The trouble with having one’s children spread out across the nation at Thanksgiving time is that they are all contacting me for recipes. Of course, the day before Thanksgiving is actually the one that requires the cooking muscle.
It started last night with brining the bird in Reisling, honey, Kosher salt and a mass of herbs, including juniper berries. Today I’ve baked two pumpkin pies, made a fresh batch of cranberry sauce with honey and apples from my tree, simmered giblets and garlic to make stock for tomorrow’s gravy, roasted butternut squash for the wild rice and deviled the eggs.
That leaves roasting the turkey tomorrow while we munch on veggies and eggs. While the turkey sets I’ll mash the Idaho potatoes, whip up the gravy, heat the side dishes and set out the cranberries. Pour the wine, eat and pause until pumpkin pie will fit in the belly.
I’ll miss not having my children around the table, but we welcome new friends tomorrow and will swap photos with the kids to share our meals across the distance. The Runner is roasting a game hen, the Radio Geek is fixing pork steaks with blueberry bbq sauce and the Rock Climber is tending bar for elk hunters. An interesting mix to share.
The obvious would be to post a prompt on food or holiday feasts. But sometimes the obvious doesn’t spark creativity. So I was giving some thought to what makes our minds leap and often times it is putting together two dissonant ideas. It’s more intriguing to see where something like holiday feasts and prison bars leads our thoughts.
November 26, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using two objects, people or ideas that don’t go together. Anything random like wine and gasoline; the Archangel Michael and Marilyn Monroe; granny and rehab; horses and church bells. Then write a story about your two dissonant picks. Use your two objects as the title.
Respond by December 2 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here.
Guns and Apples by Charli Mills
The sweet smell of rotting apples wafted across the meadow on west slanting rays of sunshine. It was late afternoon and time to start dinner. Ramona shifted her prone position in tall grass to ease the pain of old arthritic knees. The VA had more paperwork for her to file before they’d pay out widow’s benefits. The last can of pinto beans was simmering on the stove back at the house. Something had to give, and soon.
A breaking twig snapped. Dry leaves crumpled. The buck had come to eat apples. She steadied her dead husband’s rifle for provision.
Love your flash Charli. Wishing you and your family and friends, near and far, a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving. See you soon 🙂
Thanks, Sherri! I’m happily stuffed with turkey at the moment! 🙂
That flash fiction of yours was just awesome! 🙂
Thanks! And welcome to Carrot Ranch!
Thanks Charli 🙂
Fabulous flash. As opposite as apples and guns are, they manage to converge. 😀 😀
It’s a neat trick to spark creativity–give the imagination a puzzle! Thanks!
Irish Baileys at Dawn
It was still dark outside as she pulled on her boots, climed out the window and trudged up the hillside. Her coat was threadbare; despite the nip in the air she didn’t care. Nothing could compare to the chill in her heart. She had stared wistfully at the bottle of Irish whisky for most part of the night: too scared to touch it- lest she….
The call had come: a bolt out of the blue. He had found another, her fiancé. Apparently irreplaceable. Which made her what exactly? No matter. She sat at the apex now, waiting to toast the dawn.
And you wrote a flash! A fabulous flash, too! The pain is is keen in this piece and the whiskey and dawn makes it hauntingly lyrical. Thanks for joining in! 🙂
Thanks so much, Charli 🙂 this was my first try! You made my day!
First try? Well, you got this! 🙂 We flash weekly so come on back!
Thanks Charli 🙂 count on my being back. I’m definitely hooked 🙂
Oh yes indeed. That is excellent.
Thank you so much, Ros.
Thanks so much, Ros 🙂 my first attempt ever at Flash Fiction.
Oh gosh I remember my first.. You will be addicted now.
I am following you now..xx
You’re right, I’m hooked! 🙂 Thanks for following.
It can benefit one’s writing, practicing flash fiction. Not only does it open up creativity, it improves the skill of writing tight and finding the bare bones of a good story. If you write regularly, you’ll have an archive of stories to further develop for competitions or submission. It’s also a great way to explore story ideas. Several of us have found longer stories or interesting characters to develop. My current novel WIP is based on flash fiction! Many good reasons to get hooked on it! 🙂
Many thanks for the tips and advice. You are most kind 🙂
Every Tuesday I post the responses in a compilation and on the Carrot Ranch Facebook Page. How would you like your byline to read?
Hey Charli, thanks for asking. I’m Vinesha Andrade. Sorry I missed adding a byline. I’m learning as I go. Thanks for your patience 🙂
Certainly! Just wanted to make sure you got proper credit! 🙂
Love your last line “waiting to toast the dawn”. Ominous. And you’re a flash virgin? Nicely done!
Thanks Georgia. I love the ebb and flow of words 🙂 always have.
Perfect contentment versus perfect discontentment: Awesome! 🙂 I loved your contribution too.
Very impressive; like the others have said, welcome to Charli’s ranch!
Thank you very much, Tan 🙂 for your kind, encouraging words.
I’m beginning to think that you are not real. Or maybe you are actually two people (twins?) How are you participating in NaNoWriMo, writing daily updates, setting flash challenges, writing flash, compiling everyone’s flash, reading and commenting on other blogs, and cooking meals that don’t go from freezer to microwave?
I don’t understand this.
Happy Thanksgiving. 😉
Ha, ha! Oh, I real and very human. 🙂 A very stuffed human momentarily. My neighbor came over today with her daughter and I tasted my first bloody mary dill pickles! Oh, my! I like to cook and write so I’m living the dream! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving, too!
I so agree with you Sarah! How does she do it?
Has she cloned herself? 😀
I’m sure she has! But I’m not sure how many times! 🙂
Ha, ha, you, two! No clones. But could use a few!
I’m sure we all could do with one or two! 🙂
Chari, I am totally amazed how you are able to convey an immediate picture in my mind of this poor widow’s plight, using only apples and a gun as your prompt. Great photo too. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks for stopping by and reading! It’s a little trick I play with my mind to get it jump-started. My husband picked the apples and had cleaned one of his long-distance competition rifles, leaving it by the apples. So I decided to see what I could pull together. You have a Happy Thanksgiving, too!
Charli, your description of Thanksgiving makes my stomach rumble, even with the taste of pumpkin pie still on my tongue. I hope you had a lovely day and dinner with friends.
Ha, ha! Oh, I think I might still have whipped cream on my lips, too! It was such a lovely day and fun to share food with new friends. Hope yours was good, too!
… and I’ve come back with a post! This may explain why I haven’t written in here the past few weeks more than any excuse I could make up.
No excuses are ever need! I love it when you can write with us, yet I know that we all have priorities battling for our attention. I’m off to read your post!
[…] idea is to write exactly 99 words around two miss matched words. Get over to The Carrot Farm for the rules and a better […]
I am not sure I have the hang of this –
You got it! If you like writing flash, you’ll find the 99 word constraint to be fun. It challenges the mind, while the prompt offers a creativity. Together it’s like solving a writing puzzle. Thanks for writing with us!
Wow! That’s powerful.
Happy belated Thanksgiving Charli. I can tell by your comments above that although your children weren’t home you still shared their Thanksgiving in a way. Your food descriptions make me feel as though I too have partaken although at this point we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
This was an interesting concept. On coming back to your excellent flash I found I had chosen one of the same items as yourself so I am going off to rethink. I wasn’t happy that my flash was flash and I think i’ll turn it into a larger piece so I will return.
I’m with Sarah as well – you are wonder woman with a pen in your hand.
Thanks you partaking with me, if on the page! Yes, I think we can share even when we are not gathered around the table. That’s the power of memories, right? And imagination! I like the idea that you’ve discovered a longer piece so I look forward to both. Having raised three children and worked a demanding job, writing (and cooking) at home with just the Hub and me to take care of seems like an absolute luxury!
I have had not a creative thought in my head since I arrived in New Zealand so I have had to put in my original so apologies re doubling up on the gun.
For a moment, I thought it was going to be Gun and Gun! But it’s much better than that! 🙂
😀 Wonder Woman with the Pen of Truth.
Good to see new Rough Writer’s vieing for a place in the saddle next to you. Rather irritating though how God they both are at day one when the rest of us have had to struggle up for air with you waving from the surface. And you are a marvel, however modestly you migth poohpooh it. And not in the Churchillian sense either (of his rival in the Labour Party, Clement Atlee, Churchill said ‘A modest man with a lot to be modest about’). Sorry, rambling. Must be jet lag. I’ll go and think flash….
Ha, ha! You are speaking jet-laggian! 🙂 Yes, I was happy to see new writers saddled up and ready to go. That’s a Churhill quote I didn’t know! I like the modesty of Buffalo Bill Cody. He could ride as well as his Rough Riders, but didn’t need to prove it. His purpose was to preserve what those riders could do. I hope that’s the sentiment here. 🙂 Yee-haw, none the less!
Mine is “Peaches and Rock” at http://goo.gl/jRHw1M
Also, Consarn You, Charli, for having such an tasty challenge it pulled me away from my NaNovel!
Thanks for stopping by the ranch for some word wrangling! It’s meant to be small enough to not be too distracting from bigger works. Keep going on that NaNovel!
[…] Dissonant (Write a story using two ideas, people, or objects that don’t go together.) Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch I used an online Random Word Generator This gave me: “Lipstick” and […]
I couldn’t think of anything so used an online Random Word Generator. Yup. It gave me: Lipstick and Radar. O_o Okay… Here’s my attempt with those two words.
How sensible, Sarah, never even occurred to me that there was such a thing as a random word generator (don’t know why, the Internet is full of nice surprises).
Hurrah for your clever flash – lovely
I didn’t know about these things, either. There are a bunch of them, actually. I only turned to the computer out of desperation (after following my husband around the house for an hour asking him to give me two words that don’t go together–that didn’t work). 😉
That’s clever! Now I’m going to go see what you managed with Lipstick and Radar! Before I read, I’m going to tell you that my mind to the leap to an office using a radar gun to pull over a woman who applies lipstick before rolling down the window…now let’s see your idea!
Unbelievable. I was all over the place with stories for this one trying to link these two words together. I never even once thought of a speeding ticket! O_o Nice one.
I love word associations!
So well crafted, Sarah. I wish I could make mine so crisp. One day *sighs*
Try copper lipstick…;-)
Loved your Flash, Charli, but found this challenge harder than I expected – too much freedom means too much rope to hang ourselves, perhaps? Was going to try for the cliché “chalk and cheese” but couldn’t get beyond a single sentence. Other ideas that sprung to mind turned out to be too obviously connected. However, I’ve managed via my current WIP, latest novel review and Lisa’s bite sized memoir challenge to bring you (drum roll please)
Questionnaires and Cigarettes
Thinking of you on the last day of NaNo. From my fleeting glimpses of your daily word counts, I’m sure you will have surpassed the target and, if not, still made fantastic progress with Rock Creek – hurrah for you!
Yes. This prompt was difficult for me. It also gave me “too much rope…”. 😉
I love your flash and am fascinated by the post itself. I need to find some uninterrupted time to read that through more thoroughly.
If the freedom of word choice was challenging, you certainly applied your own constraints to tie it back to your WIP, a book review and Lisa’s prompt! Well done! Questionnaires and Cigarettes certainly sounds intriguing.
Thank you. I have surpassed the 50,000 word mark. But most important was writing a lynchpin scene today. While I am far from being through, NaNo WriMo helped me write the less “fun” and less developed scenes. So I’m glad to have slogged through and reached the fun parts which I’m excited to write. Hope all has been as fruitful with your WIP, too!
Now I’m off to read what you’ve accomplished with your post!
Congrats, Charli!!! :star:
Yep. Well done on getting across the line. Looking forward to the finished product…
OOPS. I have a small glitch in this version that I thought I had corrected. Am submitting the corrected version below. You may dock me a letter grade.
I’ll let you pass this time. 😉 Would you like me to delete this one? It’s such a weird thing to request of a writer, but I can serve as your digital eraser over here!
Yes, please delete it. Thanks!!
Confidence and Fear by Larry LaForge
He was the envy of friends and foes alike. Wagner seemed in absolute control at all times—comfortable in his own skin, as they say.
The crowd waited in the Grand Ballroom with great anticipation. His name would be called shortly, and Wagner would accept the nomination.
In a remote bathroom in the hotel’s back corridor, Wagner hunched over the toilet. Sweat pouring from his forehead, he heaved almost uncontrollably, making sure his expensive suit was out of harms way. He had perfected the technique.
Less than thirty minutes later, Wagner wowed the audience with his brilliant acceptance speech.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine:
Two polar opposites, yet you’ve masterfully intertwined them into one person. Brilliant! A subtitle could be, the Ballroom and the Bathroom. But wait…that was last week! 🙂 Great flash!
Cracking Larry. Good juxtaposition and one I can relate to!
Great flash, Charli. Guns and apples make perfect sense in this context, although I would have been hard pressed to think of a connection before I read your story.
Here’s my contribution for this week’s flash:
She rubbed a thumb over her chapped knuckle, her manicured hands thawing from the cold. The woman who sat across the aisle from her smiled warmly and nodded, before returning to her crossword. Ellie stared at her, noting the wisps of hair straggling from her bun, the scuff marks on her boots, the frayed cotton bag tucked beside her full of knitting needles and yarn. Her stomach twisted with an envy she could barely contain. How could this disheveled woman be so content, so at peace, when Ellie had worked so hard to be perfect and was so miserable?
Perfectly positioned title and story! The comparisons are so naturally drawn, as if the details tell the life story of each woman. And of course, the clincher in the end. Beautifully told!
Horribly true to life, I fear, Georgia. I hear too many stories from my daughter along these lines for it not to resonate. Well done.
loved the comparisons, Georgia 🙂
Wow, that was a great read. Love your descriptive prose. Thanks for sharing!
Great flash, Charli! Sticking with the apples:
Dustin’s phone buzzed just as he snuck underneath the yellow light.
“Will you pick up some apples?”
“Yeah, the kids want apples.”
“Okay, got it.”
Inside, Dustin remembered that he wanted to repaint the window sills. After a quick detour he found an open register.
“You’re like, serious?” the young cashier said. The sun angled into the store.
“I’m like, what?” Dustin asked. The woman behind him snickered.
“You should call the cops.”
Dustin turned to face the woman just as the girl held up his purchase like evidence. “Razor blades and apples, on Halloween?”
A 99-word dark comedy! Dustin had no idea how criminal his intentions would appear at the registers. You definitely have a creative mind!
Creepy, makes the flesh crawl even in all innocence…
I was, like, “where’s the title?” And the reason why not became obvious. Really masterful, Pete!
I’m no good at titles Pat!
Actually this would be very creative, Pete.
Razor blades and apples to carve out the apples instead of those lofty pumpkins ;0)
Loved your take!
Thanks all. I guess it was all those cheesy scary eighties movies that did it too me! But just think, it could have been needles and condoms, so consider yourselves lucky!
I actually remember this happening in Reno, Nevada. But Needles & Condoms–yikes! The cashier would have called the SWAT team!
[…] In response to Charli’s prompt for the 99 word flash fiction […]
Hi Charli, Your Thanksgiving dinner sounds amazing! I am very impressed by your cooking prowess. Your new friends are very fortunate to sup at your table. I love the way you are making the most of the distances between you and your young ones this year – and each in a different place with a different way of celebrating.
This is a great prompt too. It has given me a lot to think about. I’ve written my flash. Now just need to to write the accompanying post. Easy, eh? And before this time tomorrow!
I really enjoyed your flash. The venison will go very nicely with the accompaniments, though not quite up to your standard (cooking, not writing), tasty just the same.
Thanks, Norah! Turns out my neighbors have great cooking prowess, too! And they introduced me to spicy dill pickles that were so good! I look forward to what you’ll serve up!
Thanksgiving is not part of our tradition here. It sounds wonderful though and so great to have a day for being thankful.
We had a delicious lunch at work today though, to farewell one of our colleagues who is going back to the classroom next year. Everybody ‘brought a plate’ (of food to share). I took mango cream pie for dessert, and the others took amazing first course dishes – there was chicken and ham, baked beetroot and feta salad, and a delicious pumpkin quiche. Yum! I was very thankful for it! 🙂
What a great phrase–“brought a plate.” I love a good pot-luck! Mango cream pie??? Oh, my! If you’ll share, I’d love that recipe! Everything sounds so delicious! I think of Thanksgiving as a grand harvest celebration which I think most of our ancestors celebrate when the crops are successful and the community had food to share.
The “bring a plate” tradition in Australia is a great one. Everyone brings a plate of food to share. I know however that the term is not familiar everyone. A friend from Canada tells me that when she was newly arrived in Australia she was invited to a function and asked to “bring a plate”. She thought it was a bit strange, but took along an empty plate on which to place her meal! We still laugh about it!
Maybe I’ll have to break with (my blogging) tradition and post a recipe! I’ll see what I can do.
Continuing the Thanksgiving tradition is a good one. We are very fortunate to have so much wonderful food to eat! There is much to be thankful for! 🙂
That’s a mistake I would make! We have attended BBQs and parties that were “BYO plate.” Meaning, bring your own plate! Too funny to show up to a pot luck empty plated! 😀 Yes, much to be grateful for, including cultural missed cues!
I wouldn’t know what a pot luck was! Cultural missed cue indeed! Reminds me of asking you had you made a error with s’mores! 🙂
Pot luck = bring a plate! 😀 How does pot luck sound to you, not being familiar with it?
It sounds like a big pot of something like stew composed of all the last little bits of veges and leftovers, ensuring they all get used to minimize waste! 🙂
Indeed it does! It refers to sharing the last “pot” of whatever you have. It gave birth to casseroles, stews and what are called “hot dishes” in Minnesota. It would certainly confuse a newcomer invited to a pot luck–you might miss the point that you are expected to “bring a plate”…with food on it!
It’s probably important to clarify differences like this when moving to a new community. It may save embarrassment, but also a laugh or two! 🙂
I felt like I went to another country when I moved to Minnesota! Cultural cues and traditions are so ingrained as to not be noticed. but so foreign to outsiders.
That’s very true and sometimes it is difficult to ask when it appears that everyone else is in ‘the know’ and you wonder what you are missing. Sometimes I notice the silly sayings or expressions we have for different things and attempt to erase them. Some are particularly hilarious and I wonder where they have come from! 🙂
Regional colloquialisms might be a fun prompt in the future! They can be hard to erase from one’s own vocabulary! 🙂
Hmm. Sounds interesting. I wonder would we recognise our own local colloquialisms as being that though! 🙂
I’m at a slight advantage with a hub from Belfast. He notices a few! 🙂
Love your theme for today…will post something quickly.
Happy Thanksgiving Charli. Another reason for me to be thankful to have CarrotRanch around 🙂
Loved many writer’s take on this…commented on their respective sites.
Will swing by with my take shortly…
My take 🙂
Off to take a look!
Aw, Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! So grateful for all the Rough Writers!
My apologies Rough Writers–I did not get over to post individual stories on #MondayBlogs today. I sort of melted and did domestic tasks after NaNoWriMo. Back at the keys tomorrow!
[…] Mills continues to prompt us with a range of difficulties to overcome in our flash […]
I think I’m just inside the line ti week. Two stories too for the price of one. Chose whichever for the compilation, Charli. Your taste is impeccable.
Amazing, considering the narrow gorges and white waters you’ve managed to escape this week! I might have impeccable taste (really? you’d say that after the songs I’ve shared on this blog?) but I also like abundance! 🙂
A tasteful hog. My sort!
[…] Mills at the Carrot Ranch has challenged us to make it so this week with her flash fiction prompt to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using two objects, people or ideas that don’t go … Charli allowed us to choose the two items. I decided to explore a little more of my tormented […]
Here is my contribution to this week’s roundup. I’ll be back to read some more soon. http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-lN Thanks for the prompt! 🙂
Thanks, Norah! Off to visit your blog!
This one nearly had me beat, but not quite. Here’s the link to my blog post: http://wp.me/p4rcRJ-gE
and here’s the flash itself:
The Prophecy & the Pig
“Goodness me,” Francesco says, once the Prophecy has broken free. “I’m ravenous. Would you care to break bread with me, young Merlin?”
“Only if you’ll share some of this glorious ham I have here.”
“I’d be delighted, young sir,” he replies, tearing his small round loaf in half. “I find a nice piece of smoked Pig always grounds one to perfection after a dose of Prophetic wisdom.” He looks wistfully into the middle distance, then continues. “Would that we had some wine to wash it down with.”
“I have a small flask of mead,” I say. “Will that do?”
Love and blessings,
You fought back and won! Cheers! 🙂 So it seems, prophecies and pigs work together after all! Another terrific tale of Merlin. Thanks!
Hi Charli! I know this is so late, and I’m going to blame it on the internet. Bad workman and all that…and I could not think of a darn thing until daughter came up with the title…this is what I came up with, using your advice to think fast and see what happened. Hope you like 🙂
Water and Electricity
Mavis’s eyes flew open as the front door slammed.
“Goddamit Frank, what the hell time do you call this? You were supposed to be home two hours ago.”
Frank stumbled into the bathroom, grinning drunkenly from ear to ear.
“Yeah right. Hand me that towel you useless drunk,” Mavis glowered as she attempted to pull herself up to standing.
Frank swivelled to reach for the towel and lost his balance, accidentally swiping the hair dryer off its shelf.
The last thing Mavis heard was the click of the on-switch as the hair dryer flew into the bath.
That’s teamwork! And wow–see how much fun our brains like to have when we write fast! Those really are two things that aren’t meant to go together but makes for quite the dark comedy. 🙂
Haha…when you said teamwork, I immediately thought of Frank and Mavis, then realised what you meant, lol 😉 I had fun with this, brought some playtime amongst the endless internet problems…and just after I posted over here I lost it again, but this morning so far so good. Have a ton of errands to run but guess who I’ll be calling this afternoon? And I am dreading it…was on the phone last week for almost an hour just for the email problem. Aaarrggghh…sorry..ranting again…hope things are going well your neck of the woods Charli… <3
Oh, that’s funny–Frank and Mavis, team Water & Electricity! Glad you got I meant you and Daughter! Internet issues…grrr…I’m camping out downstairs to be closer to the wood fire and I get to listen to the Hub moan and groan and more over our internet. No one to call, though…it’s just s-l-o-w! I’m warm, so all is well here! You stay warm, too! <3
Yes, I got there in the end, lol 😉 Oh that’s such a pain too, slow internet. Poor Hub…and poor you 😉 We paid extra for super-duper fibre optic internet only to discover that our area doesn’t get the speeds advertised. Funny how they didn’t point that out when we took out the contract isn’t it? Because of my daughter’s upside down sleeping routine (she is nocturnal most of the time) we have internet and electricity on 24/7 in our house and she often gets extremely agitated when it goes on a slow overnight. You would think it would be the opposite. Maybe more people are up all night than we realise. Then again, when I’m using it from home most people are out at work and it still plays up. Grrrrrr…don’t get me started, I ‘m still not over Black Friday…..
Moving on…so glad all is well with you, and you are cosy and warm…long may it remain so. Thanks Charli, will do and you have a great day…Happy Trails <3
I think we all get duped into paying for “lightning fast” speeds. On the other hand, it is faster than parcel post! 🙂
Haha…true that Charli, so true 🙂
[…] week the flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch was to write a story using two objects, people or ideas that don’t go together. There was quite an assortment of responses, including mine. You can read them all […]
[…] prompt challenge Carrot Ranch. Words selected by the Creative Word […]