April 26: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

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

April 26, 2018

Nearly the end of April and at last the US Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay has plowed a path through the ice-locked Portage Canal that separates the Keweenaw Peninsula from the mainland of Upper Michigan. One of several Great Lakes ice-breakers, engineers, designed these ships to heave down upon the ice to crack open a path. Ice like panes of flat glass float, bob, and eventually melt, exposing the deep clear water below.

Seagulls claim floating ice slabs, and their raucous cries signal the return of water birds to a place dominated by Lake Superior, greatest of the Great Lakes. On black-tipped white wings, they wheel over my home, announcing spring ice-out in Hancock.

In appreciation of our Coast Guard who brought us spring, at last, take a moment to watch the Cutter Mackinaw plow the shipping channel on Lake Superior last month:

Already, the earliest of those who fish the Keweenaw has returned. I’m eager to discover who they are, having once lived on a bog pond beneath a bird migration super-highway. Will I see old favorites or meet new species? It’s like waiting for the circus to come to town — I know the show will thrill me, but how will it be different from shows I’ve seen before? Even in one place, spring migration plays out fresh and new.

Just as much as I love the migratory waterfowl, the Hub loves raptors. He began to hear and see kestrels during his quiet time on the back deck. He thought he saw a sharp-shinned hawk last week. The big excitement for him resides on the Houghton Bridge which crosses the Portage Canal and connects the mainland (Houghton side) to the Keweenaw Peninsula (Hancock side). The pair of peregrine falcons has returned to their nest box (you can watch a live camera of the nest box action).

After Feldenkrais class at Superior School of Dance, I walked up to Milly’s for a slice of Detroit-style pizza and a fresh mixed-greens salad. The Hub met up with me, and after dinner he suggested we go look for the Falcons on the bridge. The sun didn’t set until almost 9 pm tonight, so we headed across the bridge and parked along the canal.

And that’s when I saw them among the frolicking seagulls — mergansers!

While the Hub scoped the nest box, I scanned the newly opened waterway with it’s floating panes of ice for a close-up of what turned out to be common mergansers. With black heads, white bodies and orange bills, I could readily spot them. I saw one female, too with her auburn head. She had the pick of a gaggle of males. Mating season is soon, but still, the land is covered in banks of snow. For now, they fish.

When we head to the VA hospital in Iron Mountain, we pass through Keweenaw Bay where the snowshoe priest, Father Baraga, is honored in a sculpture depicting his reach to the region’s five tribes. The Ojibwa fish year-round from ice-huts and boats on the bay. When we return, we like to stop for dinner at Carla’s where she serves fresh fish.

Last fall, my daughter Radio Geek (though I now see her author bio has evolved to a “through and through” geek) worked on a scientific look at fishing in our region from the perspective of the Ojibwa community who asks, “When can we eat the fish?” Fishers — recreational, professional, and feathered — can be susceptible to unseen pollutants. Research at Michigan Tech reveals the complexities of answering such a question. You can read Radio Geek’s article from the 2018 Michigan Tech Research Magazine).

I was never one to take to fishing. In fact, I have horrible memories of watching gasping trout cling to life in a creel or on a line. Then I met the Hub. Reluctantly, I went fishing but warned him that I’d sit on a sunny rock and read a book. But he taught me a humane method — catch and release. Eventually, as a writing intern to Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, I covered Becoming an Outdoor Woman and learned to fly-fish, which is a zen-like activity that involves not actually catching fish. Well, the way I do it.

If you read my article from the olden days of my writing career, you’ll learn my first name is not really Charli. But Charli is short for it, and the name I’ve had since I was a baby buckaroo.

And yes, we’ll be going fishing this week.

I want to remind you to use the form if you’d like to publish in our weekly collection. It helps me tremendously to have the stories in one bucket instead of having to hunt high and low for them! But also share in the comments to take part in the community interaction. A “byline” names the writer — use a pen name, full name, or blog if that’s your preference. Include a title with your 99-word story (the title is not counted). If no title is given, I’ll dub it, “Flash Fiction.”

Also, we have one more month to go before you can request Rancher Badges. These support you as a writer in any goals or achievements you want to track. #CarrotRanchRocks is now live and if you want to participate, ask me for a rock prompt — I’ll connect you with a rock (or more). It’s the literary version of art rocks and also seeks to educate those interested in Lake Superior rocks. Not everyone comes up here to fish!

April 26, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a fish tale. It can be about fishing from any angle, about those who fish, or what might be caught. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by May 1, 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.

Fishing Opener by Charli Mills

Harriette wrapped her arms around Ralph’s girth. He slowed down when the trail dipped and skirted puddles of brown snowmelt. A month ago, they had enjoyed the last snowmobile trek of the season. Now it was time to ride the four-wheeler. The couple had strapped their fishing rods, gear and a picnic lunch to the back. At last, mud splattered, the trail broke out of the trees and opened to an inlet along the shoreline of Lake Superior.

Ralph quickly geared up and headed up the small stream to catch trout. Harriette left her pole and fished for agates.

###

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227 Comments

  1. Reena Saxena

    The lantern fish was holding a seminar for other species.

    “The bottom of the ocean has a temperature of minus 28 degree Fahrenheit, and you need to learn to survive it. We teach you another sport – use your lower pectoral fins as legs to walk on the bottom of the ocean, and explore it well. There are plenty of succulent plants to feed on….”

    “Is it a kind of holiday resort for us, with leisure activities thrown in?”

    “Call it survival… if you wish to protect yourself from the human picnickers wielding fishing rods, and have a good time.”

    • Norah

      Great take, Reena. What a useful seminar for the lantern fish.

      • Reena Saxena

        Thanks 🙂

      • Colleen Chesebro

        LOL! This was fabulous, Reena. <3

      • Reena Saxena

        Thank you, Robbie!

    • Charli Mills

      An imaginative take on the prompt, Reena! I especially enjoyed the survival tip to avoid “the human picnickers.”

      • Reena Saxena

        Everything spawns a new business :). Thanks, Charli!

      • Charli Mills

        Spawns! Ha, ha!

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Thar Blows

    “What’re ya doin’, Kid?”
    “What’s it look like?”
    “Goin’fishin’. But what’re ya doin’ with that outfit? Ocean rod? Trollin’ reel?
    “Go big or go home, Pal.”
    “I think yer flounderin’ Kid. Yer way overrigged fer the stock pond or the stream. Ain’t a bass hole on the ranch.”
    “I’m thinkin’ big, Pal. Gonna bait up right here in the paddock.”
    “Hmmph. Yer hookin’ yer leader to a kite?”
    “Yep. Let the line out… look at ‘er go… higher…. I’ve caught the wind, Pal! Look at that kite soarin’ over the ranch!”
    “Kid, this is relaxin’.”
    “Yep. Catch an’ release.”

    • Jules

      That’s exactly how my hubby used to fly kites – off the end of a pier!

    • Aweni

      Really nice.????

    • Norah

      Lovely. That’s a catch of a different kind.

    • Charli Mills

      Catch the wind! That’s a great day of fishin’!

  3. Michael

    Hi Charli, a fun prompt this week…

  4. ksbeth

    what a wonderful piece –

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Annecdotist

    Great flash, Charli, I think we can guess who Harriette might be based on. On the subject of names, I was toying with composing a flash to accompany a post on another recently published anthology that features one of my short stories – edited by Charlie Fish! But I’ve gone for a collection of 99 words from five of the four Rough Writers on the process of extending the flash pieces into longer stories (and the reverse in one case) for Team Charli’s first anthology.
    Thanks to Pete Fanning, Geoff Le Pard, Ann Edall-Robson for supplying the words.
    My new flash for this week is entitled Inside the goldfish bowl and stars my WIP character Matty.
    Flesh on the bones: Beyond the 99-word story #flashfiction http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2018/04/flesh-on-the-bones-beyond-the-99-word-story-flashfiction.html

    • Jules

      Wonderful insights. And flashes of fiction.

      • Annecdotist

        Thanks Jules

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! Charli Fish! That’s a fitting name for this week, Anne. My great appreciation for your post which explores the expansion of flash fiction stories from the anthology. And good to see Matty.

  6. Teresa Grabs

    The Fisherman Becomes The Fish

    For close to thirty years Jeff fished on the Grand Banks. Dismissing tales of the magic haddock he would reel in anything that had the misfortune of swimming near his boat.

    “Last summer, we pulled in a baby orca,” he bragged to the new baiter.

    “The orca isn’t a fish,” the baiter noted. “It’s a mammal.”

    “If it comes from the sea, it’s a fish! Get back to work!”

    That night Jeff dreamed of being caught in a giant net dropping silently from the sky.

    “If it comes from the sea, it’s a fish,” the alien told his son.

    https://tvgwriting.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/the-fisherman-becomes-the-fish/

    • Peregrine Arc

      “If it comes from the Earth, it’s an Earthling; if it comes from Mars it’s a Martian…”

    • Aweni

      Wow….scary but really good. Lovely.

      • Teresa Grabs

        Thanks 🙂

    • Colleen Chesebro

      Oh, this was a great take on the prompt words. 😀

      • Teresa Grabs

        Thanks 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Point well made, Teresa!

  7. papershots

    FIRST BITE.

    This hierarchy nature has set: the seagull will get first bite, whoever fished, whatever was fished. Its menacing mew distances two black crows, left with a minor, resigned twang. They do stay, though. In the sand near the shore, something glistens and sparkles. Seagull swoops down, crows stand back; seagull grabs half of it – a crackling, snapping sound – and flies back up; crows can approach now, get whatever’s left. The sky responds by being blue; lapping waves give rhythm to a natural occurrence. It was plastic. It was plastic. It was nothing more than a piece of unadulterated plastic.

    https://papershots.org/2018/04/27/first-bite/

    • Liz H

      All that glistens and sparkles is not gold…

      • papershots

        So true. And it can also be dangerous plastic garbage, as in this case… Awful.

      • Liz H

        ‘Zackly!!

    • Peregrine Arc

      The plastic drifts…ugh.

    • Aweni

      A reminder of the sea pollution going on. How sad.

    • Charli Mills

      Beautifully staged scene between the birds and the final rhythmic lines add a powerful overtone to nature.

      • papershots

        Thanks Charli. This really happened a few weeks ago at the seaside.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Di!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Annette!

  8. Jules

    Charli,

    I like your BoTS… 😉
    I’m still not sure on sizing… but I’ve added the photo of the two prompts I used! I know amazing right? Title is the link for anyone who wants to see the other prompt and definitions and other link in the haibun:

    Intersections?
    (99 word haibun)

    The anglers are out again. On the other side of the creek.
    I mow to disturb their silence. I want them far away. I want
    my own golden silence reflected by the day’s spring sun.

    stay in the shadow
    you old trout, leave the lures be;
    let me see your stripes

    So what’s my angle? In my secluded shaded sanctuary.
    A good friend sent me a sticker “She believed she could
    so she did” – I peek through curtained windows in awe
    of a new day, beginning again.

    staying in shadow
    I am encouraged to show
    my own moxey stripe

    ©JP/dh

    • Liz H

      Nice! In imitation, we can best understand–clear image of the person-fish and agenda to save a part of one’s own Nature.

    • Charli Mills

      You recognized my thinly veiled persona! Ah, if only I had the four-wheeler! What a creative construction for your flash, I enjoy your comparison between the two stanzas of verse. Lovely sticker! <3

  9. denmaniacs4

    More about fishing than fish I suppose, Charli. And true enough to make it less fiction than usually required. I thought it might trigger memory but alas, its the same old story refashioned.

    Farmers at Sea-A Fishy Tale

    “You’ve talked about this before?”
    “From time to time. I was a baby. I have no clear recollection.”
    “Your parents were fishers?”
    “Yes. Landlubbers who set to sea for the adventure. Then I came along.”
    “That must have added to the thrill of the undertaking.”
    “So, they told me. It must have been very hard for them.”
    “Living on a fishboat with a baby?”
    “I think it leaked some.”
    “Really?”
    “Well, maybe not a whole lot. Enough for me to kiss the earth and thank my lucky stars I survived.”
    “You’re exaggerating, right?”
    “Only enough to make it interesting.”

    Regards,

    http://www.engleson.ca

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The understatement of the possible exaggeration makes it interesting. Hmmm.

      • Peregrine Arc

        Agreed with D. Avery. Pondering, ponderings…

    • Charli Mills

      It makes for a great story to tell, and I like the title, Bill. Your dialog creates a great visual scene.

  10. Bladud Fleas

    Thanks for the challenging prompt! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch! Glad you could join us!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Kay!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Ritu!

      • Ritu

        😀

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Henrietta!

    • Jules

      Excellent!

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

    • Liz H

      Mwahahahahahaha…I’ll have to remember that, for next time! 😀

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I like your humor, Joelle!

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Hooked

    “Earnest, I’ll teach you all you need to know about fishing.”
    Unable and unwilling to bait his own hooks, Marge had Earnest use a lure. Earnest practiced casting, the lure flying about in all directions.
    “Earnest, I’m gonna try my luck further down.”
    Marge did not get far. The treble hook of Earnest’s lure pierced Marge’s pants and was firmly set in her ample cheek.
    After the ER, eating take-out fish dinner, Marge admitted fishing could be a pain in the ass. The next time she went, Earnest stayed home. He had all he needed to know about fishing.
    **
    I did it differently this week. I wrote the longer piece that came out for these characters and posted it https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/reeling/
    then pared it down to 99 words for inclusion here.

    • Peregrine Arc

      Hahahaha! This could be made into one of those clever, “cheeky” greeting cards with the black and white old fashioned photo on the front.

    • Norah

      Hehehe. A pain in the ass alright! 🙂

    • Colleen Chesebro

      LOL! I loved this story and had a great laugh! <3

    • Charli Mills

      He caught her! These characters have hooked me, too, D.!

    • Liz H

      Oh! Your final sentence… 😮

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Nicole!

  12. Nicole

    I’m with Harriette, Charli! That’s my kind of fishing expedition.

    • Charli Mills

      It leads to the best catches, too! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      That’s great, Sarah!

  13. tintins

    Fishing Reflections:

    It was the one thing he had in common with his father, their love of fishing. The amicable silence they shared once their rods were cast, waiting for a bite or better still, catch. The only noise came from the stream trickle as water bubbled over mossy rubble and rocks.

    A year after his burial, he packed his most prized tackled, loaded his truck and set off for their spot. He was comforted by the familiar stream bubble and poured whisky from his flask. Casting his rod he whispered goodbye to his boy, remembering the amicable silence once shared.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I was surprised at the survivor… but you knew that.

    • Norah

      Sad.

    • Colleen Chesebro

      Wow… great emotional impact with your ending. I was surprised! <3

      • tintins

        Thanks Colleen:)

    • Charli Mills

      Excellent craftsmanship, Christina. The first part set up the companionship, the second set up the loss, but with an unexpected twist.

      • tintins

        Thank you Charli 🙂

  14. susansleggs

    First Impressions

    I was late picking up my new out-door enthusiast girlfriend to take to dinner at my parents and never noticed something on the front of her wool jacket, but my mother did. On the way home I asked what the small opaque disks were.

    “Oh dear, they’re fish scales. I helped Dad clean the fish we had for breakfast.”

    “I want my parents to welcome you back if you’ll go with me again, please be more careful.”

    “I’ll do that but you should know welcoming a red-neck like me and accepting me is two different things in my book.”

    • Charli Mills

      That last line nails it! Sometimes we are too caught up in the images we project and forget the humanity of new friendships. Good one, Susan!

      • susansleggs

        Thank you. Based on how I feel I am perceived by my in-laws.

  15. tearsofbloodinmyheart

    Albert is motionless. Well, apart from a slight sway, that you wouldn’t notice, unless you studied him carefully.
    His eyes unblinking fixed straight ahead. Jane watches from the doorway. His concentration palpable she hardly dares breath.
    Suddenly the screen door slams shut. Jane jumps. Albert seemingly unbothered, turns his gaze to door. The reflection on the ceiling ripples as the fish dart in and out of the aquarium plants.
    Albert licks his paw, yawns and jumps down from the ledge. His back arches, and he stretches out before walking to the door leaving the fish to think they’ve won.

    • Liz H

      Nice!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I wish to amend my comment. You had strong visuals and cat centric suspense. Cool.

    • Norah

      Well done. I was surprised by the cat.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! An unexpected perspective on a catch and fish game!

  16. Liz H

    A little light-hearted fish(ing) tale, since Spring is in the air, and light summer dresses are not far behind…

    Heavenly Timing

    “How about him?”
    Gabby considered, lazily twirling her lariat. “If he finds what he needs on Earth, I’ll hold off collecting.”
    [Continue ]

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      What Liz said. (Kidding, I haven’t even read it yet.)

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Now I’ve read it.
        Pisses me off it takes divine intervention to get people off their phones. But great take.

      • Liz H

        (facepalm)

      • Liz H

        And thanks!

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! I’d think even angels might give up soon on that account!

    • Norah

      A catch made in Heaven.

      • Charli Mills

        🙂 Good one, Norah!

    • Charli Mills

      Angels angled in on this one, Liz!

  17. notyouraveragemomblogweb

    This week’s story is based on something that happened to me when I was a kid. I was finally invited to go fishing with the bigger kids at a family reunion and while everyone was catching fish, including my older brother catching a baby shark, I managed to get my hook stuck on a sea shell. It was funny and a little embarrassing because I wanted to be like my older cousins and brother.

    https://notyouraveragemomblogweb.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/flash-fiction-big-catch/

    • Liz H

      Cuteness always work at the Ranch…Lol!

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, what a sweet tale, Heather! I know that feeling of wanting to be like the big kids, but you caught a good story to later tell.

      • notyouraveragemomblogweb

        When my mom read the story she said that she knew right away what the ending was going to be because she remembers that fishing trip. So I feel I did it justice.

      • Charli Mills

        Excellent! Flash fiction can be a terrific format for telling those family stories.

  18. Frank Hubeny

    Fish Tale by Frank Hubeny

    He wondered if a mermaid was a fish or if he’d catch anything today or if the soldiers would spot him.

    Once he was robbed. They almost killed him with the beating. He didn’t mind dying, but he had to bring fish home to Martha and Peter.

    He was too delirious from the bombings and hiding to catch food. He slept till she woke him handing him more fish than he’d ever expect to see. “For Martha and Peter. And you.”

    As she turned to dive into the water he thought he heard her say, “I’m not a fish.”

    • Liz H

      She WAS listening!
      A unique and well-penned take~~

      • Frank Hubeny

        Yes, she was. Thank you, Liz!

    • Peregrine Arc

      I smell a novella…

      • Frank Hubeny

        A few hundred words is a far as I normally get. Thank you!

      • Peregrine Arc

        You are welcome. A few hundred words a day/week adds up quick. All the best either way! 🙂

    • Norah

      A little bit of magic and fantasy goes a long way.

      • Frank Hubeny

        Yes, and it gives hope. Thank you, Norah!

      • Frank Hubeny

        Thank you, Robbie!

    • Colleen Chesebro

      I love you mermaid tale! Well done. <3

      • Frank Hubeny

        Thank you, Colleen!

    • Charli Mills

      Such a hopeful tale, and yet a lighthearted last line, Frank.

      • Frank Hubeny

        I am glad you liked it, Charli!

  19. Ann Edall-Robson

    A fishing guide like no other.

    Osprey
    by Ann Edall-Robson
    She’d pined for the creek where she’d fished. Riding to the old bridge on her horse, her fishing rod fitting nicely in an old gun scabbard her dad had given her.

    She had heard there was a new bridge and fish were no longer running in the creek. Sad, she thought as she drove on the gravel road towards the memories.

    She could see she was being watched from the atop of the steel girders. If the osprey were nesting here, it was a sure sign there were fish in the creek. Good thing she’d brought her fishing rod.
    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/osprey

    • Liz H

      Fish saved only for those who really attend to Nature.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Nice. As long as the roads that lead to memories aren’t tarred there’s hope. Keep your rod handy.
        (What da’ya say Liz?)

      • Liz H

        😮 (dumbfounded)

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Liz, have you ever encountered someone who thought they were being funny but they were really become obnoxious? I do truly enjoy and appreciate your comments and often say to myself, wow what a great comment, it’s spot on. But my overuse of referring to you could seem flip and obnoxious and I apologize to you and all involved for it.

      • Liz H

        No worries from me. Rodeo Clowns are an important part of the show, too. And I did laugh…

    • Norah

      I love that she drove on the gravel road towards memories, and that she knew to look for the ospreys and their secret message.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        There is much we can learn from Mother Nature’s tutors if we pay attention.

      • Norah

        True!

    • Charli Mills

      Osprey are wonderful fisher birds and they like being around people, too. I miss them from my north Idaho days on Elmira Pond. I’ll keep an eye out for loons to point the way. Good flash, Ann!

  20. Peregrine Arc

    Mermaid Therapy

    “Mermaid therapy, this way please. Swim, lightly. Come now.”

    “Excuse me, my good merman–is this the meeting spot?”

    “Depends, what meeting are you looking for?”

    “The symposium for mermaid therapy…?”

    “Why, yes–I’m the therapist. Now tell me, what ails you? Come now, no one’s around.”

    “It’s my son, Crustacean. He keeps having nightmares about hooks floating above his head. Ever since the incident with the trawler last summer, he hasn’t been the same. Can you help us? We’re desperate for relief.”

    “Yes, I can. I have one word: magnets.”

    https://peregrinearc.com/2018/04/29/flash-fiction-april-26th-mermaid-therapy/#more-370

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I am amending my comment.
        There must be all kinds of therapies and healing needed for the undersea creatures. You presented that idea in a fun and unique.

    • Norah

      I have heard that magnets have many healing qualities. They’d work well to disempower hooks.

    • Charli Mills

      Even mermaids have therapy! Magnet therapy! A clever take on the prompt!

      • Peregrine Arc

        Thanks! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Miriam!

      • Miriam Hurdle

        You’re welcome, Charli. I’ll be on the road in May. Mother’s Day and vacation in Alaska. I’ll see how it goes.

  21. Shallow Reflections

    I didn’t want to write about fishing this week and thought I might take a week off. And then this idea came to me. I forgot to put the name of my FF in the form.

    Impossible homework assignment

    “Mom, the worst thing happened today!” said Charli, flinging her backpack onto the counter.

    “Oh, what?” asked her longsuffering mother, immune to teen melodrama with daily exposure.

    “Mrs. Mills is making us write an essay about fishing. The thought of slimy worms and stinky fish make me sick, and I don’t want to write about it.”

    “Perhaps she wants you to stretch your writing muscles,” her mother said.

    “She’ll be sorry when she sees puke stains on my paper.”

    “I’m sure you can do it.”

    “No, I can’t! What’s for dinner? I’m starving.”

    “Fish sticks and French fries.”

    “Yum!”

    https://www.shallowreflections.com/impossible-homework-assignment/

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I see what you did there. Yet real fish sticks in her craw.

      • Shallow Reflections

        Yup! You not only got the point but left a clever comment that made me laugh.

    • Charli Mills

      Nothing like some comfort food to overcome an undesirable task (often required in order to have the said comfort). Fun flash, Molly!

      • Shallow Reflections

        So true, Charli. I have to work today, so on that note, I’m going to go eat some bacon!

      • Charli Mills

        Oh! I had bacon this morning, fried in a cast iron pan. Num, num!

      • Aweni

        ????

    • Liz H

      Donald’s days of eating golden caviar are over!

      • Aweni

        ????????

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Aweni! I’m glad you are having fun! We like to play with our craft as much as work with it. 😉 Thanks for joining in!

      • Aweni

        Thank you for the warm welcome. I look forward to an enduring and educative sojourn here.????

  22. Aweni

    Ps: your piece is lovely.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Aweni!

  23. Robert Kirkendall

    MINE’S BIGGER

    “So I caught a fish this big,” said a fisherman, his hands slightly apart.

    “Oh, yeah? Well I caught one this big,” bragged another fisherman, his arms stretched out farther.

    “That’s nothing,” another fisherman chimed in. “I caught one this big!” He strained his arms apart as far as they could stretch.

    “Hey guys!” announced Spiderman foe and public nuisance Dr. Octopus as he approached. “Wanna hear how big of a fish I caught?” he boasted, a wide smile underneath his coke bottle thick eyeglasses. He eagerly prepared to extend his four extra metallic arms to maximum length.

    “No!”

    https://robertkirkendall.com/2018/04/29/99-word-prompt-fishy-story/

    • Norah

      There’s always one that’s got to go bigger. Funny!

    • Liz H

      Once again, evil triumphs! 😉

      • Robert Kirkendall

        Marvel villains: always spoiling it for everyone else!

      • Liz H

        And Life is so much more interesting because of that! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! The game of one-up-manship never ends! Well, played, Robert.

      • Robert Kirkendall

        Thank you, Charli! I suppose I could have called this Size Matters. 😀

  24. Anony Mole

    POKE POLING

    Poke-polin’.
    Ha! So you poke your pole down in them rocks…
    Easiest fishin’ ever. Aside from slippin’ and falling. And watching for sneaker waves.
    Sneaky waves?
    Sneaker. Waves three times the size of normal. Catch you nappin’, slam you hard, drown you.
    Damn. Maybe this ain’t something…
    Here I’ll show you. Take this squid, hook it, now feed the pole into that pocket between the rocks.
    Hmm… Whoa! What was that?
    That, that’s a deep dark denizen sucked your bait and got hooked.
    Sheesh, fit to shake my arm off.
    Well, pull it in, whatever it is, its supper.

    • Norah

      I hope it is their supper, and not that they’re supper. 🙂

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Makes me nervous to think what was down in that hole. As Norah said – hope they’re not supper. You’ve created a wonderfully tense atmosphere.

      • Anony Mole

        Youtube “poke poling”, you’ll witness the creatures that lurk there. And it is great fun.

    • Charli Mills

      You’ve taught me a new fishing term, Anony!

    • Norah

      Most amusing. 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      No one dies or gets eaten up… yet. Someone might go belly up.

    • Liz H

      Always keep yourself open…there are other fish in the bowl!

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! Coming from you, Anurag, I’m hopefully cautious! 😀

  25. Norah

    This is an amazing post, Charli. It is wonderful to see the ice plow. I can hardly imagine such a thing. I’ve never seen that much ice. It must be sooooo cold. I can imagine, though, your excitement at the birds’ return and at seeing which species will visit in the Keewanaw. Those mergansers are beautiful, but I’m pretty keen on the falcons too. Knowing which fish to eat can be a problem. I use an Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide to help me select, but that doesn’t help solve the problem mentioned in the article by Radio SuperGeek about pollutants and health. I don’t purchase seafood from outside Australia due to the unsustainable and unhealthy production processes of many. In fact, less and less of that is becoming available here.
    I enjoyed your flash about a couple which reminds me of you and your hub. I get that you’d rather hunt rocks than fish. “Teach a man to fish . . .” I wonder how you’d complete the statement, “Teach a woman to hunt rocks . . . “. 🙂
    I have written my flash “Reeling in the Fishermen” and published it here https://wp.me/p3O5Jj-18P. I hope you enjoy.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! Norah, I’m thinking, “teach a woman to hunt rocks” and she’ll be surrounded by bling! It’s good to know that Australia takes seriously sustainable fishing for consuming. Like you say, though, that doesn’t cover the issues of pollutants and health. One would think you could escape such things in the Arctic, but I learned from the Steger Foundation that polymer pollutants end up in the Arctic and in the fish. With cultures like the Inuit dependant upon fishing, they have higher levels than someone living in the middle of the US. Thanks for reeling in a flash!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        The title of the book that speaks to the issues of Arctic peoples is The Fourth World; it is a difficult truth to read.

      • Norah

        Bling! Now that’s a great way to complete that statement. 🙂
        How sad it is to see the extent of the damage we have inflicted upon our world, including its inhabitants. I think it’s going to take a long time and a lot of perseverance to turn the tide, so to speak.

  26. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    The ice cutter makes it look so easy but it must still be cold out there. Loved reading about the birds of the Keweenaw. I love those fluffy headed top knots of the mergansers. I probably would have thought they were ducks without your article (although perhaps ducks are mergansers). Loved your flash which I agree with Norah, made me think of you and your husband.
    Mine https://irenewaters19.com/2018/04/30/fishing-99-word-flash-fiction/

    • Charli Mills

      The ice cutter slices the crust like butter, but that’s a lot of weight and pressure! Aren’t those mergansers great? I love their heads! They are considered fish-eating ducks. And evidently, they are migrating past to go across Lake Superior to Canada. In North Idaho, they nested. So no, lingering mergansers. Yes, I think I had wishful thoughts in mind as I wrote! Thank you for flashing your fish tale!

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Thanks for that extra info Charli. Their heads are great. Enjoy them whilst they’re there.

  27. paulamoyer

    I’m slammed with busy stuff, so haven’t been able to comment; hope to this week! Here’s my post and the link to my site:

    Bet on the Lady

    By Paula Moyer

    Jean and Steve had always wondered about the “launches” – big flat boats steered by a fishing guide.

    That Saturday night on Mille Lacs, Wayne steered them to “his” spot. He baited Jean’s hook, cast out. Steve did his own. They waited. In the dusk they spied a rowboat, two men. Waiting.

    A bobble. “I’ve got something.”

    Wayne reeled in the walleye on Jean’s rod, big and flopping.

    In the fish house, Wayne gutted, chatted. The rowboat guys gutted theirs. “We had a bet going,” one said. “I bet on the lady.” He grinned.

    Jean laughed. “I’d bet on Wayne.”

    https://paulajmoyerwrites.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/bet-on-the-lady/

      • paulamoyer

        On this occasion (the story is a BOTS), he didn’t.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Yeah, he kind of gets tossed back. Jean’s the one that got away- from him. Guess he didn’t bait her hook.

      • paulamoyer

        Actually, by being the nice guy and letting her get the fish, Steve got Jean.

      • paulamoyer

        I just couldn’t get more of Steve into 99 words!

      • paulamoyer

        Thank you, Irene!

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Paula! Hope you accomplish all your tasks! A fun take on the prompt.

      • paulamoyer

        Thank you, Charli!

  28. Deborah Lee

    I have been slammed, too. Finally got a flash written this week!

    GONE FISHIN’

    “I’m completely renewed, you know how revitalizing a whole makeover is — new cut, new clothes, new toilette, new everything,” Torrey chirps. She raises one wrist, takes a deep sniff, smiles at Lesley, smiles even more brilliantly at Alan’s attorney across the conference table. Alan couldn’t make this settlement negotiation; business. That suits Torrey. She flips her hair and sniffs her wrist again, simpers at the attorney.

    “Ah, yes,” the man says drily. “Deep Woods Off No. 5.”

    Torrey’s mouth snaps shut audibly.

    “You were angling for a compliment, Mrs. Graff,” the attorney says. “Be careful what you fish for.”

    https://99monkeysblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/gone-fishin-jane-doe-flash-fiction/

    • Liz H

      That may be Torrey’s last makeover–Alan’s attorney is a wise old shark…

    • Colleen Chesebro

      LOL! Well done. I love lawyer humor. 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Spring can often go out with us all slammed! 😀 Good angle on the prompt!

  29. thedarknetizen

    TERRITORY:

    As I move around, I see the little ones scurrying about. One look at me, and they start running helter skelter. And they should.
    This is my territory. Every rock, every plant, is owned by me. If they choose to make their way here, they choose to give up their freedom and submit to my sovereignty. I am the king. Wait, I see a shadow looming over me. It is humongous, covering my entire territory. I guess it is time for me to exit these waters and head elsewhere.

    After all, there is always a bigger fish out there.

    https://thedarknetizen.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/flash-fiction-territory/

      • thedarknetizen

        Thank You! 🙂

    • Liz H

      It’s best to know when to cut your losses and swim away!

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch! Great story about the big fish outshadowed!

      • thedarknetizen

        Thank You, Charli! 🙂
        Glad to be on board! 😀

    • Liz H

      One fish, two fish…that old guy’s a true fish!
      Liked this very much!!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Ha! Well done. Liked the ‘storm in his eyes’.

    • Charli Mills

      A good Wallie and Friend flash!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Marj!

    • Charli Mills

      That’s such a memorable story from your new book and I’m glad you could use it for the prompt Robbie.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for jumping back in, Lisa! I’m dragging my rear this week, lol!

  30. Charli Mills

    Thanks for sharing!

  31. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Rugby!

  32. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Geoff!

  33. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Colleen!

  34. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Lucy!

  35. Charli Mills

    Thanks for your flash!

  36. Charli Mills

    Ah! An origin story! Thanks, Goldie!

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