December 9: 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.

December 10, 2015

December 9Around 5 am, Hell Roaring Creek burst several culverts on its way to the Upper Pack River. It washed out roads, uprooted trees and made a messy morning for our neighbors. Elmira Pond absorbed all the rain of the past week and took last night’s downpour in stride. The ice thinned to a membrane and the shore expanded gracefully into grass. The Pack River, swollen with rain, snow-melt and all the watery hell the creeks could contribute, jumped its banks and flooded the entire plain three miles south of us.

Curiosity nudged me to grab my camera. The Hub drove me to see the flooded plain. Where locals park in the summer to fish and swim is under water. Gentle waves lap at a stand of birch and a fence-line disappears. I can look up at the Selkirk Mountains and see the snow-lined ski runs of Schweitzer Mountain. It’s surreal to see flooding in December. Hooked, I want to see more.

We drive up the Upper Pack road, catching glimpses of water through trees. We pass several official trucks — Bonner County, US Forest Service and US Geological Survey. Uncertain if the bridge is closed we find the water roaring beneath, not over it. I feel sheepish taking photos like some gawking greenhorn tourist. But the power of the water has mesmerized me.

Another truck pulls up and a woman my age gets out with her camera. We smile and greet one another and stand on the bridge clicking our cameras and tongues.

“Can you believe it?”

“So much water.”

“So warm today! It’s December!”

“Work sent my husband home.”

“Mine, too.”

“Well, it’s a looky-loo day!”

I laugh at the word. I’ve heard it before, a gentle term for being nosy. I should be home, writing. But no, I’m going to looky-loo some more. My bridge friend even tells me of other spots not to miss. I hop back in the truck and tell the Hub, “She says we need to look at Hell Roaring Creek.”

Before we get to the washouts, a sign warns us of water on the road. The sign doesn’t say we can’t proceed, so we carefully wind around eroded road, standing water and debris. Someone’s driveway behind a fancy iron gate is a running creek. My dream home on the Pack remains only mere feet from the waters. Ranch pastures look like ponds. Then we reach the end of the road where a culvert is now fully exposed. No sign of road, just a swift moving creek.

We stop and I get out to shoot a photo. I see several neighbors gathered in a yard that’s simply gone and under a new creek ordinance. I ask my neighbor if he’s okay, if he needs anything from town. I don’t know him and I live on the opposite side of the ridge, but that’s what country-folk do. We gawk, but we also lend a hand freely. The man cheerfully waves and says he’s fine. He’s actually enjoying the adventure the morning has brought him.

The Hub walks up and cracks a joke in the way western men talk to one another: “Weather man said free rain for the lawn. He never said anything about rain to wash it away.” The men laugh. Another truck pulls up and it’s a Bonner County official taking official photos. Another vehicle and we are talking to a father who had to rescue his 20-year old daughter this morning when Hell Roaring Creek crested. Like us, they are now looking. A quad pulls up and I’m thinking this has become either an Idaho traffic jam or an impromptu party. No one has food or coffee to share, so it must be the former.

We chat with the man and his wife on the quad. They’re checking up on all their neighbors. By now, I’m thinking I might have a story to pitch my editor so I start asking for photo permission. The woman on the quad shakes her head no and starts to get off so I can photograph her husband, but he gently grabs her thigh and coaxes her to sit, the look he turns around and gives her is one of pure adoration. He loves her. He’s proud of her. He could care less if she’s wearing a hat and no make-up. She’s beautiful to him and I snap a shot.

This looky-loo has me thinking, and not about floods.

Lately, I’ve been dismayed over American politics and behavior. It horrifies me to think the world looks at an ass-clown like Trump and sees us in the reflection. It worries me that words like ass-clown slip so easily into my lexicon. I don’t use the photos of the Hub’s brass or write stories about our lengthy visits to J Bar S, the local gun shop. All my historians own gun shops, the ones who’ve coached me on identifying Rock Creek firearms and led me to consider my story’s premise.

A Muslim who hides her identity because of public opinion is a woman who is oppressed.

So what does that make me? I want to hide my heritage. I want to explain the rough talk of my neighbors as harmless. I have no desire to vote and I avoid discussing politics or religion though I walk in a strong faith. What has America come to that women claim equality and then shut up? We claim silence to not rock the boat, to not offend others, to offer compassion but not to our own.

I feel like I’m the road getting washed out. Silence seems as harmless as water until the road is gone.

Maybe this is why I dig into history. Maybe this is why I try to find truth beneath the myths. For all who have villainized Cobb McCanles, only one ever paused to ponder why he’d take his son to a gun fight. The easy answer is that he never expected a gun fight. But I went deeper and looked at Cobb’s family life. He raised a daughter who was special needs in a time when most parents let the baby “not thrive.” I can easily imagine Cobb adoring his wife like the man on the quad. Yet he was part of a culture not understood. Despite leaving the troubles of his home state, he was still a southerner.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that we do no good in hiding our culture. We need to find common ground.

As we drove down a washed out road today, I realized to be safe, we drive on what is left of common ground. And we need to stop eroding  that common ground in an attempt to hide or excuse our cultures. Face it — we are human, complex and contradictory, but we are also human in sharing the same wants and needs in life. We need to shore up our common ground with courage to say, this is who I am, happy to meet who you are. Don’t understand? Ask, don’t judge. Learn, don’t isolate.

One thing that continues to amaze (and delight) me week after week is how a group of people from around the world from different backgrounds and writing interests can produce flash fiction full of multiple perspectives. Flash fiction has become common ground. It’s something that will be evident in our upcoming Anthology Vol. 1, too. Thank you for the diverse perspectives you all bring to this challenge. Thank you for sharing your voices.

December 9, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a looky-loo. It can be in the general term of “looking around” or it can be a nosy neighbor kind of tale. You can also go deeper into the prompt and have a looky-loo at another culture (or your own).

Respond by December 15, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

A Great Divide by Charli Mills

Sarah chuckled after Cobb rode away. She turned at the smell of pipe smoke.

“Sorry to interrupt. Just curious what’s so mighty funny.” Hickok smiled broadly.

“That Cobb. Got himself in a skull-and-knife fight in Palmetto. Had to bite a German blacksmith on the rump.” She looked down when Hickok glared at her.

He spat. “No good border ruffians down there. No fun in their sporting. Evil men.”

Sarah shrugged. How to explain that’s how southerners play? Even their fun was made out to be evil these days. The looming war would create a great divide even out west.


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  1. Sarah Brentyn

    !!! There is so much in this post. Glad everyone is ok. I love these intros. You are a born storyteller. Great flash and a prompt that can really be taken in different directions. Which we always do anyway. Fantastic bunch of writers here. ??

    • Charli Mills

      Definitely a fantastic bunch of writers! There’s always a story to be told by noon every day. 😉 Have fun with this!

  2. TanGental

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain. He could have been writing about the Rough Writers.

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, yes! There is the plan! Mark Twain had it right. In a way, we get mini travels when we can meet online, traveling to blogs of other nations. But I’m down with the travel-travel, too. Great reminder. Thanks, Geoff!

      And an odd little side-note, he stopped at Rock Creek Station two weeks after Cobb died.

      • Sherri

        Great quote Geoff, and Charli, that’s fascinating that Mark Twain stopped at Rock Creek Station…!!

      • Annecdotist

        A bit risky to disagree with Mark Twain, but I think travelling in our minds, perhaps through books, can be equally effective. Secondly, nowadays, with the ease of cheap flights and all-inclusive resorts, I’m not convinced that travel does necessarily break down barriers. Lots of people perceive another’s poverty-stricken homeland as a sunnier version of their own back garden.

      • Charli Mills

        A good book certainly can transport a reader! And yes, I agree that books open doors to different perspectives, cultures and experiences. Often it’s a safe “looky-loo” take.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        I think Anne is right. For those travellers who stay in the five star resorts and travel the tourist routes contact with local people is limited and therefore has little impact. We had someone who stayed with us in Vanuatu who loved India as a destination. We mentioned how we found some of the life circumstances encountered confrontational and her response was that they had no contact with the poverty as they stayed in their resort, other than when they were taken by air conditioned vehicles and shielded from those begging. For some though, I think that travel can be enlightening.

      • Annecdotist

        Oh, Irene, that’s so true. Or I know people who’ve had the opposite experience, venturing slightly out of their enclave, and being upset at being confronted by peddlers pestering them to buy things. Especially if you travel in a group and don’t speak the language (Or even any of the basic words). I don’t think those people are necessarily unsympathetic, but, in their minds, they’ve worked hard and deserve a break and don’t understand when they’re flicking through the glossy brochures that they’re travelling to the Third World.

      • Charli Mills

        That is like American traveling to Mexico to stay on the beaches and resorts and oblivious (often in a tequila haze) to the poverty and suffering around them.

    • TanGental

      Well I don’t like to disagree with Anne of course but Mr Twain is surely advocating a necessary rather a sufficient condition here. Of course some will move venues but essentially stay at home and others may travel and yet not move far. Sometimes. Anne I think we are fast becoming the Statler and Waldorf of the Rough Writers!

      • Charli Mills

        In Minnesota, I was struck by how few people ever left their hometown. Yet, Minnesotans are one of the most accepting American cultures when it comes to others. I think they are second to New York for taking immigrants. Yet, I’ve known other small towns out west and I’ve seen how the lack of travel creates a narrow view of the world. Or “bubble world” as the Hub says (who, by the way, favors Animal as a muppet).

      • TanGental

        Yes, Animal is the perfect role model for today’s executive class!!

      • Annecdotist

        Of course you like to disagree with me, Geoff, but according to Charli’s interesting comment about Minnesota, it’s not even a necessary condition. I wonder if Minnesotans just tend to be more comfortable and secure in themselves so that they don’t feel threatened by people who are different?

      • TanGental

        That maybe a residue of the influx of newcomers over the last 20 years. Yes maybe that’s so. And disagreeing with you is a balm to the intellect, whereas disagreeing with Sacha is like spending 20 minutes in a concrete mixer with a bag of spanners.

    • paulamoyer

      We are a cosmopolitan crew, aren’t we?

      • TanGental

        True enough!

  3. Sherri

    Loved the slideshow of your beautiful neighbourhood, but not the flooding 🙁 Hope things have dried out a little now…but it’s great isn’t it when neighbours come together at such times, looking out for one another, and btw, loved the photo of the couple on the quad bike…and the way you capture the story behind the photo 🙂 As Sarah said, there is so much in this post, parts make me smile, others make me so sad…it isn’t right that any of us should feel washed out like the mud-filled road. But it’s a fact of life that sits with us everyday and you’re right, we need to find a way to really listen to one another. But how? Ahh…yet here you’ve created such an amazing community, one of which I’m so proud to belong. Thank you so much Charli. And I love your flash. The great divide continues…but not here at the Ranch 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Things froze! Neighbors are still helping one another with the mess. We certainly can’t continue to let differences erode our paths, and I think this community is a shining example of how diverse writers can build up common ground. I love the different perspectives every week, and looking at a complete year of collections is stunning. Let the Ranch build roads! 🙂

  4. Annecdotist

    Floods are something of a sensitive issue over here at the moment, as they’ve been really severe in the part of the country from which my family hails – despite the defences put in after the last floods. But don’t blame you for going to look – just be careful you don’t get swept away!
    I’d never heard of the term looky-loo, but it’s a good word and I agree that we need to be curious about our neighbours if we are going to be in a position to help them in times of need. Your reflections on NOT writing about your own culture are interesting, and potentially challenging for your blog readers – that’s prompted me to get down to a post that’s been at the back of my mind for quite a while on our ambivalence about diversity
    and looks like I might be the first again reporting in with my flash. (Did you think the weekly challenge encourages respect and cooperation across the diversity of writers? These last couple of weeks seems to have sparked competitiveness in me!)
    And while we’ve had some lousy politicians over here, I do feel for you having Donald Trump supposedly speak for you! And you’re right, much as I’d like to, we can’t just dismiss him as a clown.
    I loved your Flash – it’s a bit more extreme but it reminded me of a case over her many years ago when a group of men engaging in sadomasochistic sex were prosecuted (perhaps for indecency, I can’t remember) even though it happened in private and with all their consent. While we might not like others’ cultures, we need to tolerate them if they are not directly harming anyone else.
    Thanks for another great post and prompt.

    • Charli Mills

      Floods can be so damaging and really, there’s not much that can be done once the threshold is breached. I hope your family’s home region comes out of it okay.

      A year ago I posted guns & apples as a prompt idea, and thought nothing of it. A few weeks ago I had what I thought was another such odd but beautiful pairing of brass bullets and chrysanthemums. But I felt it might be offensive to post. That of course got me thinking. Also, I’ve noticed out in public that people are talking in more heated tones and that shuts me down in conversation. I don’t feel I can’t speak out here, on my blog, but it’s a phenomenon I began to notice, this reluctance. I’m still trying to explore what it is I’m feeling, but I worry that the good people I know in the backwoods are misunderstood and misrepresented by a vocal few who don’t really represent the majority of country folk, but speak as though they do. We need understanding on all sides, we need that common ground.

      Very interesting post, Ann. It adds to my thought process, as does your looky-loo flash that reminds us that sometimes ignoring a neighbor is not best. And thank you for knowing Trump certainly doesn’t represent, though I’m starting to worry over the sanity of fellow citizens who are following him, blindly, as well as a certain sector of our media that comes to his defense.

      Competition is not a bad thing. 🙂 I’d like to think that we can use friendly competition to improve craft or push our creative boundaries.

      • Annecdotist

        Fortunately my folks are okay, but the lovely local bookshop got flooded!
        Interesting about the misrepresentation of country people: in my volunteer work in the national park here (which, I must note is not like your national parks, as people live and work within them) there is often conflict between the locals, tourists and environmentalists about what’s right. The job of the park authority is to balance these competing needs, but at my basic level it often manifests as locals objecting to outsiders asking them to adhere to the bylaws.

    • paulamoyer

      Great flash, Anne. What a character that woman is!

  5. Norah

    Wow, Charli: another awesome post and thought provoking challenge. Floods – yes, I thought, I could do that. Oh, looky-loo – yeah, maybe even that. But then you swept me away with the real message of your post and have me gasping for air. Such deep thinking you have engaged in, challenging us to follow you to the core of what ails our world: fear of difference, of being different, of exposing who we are, of condemning those we see as different as if to reassure that our difference is the truth and measure by which all should be judged and to which all should aspire. Oh diversity. We appreciate it in nature. Why can’t we appreciate it in humanity and culture too. I have as yet no idea of where this post will lead me, but I love the way you have nudged my early morning thinking. Thank you.
    Your flash is brilliant, as always. Another interesting snippet about these characters, digging deeper into their differences.
    I was interested to read that most of your historians own gunshops. I know that you and I disagree about guns. I don’t understand your gun laws and am pleased that our laws are tighter. I’d hate to go out thinking that everyone I meet could be carrying a gun. It’s terrifying enough going onto the roads. Cars can be deadly enough. If I could travel back in time I’d prevent the invention of guns and other tools of human destruction. I guess I’d have to go back to Eden! Oh well. Such is life. And death. Let’s find the common ground to walk together and ensure that our looky-loo at differences is with appreciation and respect, rather than fear and judgement.

    • Charli Mills

      You summed up the message nicely with fear of difference, and of being different. At some core level, we all desire to belong, too. Yes, we have such a beautiful, diverse world, and many of us do see the human diversity as part of that beauty. I read many books as a teenager that introduced me to different North American indigenous cultures and a stunning book called, “Black Like Me.” Then I got into reading authors of different cultures. Like Ann, said, it’s a way to travel and experience different perspectives. But we seem to be seeped in fear these days.

      I think you are referring to “conceal and carry” laws. The Hub and I do not like those either because it’s usually people from the city who move to the country and bring their fear of crime with them. The NRA and vocal gun-nuts make firearms owners seem like crazed zealots. The majority are not, but any mention of guns these days gets people worked up. And yes, many gun collectors who are western historians go into smithing, repairs and sales. It’s still a good living when jobs have receded from rural communities. Going to a gunstore is like going to a pub; everyone knows your name and knows what time period you’re interested in. We can spend hours talking at a gun store. I take photos and newspaper clippings and talk through theories. It’s part of our cultural heritage.

      But it is the fear that grips us, and we need to find ways to get around that because terrorism is all about demoralization and intimidation. We need to build up one another, not tear down. Diversity doesn’t have to mean division. Thank you for being a part of the diverse conversation! 🙂

      • Norah

        Thanks, Charli, for taking the time to respond in depth about the gun laws. The way you describe the gunstore community makes it sound very welcoming and responsible. I guess things are very different in rural areas from in the cities, and the purposes for owning guns would be different, particularly when you are surrounded by dangerous wildlife.
        When I was a young girl my dad owned a gun and used to go kangaroo shooting. I don’t know what happened to his gun after he stopped doing that, but I certainly saw him clean the gun (rifle, I think, 303) and his boxes of red bullets. I didn’t think anything about it. It was just something my dad had, and although we saw gunfights in the Westerns on TV, I would never have associated my dad’s gun with weapons for people destruction.It is all in an attitude isn’t it?
        I definitely agree we need to build up one another and not tear down. Appreciate diversity!

      • Charli Mills

        Norah, how you describe your Dad’s experience and what you saw growing up is similar for us. We don’t equate guns to crimes, that not our realm of experience. But so many people have no experience with guns and all they see them as are deadly weapons. Even though we have many dangerous wildlife, shooting in self-defense would be a last resort. Often shooting up in the air is enough to scare off a moose or bear on the prod. Thank you for being so gracious in letting me share my experience and for sharing yours. That’s the heart of the looky-loo this week!

      • Annecdotist

        Similarly, here in Britain we are generally anti-gun, and I do think there’s a need in America to look at the ease of owning a firearm given the frequency of shootings. But yes, there’s definitely a difference between the city and the countryside in terms of what’s needed. I’ve tended to assumed they are not part of the experience of anyone I know, yet was reminded recently that a friend, who is the most placid and compassionate person imaginable, bought a gun for shooting the rabbits around her isolated farmhouse on the moors.

  6. Sacha Black

    Loved this story, I agree with Sarah by the way, you really are a born storyteller. Your voice is so clear, your imagery, your everything. I know, even though you don’t write the genre I read, I will have no trouble reading your book at all, because you captivate me continuously.

    Floods are horrific. I am glad you are all ok. I remember once, when I lived in the sticks, we had the worst flood I’d ever seen – of course as kids we wanted to swim in it, not realising just how dangerous that was. Our entire village went under. Streets lost, fields smothered, houses drowned. I remember clearly a soldier’s car got stuck as he tried to get home. My mum went out at 3am to see if they had got the car out. It had disappeared. But when we went back in the morning, it was still there. The floods had risen so high it had swallowed his car, whole. We got a tractor to pull it out the next day, and miraculously, his number two uniform (the special one) was saved. How I have no idea, but it was.

    Anyway, that’s my story. Gorgeous photos by the way.

    The Firmament by Sacha Black

    I placed my hand on the dome; it was hard as diamonds and colder than I expected. I couldn’t see out just the image of our own world, our own failings reflecting back on us.

    I pumped my fist onto it. “No.”

    “Now what?” Luke said, touching my shoulder.

    I turned, stared at the thousand men I’d led to the edge of the Earth with the promise of freedom.

    His eyes were wide. His fear, infectious, rippled through the crowd.

    The dome rose in all directions and further than the eye could see. We were trapped.

    “I don’t know.”

    • Charli Mills

      That’s an incredible story about the soldier and flooding. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated yet frightened of floods. That whole disappearing thought gives me shudders! Great element to use in fiction, too. 😉 And, thanks, too. Glad I could suck you into the whirlpool with stories and pictures!

      Wow. What a powerful flash. Makes me think of it as an analogy of ways we trap ourselves though we try to escape the world of our making. I’d read your genre any day!

      • Sacha Black

        I thought you might like that story 😀 I think floods are terrifying. Like I never watch any tsunami movies – theres been a couple recently – it’s all a bit too real for my liking.

        Thank you for such a lovely compliment. Means so much to me that you like my story.

    • Charli Mills

      I like how communities pull together. If only it didn’t take a crises to wipe out our differences. Going to go take a looky-loo at what Ed and Edna are up to!

  7. Pete

    Black and Blue

    “Whatcha’ doing there?”


    “Hey don’t run, listen.”

    “Look, you can’t tell me what to do.”

    “Look, I can also lock your ass up in jail.”

    “You can’t talk to me like that.”

    “I just did. Now, are you about to steal that bike?”

    “Why, because I’m black?”

    “Because you’re holding a pair of bolt cutters.”

    “So you looking to shoot me?”

    “Nah, too much paperwork.”

    “So what then?”

    “You need a ride?”

    “From you? Nope.”

    “Don’t like cops, or just me personally.”

    “The first one.”

    “Look, I’ll give you ten bucks for the bolt cutters.”




    • Charli Mills

      When we dare to look at both sides, understanding and compassion seem more accessible. Love this flash and the wisdom and outreach expressed. Great title, too.

    • Deborah Lee


    • Charli Mills

      If we think life is static, just wait for a storm, right? Landscapes and life are ever-changing and giving us writers much to ponder. 🙂 Thanks! Off to have a looky-loo at your flash!

    • Charli Mills

      Ruchira, your flash is a great example of neighborly looky-loos! Good to have neighbors interested in our lives, although it can feel invasive at times.

  8. paulamoyer

    This is an awesome post, Charli. I asked a Muslim customer how she was doing with all the stuff in the air. She said she tried to ignore it and then gave me a hug.

    I’m coming off a sinus infection so I’ll comment on other posts, later, but here’s my flash:

    Beware of Diaries

    By Paula Moyer

    Nola always wondered about the gap – her mother’s “silent years” in her pre-Mom twenties. “Nothing much to say” was all Mom said.

    Now Nola was house- and dog-sitting. Mom, freshly retired, was vacationing with a girlfriend. After walking Nina, Nola perused Mom’s bookcase, spied a notebook with a rusty spiral: “Diary of Jean Barker,” it proclaimed. Mom’s maiden name. “Do not read.” Who could resist?

    The first page, May 1973: “If I had any theme song, it would be …”

    Unbelievable. “Goodbye to Love,” the Karen Carpenter hit?

    Mom, Nola whispered. Who hurt you? How did you come back?

    • Charli Mills

      What an affirmation that we are all so very human, a hug and kindness in a department store. Love your flash, especially the exchange about, “Who could resist?” Hope you are feeling better soon!

      • paulamoyer

        Thanks, Charli!

  9. julespaige

    Perhaps slightly left of a Looky-loo?


    Of course Sissy knew better. She was being played for a
    fool, again. The girl next door was only playing with Sissy
    because no one else was around. Miranda apparently didn’t
    care about what was right or wrong. Miranda told Sissy that
    her father needed to sleep during the day. But wouldn’t it be
    fun to make some weird noises in the small city yard at the
    back of the house? Sissy didn’t know which window was
    near Miranda’s sleeping father, so she took up the dare.

    And soon after an angry father appeared. And sent Sissy


    You can see the post here:

    • Charli Mills

      Often the prompts do lead to a veering of sorts, and that’s completely legit! I like how your flash evolved into a scene of children playing, yet it’s seeped in so much more — the Dad who works night-shift, the girl no one wants to play with, the bored daughter breaking rules. Interesting looky-loo at neighborhood dynamics.

  10. A. E. Robson

    The joys of modern technology. Even to those who remember the old ways of finding out the local gossip, it can be a god-send.

    Nosey Parker
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    “What do you mean she’s dating someone.”

    “She is. I saw them in the park, holding hands.”

    “She hasn’t said anything and we’re her best friends. Have been since grade school.”

    “We can’t follow her. She’d call us the Nosey Parkers.”

    “We could ask. You know how she crinkles her nose up when she’s hiding something.”

    “Well, we need to know. What if he’s a serial killer!”

    “She should know better. She’s 63 years old.”

    “Facebook! We can check to see if she has any new friends.”

    “And their pictures.”

    “Thanks to the grandkids for insisting on social media.”

    • Charli Mills

      There’s a wonderful sense of unfolding in this story as if comment by comment the characters age, thus revealing they are no longer school girls. It really carries the story well!

  11. Norah

    Hi Charli, I’ve struggled with this one so taken a completely different POV; a birdseye view really I’ll be back for more reading later. Thanks for the challenging challenge. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a good shift to make when something has you stumped. I’m glad you applied a different POV and shared why! Now I’ll nose over and take a looky-loo!

  12. Pat Cummings

    In the sense of “looking around”, a semi driver once saved our lives in the Colorado mountains. My flash is Looking Around a Blind Curve at

    • Charli Mills

      I was once saved by a couple of semi-truck drivers who boxed me in going over in a snow storm on Donner Pass. Many of those drivers have a strong sense of looking around!

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a fine way to use 99 words, Sarrah!

      • Sarrah J. Woods

        Why thank you!

  13. rogershipp

    The Barker

    “Come one! Come all! Strangest beings known to mankind. Purchase your tickets here. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Share a meal with Jo-Jo, the Dog-Faced Boy. Have crumpets and tea with Ella, the Camel Girl. Test your strength against Waino and Plutano, the Wild Men of Borneo.”

    The barker had my attention. In fact, this is what I had returned to the show to see.

    Having been born with two right feet and having three additional fingers removed from my left hand, my curiosity was piqued to see what my life might have been like if I were not so blessed.

    99 words

    • Charli Mills

      A creative looky-loo, the place where we used to parade those who were different. Though I think we still do, just on a different stage. Creative but also thought provoking!

      • rogershipp

        Yes, I believe that the ‘parades’ are still parading.

  14. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Charli, just wondering I wrote a comment here but it is not here. Has it gone into the nether world or is it in your spam box?

    • Charli Mills

      Do you see it now? I think I had to “approve” a comment, but not sure if that was yours. I don’t know why the filters do that sometimes.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        No. Perhaps I didn’t post it. Who knows what happens to these things. Here goes again:
        I couldn’t agree with you more Charli. We need to find common ground instead of immediately honing in on the differences. Fear has a lot to do with it also. Fear of the unknown. I have never been one to keep my mouth shut when it comes to standing up for what I think is right and yet I found myself for the first time keeping my lips firmly closed. I hated myself for it but it seemed the prudent thing to do at the time. We shouldn’t need to hide. I have hoped that blogging may be the way forward. As you say you have gathered flashes from around the globe and we have certainly shown that we do all have the same needs, wants and desires and we can all relate and hopefully little by little we can change the world.
        There is something about floods which is mesmorising. Like you I have often gone for a looky-loo (not a word I had heard before but is now definitely in my vocabulary) at raging waters. I hope the man didn’t lose his toilet. It was so close it was in danger of going into the river – a theme in mine for this week.

        Cobb I think was a man before his time. I think I may be starting to fall in love with him. Can’t wait to read the book and see whether he lives up to my expectations.

      • Charli Mills

        Thank you for rewriting your comment! I’m less likely to speak my mind these days, but perhaps it’s a bit of wisdom, too. Blogging does seem a way forward. I’ve come to anticipate Noosaville skies weekly, and I relish the views from Sheri’s summerhouse, and enjoy the London walks with Geoff. I travel the world in style via blogs! And we all get the benefit of seeing different perspectives, getting to speak out in a place where we aren’t intimidated to add our voice to the world conversation. That’s a good step forward for all. And, thank you, I’m glad you are falling in love with Cobb. He’s won me over, though he’s a complicated and it takes three women to “see” him!

  15. Oliana

    I’m sorry to read about the flooding. I really enjoyed your post and writing. I do see how country folk do help one another. During the 4 to 6 week ice storm here, my best friend who lives on a farm housed 16 people for 6 weeks with their generator keeping all warm. I find it unfair to judge a nation for someone like Trump…just like my neighbours in Toronto were mocked with Mayor Ford and is gaffes. Ask, don’t judge…wise words.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Oliana and welcome to Carrot Ranch! What a long ice storm and a neighborly thing to do. I’ll have to look up Mayor Ford. Makes me feel a bit better that other countries have bad apples in the spotlight.

      • Oliana

        All the late night shows joked about him; I had just moved back to Montreal from Toronto when he was elected. I was shocked. I find blogging is a great way to connect with the world and learn more about each other.

      • Charli Mills

        Blogging is like travel. It is a great place to connect!

  16. Oliana

    The big commotion

    The first refugees arrived at Trudeau Airport. A Red Cross official greets a man standing, looking overwhelmed. “Bienvenue au Canada”. His moist eyes look at her, “This is the land of Freedom, non?”

    Citizens offered to help; there was such a huge response that many volunteers had to be turned away. The media could not get enough stories to share. It’s a perfect time to show acts of kindness.

    Nearby, at Tim Horton’s, two older women look out at the commotion.

    “I thought you said you were volunteering?”

    “Tantôt, when all the hype dies down, je vais être prêt.”*

    Translation: *“Later, when the hype dies down, I’ll be ready.”

    • Charli Mills

      When the eyes are elsewhere perhaps. Makes me think we need volunteers for the duration, not just at the peak of crisis.

  17. C. Jai Ferry

    I love reading all the flashes and I am really feeling my lack of participation the last few go ’rounds. *sigh*

    • Charli Mills

      Reading is participation! 🙂

  18. Charli Mills

    I like the word rubbernecking, too! Looky-loos rubbernecking!

  19. Charli Mills

    Powerful and stark.


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