Broom Chicka-Wow-Wow

I’m back after taking a short breather from writing. I was sad to miss two flash fiction challenges, but was happy to return for the last one in ’Nathan Burgoine’s 2018 monthly Flash Fiction Draw.

And thank goodness, the genre was Comedy. The setting is a poppy field and the mandatory object was a broom.

Here’s my entry, called Broom Chicka-Wow-Wow.

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ID: Dawn over a lush field of blooming red poppies. Text: Broom Chicka-Wow-Wow, Cait Gordon

 

As head gardener of Poppyfield Manor, Shelley Rutherford’s headspace was often cluttered with several brands of manure. When offered a frugal sum for her thoughts, she often replied with, “Oh, nothing more than shit.”

This invariably confused whomever asked the question, for it seemed Ms. Rutherford had indeed been focusing on something of great significance. However, a follow-up query was rarely asked.

Shelley felt more in charge of the county than the earl himself. Lord Hartley might have been competent in his own right, but she knew the land under her care had brought him further glory. And the pride of all her flora was the expanse that had given the manor its name.

While the scarlet flowers often reseeded well on their own, Shelley had made it a habit to harvest enough seeds to keep the field lush for the blooming season. Presently, the soil needed loosening. Several apprentice gardeners gathered ’round to help her till the area.

She liked the new team, mostly. She’d inherited one of them from a very distant cousin of the earl. Mortimer Figbottom, a third son with little prospects, flashed her a vacuous smile as he proudly held up the tool he brought for the day’s work.

Count to ten slowly, Shelley. One…two… three…

“Well, Ms. Ruthy? Isn’t she a vintage dream? Belonged to my grandmama. I’d wager there’s not another about in such condition,” said Mortimer, beaming.

The head gardener replied with teeth gritted in an unsuccessful attempt at returning the smile. “It’s Rutherford, Mr. Figbot—”

“Oh no-no, that won’t do at all. Call me Morty. Everyone does!”

She blinked. “Very well, erm, Morty. Now then, while I’m sure this was a fascinating piece for its time, it simply won’t do for the task at hand.”

Mortimer gasped and inspected his tool. No, not that; the thingie in his hand. Wait, he didn’t have his thingie in his hand—erm—let’s try this again. Mortimer held up the wooden handle.

“But you cahn’t be serious, Ms. Ruthy! Why, Grandmama always used this to loosen the soil.”

Shelley slid her fingers from the top of her forehead until they rested upon her lips. Her voice was a bit muffled as she muttered, “Your Granny used an old curling broom as a gardening tool.”

“Why, indeed! Just the sort of thing to do the trick.”

“Mr. Fig—Morty—”

“And not only is this implement far superior to a hoe or tiller,” he added, “it also makes the earth feel, well, sexy.”

The other gardeners sniggered. Shelley willed her eyes to stay in their neutral positions.

“I’m going to regret asking this, Morty, but, what the actual—”

“I understand your scepticism, Ms. Ruthy—”

“Rutherford.”

“But Grandmama said her rather virile ginger Scottish beau at the time… or was he Irish? I can never tell those people apart.” Morty scratched his head. “No, I think he definitely said he liked tatties and neeps. So, Scottish. Or perhaps he said titties and nips. You know, I really can’t recall with absolute certainty.”

“Morty—”

“Anyway, he told Grandmama he could broom her field until it felt ‘ded sexeh.’ I do remember overhearing that phrase for sure!”

Shelly closed her eyes and resumed counting to ten. Nepotism could really be the worst at times. But it wouldn’t do to blow her stack at this ridiculous human. No matter how hard he was trying to help.

“Morty, I hate to break this to you, but I think that expression has more to do with, erm, well, particular…acts…ah, between partners, than any sort of horticultural pursuits.”

He stared at her with the innocence of a child. “Whatever do you mean?”

Might as well rip the plaster off before the morning gets away from us. “Sex, Morty. The man wanted to ‘plow’ your granny, not her field.”

The man with the curling broom burst into a hearty guffaw. “Oh, that! Well, of course. That was the process, you see? Broom the soil, then drop right down and have it away. The ‘magik’ of the broom encouraged amorous activities. Worked every year, too. You should have seen the blossoms!”

Shelley gave up. There was no convincing this man otherwise. “Fine. Use the broom. Don’t wreck my poppies.” She turned to the woman on her left. “Freda, supervise Morty.”

“Sure, boss!”

#

The earl had called her in after receiving a complaint from his steward about having to constantly chase away couples—who’d heard about Morty’s broom—from the poppy field. The steward had never seen the like in all his years.

Shelley shrugged her shoulders when asked if she had any insight into why these copulations were occurring in this specific location.

The earl studied her face, but eventually decided to assign staff to patrol the area. There would be no way he would allow Poppyfield Manor’s famous field to be defiled and even worse, devoid of blooms.

Shelley nodded and took her leave.

#

June arrived. How many times had she come to this exact spot to stare and stare until she finally assured herself she wasn’t hallucinating?

But there it was, like a lush scarlet carpet, thick with perfect red blossoms covering the expanse. Shelley shook her head in disbelief for maybe the hundredth time.

“Ah, another triumph!” exclaimed a voice teeming with pride.

She looked over her shoulder. “Morty.”

He stood akimbo, surveying his handiwork. “See? The wonders of Celtic mysticism!”

“I… just can’t believe it.”

“In your profession you’ve never heard of making the ground fertile?”

“Not through osmosis, Morty!!!”

“You must have a little faith, my dear woman.”

She scowled.

He smiled at her. “Of course, the spurts of liquid fertilizer I intermittently pumped through the hollow broom handle might have aided matters somewhat.”

Shelley’s jaw dropped.

Morty laughed. “Angus MacKenzie’s formula.”

“What?!”

“But look how we’ve made the field more popular than ever with the locals!”

Shelley snickered. “You bloody trickster.”

He winked.

They spent the next hour admiring the view in a comfortable silence.


Broom Chicka-Wow-Wow © 2018 Cait Gordon. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact Cait Gordon.


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Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm (Renaissance) and The Stealth Lovers (Renaissance 2019). When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also teamed up with co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (call for submissions are ongoing until Dec 31, 2018.)

To NaNo or not to NaNo? That is the question.

I have a really cool problem. I’ve got something that might distract me from writing each day for NaNoWriMo 2018—the Nothing Without Us anthology. It’s a project I’m co-editing with my BFF and sensitivity editor Talia C. Johnson. NWU, as we nicknamed it, is going to be a collection of short stories for and by authors who identify as disabled, Deaf, blind, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who manage chronic illness. (So stoked!) And it’s going to be published by the amazing Renaissance press! So, because we’re open for submissions until Dec 31, 2018, I might be reading a lot of stories in November.

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ID: Book cover concept. Orange planet, and a baby bottle hurtling through space. Text reads: Life in another ’Cosm, Jinny from the blog.

I’m thinking I might write Life in Another ’Cosm: Jinny from the Blog in November, but perhaps in a NaNoLite fashion. That way, I can still enjoy story-crafting while I keep sharp for evaluating the short stories we get for NWU.

So, I really doubt 50,000 words will be my goal this year. Any word count will be welcome, really. I’m still gobsmacked that I completed my goals for NaNoWriMo2017 and CampNaNoWriMo2018, which resulted in The Stealth Lovers. (It’s gonna be published by Renaissance as well! WHEE!).

The more I think about it, the more a NaNoLite will probably be what I do—a chill method to promote a chill atmos.

Will keep you posted here and on the Twitter!

 


Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Its prequel, The Stealth Lovers, is a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Dwyer Knightly and Vivoxx Nathan Tirowen. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also working with Renaissance and co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (call for submissions are ongoing until Dec 31, 2018.)

 

 

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The Stealth Lovers will be published by Renaissance!

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I know, right? WHEEEE!!! I’m so excited that the folks who believed in Life in the ’Cosm have also agreed to take on The Stealth Lovers, which is the origin story of Xax and Viv.

We learned from ’Cosm that these two warriors were also known as a formidable duo called The Stealth, but how did it all begin for them? Why were they Dragal legends? What was their life like years before they landed on Cinneh? I mean, who the hay were Commanders Xaxall Dwyer Knightly and Vivoxx Nathan Tirowen anyway? (Other than flippin’ awesome!)

What’s so cool for me is that I wrote the first words for this book in October 2017. And now, one year later, the manuscript has been accepted. What a great manuscriptversary present!

A huge vat of thanks goes to Renaissance’s Acquisition Committee. I’m so grateful to you for choosing my story. (I kept whispering, “Pick me, pick me!”)

I’m really looking forward to working with Renaissance again. They really are an amazing team who makes their authors feel so involved in the process. I can’t wait to collaborate on the cover design with Nathan! We’re already discussing it!

In the meantime, I’ll keep you updated on the progress of where the book is at. Stay tuned, folks!

While you’re waiting for TSL, you can read Life in the ’Cosm first, if you like!

And many thanks to all the fans of Xax and Viv who got really excited to hear their story would be told. You people fueled me to complete the book. Readers are the best!

Wow. This is really happening.

SQUEE!


Cait Gordon

Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s on a quest to save half the person he loves. Her latest WIP, The Stealth Lovers, is a military space opera about legendary warriors Xaxall Dwyer Knightly and Vivoxx Nathan Tirowen. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She’s also working with Renaissance and co-editor Talia C. Johnson on the Nothing Without Us anthology (call for submissions are ongoing until Dec 31, 2018.)