Prancer & Gruff
by Jade Crystal
I so wanted to like this one. The prompt was adorable. The cowboy was hot. This could've been a great story. Sadly, it fell short.
First of all, I highly doubt that a ranch this size has zero hired hands. That's just not realistic, especially when living so far away from anything resembling civilization. It's just basic survival skills. What happens if you're sick? What happens if you get trampled in a stampede? What happens if you fall and can't get up? Even small farms have hired help. How is it possible Cliff is on this ranch all by himself? No, that's not going to happen.
Second of all, while we are eventually given a plausible explanation for why Troy shows up at ten o'clock at night for a job interview he never called to schedule, that whole opening scene is just weird. Cliff puts off talking business until the following morning - but then they never discuss pay, or vacations, or time off, or health benefits or anything.
Third of all, Cliff and Troy are the only two people on this entire ranch, which means Cliff is always outside running the ranch and Troy is inside cleaning the house. They have almost no scenes together. Though when they were on the same page, I did enjoy their exchanges if only because it forced Troy to act halfway human. It's only because of these scenes this story got as many stars as it did.
Fourth of all, Troy. I just have no idea what to make of Troy. He's way OTT, talking to the brooms and mops and dancing with them, and calling the vacuum Mr. Sucks a Lot, and it's just too much. He's constantly talking to himself (while Cliff is constantly thinking to himself) and he's mostly talking about cleaning which just is not that interesting. Honestly, I wondered about his mental stability much of the time and I eventually started skimming his solo scenes, which ended up being most of the last half of the story.