Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Cowboy

3L0A0822p cowboy ff writing prompt cright ksbrooks
Image copyright K.S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2018.

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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Cowboy”

  1. For Editors’ Choice Award Only

    Great! Just freakin’ great! Wild Bill thought to himself.
    His actual name is William Morrison, a high school senior from Laramie, Wyoming. Regardless, the name hardly fit today, given the bull he’d been riding—or better, from which he had been unceremoniously dumped within 5 seconds of leaving the gate—was named Gentleman Jim.
    I’ll never live this one down, he thought. The hoots of laughter from the crowd were still ringing in his ears as were the words of the announcer, who, keeping up his patter, now had turned his attention from Bill to mocking the “clowns” and mounted cowboys who had set upon the bull in an attempt to bring him under control.
    Even Wild Bill’s steady, Ilene, a sophomore, had abandoned him for a more successful rider, Bill’s nemesis, Brian Stevens. Stevens, a high school graduate from Laramie who soon would be off to college, stayed on the biggest bull Bill had ever seen for 11 seconds before he was “rescued” by a mounted cowboy who came alongside and took him off. For that, Brian was about to receive first prize in the bull riding competition that was held during the Wyoming Stampede Classic, one of the most prestigious rodeos on the western circuit.
    Oh well, thought Will Bill, when the summer is over, Stevens will leave for college, and, if I play my cards right, I could get bucked back up to #1 with Ilene. It’s just a matter of riding things out.

  2. Dreams

    “Grady was a young kid when I picked him up on the highway. That was, let me see, 1963…yeah, that’s right. Highway 78. Just outside of Tupelo. All dressed up like a real man of the west…hat bigger than an umbrella, said…heading’ for Utah… the Strawberry Days Rodeo. Know it? Had to admit I didn’t but I took his word for it. ”

    “And you drove him to Utah?”

    “I’d my compass set for Birmingham. Visiting kin…a free summer. No way I planned on going’ thousand of miles outta my way for a stranger. Leastways, until…”
    “You hit it off…?”
    “He had this story…this dream…Mississippi ragamuffin. Fed a lifetime of TV cowboys, …and then, the year before, one of those shows was all about a rodeo wrangler. Jack Lord played Stoney Burke. That sent him over the edge of dreams into…well, he wanted it more than anything. Me, never had that kind of feeling…that there was something I wanted more than life itself. Got to me.”

    “So, you didn’t visit your Birmingham relatives?”

    “No, we dropped in. Spent a day and a night. They welcomed Grady with…maybe not open arms but they were polite. Next morning, I made up my mind. Just had to help him out. And see my first rodeo. ”

    “How’d he do?”

    “Well, he didn’t have a horse. Tried Bull Riding. Three seconds. Painful to watch.”

    “And then?”

    “We were both hooked. Made a life of it. Never looked back. Neither of us.”

  3. For Editors’ Choice Award Only

    Rodeo Drive

    “Well, if that don’t take the dang cake,” Bobby Buck Wade thought, holding back a sentimental tear. “Don’t you let ‘em see you cry. Forget the past. This is the future. You knew it was coming. Hell, you’re the darn poster boy.”

    The cowboy hunkered down to watch the first of the abominations perform. First, greenhorns rode mechanical bulls for entertainment. Then the DC boys controlling workplace safety teamed with tree-hugging animal rights activists. Too many cowpokes got hurt while mistreating the steers they rode. Mechanical bulls entered the rodeo circuit and nothing was ever the same.

    No one saw their next gambit coming after the first success. They took a case to the Supreme Court and won a benchmark ruling. Horses were working animals only. Horse racing, bucking broncs, and all types of rodeo events went by the wayside with a single pen stroke. Even that sissy horse manure called dressage ended.

    But today was the day, a bittersweet, bile in your throat type of day. The rodeo returned using mechanical horses, computer programmed to act like the real thing, abominations by any other name.

    Bobby Buck opened his forearm cover and calibrated his bionic grip. He maxed out his robotic leg strength via his cybernetic interface. A real horse destroyed his arm. A living bull demolished his pelvis, but modern medicine made him new android parts, and he was up to ride next.

    “Let’s see how y’all like me now, since we’re both abominations.”

  4. Tesseracts in Time

    No sooner had Billy slumped down next the fence, when Sally ran up to him.

    “What’s wrong, Billy?”

    He looked at her. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

    “I’ll believe you,” She said, touching his shoulder.

    He thought for a minute. “Just after the last rodeo match ended, I saw a tesseract hovering over the field.”

    “A four-dimensional hypercube?” She knew her physics. “I didn’t see anything. Are you sure?”

    “I’m pretty sure.”

    “Maybe it was two squares masquerading as a tesseract,” she replied.

    “Why would they do that?”

    “Trying to fool you.”

    “No. That would be a difficult thing to do.”

    “I would think just seeing a tesseract would be difficult.”

    “Oh, not at all, especially if the lighting is right.”

    “What was this tesseract doing?”

    “Doing? It was just being a tesseract.” Billy looked thoughtful. “But it does mean that something ominous has happened.”

    “Like what?”

    “Tesseracts are known to allow travel from one point in the universe to another.”

    “You mean something from another world could enter ours?”

    “Yes. The tesseract has the ability to open a wormhole in time. I believe a species with the ability to cast a hive mind upon humans has already passed through one.”

    “How do you know they’re here?”

    “Look around you. Our leaders speak like they’re under a spell. Ideas and opinions are being censored. Everyone is turning into a drone—having one mind.”

    Sally gripped Billy’s shoulder. He had forgotten to take his medication again.

  5. Ever since he could remember, he wanted to be a cowboy.

    His dad was a rodeo clown and had built him a simulated bucking bronco. The suspended wooden barrel between two trees was an adventure, which took him months to master. It wasn’t long after that that his dad would pull on the ropes this way and that to try to knock him off. Dad would smile and laugh until he lost his breath.

    He was really too young to know just how sick his dad was.

    He attended that rodeo that fateful day. His dad was doing his thing and protecting the riders from the broncs and bulls, but as he watched, he noticed his dad struggling to leap out of the way. One of the blackest of the bulls caught him around the back of his knees and launched him. When he came down on his back, everyone witnessed what happened next.

    Despite all of that, he was going to be a respected bull-riding cowboy. He mastered the skills needed, but wished his dad was around to hear him say how proud he was. Today was going to be the culmination of all of his training, he was going to ride a big black bull.

    However, there was a problem with his paperwork and he couldn’t participate. Was this his dad’s way of protecting him, or was this his dad’s expression of, ‘If the bull didn’t get you, the El Toro Poopoo would.’ His dad never said BS.

  6. Cowboy

    Oddly, as survivors of the apocalypse, on board the mega yacht, we were all lulled into a state of lazy indolence. So unreal and strange that we had this feeling! Should we not be panicking, rushing around, palpitating with anxiety and fear for our future? Why did I always feel a need to live on a knife edge during these troublesome times? Standing up, I stretched, shook and looked around as if mirroring the actions of Midnight, my coyote puppy. Whereas, he was always searching for food, I needed action. Desperately, I needed action and a plan. Up and at them! Although, truthfully I had no idea what to do.

    We were all waiting for a monumental or even an insignificant happening to catalyse us into resolve. Let me hope that when the event happened it would initiate a happy result. Inertia can be a dangerous thing. Wandering around the yacht I was determined to find purpose. While uncertainty overwhelmed me, I discovered the Cowboy. Well, that was the name I gave the painting on the wall. It centred on a Cowboy sitting on his haunches in a rodeo setting. He seemed contemplative in a depressed way. Or was he merely waiting? Waiting was draining him. It was draining me too. Flipping the coin of understanding over, in regarding the cowboy, I concluded that relaxation was not a terrible state of mind. There would be sufficient time to be a Henny Penny later when faced with a crisis.

  7. Working at a dude ranch had sounded like an ideal summer job when Cory first saw the posting on the Ag Department bulletin board. Having grown up on a working cattle ranch in western Texas, he knew all the basic skills and it should be easy.

    Two weeks in, he was no longer so sanguine. Although he’d known he’d be dealing with tenderfoots, he’d never imagined the level of ignorance that confronted him on a daily basis. Often it took all the self-control he could muster to remain patient while explaining simple things like why one needed to walk a horse after a brief gallop.

    On the other hand, there were some rewards to this place. Take for instance the Iowa farm girl who was working in the chow hall. A cute little redhead, and she actually knew her way around livestock — someone like her could actually be worth getting to know.

    Now to figure out how to make the connection.

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