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April 5: Flash Fiction

Spring in the Keweenaw, I’m discovering, is like having a mood disorder. Blizzards, squalls, and gray skies make me feel lethargic. My fingers plod to tap keys. My shoulders hunker, and my eyelids droop. I realize it’s not me; it’s the cloud cover.

By afternoon, Lady Lake parts the snow clouds like she’s our local Moses, and I can see blue so deep it must be heaven’s direct gaze. A choir of angels hums in my ears. My shoulders straighten. My fingers quicken their pace, and I feel wide awake. I take another swig of water and feel energized enough to think of rocks on the beach. So close!

We’re headed to the VA hospital in Iron Mountain, a five-hour roundtrip in good weather. It’s the first no-snow day since spring equinox. On Easter Sunday I sat clustered with families in a small dark chapel on the tip of the Keweenaw while a full-blown blizzard raged outside the windows. The Son may have risen, but the sun did not. Today, the cerulean sky over white snow stirs spring in my blood.

We turn a corner following the curves of the Portage Canal to Keweenaw Bay and instead of an expanse of white sea ice through the stands of naked white birch, azure beams back at us. Open water! Back in Hancock, the canal remains froze over, but local gossips spread rumors of the Coast Guard ice-breakers opening the shipping channels. Nothing says spring in a northern climate more than blue.

Blue beckons robins and hastens snowmelt. Open water calls to migrators braving a journey north to mate and nest. Just around another corner, a mass of iridescent green heads catches sunlight where mallard males sleep on a snow bank above another opening in the bay. The white surrounds the blue like crown jewels of diamonds and sapphires. The duck heads glimmer like little emeralds.

VA visits increase, yet they all hedge around what to do with the knee. At the hospital, the Hub hustles down a corridor outpacing me as if we’re on a road march. His gait rolls and dips like a pirate with a peg-leg. The last orthopedic we saw two weeks ago claimed the Hub had no limp after asking him to take three steps around the tiny examination room. I’ve followed this limping gait for years and know the effort it takes to muster through it.

Limp or no limp, the last ortho didn’t even have the MRI that took us three years to get. They sent the left knee image instead. The last ortho before last saw it and said it was pointless to view because the Hub has no meniscus left to examine and she said she’ll monitor the degradation of the knee as bone wears down bone.

Other appointments don’t require my advocacy because they are the actual care the Hub needs. After years of asking, doctors referring, Iron Mountain has approved much — acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic. Next up, the Hub has several medical tests and memory tests to get a better idea of what is happening above the orthopedic system within the matter between the ears. Whatever the results, we will make a plan, continue to push for a knee replacement 30 years overdue, and take moments to appreciate the blue.

It’s now evening, and the sun still sits above the wooded hills of Hancock. As the solar orb sinks toward the western horizon, the abandoned Quincy Mine reflects a copper light as if to say, “Here they dug copper.” Sky ablaze, I walk into the local co-op to grab pecans and dried cranberries for my morning cottage cheese, feeling energized by a full day of sunlight. It’s nearly 8 p.m. and still light.

The cashier laughs with me as we joke and dream about it nearly being grilling season. She then tells me, “You have the sun sillies!”

Turns out, sun sillies is what she calls the energetic high people up north experience after the return of light following a long dark winter. I laugh. I do feel silly and full of spring fever. I feel hopeful. I feel like I’m on extended holiday full of Nowruz, Easter and Solstice celebrations. Is it no wonder we play April Fool’s jokes on April 1? We’re full of sun sillies!

Speaking of April Fool’s Day, my favorite toilet paper company, Who Gives a Crap, pulled a fast one and I fell for it. They sent me an email announcing the release of Crappy Coffee. I thought it brilliant. I wanted eco-friendly, small-batch roasted Crappy Coffee, so I signed up to receive it. Instead, they emailed me, “Aprils Fools!”

Time to get silly.

April 5, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic and playful response to returning sunlight. It could also be an April Fool’s jest, a silly story, or a reaction to spring fever. Be silly and write playfully! Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by April 10, 2018. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments.

If you want your story published in the weekly collection, please use this form. If you want to interact with other writers, do so in the comments (yes, that means sharing your story TWICE — once for interaction and once for publication). Rules are here.


No Laughing in Church (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Reverend Smith’ voice rose to heaven and plunged to hell, persuading his brethren to choose the higher path. It was the first sermon before wagon trains broke winter camp.

Nancy Jane had promised to make “holy garbage” for supper. She and Sarah stood behind the crowd. The venison stew required horseradish and a priest’s blessing, but a circuit preacher would do. Sarah remained skeptical of both the sermon and her friend’s recipe. Breathing deep, she fought back the giggles.

When Sarah saw Cobb switch out Reverend’s water for what was probably moonshine, she succumbed to full out sun sillies.



  1. I felt like I was back in the Keweenaw while reading this!

  2. This really happened, about 5 hours ago. I was scurrying.

    Another cloudy morning dawns. I had only meant to nap yesterday afternoon. I can’t believe I slept through the night. Now it’s Friday, almost there.
    What time is it? 7:15. 7:15?! I have 20 minutes to shower, dress, and get in to work. Why didn’t the alarm go? I am not going to make it. Ok, no shower. Still going to be late. I call a colleague to cover for me. She seems confused. Do I know what time it is? Yes! 7:18, I just woke up, I am going to be late. It is 7:18 PM, still Thursday.

    • Norah says:

      That’s hilarious, D. That’s the problem with your long days of light. We don’t have them here. 🙂

      • Charli Mills says:

        Don’t you have long days of light in Australia? Or short dark days?

      • Norah says:

        In Brisbane, where I live, our longest summer days are from about 4.30 am until 7 pm. It gets dark quickly in the evening. We don’t have long twilight times. Our “winter” days are from about 6.30 am to 5.30 pm.

      • Charli Mills says:

        This is an interesting comparison to make, Norah! In Hancock, we get almost two hours more of summer daylight than you, but about two hours less in winter. The sun at its summer peak doesn’t set until almost 10 p.m. Right now, we are getting 8:30 sunsets with a 7 am sunrise. With all the snow, clouds and fog, it feels divine just to see the sun!

      • Norah says:

        The thought of daylight until 10 doesn’t impress me much. But I guess that’s because we have so much heat in our sun, and sometimes there is no relief, even when the sun goes down. Some of the other states have daylight saving in summer so have longer in the evening to enjoy the outdoors. Queensland voted overwhelming against it. Some feared the curtains would fade more, and the farmers worried the cows wouldn’t know when to come home. I jest not! 🙂 The Gold Coast (famous resort area not far from here) spans two states. I got to celebrate the New Year in both places, an hour apart, this year. 🙂

      • I found it hard when I returned to the UK after living in California for almost 20 years; getting used to the light summer evenings up until 10.30 pm at full summer took me years! In CA, it was 8pm and I preferred it for the same reason as you Norah, that relentless heat! Getting used to dark houses in the day and air con and not being able to go outside until after sundown took me a very long time! Now, 15 years, later, I’m just about used to the birds singing from 3am and those loooooong summer days everyone raves about!!!!! 🙂

      • Norah says:

        I think you’ve nailed it there, Sherri. It is what we get used to, isn’t it? I did enjoy the twilight when I visited Belfast and London, but the days weren’t as warm as here. Belfast’s summer days are like our winter days. 🙂

      • Brrrr…I can well imagine Norah! The longer evenings are lovely – in the heat! We usually visited the UK from California in June and loved the rain and cooler days, knowing we would return to 40 degree plus temps for months on end. But we came back one February for one of my mother’s milestone birthdays and I don’t think I have ever felt so cold in my life! I had of course, growing up in it, but I had obviously long forgotten! 🙂

      • Norah says:

        It is easy to forget – particularly from childhood days when we tend more to accept and take what is for granted, I think. I hope it’s not too cold over there for you now.

      • Very true. We’ve had a really long, cold, wet and snowy winter here, unusual for the south western parts of the UK. Not much sun to speak of, but very much hoping for some warm, spring days to come. A heatwave next week, so they say. Right now it’s grey, drizzly and cold… You’re in your autumn now right? Hope not too cold for you too Norah! 🙂

      • Norah says:

        I hope your spring soon brings you warmth and sunshine, Sherri. We’re still pretty warm over here. Actually it’s quite nice at this time of year when we don’t need air conditioners or fans. Well, we still put the fan on at night in the bedroom, but it’s high on the western side so warms up in the afternoons.

      • Thank you Norah, we’re supposed to be getting a heatwave this week, but so far it’s raining and not that warm! I remember that time of year in California when we finally didn’t need the air conditioners or fans. I got so used to a ceiling fan that I can’t sleep without one now! We had one in our bedroom but since we’ve moved, need to put another one in before it gets warmer. In that regard, we moved at the right time of year 🙂 Enjoy your autumn Norah, it sounds lovely to me 🙂

      • Norah says:

        Thanks, Sherri. I must admit that I like the movement of air. I don’t like it when it’s still. I tend to feel a bit claustrophobic. Ceiling fans are great for that purpose.
        I think I heard there has been a bit of a heatwave over there. I hope it wasn’t too warm for you. Enjoy!

      • Same Norah…gotta have it! Yes, we’re in the midst of a heatwave here, bit crazy going straight from winter to summer! But typical British weather, next week it’s back to cooler and more rain, so will make the most of it this weekend! Thanks Norah, have a lovely weekend! 🙂 <3

      • Norah says:

        Our weekend is cooler with rain too. Maybe it will stay cooler now. We can only hope. Enjoy your weekend too. Stay cool!

      • Thanks Norah…stay warm! <3

      • Norah says:

        It’s still warm here, Sherri. 🙂

      • Oh good Norah…chucking it down here today, so much for our heatwave! 🙂

      • Norah says:

        The weather. We just never know what we’ll get!

      • Nope…and here in the UK, our favourite pastime is to complain about it, no matter what it’s doing 😀 Great chatting with you Norah, hope you have a lovely weekend whatever the weather (and for the record, it’s still raining here…arrrgh!!!!) <3

      • Norah says:

        I’m sorry your weather is not behaving, Sherri. I had the weekend in Canberra with my daughter. It was cooler there and quite pleasant. I’ve heard a prediction that we’ll have our coldest winter on record. It still has a lot of cooling down to do to achieve that. I hope your rain has stopped now. It is May, so April showers should be done. 🙂

      • How lovely Norah, to spend the weekend with your daughter. We are seeing the boys this weekend and it’s supposed to be another scorcher, so things are improving at last! If your winter is anything like ours, it could well be the coldest certainly for many years. I hope not though, for your sake. I haven’t managed any blogging at all this week, just catching up here with comments before signing off. A long holiday weekend here. Will be in touch as soon as possible and get back to some kind of blogging again very soon! Take care my friend, and have a wonderful weekend, cool, but pleasant in Canberra hopefully 🙂 xxx

      • South Africa is similar to Brisbane then, Norah. During the summer we have daylight from about 4.45am to about 8pm at night and in the winter from about 6.30am to about 5.30pm. We also can have terrible, relentless heat especially if there is not rain.

      • Norah says:

        We have high humidity here in Brisbane, Robbie, which can make our summers quite unpleasant. Do you have high humidity over there too?

      • Charli Mills says:

        Some of those reason for voting against the daylight savings are sun silliness! But I understand not wanting more sun and later when it’s a hot sun. On the Keweenaw, no matter how hot it might get, we always have the ice-box that is Lake Superior to cool down the air. How fun that you time traveled for New Year’s!

      • Norah says:

        The reasons are all sun silliness. 🙂 I guess your Lake breeze is similar to the ocean breeze. I’m too far inland to get the breeze here, but it’s wonderful when we visit the coast.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Sherri, when I lived in Idaho, it was lighter earlier and those 3 am birds were LOUD! 😀

      • Norah says:

        I wouldn’t like that! I do enjoy hearing the birds in the morning, but not at 3 am, thank you. 🙂

      • Charli Mills says:

        Robbie, I hadn’t thought about the heat and how miserable that could be to extend the length of day. So interesting to learn about other places!

      • Norah says:

        Yes, it’s great to learn about other places — thanks to your prompt and D.’s funny experience which she shared. 🙂

    • That was a satisfying nap though, D.

      When I was in the hospital nine years ago for a treatment. I asked the doctor if I could take my own medication to help me sleep. He said, no. Then he prescribed another medication to me. It helped. When I woke up and saw the dinner on the tray, I asked why it wasn’t a breakfast. The nurse said I slept through breakfast and lunch and woke up to dinner time.
      That was the only time I took that medication. 🙂

    • Juliet says:

      Hi D,
      Funny, funny. This can’t happen over here in France where we use the 24 hour clock. Maybe the whole world should switch?

      • Charli Mills says:

        I’m feeling like a time novice — what’s a 24 hour clock, Juliet?

      • Juliet says:

        😀 It’s a clock which would have shown 19:15 when D woke the other day. So even if it’s light outside you know it’s still the evening. It was weird at first but now I’m used to having lunch at 13h, working until 20h and going to bed at 23h. All very Mission Impossible style stuff…

      • Charli Mills says:

        Oh, military time! I think only the US military uses that system, and it certainly clarifies the difference between 3 am and 3 pm.

      • Same in the UK Juliet, most people use it here now!

      • Juliet says:

        Hi Sherri 😀 It certainly helps avoid confusion but you need to be able to calculate. Too often people here think that 19h is 9pm. But at least we know it’s sometime in the evening and not in the morning. My clock here is showing 16h47. Time for peanut butter on toast as my afternoon snack! 🍞 Not very French I have to admit…

      • Hi Juliet! I am slow off the mark with blogging this week…good to catch up with you at the Ranch 🙂 Our clocks show a mixture of 12 and 24 hour, but most ‘speak’ is 24 hour. It does get confusing…and let’s not get started on the time change! Ahh…peanut butter on toast, funny! Now, some nice brie perhaps? 😀 I am not keen on PB myself, neither was my middle boy growing up in California, which, as one of my then friends reminded me, was not at all American 😉

      • Juliet says:

        Hi again, Sherri. Thanks for answering. Give me some good, strong, Scottish cheddar over brie any day. Twinges of ‘homesickness’ are hitting me today. I keep wanting to ask you how the rewrites on your book are coming along. I’m hardly writing at all at the moment. Only Charli’s weekly challenges. Life is taking over and eating up my motivation right now. Anyway…Have a lovely weekend. 🧀

      • And I am so late in replying to you Juliet,,,apologies for that, the days seem to tumble by… Ha…now Scottish cheddar is a cheese to behold! Oh, I know homesickness…hugs for it my friend. The things I used to miss so much when I lived in California, and the things my mother used to stuff in her suitcases (before it got so silly that we could hardly transport anything). Tea, Marmite & Crunchies for starters. The rewrites are going well… thanks for asking…when they’re going! As with you, life takes over and it is hard to maintain the motivation at such times isn’t it? Last year I went through a bad patch for a protracted time and keeping to Charli’s challenges here as often as I could helped keep me from sinking into a writing pit of big fat writing nothing. It’s great we can congregate here when everything else stops. I hope you have a better week Juliet, I’m off to read your flash now, just did mine 🙂

      • Jules says:

        The military, police and firefighters use a 24 hour clock. I didn’t know that any country did. Amazing what we can learn in a day 😉
        (I’m not sure if hospitals do… but it would make sense not to confuse medication timing).

        Being that my family is in both volunteer and paid fire-service I am familiar with the system. But it is still confusing. Maybe that is just because I am math-challenged. At home I have a guide by our computer that has both the time scales together.

      • Juliet says:

        Yeah, you need to know how to subtract to be able to use it. It takes practise!

      • Jules says:

        All joking aside – I have gotten better…

      • Juliet says:

        I’ve been using it now for 30 years and still don’t always get it right!

      • Jules says:

        Well, actually – that makes me feel a tad better 😉 I think they need to start stuff like telling 24 hour time and a second language to learn in Kindergarten.

        Over hearing my hubby’s co-workers they were talking about someone who ought to know the metric system…as they live with it – but weren’t adept. So I guess math challenges exist everywhere. 🙂

    • Deja vu! Good morning Ranch Hands, I am up with the dawn, and it is a sunny one. My second chance on Friday.
      Have a good day, all, write on.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, no — sun-less sillies! This can be a disorienting time of year up north with cloud cover, white rain and extended evenings. Funny story, D.!

    • Ha ha ha, talk about disorientation!

    • Jules says:

      Reminds me of feeling awake in a dream, then realizing it is a dream and then not being able to wake up!

    • Oh, that is funny. I can just imagine that happening.

  3. […] Charli Mills, Carrot Ranch: April 5 Flash Fiction – Don’t Blame the Sun […]

  4. Norah says:

    I’m pleased to hear things are finally happening with the Hub. The appointments will be much easier to manage now, I assume, that the days are growing warmer, the snow is beginning to melt and the ice to thaw. I’m waiting for my days to become cooler. We’re down to 28 Celsius today, so maybe autumn is on its way at last.
    I think it’s hilarious you fell for the crappy coffee. I thought about ordering but didn’t, but not because of April Fool’s. I didn’t even consider it, but was tickled (and disappointed) to receive the Haha email.
    I like your flash. Sometimes it hard to stop those giggles. No matter how trivial the initiating incident, it seems laughter begets laughter, especially when the situation deems it inappropriate.
    I think on the sun sillies. We have plenty of that here.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Wednesday was gorgeous, Friday was blustery. The snowfall was light but the wind blew in circles, whipping up dust-devils of snow and drifting across the road. By the time we drove back, the drifts had slicked to ice. I’m not convinced its spring yet. But the blue was promising!

      Do you have a favorite season or something that you like about each? I’m sure with your southern sun you have plenty of sillies!

      Ha, ha! Good for you not being a crappy fool! I would have liked the coffee!

      I remember my grandmother once getting the giggles at a wedding and they infected me. It’s awful the sounds one makes trying to hold them back.

      • Norah says:

        I love the blue skies. June is usually a month of beautiful clear blue skies. It’s gorgeous. I’m not keen on our summer heat. It’s hung around this year and is just starting to cool down now in the evenings. Our days are still high 20s to low 30s (round about your 80), so quite pleasant. I love from autumn until spring. Gorgeous pleasant weather. I would have worn a cardigan most evenings when I went out last winter, but had little need for a jacket. I’ve been told we’re going to have a cold winter this year, so might need those jackets again. We’ll see.
        Stifling laughter is not easy. At least it’s not so bad at a wedding. Not so good at a funeral. 🙂

      • Charli Mills says:

        Hard to imagine not needing a winter jacket…no, wait, I can imagine it! 😀 Your June sounds pleasant like Septembers up north.

    • Norah says:

      I’m back with my story Running in Sunshine, Dancing in Shadows. I hope you like it.

    • Jules says:

      You folks do know that there is a real Crappy Coffee. I don’t recall the name but it is from Asia somewhere… where they run the beans through monkeys… no joke. My in-laws were gifted some when the were visiting my niece who was stationed overseas.

  5. Hi Charli, while knee replacement is not a fun thing to do for your hubby, I heard promising stories about knee replacement.

    Here’s my entry for the week.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Well, that’s encouraging, Miriam. We hope to get him one, but it takes the perseverance of saints to get through the VA system. We will. Thank you for your story!

    • How can the sun that I crave so much this time of year, be the source of cancer? Oh well, you have to die of something, right? I’m not going to blame the sun. -Molly

      • Hi Molly, thank you for your comment. I’m a melanoma survivor. We just had a new patio cover done to let the light in but not direct heat.

      • My dad was a melanoma survivor, too, so I watch my skin lesions like a hawk. I don’t do a lot of direct sun either. Though I love the warmth…..and I am craving it big time!

      • I love to have the sun on my back. I used to cover myself from head to toes, laying on my tummy in the backyard in the sun. It was so relaxing that I fell asleep a couple time. I can do that any more. I could do it for a little while but can’t fall asleep in the sun. I’ll be in big trouble with heat rash afterwards.

      • Charli Mills says:

        It seems unfair that something so primal in how good it feels would be deadly.

      • Yes, and I figure now that I’m mid-60’s I can relax a little about it. In a few years, I’m going to start smoking.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Molly! 😀

  6. Ritu says:

    Love it Charli!
    I’m off away this weekend, so if I can, I will participate, this week, but if not, I look forward to reading all the entries at the next round up!

  7. I so love reading your intro to the weekly prompt, Charli. Love this image: The white surrounds the blue like crown jewels of diamonds and sapphires. The duck heads glimmer like little emeralds. I’ve been grumbling about the slow advent of spring in Maine. We had a rough winter and it is hanging on tight. I’m begging for a string of days in the 50’s and instead we have ‘below average temps,’ making me want to slap the weatherman! I need a case of ‘sun sillies.’ Thank you for the reminder that even spring snow is lovely and it is time to take life less seriously. Best of luck to the Hub in his quest to find answers and help for his health issues.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Slap that weatherman silly! Oh, I hear you on the lingering winter. Today’s drive was blustery and cold, with light snowfall and drifting snow on the roads. I missed my crown jewels today. Thank you, we received interesting results today. More follow up to follow…it feels like the endless winter. Grumble, grumble. I need to go find the silly sun again!

      • The trees are beautiful this morning – every branch covered with snow. I’m pretending it is Christmas morning and I am so happy. This is saving me from being arrested for assaulting the weatherman. Dealing with medical issues is so frustrating. The call it the ‘practice’ of medicine for a reason. You just don’t want to be the one someone is ‘practicing’ on, right?

      • Charli Mills says:

        Ha, ha! You have the right attitude, Molly! I went for a walk today and pretended it wasn’t freezing, but my fingers told the truth by the time I got back. Yes, doctors practice.

  8. That is hilarious!

  9. Pete says:

    The sun was on the backswing when Lia led me to the parquet dance floor. The bridesmaids oohed and awed as she set her arms around my neck.

    I stumbled along, breathing in the sweet smell of flowers, a hint of sweat. My best friend had lived in a cocoon of long sleeves and coats, but now, in a haze of pollen…poof!

    “Hey,” she said. A tiny speck of icing on her lips. I swallowed, trying to figure out where in the heck to put my hands. Lia rolled her eyes, giggled, and moved them to her waist. “There.”

  10. Liz H says:

    Such a contrast between heavy, suffocating darkness and the flashing, color-full brightness of light and soul-light. And all the more intense by their cohabitation. Brilliant sun here bouncing off snowdrifts, naked trees shaking to get warm, and plenty of hard edges because it’s so cold and raw.
    C’mon, Spring!

    • Charli Mills says:

      It’s like we are perched in a yin-yang moment with two opposing forces on equal ground. It is spectacular if not yet warm. I’m rooting for spring, too!

  11. Frank Hubeny says:

    Sun Silly by Frank Hubeny

    “Wake up, kid! It’s that time of year when spring fever makes them run. They’ll soon all be sun silly. We don’t want to miss it.”

    “Why do they run, Pa? There must be some scientific explanation for it. Don’t they have brains in their heads?”

    “I don’t know why they run. They run. They’re stupid.”

    “Yeah, but if we knew why they ran maybe we could encourage them to run more often?”

    “Why would we want to do that?”

    “So we don’t have to get up so early? So we can harvest them more than once a year?”

  12. denmaniacs4 says:

    Sun of a Gun











    “OH! Robards.”




    “Oh! Jason.”



    “The Thirteenth.”


    “Voorhees. The Killer.”

    “Spoiler Alert.”

    “You’ve never seen it?”















    “Duh! M.A.L.E!”






















    “Gimme a break. LED.”


    “Fine. FOLLOW. Fanatic.”
























    And Charli, I don’t want to come across as a noodle head but here I spell fettuccine correctly…

  13. […] 99 word Carrot Ranch story challenge details are […]

  14. tintins says:

    Hi Guys,

    here’s my offering this week:

    Boys of Summer

    We were heading down the Pacific Coast Highway cruising with the top down; hair dancing in the breeze. Tank top and shades on; Mr Sunshine had his hat on and was out to play. Not a cloud in the sky.

    We didn’t have a care in the world on those blissful summer afternoons. Just me and my four girls: young, beautiful, free. The radio blared the tunes of the day. We laughed turning it up as the voice of Don Henley came through the speaker. We sang until our voices were hoarse, ‘after the boys of summer have gone’…

  15. I must admit it took me awhile to write this one. I kept trying different ways to use sun and be funny. I have gotten in a habit of writing more intense stories with a twist. I decided to go with a typical family getting their photo taken on the first sunny day.

  16. […] April 5: Flash Fiction April 5, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic and playful response to returning sunlight. It could also be an April Fool’s jest, a silly story, or a reaction to spring fever. Be silly and write playfully! Go where the prompt leads. […]

  17. Jules says:


    I like that ‘Sun Sillies’. Nancy Jane’s cooking for the evening reminded me of the story of ‘Stone Soup’. I modified my daily and added some links at my site for :

    A Straw Cap for Spring?

    Winds whipping the lake waters at twenty one miles an hour
    made them look like ocean waves. And I was fool enough
    to try and walk into town. Only because the sun still shone.
    I’ll not attempt a nature walk on Lake William’s trail this day –
    with a high of twenty seven Fahrenheit even without wind.
    Since snow is supposed to fall mixing with freezing rain.

    (Alice was fooled by a bump on her head. I wonder if I’m in
    a snow globe …that the March Hare is shaking.)

    New England in spring
    as unpredictable as
    Wonderlands Heart Queen

    ©JP/dh – Jules

    I’m not sure I did the link to site correctly for the submit portion. –
    If y’all don’t go to the link it is important to note: The March Hare is illustrated “…with straw on his head, a common way to depict madness in Victorian times.

  18. […] April 5: Flash Fiction […]

  19. […] April 5: Flash Fiction […]

  20. Juliet says:

    Hi Springtime Carrot Chums,
    A silly wee story from me this week, sparked by something I saw on a sunny walk with my Hubby yesterday afternoon…

    Call me Madame

    She was out early in the long-awaited rays of sunshine. The others would arrive soon but she longed to be the first to feel the gentle warmth waken the bright colours she wore.

    She moved between the new blossom and the virgin daisies, drinking in their springtime scents.

    The sun made her feel silly and daring so she tried an aerial cartwheel then backward flip, landing effortlessly on the wooden garden table where a man sat watching her in admiration.

    “The first Red Admiral of the season. He’s a beauty!”

    He? Could he not see? She was Madame Butterfly.

  21. You can hear spring in your words this week Charli. I hope the trip to the hospital produced a good outcome also. I can believe the sun sillies being the opposite of S.A.D. that so many suffer from in the northern hemisphere. We are going into autumn but really there is little change apart from the nights being a little cooler. I struggled to come up with a silly fun story but here’s my contribution:

    • Charli Mills says:

      The test results are interesting. Some good news and some present challenges. Onward we go. We follow up with his primary care physician on Wednesday. Yes, I think the sun sillies are the opposite of S.A.D. Maybe G.L.A.D.? We take high doses of vitamin D and at the Vet Center, they have a special light the veterans can sit in front of and soak up the missing light. How interesting to not really have four seasons. But I’d like the cooler nights! I’m not big on heat.

      • Always good to hear that there is some good news. Challenges may be more difficult but then they wouldn’t be a challenge if they were easy. Hopefully you can turn them into good news also.
        I think when you are used to 4 seasons you would really miss them but I have to admit I love heat (as long as I don’t have to work in it) and enjoy the freedom of few clothes. There always seems so much more washing in winter (and we really don’t get cold.)

      • Charli Mills says:

        That must be the allure of nudist colonies — less washing!

    • Jules says:

      If you can’t take care of a pet, why have one?
      Glad ‘lust’ stepped up! 🙂

  22. […] my ‘sun silly’ story in response to Charli Mills Carrot Ranch flash fiction weekly 99-word challenge. Drop by and join this supportive community of […]

  23. LucciaGray says:

    Hi Charlie,
    I’m glad the snow’s gradually wanning and I hope the tests on the Hub throw some light on the situation so you can plan and move on.
    Fun flash 🙂 ‘Holy Garbage’? Is that really the name for a stew?
    Your prompt reminded me of my school days. I went to a convent school, and the nuns would warn us about playing in the sun and ‘getting frisky’! There wasn’t much sun in North London, so on sunny days, it was impossible to keep us in the shade! And sometimes, we might have got up to some mischief, like the schoolgirls in my flash!

    • Charli Mills says:

      So it is a phenomenon — playing in the sun and getting frisky! That’s a great memory to share, Lucy. I think it certainly fits the idea of sun sillies. Ha — Holy Garbage was something I’ve encountered on the Keweenaw from one of the old families from Europe. The story goes, the women in the family would all take a piece of something — sausage, eggs, carrots — and get the food blessed by the priest. They’d through it in a pot and make stew. This particular family altered the recipe to make a “salad” with ham, Polish sausage, hard-boiled eggs, mayonnaise and enough horseradish to blow your head off. And that’s Holy Garbage!

      • LucciaGray says:

        Amazing! There’s a typical stew in the Canary Islands, Spanish territory off the West coast of Africa, where they have a stew called ‘Old Clothes’ I have no idea of the origin, but I’m sure there’s a story there too!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Isn’t there a lively story behind puttanesca, too? Fun to discover these culinary tales!

  24. […] Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction […]

  25. Perspective

    “Whatcha lookin’ fer Pal?”
    “My dang glasses. Have you seen them?”
    “Did you look by yer bunk?”
    “Well, look again, they’re probably somewhere near.”
    “All right I’ll go back and look in the bunkhouse.”
    “Not there? Huh. Ya had ‘em at breakfast.”
    “I’ll go back an’ check.”
    “Not there?”
    “‘Member you was readin’ the label on the grain bag.”
    “Jeez, back ta the barn then.”
    “Pal, yer beginnin’ ta look tuckered. Did ya find yer glasses in the barn?”
    “Do you see them on my face?”
    “Did ya think ta look on yer head?”
    “Dang you, Kid!”

  26. […] April 5: Flash Fiction […]

  27. Sponge Cake Petit Fours
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black
    Cali hummed as she spread a thick layer of buttercream icing over the pink sponge, creating perfect petit fours. She dotted each with stripes of dark chocolate and the first initial of each of her four children’s names. Proud of the accomplishment, she set the completed deserts on a paper doily. She washed the bowl and spatula, put away scissors and discarded tell-tale plastic wrappers.
    When each kid came home from school, starting with the eldest, they eagerly grabbed their treats. When they bit into them, though, the cake rejected their bites. “Hey, these aren’t sponge cake! They’re sponges!”

  28. Annecdotist says:

    I think we could all do with a dose of sun silliness, Charli. It makes me think of my own manic streak that emerges when I socialise after my more usual seclusion.
    I was interested in your adding fruit and nuts to your cottage cheese. Have you tried it with fresh dill or herb fennel? A potential treat for the summer?
    I’m sharing a historical flash this week inspired by a novel about the early days of photography when strong sunlight was needed and, having to hold the pose for some time, it was as well not to laugh.
    Where religion, art and science coincide: In the Blink of an Eye by Ali Bacon

    • Jules says:

      New word for me ‘Gurning’.

      There was a tradition with photographs in the 1800’s to take death shots. Usually with coins over the dead persons eyes. Guess one didn’t have to ask them to stay still…

      • Charli Mills says:

        I have one of those death shots of the Hub’s ancestor. No coins, though. I wonder why that ever became a thing. Maybe they had no living photographs or likeness of the person.

      • Jules says:

        I think I saw them in a move… it was a way to record family members – it was a ‘death’ book.
        The silver coins were some kind of protection.
        Two things I found about that:
        The practice of placing coins over a dead persons eyes probably goes back to the ancient Greeks placing coins with the dead, so that that the deceased could pay the ferryman (Charon) to take them across the River Styx to the underworld.
        Those who didn’t have payment were not allowed to go cross the river and were condemned to a limbo type state between the different underworlds.( In other words they could not get to the heavenly place.)
        The coin over the eyelids keeps the eyes closed and doesn’t give people the creeps. This wasn’t needed with an embalmed body, but on the early frontier or more remote areas an undertaker wasn’t always available and the eyes wouldn’t always stay shut by themselves. (Or so my Grandmother who lived to be 103 told me). I guess a dollar was used as it was heavy enough to keep ’em closed? …they usually removed the coins just before they were lowered into the grave. I guess poor folks figured they needed the dollars more than the dead!

      • Annecdotist says:

        As I commented to Norah on my post, I think it might be Cumbrian dialect. And those death pictures are amazing but understandable – the last chance to capture a loved one’s image.

      • Annecdotist says:

        That’s what I was thinking, Charli, but haven’t seen them with coins either.

      • Annecdotist says:

        Sorry my replies are getting all mixed up but seems death was cheaper in the UK as it was only a penny they used to cover the eyes (just not in the photos)

      • Jules says:

        Odd how some traditions get started. In some traditions the casket is not open and only the family can see the beloved one last time before burial.

        (sometimes replies get jumbled – it’ll all work out – no worries….I read it started in ancient Greece: According to Greek mythology, when people died their souls moved to the underworld, also known as Hades. Hades had five rivers, one of which was named Styx, and dead souls had to cross it after departing the world of the living. The only way to do this was through a boat operated by Charon, an underworld spirit who served king Haides. Charon’s charge for this service was a single obolos (silver coin) which the Greek placed in the mouth of the deceased or on their eyes during burial. There’s more if anyone is interested they just have to look up coins on dead peoples eyes.
        Why and how that got transferred or translated to other countries is always a challenge to trace.

      • Annecdotist says:

        Yes, I love the story of Orpheus and the underworld. People have always tried to make sense of death. I think the Greek myths have had a lot of influence on out cultures, or certainly on European.

      • Charli Mills says:

        I find Greek mythology fascinating, Jules. It interesting, like you say, how different cultures pick up the traditions. Anne made me laugh, pointing out that death was cheaper in the UK, using coppers instead of silver. There’s a local organization promoting “green burials” and my neighbor was telling me how you can be buried in a bed sheet or shroud. She has a sewing business and discussed her making local death shrouds! I should mention the coins to her, too next time we walk.

      • Jules says:

        I had (he should rest) an Uncle who donated his body to science. Then when they were done (over a year or so) they returned the remaining ashes to my Aunt. Seems practical to me. Let someone else use what they can – and don’t take up any more space with what’s left….

      • Jules says:

        Oh Green burials aren’t really that new. Some Faiths insist on the body just being buried in a wooden box. Not those fancy gizmos that don’t let natural decay take place.

      • Charli Mills says:

        That was my sense, that green burials are not new!

      • Annecdotist says:

        Norah Colvin posted a while ago about composting bodies after death. And of course there were the Jain sky burials in India. Which are not burials at all. Do I detect another prompt brewing?

      • Jules says:

        eeek…. possible. But then Native peoples and Vikings have also had ‘Green’ burials, have they not? I’ll have to look into sky burial – I have not notion on that…
        Yes… that is what the Native Peoples did/do?
        Not sure if it is legal in the USA . I can’t find it now but in a blurb I read that some actor wants that. He may have to go out of the USA. Though another blog suggested donating one’s Body to the FBI’s Body Farm…that studies decomposition.

      • Annecdotist says:

        Your Wiki link tells me it’s the Zoroastrians rather than Jains who do/ did practice in India, but there was something a while ago about a shortage of vultures:
        which says it’s a Parsee tradition.

      • Jules says:

        I saw just briefly about the lack of vultures… but I didn’t get that far. I’ve got a few vultures in my neighborhood back home!

        Perhaps if there was a place that would keep the smell of decomposition contained?

        Par·see/noun; an adherent of Zoroastrianism, especially a descendant of those Zoroastrians who fled to India from Muslim persecution in Persia during the 7th–8th centuries.

        Wow this is one of those lucky days where a body learns more than one new thing. Thanks!

        We used to have a whole bunch of Pheasants in our neighborhood. But there was a bird flu… and most died. Though a few might still be in the wood at the top of the hill – I haven’t seen any in over twenty five years…

      • Jules says:

        Oh… sometimes traditions change so much that there origins are forgotten. Like some of the Spanish Jews who were made to convert. Even today there are some ‘grandmothers’ – (I had a service guy come to my home who told me his MIL still did so) that light candles in their closets as a family tradition on Friday nights… it was because somewhere in their history they were Jewish – though the religious origin part was long forgotten and only the ‘family tradition’ part remained.

      • Annecdotist says:

        Thanks, so I was nearer the mark than I thought!
        No vultures here but we do get pheasants visiting the garden quite often.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Anne, I think we can all feel a bit manic after a long cooped up spell. Dill or fennel? No, I have not, but we are planting both in the new herb garden the SIL built on the deck. Part of getting over winter is planning what to plant. I enjoyed your review and your flash’s connection to the photography history. Great use of local language, too!

  29. […] via April 5: Flash Fiction « Carrot Ranch Literary Community […]

  30. Sun sillies is perfect for me right now. It has been one of the harshest Maine winters on record and I am certifiably insane at this point in the season. Here’s where the prompt took me this week.

    Sun citation

    “I can explain, officer,” said Myra.

    “I doubt that,” he said.

    “I’ve endured harsh Maine winters my whole life. For decades I’ve seen this atrocity dangling in the sun on the first warm spring day. It traumatizes me more than finding a spider hulking in the bathroom sink.”

    “I’m listening.”

    “Every fifty-degree day this disgusting visual stains the beauty of budding trees and melting snow.

    “Get to the point.”

    “I knew mine was more splendid, more befitting the season.”

    “So you’re saying I should give you a pass because your bosom is better looking than your neighbor, Chester’s?


  31. […] Charli shared that she had gotten a glimpse of sun and even open water on her lake. Hence, the April 5, 2018 prompt: ‘In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the […]



    We don’t believe you, they cried. That is a preposterous story!
    It’s true, you insist. It has an incredible mass, which keeps our spinning planet orbiting around it. As our planet rotates, you explain, it appears to ‘rise’, bringing light and warmth- day.
    Prove it, they demand.
    Again you pull out the globe, the flashlight, begin to demonstrate. That’s not proof they groan, and disperse to the gym, the greenhouses, to the light therapy reading rooms.
    You sigh. How silly, you muse, that there are still windows. Outside the gray is sprinkled with snow. You struggle to remember otherwise.

  33. janmalique says:

    I could almost feel the sun on my face when reading your post Charli. It is an uplifting time when the Sun returns.
    In that spirit I’ve posted what I hope is a suitable response:

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m going to have to keep imagining the sun, Jan. It does feel uplifting, even when I can’t actually see the sun. I enjoyed your response! But I don’t think I saw it in the form bucket when I collected.

  34. Shorty’s Sun Sized Heart

    “Pal, what ever happened ta Shorty’s big heart?”
    “Still big, near as I know, Kid.”
    “No, I mean a certain someone was offrin’ prizes fer similes in the March 15th roundup.”
    “Oh. Yeah, the undisclosed amount fer that one was a picture book fer Shorty, on behalf of Aussie, Jules, Still Waters, Susan an’ Liz.”
    “Ya jist disclosed it.”
    “Oh well. Don’tcha agree a book amounts ta more’n money? Money cain’t bring happiness, books do.”
    “Some do fer sure. Like the Anthology.”
    “Yep, that book rocks. But this ‘uns about rocks.”
    “Perfect. Ever’body needs a rock book.”
    “Even Shorty.”

  35. This one didn’t inspire anything for me so I decided to just write whatever popped into my head. I don’t know what I was trying to say.

    Silly sun poem

    The sun had a gun
    No fun
    I’m on the run

    He shot up my house
    Cause I drew all the blinds
    Worked overnights
    And slept through when he shines

    We had a heated conversation- get it?
    It burned him I was right.
    So he stuck his heater in my face
    And made me see the light

    The sun’s one cold mofo
    Though this path won’t take him far
    Had he chose a straighter road
    He could’ve been a star.

    Here’s the last verse
    Got it down fine
    Only problems word count
    ‘Cause I’m at ninety—

    • Ha ha ha, talk about stream of consciousness.

    • Writing what popped into your head worked. Loved your poem.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Good for you pushing through an uninspiring prompt and finding a fun stream of consciousness. I especially liked this:
      “So he stuck his heater in my face
      And made me see the light”

      I didn’t see this in the form bucket, though!

      • Haha thanks Charli! And I’ll admit I have no idea how to do the form thing! I see where you described what needs to be put on the form. But how do I get to the form? That and I have no idea how to add or create a link to a post. (I’m still new to this but I’ll catch up!)

      • Charli Mills says:

        No problem! If you ever have any questions, we have plenty of writers happy to help. We’ve all been where you are figuring out the many technical details of writing online. 🙂

        The form is beneath the prompt. The byline box is for you to choose which name you want credit for, such as “by odysseyofhappiness” or a pen name or legal name.

        When you post on your website, there is an address to that post and it will show up above the website. For example, the one showing here reads, “” The comment portion of the address leads to this very comment. It’s called the URL. If I want just the URL for this post, it’s “”

        Many writers don’t blog or post their flash fiction, so the URL is optional.

        The reason for the collection bucket is so I can arrange the weekly compilation without getting lost in the more social activity of commenting. As we’ve grown, it’s harder to track down all the stories. Now the stories go into one bucket! And that is optional, too. I’m not always certain who wants to be published and who does not. This system makes it clearer.

        Hope that helps! I enjoy your flash!

  36. […] Via #CarrotRanch challenge […]

  37. […] Challenge. The objective is to write a story based on the weekly prompt in exactly 99 words. The Carrot Ranch story challenge for this week, in the host Charli Mill’s own words, […]

  38. […] I’ve been thinking of the importance of sun safety and being sun smart in response to the flash fiction prompt at the Carrot Ranch this week in which Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic a… […]

  39. Eric Pone says:

    Man Down…

    I was down wondering how the hell I got here. “Sorry LT you are going home.” I had prepared for Ranger qualifying school or Q School for months. I had sacrificed everything girlfriend, friends, my family thought I was at church camp. But here I was flushing my dream down the toilet. 

    As I laid on the cool Earth having collapsed on a company run I looked up at the sky. The Sun-like a coy little bitch breathed above the tree line at me. I guess it’s time for plan b I said to it and everything went black.

  40. Haha!!! Oh I love that Nancy Jane!! Horseradish in the stew and moonshine for water…my (ooops…her…) kind of church lol 😀 And robins, snowmelt, blue skies and duck heads glimmering like emeralds…what a beautiful picture you paint with your delightful description Charli. I feel as If I took that journey with you…and that is a long round trip! Onward to the doctors doing what they need to do with the right tests to hand…and then to the sun sillies! I love this post Charli! I need to grab those sillies and flash…back shortly! <3

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks for coming along in my pocket, Sherri! The Holy Garbage was something I got to sample at Easter service and learn about the old tradition. The husband of the woman who made it grows horseradish especially for the dish. And the story about Cobb, the preacher, and moonshine is from a neighbor’s account. I can just imagine what the women were thinking as they watched something like that unfold. Go grab your sillies! <3

  41. […] April 5: Flash Fiction […]

  42. susansleggs says:

    Hi Charli, I hadn’t heard the term “sun sillies” but it sure fits. It’s still snowing here in western New York too. I once heard a minister say if Easter was early then so would spring be, someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. I didn’t realize your trip to the VA was such a long drive. We’ll hope the knee replacement happens sooner than later. Here is this weeks offering.

    Sun Sillies

    The new pastor was determined to bring some energy into the rural church. The week after Easter, with snow flurries still happening on a daily basis, he announced, “Next week, services will be in our barn at 3pm. I’ve heard a lot of you worked on parade floats there in years past so you know what a fine space it is. We’ll have a potluck after and music to do a little dancing like we have the sun sillies.”

    The following week attendance doubled, everyone forgot their winter blues and baby goats antics were the hit of the event.

  43. […] 5, 2018, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the […]

  44. Hi, everyone. I have spring fever, so this prompt was perfect. Here’s what I came up with:

    The Awakening of the Fey

    The hibernating Rusalki fey dangled from cocoons attached to the rafters. They stirred when the rays of father sun streamed in through the window. One by one, they hatched. The tiny creatures floated on newly formed wings.

    Lada was not amused. “Not in my tea,” she sputtered placing her hand over her cup. “Sister Serafima, are they like this every year? How do you put up with it?”

    A chuckle escaped Serafima’s lips. “They’ve hibernated with me for years. Do you know what this means, sisters?” Lada and Vasilisa shook their heads. “The silly sun of Ostara has arrived.

  45. […] You can join in the fun here: […]

  46. I don’t understand why there is so much reluctance to do the knee replacement, Charli. Is it today with a change in government policy? My piece this week is not silly but it is imaginative. Michael helped me write it:

    • Annecdotist says:

      So clever and appealing, Robbie. Both your words and the edible figure. ( I tried to leave this on your blog but unfortunately it went to spam.)

    • Charli Mills says:

      Part of it is limited resources — there are more veterans in need of care than the government has budgeted. Now, we are trying to get care for a 30-year-old injury that gets blown off as not bad enough. He still has his legs attached. But in the civilian world, his injuries are considered severe. Because it’s a combat injury he can only get VA care. It’s all messed up and it requires a bulldozer to push through anything. The red tape and delays are breathtaking. We’ve had an MRI (which took three years to get) since August of 2016. As of today we still have not had a consultation with an ortho. But we’ve gone to lots of appointments! And we now have a third ortho referral put in by his primary doc (who is awesome but not an ortho). He is finally getting pain management through chiropractic, acupuncture, and PT. And they are starting to unravel what’s going on with his brain.

      Imaginative it is! I really enjoyed your flash and delighted to learn that Michael helped. If he ever wants to do a flash of his own, he’s certainly welcome to! Although I like that you write together.

      • It is very frustrating, Charli, especially as this injury was incurred in defense of your country and people. I really hope you get the surgery you need. Knee ops are very successful as far as I can see through people I know. Glad you like the flash. Michael is very inspirational.

  47. […] stick your words on. You could even do that anonymously if you wanted. To be honest this week’s prompt is tricky to get my head around. Some things don’t translate as well as they might from […]

  48. […] in response to Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Check it […]

  49. wallietheimp says:

    Wallie and my response: “Pegasus”–

  50. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (04/05/2018): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic and playful response to returning sunlight. Go where the prompt leads. […]

  51. Liz H says:

    Starting out, I got nothin’, but then took out my spinning wheel… 😉

    Missing Winter

    Outside my window is a dour study in black and gray and soggy white. No wind, no blue sky, even the evergreens are evergray. Twenty degrees below what we’re supposed to have in April, looking at another tiresome visit from the Abominable Snowman next weekend. So many reasons to whinge…

    [Continue for more cheery thoughts]

  52. […] Another Challenge from CarrotRanch – 99 Word Challenge […]

  53. […] week at the ranch, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, […]

  54. Deborah Lee says:

    Here I am, just under the wire, as usual. Spring, ha! It’s just rainy in Seattle. 🙂

  55. I submitted, sorry so late Charli, hope you got it okay and on time 🙁 Here it is again in case not and I will be back later to catch up properly! <3

    Sun Hat

    Bob couldn’t get out of the house fast enough.

    ‘Pick up the milk on your way home and don't forget to put out the rubbish before you go,' screeched Vera.

    ‘Yes dear.’

    At the allotment, Bob hoped the only screech might come from an owl in the woods. Sunlight escaped through the grey clouds, despite the weather forecast predicting rain.

    Darn, left my hat at home. Never mind.

    Bob set out his tea flask and sandwiches for later and turned on his radio. He started digging as he whistled along…the sun has got his hat on…coming out to play…

  56. […] Sun Silly by Frank Hubney […]

  57. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (04/05/2018): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic and playful response to returning sunlight. Go where the prompt leads. […]

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