*After Michael Martone’s contributor notes

Emily Turner was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and grew up there, frolicking in cornfields and developing a love for agriculture that led to her obsession, er, passion for farm life. Turner spent long, drawling afternoons on her ranch in Corn Country, Indiana. She raised cows, sheep, llamas, alpacas, the occasional unicorn, goats, and chickens, while her sheepadoodle, Winston, grazed and herded them for her. The sun blossomed in the sky, always keeping Turner and her farm animals company.

Besides animals, Turner grew corn, corn, corn, sweet corn, corn, and soybeans. Rows and rows of corn stretched beyond the unending horizon, covering the earth like a crochet blanket. Turner ran through her fields, sprinkling her crops with a small, green watering pot—sprinkles of water glinted like diamonds in the sun’s rays and fell onto the crop’s waiting stems and leaves, and the soil guzzled the water. Turner knew she needed rain to finish her job, so she would pray to the harvest gods and offer golden eggs to appease them. Rain always came the next day. The corn thrived.

She made cornbread with her harvest, using ¼ cup butter (½  stick), 1 cup milk, 1 large egg, 1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal, 1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder (very different from baking soda), and ½ teaspoon salt. At the local farmer’s market, Turner sold her cornbread for $12 for a dozen or 50¢ a piece.

Along with her cornbread, she sold homemade preserves, jams, and jellies made with frozen, industrialized store fruits. No one could tell the difference.

Turner’s world-famous baked goods won first place in every county fair in Indiana as well as a Pulitzer Peace Prize. Tourists from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Illinois visited her farm in hopes of discovering her secret recipe, but Turner never solicited it, proclaiming it was far to dear to her to give out (until she started to sell the Turner Family: Cook It in 30 or Less cookbook for $39.99 plus shipping and handling).

Although her cooking made her a B-list celebrity, Turner stuck mostly to tending her ranch in Kentucky. Her favorite activities on the ranch were chasing butterflies, swimming in the creek, finding a needle in a haystack, and milking strawberry and chocolate milk from her respective pink and brown cows. Why, it made her happier than a pig bathing in mud on a hot day in July. At night, Turner would lie in her fields to stargaze; counting the twinkling blips one by one and creating constellations—connecting the dots to form her own Orion and Cygnus. In fact, she often worshipped the stars and prayed to them, much like the harvest gods, asking for plentiful crops and fruitful weather. If she saw a shooting star, she knew her prayers would be answered.

The farm animals were her best friends, but the scarecrows kept her company as well. For how many acres Turner owned, she must have had hundreds upon hundreds of scarecrows, each sporting a different flannel jacket, straw hat, and overalls. Their beady eyes followed her. And their hand-stitched mouths were sewn shut so they couldn’t share Turner’s secrets. No matter how far she wandered in her corn fields, she always found a friend in the scarecrows. Sometimes Turner would lose herself in the corn, but she never felt fear, for her scarecrows would always point her in the direction of her farmhouse. She would whisper thank you back to them out of gratitude and fear that if she didn’t, they would stop guiding her.

Turner went on to live happily at her ranch in Ohio. She lived for her corn. She lived to take care of her animals. She lived to make cornbread. She lived to count the stars that expanded over the horizon of cornfields that reached into oblivion.

Emily Turner is an undergraduate student at Ball State University, majoring in English studies and minoring in creative as well as professional writing. From a young age, Emily has used reading and writing to express herself, and through her writing, she hopes to deliver her personal truths to her readers. 

© 2020 Emily Turner. Published by LITTLE FICTION | BIG TRUTHS, May 2020.

Editors: Troy Palmer, Beth Gilstrap & Alvin Park. Images from The Noun Project (credit: Made by Made).

The 2020 Flash Issue:



by Emily Turner
Contributor Notes