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February 18: Flash Fiction Challenge

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February 18Feeling good, though it’s been a rough day for technology. My “o” key is skipping, my power fluctuating and my satellite Internet slow as spring syrup dripping from a tapped maple tree. It got me outside in the sunshine and gave me the opportunity to talk to four different tech reps with my Internet provider. Feeling good after my melt-down with the final rep led to her fixing what I kept trying to point out was the problem.

Ever feel that way? It feels like problem upon problem and at the breaking point they clear like storm clouds and you see the beauty behind the storm? Yes, it’s that kind of after-the-storm-has-passed feeling good. My blog connectivity is fixed and I can share the Return of Robins to the Hood.

Compassion is still on my mind. Maybe because that last rep cared enough to listen to me when I hit the breaking point instead of repeating what her customer service manual suggested she do. It’s on my mind because we are approaching #1000 Voice Speak for Compassion on February 20, and because the last round of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: Stories of Compassion are amazing.

So I’m going to push feeling good. Here’s a little Michael Bublé to set the tone:

And I have a celebration to share. One of the heart, not the page. We have many readers of our stories at Carrot Ranch who remain anonymous, but regularly I see them “liking” and “sharing” our compilations of 99 words. It feels good to have readers, especially dedicated ones.

One of these regular readers is the Hub’s Kansas sister. She’s the one who took me to Rock Creek in October. I’ll call her Glutard because it will make her laugh and I love to hear her laugh. And I wish her much laughter and many years of feeling good; she is getting married this Sunday.

So, I’d like to offer our special reader a wedding gift of stories that feel good. Stories about how compassion makes the receiver or the giver feel. Stories of happy-ever-after endings. Stories about outrageous wedding gifts or the most incredible weddings ever. Go with where the prompt takes you, but return with a story that feels good.

February 18, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about feeling good. Is it a relationship? A new dawn, a new day? A reprieve or a relief from earlier tension? Does it come from giving or receiving a gift? Is it the result of compassion? If you hear wedding bells, add them to the story.

Respond by February 24, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

What I’d Buy You by Charli Mills

If I had a trillion dollars, I’d buy you Bob’s Red Mill. The gluten-free division. I’d rebuild it in your back yard and every morning you’d rise to the smell of blueberry muffin happiness. I’d buy the land between Idaho and Kansas, moving it somewhere else so we could be closer and laugh out loud between our open doors. I’d buy you a costume-making business and you could make us those riding dresses we saw online, and I’d buy us horses to ride to your wedding. But money can’t buy what we already share: a friendship that feels good.

###

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97 Comments

  1. Norah says:

    This is gorgeous Charli. I’ve come away from your post feeling good – listening to Michael Buble and reading your post and flash. How special will the Glutard feel to receive such a gift, but especially that of your friendship. How lovely that you feel so close to your Hub’s sister. It doesn’t always work that way with in-laws.
    I absolutely adore the sentiment of your flash. That you would do so many special ‘just her’ things for her. I especially like the idea of buying up the land between and moving it away. What a wonderful thought. If only we could ‘beam me up’ or ‘beam me across’ and watch the miles melt away.
    I’m sorry to hear about your tech problems but am pleased they are now sorted. I hope they stay that way. It amazes me that so many can find a solution so difficult, then the right person can solve it in an instant and change the whole day!
    I don’t know about the speed of spring syrup dripping from a tapped maple tree, but I assume it’s somewhat slow!
    I wish your sister-in-law a beautiful wedding day and much happiness in her future. She is very lucky to have such a good friend in you. What a wonderful support you will be for her, for each other. 🙂
    PS I love the ‘feeling good’ photo – beautiful! 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you, Norah! All these stories of compassion and the energy building for #1000Speak, it all feels good! Glutard will be delighted! When I lived in Minnesota, it was just Iowa in between there and Kansas. We used to joke about getting rid of Iowa. The speed of syrup from a tapped maple is s-l-o-w. It takes weeks to move the sap! Do you ever get maple syrup downunder? That’s one of my favorite photos of my daughters, Rock Climber on the left, Radio Geek on the right. Feels good! Thank you — I wish the same for Glutard!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Norah says:

        We can purchase maple syrup down here – have it sometimes (but not for years now) on pancakes. Yum! My Canadian friend sometimes makes maple syrup fudge for her Canada Day celebrations. Come to think of it, she hasn’t done that for a while either!
        Your daughters are beautiful, I can see where they get their looks! And much more good stuff too, I’m sure. 🙂
        Best wishes to the Glutard. Will you be with her for the ceremony and celebration?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        In Canada, they make a maple sugar candy that is so tasty! I never thought to make maple fudge. That would be good. Aw, thanks! The girls are sweet, as is their Aunt and cousins. I don’t get to be in Kansas, that’s why I want to send feel-good-vibes that way!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. paulamoyer says:

    Great story about the sister-in-law, great prompt, great photo of Allison and Bug! Here’s my flash:

    Delivering the Goods

    By Paula Moyer

    Jean was fed up. Stopping a medication she had been on for 20 years “may cause” caffeine-withdrawal migraine. Three days running.

    And this new guy. Enthusiastic as a puppy. Why did she leave him that voicemail? Her headaches?

    She dropped off her kids at the ex’s, snaked back home and plopped on the couch beside a pile of laundry.

    Brrrnng. “Jean, it’s Steve. Got your message. Ouch. So sorry. Need some company?”

    Wow, Jean, thought. How to show up!

    “My hair’s dirty. The place is a wreck,” Jean mumbled. “Come on over.”

    No pause: “Sure. What can I bring?”

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Jeanne Lombardo says:

    Can’t believe I have missed the last couple of challenges. Just read the compassion posts–beautiful reflections there. And resonated deeply with this week’s theme Charli, and your interaction with the tech rep. How those small departures from the script nourish us, that little break of sunny humanity through the bureaucratic cloud. Loved your flash today too. My one sister-in-law lives in Connecticut. Far too few chances to see each other. Your image of buying up all that land that separates you from your Kansas sister, of being able to share a laugh out loud through an open door–so touching. I declare, this one will prompt a post!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Pete says:

    Love your flash, Charli, especially the brilliant line about moving the land to make the states closer! Hmm, compassion TWO weeks in a row? Okay, if I have too!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pete says:

    Who Knew?

    Evan tossed on his sunglasses and was about to cross the street when he stopped.

    Jessica?

    He edged closer—through the whispers of those gathering—towards the shyest girl at Redding High. She sang out. Her hands danced along the keys, flooding the roadside piano with a melody that was both beautiful and tragic.

    It really was her, ordinary Jessica singing like an angel, her confidence building as her voice soared above the hum of traffic and everyday life.
    When she finished they all cheered. Evan snuck off, into the sun, looking back one last time.

    Good for her.

    *This doesn’t have to be included with the compilation, I just thought it was neat. Over the summer my hometown set out pianos on every block. It inspired creativity, and it was neat to see all the different songs that all sorts of people form all sorts of backgrounds would play…this clip is what inspired my prompt…

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Charli, that was so lovely that I’ve written my flash IMMEDIATELY, while listening to Michael Bublé even! Can you believe that I’m the third flash poster this week rather than the very last? Not sure I can! It helped that I pressed the publish button on my blog post instead of the save draft one, which meant that I had to finish it IMMEDIATELY too! But I’m sooooo glad to be able to finish it so that Glutard (soooo wish I had the skinny on that name too!!!) can read it BEFORE the wedding :-). Anyway, here it is:

    Merlin Learns a New Way: Part II

    “On balance, I think I’ll stay,” I reply to this woman named Anna, who clearly knows who’s boss! I give her my real smile too, the one that says I’m glad she can cut through convention to what really matters. I don’t get the chance to use this one often.

    “Good!” she replies, hands on hips and a damp ringlet brushing her cheek where her efforts have worked it loose from its braid. The man she’s just patched up looks up at her, shocked thanks written in his worn features. “Because now we have a wedding to get to!”

    And here’s the link to my blog post:

    http://wp.me/p4rcRJ-pg

    Brightest Blessings to ALL, as always,
    Tally 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Michael Buble got you in motion! That song is like Proseco for the ears! And there’s nothing like the immediacy of pushing the publish button instead of save draft! I like this Anna character who can draw out Merlin’s real smile. Good tension building! And blessings in return! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      lovely Tally; I usual see yours in he compilation so delighted to spot it here. ‘I give her my real smile too’ That speaks volumes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] post was written for Charli Mills’ prompt on Carrot Ranch for her February 18 Flash Fiction Challenge. The challenge […]

    Like

  8. Sarah says:

    Congratulations to your sister-in-law! And I’m glad your storm has passed and you can smell the aroma of the world new after a storm.

    Cecilia has started exploring her grandmother’s old cookbook and I’m finding a lot of happy memories in there. Have a taste:
    https://fictionaslife.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/hundred-year-cookbook/

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Sherri says:

    A New Dawn A New Day. Absolutely 😀 I made a slide show for my…ahem…50th birthday…as my gift to my family and friends and when it got to the part where hubby and I got married (with my then13 year old daughter as my maid of honour – no bridesmaids – and my then 23 and 17 year old boys as ushers) I played the photos against the backdrop of Michael Buble’s Feeling Good. So this song has very special meaning for me, great listening to it again as I type this 🙂
    Love the photo too, really captures that ‘when the storm breaks’ kind of a feeling. Glad you got your issues and your ‘O’ sorted, I know all too well that incredible frustration as you know. So wonderful to finally talk to someone who can actually help…oh that sweet relief, at last!!! It is the drip drip drip of one thing after another that is so utterly exausting. But…moving on…and how wonderful for Glutard…many congratulations to her for her ‘New Dawn and New Day’. And your flash…just beautiful. Love your idea of moving that piece of land that just happens to be in the way. Oh I have felt that many a time. Have a great weekend Charli now that you’re feeling good and I’ll be back with my flash. No dark this time… 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      That must be a beautiful slide show, Sherri! This song is so uplifting! You have a wonderful weekend, too! I’m wrapping up things at the ranch to go visit our daughter in Montana. This time of year, everyone is broke and friends gather at the lodges where tourists don’t come in winter and cook for each other and share beer. We might even get to fly fish! It’s been a while since we’ve had a get-away!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sherri says:

        What a wonderful weekend you have lined up, sounds idyllic. And fly fishing, now that’s something my granddad, dad and brother have all done. Not me though. I attempted fishing once but got nowhere, apart from tiddler. Maybe you’ll come home with some salmon…or eat it there, with a beer or two. Whatever you do, have a super time, you deserve it, and look forward to catching up when you return 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        It was wonderful, but too cold to fly-fish. The creek was rippling slush! I love to fly-fish because I never hook anything. 🙂 I loaned my rod to my daughter now that she has access to some of the world’s most renown waters to fly fish.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Just a wonderful feel good preamble to the flash. Congratulations to Glutard – I think for maybe a couple of hours time or maybe in 24 hours. I hope you have a very happy life into the future.
    Your flash Charli is just perfect – all those things you might buy but in reality the most perfect is the gift of friendship which doesn’t cost anything.
    Mine is
    http://irenewaters19.com/2015/02/22/99-word-flash-fiction-lifes-good/

    Liked by 3 people

  11. rllafg says:

    One a Day by Larry LaForge

    Miller looks at his watch. The unusually hectic day has had him swamped at his desk. He hasn’t had his opportunity yet, but knows to be patient. It will happen.

    Some days it comes easily. Yesterday it was on the morning train commute. The day before it was in the restaurant at lunch. Sunday it was in the supermarket parking lot.

    It has to be spontaneous and genuine. It can’t be forced.

    Miller has committed to it every single day. He never misses, and it always finds him.

    When it does, he’ll seize the opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

    *****
    The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine: http://flashfictionmagazine.com/larrylaforge100words/2015/02/22/one-a-day/

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Annecdotist says:

    Such a frustrating time when things go wrong with one’s computer and so glad you’ve come out the other end. Luckily you found someone with compassion, or maybe it’s letting your emotions show that triggers the other person’s compassion response.
    I’m still catching up with the wonderful array of posts from the compassion blogathon, and your feel-good prompt seems a perfect follow-up. Congratulations to your sister-in-law and I’m sure she’ll appreciate your gift of the beautiful flash.
    I’ve tagged mine to the end of another novel review:
    http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/-fictional-psychologists-and-psychotherapists-14-the-first-bad-man-by-miranda-july
    BTW, I love the photo of your two daughters but initially I assumed it was your sister-in-law and her intended! Same-sex marriage is probably the only feel-good thing that’s come out of our present government so I’m extra alert at the moment for happy couples to smile at.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Like you, I’m trying to catch up on the #1000Speak wave that crested. And it does feel good to meander through the blog posts. I was so taken with the book you reviewed that I completely passed over commenting on your post and Ella & Louis. She sounds so young in that recording! I enjoyed listening to it. Your prose poem on the journey to becoming a person is beautiful. It digs in, reveals, overcomes and rejoices.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      And the photo is misleading if one is thinking it might be of the happy couple! Just two sisters feeling good!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jeanne Lombardo says:

      How I loved your prose poem Anne. Anyone who has ever gone through a therapy session will recognize the raw sense of exposure one feels, and so often the overly clinical and distant approach of the therapist. But you turned it around. Beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Marriage is so wonderful! Just imagining the inevitable storms of life that the couple will support each other through and grow stronger from is so heartwarming. To know that two people have found their life partner and someone to fall against when they are feeling less-than-strong is beautiful.

    You have portrayed your lifelong friendship well in your piece, and I am so happy that you have so much love in your life, you certainly deserve it! You are a beautiful person.

    Hopefully I will get a piece completed by tomorrow’s end! I have a couple of different context ideas so I’m feeling positive 😀 I can’t wait to read all of the others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Here is one of my ideas, the most prominent and clear one in my thoughts;
      http://loveliterarylife.com/2015/02/23/invincible/
      I hope you enjoy it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        I always enjoy your stories!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        there is something so unbridled in the last line ‘My heart swells and I feel invincible again’ I think any parent can relate to that profound joy that comes from such patently honest and unquestioning love – beautifully pitched Rebecca

        Liked by 2 people

      • Wow, thank you for your wonderful words 🙂 It’s strange, when she’s in a bad mood and she tells me she doesn’t love me, it doesn’t affect me at all, but when she says she does, it makes me happier than almost anything could.
        Being a parent is magical

        Liked by 2 people

      • TanGental says:

        I’ve always thought that the only really mature and adult action in my life has been the commitment to my children. You can make mistakes over stuff, you can make a total bollocks of your education and work, you can even cock up a marriage or friendships but the responsibilities of parenthood, of getting a new life from squiggly molecule to sentient adult in one piece and psychologically well balanced tops anything.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I couldn’t agree more! I think it all boils down to that animal desire of continuing our race and feeling fulfilled when what we manage to create will make positive changes in the future to others, whether big or small. That our children are strong enough to continue the race onwards through the next generation themselves. Biology and Psychology fascinate me; we are more like animals than most people would like to admit, and I respect and admire our similarities. It’s certainly not a bad thing; they produce those primal desires to protect and fight for our children and to grow stronger in ourselves.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jeanne Lombardo says:

        Yes, that last line is a real clincher. Beautiful contrast with the narrator’s perception of her physical reality earlier. What grace and power resides in a child’s love.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you 🙂 I think the love of a child is the strongest and most fulfilling of all. They are ours to protect and cherish and when they feel the same for us, it is certainly empowering.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      Relationships can be mutual buffer zones and safe harbors to learn and grow. Like gardens, they take tending, but my sister in law is a good gardener and I’m so happy she’s found someone who makes her feel good! And yes, she’s been a loving center in my life. That’s so sweet of you to say! I’ve been across the border in Montana and now reading and catching up with all these feel good stories!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. guidaman says:

    Thank you all who contribute. There is so much to gather from all the excellent writing going on and of course to Charli, what seems as non stop energetic continuous outpouring. allsgood at the ranch….guidaman

    Liked by 2 people

  15. guidaman says:

    Thanksgiving 1995 by Phil Guida
    2600 miles of lost causes left behind him. Not looking for happiness through others any longer, a totally new environment, a chance to re-start his life anew was just a hopeful dream. It was a roll of the dice if this move would even workout; an escape from the turmoil more than anything else.
    An invitation to a festive holiday changed all of those feelings. Surrounded by a family of strangers, dinner was served. A no meat Thanksgiving was a meal he never experienced before, nor was the act of falling in Love with the hostess of the invite.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. ruchira says:

    Hope your internet is back on and not drizzling like a maple syrup…although I loved the analogy 🙂

    Compassion and being good is still in the air…
    My take on this week’s fiction 🙂

    http://abracabadra.blogspot.com/2015/02/just-game.html

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jeanne Lombardo says:

      This one made me laugh! Love the cubicle setting and the contrast between what those groans from the other side of the partition could have meant and what they really turned out to be about.

      Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Nooo! It’s not that simple Ruchira! As the late great Bill Shankly (long term manager in the 1960s and 70s of Liverpool FC) said when asked if football (soccer) was a matter of life and death he said, ‘No, of course not, it’s far more important than that’. Love the FF, mind you, for the complete mismatch in what is important.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      Isn’t it wonderful how compassion does linger in the air? And it feels good! The internet is trickling along at a faster pace. 🙂

      Like

  17. […] Now back to the title of this post and my flash fiction response to the challenge set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about feeling good. […]

    Like

  18. Norah says:

    Hi Charli,
    I’m back with my contribution to the feel good roundup. You have roped in a great assortment this time, each with its own interpretation and focus. Here’s mine: http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-pi

    Liked by 2 people

  19. lucciagray says:

    Hi Charli:) Where has the week flown? I hope I’m not too late. Here’s my flash for this week, and I’ll be reading and commenting on the others later on. I’m at coffee break right now at work. Great prompt. I can’t believe I just sat down and wrote it (almost) straight off a few minutes ago! I’ll put it into a blog post asap.

    Today.

    “Mum, I’m doing a survey for a school project on happiness.”
    “Sounds like fun!”
    “Which was the happiest day in your life?”
    “It’s hard to pinpoint one. What’s the next question?”
    “That’s the only question.”
    “I could say my graduation, my wedding day, my first day at work, the day you were born, your last birthday, when all the family got together, the long summer holidays at your grandmother’s…. so many days.”
    “So, which one, mum?”
    “Today. Definitely today.”
    “Why today?”
    “Because I’ve just recalled and relived all those wonderful days, and there are so many more to come.”

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Jeanne Lombardo says:

    A Reprieve

    Rotten shits. She hated this city. Hated all the assholes rushing about on their shallow, pathetic pursuits. All the monumentally self-absorbed fakes she had to serve at work. That coifed woman today, stinking of Chanel, so worried about that one wilted leaf of lettuce, then the temperature of her lobster bisque. She should get out. Now, before she died in some pile-up on this god-forsaken freeway. “Let me in you bastards!” she screamed from the on ramp. “Arrgghhh, you sonsabitches!” Oh, what’s that? A break. A woman in a Mercedes waving her in. Smiling at her. God in heaven.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. […] This stream of nonsense emantates from Charli Mills latest prompt […]

    Like

  22. TanGental says:

    Phew; bit of a rush this week, but just under the wire and feeling good…
    http://geofflepard.com/2015/02/24/looking-good-billy-rae-feeling-good-louis/

    Liked by 1 person

  23. TanGental says:

    And I should have said how much I loved the splash flash dash mash feel GOOOOOD piece for your sisinlaw. I see you wanted to be rid of Iowa – when I read Bill Bryson’s description of his return to Des Moines I sensed he too wanted rid… Maybe you could get up a petition – sell it to France as belated recompense for the shit deal they did when they sold you guys Louisiana

    Liked by 1 person

  24. […] is the prompt for Charli’s flash fiction challenge in 99 words, no  more, no less (with the accompanying photograph in response to the […]

    Like

  25. Sherri says:

    Here I am Charli, again, so sorry for being late. Had a few adventures this afternoon, including having to take my poor kitty Maisy to the vets 😦 She is okay though… but I’m feeling good and hope you are too!!! 🙂 http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2015/02/24/feeling-good/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      Aw, poor Maisy! I had to take the Hub to the Vet, too (to the Veterans Hospital). He’s fine; just had to complete his intake for benefits after, oh, about 27 years! We had wonderful help there, though and he feels good about it, so yes, feeling good! Just behind…:-)

      Like

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