Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show: Mississippi Lil (#REN3 Blogfest, Week 1 )


Renaissance was smack in the middle of nowhere, as far as Lil felt. She was tired of being run out-of-town after town, them taking unkindly to Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine show rolling in and fleecing the rubes out of their money.  Renaissance looked like more of the same. They had passed through a sparse forest (Doc called it The Culdees), but she just wanted to keep on passing through. Home was north, past the mountain range, and for the first time in years all she wanted to do was go home.

“…and now, the paragon of deliciousness, the temptress of all men’s dreams-ladies, watch your husbands!-the cream of feminine beauty, our very own…MISSISSIPPI LIL!” Doc waved his trademark stovepipe hat with a flourish and Lil came out from behind the draped sheet to a cacophony of applause and whistles (the men) and gasps of outrage (the women). She couldn’t blame the women: she wasn’t comfortable, really, with what little she wore. Calf high laced boots, stockings, a too short flounce black skirt and a red trimmed bustier that had seen better days. Her shawl of a feathered boa protected her chest only so much. Tall feathers also adorned her hat. They gave her some shade and a prop to use, especially if there was a problem with her costume during the dance. There always was one.

Lil danced to the percussive tapping of Doc’s feet and his banjo picking fingers. He was gifted, the bastard, she’d give him that. It had just been a long time since she had loved him enough to run away with him. Lil sang, she acted in his little skits, she was flirty. All things  “good” Medicine Show acts needed to be.  She looked for diversion while she forced the smile that would help sell his piss water elixir. She had to if they wanted to eat tonight. Lil had other plans besides eating dinner as well.

Not that one. Nope. OK…kinda cute… nope…she’s clinging too tight and oh, the language. Nope. Nope. Hummm...” Lil thought all along, as she scanned the men. One stood out. “Not too tall, not short at all, a worker, by the looks of him. Not one to be in a store. Good.”

While hawking, Lil sidled up to the young man-younger than she was by a good ten years, she figured-and found out his name was Gid. Gid Jacobs, farmer’s son, farmer’s hands and back and arms. But clean, no dirt under his nails, and fairly well-groomed. His mama did a good job with him. Lil approved. She felt the strength of his arm, grasping it when she “accidentally” stumbled into him. “Meet me behind the wagon after the show,” she whispered to Gid. He nodded, transfixed, as she had brushed her breast against him before passing the hat around the crowd.

Doc’s routine to seek out a saloon after a show served her well. Lil seduced the farm boy, letting him take her against the buckboard. She promised him more of the same, much more, if Gid would just do one little thing for her. Gid said he would, that he had never in his life seen anyone as pretty or as wonderful as she was. He told her he loved her.

Mississippi Lil smiled as she folded her arms around Gid, pulling him against her as he shuddered. His head drooped onto her shoulder and both of them closed their eyes, panting.

Doc saw the whole thing, out of plain sight, hiding  behind a shed.  The magics sparked off of his clenched  fist.


Welcome to Renaissance, the shared world setting for The Rule of Three Blogfest. As one of the hosts of this month-long writers challenge, it’s been with great anticipation for this to begin. Please visit and support my co-hosts:  Damyanti Biswas Daily (W)rite , Lisa Vooght Flash Fiction, JC Martin, Fighter Writer.

While of course I am not eligible for any of the prizes, it’s still a blast to write something for this challenge. Comments are always wonderful and I DO hope any and all of my readers will take a look at the other postings. Click on the silly face icon below to find the other writers who are part of this.

The next prompt posting will be on Friday, October 7th (check back here for the prompts) and then the next section of the story will be on Wednesday October 12/13. Stay tuned for part two of Doc Stovepipe’s Medicine Show.
Our list is now closed, but you can follow the other writers of #REN3 Blogfest by clicking below:

58 responses »

  1. Ahhh, the travelling medicine show. What an interesting couple of characters to start with. This has got my interest, and I look forward to more.


    • Thanks Jill. Once I had the Medicine Show in mind, I essentially had my plan. Still waiting for each posting of the prompts: YES< even though I helped approve them, I an not planning my story out. I don't remember what we agreed on (that was over a month ago).


    • Hi Gerhi: well, that would be telling! 😉

      Actually, I’m not sure yet. I really am waiting for Friday, where we’ll announce the next set of prompts. I have them in a folder, but I’m not looking until then. As I wrote in another comment, Damyanti wrote the prompts in August and we, as a group, modified them. I haven’t looked at the list since, so I only have a vague recollection of what we agreed upon.

      Now, if anyone wants a look at that list, Doc Stovepipe says meet him out back and cross his palm with silver. 😉


  2. Great structure, and a fine job setting up the main conflict already. Can’t wait to read what comes next!

    Thanks for hosting this blogfest. It’s already off to a great start!


    • In a message from Doc Stovepipe: “Sir, Ms. Mississippi Lil is not for sale. Why, that would be illegal. Illegal, I tell you. Now, if your intentions are honorable, and would like an introduction, that could be arranged. Bartender…my friend here is buying.”


      • My apologies, Doc, to have offended your sensibilities. It was not my intention to suggest anything other than a kindly introduction to the remarkable lady. Please, let me get you something to drink or three by way of an apology, sir.


      • Techie, Doc is always happy to imbibe on the dime of a fellow wetter of the whistle…he’s two sheets to the wind right now, so no offense taken, from the way I can tell he’s singing THAT song again. Sigh… 😉


  3. I’m sorry I didn’t get to read this before, Stu…been sick, and feeling like a sore bear! I love the menagerie you’ve created here, and lines like this one: He was gifted, the bastard, she’d give him that. It had just been a long time since she had loved him enough to run away with him….

    I’m not gonna look at the prompts either, cos where’s the fun then? If we don’t get prizes, at least let’s have a smashing time writing, I say! 🙂


  4. I’m really loving the variety of Renaissances that are already showing up. I can’t wait to see what happens when some of these (your Wild West) start colliding with others.

    Or maybe I’m just looking forward to seeing what Mississippi Lil does when her path crosses that of Mayor Joseph Grey, who might be burning the town down around her ears. Then again, I think _anyone_ crossing Lil’s path would be in for a world of hurt.


  5. Mmmmmm, caught is she. Doc ani’t a gonna like it….
    You have painted images upon my imagination and the tale is spinning!
    Looking forward…. but for now,I have some bits to work out in my own scenario! Glad to read the post above that you are not planning the story out ahead… but letting the muse react tot the prompts.
    Me, too!


    • Hi, Doc is not a happy camper right now. Why he’s not happy, and what he’ll do, well….we have three weeks before we find that all out, don’t we? 😉

      Enjoy your muse. Mine will come knocking three times upon Renaissance.


    • Hi Nicole, well, I created Renaissance…no way am I NOT going to play in this. I’ve been chomping at the bits for today to come since July.

      We’ll see what’s next next week. I’m still on the fence if it’s Gid or Doc…leaning towards Gid right now, but that can change when I actually sit down to write it.


  6. Yep, looks like we got us a problem brewing, and not the elixir kind. I’m intrigued. Love this line, btw: especially if there was a problem with her costume during the dance. There always was one.

    A little Janet Jackson before her time?


    • Thanks GE: yeah, I didn’t post which prompt I was using:
      There is an argument
      There is fear of an impending misfortune
      There is a humorous circumstance
      Someone might fall in love

      Really, depending on your POV, I used all four, some more overtly. Not everything has to happen “on screen”.

      Looking forward to reading all entries over the net four days.


    • Thanks David. While it SEEMS like it’s a Western, don’t count on it being a Western. The Medicine Show, in America, reached into the beginning of the 20th Century, and has it’s roots far earlier.


  7. Stuart,
    So wonderfully written. Really. Such emotion and melancholy coming from Lil. I loved the line about her just wanting to go home now…quite powerful. And don’t think I didn’t notice that little word ‘magic’ in the last line….gets me thinking that Doc has more up his sleeve than piss water elixer…lol. ~ Nadja


  8. Two crafty characters 🙂 Vividly drawn and presented.

    Per your e-mail request, I have added the e-mail button; but unfortunately I don’t tweet. Its almost too much to keep up the blog. Next week I’ll remember to post on google plus though.



    • Hi Donna: don’t worry about the twitting. The request for the buttons are not demands. The four of us have a LOT of reading to do throughout this month, and getting the stories through email would save us a lot of time. Thank you for doing that.


  9. I LOVE the premise of the travelling medicine show, and Doc Stovepipe sounds like quite a character! Wondering what Mississippi Lil’s intentions are with Gid?

    I was perhaps wondering if the last line could be saved for part 2, as it seems to be a sudden PoV shift from Lil’s to the Doc’s…but all in all I adore the characters already!


    • Muriel: you’ll have to check back next week (every week in October, posting between Wednesday & Thursday) for the “what’s next” answer.

      OH, well, there is a mini Renaissance story in Friday’s post. Hope you like it.


Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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