Odd Prompts: Corn Palace

Ok, this was an odd one this week, and I think I folded, spindled, and mutilated the prompt to make it fit in what I needed to write. Enjoy! 


 The coven’s reach isn’t as long as they would like, but it’s pretty wide in a radius around Eugene.” 

“That’s why you routed us around it.” 

“Yep. Avoiding cities in general, that’s why I did avoid highways on the internet version of the map.” She hadn’t wanted to use the GPS in the car, although in theory it wasn’t trackable. James had explained it to her as one-way communication. Still, it wasn’t paranoia if they really were after you.  She had gone so far as to power all the phones completely down, strip SIM cards, and stash them in a Faraday bag. They were hopefully flying under the radar. 

They stopped in Sweet Home for the promised snacks. Amaya had pushed through the Willamette Valley without incident, but they had been in the car since very early morning, almost daybreak. Corvina, she was relieved to discover, had no problems with a bathroom break not in the bushes as threatened, but in a backwoods gas station with the key duct-taped to a length of wood, and located round the back. There were no cameras there. 

Sweet Home, though, was a tourist destination and although it was a small city, it saw a lot of traffic. Which offered its own kind of anonymity.  Amaya parked as far as she could from the gas station and waited for the attendant. She looked over at Corvina. 

“Want me to duck down or something?” The girl grimaced. 

“No, just act normal. That will draw less attention.” 

Amaya could see Corvina bow her head, her dark hair curtaining off her face, as she dealt with payment and waiting on the gas to be dispensed. Oregon’s laws made it difficult for her to evade any human contact, being unable to even get her own gas. They would be out far enough to let her relax in a few hours. 

She pulled back onto the road, when Corvina spoke. 

“I know you said we couldn’t get too far off route…” 

“No Grand Canyon.” Amaya grinned, hoping an obvious joke would ease her rejection. 

“No. How about the Corn Palace?” 

“What now?” Amaya flashed a look at the girl, who looked deadpan serious. 

“The Corn Palace is decorated every year with cobs of corn.” Corvina recited like she was reading something, which was probably close to where she’d gotten that information. “Every year is a different theme.” 

“So where is it, and what’s this year’s theme?” Amaya shook her head. “I underestimated you.” 

“You thought I’d want one of the big attractions? It’s in South Dakota.” Corvina answered partly. 

“I have never been to that state, but if I recall the route, we’re going through Nebraska anyway, how much further can it be?” 

“I don’t know this year’s theme,” Corvina confessed, “the agricultural almanac was from 1969.” 

“I don’t remember that one,” Amaya laughed. “But then again, I wasn’t looking for it in the library.” 

“They took a lot of the books out.” Corvina was looking out the window, her face turned completely away from Amaya. “It was my fault, and the others were…” 

“Unhappy with you? And not with Krystal, who really was the one trying to punish you through using them?” 

“Yeah.” That clarified nothing, but from the way Corvina slouched deeper into her seat, Amaya guessed she’d hit close to the mark. 

“I hid books.” Corniva knew that, but Amaya wanted to remind her, given the stressful way they had met. “But I had an outside source in my parents.” 

“I lost your book.” Corvina’s voice was soft and wistful. “I liked it.”

“I did, too. I’ll get you a new copy.” Amaya cleared her throat. “If the Corn Palace still exists, we’ll see how far it is and go there.” 

“It’s in the atlas,” Corvina rustled pages and Amaya resisted the urge to look away from the road. “That’s what made me think of it. How did you escape?” 

Amaya jerked the wheel before she recovered. “It’s a long story…” She wasn’t sure how to tell it, now that the question had come. It was one she ought to have expected, under the circumstances. “We have time for the story, before we get to the Corn Palace. What do you expect to find there, anyway?” 

“When archaeologists excavate the Corn Palace, in 3000 years,” Corvina intoned, her voice pitched low to imitate the drone of a professor, “they will find items that completely mystify them, which they will identify as religious icons…” Her voice returned to it’s normal tone. “I don’t understand why everything has to be religious.” 

“Most of them probably aren’t.” Amaya shook her head, smiling. “I can only imagine those far-distant dudes, digging up some modern store.” 

“Victoria’s Secret: what was it?” Corvina giggled. 

“How do you know what a Victoria’s Secret is?” 

“One of the girls smuggled in a catalog.” Corvina made a snorting noise. “I’m not completely sheltered.” 


This week’s prompt was from Fiona Grey with “3,000 years from now, archaeologists discover the Corn Palace.” And I highly recommend you follow that link, it’s sort of awesome. 

I prompted Leigh Kimmel with “The dragon perched atop a pile of books, clutching a kitten and looking scandalized.” 

You can read all the prompts and responses over at MOTE, and you can play along as well! See you there. 


2 responses to “Odd Prompts: Corn Palace”

  1. John Sage Avatar
    John Sage

    Great snippet. When is the story?

    On another subject, from reading your Eatvthisvwhile you read that, is chili, my large batch recipe, well recieved even among Texans.
    It is based on the Wick Fowler boxed seasonings, and solid, not ground beef.
    The main cheat is to bring the final mix to a boil on the stove, then put it covered, in a 250 degree oven for 6 hours. Meat comes out very tender, but not broken up.

    7-8 lbs Round Roast or steak, trimmed of silverskin and fat, in 3/4″ cubes
    3 lbs onions, coarsely chopped
    2 -3 large cans crushed tomatoes
    1 large can tomato paste, more to taste
    1 tbsp salt, more to taste, or substitute Canadian Steak seasoning
    2 – 3 pkgs Wick Fowlers Chili mix, use the hot pepper powder or not as you choose.
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    Water or Shiner Bock asvliquid is necessary
    Saute onions until clear, or carmelized, in batches if necessary, put in a 3 to 4 gallon boiling pot.
    Saute cubed beef in olive oil, transfer to big pot when browned.
    Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, and liquid as needed, heat to boiling on stove top. Cover and bake at 250 for 4 to 6 hours. Add the masa harina as thickening.
    Serve with fresh chopped onions, green onions, cheese, sour cream, crackers, etc

    Drained canned beans may be added at the time of stove top mixing. Presoaked dry beans will need some extra liquid.
    Smoked ancho chili can be a good addition, depending onbdesired heat.
    GFS Beef Base can be added for extra beef flavor, but reduce the added salt or Canadian Steak and add extra fresh garlic and black pepper instead.

    I haven’t written anything mysely except for pleadings and legal research, but I have recently enjoyed reading the Twisted Luck series by Mel Todd, a female lead character in an urban magic world which is not poisonously woke.
    I read your blog often enough to not push for more books, but please, more in the Pixie for Hire world sometime soon?

    Thanks, John Sage

  2. My dad has very fond memories of visiting the Corn Palace as a boy, so much so that he brought his own family there (when I was too young to remember) and my brother, persuaded by our father, brought HIS family there. My dad’s sister was less impressed when she passed through Mitchell, SD, last year…