless, upon my return from this renewing experience, one of the first things I did was to look and see what the prompt was I had missed.

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Despite one or two false starts yesterday, followed by a story which just didn’t ‘feel’ right, this morning the following story flew from my fingertips. I hope you enjoy my 297 word flash fiction story (words counted using the competition recommended WordCounter.net). Maybe you’ll nip over to the Carrot Ranch and join in with the next themed competition prompt on September 13th.


 

LISTENING

by

Kelvin M. Knight

After supper, Papa told me his favourite watering hole floated beside the tallest mountain, like a boat on an ocean, a boat anchored in place by hope.

When I struggled to get my head around this, Papa drew me a picture. Rainbow silhouettes filled the paper. Along each rainbow strode stick people with butterfly wings. He called these funny folk regulars, ones that loved supping the joy that could be found at the ends of these rainbows.

I told him there was no joy at the end of any rainbow because that’s where Mr Leprechaun hid his pot of gold, and all the gold in Ghana couldn’t buy happiness.

‘That’s true enough,’ replied Papa, ‘which is why my favourite watering hole is at the beginning of these rainbows.’

Colouring these rainbows, I sucked my bottom lip. ‘Does Mr Leprechaun frequent your watering hole, too, Papa?’

‘No, Mr Leprechaun isn’t a regular, he’s the proprietor.’

‘The prop-e-what-or?’

‘The owner.’ Papa ruffled my hair. ‘Mr Leprechaun built this watering hole from the roof down, positioned it at the beginning of these rainbows so he could roll his takings into the pots he’d strategically placed at each rainbows’ end.’

‘Pots and pans.’ Mama glared at Papa. ‘Don’t forget the pans!’

‘Ah, yes, Mr Pan.’ Papa stroked his whiskers. ‘He’s another regular at my favourite watering hole.’ He drew a stickman with horns on his head holding a collection of pipes.

‘You drink with the devil?’

‘His music is devilish, certainly; however, my favourite watering hole is dead boring without his magical tunes.’

‘What tunes, Papa?’ I clapped my hands.

‘No tunes!’ Mama’s voice was a thunderclap. ‘And no singing, Mr Daydreamer, until the dishes are done properly!’

Following Papa into the kitchen, I whispered, ‘Please tell me another tall tale.’

(297 words)

Posted in Carrot Ranch Literary Community

THIS TIME, THIS PLACE

Update on 12/09/18

My story was published in the Carrot Ranch collection for this photo prompt – see Part II – 3rd story.  Many thanks to Charli and all the ranch leaders and all who took part. Cracking stories.


After my slow start on the 24 hour free-write yesterday over at the Carrot Ranch I’ve spent this morning a meandering and a mooching, reading various other ranchers and rancher leaders and decided I was not too late to enter the August 30th themed prompt of bottleneck.

So, here we go… quick as a flash…

Hope you enjoy my la’al flash fiction story.

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THIS TIME, THIS PLACE

by

Kelvin M. Knight

Standing in his pulpit, he regarded one bottleneck after another: his overworked PCC; the cavalier making of tea during the service; the choir grumbling behind him; the organ whimpering far far away.

He prayed silently, swiftly. Upon opening his eyes, he spied a congregation transformed. Now they all looked resplendent in starched white collars, whereas he was a shadow, bloated and distorted, and pinched in so many places: from his wallet to his timesharing; from his patience to his love.

Realising he was more guilty than them, he pondered the complexities of daring to share this truth with them.

(99 words)