Monthly Archives: July 2013

#6WSC 6-Word Story Challenge : Honey


Upon my lips

A honeyed memory

(this very short story will be linked at


#6WSC Six Word Story Challenge – keyword is SHARP

How Sharper Than a Serpent

Fangs sank deep
Parents still loved

Six-word story challenge: Leaves

the idea? write a story in only 6 words – Topic: leaves

#6WSC – will be linked at

Leaves falling Season

Autumn leaves crescendo

Portends winter quiet

Storytime – San Juan Hill

Me and Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill

[writing exercise – keywords:  horse   flag   mango]…

This was hot work.  First we had to fight our way past El Caney as cavalry, and now that we are at the foot of San Juan Hill we find that it’s too steep, and we’ll have to dismount.  Good lord! Cuba is hot enough at any time of year, but now, in July, it’s a furnace.  My uniform is chafing me terribly and sweat is pouring down my body in small rivers.  I’ll be twenty pounds lighter this evening, if I survive the coming charge.

One of our more artistic boys has made us a flag with a big mango on it.  Seems we maybe ate too many of those things and got a reputation as the ‘Mango Boys’, or something like that.  I hope Col. Roosevelt doesn’t mind a little gaiety in the ranks. A fair number of us won’t be going home from this campaign, so maybe some lightheartedness will be permitted.

Now that we’re dismounted, we seem to have lost what little breeze that was afforded us while in the saddle.  We’re hunkered down in the undergrowth, feeding the insects and trying to conserve our water.  The water is almost too hot to drink, but we know better than to try drinking from the streams here.  That doctor who talked to us really scared the boys; lots of alien parasites there, apparently.

Now here comes Col. Roosevelt, still mounted, coming at the gallop, looking like he’s having a bully time of it.  He thunders up before us and jumps down, cigar clamped between his teeth, eyeglasses glinting as he bobs his head in animated discussion with the officers.  I couldn’t hear what he said, but there was a lot of head-bobbing by the officers, and they all started shouting orders.  “Get in line there,” followed by, “Close ranks, form up!” The sergeants are going berserk trying to bring order to this chaotic mass of men.

Finally we get things together and start moving up the slope, Col. Roosevelt right up front.  Bullets are whizzing down at us from the thousand or so Spaniards at the top of the ridge, but he doesn’t flinch, just keeps shouting at us to, “Follow me!”  So, we follow, and follow, slowly making progress up the steep incline.  Occasionally, a fellow on my right or left lets out a mighty shout, or maybe just a surprised groan, as he absorbs the impact of a bullet and then tumbles back downhill. Hard work here, living or dying. Damned hard work.

Occasionally we’d get the chance to fire off a round if one of the Spaniards showed his head, and a chorus of wheezy cheers would go up when we got one of ’em.  Up and up, losing more men, almost wishing to get a wound of some sort to give you a chance to lie down.  You have crazy, horrible thoughts when you’re exhausted.

Not sure how we did it, but at the end of the day we had that ridge cleared of Spanish troops and we were looking down at the city of Santiago.  Only a matter of time now, and we’d throw the boys from Spain outta there.  Wish we hadn’t lost so many boys gettin’ up here. They’d have enjoyed seeing this.

Another writing exercise – Scene from John Wayne western movie


The assignment was to describe a favorite scene from a movie, such that the reader can see it in his mind with some of the clarity as when I saw it.  I chose a street scene from a 1944 western movie “Tall in the Saddle”, with John Wayne, as my favorite scene.  I’ll do my best to describe what happened. You are welcome to leave a comment, either pro or con, regarding my effort.


The scene starts in the office of the Red Rock Stage Depot, with Rocklin (John Wayne) discussing some business with the depot manager.  At this moment, old Dave (Gabby Hayes) bursts into the office to come face to face with Rocklin, saying excitedly, “Rock, George Clews heard what you did to Bob (George’s brother), and he’s in the saloon and is out to get you!”
In a calm voice, Rocklin says, “Tell George I’ll be out in front of the saloon.”
Old Dave, still excited and grinning now, says, “Uh huh, uh huh!” and races out.  To everyone he meets on the street as he runs along, he warns them, “Better clear out, there’s gonna be trouble!”  He arrives at the saloon, pokes his head between the swinging doors and shouts at George Clews, “Rocklin says if you don’t come out, he’s gonna tear you apart!”
Clews sneers and throws a full mug of beer at Dave, who hastily withdraws his head from between the saloon doors. An older man at the bar complains to George, “Hey, did you know that was my beer?”  George puts his hand in the old guy’s face and pushes him down, saying, “Well, if he puts his head in again, I’ll throw you at him!”  He turns back to the bar, saying, “I’m gonna get his ears!”  At this point we see that the bartender is wielding a double-barrel shotgun.  Grimly, the bartender says, “His ears is outside.” George tosses down the rest of his whiskey, telling his brother Bob to pay for the drinks.
Now George is moving somewhat unsteadily across the saloon, heading for the swinging doors, on his way to the street.  From outside the saloon doors, we see him exit, still somewhat unsteady, reaching for a porch column to hold onto. He hikes up his gun belt and, weaving slightly, moves out into the middle of the street and waits.
Now we see Rocklin come out of the stage depot, and he spots George waiting for him.  He does his own sneer, seeing Clew’s unsteady condition.  He strides purposefully  down the middle of the street toward the saloon. He never breaks stride, watching George as the distance diminishes. His face is set, showing little emotion, with a tight jaw and determination showing in his stride and body language.
George Clews is showing no fear at this point, and just waits for Rocklin to do all the walking.  As Rocklin gets within about 30 feet, Clews decides to act, and we see it in his face.  Rocklin sees it too, and, again without breaking stride says, in a low voice, “You touch that gun and I’ll kill you!” Clews freezes.
Rocklin walks right up to him, about a foot away, and says, “You wanted to see me?”
Incensed, Clews screws up his face in a determined grimace, and begins to clumsily draw his gun.  Rocklin draws his own gun, smoothly, and strikes Clews down with a blow to the side of his head, using the barrel of his pistol.  Clews collapses in the street.
As Rocklin starts to walk away, he is accosted by a newly-arrived old biddy from the East, who shouts in his face, “I saw you! You struck that poor man on the head!”
Rocklin replied, “Yes ma’am, just as hard as I could.”

#6WSC Six Word Story Challenge : Commercials

Six word story challenge, from

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