Clouds stiff as meringue coast overhead and cast shadows upon the red and white sandstone pillars of Zion. I watch as light returns, then gives way to shadow again. The cliffs, canyons and mesas morph in the obscuration of partial clouds. Reds deepen, crevices appear, whites highlight. It feels like watching a live kaleidoscope. All this show, and I also indulge in an afternoon cappuccino and crepe. I think of flying monkeys and wonder what shadows such creatures would cast.
My visit to this tourist hamlet of Springdale today is to uncover stories of flying monkeys. If Virgin (where I now live) is the gateway to Zion Canyon, then Springdale is the doorway. Tens of thousands of people pass through Zion National Park daily during the height of season. Despite a warm sun and partial clouds, tourism is receding. And no, flying monkeys did not chase off anyone. But I want to know more about them, and starting at the wood-fired grill of their namesake seems right. I have coffee at Me Me’s next door.
When I enter The Flying Monkey, savory smoke grabs me; my nose convinces my stomach to let my mouth experience a pizza here. There must be magic enough in the aroma to make monkeys fly. I return to my mind when the hostess approaches. I’m here to ask about monkeys not the fire-roasted pineapple and cilantro pizza.
“So, about the flying monkeys, ” I start to say.
“Oh, you want to know about our name.”
“I know where you get your name. I live in Virgin below Hurricane Mesa.”
“Oh…I’ve been up there…camping…”
“Did you see anything?” I’m excited now. The hostess may actually be an eye-witness.
“It was dark. But I always look at that strip and think about them, you know.”
“They all lived!”
“So I’ve heard.”
“Who is the local expert on the flying monkeys?”
This is how I often begin historical research. Casual conversation. I know what you’re thinking, how can conversation about flying monkeys be casual. I listen for rumors, look for odd local business names, seek the resident story-tellers. Today, I got two hits. Maybe the jeweler on the other side of Me Me’s knows something or perhaps the man across the street at the tire shop. The hostess tells me they’ve both lived in the area forever. She’s from St, George and this is her second season working in Springdale.
Geology opened this Pandora’s box. I wasn’t looking for flying monkeys, but places to rock hound. After my first big adventure in southern Utah, the one sliding across slimy red clay in the rain, I came home with some local jasper. I bought a book, Rockhounding Utah: A Guide to the State’s Best Rockhounding Sites. That’s where I read about Hurricane Mesa and it’s curious feature (in addition to agates and petrified wood). Author, Gary Warren, warns:
“There’s some private property up on the mesa now, so be sure to heed any posting. Be especially careful not to enter the test track area. It may be tempting, but it is a great big no-no!”
Knowing the military had a test track up on a mesa piqued my curiosity. That’s when I dug deeper into aviation records locally and discovered that in 1955, the Air Force developed a facility on Hurricane Mesa to test jet-propelled airplane ejection seats. Looking up at that mesa every morning, I think how tempting the big no-no is. Not only am I curious, I’m visual. I want to see what there is to see. And that was before I knew about the flying monkeys.
Now that we are officially Virgin locals (not to be confused with virgin locals), we find other locals readily talk about this magnificent area with a unique history. Filmography has convinced us this is the Wild West, but reality is rooted in Mormonism and mysterious testing. The Mormons pioneered to this geological land of wonder, once home to Paiute, Navajo and perhaps even Anasazi. Tensions between cultures led to deadly encounters. Global tensions after WWII led to the terrifying testing of nuclear weapons for which this area was fallout. We often hear tragic family stories of generational cancer. One John Wayne movie filmed here is reputed to have led to the deaths of all involved by cancer.
Locals tell us radiation surrounds us as much as geological beauty.
Do monkeys fly because they are local aberrations? Creatures resulting from radiation exposure? A Native American myth? A mushroom picker’s mistaken identity? Another local writer’s unchecked imagination? No. The answer is found back on the test track at Hurricane Mesa. Monkeys flew as live test subjects in the jet propelled and track ejected cockpit pods. Before men tested the ejection seats, monkeys did. And, so far, according to local lore or wishful thinking, the flying monkeys all lived.
November is, of course, NaNoWriMo. It’s the perfect season to write a first draft about mysterious government testing, monkeys and how women might have been involved. That is always my angle — history often forgets women among men and monkeys, and those are the stories I ultimately seek. However, No NaNoWriMo for me. More like, November is NaNoRanCho month. With a new home, office and ergonomic chair, I’m ready to get back to my ranch.
You might think that statement as odd as, well, flying monkeys once soared over Virgin, Utah. Why not “get back” to writing novels. First, I never stopped. Each week I work on revising two novels, in fact. Some weeks my revisions are processing, some weeks are filling research gaps, and more weeks are needed for constructing transitions and new material. I’m not on a deadline for my novels. Perhaps if I had an agent or active publisher, my schedule would be different. As a marketer, I also know I need to have a well-crafted final manuscript for sale and a well-crafted platform from which to launch my books (like flying monkeys).
Carrot Ranch was originally a website I started when I left my last marketing job. I did marcom consulting, spoke at national workshops and managed communications for business clients. But as I worked on my first novel, I felt disconnected to my literary goals. I made the leap and transformed Carrot Ranch into a platform with a literary focus and a flash fiction challenge. No matter what I do, I always want to do good in the world. I began to focus on supporting a literary community. When my own personal crisis hit with a series of setbacks, including getting scammed by the publisher at Go Idaho and getting evicted from our home (and my office) because the owners thought it would sell better empty, my community helped me get through.
Much has changed since last November when I had high hopes for completing my second novel, launching our first anthology and setting up writers retreats in beautiful Sandpoint. A lot of the work I did, such as creating a library program called Wrangling Words and hosting a successful BinderCon event in Montana, has gone aside. Our anthology was delayed as I dealt with issues of homelessness. My confidence and plans felt shaken. But shit happens. I may not be able to control the circumstances, the injustices or recoup what I lost, but I can choose how to transform and reinvest in my platform, my writing and my community.
Therefore, I’m taking a NaNoWriMo-like daily focus on writing a new business plan for Carrot Ranch as a non-profit to support literary writers around the world with weekly flash fiction challenges, encouraging responses, an annual anthology, collective promotions (community books and blogs), contests for good causes, literary craft insights and practical marketing solutions for the everyday writer.
Carrot Ranch is my platform and it also belongs to the community here. By the end of the month, I’ll have all this crafted into a plan. I’ve retained a lawyer for the non-profit side; a designer to complete our first-still-in-the-works anthology and create a branded look for the continuing series; and an academic advisor to help me create a survey that will reveal what writers need to complete a practical and individual marketing plan.
While I’m sad to let go of my dream of having writers retreats in Sandpoint, I enjoyed the writers I did get to host at Elmira Pond. I missed out on one of our own Rough Writers who had plans to stay. I’m grateful I didn’t shut down the ranch, although I admit I’ve struggled mightily to keep my focus and presence since that awful day in March when we were told our lease would not be renewed. Many good turns have happened and in the end, I did deliberately choose my next home to be an RV. We could have rented, we could buy next year, but we own this RV outright and it meets every basic need have (and when you are homeless, you come to understand clearly wants verses needs). It gives us options.
And it has a chair that allows me longer stretches of writing! I didn’t share my greatest challenge: that how we were living led to debilitating pain. I could barely meet ranch duties each week, only write in short stints and I couldn’t read for long. I’ve had three back surgeries and without an ergonomic place to sit or sleep, I developed nerve pain in my legs, shoulders and hands. I thought it would take time to build up to my previous level of desk-marathoning, but the new home-on-wheels with it’s proper bedroom and real bed plus an ergonomic chair and office space has me happily pecking away at the keys. What a relief! I now have a choice of recliner or couch for reading, too. And I’m continuing my walking and pool therapy. Thank you, to all of you’ve who’ve hung in there with me.
I feel like I can start dreaming and doing again. So, of course, I believe in flying monkeys. First, a few shots of the new Carrot Ranch office:
November 2, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using flying monkeys as a device or phrase. As a phrase it can be something like, “When monkeys fly over Grandma’s tea party.” As a device, you can use flying monkeys as characters (a circus act, astronaut companions, zoo critters). Think of what they are doing and why. How can flying monkeys inspire you this week?
Respond by November 8, 2016 to be included in the compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
Danni’s Circus (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli MIlls
Danni’s yard had become the local circus. Instead of flying monkeys she had ten canine clowns.
By nine weeks, the puppies were the biggest attraction in town. Tourists gathered and Deputy Erikson cruised by daily. He informed Danni she could keep the litter up until twenty weeks unless she was training any, and at that required a special license.
Twenty weeks. Danni would let the circus run away before she lived with this chaos that long. It was time to sell the clowns. Yet, she looked at the male, Bubbie, and wondered if she should apply for a license.
Tales from Kansas (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
“Then the witch sends out winged monkeys to stop the farm girl from Kansas.” Jesse Williams read Sarah her favorite chapter from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Sarah sipped her tea, not wanting to leave the warmth of Jesse’s family parlor. “I knew of a real fantastical man from Kansas.”
“Tell me, Sarah!” Jesse seemed more of a child than a near-grown woman of 16. Maybe it was because Sarah felt so old. She was ancient.
“He came to Rock Creek after wresting a grizzly bear.”
Jesse’s Dad coughed, and laid down his newspaper. “You knew Wild Bill Hickok?”
[…] November 2: Flash Fiction Challenge November 2, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using flying monkeys as a device or phrase. As a phrase it can be something like, “When monkeys fly over Grandma’s tea party.” As a device, you can use flying monkeys as characters (a circus act, astronaut companions, zoo critters). Think of what they are doing and why. How can flying monkeys inspire you this week? […]
My first thought was of Oz. It used to be a tradition in my family to watch the movie yearly (when it was televised around Thanksgiving – now it isn’t I think…or maybe it’s just that I’ve changed…anyway)… It was always amazing to see the show start out in black and white and then once turn to color when Dorothy landed in Oz. This reminds me of your opening and the colorization of the dawn of your ‘new’ world.
I am happy for you and yours that you are settling in to the magic of your area. And for the support and space you give to us all… I remember having puppies as a child – and the circus that it was. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I just feed the out door birds these days 😉
Anyway – I am surprised to be the first – with:
Oz. It wasn’t all that wonderful of a world, that dark side
that showed the green face of a scary witch and her flying
monkeys. Yet, when you read the book “Son of a Witch”…
by Gregory Maguire, you get a different view. Not all is what
it seems. The monkeys are loyal friends and companions
doing more than just what they are told. So they have wings
and can fly, so do fairies.
Needless to say in the end…or continuance of Baum’s
Magical world – one gets to feel some sympathy for Elphaba,
Liir and his green child.
Please do see the link for additional info:
I remember a time when the Wizard of Oz came on television once a year. For some reason, I always seemed to miss the first part! It was a book from 1902 and later a Broadway musical and then, of course, the 1930s movie. Cheers to colorized beginnings! I’m intrigued by your flash and off to your blog post to learn more!
Thanks for the video Jules. I enjoyed it, especially the music.
Sorry but there is 30 second ad first.
You don’t have to listen to the music or watch the whole thing…
But since a few folks don’t remember the Flying Monkeys in the movie…
Oh, by the way it is only movie that the ‘shoes’ are red… in Maguire’s book they are called Jeweled Slippers. But then we all know movies and plays aren’t quite an exact duplicate of the book 🙂
Thanks for sharing! Ah, jeweled slippers!
Thank Jules. I have neither read nor seen obviously. Although I have seen parts of the movie, I don’t remember the monkeys. I like the Pink Floyd soundtrack to this clip. Thanks for sharing.
I loved the Oz books and Gregory Maguire’s alternate take on it as well, although I preferred Wicked. Have you read his Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister? Another good one. Nice flash, too!
I love Wicked, but not have read his other book yet!
There are four books in Maguire’s series. I haven’t read Wicked.
Just got the third and forth from the library. He’s got a few spins on Grimm’s tales 🙂
Feel like I’ve just dropped in for a nice chat and catch-up with you Charli. I have of course followed your updates. The news that you had once again gotten a writing space thrilled me to no end. Seems the worst of the travails are over for now and that the pains continue to recede. Ergonomics is something that has obsessed me of late! I am continually tweaking my space and keyboard, etc. to save the tendons in my elbows, my back, neck, etc. Moving about periodically is key. More importantly, you deserve the tenacity True Grit award for your progress with Carrot Ranch. It is good to know you have not been derailed from your plans for the site or from your books! As for flying monkeys, I admit the first thing that came to mind was the Wizard of Oz. Was just chatting about those seemingly evil monkeys with the neighbor on Halloween night. They terrified me the first couple of times I watched the movie, and once, when the face of Margaret Hamilton’s classic witch filled the screen, I ran to my room and hid under the bed. So I’ll think of some other trope for the prompt 🙂 Write on!
Thanks for stopping by for a chat! Ergonomics caught my attention when I developed pains trying to write in less than ergonomic space. I started to follow the Pomodoro Technique which helped, but I could not push through. Now with being able to adjust my chair, my desk and having a bed that is promoting deep sleep, my body is responding well. You will do yourself huge favors finding the right ergonomics. Ah! I know exactly the screen shot of Margaret Hamilton’s green face! You write on, too!
Toughie this week, and I don’t know if this works or not. Let me know what you think.
Sometimes the spark is hard to light, but you can never go wrong, following where the prompt takes you!
I think it was a very creative take on the key phrase. Enjoyed your ending!!!!
It took a little time to work out one of my historical tales, but here it is.
Flying Monkeys, A Tale of Discovery
The monkeys flew across the room, trying to catch the fruit that bobbed like balloons in the air.
“Rest Sahib,” the servant mopped the forehead of the delirious man.
He saw how the stronger monkeys always caught the fruit, how they grew bigger until he was screaming in terror. As the fever abated and he awoke to a tropical dawn he knew what it meant.
He knew the secret, knew how species changed, he had to tell someone, there would be a mail ship soon. He sat down and wrote – To Charles Darwin, Downe, Kent.
The letter changed everything.
Charles Darwin had delayed publication of his theory of evolution for nearly twenty years, he was finally forced to publish when he received a letter from Alfred Russell Wallace, who had come to the same idea when he was suffering from fever.
Loved that history. So flying monkeys forced Origin of the Species to hit the shelves. Send some flying monkeys my way please.
Gordon, you did it! That’s an unexpected topic to tie back to one of your historical projects. I love learning from you about the dynamics behind discoveries. It really humanizes people from the past and makes terrific stories.
What a surprising bit of history! Thank you for sharing it!
Sounds like a fantastical conversation (and restaurant). 🙂 Your space looks wonderful. Like a real home. Makes me happy. Great flash, both, and I’ll see if I can work monkeys into a flash this week…
Poor Polly Hawk-Dreamer might want a monkey to go with her cracker! 😀 Thanks, Sarah!
Hahaha! That would be awesome.
[…] Charli’s prompt this week immediately sent me back to childhood to a book I loved about Little Miss Baker. I think it was called Space Monkey. I had kept it until 3 months ago when I gave it to my 9 year old nephew. I don’t think he was too impressed but this book had me captivated. It was probably the first creative non fiction book I read. Miss Baker was a Peruvian squirrel monkey born 1957 in Peru and ending up in a pet shop in Miami. From there the navy purchased 25 of them and trained them up to be astronauts. 2 years later she and a Rhesus monkey were the first animals to successfully return to earth alive from the American space program. She went on to have two husbands, and a celebrity career finally dying from renal failure at the age of 27 in 1984. My book however did not make it this far into her life. This BOTS (I have no idea whether she had a John in her life and I’m sure that her 17 year marriage to Big George was one she enjoyed. So this is what I would consider a true BOTS. The facts are true, the filling is fiction. For the 25th anniversary of her space flight she was given a rubber duck and that brings to mind President John F Kennedy but that is another story. […]
It sounds like you have entered a magical world and certainly one with lots of stories. I hope the radiation has dissipated over time and I too would want to know what they are doing up there. Your first flash describes a chaos I know well and I only had one. Thank heavens for council rules. I’m glad Sarah had someone that cared enough about her to read. Jesse’s Dad, I feel is in for a surprise when he finds out just who Sarah knew. Talking of knowing I didn’t know there were winged monkeys in Wizard of Oz – mustn’t have paid enough attention to it.
Mine this week is a BOTS https://irenewaters19.com/2016/11/05/little-miss-baker-99-word-flash-fiction/
It continues to feel other-worldly yet homey here. I hope the radiation isn’t lingering, but it seems we’ve only grown in our capacity to poison our environment so now cancer is no longer an anomaly. Puppies are chaos with fur and teeth. I enjoy looking into this era of Sarah’s life because Wild Bill Hickok was so famous by then, yet other amazing events have taken place, too, like the writing of the Wizard of Oz. Guess the winged monkeys didn’t leave an impression upon you!
And they are coming up with so many new treatments. I wonder if I ever read the book. I certainly know the story but I don’t recall seeing the film, a pantomime so perhaps it was read to me when I was so young flying monkeys meant nothing to me. I probably thought I could fly.
Growing up in the era of three network tv stations, one always showed the Wizard of Oz annually. I don’t think I ever read the book! Sometimes, on the verge of sleep and waking, I still believe I can fly, too. 🙂
It’s so nice to have you back, Charli, with the richness of your post, both in thought and expression. I hadn’t heard of the flying monkeys before, but it’s certainly an interesting tidbit of information. How unfortunate that we humans do so much to poison our beautiful world. Perhaps because our individual time here is so fleeting, we can’t see beyond what affects us personally. Sad.
I’m pleased that you are beginning to feel a little more settled and that you have your new home set up in ways to suit your needs. I’m sorry to hear you have been in so much pain and required surgery. I hope you are recuperating well. That you can pull through all the strife you have suffered and still be focused on others and their needs is amazing. We appreciate it.
I love the thought of NaNoRanCho. It is great to have the flexibility of thought to be able to take and idea and use it to suit your own purposes. I wish you success with all the tasks you have set yourself. Please don’t be too hard a taskmaster though.
I always enjoy reading the excerpts from your stories in your flash fiction pieces. What a great way to work flying monkeys into both pieces. It’s quite a challenge you have set for us. I see some have already come up with great responses. I’m still thinking on mine.
Enjoy your new home!
Thank you, Norah! I should clarify that the surgeries were prior. I damaged a herniated disc through chiropractic and had to have the pieces removed which took multiple surgeries. Now I’m mindful of protecting my back while also dealing with subsequent nerve damage. Not having adequate seats or bed for four months took its toll but happily did not lead o more surgery! I do water (pool) therapy, walking and modified yoga (more like PT I try to pretend is yoga). Flying monkeys will be a fun challenge to see how all of you tackle it! I’m wondering what teachable moment you will find. 🙂 Thank you! I’m loving the new home more and more each day!
I don’t like to hear of that chiropractic damage. Surgery and the aftermath doesn’t sound like fun. I’m pleased you have strategies in place to manage the pain somewhat. Hopefully the new abode will help.
I’m still working on the teachable moment! You’ve set a toughie! 🙂
I carefully avoid chiropractic, though I know there are gentler ones out there. The new home helps so much! I know you’ll come through with flying colors…er, monkeys!
I love NaNoRanCho too Norah! Charli, I didn’t realise your surgery came about from bad chiropractic care. I use to work for a chiropractor in CA and got ‘free’ treatment for my back as ‘perk’. Turned out, he was billing my medical insurance the entire time and made more off me than he was paying me! Plus, he was a mega bone cruncher and I won’t go near a chiropractor to this day as a result. Not near my neck, that’s for darn sure! So, so glad you were able to avoid further surgery and your new chair is just what you need! 🙂
Well that’s a heck of a way to pay one’s employee! I had a chiro I liked up until my insurance wouldn’t cover more than a certain number of visits. Another chiro I knew through my job offered to give me a good back cracking. And he did! I avoid chiros now, but I do like acupuncturists. Gentle healing to you your neck!
Ouch…that’s awful, makes me very sad to think of that happening to you 🙁 Acupuncture is much more gentle, I agree! Thanks Charli 🙂
Beyond the Zone!
Hector cursed them; damn financial aid forms!
Jumping through hoops, that’s what this is. How the hell do they expect me to get all this filled out by Friday, with three papers, two exams and a final to suffer this week? Like monkeys flying bat-shit all over campus, it just aint gonna happen!
What he needed was cash. Lots of it, and now.
The line grew longer by the second, and sensing his out, he took it! The grey gun metal felt cold to his touch in his pack as he raised it, passing the point of no return…
Those financial aid forms, having had three children in college, could drive anyone insane! I like how you used the prompt to show that moment of fracture. Chilling, yet I think deep feelings of overwhelm drive people to desperate measures.
[…] by Charli Mills weekly 99 words, no more no less flash-fiction challenge over at Carrotranch.com, monkeys are […]
Oh, fogot my blog link, so here you go:
Thanks! And good to see you at the ranch again!
Will be back for more soon.
Hey Charli! I managed to tear myself away from NaNOWriMo2016 to put this together: https://fictionplayground.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/monkeys-can-fly-carrot-ranch-weekly-11-2-16/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true
Hey Joe, that’s a spectacular feat! Often, flying monkeys can’t tear a writer away from NaNoWriMo. Hope it’s going well for you and thanks for contributing!
Another WriMo! This week’s prompt was a welcome relief, and maybe it will unblock my block. Go Cubbies! Wonderful use of the prompt.
Your new vision and inspiring attitude impress me, Charli. As always, best wishes.
Wicked Witches and Flying Monkeys
written by Kerry E.B. Black
When her husband branded her “wicked witch” before company, Amanda filed for divorce. Name calling in public was the newest humiliation and abuses.
The court awarded child support and alimony, and Amanda invested in a business, a bar. The hours allowed her to care for her children during the day, and the building’s upstairs apartment kept them in proximity through last call.
She devised bewitching drinks and hired a cook. With care, she hung stained glass and fine stemware.
A mutual friend asked, “What will you call the place?”
A fan of irony, Amanda smiled. “Flying Monkeys, of course.”
Thank you, Kerry! As we evolve as writers we can always rewrite the journey we are taking. 🙂 Love your strong character in your take on the prompt!
This reminds me of Tyrion in Game of Thrones, when he advises taking the insults of others and making them your strength. Empowering flash, and probably a fun bar too. 🙂
[…] at other times? We’d love to hear your memories. I also had a blast from the past when Charli’s prompt was to write about flying monkeys. It brought memories flooding back of Little Miss Baker the space […]
[…] Mills at Canyon Ranch Communications hosts a weekly flash fiction challenge – 99 words, no more, no less. This week’s […]
Hi Charli, I’m new to your blog and this challenge, but I’m excited to take a stab. Cutting my teeth on flying monkeys! Challenge indeed! Thanks 🙂
Here’s my take:
They sat at the edge of the pier, toes wiggling in water. “Daddy, I don’t want you to go.” Sophie’s sadness added to his overwhelming dread. “I know, but I’ll be home soon.” He wondered, as he started his eighth year, when she might stop believing him. Tears ran down her cheeks. “C’mon, let’s play,” hoping to distract her. Wiping her nose, she rested her head on his shoulder and inched in to snuggle. “Look, I see a duck.” “Too easy,” Sophie laughed at the clouds. “I win! See? Two flying monkeys!” God help him get home, he thought.
Escaped typo – God help *me* get home, he thought. 😉
No problem! I got it for you on the compilation!
So sad. I hope he’s not being deployed. 🙁
Welcome to the ranch Marigold! A poignant take on the prompt. I appreciate the open-ended idea that this is a father who could be off doing many different things to provide for the family he leaves behind. The cloud game is a wonderful detail.
Thanks so much, Charli. Happy to have found your blog. I enjoy the challenge of flash fiction, so looking forward to further challenges. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
[…] post was written in response to the November 2: Flash Fiction Challenge, hosted by Carrot […]
They came, as would a plague of locust, this horde of Brace Caldwell’s hired sycophants, evil-winged simians, neither men nor beasts, but, rather, some horrific malfunctions of a careless God, galloping in a sinister storm of grit and terror, shrieking guttural sounds meant to raise the dead and frighten infants not yet conceived.
Dobbs issued one final command to Henry and Aggie. “To the death for them, comrades, for surely their cankered hearts have no room for mercy.”
And then, the appalling heat met the riders dust.
Blood poured through the streets of Union City.
“…frighten infants not yet conceived.” I love it! Nice flash.
Wow, it feels like the tension that’s been building is upon us. Clever incorporation of the prompt into your era and genre. Fabulous writing: “…Caldwell’s hired sycophants, evil-winged simians, neither men nor beasts, but, rather, some horrific malfunctions of a careless God…”
[…] Response to Carrot Ranch’s November 2 Flash Fiction Challenge: Flying Monkeys […]
Change is tough. Good luck with all your new adventures, stay brave!
Thanks, Diana! Flying monkeys will see me through the changes. 😉
[…] Mills prompt this week […]
[…] Learn about the November 2 Flash Fiction Challenge Prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using flying monkeys as a device or phrase. As a phrase it can be something like, “When monkeys fly over Grandma’s tea party.” As a device, you can use flying monkeys as characters (a circus act, astronaut companions, zoo critters). Think of what they are doing and why. How can flying monkeys inspire you this week?” […]
I had a bit of fun with this one. 🙂
Oh, good! Fun can lead to creative stories!
[…] I’m thinking about monkeys because of the flash fiction prompt set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week. Charli is talking about flying monkeys; monkeys that were used to test supersonic ejection seats in the desert of Utah in the 1950s. She has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using flying monkeys as a device or phrase. […]
Hi Charli, I had a little trouble getting off the ground with this one. Didn’t actually get the monkey to fly, but something the monkey had. I hope it works, and that you enjoy it anyway.
I hope your week is improving.
It always works out because we get such different responses!
The joy of the 99 Word prompts is never knowing what is going to be next! Flying Monkeys was not something I had ever thought I would be writing about. Thanks Charli (I think). Hahaha.
The Flying Monkey Twins
By Ann Edall-Robson
In the shade of the old wagon little ones sat in awe, listening to aging woman speak of her childhood. Her favourite story was not her imagination playing tricks with her mind. She had been there the day the monkeys flew . . .
“We gathered from behind our mother’s skits. Unafraid of the menagerie chained to the wagon bed. They filled the field at the edge of town. An odd lot of wagons filled with laughter and gayety. Bright colours streaming from tops of the circus tents. The lady with a beard, prancing horses, gum drops and the trapeze monkey twins” . . .
Gottcha this time, Ann! 😀 Flying monkeys was an interesting discovery for me, too. You did a great job of bringing it back to your scope of writing and I love the opening shot of setting up for telling the story in the shade of the wagon.
Ever so rushed right now, Charli – just in before the deadline (I think). The novel I have just been reading features a visit to a temple (with monkeys) which inspired this, but I haven’t had time to write the review.
Swinging from trees, scampering over stupas, stealing snacks from tourists, offerings from pilgrims. Scrambling up stone steps to assemble on the tiled roofs to pick the lice from each other’s fur and mock us, their cousins, our movements so ungainly, so slow.
I came here seeking solitude, the peace to heal a life gone astray. I’d leave perhaps with answers, a tidier mind. I had as much chance of that at the zoo.
I sit and watch and, little by little, their mischief makes me smile. They’ll teach me if I let them. To laugh. To fly.
So pleased to see the pictures of your new home and read about the exciting developments for the Carrot Ranch.
Thanks for stopping by with your flash, Anne! If you want me to link it up with your future review, just return with the link. There’s something about this phrase that reminds me of the cockiness of bullies: “…to pick the lice from each other’s fur and mock us…” It’s a constant power struggle of who perceives whom in the seat of power. Which, of course, creates a terrific backdrop to the character who has come seeking something deeper, empowerment.
Thank you, Charli, my review with the link is now up
though I think you’ll find the books very different to this flash. I hesitate to recommend Charlotte Rogan’s novel to you with your deeper knowledge of military life, but I found it very convincing on the after-effects.
Great flash Anne. I like your reference to mischief, which is where I went: mischief making! So much we can learn from nature if we let it – to laugh and to fly. Let our imaginations soar!
Loving your new office, your new life, your new approach. You have come such a long way my friend, what challenges you’ve overcome. I feel so sad you had to go through all that physical pain – not to mention the emotional pain too – but how wonderful to know you’re healing and back on top. I am truly so proud of you keeping the Ranch going through it all. Norah is right, you are amazing! And I am always fascinated by the way you find out so much great information just waiting to be discovered… by you! I was glued to this post – what are flying monkeys? You took me through your discovery as it unfolded until all was revealed to that ‘A-ha’ moment…now I know! I had no idea they would be jump seat monkey test pilots! Love the ‘circus’ of puppies and again, that last line in the Rock Creek flash…wow, I can just see Jesse’s dad expression! I’m going to try a flash with this, nothing coming to me at all at the moment…but let’s see as the evening progresses…BRB 🙂 <3
You’ve been with me every step of the way! I think history is still my curiosity center, like what Norah wrote about on her post. The what ifs and discovery feel like a treasure hunt. Only thing is, now I keep looking at that mesa and I can see old towers and I’m so darn curious to see it all close up! To think monkeys used to fly over this area! Yay! I see you rode back! <3 😀
Always Charil, always <3 I will be heading over to Norah's post on my blog catch up tomorrow. Oh me too…you've got me so curious and I am only taking part in your fascinating treasure hunt vicariously through your eyes! I got the back in the saddle and wasn't ready to dismount just yet! 🙂 <3
Okay, I wrote this flash in a flash, ha! You had me on this one Charli, but maybe it was inevitable. Intended purely as a bit of fun… 😀
Once upon a time, there lived a rich man who believed that one day he would be the President of America.
“No way!” laughed his parents.
“You’re an idiot!” mocked his friends.
Scandal followed the man in his bid for the Presidency, but that didn’t stop him gaining popularity everywhere he campaigned. Those who had once made fun of him started to think he might just do it.
Others, horrified that such a thing could happen, said flying monkeys would fill the skies before he won, but since evil clowns now ruled the streets, some believed anything was possible.
Awesome! I feel upheld, that someone else combined Election Night with flying monkeys!
It was the only thing I could think of when it came to flying monkeys! Thanks Deborah 🙂
Ha, ha! Oh, this is one for Election Day! And the craziness of it all, including clowns. Somewhere I read an article about the clown scare being some social fear phenomenon. Of course we hold our breath to find out if the biggest and richest clown of all takes the presidency. You have great and dark comic timing!
Well, looks like that clown took the presidency and the sky is filled with flying monkeys after all. I should be careful writing flashes like this…yikes!!! Glad you enjoyed it, thanks Charli. It’s good to laugh but we know how terribly serious this all is…and we can but sit it out and hope and pray for better days ahead…I hope you got some sleep eventually <3
Oh Sherri, did you know what was coming? It seems monkeys really can fly!
Ha! Seems so…those flying monkeys have a lot to answer for!
And anything was! So sad the prediction was fulfilled. Great flash though.
Shocker, for sure. Thanks Norah!
[…] Carrot Ranch November 2 flash fiction challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using flying monkeys as a device or phrase: […]
What a fun cue! I always love pubs and places with off-beat names like that.
Like a lot of others, my mind went straight to The Wizard of Oz. My family watched it religiously every year when it came on. I’d be on my stomach on the floor in front of the TV, eyes glued to the screen. Every time Dorothy was trapped in the Witch’s tower with the sand running out of the hourglass, I would cry my eyes out, even though I’d seen it many many times and knew it ended happily. Fitting, I suppose, that my flash invokes Election Night and all the stress!
I imagine writers walking around with tens of silent questions in their heads at curious names and odd structures and funny overheard conversations. A good story like the Wizard of Oz will always create a swell of emotion long after we know it all by heart. I can’t wait to see what flying monkeys election night stress has wrought! I’m armed with Prosseco for after the compilation. My “reward” for completing the post is to watch results. I might wish for flying monkeys instead.
Oops. Forgot to past the link here. I know it’s past the deadline to make it to compilation, but just for the record…