Only in…

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 21, 2017

Only in by the Rough Writers & Friends @Charli_MillsOnly in artists do you find a calling that requires both the isolation of artistic expression and its communication. When writing from those moments of isolation, it can be like walking on Walden Pond, a place where Thoreau was often alone but not lonely.

Artists went to this place then gathered back to the campfire to share the stories found “Only in…”

The following are based on the December 14, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “only in…”


Ninety-nine by Kerry E.B. Black

She commands I capture a story using ninety-nine words, but I have lifetime to present. I chafe at the confines, yet by honing the message and pruning the words, I achieve brevity. Brevity is beautiful, right? I strive for beauty. I face doubts and strike blows at fear. A story has an arc, and mine begins with an idea. I face adversity in a stifling word count, fail, edit, and at last reach my goal. In only ninety-nine words, I present a baseline, a struggle, a resolution. It may need flesh, but it is there, only in ninety-nine words.


Only in Real Winter Dreams by Liz Husebye Hartman

Spoon coffee grounds into the BPA-free filter, the scent a bright hit in the ice-crystal kitchen. Cat slurps his morning meal, shoulders hunched protectively over his bowl.

I am so not going to fight him for a bite.

Down the obligatory 8 oz of skim to wash down the multi vitamin and D3 tabs. Cereal clatters into a Pyrex bowl, then softened by another deep splash of skim. My jaws work the goodness from five different healthy grains.

Grabbing the golden caffeine elixir, I pad off to transcribe my dreams.

Only when the sun rises before I have to.


The Genie Wormhole by Frank Hubeny

Even Robert Roqetscienski was surprised when the wormhole appeared. “It worked?”

From the smoky mist he heard, “Your wish is my command, Master.”

“What? Are you some kind of genie?”

“Well, yes. What were you expecting?”

“My time machine was generating a wormhole from dark matter singularities.”

“Sorry. I did bump a wormhole on my way here. Maybe I could still grant you a wish?”

“What I want is a wormhole.”

“If I did that, you would not be able to reproduce the results in your journal article.”

“In what universe does stuff like this happen?”

“Only in fantasyland.”


Drama!!!!! by Ritu Bhathal

A knock at the door.

The man looks at his wife, who looks to her mother, who turns to her husband, who looks at his grandchild, who turns back to his father.

The doorbell sounds.

The boy looks at his mother who looks to her father, who looks at his son in law, who turns to his mother in law.

Pounding now.

Repeated looks.

Five minutes later the door is finally opened by the household servant.

A courier stands there with a letter.

Only in an Indian soap opera, does it take a whole episode to answer the door!


Only in Show Biz by Jack Shuyler

“She what?”

“Locked herself in the closet.”

I put the phone down and wipe my brow with a damp handkerchief. Now why would a lead actress do something like that? When I put the phone back to my ear, Terri is asking if I’m still there.

“Yeah Terri, I’m here. Look, can’t you get someone to crowbar the door open?”

“The door is custom made, Steve. We don’t have the budget to go around crowbarring expensive set pieces.”

I sigh.

“your gonna have to try reasoning with her then.”

Terri sighs.

Only in Hollywood. I think. Only in Show-biz.’


The McWedding Day by Juliet Nubel

“Gorgeous fabric.”

Mrs McGregor slid along the polished pew to get a better view down the aisle to the front of the church.

“You’re absolutely right, Jean. But it’s a wee bit short, don’t you think?”

“No, but maybe too tight on the hips. Makes it rather lumpy over the bum.”

The organist struck up the first chords and every head turned towards the beaming bride, entering on her father’s arm.

An old Irish cousin, one row back, whispered into her neighbour’s ear – “Only in Scotland could you comment on the groom’s kilt as much as the bride’s gown!”


Logic by Reena Saxena

A session on Memory Training is on.

What is your date of birth?

22nd January, 1987.

You were born on a Thursday.

The hall reverberates with applause. Later in the hotel room, I ask my fellow trainer,

“Why do you need to pull ribbons out of a hat? We are training the students to improve memory with scientific methods.”

“The students know everything about reason and logic.”

“Then why is the drama needed?”

“They need the placebo of something larger than reason, to make them believe that the normal works.”

Only in the land of miracles can logic prevail…


Flash Fiction by Michael

Well only in Australia can you have Christmas on a stinking hot day. I’ve been told it’s because we are upside down and back to front and there is an element of truth in that.

But on days of extreme heat, I have to deal with blogs where snow flakes cascade endlessly and even though there is a psychologically cooling effect on me I shake off the snow drifts on my psyche and realise that outside I could fry eggs on the footpath.

I plan to have a cold meal Christmas Day, baking is a fool’s game down here.


Based by D. Avery

I wish I could write a story, maybe funny, but charming too, about the place I am from, where rugged people work and play surrounded by beauty.

I wish, for your sake, that it’s only in this place that people’s homes get burned over drug deal disputes; only in this place do innocent people get killed on the interstate by zombies speeding north with powder and pills to sell; only in this place are parents losing children, are children losing parents, are people blind to the beauty that surrounds them.

But it’s everywhere.

I wish this were a story.


Only In by Chelsea Owens

I want to leave, permanently.

When reality has nothing beyond piles of housework and fighting children, their susceptible health worsened by the toxic attitude you seep with-

When a positive attitude is a mask, crafted by sugared substance and numbed emotions-

When the events you look forward to must, inevitably, include your offspring or some expensive caregiver-

When your soulmate shutters his heart against the pain of association, and says you are only darkness-

Only in the Mind of Depression is it logical to stand at the top-post railing of Life and contemplate the sweet possibility of permanently leaving.


Lila by Lisa Listwa

“You never loved me?” It was more realization than question.

“You’re nothin’,” Lila spat through her cigarette smoke. “Like your father,” she muttered and took another drag, her too-red lipstick leaving its stain on the butt.

He hated her. Hated her cheap clothes and frowsy hair, her bra straps sticking out of blouses forever unbuttoned and sliding off her shoulders. Mothers should be different than this, he knew.

“Nobody’s ever gonna love you that way, Sugar.” The mocking term of endearment stung. “That trash happens only in stories.”

But that doesn’t mean I can’t write my own, Jack thought.


Creatures of the Dark by Anurag Bakhshi

They saw her walking down the dark street- beautiful, lissome, pale, long-haired….alone.

They looked towards each other with glee, and started following her. Sensing their presence, she immediately quickened her pace….but so did they.

She started running….they followed suit, till finally, she found herself at a cul-de-sac.

“We’re seven, and there’s no one around,” said their leader.

She looked around, and seeing no one….took a superhuman jump towards the first dwarf….and as she buried her fangs into his neck, Snow White said, “And that is why we vampires venture out only in the dark!”


Only in Florida by FloridaBorne

“Only in Florida,” the man with a thick Boston accent scowled.

I continued to admire a well-decorated coconut palm while chuckling at the yellow hibiscus design on his red shirt and khaki shorts.

“What’s your problem?” he demanded.

I pulled up the collar on my white, winter coat and said, “Tourists.”


followed by the crinkle of glass shattering. A frantic car alarm swallowed up the sounds of Carols coming from speakers adhered to a light post. I turned toward a very expensive sports car and laughed.

“What’s so funny!” he yelled out.

“People who park under coconut trees.”


Only in Our Dreams by Bill Engleson

The moon tonight is a giant illuminated pumpkin glowing ginger in the sky, hung on the horizon above us, orange and glistening, glorious and great.

Bundled, braving the dark, the winter chill, we huddle by the burn pile, flames crackling, singeing the air, grey embers sweeping skyward, caught on wayward breezes, some, flitting down the slope of the hill seaward, others disappearing into the woods.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she says.

“It will always be exactly like this,” I answer.

“But must it be only in our dreams?” she asks.

“Yes, love,” I confirm. “Only there.”


Adventures Right Here by Chelsea Owens

Quick! Open the door to hide from siblings’ seeking. You’ll need a fur coat -there, at your elbow.

Now; watch a filthy-fingered store owner glare at young boys, as she discovers a well-placed rat retribution.

Laugh the painful glee of snappy satire; chortle in appreciation of the cynic.

Sing along to “Come, Thou Font,” or “Camptown Races.”

Hold your breath for 20,000 leagues. You’ll need a harpoon; no, don’t ask why.

¿Que pasa, amigo? ¿Te gustaría aprender español?

Come, my fellow bibliophile, to the library. Only here may you travel so broadly, and taste-test such varied fare.


Only In Ireland by Lisa Rey

She picked up the football and began to practice kicking it over the bar. Smiled as she remembered Gaelic football practice earlier with her friends and team. They would happily while away the hours in good spirits. But afterwards Jenny would come down here and practice herself making sure she was well prepared for the upcoming Junior football final next week. She was determined not to let her friends down on such a big day for the town and the community. Just eight years old she was filled with a love of Gaelic football continuing a long Irish tradition.


Welcome Aboard by Neel Anil Panicker

Choc-o-block’s the word as two, three, four, six, even quite a few eight wheelers straddle the roads in an ant-like procession.

Men and machine jostle, joust and just about do everything possible to move half an excruciating inch. The air reverberates with the cacophony of a million voices and noises as non-stop honking, whistling, shouting, screaming and abusing takes over.

Monday morning murderous mayhem unfolds on the streets as a gun pops out of a Mercedes window and its owner sprays bullets into the sky. Only in Delhi do otherwise perfectly normal drivers lose it.


Only in My House by Irene Waters

The kid had killed her two boyfriends. “Please record it. I’ve gott’a go.”

“No. Just hurry.” So I hurried. My trousers were down as I reached the toilet. Darkness shrouded the room. The torch should’ve activated. He’d taken it upstairs. I twisted to turn on the light but stopped myself. Electricity charges are expensive. Instead, I felt for the toilet seat’s position only to be tripped by my pants. I fell hard; one arm landing in the toilet, the other on the floor.

Only in my house could this happen. “Now look what you’ve done. You’ve broken my hand.”


Only in Steve’s Cellar by Anne Goodwin

The year she stayed at home alone, the neighbours summoned her to their table and made her wear a silly hat. She thought she’d try down under next, but they did it barbecued on the beach. One year, in Dubai, she watched a reindeer succumb to heat exhaustion amid the artificial snow. She donned a hijab for a three-day trip to a tiny village in rural Pakistan, only to find the kids singing “Jingle Bells” outside the mosque. No wonder she fell for Steve. Only in the cellar love nest could she escape Christmas altogether.


It is 8:30 by Mr MacRum

The man cracked opened his eyes to same bleak existence he had suffered for as long as he could remember. For some moments he stared at the ceiling, his red eyes not focusing on anything in particular. He struggled to bring his mind into focus for what he faced this day so much like every other day he had ever faced. He rubbed his eyes with his knuckles and considered that only in his dreams did he seem to have any control.

“Sir? It is 8:30. Madam would like to know if you will be joining her for breakfast.”


Only in the UK by Pensitivity

It was supposed to be an Easter Bonnet Parade.
As in the Astaire/Garland movie, she had expected to Walk Down the Avenue with a handsome man on her arm under brilliant sunshine. She’d even borrowed a dog for the occasion, dressing it up with a crimson bow.
Unfortunately she slipped and fell flat on her face in the snow when it went charging off after a cat (not in the script), her dislodged hat rolling away to prop itself up against the fence.
Only in the UK could the weather be so unpredictable as to have snow in April.


Snow Eater by Ann Edall-Robson

This morning it’s -40 and three hours of chores don’t give a rats’ ass about the weather. There’s talk of it warming up, but it’s December so I don’t hold my breath on that account, just yet. The thermometer hasn’t seen the top side of zero for a few weeks now. Two hours into chores, the wind starts to blow. There’s the telltale blue arch visible in the western sky. The snow eater is coming. By mid-afternoon, the water’s running in the barnyard. It’s not a myth. It happens from time to time, but only in Chinook country.


Only in a Snowstorm (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

Rain splattered wet pavement when Danni walked to the truck. She paused, looking back at the airport doors. On impulse, her legs twitched, urging her to run after Ike, catch him at security and… And what? Demand he stays? Beg? Instead, Danni left and drove toward the snowline where misting Spokane rain gave way to North Idaho snow. She gripped the steering wheel and drove slow on the slick corners where snow accumulated. Only in a snowstorm would Danni drive without giving in to her churning emotions. If it weren’t for the conditions, she’d be risking a speeding ticket.


Only in the Philipines by Lady Lee Manilla

Only in the Philippines you can ride
Jeepneys that could fit lots of people in
So full you could also ride atop the jeepney

Only in the Philippines you can eat
Balut which is a hard boiled duck egg
With developing embryo still inside

Only in the Philippines you can climb
El Nido’s giant limestone up to its summit
Not an easy feat but it’s all worth it

Only in the Philippines you can dine
By the beach, in high buildings or by waterfalls
Have picnic by the park and even throw plates later

Weird experience in the Philippines!


Tower by Matt Wall

The Baron, in his wisdom and generosity, had given us leave to go anywhere on the island. We could go into town if we liked, and hear the sailors with their news of the mainland. Only in the castle’s western tower were we forbidden.

We were hostages, my brothers, sisters, and me, though we lived like lords. And though my siblings swore they slept soundly, I saw the dark circles under their eyes in the morning. Like me, they heard the screams from the tower in the middle of the night, only they were wise enough to say nothing.


Only in the Shadows by FloatingGold

Betty looked in the mirror one last time after washing her hands and before exiting the washroom. As she stepped outside, she reminded herself to adjust her smile, because her life was perfect, after all. Off to hair and makeup she goes. It’s another busy day on set, so she changes her clothes while she walks, absentmindedly almost tripping over her own feet. It looks like they are shooting an ad for lipstick. In the modeling world no one knows about her horrible car accident in which her face got badly burned. Only in the shadows does she cry.


Only in Australia by Norah Colvin

The carollers woke her Christmas morning. After the preparation whirlwind, she’d collapsed into bed, only to continuously toss and turn, re-making each list and checking it twice. She groaned – please, just a few minutes more. The carollers insisted. She tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the door. They eagerly accepted her gifts. Breathing in the day’s freshness, she had to decide – bed? Nah – the pool! As each stroke soothed and each lap refreshed, she welcomed the day’s events. When a cockatoo’s shriek punctuated the chorus, the kookaburras laughed. “Only in Australia,” she thought. “It’s good to be home.”


All Wrapped Up by JulesPaige

The innocence of the youth…only in a home with children
can one appreciate the sheer joy of opening gifts – and it
doesn’t matter what holiday, birthday or celebration. They
wiggle as they wait knowing that some traditions have to be
dealt with first. Like all the adults oohing and ahhing and
catching up since last they met (some six months ago,
others just last week). Eating and more schmoozing…
then finally the one of the four (the eldest) who has reached
the age of reason… reasons… seeking Grama and asks;
“Is it time yet to open the presents?”


Only in My Dreams by Colleen Chesebro

The meadow fairy hovered above me. Her wings, transparent, barely discernable in the evening light beat the air in a slow rhythm. Her body was long and lean, like the tall grasses she hid in. Her blue eyes captured my attention. In an instant, I knew she was a Meliae fairy nymph because each of the seven nymph clans was represented by a color of the rainbow which manifested in the pigmentation of their eyes. I found myself transfixed and the glamours held me spellbound.

Whispers of my fate –
only in my wildest dreams,
how will I proceed?


Only in America (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

“I’m here for my foreign language credit,” Rico says when it’s his turn.

“Rico,” another student says. “Isn’t your name Latino?”

“We came here when I was a baby. I ignored my parents’ Spanish so I could fit in. Americans speak English.”

“Does the backlash against DACA affect you?” the teacher asks.

Rico spreads his arms: ta-daaah. “Only wetback you know who doesn’t speak Spanish. Paperwork and fees always on time. No arrests. Support myself, no Medicaid, no welfare, no student aid. Pay taxes, health insurance, college tuition. They still want to deport me.” Arms drop. “Only in America.”


Only in My Family by Jordan Corely

He sat at the edge of our kitchen table, knees bouncing up and down. I listened to the tap of his fingers across the keyboard, a rhythmic tune to an otherwise unpleasant situation. I could see perspiration beginning to form on his brow– what would his sister say this time? I stood opposite him, silently pretending to read a book and simultaneously distract myself from the discomfort my dad was exuding. When did talking to family become this difficult? When they stopped listening. I had answered my question already. Only in my family were emails required to effectively communicate.


Directions by Pete Fanning

“Excuse me, we’re looking for the memorial.”

“Nice car. You from Virginia?”

“Yes. Fairfax.”


“Sooo, the memorial?”

“Go down Jefferson Davis Highway, take a right at MLK Boulevard. You’ll pass Nat Turner Park…”

“Are you being serious? I can’t tell if you’re being serious.”

“…there’s a marker for Stonewall Jackson’s arm’s grave.”

“A um, a grave for his arm?”

“That’s what I said.”


“Anyways, at the courthouse—it’s closed on account of it being Lee-Jackson-King day—you’ll see it. You can’t miss General Lee. If you look close you can see the tears—hey, where you going?”


America by Rugby843

Is it

“only in”


Where you can see all of nature’s beauty

Dry grassy plains

High snow covered mountains

Low green valleys

Ice blue clear lakes

Long red muddy rivers

Tall large redwood trees

Forests of green firs

Tangled highway crossovers

Hard packed dirt roads

Tropical forests

White sand deserts

Domesticated animals

Wild buffalo, antelope and deer

Birds of every size and color

People from every land

Rich mansions

Poverty slums

Cities and farmed fields

Light green spring buds

Hot summer sunset nights

Autumn maple splendor

Ski slopes deep with winter snow?

Here we are privileged to live.


Learning Respect for the Flag by Susan Sleggs

“I’m not coming home for a dumb parade to see Dad in a musty old uniform and carrying a flag that means nothing. I’m riding to D.C. for Memorial Day.”

“He fought for that flag.”

Weeks later. “I went to Bike Week in Lake George, NY, after I went to Rolling Thunder. I saw lots of bikes, boobs, and drunks. Not a good scene. On the other hand, only in D.C can 400,000 roaring bikes, lots of flags and tons of veterans be a reverent sight. I now understand Dad’s loyalty to the flag. I’ll be home next year.”


Only At Carrot Ranch by D. Avery

“What’s up Kid? Looks like yer all tied up.”

“Jist shush, an’ hep me get untangled.”

“What’re you doin’?”

“Tryin’ out some fancy knots.”

“Not so fancy. Not even knots, Kid. Why are ya tryin’ out these buckaroo skills?”

“Shorty said-“

“Did ya follow the thread of Shorty’s prompt, Kid? Pick up yer own lines ta braid yer own story. Shorty’ll git ‘em all wove together after.”

“Go where the prompt leads?”

“Yep, but let it lead ya ta a familiar place Kid, a place ya know. Hey, where ya headed?”

“Cook house, gonna git ta know some bacon.”


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  1. Norah

    What a great collection, Charli. I wasn’t the only one in Australia to write and only in Australia post. Howzat!

    • Charli Mills

      And I thoroughly enjoyed both!

      • Norah

        Thanks, Charli. 🙂

  2. Ritu

    What a fantastic bunch of entries!!!! Great prompt, it was, Charli!

    • Charli Mills

      It certainly brought out colorful stories! I still chuckle every time I read yours!

      • Ritu

        Well I’m glad it hit the Mark!!! ????

  3. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Only in Carrot Ranch would we get such a good, diverse lot of stories. Another great compilation.

    • Charli Mills

      Indeed! It was a great effort by all and with good results.

  4. ladyleemanila

    Reblogged this on ladyleemanila and commented:
    Only in… round-up 🙂

  5. Juliet Nubel

    I’m always amazed where your prompts take us, Charli. All around the world and back!????

  6. floatinggold

    It was so much fun to read all the different stories people came up with. Fascinating. Good work. I even visited their blogs, commented and followed some. Thanks for giving us the chance to meet new people and interact.

  7. lisarey1990

    Loved seeing all the great entries to the prompt. 🙂

  8. Colleen Chesebro

    Every week I am amazed at the creativity of these stories. Wow! I loved them all! <3

  9. robbiesinspiration

    A great selection of responses this week, Charli. Sorry I didn’t join in, last week of work was horrendously busy.


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