Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sunday's Short Stack: Carbon and Ash by Chris Owen


I have decided to add another feature to my weekly posts, this one is called Sunday's Short Stack and will highlight short stories.  I've always enjoyed a good short story fut I've also always been more of a full-length novel kind of gal and found it natural to dock a 1/2 mark off any review just for the shortness.  But then as I read more and more short stories/novellas I realized that I was unfairly judging the reads and authors because some of the stories I love the most have turned out to fall into novella/short story category so it only seemed fitting to add to my Sunday selections one for all those lovely possibilities that tend to get overlooked because of the pages or word count shortage.😉  Must Sunday's will continue to be featuring Sunday's Safe Word Shelf but be on the lookout for this newest feature at Padme's Library from time to time.


Former minor league baseball player and little league coach Myles figures he and his buddy Todd have a lot in common. They're both single dads, they both love baseball and camping, and their sons get along great. They also have this thing they do, this touching thing a few times a year that Myles figures is just all about creature comfort.

The thing is, as they both think about dating other people and breaking up their late night tradition, Myles starts to realize maybe he's not as casual about Todd as he thought. In fact, he has to take a long hard look at how he feels, and hope he doesn't strike out.

Carbon and Ash is a lovely, short read that has just the right amount of heat and sweet.  Would I have liked to seen more of Myles and Todd and their sons? Of course.  Does the story lack anything by not having more background or future to their journey? Not at all.  Perhaps one day we'll see what these lads are up to but if not, I loved this short read and can honestly say I'll be re-visiting them again next year as spring training starts and I am in a baseball mood.  This is my first Chris Owen read but it will definitely not be the last.


The evening sun is warm on his back as Myles sends his team onto the field for the final inning. He watches them go, little legs full of far less energy after almost an hour of playing, but he can see their eyes still bright with interest and enthusiasm; it's just the limits of being six and seven years old that makes them slower. He knows how they feel -- the pull of the game warring with the limits of the body, the need to cram as much fun into a day as they can.

Myles makes sure that Joey stays to the right of the outfield instead of drifting off to the left where Matty Jones is. If those two get too close together they won't pay close attention to the game and will start looking for bugs again between batters. It's usually not a problem, but with exhaustion and the fleeting attention span of seven year olds, it would be far too easy for them to miss a play and descend into emotional meltdown. He knows about that, too, frustration and disappointment taking the joy out of baseball.

One of his charges, Sherry, is going even slower than the rest and Myles can see her feet kicking up little storms of dust as she crosses the diamond to second base, so he goes out after her. "Almost done, kiddo," he says, crouching down to meet her eyes. "Think you can catch that ball for me?"

She nods firmly, squinting a little as the sun shines on her upturned face. "Yes, Coach," she promises. "But I'm hungry."

"I'm sure you are," he says sympathetically. "More than an hour since supper, right? There's apples and oranges for you guys after the game."

She smiles and nods again. "Yum."

"You betcha." Myles stands up and pats her shoulder, being careful to keep the touch light and clearly a Good Touch. "You can do it," he tells her.

She looks up at him with six-year-old wisdom, her eyes clearly saying he's crazy. "Of course I can."

Author Bio:
Chris Owen lives with her family on the east coast of Canada. A writer, reader, board game player, knitter, and dog lover, she explores themes of chosen family in her work, often inserting her own hobbies into the characters lives.

A mother of two children who are rapidly reaching adulthood, she can frequently be found with a cup of coffee in one hand, staring dreamily at her yarn and pile of writing resources, dreaming of the day she can have a proper office with a door that closes.


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