December 1: 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 3, 2016

december-1The white dusting is so thin, the snow clings to sandstone like flour on a baker’s hand. It’s snow, but more like snow-light. I’m used to seeing mountain peaks dumped beneath a burden of wet meringue. The sandstone pillars look pale, and vegetation pokes through the dusting instead of becoming imperceptible lumps. What little snow has arrived to the elevations of southern Utah has brought a buddy for those of us snowbirds camped at Zion River Resort — the bully of cold.

Cold punches our propane and a loud knocking ensues beneath our trailer, as if a fight is taking place. Propane wins and heat begins to rise through the vents. My office slide has no insulation in the floor and my toes cramp with cold. I didn’t expect cold in the desert. If I’m a snowbird, the US term for residents who escape the blizzards of the north by driving RVs south, then I’ve planned poorly. My winter stay-over was suppose to allow me capris, sandals and the opportunity to poke fun at loved ones who have to shovel and shiver. Cold has brought me shivers of my own.

Blankets bundle my feet and legs as I type. The resort is nearly empty, smarter snowbirds having flown to Tuscon, and I see a black shadow on the bank outside my window. Not a shadow, but a black cat, huddled beneath a thorny bush that stubbornly retains dark green leaves. The red clay contrasts with his black fur, yet he’s still enough to be dismissed. At first I think of Bootsy, but there’s no white and when he finally looks at me his eyes are dark amber. We stare at one another, across the barrier of cold, and I wonder if he has a companion, or did a snowbird leave him behind long ago and each night he slinks back to the park where his people once stayed.

He eventually breaks the stare and dashes away. Are cats even allowed in the park?

What is allowed now that president-elect Trump has set forth on a victory tour, nicely named  thank-you rallies? They are not nice. Zealots chant, “Jail Hillary,” while Trump is heard to say that others want in (to the rally) and he suggests giving them time, he’ll kindly wait. He never says, calm down, folks, let’s move forward, let’s make America Great, let’s celebrate, let’s heal, let’s be inclusive. He stands, surrounded, and let’s them chant in a heat of hate.

Not allowed. It’s not clear what will not be allowed. We have a Constitution that defines what is allowed, but we also know that fascism can subvert and even pervert laws in the name of public safety. All those Roma gathered up by the Nazi’s? Well, that was for public safety, don’t you know. Want to understand why Black Lives Matter? Want to grasp what “not allowed to vote” looks like? If you can, watch “The 13th” (on Netflix):

Over 95 million eligible voters did not vote in this US presidential election. My question is, how many were not allowed?

Because my spouse and I are homeless, I thought we wouldn’t be allowed. I made sure we did everything we could to vote. My husband even has service related disability. As a veteran, he should be allowed to vote whether or not he has an address. In Virgin Utah where we park our RV, an address is complicated. The US Postal Service does not deliver to addresses in this small community. Everyone has PO Box for a mailing address. However, to register to vote, one must have a valid physical address. Because the post office doesn’t deliver our physical address is flagged as invalid.

We had to go in person to the County Clerk’s office and fill out the paperwork by hand. Yet, the Utah voter-craziness was only beginning. We both received our Voter Registration Cards and mail-in ballots. Not only does the post office not deliver, our community has no voting precinct! I’ve lived in many rural communities, and voting was always an American act of togetherness even when we voted differently. We gathered and voted.

I never really thought much about not being allowed.

It’s significant that suffrage movements gained the privilege. I can still hum the tune, “Susan B. Anthony, helped to make my country free…” But in modern times, I never thought it possible to not allow others to vote. Then our nation passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002. On the surface it seemed a good plan, one that would modernize the process. But voter ID requirements become a barrier. My spouse and I successfully registered, but we had to provide voter ID. Why wasn’t our Voter Registration Card enough? Why did I have to mail in my ballot? Why do the voter ID requirements heavily favor employment or birth? Why are they vague? Who interprets and decides to accept or reject the requirements?

It’s too subjective as a list.

Not wanting to be barred, I stood in line for over an hour just to show my ID to the precinct volunteers. If they okayed my ID, I’d feel more confident placing the documents into my mail in ballot envelop and dropping it in the box. I watched as several people were turned away because they didn’t have proper ID. One elderly woman nearly broke down in tears because she explained she wouldn’t have a ride back into town. “Sorry,” the volunteer said. I listened to conversations and realized the voting equipment had gone down that morning and many had to be turned away. Employers are required to give employees three hours to vote, but on television that night I heard an interview with a man who claimed waits in his precinct were over four hours long.

In the end, my vote counted. My husband’s did not. He splashed coffee on his envelop. He stopped by the county clerk’s office for a new one, but forgot to included his ID documents. What about others forgetful, stressed or struggling with mental illness. I realized, there are many ways to not allow people to vote. My nation should be concerned over the number of citizens who did not vote, the homeless not counted and the loss of right to those who have paid their “debt to society.”

It is cold and I have concerns. Yet I cannot deny the beauty of snow dust on sandstone or the stare of a wild black cat. ‘Tis the season for kindness, compassion and love.

This is not the time of year for hate chants; even the Grinch let love melt his cold, tiny heart. The greatest gift you can give is to allow another. Allow someone else to listen to their favorite music. Allow someone else to tell you their story. Allow someone to connect to you even if you feel harried. Smile back, nod, acknowledge, empathize. Be loving. Some among us have denials you can’t see stamped upon their countenances because of circumstances.

December 2, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about something or someone not allowed. Maybe it’s about gender, race or other intolerance. Maybe it’s the cat who paws at the door, but not allowed inside. Maybe it’s a trail where dogs are not allowed. Go light, go dark, go where the prompt leads you.

Respond by December 6, 2016 to be included in the compilation (published December 7). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Thwarted  (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli MIlls

“Ma’am! You’re not allowed to leave your vehicle.”

Danni stopped. Ike had slipped through the airport doors beyond the security officer who wasn’t about to let her chase him down. Damn these men in uniform.

Driving home in the snow, scraping ice off the inside windshield because the defrost quit, Danni lost it. She pounded the steering wheel, yelling, “Not allowed! I’m not allowed to say whether my husband can go get himself killed in action.” Red and blue lights flickered from behind.

Danni groaned when she got the ticket. Evidently she wasn’t allowed to run stop signs either.


Sound Plans (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Cobb stared at Sarah, arms folded. Slowly a grin gave way to laughter. “Rosebud, you can’t start your own accounting business in Denver!”

Sarah flushed, having hoped Cobb’s silence meant he was listening. Now he was roaring as if she’d told a vulgar joke about pettiskirts. “I don’t understand what you find amusing.”

Cobb slowed to a chuckle. He took Sarah’s ledger and flipped through the pages, nodding, reading. “It’s sound, but…”

“But what?”

“But, Rosebud, pretty round butts aren’t allowed to sit in the seats meant for the big boys. Brains aren’t common or liked in a woman.”


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    • Charli Mills

      Hope you had a good one, too! I like that your thoughts was one of many injustices that can build up. Some hurt more than others.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Lady Lee! Hope you had a good weekend! A beautiful and painful take on the prompt.

  1. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    A desert with a frosting of snow. I’d love to see that. Hope you have worked out how to keep warm although those thank you rallies would put a chill into my heart. This election will make people examine how the voting is done but whether it will be possible to make any change – we can only hope. I will return with an offering – kindness, compassion and love or dark – like your electoral system, time will tell.

    • Charli Mills

      The sun still feels warm during the day, and we took to the chilly shadows of Zion on Saturday, then the warmer mesa tops on Sunday. We met several tourists from Australia in the park and they were surprised by the cold! I think the voting issue is a civic one that I can be a part of making changes, especially for disenfranchised veterans. We are losing a good ally in Michelle Obama. It seems we create systems and others figure out to exploit them.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Felicity! Welcome to Carrot Ranch! Thanks for participating!

  2. elliotttlyngreen

    When there is no cure but there is relief, yet your Dr says “it works tooooooo goood”… what happens when we are just not allowed to get what we want…

    Here are my thoughts

    SO WHERE DO WE GO? by Elliott Lyngreen

    Waking and snaking faults, over bright river. as if King bridge collaspses behind; sift down the East methane veil and fishy smearing pseudo American villagers scattered… Like we sneaking instantly ancient, accelerate barely. Dernest’s digital tingles, flips rotten replies, swift mingles, “he’ll be on 2nd an…” …symmetrically grazes cornices only two stories, and oracular glass. We been through each of our lives; it actually rains — oh how clever our dude stands through. Such disbelief, hand him cash.. “where he slip..?”

    Waiting, D melts, “kill this f_r if he dont come back..”

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a great intro for “not allowed”! Such a cacophony of details that create a scene of those American villagers not allowed a better life, or chance at it. Yet who holds whom back?

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Thats a great question. Makes me ask Who helps out more? Who closes and who opens doors. Or, in more cliches, hinders that chance. They steal from themselves. . . .in this story anyways. And its overwhelming; the denial. Never lets say a ray shine through that methane; vapor which shrouds everything. Smell it everywhere. But, considering physics, they must go somewhere. Or keep circling, searching for thee opening.. eventually something has to give.

      • Charli Mills

        It is a loop and that methane vapor its dome. The solution seems so simple: help the least first, assure all needs are met. The John Wayne, every cow hand for himself, attitude serves one person at a time, and in the end it really serves no one. It all stinks! Until it gives…

  3. Annecdotist

    I feel for you, Charli, having just got comfortable in your trailer and now you’re cold. Great writing though, as ever, and I really like both stories, while the post as a whole has sparked lots of associations for me today, and I haven’t even begun to contemplate my flash!
    The unexpected snow reminds me of when I went to Egypt over Christmas with plans to walk up Mount Sinai to see the sunrise. Finding it rather chilly on reaching the monastery, the people I’d met up with decided to check into the hostel for that night rather than setting off for the summit. Fortunately, I followed their lead as we woke up next day to snow, which I hadn’t expected at all, although we did manage to make it up there the next morning.
    On the same subject, the review I have just put up on my blog has a review of a novel which starts with snow in August due to climate change
    Your Rock Creek flash is all too relevant even today, and chimes with the other novel I’ve reviewed there about a world in which gender roles are reversed.
    You are right to keep highlighting inequalities and the disenfranchised – that video trailer is pretty disturbing and I don’t think the situation is that much different here – but on a positive note I want to thank you for your kindness in unknowingly giving me an idea to revitalise my novel project from a couple of years ago. (The right to vote won’t be a big part of it at all but might be a way for me to bring a couple of the characters together when they need to be.)
    As to the prompt, not being allowed is a big part of fiction. In fact, wouldn’t you consider being thwarted an essential step on the hero’s journey? So lots of possibilities and will be interesting to see where it takes us.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, definitely, Anne! Being thwarted is a barrier on the hero’s journey. And there can be levels and layers to such barriers, too, which can give the author choices. You find a commonality between books to review yet reveal the different paths each author took. What is that factoid lit professors toss about? Something like there’s only 14 unique stories, we just keep retelling them with different attributes and layers. Glad to have inspired a detail to connect some of your characters. And I really do recommend watching the 13th. I think it opens up so many possibilities for other stories in how institutions for civilization can be exploited and manipulated for nefarious gains, whether for those harboring xenophobic fears or wanting profits. It’s also informs the current social climate in America by looking at how one Constitutional Amendment has shaped history up to this point in time. It really opened my eyes and I already thought I was aware! Snow in Egypt! I would not have thought of that either. I suspect desert snow, when it falls, is dry, yet still cold. Snow in August due to climate change is plausible and I think writing about it in literature is going to keep the idea open of its possibilities if we continue to ignore the science.

    • Charli Mills

      In some ways, it’s good to experience these issues firsthand because it’s too easy to disregard the impact. The Help America Vote Act has been around, and yet I hadn’t realized the barriers it creates. When I saw how many Americans did not vote, it made me wonder. Good to see you at the ranch again!

    • Charli Mills

      Both! I’m so glad to see you back. I really love your writing and the perspective you give the prompts. It was a rocky summer. Still rocky, but I have a better base beneath my feet. Ironic that we are the land of the free, these days! May better times emerge on both sides of the pond.

      • Jane Dougherty

        Prompts are what keep me refuelled. I’m a bit of a butterfly when it comes to writing. If there’s the least distraction I grab it. Your story/problems came as a bit of a shock to me. I imagined you leading the life of a character out of Dallas with a whole herd of horses in vast paddocks stretching as far as the eye could see. Well, roomy anyway. I hope things pick up for you. If resilience counts, you should be okay 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! I like that vision and will imagine myself fighting off JR. The results of the prompt keep me refueled. I’m fascinated by how diverse creativity and inspiration can be.

  4. ellenbest24

    I almost missed it Charli I will put my back into it now. I was horrified to read about Trump not calming the crowds, the lost votes and disallowed. Your own response to not allowed hit close to home when i received a ticket twice in the same month in the same car park. ????

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Ellen! I was reading an op-ed in the New York Times and this point really resonates with what I was thinking: “It is not the job of the defiant to conform to a future president who makes them completely uncomfortable. The burden of unity lies with Trump, not his detractors.” And sometimes not allowed can just be frustrating! 😀

      • ellenbest24

        Sorry but he appears to be ignorant in his duties as a human being let alone for a president. But what weight does my opinion hold, maybe I have only watched one side… Either way that one is disgraceful. ???? i have a spare room if you should need a break ????????????

      • Charli Mills

        I’ve done my due diligence in giving him the break our media has called for (imploring all Americans to be part of the solution to overcoming these great divides by giving Trump a chance). However, there’s little soil to dig into in that regards. He’s got to be the leader. I can’t see it happening and I have honestly looked! I might take you up on that room! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Ah! We take inspiration from where we can! And you framed your flash from an interesting perspective, too.

      • pensitivity101

        Thanks Charli

    • Charli Mills

      Shhhh! Great take on the prompt!

      • ellenbest24

        Hahaaahah! Thank you queen of the prompt. ????

  5. denmaniacs4

    Hi Charli, here is my take on your prompt. Of course, the title and the chapter number have to be excluded from the 99 word requirement. This may turn out to be a series. Can’t say for sure. I think I’m going for satire. Its always a fine line. Or fence.

    America As Seen by A Canuck
    Chapter 1

    Well, I tell you, looking’ back on it, we Canucks were quivering in our boots.

    It seemed to some like waking up on November 9th and finding yourself in bed with a grizzly. You don’t have the remotest interest in cuddling, no ‘well, aren’t you the cutest thing!’

    You just want to put some distance between that bear and you.

    But countries can’t pack up and move. You’re neighbours for life.

    Some joked about us building our own fence.

    That isn’t the Canadian way.


    We’ll send our logs south, have you process them and you’ll build the fence.

    • Annecdotist

      Hurrah for Canadians! We need our (de)fences, physical and psychological, against insanity.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Bill! I might take to calling you Canuck Twain. 🙂 Before you send over the logs, any chance some of us can escape the grizzly? I have to be honest, though and say this is the most engaged I’ve been with my civic duties in a long time and I think I’ll stay and be a part of sorting it out. Vive la revolución literaria! Flash fiction is a great way to explore a new piece. When I first started writing Rock Creek, I actually wrote the same scenes multiple times but with different slants until I had a feel for the story and characters that emerged from history.

      • denmaniacs4

        Love Canuck Twain.

  6. jeanne229

    It’s been a real education reading your posts Charli, and what a timely one this is. People shrug off the notion of voter disenfranchisement, or think it only applies to some outdated image of poor, uneducated, ineffectual folk who can’t or won’t put the energy into figuring out the system. You have nicely debunked that misperception here! What this last election says about our system is alarming, from the number of people who did not vote to Clinton’s widening margin of victory in the popular vote, to the influence of (yet again) money. And then your larger theme of not being allowed. That strikes home for me, having become enlightened to the vast population of felons who, having paid their debt, are still deprived of their right to vote. Much to chew on here. And much to admire in your flashes. Sadly, the sexist bias you reveal in your second one is still around…and the first flash provokes in me the ache to find a better way to battle disempowerment than screaming…which I have often resorted to. Looking forward to reading the contributions here.

    • Charli Mills

      Jeanne, it’s always a pleasure discussing these ideas with you as I think we both nudge the other to consider the complexities. I understood that providing ID could be a barrier to voting, but when I took in the extenuating factors (such as, who decides if the supplied documents suffice) I felt a chill at reading the numbers of those who didn’t vote. And I’m surprised to not hear any speculation on voter access. I have to research this further, but I can’t find any delineation between those votes not cast, and those not counted. In other words, Todd ranks among those who didn’t vote, yet he did. He just failed to meet the ID criteria. I’ll be very interested to know your take on The 13th when you get to see it. It will give you some eye-openers you will likely understand.

  7. Sarah Brentyn

    I agree with Irene’s comment about snow on the desert. Sounds beautiful. Cold but beautiful. I know…this system is so flawed. So disheartening. Well, you still managed two marvelous flash from this.

    • Charli Mills

      And I’ve since discovered icicles on Zion’s canyon walls! Cold and spectacular to see ice on red sandstone. Thanks!

      • Charli Mills

        I plan on getting photos maybe tomorrow of Friday. Perhaps something frozen will emerge as a future prompt. Thanks for taking on , not allowed!

  8. A. E. Robson

    Growing up, there were rules just knew you didn’t try and bend, and now we will, on occasion, eat desert first.

    Not Allowed
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    “Birthday cake, everyone?”

    “Not allowed!”

    A questioning look bounced around the table resting on Grandpa sitting in the head chair. Sometimes the outbursts were prodded on for no reason.
    “Why not Grandpa?”

    “You know.”

    Silent stares and shrugs spoke volumes between those gathered for his 90th birthday celebration. The younger generation did not understand the explanation.

    The matriarch Aunt finally spoke up.

    “It would be O.K. for today, Dad. You can have some cake. It’ll be our secret.”

    “I’ll get found out. I didn’t finish my supper, no desert!”

    Grandpa had once again regressed to his childhood reasoning.

    • ellenbest24

      I appologise for not managing to post a reply on your site???????????? not the easiest of places so I pop it here. A great way dementure through a childs eyes to a regressed mind. A good use of the prompt.

    • Charli Mills

      I like bending some of those rules! Your flash gave me a thought. You do such a great job of capturing in your flashes what feels like a time capsule of traditional values and way of life. Yet it always feels good to remember with you. Why is it, I wonder, that so many in my nation who remember times like this in rural and quaint communities, but support it with such fear and loathing? Here’s another example of the power of literature: the tone by which a piece is written is as important to expressing the ideals and memories. Suffice to say, I appreciate your delivery each week and marvel at the variety of tales you have.

      • A. E. Robson

        Thank you for your kind words, Charli. Tradition and values, should be, in my opinion, important to everyone. For me, it’s a way of life, and I couldn’t think of a better writing mentor to guide me.

      • Charli Mills

        Tradition and values are important, but when we express them outside the ones we say we hold dear, we no longer have them. There’s a powerful authenticity to what you write.

    • Charli Mills

      The voting incident really opened my eyes to how easy it is for citizens to become disenfranchised. And considering the strides we’ve made for suffrage, the very laws we created to provide the vote can also provide tools for taking it away. Thanks, Ruchira!

    • Norah

      Reminds me of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Maybe someone should give him some clothes and then some food. Sounds like he needs them.

  9. Liz Husebye Hartmann

    Hi, my first effort. Kind-of a quick character sketch, a piece from a larger work. Because some creatures are not allowed, even when doing good works.
    Emergency Delivery: Hjordis

    She’d traversed the mountain, her skis crackling and sparking as she streaked down the final slope. Just a few kilometers more across the icy flatlands; she would reach the Hold before full sunrise.
    The half-human bundled to her chest moaned as she swayed from side-to-side, and the blizzard drew nearer. Looking down at her niece, she growled comfort, but continued apace.

    Kicking her skis off at the back gate, the giantess crossed to the kitchen window, gently laying the woman on the snowy stoop. A light flickered. She dashed into the shadows and watched with her goat’s eyes.


    Liz Husebye Hartmann, December 6, 2016
    (99 words)

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Liz! Welcome to Carrot Ranch. Flash fiction is a terrific tool, such as a character sketch. I have even created multiple character sketches in flash of one character to explore the possibilities without committing too many words. Great flash that shows what it is to be a creature in the shadows of others.

      • Liz Husebye Hartmann

        Thank you! Sometimes the best characters ARE the ones in the shadows…

    • Norah

      Love this. Kindness is always allowed, even if the creature isn’t.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, wow, great topic, Anne! Without having read your review I’m thinking I want to read this book. Off to see what the fortunes cast your way with a connecting flash!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Deborah! I have yet to see a snowflake though I did find icicles in Zion. I’m enamored with the park right now because it’s empty of tourists. A few from Australia, straggling in, shocked at the cold. Sounds like you had a blast from the Pacific! It must be dumping on Sandpoint today. I miss that cold, and my cozy woodstove. Awesome to see you took on World Toilet Day!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m sure having a lot of fun reading them! Thanks, Joe!

  10. julespaige

    Almost late, or late and almost missed. But by the skin of my chinny chin chin… I’m allowed…

    Too many restrictions – sometimes I wonder if we had the slightest respect for our opinions that maybe there would be different outcomes. While the world has come a long way – there are still divides. I think if we are given the chance to see just once behind a restricted area or door, we might be willing to not want to go there again…or at least not worry so much about it?

    No Girls Allowed

    Once upon a time…There was a room where the sleep talker
    was overheard – The sisters shared a dark basement for their
    bedroom. A dividing bookshelf existed to separate the large
    space. The front portion was the hangout and party space.

    The back side was the space for beds, desks and dressers.
    There was one closet behind the partition, and one under the
    stairs. And there was one more door… for the utilities, thankfully
    it had a lock and neither teenage girl had the key. Maybe there
    was some storage space. Surely it was where spiders …and
    nightmares lived.


    • Charli Mills

      Yes, Jules, you are allowed to arrive by skin of your chinny chin chin! 😀 Like you, I often think if we truly heard one another and met on common ground and allowed for needs other than our own, and met needs of all before running rampant with wants, we all might be better unified in this United States. Your flash supports the idea well — if given a look, the restricted room wouldn’t occupy so much mind space!

  11. Norah

    Hi Charli, I’ve had some self-imposed and other-imposed time limits this week. I’m just popping in with my flash – already a bit late I think – apologies. I have read your post a couple of times. I’ll need to come back and comment more fully but can’t stop by without saying that I love this image: “mountain peaks dumped beneath a burden of wet meringue”. I’d love to see that – delicious!
    Here’s my childish offering: Not allowed

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Norah! Thanks for riding to the ranch amidst a tight week, timing-wise. And no worries about being late because the new schedule allows me an extra day to compile. The collection will post tomorrow. Ah, I miss that image of wet meringue snow. I’d love to see it, too! Thanks! And I’m always appreciative of your childish offerings, reminding us to see through different eyes, including that of age. It’s actually not easy to replicate a childish perspective, and you do it well, lending insights to adult minds.

      • Norah

        Thank you, Charli. I appreciate your willingness to accept me whenever I come and with whatever in hand. I usually figure I can do the childish perspective because I’m really only six years old at heart! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! I love your youthfulness. We need that perspective. 🙂

    • Sherri

      I loved that line too Norah, so evocative and delicious sounding! Charli has great skill in description and scene setting Charli! I hope your week gets a little easier for you…

  12. Eloquently Kate

    Charli, Your statement, “The greatest gift you can give is to allow another,” is spot on what the festive season is is upon us. I live in a tourist town that is running at high gear with festivities everywhere. Last night our grasses got covered with their first dusting of snow and we experienced our first seasonal traffic chaos. All good, all exhilarating and I can’t imagine a year going by without these festivities to bring us joy. I’m delighted and privileged to be apart of this group, who drop in and share enjoyable fiction. Thank you Charli for making the magic happen. Here is my latest contribution.

    • Charli Mills

      You paint a lovely magical scene of your town and I can feel its vibrancy. I absolutely love the Christmas lights of the tourist town at Zion, and even thinking about them each evening as I play my Christmas music feels uplifting. Thank you for joining in the magic that comes from sharing and creating stories!

  13. Sherri

    Ahh Charli, I’m a day late – and a dollar short, ha! – but I’m hoping there ‘s still a slight chance you can squeeze me in 😉 Your post is brave and powerful and I salute you. I think of my dad who spent so many years in prison and was not allowed to vote when inside, yet who was always on the ball with politics and world events. He served his country in the RAF when two years national enlistment was still compulsory for young men and he worked for many years before alcholism robbed him of everything. Should he have been allowed to still vote? I think so. But of course, reading your post and watching the video makes for very troubling evidence of a problem so vast in the USA that I don’t really know where to begin. I’m so proud of you for voting despite all you had to go through. We don’t have to show ID here, we register ahead of time through our local district councils but we do need an address and be on the ‘electoral role’ to do so. Without a steady place of residence, it’s not easy to do anything. Heck, even when I came back after almost 20 years away, I was effectively disenfranchised in my own country! I wasn’t allowed to have a mobile phone even! After having lived a ‘normal’ family life, feeling that way, so cut off in my mid 40’s, was not pleasant. I love your flashes as always…I’m loving Danni’s fighting spirit more and more, she reminds me of someone 😉 And Cobb’s attitude – well, so prevalent of the day…and perhaps creeping back…troublingly.
    Here’s my flash…great prompt Charli, thank you! Oh…and I hope your black kitty stays, allowed or not!!!

    A Boy Called Billy

    When she heard the car door slam and Billy ran past her to his room sobbing, Karen knew.

    John grabbed a beer from the fridge. “She’s a pain in the ass, I’m never doing that again…”

    “Let me guess…she only wanted boy’s clothes…”

    John glared, swigged a few. “I told her she wasn’t allowed to go to the party unless she wore a dress and she lost it.”

    Karen snatched the bottle away, cold beer spilling down her front.

    “Goddamit John, when will you wake up? She is a he, a boy called Billy!”

    John reached for another beer.

    • Charli Mills

      You’re always welcome at the ranch, no matter the day or dollar! I ache for your Dad, and all that was lost to him. I’m sure politics did matter. I imagine he knew more about life’s disappointments an injustices more than most. How frustrating that must have been to come back to your country to be disenfranchised. It feels like such an indignity. Thank you for your comments on Cobb and Danni. They are both characters I live with in a certain way, writing and imagining their lives, although they are different as can be. Oh, Sherri! What a brave flash. How hard it is to cope with expectations upon our very identities, and how hard to be the parent who stands up for what others are missing. Great writing!

      • Sherri

        Thank you so much Charli on all counts…and I feel your living with Cobb and Danni, all your characters, through your wonderful words. And that’s a great new mantra: ‘No matter the day or dollar’! Will remember that… ! <3

    • Norah

      Seems like there’s a bit of tension in the house. I wonder who gave her the name Billy!
      The differences in the voting systems in the US, UK and here are interesting. I guess there are many reasons for them. I think with our smaller population it is important to make it easier for everyone (or as many as possible) to vote.

      • Sherri

        The differences are very interesting Norah…If I’m not mistaken, things changed fairly recently for prisoners in the UK and their voting rights thanks to European law, but of course we can only wonder what will change again with Brexit looming on the horizon…
        As for the name Billy, I think ‘she’ insisted on being called that from an early age, but dad – John – wasn’t having any part of it… and tension is rife!

      • Norah

        There are changes everywhere, and many of them don’t appear to be good at first glance. I hope we are proven wrong with our fears and things turn out better than we think.
        Good for Billy! 🙂

      • Sherri

        Let’s hope so…ha, thanks Norah! 🙂

  14. Norah

    Hi Charli, It is the season for kindness. As you say, even the Grinch melted. You do well to maintain your sense of what is fair and just when all around seem to be losing theirs. Your compassion for yourself and others is admirable.
    I watched the trailer for the 13th. Stories like that just make me so cross. But there’s nothing I can do with my anger, and it has no release.
    Your voting stats interested me so I checked them out. It’s not exact, but it seems that about 1/3 of the population is ineligible to vote, 1/3 voted, and 1/3 didn’t vote. I wonder how many of the didn’ts were not allowed, as almost happened for you, and did happen for Hub. As you say, he should have been allowed to vote – no question!
    It is different here. Out total population is approximately 1/3 of your 1/3 that didn’t vote. Voting in our elections is compulsory and people do not have to go through what you did to vote. In fact, fines are threatened if a vote is not cast. The aim is to have 95% of the population on the electoral role (some people choose to avoid). I’m not sure how many don’t vote, but I think it’s a fairly small percentage. With a small population, we need people to vote.
    Oh I feel for Danni. Why is it when one thing goes wrong, other things join in just to prove how bad they are! (You know what I’m talking about!) Red lights and speeding tickets! How many of the dangerous ones do they actually catch – and stop?
    Poor Sarah. Poor us! Her story may have occurred a century or two ago but the attitude persists. Why is it so hard to move?
    Thanks for a great post. Sorry, I’ve been so slow in getting here. My horse was lame this week! (Or maybe that’s just my story. 🙂 )

  15. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Geoff!


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