Tag Archives: The Mill Fire

Little Curtis, Part 3

Little Curtis, getting up to shenanigans

The loose, rattling knock sounded through the entire three-story farmhouse. For Pete’s sake, thought Betty drying her hands on the dishtowel as she came out of the kitchen to answer it, they’re going to knock that poor screen door right off its hinges! It wouldn’t take much though, she mused: repairing that old rickety screen door had been on Joe’s honey-do list for as long as she could remember. They would likely repair it in time for Little Curtis’ wedding at this rate.

She looked down the hallway at the front door, and tried to make out the figure through the yellowing lace of the window covering. The figure outside was tall and lanky, and bore the slightly stooped silhouette of a life hard-worked, of money hard-earned. She realized with a start that it was her neighbor, Jasper Proctor! She almost didn’t recognize him without the beard he used to sport. Why, he hadn’t come around in…Betty counted the years on her fingers, and when she realized she would need a third hand to properly count the years since old Jasper had trundled over from his cattle farm next door, she gave up. It must have been right after the mill fire that he had last come over. His driveway had been a makeshift fire line for the blaze that had swept the plain, and it still bore the soot deeply: she could always tell which of their long driveways a car was coming down, from the color of the dust it raised. Continue reading Little Curtis, Part 3

Holiday Party Invitation

The deeper I look, the stranger stuff I find. This one’s an old party invitation. No really, this was the only text I included to describe the holiday party I invited friends to. It resulted in some confused guests, tentative RSVPs, and an amazing party. It’s kind of clunky, with some awkward word choices, but I think it would make a fun children’s book…I also keep laughing at how the Mill Fire keeps popping up often in my writing. The stories must all take place in the same universe.


The squirrel padded along the verdant path of needles and leaves. His friend, Hoofy the Clumsy Deer, followed close behind, occasionally tripping on a log or rock protruding from the snow-patched ground.

The squirrel’s name was Carl. “Catch up, Hoofy!” he called over his shoulder. They were already late, and being late made him grouchy. A lot of things made him grouchy since he quit smoking.

“I’m going as fast as I…”, Hoofy’s sentence was cut short by a strangled gasp as he caught his antlers in a low-hanging branch and his gangly legs went flying out from under him. He thrashed for a few seconds, scattering snow everywhere, then went still in defeat, awkwardly suspended from the branch by his antlers. Swaying and bobbing slowly, he sighed. “Um…a little help here?”

Carl snorted through his nose. He considered leaving the young fawn there. Serve him right. Getting caught like that, being careless, when they were already late. Especially today, a few days before Christmas, and on the way to the party! He needed a drink. Continue reading Holiday Party Invitation

Little Curtis, Part 2

The second Little Curtis entry. This one was delivered in message form, since by this time there was a character limit imposed on comments on Facebook.

Another “Little Curtis” entry, written out of genial frustration at my friend Julie. I have a blast writing these.

Little Curtis ran up the back stoop, covered in cornsilk and trouble. “Momma! Momma!” He practically tore the screen door off its rickety hinges when he ran into the kitchen, where Betty was stooped over the sink, snapping beans for that night’s casserole.
“Little Curtis! Feet!” she shot back at him, which shut his caterwauling up but good. He stood there in his dirty Buster Brown boots, which he would probably never, ever remember to wipe clean on the boot brush outside the door as long as he was her son. His upper lip trembled, and he looked about to burst into tears. “But Momma…” he trailed off. Continue reading Little Curtis, Part 2

Little Curtis, Part 1

The genesis of Little Curtis. Department of Social Services, please ignore the comment that my friend makes, that suggests she will marinate her baby in whiskey.

This was a snarky comment I wrote on a social network in response to my friend Jessie. It turned into a favorite serial of mine.

“Momma! Momma!”
“What is it, hon?”
“Come quick, momma! Somethin’ on the Facebooks!”
She entered the room, wiping her hard hands on her threadbare apron, weary and bedraggled. What was Curtis up to now, when he should be shucking corn for supper. She looked around. He was nowhere near his shucking tub, instead, she found him in front of the computer, staring gape-mouthed at the thing. Continue reading Little Curtis, Part 1