August 13: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

August 14, 2014

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionMy eyes drink up layers of colors as if the valley were an exotic libation. I expect to see a cheap paper umbrella among the pinks, greens, blues, yellows and oranges.

If the humidity is up a tad, the sunset causes a riot of pink to streak the sky. The mountains darken to a dusky blue which sets off the brightness of the tall green grass with its late summer swatches of gold.

As usual, my mind wanders beyond the sip of beauty and the questions begin. How to describe that shade of pink? What is behind the mountain? When will I tire of the view? Who lived here before, drinking this same view? Why did they leave?

Sometimes I think fiction writers are simply impatient to understand. Along with asking, “what if…” we also ask, “why?” We want to understand motivations. Literature lingers over character development and takes the span of a novel to contemplate why people do the things they do.

Narrative-driven stories dig right into motivation as if the answer is the ending of the story. Now we know why! Based-on-true-stories (BOTS, thank you, Irene Waters) seeks to answer the “whys” unresolved by history or facts. And that is where my mind most often wanders as I sit outside at sunset, grilling my dinner and drinking my fill of scenic beauty.

Most obvious is, why did Hickok kill Cob McCanless? I also want to know why Cob left North Carolina with Sarah Shull but then sent for his family. And why did his wife follow the man who left her in the midst of a property swindle? Why did they all stay enmeshed in their relationships out west? Why did Sarah leave North Carolina? And why did she stay with Cob in Nebraska?

I want to have eyes for this history. I want to be like those wine tasters who can discern the individual notes. I once interviewed a Cherokee wine-maker who grew grapes in Minnesota. His wines started at the vine. He’d grasp a fistful of grapes and chomp them big and mouthy able to tell what the wine would be like. He didn’t use beakers and additives–he could taste the wine in the grapes. I want to taste this story like that.

It all comes down to motivation. What motivates people can be external–a desire to please, to be found attractive, to be accepted. History tells us that Sarah was shunned by her family and community, never to be forgiven even when she returned to North Carolina almost 50 years later. That’s a strong motivator.

Motivation can also be internal–a drive to succeed, a passion to experience adventure, a fear of failure. One fact about Sarah is that she was 22 -years-old when  she had an affair with Cob. That was unusual for her time period and all her elder siblings had married before reaching that age. Some say she was driven to better herself.

But why Cob? He was educated, a fine fiddler, dashing, powerful and a captivating orator. Maybe the two shared ambitions to have something bigger and better than the harsh mountain living of North Carolina. If my understanding of the clan-mentality is close then Cob would have had strong external motivations to stay married.

Ultimately, I think Sarah bribed Cob. He liked fine things, he desired to be wealthier than he was and she was an accountant trained in her father’s businesses. I imagine that Sarah was so desperate to leave after the shame of her daughter’s birth soon followed by the grief of the babe’s death a year later that Sarah concocted the scheme.

It required Cob’s position as sheriff and involved many others. The scheme itself is similar to the mortgage fraud pulled off by American banks where the note was re-sold so many times that it became difficult to trace the original fraud and by the time it was clear, the homeowner lost the house.

The court records in North Carolina indict many people who re-sold the debts of others after the sheriff collected them, but no one was ever convicted, not even Cob or his deputy. By that time he and Sarah were long fled to the Colorado gold fields presumably financed by others–unwittingly. And those who lost their payments were never reimbursed and were still in debt.

Maybe by then Sarah didn’t care if Cob sent for his family. If her motivation was to escape the shame of North Carolina, she succeeded. She even wrote out a business agreement with Cob for him to pay her as his business accountant. He set her up on the east ranch of Rock Creek, built a profitable toll-bridge, then built the west ranch for his wife and children.

But he sold the east ranch to the Pony Express. Sarah had to move into a one-room sod house similar to the one where Hickok lived. And he never paid Sarah. His brother Leroy paid the note after Cob’s death. Why?

You see, there’s so much to motivation. It can drive a narrative big or small. So that is our quest this week, to explore the motivation of a character in 99 words.

External motivation is called “extrinsic” and is typically behavior based on achieving a reward or avoiding a punishment. Internal motivation is called “intrinsic” and is more personal. Think of it as the difference between playing a game to please your fiancee or playing a game because you find it exciting.

And here’s a drink of my summer sunsets for extra inspiration (may it help you relax and start asking, why):


August 13, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) show the underlying motivation of a character. He or she may not even understand the motivation fully, but let the reader grasp it. It can be an external or internal motivation (or both). Maybe it’s a decision, a revelation or the beginning of disaster. Maybe it shows fortitude or reveals fear. Let motivation drive your flash this week! Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, August 19 to be included in the compilation.

All That She Buried by Charli Mills

Sarah stood straight, wearing her crisp black skirts with matching mutton-sleeve blouse. Cob and Leroy paid for the hole in the ground and their father crafted the pine box that looked more like a diminutive traveling trunk than a baby’s coffin. Yet none showed for the burial. No prayers. No solace. No tears.

A shovelful of dirt buried Sarah’s pride. Another shovelful buried any love she’d ever felt for her parents. By the time the hired gravedigger finished his task without even stealing a glance at her pale face, Sarah was ready to make a crook out of Cob.


Rules of Play:

  1. New Flash Fiction challenge issued at Carrot Ranch each Wednesday by noon (PST).
  2. Response is to be 99 words. Exactly. No more. No less.
  3. Response is to include the challenge prompt of the week.
  4. Post your response on your blog before the following Tuesday by noon (PST) and share your link in the comments section of the challenge that you are responding to.
  5. If you don’t have a blog or you don’t want to post your flash fiction response on your blog, you may post your response in the comments of the current challenge post.
  6. Keep it is business-rated if you do post it here, meaning don’t post anything directly on my blog that you wouldn’t want your boss to read.
  7. Create community among writers: read and comment as your time permits, keeping it fun-spirited.
  8. Each Tuesday I will post a compilation of the responses for readers.
  9. You can also follow on Carrot Ranch Communications by “liking” the Facebook page.
  10. First-time comments are filtered by Word Press and not posted immediately. I’ll find it (it goes to my email) and make sure it gets posted! After you have commented once, the filter will recognize you for future commenting. Sorry for that inconvenience, but I do get frequent and strange SPAM comments, thus I filter.

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  1. susanzutautas

    Wow I’m first. This is a first. Here’s mine…. This one was such fun to write, I only hope it is what you were looking for….

    Here is the first bit of it:
    Amy sat staring out the window, not looking at anything in particular. She felt a numbness she’d never felt before. That’s all she felt. No remorse for what she’d done, no regrets whatsoever.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! Way to first, Susan! I’m looking for your creativity and glad for it. Great flash with so much unfolding. One line in particular is telling and I left on comment at your post about it.

    • Norah

      First in best dressed? I enjoy thinking about the character’s motivations as well as how they may be interpreted.

  2. Sherri

    Beautiful view that Charli! Now I’m off to find some motivation, be back later to comment in more depth 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      The layering of color is always so amazing. I’m sure you have beautiful views, too! Just drink ’em in!

    • Charli Mills

      Yea, Ruchira! Fun to have you join in! 🙂

  3. Norah

    What beautiful colours for you to gaze upon. How it must enrich your days. Your discussion of motivation is interesting, for there are so many different things that motivate people to act the way they do, including to engage in a flash challenge! I love your flash – another aspect of the tale, though you told much more in the post as well. I’m enjoying the history lesson. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I had a boss who was crazy about sunrises and I’ve had some interesting trips with her. Or driving to work (especially in winter on short days) I’d enjoy the sunrise. Now it’s a pleasure to enjoy the sunsets! Why is it that no two are ever the same? Such a beautiful wonder! As to motivation, I learned much from raising children and maneuvering through the teen years. Also as a manager. But I’m always so curious to understand better why people do things. There’s stories in those motivations!

      • Norah

        There are! I am looking forward to reading them all!

  4. Norah


  5. Annecdotist

    A beautifully lyrical description of your view and your search for your characters’ motivations. And timely for me as the review I had ready to post on my blog today is of a novel that addresses those hidden motivations and is aptly called He Wants. I worked out my flash on my morning walk and have pasted it onto the end of this post
    Now off to look at those already in.

    • Charli Mills

      Well, that was synchronized! Oh, yes–“wants.” We could get into wants verses needs and which ones are the real drivers. Crazy things like water–we all need water but why do we want it in individual plastic bottles? I look forward to your review and flash. How fun that you processed it on your walk! Off to Anecdotal…

    • Norah

      Love your flash Anne – those hidden desires!

    • Charli Mills

      And dig you did! You managed to pack a lot of tension into 99 words. Glad you could use the prompt to deepen your understanding of your characters’ motives.

    • Norah

      Love the conflict of motivations! 🙂

  6. Pete

    The Job

    Julie took a yoga-like breath, reigning in her emotions. Her eyes opened to the debris of post-it notes vying for her attention. Her whole life was about finding money.

    She studied the matted carpet, the empty desks. The rancor from a young mother’s tirade was still drowning in her ears. Why again—her father liked to ask—had she become a social worker?

    The gleam. The boy’s innocence as he looked over his mother’s shoulder, his bouncing eyes so bright and hopeful. His smile not yet lost. Everyday her faith in humanity was tested. And every morning she returned.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, boy–that last part really hit hard. Well done, to capture that particular motivation. I could see those eyes and feel her determination. Great details, sharp writing.

    • Norah

      It’s the children, with their eyes so bright and hopeful, who provide the motivation for many to continue in the face of hardship repeating. I understand the picture you have painted so clearly. 🙂

  7. Sarah Brentyn

    Santa and the Siren

    Everyone at the holiday ball noticed Rhonda. While most women drank champagne in elegant, black gowns or shimmied to Jingle Bell Rock in red velvet, Rhonda wore yellow.

    Hair color was not mentioned, but they talked. Her face was not seen, but they stared. No one left the party that night without having glimpsed the girl in yellow. Yellow and nothing else.

    One kind-hearted woman said the dress was “sheer”. Rhonda heard snippets of conversation, some crude, some accusatory. She smiled, thinking of her senior prom—ten years ago when she wore a yellow dress. Not a wallflower anymore.

    • Charli Mills

      What a vivid image you have crafted. Not only the whole Jingle Bell Rock with the red of Santa and the holiday season, but the elegance of champagne and black gowns…then, Rhonda! Oh, boy, the siren in yellow gets noticed. It has a clashing tone of vindictiveness and silliness that makes this piece all the more colorful. Great flash!

    • TanGental

      Is it alright to find that, what, erotic? ‘Sheer’. Sort of suggests something a touch brazen, doesn’t it? Maybe I need to question my motivations?!

      • Charli Mills

        I’m sure Santa a few naughty thoughts! 😉

      • TanGental

        That’s comforting to hear from our leader!

      • Charli Mills

        Oops! Veered off the trail again…

    • Sarah Brentyn

      Thanks, Charli. All the colors in this post made me think of this. This was BOTS, by the way, and I was horribly embarrassed for her. Also, not one of the nice ones when I discussed it after a few drinks. I wondered what could possibly have been thinking. It did seem like a bizarre cross between silly and vindictive. Good call! Some people there thought she was, um, hired. O_o

      Geoff – It wasn’t a “touch” brazen, it was ridiculous. Yes, you need to question your motivations. 😉

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha…it is embarrassing for us to witness such a colorful unraveling, but feeds us good writing details!


    Motivus Merlinus

    Why did I manipulate time and place, influencing the outcome of events only I could see? They sent me to Rome! Me, half druid, half prince, yet all wizard. Come back and save us all, they adjured.

    I met a wise friar who unveiled mine eyes to a synthesis so sweet, of old and new, of love and fellowship beyond all religions’ pain, free from exploitative gain. Not discarding old for new, but the dawning of a simple way, of acceptance, love, and compassion for all as if for thine own self. I knew how to make it so.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    And here’s the link to my website for extra wordage, lovely pics & even the Latin version should that excite 🙂

    Lots sof love and brightest blessings to all,
    Tally 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Very cool, Tally! Merlin returns to the ranch! I feel as though I’m walking down a marbled hall with Merlin as he rants, then reflects. You’ve dropped us right smack in the middle of the scene. Well done and thanks for shining your love and blessing on us! Off the read more on your blog!

  9. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    You live in a beautiful place too Charli. Drinking in those views can be intoxicating. You have me wondering why, why, why? I am really looking forward to reading your BOTS of the Hicock/Sarah/Cob story. You are so lucky living in the same place as your characters as you have that first hand knowledge of the landscape in which they lived so your descriptions of place are going to be heartfelt.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m planning a trip to visit my sister (in-law, but I claim her as mine) in Kansas and I’m going to drag her along to Rock Creek for some visual research…they have actually rebuilt the original cabin where Hickok shot Cob. I’m so excited to see it and see how close that curtain was, and other details. Yes, it does enliven the writing. I’d have a tough time describing koalas and stingrays!

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        How exciting for you. It’s as close to immersion writing as you can get given that it is so far in the past and your passion fires your writing as well as your questions and it is rubbing off. I look forward to where you’re going.

      • Charli Mills

        I reached out to a couple of McCandless male cousins this weekend (one is 80, the other 70). One was so passionate to tell me what he thought Cob was like I’m blown away! He says, “Cob was big tough Good looking Scot…Quick to the fists and was usually triumphant…The picture I saw of her [Sarah Shull], I can see why he had wandering eyes, man.” I think he was channeling Cob, LOL! This is becoming an adventure!

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        How exciting for you. I imagine they would have spoken to relatives who knew him so the chanelling may well be memories of conversations way in the past. I had a friend whose grandfather or father (I can’t remember which) met Hickok in England. It was due to him that the relative, who had built a bike which converted to a boat which he rode from his hometown to the coast then rowed across to France, took part in the Wild West Shows which travelled England at the time showing wild animals.

      • Charli Mills

        I just love these degrees of connectivity! I’ve read enough of those kinds of stories about Hickok to get the idea that he was inspiring in person. That will be tricky to draw out as he was other things, too. Even Rosa, his English biographer was impacted by a movie about Hickok produced in 1936. And yes, I think these men grew up with stories about Cob and the one who wrote to me remembers relatives who knew his great-great-grandfather.

  10. Norah

    Hi Charli, I’m in with two responses to the prompt this time. Love that motivation! You may choose either to include in your compilation. Thanks. I’ll be back tomorrow to do some reading. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Somehow I thought I left a cheer for two responses on your comment. Perhaps I did elsewhere! So woohoo, again, for motivation!

    • Charli Mills

      I think you hit upon a crucial turning point in your story. Great flash!

      • TanGental

        Yes, I think you are right. Sorry about the sloppy typo (tis) and rubbish grammar (put rather than puts) in my post! Seems the pressure is getting to me!

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, I thought tis was fancy British. 🙂 I can edit it for you…I leave my rubbish typos in place in comments unless I’m really embarrassed. U r fine!

  11. rllafg

    Speedy Simpkins by Larry LaForge

    He often feels isolated, unprepared. While other students find it easy, he struggles mightily. He wonders how he got into this elite university.

    Speedy Simpkins knows his name holds the answer. No one runs faster on the football field.

    The pretty coed sitting to his right makes brief eye contact, smiles seductively, and positions her exam paper in his view. His teammates say it’s expected — a little help for those who bring glory to the school. Everyone does it.

    But Speedy Simpkins looks straight ahead, focusing squarely on his own work.

    His dignity is more important than a grade.

    The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine:

    • Charli Mills

      Love that character (as in character-building)! You come up with some fun names, Larry. This one really strikes a cord, though, deeper than the glory and glitz there are athletes who still find dignity in doing their best. Great writing!

    • Norah

      Good on you Speedy, and good luck to you too. To thine own self be true!

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, that’s a good one!

    • Charli Mills

      Editing can be the challenge, but sometimes it forces you to make a change you wouldn’t have tried with good results! It also teaches you which words aren’t important. 🙂 Thanks, Laura! Off to read your flash!

  12. Sherri

    Hi Charli! Here is my Flash, hope you like it. This could be a BOTS I suppose rather than fiction. Will have to check with Irene on that 😉


    Daylight Robbery

    Placing one hand on the bench’s armrest, the old man heaved himself up on to unsteady legs.

    Shivering against the bitter wind, he pulled his shabby coat around his thin frame and walked slowly towards the Post Office.

    Relieved that he was alone he approached the clerk, snarling:

    “I’ve got a gun! Give me your money now!”

    The police found the old man stumbling along the street, necking back his newly purchased whiskey.

    Sleet fell as he was bundled into the back of the warm police car and he smiled at the thought of the jail bed awaiting him.


    • Charli Mills

      Hi Sherri! Wow, this is a powerful flash, very vivid. Is it based on a true story, then? Laura Burke used a BOTS for her flash, too. That might be an interesting prompt in the future–ripped from local headlines. There’s an American tv show, Law & Order, that uses real headlines as the basis for their serial stories. It’s sad, too, as your flash reminds me of Geoff’s post, Homeless. This is a great line: “necking back his newly purchased whiskey.” I think that’s the sort of tight-writing we can learn from flash! Thanks!

      • Sherri

        Oh I’m so glad you liked it Charli, thanks so much 🙂 I struggled with ideas for this one but a long walk around the park listening to Foo Fighters did the trick 😉

        Sadly, and yes, I could say I took this from news headlines, but my dear old dad has done similar (but no weapon) although of course for the purposes of this flash I used my imagination as I’ve never been there to witness the specifics…as it were…

        Purely as an aside, I have written about my dad from time to time under ‘My Dad’s Alcoholic Prison’ category but it would have been before you and I met here. Yes, I also read Geoff’s powerful homeless post, as I said to him, his touching poem could have been about my dad. Very sad.

        I love your feedback on my flashes because this is still such a new concept for me and I love writing them. I never thought in a million years I could do anything like it and I do feel my confidence growing that perhaps, just maybe I could write a novel. Yes, I would end up using a lot of ‘real life’ I’m sure but I can see what you mean about being able to go deeper with total free range and creative license as to how far the story can go. Which of course is totally different to memoir!

        Now I’m off to read all the others 🙂

        PS I’ve watched Law & Order from time to time, great show! Needless to say, I’m a sucker for true crime in both TV and reading. Ann Rule is one of my favourite writers. The way she gets behind the ‘real’ story of both the victim and the perpetrator is brilliant, I love the way she writes about the psychology of it all.

      • Charli Mills

        Ah, that is sad and it sounds as if I have some catching up to do on your writing about your dad. It is brave to write about these painful touch points in our lives. Did you find it freeing in a way to imagine this scene with your dad in mind? I can definitely see a thread of sad compassion running through it. I think that is what makes it work…interesting, but we never know the motivations of the writer but they do seep in, don’t they? We all look away (as Geoff talks about in the homeless on the streets) and think that could never be my dad; that could never be me. In not looking, it shows how fearful we really are. So, in writing, you looked deeply at it and created something of it. It gives dignity back in a way.

        Sherri, I hope you keep writing flash! You are good at distilling a scene with vivid imagery and emotion. It’s a skill any writer wants to hone, but I believe you have a knack for writing deep and giving meaning to your pieces, even if they are imagined BOTS or Foo Fighter inspired. That creative license might help you work out a block in your memoir, too. I used to use creative writing in business to start meetings! It unlocked creative thinking and team members were better focused on new solutions or ideas.

        I miss my “crime tv” with not having a television, but that’s okay. I haven’t read Ann Rule, but as you describe, she sounds like an interesting writer. They psychology is where I like to go–it’s that “why” drive. 😀

      • Sherri

        You know, it wasn’t until I read your question that I realised that yes, I did find it freeing to write this flash with my dad in mind, I honestly did! I can’t say enough how much your feedback means to me Charli, it really helps me know that I can ‘write out’ what’s on the inside and then, more importantly, enable others to experience what lies beneath, even if only in 99 words! You are right, the writer’s motivations certainly do seep in, and I’m blown away actually at your astuteness, pointing out these things when I wasn’t even aware of them myself! I need that creative licence I now realise. I can certainly see how your use of creative writing would have helped your business meetings. A great idea that, but then you have many of those…

        How long have you been without TV? I could take it or leave it sometimes, until I get hooked on something which doesn’t happen very often thankfully…

        So long as you keep giving us these excellent prompts Charli, I’ll be writing flash, you can count on it 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        You’ve dug in and made some good realizations about your writing! I don’t always know what’s going in in my fictions either, and then someone will make an observation and it crystallizes. I like those “ah-ha” moments. I really appreciate the Rough Writers for creating a literary community that allows for such moments. When we open up we are better able to tackle the bigger projects we are working at. Oh, I’ve been without tv for two years. When I went to Boise and camped out in the Hub’s motel room, I watched a marathon of American Pickers about these two guys who travel the rural routes seeking treasure in people’s junk. Then I watched a bunch of Forensics Files and a couple episodes of Criminal Minds. Then I had my fill! I do rent movies and I do get hooked on shows, but like you, not often. Are you hooked on anything now? Keep writing!

      • Sherri

        I love those ‘ah-ha’ moments and I’m privileged to be a part of the Rough Writers, I really am…
        That’s so interesting about the tv and how you had your fill. What I do like over here is there are a lot of dramas over say a 6 week period which make for great tv and of course all the great shows like Homeland (which I was definitely hooked on but that’s finished now) and Breaking Bad which I’m watching thanks to daughter’s Netflix account. I also like the Scandinavian dramas like The Bridge. Very dark and psychological crime tv! Sounds like we like the same kind of viewing. I’m sure that hubby watches American Pickers…will have to check on that! When we first moved to the States, we lived in a rural place with no cable so we only got the local channel. My friend used to come over with videos of loads of kids cartoons and family shows she’d taped for us so that the kids had something to watch and I loved that. I never had to worry about what rubbish they might be watching. Of course, I only had control for so long 😉
        I’m glad you don’t miss your tv too much Charli and I’m so glad that you are where you are now as it sounds like you went through a really horrible time…
        Have a great weekend and see you next week 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        I think we’d make good television companions! My kids greatly influence my interests these days although when they were younger we did the same thing–lots of kid videos! Our big thing when they got older was to rent videos of the X-Files on Friday nights. I’d make nachos and drink wine; they’d get root beer and we’d watch three shows in a row! Netflix is great, but I can’t even get that here because of the slowness of my satellite internet. 🙂 When I visit the kids they’ll queue up favorite shows they want me to watch. The latest is Vikings on the History Channel. I’ve heard the New Orange is good by people who liked Breaking Bad. And as to tough times, it’s a part of our walk but I’m glad certain episodes of life are behind me! 🙂 I think you’re courageous to writing about your own life experiences! You have a great weekend, too!

      • Sherri

        See Charli, you are right, we would! Seriously, we used to watch X-Files every week as a family (except for Aspie D who was too young given the age gap between the kids) but she used to sneak out and try and watch anyway! It was often just the kids and I (their father worked for the Dept of Corrections and so a lot of shift work) and Friday nights was our ‘Fun Family Night’. We rented movies and after the kids fell asleep on the sofa bed I’d put on my old classics like Rebecca or old HItchcock movies. The kids had popcorn and Swedish Fish and I too would have my wine and very often nachos…so you see what I mean! I heard that Vikings is good but not watched it yet, and will look out for New Orange, don’t think we have it here yet. I’m glad you get to catch up with some good TV watching when you visit your kids, that’s so nice of them. It’s lovely isn’t it that our kids have shows they want us to watch…so we can discuss!!!!
        Ahh…great memories we both share. And as for being courageous, I’m not so sure. Sometimes I think I’m just plain nuts!! But thank you for saying that… and here we are halfway through the week already. That’s the price I paid for the long weekend, but I know you understand all about that 😉

      • Charli Mills

        That’s awesome! Oh, I loved those Friday nights. And yes, I love the discussions. My eldest is so funny–“Mum, you have to watch this so we can talk about it!” The tv series Lost re-connected me with my son. We had a tough time where he nearly died from a respiratory illness and he felt we let him down as parents. Years later, I was able to break through the walls he put up by watching his favorite show. He discovered his mum liked discussing such things and we ended up having fantastic discussions that helped heal our relationship. I’m so darn grateful for that series! 🙂 So many bumps and bruises in life, yeah, I think we are nuts to be courageous! But the other option is silence, denial and a sedentary-ordinary life and I don’t think that’s in either one of us! And I am starting to blur on days of the week! Maybe it doesn’t matter!

      • Sherri

        Wow…that’s powerful Charli, about your son and what he/you went through. Thank goodness your son pulled through…what a horrendous time that must have been… I remember when Lost first came out, we watched the first series and loved it but then ‘lost’ the plot as time went on and never did find out the ending…you and your sound found one another once again through Lost…how amazing is that?
        Finding that middle ground to talk to our kids is a wonderful thing. When my middle boy went through a horrendous break up with his girlfriend last year he didn’t want to tell me much at first but then he realised that he could open up and after a time I got my son back. He was in a very bad place.
        No way…you’re right Charli, words like that aren’t in our vocabulary 😉 As for the days of the week starting to blur, I don’t think it matters one iota…so long as we keep on keeping on… and God willing, we shall do just that my friend;-)

      • Charli Mills

        It feels good when they can open up to us. Okay! Let’s keep on keeping on! 😀

      • Sherri

        😀 x

  13. Charli Mills


    By Paula Moyer

    Jean couldn’t explain why she loved selling towels. When pressed, she
    would say, “I love playing with colors.” It sounded lame.

    Yet every Tuesday – “towel folding day” on the department clean-up
    calendar – her mind drifted as she lined up the edges. Drifted to
    sixth grade, the year she was her teacher’s scapegoat.

    The year she got the 64-color box of crayons. She picked pale pastel
    crayons, drew cave after cave. Their walls floated and rippled. Jean
    let them pull her in. She floated in the caves. Safe.

    Selling towels – a job. Finding perfect colors for every customer – her calling.

    • Charli Mills

      Beautiful, the way this flash weaves in between the present moment and the memory of 6th-grade. That Jean could find her calling in colors from her bad experience with her teacher is a good outcome and an interesting way to consider motivation.


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  2. 99 word flash fiction: Character development | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) - […] week Charli’s August 13, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) show the underlying motivation of a […]
  3. Motive is the key. | TanGental - […] week’s flash challenge from Charli Mills is  13 August 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) show the…

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