Dear Santa

xmas-tree    Dear Santa,

It was my sister’s fault. Well, she didn’t light the fire. I did that, but there’s no doubt she caused the damage, and she could have stopped it if she hadn’t been running so fast. She’s selfish like that.

The fire wasn’t that big. It charred the front leg of Mommy’s favorite chair. I sat in it, so I know it’s okay. It does smell odd. Mommy says a skunk peed on it. I didn’t see a skunk, so I think she was wrong. Nobody’s noticed the scorched leg on Daddy’s chair. It always smells funny according to Mommy.

This all started in Mrs. Gold’s third-grade class. She showed us how to make candles and told us to make one to celebrate the holidays. Bobbie Schultz said our teacher was Jewish and didn’t like Christmas. I don’t know why she doesn’t like Christmas. For that matter, I don’t know what Jewish is, but Bobbie is smart. He knows the time’s tables all the way to thirteen.

Most kids made candles that looked like Rudolph, Frosty, or an angel. Two kids made pitchforks. They called them mininoras, I think. Zachery made a Navytea scene. It had little farm animals in a circle around a butterfly larva. I asked Zachery if it was a Monarch. He said it was a Baby Jesus. I’d never heard of that kind of butterfly. They probably come from Utah like Zachery.

I think I upset Mrs. Gold. I didn’t mean to. Honest, I didn’t. I made a devil. Mommy wouldn’t let me be a devil for Halloween–I had to wear Sara’s old Princess Jasmine costume. My devil was really cool, Santa. It had goat legs, the body of a man and the head of a bull. The bull horns had wicks in them. It was all red like you are, but not so round. Daddy says it’s not nice to call people fat. I hope round is okay. Anyway, it was sooooo cool. It didn’t stand up very well, so I glued on Popsicle sticks–they looked like snow skis.

Mommy and Daddy went shopping after dinner last night and left Sara and me to protect the house. I put the last ornaments on the Christmas tree, which sat between Mommy and Daddy’s chairs in front of the fireplace. We don’t use the fireplace because it’s anyfishunt. But, we still have a log lighter. I know, because I saw Daddy point it at Mommy like a gun. He said, ‘I’m going to light your fire woman.’ I wonder if I was adopted, sometimes.

Mommy and Daddy would be home soon, and I wanted to surprise them with my devil. I stood on Mommy’s chair to put the devil on the mantle. It looked great next to Grandma’s antique quilt on the wall.

“Sara where is the log lighter?”

She continued texting and mumbled, “On the hearth by Dad’s chair.”

“Thank you,” I said, but she ignored me, like always.

I had to stand on the armrest to reach the devil horns. The first one lit easily. I stretched to reach the second horn. The wick had started to flicker when Sara screamed, “What are you doing?”

I yelped and lost my balance. My hand caught the devil’s skis, and we both fell into the Christmas tree which fell on Sara. She squealed and ran like the wind. I landed on my back and stood up. The devil ignited the tree skirt which exploded in flames that died down quickly after I threw Mommy’s poinsettia plant on it. The ceiling sprinklers helped, too.

I hope you take it easy on Sara. I know this horrible incident was her fault, but she tries hard to be good. Sometimes things just don’t work out for her.

By the way, I’d like a Lego Super Hero High School for Christmas.

Yours most sincerely truly,

Elsie Montgomery, age 7 and 3/4ths.


(c) 2016 David P. Cantrell

Thomas the Thankful Turkey

By: David P. Cantrell

Thomas is a very special bird.

He was hatched like millions of turkeys are each year, but he didn’t have a father like most. He had the research department of FowlTech, Inc. to thank for his paternal DNA.  Wild turkey

FowlTech’s consumer research group had anticipated the Cage Free movement years before the press had coined the phrase.  Consumers living in fancy East Coast lofts and West Coast Mc-Mansions had decided animals slaughtered for their gastric pleasure should live the good life before being consumed. The irony hadn’t been lost on those living between the coasts, but their lack of purchasing power couldn’t stem the sea change that was coming.

The cage-free concept had scared the hell out of the company’s CEO and Board of Directors. They’d spent millions developing the big, immobile domestic turkeys that consumers loved to eat at a low price, but the birds were so stupid they’d starve in a cage free environment unless hand fed. Hand feeding and profits were mutually exclusive in their minds.

FowlTech’s genetic engineers worked on the problem for three years looking for the combination that would produce marketable turkeys in a cage free environment. Thomas and his 99 brothers were the Company’s hope for the future. The birds were loaded on an environmentally controlled trailer and departed the Virginia research center six months after they’d been hatched. It happened to be the third Thursday of November when they left for the Company’s Georgia production farm and a new life.

Thomas never got there.

***

Thomas was a very clever turkey.

Somewhere near Alcolu, South Carolina, on the south bound I-95, the front left tire of the Kenworth T660 hauling Thomas to his new home blew out. The driver did his best to control the big rig but momentum and a two lane bridge left him with few options. His cab made a U-turn when it hit the guardrail and his trailer broke its connection as it rolled into the Pocotaligo River.

Thomas was not only clever, he was very lucky, at least on that day, because the trailer’s roof landed on a boulder that caused the right rear door to fly open. But, that wasn’t the luckiest thing. Thomas’ travel cage flew clear of the trailer and broke open when it hit a partially submerged oak trunk that lay on the bank, which was very lucky, but not the luckiest thing. The luckiest thing was that Thomas understood his peril and escaped the cage before it disappeared in a rush of water.

He scrambled up the trunk and perched on a branch to survey the situation. The trailer sank before his eyes and as far as he could tell none of his travel mates had escaped.

He chose to go upstream. Two hours later he was glad that he had.

The narrow river opened into a five mile wide forest populated by confers and hardwoods. He continued until the stream meandered through a glen surrounded by trees and shrubs. Instinct told him to stop his trek and rest.

The next morning a flock of turkeys led by an impressive gobbler fed on the far side of the glen. Thomas watched the group carefully. He wanted to join them but fear held him back for a while. The big gobbler saw Thomas, just a jake and not a true threat, crossing the glen and halfheartedly challenged him, but let him join the group.

Thomas had a home.

 

Thomas grew to be a spectacular specimen. He looked like most wild turkeys except for his snood, which became iridescent pink when he was excited. The geneticists at FowlTech had suspected the Raven genes added to his genome had done more than increase his heart and lung capacity as intended. They’d been correct. However, a much more significant by product of their manipulations, had been his intelligence.

Thomas found it easy to defeat the other males when the old gobbler died, but it took more to become the alpha male—the hens had the real power in the flock. They found his snood and brains quite attractive and accepted him. He had plans to grab more hens from a neighboring gobbler next spring, however he felt fall was a time to take stock of life, not pester neighbors.

Thomas, perched on a gnarled oak, surveyed his realm and thought of all he had to be thankful for, but more than anything else he gave thanks for bad truck tires, large boulders, fallen oaks, and the intelligence to make a life with his loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving.


© 2015 David P. Cantrell is a contributing member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff

Photo credit: “Gall-dindi” by Riki7 – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gall-dindi.jpg#/media/File:Gall-dindi.jpg

 

 

 

 

A Harsh Place

By: David P. CantrellParker-Lake-2

The patrol had gone well with no signs of intruders or other threats. The snow depth in shadowed places had slowed his progress, but Father was determined and made it home before dawn. He shook off the moisture in the anteroom and moved to the family den.

Mother cuddled the baby. The family mourned the drowning of his twin sister, but Mother couldn’t afford that luxury and devoted her attention to the surviving baby.

They lived in a harsh place.

Harsh it surely was, but it had provided well for the family. The abundance of building materials and food had allowed Father to build a large home in the forest. Some called it a lodge, but he didn’t care what others called it. He had a big family, seven offspring, and only cared that they found comfort within its walls.

The eldest children were capable helpers and had learned their lessons well. They could fend for themselves and would probably leave next spring in search of mates and homes of their own. Things worked that way in the back country. One generation led to the next without fanfare or ceremony. The juveniles and preadolescents would stay a while longer. It pleased him that they would, not only because he needed their help to maintain the homestead, but also because he had things to teach them.

The homestead had grown substantially over the years. They had adequate water now, thanks to the new dam. The first one had been modest by comparison. However, it had served their needs for years. Needs have a way of changing, though, and the dam had to evolve too.

The dam and its reservoir offered them food and protection from the threats of winter, crucial to their survival without doubt, but also a point of pride to Father and Mother, if their maintenance efforts were any indication.

Bears and wolves became desperate as winter approached and had been known to break through a thatched-roof. Father had learned to apply a thick mud-coat to the thatch. It formed a rock-hard barrier once frozen. Nevertheless, if the thick paste was applied too early fall rains would wash it away. On the other hand, if he waited too long the mud would freeze before it could be properly applied. Father understood the predicament and bided his time.

***

The sky stayed clear for several days and the air grew colder in tandem. The pond’s icy slush heralded winter’s arrival. The time to secure the roof had arrived. Over two days the family worked hard to plaster the thatch. Not the baby of course he stayed in the lodge, but Mother checked on him often. The pre-teens played as much as they worked, and Father, or the older children, had to redo most of their work. No one objected because they were learning life skills.

With the thatch finished and adequate supplies in the larder, the family snuggled down for the long cold. The bounty of spring seemed distant, but together they’d survived another year of gathering, and they would all greet the spring to start afresh.

***

The night sky exploded with electric-blue light and the rumble of cannons. The crashing, crushing and exploding booms went on and on. The young ones, frightened by the violent noises, huddled near Mother for succor. Drops fell one here, one there, but each one closer than the last. Soon it was a deluge. The roof mud dissolved within an hour, but runoff filling the stream became the imperative.

The rain stopped. The runoff didn’t, and soon the stream became a torrent. The water probed the dam relentlessly, until it found a weakness and nibbled at the flaw like a squirrel gnawing an acorn for the prize within.

The family did what they had to do, and robbed their winter wood supply, but it wasn’t enough. Father and the two eldest children headed to the woods to fell trees. Big Brother took the lead searching for appropriately sized trees, not an easy task in an old-growth forest. He knew of a stand of quaking aspen that was far from home, but offered the best chance for success. Mother and the other children did what they could to stem the destruction while waiting.

Father returned with enough wood to shore up the dam. He was overwhelmed with fear when he found Mother gone, but he couldn’t succumb to it. They had to stop the leaks. Father ushered the family into the lodge when their task was accomplished. They were frightened and troubled by Mother’s absence, the baby most of all. Big Sister comforted the baby as if he was her own, but she lacked milk. The baby would join his twin.

They lived in a harsh place.

The family rested in the lodge for the day. Father was determined to re-mud the roof before it was too late. Big Sister stayed with the baby while the rest worked hard through the moonlit night. Night was safer. The reservoir’s slush was reforming, but mud could still be made.

***

The bear watched from the shadows, unseen by the preoccupied family. Bears are stealthy when they want to be. And, he wanted to be stealthy—any one of the family would be a good pre-hibernation meal. He carefully closed the gap between them.

The family was nearly done for the day when a warning signal forced them back to the lodge. It was unclear which of them had raised the alarm, probably one of the juveniles playing.

***

Mother had expected danger and prepared for it, but she hadn’t prepared for the log that destroyed her foothold. A lightning flash exposed her young ones for an instant before the current took her. The water was relentless. She bounced and rolled in its froth and wrestled for every breath as the stream carted her to the river. A strong swimmer, she struggled to escape, but the water wouldn’t cooperate until an eddy pushed her to a bank. She had no idea how far she’d come, but she knew the way home—upstream.

The swimming and long walk had tired Mother, and she ached for the comfort of the lodge. Her fatigue vanished at the sight of the bear’s maneuvers. From the far side of the pond the family couldn’t hear her calls. She had to get closer, but fallen trees blocked the path. She climbed a dead trunk and saw the bear getting ready to attack. Having no choice she jumped as far as she could, cleared ten feet of debris, and landed in the pond. Her long tail slapped the water with great force. A reverberation, as loud as a shotgun, warned her family, as she knew it would, and frightened the bear away, as she hoped it would.

***

Father greeted her first, nose to nose, in the anteroom. His one and only mate had returned to him—endorphins flowed. The children waited for her to dry off and enter the family den. They surrounded her, nuzzling, sniffing and nosing her body to express their love as only beavers can do.

They lived in a harsh place, and in a good home full of love and promise.


David P. Cantrell © 2015, all rights reserved. David P. Cantrell is a contributing member of the EWI staff.

The Death of Self-pity

River Bank Trees Wallpaper - wallpaperest.com.This story started as a personal challenge to write a theme prompted short story in 300 words or less. The theme was self-awareness.  My first draft was about 400 words, and the final is 592, which may be a terseness record for me. I don’t really care because I like the story.I hope you do too.

By: David P. Cantrell


“Joey you’re a wonder, you always do what you’re told.” Granny said in her Minnesota-English as I put the empty trash bin under the sink. “And you’re never sassy or angry. You better hurry though, or you’ll be late for school. You’re such a good boy.”

What am I, a dog? I’d kill her, but I love her too much. She doesn’t know me—she knows who I was at eight, I thought. But as usual I said nothing about my feelings and just a sullen goodbye left my mouth as the door closed.

Even Becky Blinker, my best friend until high school, calls me a good boy. What a joke. If I got into her panties I’d show her how bad this good boy could be.

But that will never happen as long as Luke’s around. Luke the Quarterback, like Alexander the Great, someone to admire, someone to worship, I’ll worship him when he’s crucified on his precious goal posts.

Becky stood near my locker when I got to school, apparently waiting for me. “Join us tomorrow. Everybody’s going to River Park to celebrate the championship.” I gawked at her dumbfounded. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I forgot that your parents died there. Please forgive me.”

I don’t care about them—they left me, to be together, I thought, but didn’t dare say it, instead I laughed halfheartedly. “That’s not the problem. I’d go, but my truck’s in the shop.” Thinking the excuse would save me, I turned to walk away, but her voiced stopped me.

“We’ll pick you up in Luke’s new Jeep. Be ready at noon.”

Becky cheerily said howdy as I climbed into the back of Luke’s SUV and mumbled hello in response. He took Route 12 to River Park road. It’s notorious for being narrow, snaky and full of blind spots. None of those attributes slowed Luke’s driving while he boasted of his football scholarship as we entered a shadowy curve. A Toyota materialized out of the half-light; Luke freaked, swerved hard, and rolled us into ten feet of water.

Becky screamed—the sound broke my heart. The Jeep settled on its roof.  “Unbuckle! My window’s open.” I yelled as I escaped. A moment later Becky’s hand appeared through the cloudy water and together we struggled to the riverbank. Becky’s glassy eyes swelled. I felt the fear too and dove back in.

Luke had freed himself from the seat belt but not the Jeep and floated above the roof-liner. He’s a big guy and I had trouble grabbing him, so I pulled on his shirt but he didn’t budge. My lungs were pleading for air, but I couldn’t let him go. I placed my feet on the doorframe and with both hands, latched onto his shirt and pushed with my legs. I could feel the shirt slowly giving way. My lungs were screaming, but I kept at it. Finally the shirt broke free and Luke launched through the window.

I don’t know who took him from me, but Luke survived—we all did. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion, and I sobbed so hard I could barely breathe—my parents hadn’t abandoned me, they’d lost the struggle that we had won.

***

“Miss Blinker, what do you think of your savior, Joey Johansson?” the reporter asked.

“He’s the nicest guy I’ve ever known,” She said staring at me with a beautiful smile.

Nice guy huh? Yeah, I guess I am a nice guy and, to be honest, I like the idea. Plus it sounds much better than good boy.


David P. Cantrell is an author and member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff.

 

The New Day

By: David P. Cantrell
This story is my response to a Picture Prompt Challenge. The image was contributed by Logan Wilt.


Logan MarinaThe water’s slap against the boat’s hull was as gentle as a mother’s pat on her baby’s rump, but it woke Roger anyway. He hadn’t slept well in the boat’s bow-bunk. It had never fit his 6 foot frame, but strangely, it felt smaller alone than it had with Maribel next to him. The world felt smaller since her death. He hoped fulfilling her last request would bring some relief from the pain in his soul.

If only I could be as strong as she had been, he thought.

Maribel had amazed him with her strength and will to live, never showing weakness in his presence. To her, each day was a new day to be celebrated; there were no tomorrows, only new days. He’d known there was pain when the slightest movement brought a grimace with it, and he’d witnessed the consumption of her beautiful body, little by little, but she smiled all the time and found the strength to return his soft kisses.

The doctors had given her a month, three months at the most. Maribel proved them wrong. She’d learned how to prove people wrong during her nineteen years with the Tampa D.A.’s Office. In this case though, it wasn’t proving someone wrong that had driven her, it was her desire to celebrate their eighteenth anniversary on New Year’s Eve.

On the morning of their anniversary he’d served her breakfast in bed as was their custom. She’d nibbled the traditional cinnamon roll but hadn’t been able to eat much; it didn’t matter to her—it was perfect. She’d sent him home at noon, telling him to take a nap and shower before he returned. “Don’t be late. Be here by 7:00 p.m.”

He wasn’t late. During his absence, one of the angels hidden in scrubs dressed her up with a new bandana, penciled eyebrows and a touch of lipstick.

“Hey, Maribel . . . my sweet Maybe. You’re looking good,” Roger said from the doorway.

“Why thank you Dodger. I didn’t think you’d notice me in this glorious setting.”

They’d laughed at their weak jokes, shared soup and sipped a bit of Champagne. They’d talked about sailing and other, more mundane, things but mostly enjoyed their time together and avoided what they knew would happen soon. Maybe had dozed off from time-to-time, but was awake when New York’s Crystal Ball counted down the year’s end. They’d kissed to celebrate the moment. “I’m tired Dodger. I’ll see you in the new day,” Maybe said and closed her eyes—fifteen minutes later she died.

Roger had sat in the chair near her bed, sobbing softly into his hands while the medical staff did their job. One of the angels, Jennifer, took his arm, walked him to the waiting room, and sat with him until he’d recovered his composure. He’d thanked her for her kindness and stood to leave, but she’d stopped him.

“May I ask you a question, Mr. Montrose?”

“Of course.”

“Why did you call her Maybe? We all call, I mean called, her Maribel. Oh, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you.”

“Jennifer you’re not a bother,” Roger said. He smiled as he shared the story of their intimate pet names and the night mutual friends had invited them to a la-di-da party thrown for a Tampa politico. Roger had snuck down to the marina below the politico’s mansion to admire the boats. Unbeknownst to Maribel’s escort, she had done the same. He saw her holding a tell-tail red glass from the party ogling a 30 foot sloop and approached her carefully in the dim light, not wishing to frighten her.

Brandishing a glass like hers, he’d said, “May I have your name?”

Startled, she turned toward his deep voice and was struck by his unassuming smile and the playful twinkle in his eyes. “Maybe, if you don’t dodge the same question?”

“Nice to meet you, Maybe. I’m Roger Montrose, and I’m not a dodger.”

 

Roger had planned to arrive much earlier in order to make the Duck Key house livable after being boarded up for the winter, but mechanical problems with his plane had delayed the Tampa departure. By the time he landed it was dark and too late to deal with the house, so he slept on his boat, the Beautiful Sea Star.

Roger drank coffee and ate dry cereal while half-heartedly listening to the weather report. He heard mid-seventies and partly cloudy but wasn’t really paying attention, he was focused on his own misery, and missed the chance of thunder storms resulting from a fastmoving storm east of the Bahama’s.

He and Maybe had planned to sail the Gulf Stream to Norway when she retired, but death had come too soon. Roger promised to send her ashes where her body would never go. He sailed east from Duck Key looking for the color change that marked the great current to keep his promise.

At forty miles out, the sea color darkened, but so did the sky. Conditions were deteriorating quickly so he went into the galley for the urn. Out of habit, he hooked up his life-line before he leaned over the side to disburse her ashes. It was good that he had, because a rouge wave hit at the same time.

The wave stripped the urn from his hands and slammed his head against the gunwale. He felt no pain but was blinded by an iridescent white light and thought, it’s the new day, Maybe, as he sunk. “No! It’s not the new day. Kick! You can do it. You have much to accomplish. I’ll be waiting when your new day comes.” Maybe’s voice filled his head and drove him to clear the surface.

The sea calmed as quickly as it had angered but the current had the boat in its grasp and Roger in its wake. His only option was to pull himself to the boat’s stern ladder. Without pitons or toeholds he faced a horizontal climb as challenging as any vertical climb offered by Yosemite’s Half Dome. His head ached more than he thought possible but he pulled himself, hand-over-hand, and slowly closed the long gap. His fingers trembled and biceps ached. When he could go no further, he thought of Maybe’s struggle and found the will to push on.

Maybe’s voice was as clear as day when he breached the stern. “Well done Dodger.”

***

Life is full of tragedies. Some survivors are consumed by the wrong they think was done to them. They blame God, the government or the poor schlep that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Roger came close to succumbing to self-pity too, but something pulled him back. Whether it was Maybe’s spirit or God talking through it, he never knew and never cared. What he knew and cared about was that Maybe’s life and death should be honored and he dedicated his life to that purpose. He felt blessed to have the opportunity and promised to never cry over her death again. But, he never watched the Crystal ball drop again either—some promises shouldn’t be challenged.


David P. Cantrell is an author and a member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff.

The Shot

 

By: David P. Cantrell
This story is my response to a Picture Prompt Challenge. The image was contributed by Coleby Wilt.


 

Coleby Wilt GolfJason had secretly walked the course a dozen times to find the perfect spot, but it had eluded him so far. He had been forced to reconnoiter on moonlit nights, when security was minimal. He told himself tonight was the night and then climbed the fence near the thirteenth green, just after moonrise. It had to be, because the tournament started the next day.

Six hours later, Jason stood on the eighteenth tee cursing the clouds that had blinded him for much of the night. Suddenly the clouds cleared and a moonbeam revealed an ancient oak that everybody called Ike’s Oak. God had lifted the curse—he’d found his perch.

* * *

Tommy Johnson, a tall Swede from Minnesota, had had a rocky career in the PGA. He’d never won a major, and, at 48, was running out of time. This would be his last chance unless he finished in the top ten, otherwise he’d lose his tour card again and that would be his end. He didn’t have the fight to recover it a second time. The first time nearly destroyed him.

The spiral started at 39 when his wife of twenty years slept with his coach and mentor. Drink and self-pity destroyed his golf career and life. His nineteen year old daughter, Alicia, saved him, although he had never told her. Her faith in him, and her consistent love provided the handholds he needed to climb out of the abyss.

Tommy couldn’t believe it. He walked to the first tee on Sunday as a real contender, only three strokes behind the leader. It had never happened before, and it would never happen again. Strangely, he wasn’t nervous or even excited. He was pleased, more than that, he was joyful. Sundays were notorious for destroying golfer’s dreams, but his wouldn’t be ruined—Alicia was in the gallery and would be cheering for him.

* * *

The time had finally come for Jason McConnell. In a matter of hours the world would know his name, and his power—he’d never be called worthless again by his self-righteous father, the Reverend McConnell. The Reverend had taught Jason to take a beating like a man and kill like a predator in Georgia’s backwoods.  He had learned the lessons well and built a blind that would keep him hidden, fifty feet above ground. It gave him a perfect view of the eighteenth tee and green. He settled in and slept until the sun and the voices of TV crews woke him at 6:00 a.m. He ate jerky, drank some water and waited for the final round to begin.

* * *

 “Bubba Thompson, we’re witnessing an historic moment this afternoon,” Roger Casper whispered to the microphone, although Tommy Johnson stood more than three hundred yards away on the eighteenth tee.

“I agree Roger. Tommy just needs a par to break the course record of 63 and to tie the tournament record of 270. Tommy’s troubled past brings drama to this moment without doubt, but he also faces a tough hole. It’s four hundred yards with a severe dog-leg to the left 310 yards from the tee. It’s only 90 yards to the green’s center from the dogleg’s sweat-spot, but if his tee shot is long he’ll be trapped by a thick layer of leaves under Ike’s Oak, as we’ve seen several times this week. A thicket of trees guard the left edge of the fairway and a long water hazard, plus a steep slope, protects the green from any attempt to cut-the-corner.”

“I saw you cut-the-corner once Bubba. Will he try it?”

“He’s leading by two shots. It would be suicide to attempt it, Roger. It’s 328 yards from the tee to the green’s center and the ball has to have enough back-spin to stay on the green. A small rise behind the green might help, but if the ball goes over the crest, it’s out of bounds. By the way, you didn’t see me cut the corner Roger. My ball hit the slope and went scuba diving.”

* * *

Jason had been watching the match on his cell phone using earbuds to hide the sound. He could care less about the rich man’s game, but found himself drawn to the drama as the underdog, Tommy, made birdie after birdie while the rest of the field fell apart. God had given him the ideal sacrificial lamb. It was a long shot, but he would pull it off. He loaded the high-powered round and turned off the safety.  He’d fire after Tommy swung his club.

* * *

Tommy surveyed the world from his perch on the eighteenth tee. He heard a roar from the gallery around the green and assumed someone had made a good putt, but the green was empty. They were roaring for him. He shivered. He knew what he should do and moved to get his club.

* * *

 “I’m told he took his four-wood. Why would he do that, Bubba?”

“I can’t believe it Roger. He’s going to cut the corner. This is amazing. I can’t believe I’m witnessing it.”

* * *

Tommy held the club and studied his target, and thought about his daughter. This is for you Alicia. Your love for a lost cause brought me to this improbable moment. This is the last hole I’ll ever play as a pro, whether I make it or not doesn’t matter.  I love you, and thank you for saving me. He made the shot.

* * *

Jason couldn’t help it. He had to know what had happen to the ball. The excited announcer described its path. “It has the loft to carry the water Bubba, but can it stay on the green? Yes it can. This is phenomenal, but will it go out of bounds. Good heavens it stopped just short of the crest and is rolling to the green. What a golf shot. Wait, it’s still rolling. Good God it went in, a hole in one.” Jason was stunned, but he recovered quickly. He raised his rifle, aimed it carefully, and took the shot.


David P. Cantrell is an author and a member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff.

Drake’s Challenge

By David P. Cantrell
This story is my response to a Picture Prompt Challenge. The image was contributed by Lori Brooks.


“Drake, please keep up.”Lori Brooks Ducks 2

“I don’t want to go Momma. I like our home.”

“I know son, but it isn’t safe anymore. You saw the cat on the ledge over our nest. You should thank the heavens that your father frightened it away. You’re the firstling and must be brave. Do you want one of your nest mates to be eaten?”

“No Momma, but there are too many big and scary creatures around us, I’m afraid.”

“They are big, but don’t think of them as scary. They won’t eat us.”

“They don’t eat. That’s too weird Momma.”

“No son, they eat, I’ve seen it, but they don’t kill our kind as far as I know.”

“What do they kill Momma?”

“Nothing as far as I can tell, they display before one of their own kind and receive food in return. I think it’s food because they put it between their beaks and squish it several times before moving on to some unknown purpose.”

“Ooh, that’s gross Momma. Are they eating each other’s droppings?”

“I don’t think so, but I agree the ceremony is very strange.”

“Where are we going Momma?”

“Your father found a large pond for us and we are joining him there.”

“What’s a pond Momma?”

“Oh, they are beautiful places, Drake. I met your father at one. There is water to swim in and lots of food just waiting to be eaten.”

“What is water Momma?”

Momma stumbled. How do I explain water to my babies she thought. “Children, do you remember the day that the sky turned dark and thunder rumbled, frightening all of you?”

“Yes Momma they answered together.”

“Do you remember the cold drops that merged with your feathers?”

“Yes Momma.”

“Do you remember how good those drops felt?”

“Yes Momma.”

“We are going to a place made of those drops. A place your father found for us and the big creatures won’t stop us. They may even help us.”

And, they did. A police officer stopped traffic in both directions when he saw Momma leading her children across Fifth Avenue. Drake kept them in line from the rear, it was his duty as the firstling. The troop climbed over a rise and heard Father’s call. Momma responded and they hurried to their new home in Central Park Lake.


David P. Cantrell is an author and a member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff.