How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle – Week 26


Check out the originator of this challenge at

The rules are easy:

  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story,put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

~ * ~

This week’s prompt:  Head

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

* * *

Grandpa Jones

The house looked more tired than a couple years earlier when I’d last driven past. I braked, tumbled out of the car and gawked. My feet plodded across the gravel country road as if drawn by a magnet.

Angry shouts rang out. Hands hammered bare wood. The racket rose from the old house across the road. I broke into a run. Old Grandpa Jones still occupied the hovel, a well-shared joke in the county, though no-one had seen Grandma in years.

It turned out Grandpa wanted out and pushed on the front door knob but it wouldn’t budge. He cussed and kicked without success. For one thing the door opened inward and he pushed out. It was also warped more than ever since the recent rain; the only door in or out of the house.

“Let me outta here. Let me out.” A gummy voice bawled inside. Open palms slapped the door.

“Calm down, old man. Step away from the door.” I expected it to crumble from the blows on the other side, but it held fast. “Stand clear. I’ll put a shoulder to it.”

The quiet on the other side yawned loud.

The warped door groaned but didn’t shift a sliver in its frame, yet I felt rather than heard disintegration within where my shoulder encountered the wood and pitched me forward. Ow. that hurt. I folded over my knees to catch my breath and regroup. Overhead, the door shattered as a chair seat bulged through a hole inches from my face. The chair yanked out, rheumy eyes stared at me through the splintered gap.

No-one knew Grandpa’s age, but for a reedy fellow with a bedraggled beard, greasy white hair and no teeth, he appeared strong and tenacious.

“I guess you didn’t need my help after all.” I had to talk though I’m a man of few words.

“I can’t get out through this here hole. Get my axe in the woodshed.” He pointed a thickened, yellow nail to the left. “Move along young man. That-a-way.”

I took one last look at what one might call his abode with kindness. I wondered what held the wood fibers together and conjured up spider spit and dirt. The weary shack had no business standing at all.

I spun round and gave the house another gander. The structure had sunk lop-sided and cockeyed. No-one had seen it happen, but I heard talk the recent hard rains were responsible for the slippage of a lot of the old properties. It’s a wonder the wind hadn’t shoved once too hard leaving a confusion of dried kindling strewn about, yet it had hung on like a drunk weaving in the elements, loose and somewhat upright.

“Stop gaping, young man. Action gets the job done. Move it.” My face burned. The old man’s impatience took me back to childhood days when everything I did was open to criticism. I forced myself forward and rushed back with an ancient, rusted axe.

“Stand back,” I said.

Grandpa Jones had other plans. “Give it to me, handle first. It’s my house and I’ll wreck it any way I must.”

I learned something that day. You can’t judge any exterior by appearance or your pea brain idea of it, man or structure. I also experienced the shock of my life.

Grandpa Jones axed the door. His vigorous thrusts shook the house to quivering. Each lunge of the axe sent the house lower, the mud still fresh from the latest rain. He’d demanded I leave with no thank you, but I sat in my car instead and watched. Why, I will never know. I laughed and laughed—thought I’d lost my head. And then, it happened.

Noise to my ears rather than pleasure, birds and crickets sounded louder and busier. I hadn’t noticed them earlier. Though mid- morning, the temperature had shot upwards. I whipped out my trusted hanky to dry my forehead and had already removed my suit jacket. The crack of the axe continued. Ticked by the old man’s ingratitude, I started the engine. I glanced back one last time. A groan and rumble stopped me. The outdated shelter collapsed, tumbling into itself. My heart plunged. Stupid old man.

I rushed towards the house.

Please don’t let the old man die.

* * *

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

48 thoughts on “#BlogBattle – Week 26

  1. Tess what a wonderfully written story to come back to. You create such imagery within your stories. You capture the reader with your imagination, well done lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I may have said this before, but it’s worth saying again, so glad to have you back here blogging, Tess. :0
    Another excellent submission to BlogBattle, you actually make me think of trying this. 🙂
    Hope this day treats you kindly. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I loved the description of the house–favorite line: “I wondered what held the wood fibers together and conjured up spider spit and dirt.”

    I wondered what brought the young man to this spot and what reason. He seems to be leaving without having done anything beyond stop to help. I know the word count limitation requires a lot of cutting, but I would like to know why he was there, just for a sense of closure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I’ve missed you and this is why. These twisted tales that leave so much to the imagination. I’ll be back later. I’m busy creating my own ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: #BlogBattle “Head” Entries & Voting | Writing Rachael Ritchey

  6. Aww what an amazing story, Tess. One of your best, I think. I don’t remember you writing in first person before (but i get so caught up in your stories that I may not have noticed). Is that unusual for you?
    I think the old guy is probably under the rubble, will get pulled out, and still be ungrateful. 😉
    Mega hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great story Tess as always you never cease to amaze me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. No-one knew Grandpa’s age no living person that is: yes? great story


  9. Really strong visuals Tess, both of the old man and his demise. The question is, can he survive?


  10. This was another great story Tess. Poor old Grandpa’ Jones! He sounds a survivor to me though!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Good one Tess. I have to believe the old coot was the last thing standing.


  12. This story said so much yet left me wondering so much more!!!! Because I know there is more! And I did not see that end coming.


  13. You always do that!! … leave us hanging at the end wondering what happens next! It’s sooo cruel 🙂

    “Spider spit and dirt” … a great description 🙂


  14. I’m with Joanne on this one Tess, you always leave us at the edge of our seats!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Another wonderfully visual story, Tess. Great stuff 🙂


  16. Fantastic story and a great character. You made me visualise the man and the house. They’d become one.


  17. You’re a wonderful writer.


  18. Tess, it is so wonderful to have you back and writing again. Once again you create a complete picture with your words, absolutely fabulous visually. The old man is perfect for the setting. Your imagination is expanding as you write these, love this.


  19. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    An old house, an old man and an axe What could go wrong? Head over to Tess Karlinski’s blog and find out for yourself.. her usual masterful piece of fiction. Thanks Tess.


  20. Nice. Not the ending I expected, and I loved Grandpa. 🙂


  21. Such a great welcome back story, Tess. You paint quite a picture. ☺ Van


  22. I would have liked to have known Grandpa Jones. He’s full of vinegar.

    BTW, Love seeing you back on the blogosphere. 😀


  23. A whopper of story for such few words. Wonderful read! Loved the spider spit!


  24. Oh, this is full of sad yet beautiful images. 🙂


  25. I hung onto every word. I felt sorry for the old man, even though I didn’t like him. I did see the collapse of the ‘hovel’ coming – a metaphor for much in the old man’s life, I believe. Nicely done!


  26. I never know what to expect from your stories. They always draw me in…and never disappoint 🙂 Your characters are always so real, I feel like I know them with just reading a few lines. Great Story!!


  27. Some grandpa, reminds me of my great grandfather, what a guy! Great story.


  28. Good description, as always. 🙂 I hope the old man survived…


  29. Lovely descriptions, and a sad vibe for the old house and grandpa. I admit that at first mention of an axe I wondered if this would turn into a horror tale. 🙂


  30. Really nice, Tess. What a gifted story teller you are. Was there through the whole things. 🙂