Have a Looky-Loo

Written by Charli Mills

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

December 16, 2015

Looky LooYou, standing out there at the edges peeking. Come on over. We’re just writers. We don’t bite, unless in our imaginations. Go ahead take a looky-loo at these stories.

When we dare to take a look we might learn something. Think of all the gossips learned from all their neighborhood looky-loos! Maybe we’ll discover we are not so different, you the reader, us the writers. Words form our common ground.

The following stories are based on the December 9, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a looky-loo.


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.”


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.


Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin

Curiosity killed the cat, but we were kids, not cats. Our mothers told us not to stare, so we snatched glances from between our fingers and shivered at the sight. Was she a witch with those long fingernails and wild hair? We couldn’t ask our teachers, because then they’d know we’d been looking and looking was Wrong.

We dared each other to ring the doorbell and watched safe behind the garden wall, when she emerged, snarling like a dog. We threw stones at her window until they took her away in an ambulance, ending our game with a thump.


Just Browsing by Larry LaForge

Ed took his usual seat on the rustic bench outside Yvette’s. The exclusive women’s dress shop was a regular destination for Edna’s browsing.

“Are you actually going to buy something this time?” Ed asked.

“You have no idea what’s in there,” Edna answered with a hearty laugh.

Can’t be that expensive, Ed thought.

After a few minutes Ed decided to check it out for himself. He slipped in quietly, approached a rack of attractive dresses, and casually peeked at the price tag on a simple Lanvin Jersey Dress.

Back on the bench, Ed prayed that Edna remained a looky-loo.


Black and Blue by Pete Fanning

“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.”





A Bowl of Sugar by Ruchira Khanna

“A Bowl of sugar, again?” Pete shot as he opened the door to his neighbor.

“aha! yes, you know me so well” grinned Sara while looking beyond him and into his living room that opened the door to.

While he took the bowl to fill with the required ingredient she sauntered in while keeping a keen eye on everything around, “Wow! These pillow cases are so authentic. Love them. New, huh?”

“Nopes!” he dismissed with a sulk as he continued to pour the sugar.

“Seriously?” Sara replied in astonishment, “they weren’t around last time when I came in?”


Looky-Loo by Deborah Lee

The woman beside her looks out the window as the bus grinds along Third Avenue, twisting her neck to peer toward the top of Columbia Tower. Office workers stream out as the skyscrapers dazzle in the deep twilight. The woman shifts from cheek to cheek in the seat, hands clutching and reclutching her shopping bag, gray streaks in her hair belying the excited child within. No sophistication in her hair or clothes. Her mouth is a little O of wonder.

Oh, to see the city that way again, for the first time. Before familiarity, and other things, bred contempt.


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?


Foil(ed) by Jules Paige

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


Dhobi Wallahs by Irene Waters

For centuries Dharval’s family had been Dhobi Wallahs but his clients were now dwindling, no longer wanting the function the family performed. India was becoming too affluent. The Hyatt Hotel, his last pick-up, always had a consignment. He grabbed the bag and pedalled furiously to the muddy, polluted Ganges. His door to door six day clothes washing service was now done in three to keep clients happy. He beat the sari furiously against the rocks as he watched sewage float past and the swaddled body of a dead child. Maybe his clients were right. They should buy washing machines.


The World Next Door by Geoff Le Pard

‘The new neighbours have arrived. They’ve two girls. Har… and… Jai…’ Mary grimaced. ‘I didn’t really catch their names.

Penny rolled her eyes. ‘God you’re such a racist, mum.’

‘Penny! That’s awful. They’re just a bit unusual.’

‘You call Mr Khan, Mr Can. And..’

‘Nonsense. Anyway, I’m pleased they’ve come…’

‘Well I know something you don’t. They’re Sikh.’

‘Are they?’

‘I saw a man with a turban earlier. Kiran told us about that in class.’

Mary laughed. ‘I’ve a lot to learn. Shall we take them something? Jam?’

‘Muuuum. Chocolates and wine.’

‘Wine? Do they…?’

‘Oh yes, Kiran said…’


The Barker by Roger Shipp

“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.


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.”


Copy-cat Sticky-beak by Norah Colvin

High in the branches Maggie practised her repertoire. She watched people scurrying: erecting tents and marking long white lines. She absorbed the rhythm of new songs: thump-thump, clink-clink.

She breakfasted on scarab beetles and was ready when the children arrived. But they didn’t notice her playful mimicry. Instead they flooded the field with colourful shirts and excited chatter.

Maggie watched silently. Soon she heard an unfamiliar song: “Go team, go team, go!” She flew to the top of the biggest tent and joined in. The children listened, then cheered. Maggie felt she’d almost burst. Instead she sang, and sang.


Looking Around a Blind Curve by Pat Cummings

The snowy curves of the Frasier road were packed slick.

Far ahead, a semi-truck blew his horn urgently, heading into the same blind hairpin we were approaching. “What’s he honking about?” I asked.

My savvy driver replied, “I’m not sure, but I think I’ll slow down!”

Around the corner, some skiers skipping the tow fees were unloading from a car parked inside the curve. Our skid took us 360 degrees, halting on the steep road-edge. The semi barely missed us, passing with its horn still blaring.

The panicked skiers loaded back into their car and left without a word.


Shy Fire by Sarrah J Woods

Social gatherings confounded Fiona. She wanted to take in the scene from the comfortable shadows, but she was too full of life and warmth, passion and curiosity, things to say and questions to ask. Far from going unobserved, her vibrancy drew all eyes to her.

But she recoiled when she saw her spotlight. Later, alone, she would gasp for air, her spirit nearly crushed by the weight of attention.

Did she need to find peers whose minds sparkled as much as hers, so she wouldn’t stand out?

Or must she learn, somehow, either to tolerate attention or subdue herself?


The Big Commotion by Oliana Kim

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.”


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