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Lennon Faris

​​​​​​Agent Janet Reid was one of the greats.

For years, I read her blog every day. She and I shared a love of animals and because I am a veterinarian, we occasionally shared funny (or wild) animal stories.

Janet periodically held these 100-word contests on her awesome blog.  Anyone could participate, we just had to watch out for the Shark jaws  :)  

She once perused my website without me asking (she knew I was querying a novel) and made some helpful suggestions. One of those suggestions was to put my veterinary stories foremost because, she said, they were her favorite. 

Here (below) are few contest entries of mine. The first is, of course, is a veterinary one. Also one of my favorites! Gotta love a little revenge.

Thanks, Janet.


Vet Appointment
Prompt words: X          Bone    Devil     Slip      100 
​[This entry was a finalist]

Patient: Scarlet, 3-year-old female Labrador
Appointment: limping, ‘smells bad’
Days since first noticed: several, client very busy
Exam: fractured limb, metatarsal bone exposed, maggots
Veterinarian’s optimism that people are basically good, just uneducated: slipping
Prognosis: good with amputation
Client comments: expensive, euthanize
Client vehicle: Lamborghini
Estimated evilness of client: 95%
Discussion involving responsibility, rehoming, inappropriate situation to euthanize: >1 hour
Client’s displeasure: expected
Client’s concealed weapon: unexpected
Defense using oxygen tank to club client: reasonable
Fracture of client’s leg in skirmish: ironic
Accidental nature of sustained fracture: undetermined
Police notified: after appointments, full schedule, staff very busy
Scarlet’s recovery: 100% 

Prompt words:   blood    tear        wood     find        dark
[I won! Five-way tie but it still counts 😉]

My teens blacktop ice skate with Annie. I load groceries, chatting with Annie’s mom. 
Last bag tears.  Bagger appears, snatching up cans.  Dull eyes find mine –dark eyeliner, greasy hair, blood-drop tattoos.
“Thanks,” I smile.
Loping, wooden gait.
“Pariah’s in Annie’s class, on meds,” whispers Annie’s mom. “Never talks.  Check your bags.”

Loaded, backing up, music blaring.
Teenagers fighting in back seat. 
Pariah’s double-fisting my window!  Eyes ferocious!
Gun it! I think.

*I* think?

Slam brakes.  Music off.

Screaming? –a girl.

Hands shaking. Teens untangle Annie’s coat from my door. Annie’s OK. Mom’s hysterical.
Pariah’s gone.
No talking needed. 

[I wrote this because sometimes we make judgments on a human's character based on how that person looks, or what other people say we should think about that person. Trying to learn how to think past that.]

​Two Trees
Prompt was this poem: Happiness by Jane Kenyon
[I won with this one, received IQ by Joe Ide as prize :)

This was also chosen to be an excerpt in the wonderful Melanie Sue Bowles' novel, LIBERTY BISCUIT!]

Two saplings gaze into a pool. 
“See my brawny branches,” says Oak, stretching.
“And my ample trunk,” Sycamore preens, digging roots into the Earth. 
“Your bark’s like a fungus.”
“Your progeny’s the teats of a fox, who milked too long.”
Why fight? susurrates* Wind, joyriding between their leaves.  What do you accomplish?
Ignoring Wind, Oak roars to his squirrel brigade, “Hurl my progeny at that blasphemous ogre!”  Songbirds of Sycamore dive-bomb the squirrels, screaming back insults.  War rages in the canopy.

Below, a beaver meanders into the glen.  He builds his home. 

Eventually, the silent stumps turn back into dust.

*[Originally, I couldn't find a legit present-tense verb for susurrus in time for the contest so used 'hisses' instead.  I later found what I really wanted so changed it to what I have here.]

Prompt words: proud   horse    dog      spirit     herd 
[I won with this one! - received a copy of Melanie Sue Bowles' heartwarming DOGS OF PROUD SPIRIT]

Beardie: horsey face, shaggy hair, dog tags round his neck. 
On good days, I give a dollar. 
God bless, Sir. 
Friday: usual herd of humans filing past, Beardie face down. 
Does no one see?  I touch his shoulder.  Track marks, no breath. Spirit leaving. 
Chest compressions.  Call 911!
Sirens.  Narcan, EMT shouts.
Bam!  Into muscle.  Beardie’s head jerks up, paramedics scatter.  Beardie screaming, cursing paramedics by name. 
I post proudly, Saved a man’s life today. 

Monday: Beardie, usual spot.  God bless, Sir. 
Eyes opened. 
No life saved yet.
I give ten bucks, then my hand.  “I’m Michael.  Want some breakfast?”

Prompt words:  gaze     scapegrace     fin     scram     forti

Horoscope: a moment today will make you a hero!

Half marathon: I'm a gazelle!
...Silver by one millimoment.

Brother's audition: his cape graces boulder shoulders, regal Phantom rendition. In finale, baritone voice squeaks. Audience laughs. 
My 'moment?' Punch them all in the suckers? 

Job interview: nail it. "Thank you, sir," I close. 
"...That's, 'ma'am'."
I scram.

Candlelit proposal: girlfriend confesses moment of indiscretion, aka 'Shawn.'
​Universe has dark humor. 

11:58 PM, can't sleep. I text brother: beer fortification??
Phone gleams: sure. I'll postpone suicide

Bah-ha. Love his morbid jokes.
And, screw you, horoscope.

Midnight: Grab keys.
Brother flushes pills. 

Prompt words: hope     next     year      alot     better

When my baby was a month, he colicked. 
Exhausted, I held him. 
Did she?
When seven, he broke his arm skateboarding.
I rushed him to the hospital.
Did she?
High school freshman year, he washed his hands, over and over. 
I found him help and hope.
Did she?

Tonight, University phone call: ICU, critical.  I’m flying, hating her, praying. 
My baby: ashen exterior, IV lines everywhere.  Only the attacker dead, news blasts.  A lot better than expected.

My hatred moves.  After all, mine’s still alive.  Exhausted, I hold him. 
Hers isn’t.  She can’t.

I weep. I’m sure she does, too.   

[I wrote this after reading the news article of a stabbing at a university. How did someone grow up to be that person? Did their parents or guardians not care enough? Was it something else? This is from the POV of the mom of a survivor victim.]