How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle 8 – Prompt: Melody


Find the Rules at Rachael Ritchie’s blog:

Genre:  Historical Fiction/Western

Prompt:  Melody

Words: 750

The Best of the Best

Bob’s tea cooled on the table beside him. “I bet there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t heard of you. Your husband must be proud.” The young reporter slid to the edge of the armchair. He had not been keeping regular notes. Perspiration beaded his forehead though the temperature wasn’t hot. He drew out an overlarge cloth hankie out of his breast pocket.

Sixty-five-year-old Annie pursed her lips. Hair, like a fluffy cloud, she patted her husband’s hand on the patterned horsehair sofa between them. “Young man, I earned a living doing what I do best. It’s how I met my Frank.” She smiled over her shoulder for a long moment, then switched her attention to the eager visitor.

Bob stuffed the damp hanky into his pants pocket.“But you were a woman. The best sharpshooter ever. How’d you do that?” Pencil in one hand and small writing pad in the other, he waved them around.

“Practice.” She held his gaze. “How’d you learn to read and write?” Her tone signaled he had overstepped.

Coarse blond brows squished together, he pressed back into the chair. “How’d you learn to read and write?” he repeated after her.

horseb-2062043_960_720-pixabayShe muttered to herself, but the reporter, absorbed, did not understand. “This generation…” She shook her head. Her husband’s laugh sounded like a bark.

“How old were you when you started practicing. I mean how many years did it take to get good, you know?”

“We were poor and had a lot of mouths to feed. Hunting with my father, I trapped small animals for food from the age of five. He died when I was six and by seven or eight, I used his old rifle to hunt. I was good from the start. Natural-like. Mother didn’t like it, but I learned to shoot a variety of guns. I helped feed our household of five siblings and hunted enough game to sell to the grocer.” Annie clasped hands to her chin. “It was hard times. Mother married again but her new husband died soon after and left her with a new baby—another mouth to feed.”

“You were a tomboy with all that hunting, I bet…”

“We were Quakers. I never wore pants like a boy and didn’t climb trees for fun. After supper, we gathered around Mother singing hymns. One melody stayed with me all these years, though I no longer remember the words. By ten I was sent to live at an orphanage. In exchange for work, I received a basic education and learned to sew. The Edingtons were good to me.” Annie closed her eyes and leaned back into the sofa.

“But when did you join Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show?”

“Mr. Stannard, is it? You are impatient. Some years after I met Ducky, here.” She tipped a shoulder toward Frank. “Do you know how we met? A hotel owner invited me to a shooting contest with the Frank Butler. I was fifteen—and I beat him! And everyone else.” Face aglow, she giggled like a young woman.

“I didn’t mind.” Frank cleared his throat. “Once I laid eyes on that pretty girl, I was lost. Sure better than me.”

“A year later, we married. Been together almost half-a-century. We traveled everywhere: Spain, Italy, and Paris; even to England to perform for Queen Victoria. We still ate a lot of beans.” Annie arched her back and bent forward as if to stand. Her husband, older by ten years, helped her to her feet.

“Wait, are you leaving? I still have many questions…”

annie-oakley-391456_960_720-pixabay“About twenty-five years ago—in 1901 was it? We were in a train wreck. Annie suffered a spinal injury, which paralyzed her for a long while. She had many operations but came back, shooting and performing. The last few years her health has deteriorated. She’s frail and tired.”

“You starred in movies, too, didn’t you?”

Frank gave the reporter a long look, his wife supported in the crook of his elbow. “My wife is not well. Perhaps another time? See yourself out. Good day.” He whisked Annie out of the room.

Bob Stannard remained glued to his chair, blinking. With narrowed eyes, he gaped at the paper and pencil in his hands. Two words stared back at him: Annie Oakley. He grinned. No notes, but he had met the best sharpshooter in the Old West. She doesn’t look so old. Her skin is smooth as a baby’s. I’m coming back.

The screen door slammed on his way out. “Oops, Sorry.”

The End

© 2017 Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles

Images courtesy of Pixabay


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!

64 thoughts on “#BlogBattle 8 – Prompt: Melody

  1. Tess, this was a delight, made a day full of pancakes even better – didn’t even know that was possible. Thanks you, hope this week is treating you kindly. 🙂


  2. What a surprising subject, Tess. I loved it. Mega hugs!


  3. I was there, Tess. Lovely piece of writing!


    • You warm my heart. Thank you. This genre change each week has been h.a.r.d. but after the scribbles are written, I’m heartened by the positive response though I am inadequate for the genre. A learning experience indeed. Thank you so much for reading. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed sitting there with them!!! Wouldn’t you love to have that opportunity?


  5. Brief and really smooth writing, Tess. Strong finish! Bravo!


    • You kind words mean a lot. Thanks so much for reading and your wonderful comment. These genre changes are somewhat mindboggling. Thank god for cheating with Google. So far stressful but fun. Not sure about upcoming genres. We’ll see. o_O


  6. That beginning with the mystery and sweat when it wasn’t hot really grabbed me. Really good writing! 🙂


    • Your positive feedback encourages me. Thanks so much, Paulette Switch-hitting into different genres–unfamiliar territory is like hitting my head against a wall. Not sure how long I’ll last but will hang in while I can.


  7. This is one of your best pieces yet! I loved every word of it.


  8. Fantastic Tess, I wouldn’t mind betting a real interview with Annie Oakley could go the same way.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, David. I had to research for this. I knew little other than the names and some childhood something. Fun in a way, to do the research, and if the comments are positive, it gives me hope. Maybe I can actually research a story and write about it WELL Thanks for the Massive Hugs. I send the same back to you XX


  9. Ah, your mind is so fertile. Lovely, Tess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fertile, Jacqui? The truth is it’s arid until my friend Google agrees to help. Sheesh. I had no idea how much I would / might enjoy research. Until these genre changes, I had never done any. o_O A great, I hope, learning experience. 😦


  10. Super story, Tess. Not sure what that reporter wanted to accomplish but he sure could have taken it a little slower. Enjoyed it.


    • It was the ’20s. I guess the paper sent him out to test his abilities. I’d have fired him but I could not fault his passion due to NO notes. Hope he learns. Don’t believe he’s get his second change. Sigh.


  11. Aren’t you full is surprises and diverse subjects Tess. Your writing skill continues to inspire.


  12. One of my favourite characters, very good subject. We stayed in Annie Oakley room during a visit to Disney in France.


  13. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Another great short story from Tess Karlinski.. #recommended


  14. Great story, Tess. Love those characters 🙂


  15. What a great take on Annie Oakley. I love it. Makes me want to dash out and do some research.


    • I haven’t done research until I met genres I hadn’t a clue about. Not sure how much longer I’ll last in this #BlogBattle but I hope to slog it out. 😦 All strange. All foreign. Can someone please, offer me a glass of scotch–a 12-year scotch whiskey will do (I’m not cheap–after all) . Okay, a nice glass of wine is better.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Lovely, Tess. I really enjoyed this read.


  17. This is awesome, Tess–you even had a female protagonist! Love it. I’ll be voting for you on this one. 🙂


  18. A great take on the prompt, Tess, such an enjoyable story! 🙂


  19. I didn’t know she was a Quaker. Interesting.

    I like the way you have the interview in the past as well as the story of Annie. Well done, Tess. 😀


    • I didn’t know much about her other than she was in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and was a sharpshooter. It was interesting research but of course all at the last minute. When will I ever learn and spread it out? o_O


  20. I love this, Tess ! I’m a big fan of Annie Oakley, and at one point in my life, read all that was available about her. Your writing is descriptive and on point. This little story ended too soon for me. I’d have read on for at least another 100 pages or so 🙂


    • Thank you for reading, though this was so short. Darn me for not researching until the last minute. There’s never enough time for everything. I didn’t know half the stuff about Annie except she was in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and an awesome shot. I’ve no idea how I even knew that when I was a kid. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Fun western tale, Tess! You surprise me every time. 🙂


  22. Lovely take on the prompt! I feel a little sorry for Bob, though. He’s clearly in over his head.


  23. Really great story, Tess! Stories about strong women are always fascinating to read!


  24. Thank you, a great one! (found from RBRT so thought I’d pop over for a look!) 🙂


  25. Fine story! Good use of the prompts, Tess.


  26. Great story. Pleased to have catch up on it.


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