How the Wurst Was Won

Slot machine with cupid, rose, and cowboy boot

Source: Carrot Ranch Feb Saddle-Up Saloon

COWSINO STORY SPINE:  On the first Friday of very month, D. Avery hosts a writing challenge and month-long opportunity to talk story writing, and just general horsing around with regulars Kid & Pal at Carrot Ranch’s Saddle Up Saloon. February brings us a trio of picture prompts and the rare opportunity to play with a story spine. The following grew out of my own horseplay, so sashay on over and try for yourself!

How the Wurst Was Won

It was the baste of times, it was the wurst of times, and Thickpuddle McDrawer was up to his mustache in special orders for his Cain’t Be Beat Barbecue Special. Because of this, he once again questioned his decision to not add an extra triangle of cornbread, an oversized pat of honey-butter shaped like a rose, and some miniwurst sausages in Helene’s secret sauce to the regular order-for-two special, and then charge a buck or three more for creativity. People would pay extra for sure. History’d shown him there was something about barbecue, beans and cornbread that brought out the romantic side of those buckaroos.

“Helene!” he hollered into the back kitchen. “Get yer ass in gear. We’re gonna do a Valentine’s special, and I’m gonna need about 200 of those honey-butter roses of yers.”

“Gonna do the miniwurst, too?” she hollered back. “To…y’know…put some ideas in folks’ heads?”

“Uh…sure thing.” Thickpuddle shook his head, mumbling to himself about how he never could understand that woman. Though it had been her idea in the first place, now that he thought on it.

After a couple of years of that Valentine’s Day Special, the population of their small town grew in leaps and bounds. Most of the babies were born in Autumn.

As a result of this boom, Thickpuddle had to hire on new workers to serve the hungry townspeople. The population grew even more as their reputation for The Best Barbecue You All Love drew in writers, techies and artistic types; they settled in and created the now much-sought-after bedroom communities.

Hiring extra workers, including chefs eager to apprentice and learn Thickpuddle’s barbecue secrets and business philosophy freed up time for him and Helene to grow and explore their creative cooking side. It also gave Helene a little more elbow room for growing a few other things.

Before he knew it, Thickpuddle McDrawer’s house was filled with babies of his own: Littlepuddle, Muddypuddle, Splash, and a German Shepherd puppy named Squirt.

In the end, or maybe it was somewhere in the middle, he decided he ought to marry Helene before she took off with that shiny-spurred hotshot from the rodeo that had been bellying up to their restaurant’s bar every Thursday night.

And that was just how Helene had planned it, all along.      

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2023)

4 thoughts on “How the Wurst Was Won


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.