Monday, January 11, 2010

Entry #121

Where’s the Beef?
by Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D.


I never thought I would be glad to see a buzzard. Maybe he is circling over that lost cow. That cow plows through the fences and gets in the garden all the time. I just can’t string the wire as tight as Daddy used to. Before the wreck that killed Mom and trashed Daddy’s legs and disposition. I am not near the farmer Daddy was. I guess I am as much of one as we have, though.

I know I shouldn’t hope that cow is dead, because we need her for milk and her calves for meat. Still, I sure have come to hate that cow. As soon as I get through this thicket, I can see what that buzzard has his eye on.

It is our cow, but it didn’t up and die the way I hoped. No, two fellows are standing over her butchering her out with a knife. You don’t see that every day, even in these parts. What is that on the back of that guy’s shirt? PRISONER? Now what am I going to do?

I hear hounds baying. Maybe if I point this shotgun at them and tell them to stay put, I can get the reward money.

“You, freeze now! Sheriff, here. I claim the reward, they killed my cow.”

The Sheriff changed course and laughed. “You men broke out and got caught by a fifteen year old girl. Some desperados!”

“Did you find the cow?” he demanded.

“Yes, Daddy, our cash cow.”


(I live on 14 acres with my dogs. My neighbor’s cows sometimes intrude on us, but are quickly sent back on their side of the barbed wire by my red heeler. I write nonfiction on pretty much anything or anyone that catches my interest.)

37 comments:

Bernita said...

Another satisfying ending!
Nice voice, too.

Lena said...

Loved the story. Great style with a perfect ending. Enjoyed the read.

Craig said...

I liked the ending but your last few sentances felt rushed and as a result it became a little confusing.

Aniket said...

I envy you after reading that bio. Would love to live my life that way someday.

Loved the story. Very well told too. Poor cow though. :)

Four Dinners said...

Poor cow!!!!!

What a great place you live in!

I don't think it felt 'rushed'. There's a limit to what can be said in 250 words eh?

I like this a lot.

Griffin said...

I too liked the unexpectedness and the word play of the ending. With this title, I was expecting something more tongue-in-cheek so the starkness of the narrator's life was also a surprise.

Letha said...

I liked the directness of your tone in this story. You did a wonderful job of depicting this girl's hard life and day-to day frustrations in very few words. Word limit challenges can be difficult. I like your approach and love the story! As someone said, "poor cow!" You really made the reader 'feel' this story. Great job!!

Vivian Zabel said...

You didn't ask for an edit, so I'll keep my editor's hat in the closet.

I loved the ending. Cash cow! Great.

Julia said...

Having lived that kind of harsh life, being dependent on animals for sustenance and the drudgery associated with tending to them, I found myself going back in time. You did an excellent job in writing this story. It reminded me where I came from and just far I've traveled since those days. Thanks!

Goose said...

Holy Cow!

maverick said...

Interesting

Andy said...

a vivid view into a world far from mine.

Crandall said...

Liked it, you told the story without getting too many details in the way.

Sarah said...

Loved the starkness of it.

Anonymous said...

Loved the "cash cow"!

Lilburn said...

Great! Keep up the good work.

Sara said...

Sadness, happiness, seriousness, and humor all in 250 words telling a meaningful story. Awesome!

Anonymous said...

Delightful read with a plot, problem and solution succinctly said.

laughingwolf said...

go girl, go! :)

Laurel said...

I like her gumption and can-do or make-do attitude! And what a great twist. That could have ended so many other ways, and none of them good.

Great voice for this MC.

Satisfying, crunchy ending.

pjd said...

I like the twist of the cow providing for them in that unique way. But like craig, I got confused at the end. Did the scene shift, or is Daddy there with the Sheriff and the prisoners? What threw me off was "he damanded." Since the last person mentioned was the Sheriff, I assumed he was speaking. But he can't be Daddy because Daddy's legs are trashed. So I guess the MC went home after turning them over to the Sheriff, and Daddy asked that last question?

Caroline Clemmons said...

Loved the story! I thought you included several surprise twists. You got a lot of mileage out of 250 words. Great job!

Meghan said...

"Cash Cow." Neat ending!

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

I could absolutely see the people and setting. Great characterization through voice!
Loved the "Cash cow!"

Sylvia said...

Good job, Stephanie. You had my undivided attention from the first sentence. I loved the title and the ending.

Jan Christensen said...

Good story--nice set-up and satisfying ending.

Anonymous said...

I identified with your story! I spent my childhood chasing cows from the pasture back through the broken fence. Good Job! Pat

Earl Staggs said...

Excellent use of a fifteen-year-old voice. I liked her. She had grit and gumption and now, I hope, enough reward money to buy a new cow. Keep writing. I'd like to see more of your work. Earl Staggs

illyriataylor said...

very witty. Bravo

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed it. Liked the ending
EDM

Ashley Kath-Bilsky said...

I really liked this, especially the realism of the 15-year old's voice and the twist of what she found with the cow.

catvibe said...

I loved the story. I mean, I laughed, I loved the character, I felt empathy. Really nice. I few places need help to not confuse the reader. A shift in scenes needs a line so the reader knows they are somewhere else, or sometime else. Also, I'm a tad confused when in the line when she is asking them to freeze. I don't get how or where the Sheriff comes into the scene.

Love your location.

Jean Ann Williams said...

I'm another one who loved this story very much.

I was confused about who demanded at the end, but such a minor point.

This is tops in my book!

Jean Ann

JaneyV said...

I loved her voice.

james r. tomlinson said...

Clara Peller would've been proud. So would Dave Thomas and his daughter Wendy.

Chris Eldin said...

FUN! FUN! FUN! Loved your last line!

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

This is a strong, no-nonsense female - she'd be great as the protagonist of a YA novel.

Something I Might Tweak


It is our cow, but it didn’t up and die the way I hoped. No, two fellows are standing over her butchering her out with a knife.

From the first sentence of this quote, I thought the cow wasn't dead - but it did die, so I was confused, briefly.