September 13: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

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

September 13, 2018

Center ice is dry concrete today, formed into a temporary roller rink with lime-green and hot-pink tape. It’s the final game for the Roller Derby at Dee Stadium, summer’s yin to winter’s coming yang of ice-hockey.

The wooden risers ascend steeply from the concrete below. Painted the color of tomato sauce mixed with cream, I realize I’m hungry for pasta. Spaghetti has been a constant in my marriage — soon to be 31 years next week. Like pasta in my life, much has changed. My daughter and SIL don’t eat pasta (no eggs or gluten), and the Hub’s spaghetti is not something he fixes anymore.

Thus I crave it. Our humanity craves the comfort zones it has known. Spaghetti calls stronger than kale chips.

At the make-shift roller rink, I settle for a vegetarian pasty and a cold Grizzly Pear cider. Suomi, the restaurant serving up their pasties, include a sugar cookie to look like a Finnish flag. Hockey, pasties, and Finns color the Keweenaw Peninsula. But so does pasta — as a mining mecca of copper for more than 150 years, Italians ranked among the many immigrants who settled here for work.

Before the roller derby game, I had been hiking around the hillside ruins of the Cliff Mine, erected in 1846. The hike, led by Keweenaw National Historical Park Rangers, included the abandoned Protestant cemetery in the land set aside for growing food and grazing. By 1852, the plot was required for burials. Wives and children succumbed to the dangers of motherhood and infancy; husbands and pre-teen boys fell to mining accidents.

Half-way up the ridge midway between Hancock and Copper Harbor, miners dug where copper once littered the ground in native form so pure, a person could forge it into tools and weapons. In fact, indigenous groups had surface mined copper as far back as 6,000 years ago. The Keweenaw is among the first places where humans mined metals.

More recent mining first attracted Cornish miners who brought skilled labor and technology to the Keweenaw. At Cliff Mine, evidence of their technology remains in the rock ruins, buildings shaped to house processes of stamping copper from ore. A rounded foundation hidden among the overgrowth of maple and birch hints at a whim. Many surnames on fading gravemarkers speak of Cornish heritage.

What boomed on the Keweenaw caused prices worldwide to slump. Mines in Cornwall faltered as those along the wild shores of Lake Superior flourished. Cornwall’s contribution to mining was more than technology — it was in skilled labor of men who spread around the globe with their knowledge. These were the “Cousin Jacks.”

One such Cousin Jack worked the Avery Shaft at Cliff Mine. It took miners 45 minutes to crawl up 900 feet of ladders, and the mine Captain asked this Jack if he could replicate a man engine — a Cornish devised platform built to remove miners from the hole. Although history did not record his name, it notes this man’s ability to improvise one, sparing the miners their long commute.

Often, I think of the hardships of these men deep in the rocks tunnels. Then, I gaze at the ore, unable to stop looking. They must have felt a similar pull, compelled to seek out the veins and follow them. Can you imagine finding copper pieces as large as 120 tons? Nowhere on earth is native copper found in such massive quantities. Elsewhere it must be extracted from other minerals.

For perspective, outside of the Keweenaw, the largest native copper nugget weighed in at five pounds.

Thus I live in a town called Hancock (a Cornish surname) where every restaurant serves a pasty. From outside the Dee Stadium windows that line the top of the wall facing Quincy Hill, I can see the outline of a mine, hoist, and railbed. Hancock also has two Italian restaurants and a smattering of Italian surnames.

Like dragonflies and poor-rock ore, Cousin Jacks and Guidos came together on a ridge that runs through us all in Copper Country. Together we gather to watch our sports and share our food.

September 13, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes pasta. It can be spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, or any variety. It can be a meal or a work of art. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by September 18, 2018. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. Rules & Guidelines.

NOTE: Flash Fiction Challenges go on hiatus September 27 and return November 1 to make way for our 2018 Flash Fiction Contest. It’s free to enter. Five unique contests led by five Rough Writers — Geoff Le Pard, Irene Waters, Sherri Matthews, Norah Colvin, and D. Avery — debut every Wednesday in October. Each contest remains open for a week and has its own take on flash fiction. It’s free to enter, and first place in each Rodeo contest is $25. Catch the 24-hour Free-writes, too (September 19 and 25) to qualify as one of five writers to compete in the TUFFest Ride

If you want to sponsor the event, check out the different levels of sponsorship.

Submissions closed.

Fancy Food on the Prairie (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Nancy Jane slurped her plum. “True story, Sarah.”

Sarah bent over the creek, avoiding plum juice her friend didn’t seem to mind. “Why would someone hang dough from the rafters?”

“To dry it.” Nancy Jane tossed the fruit-stone, then rinsed her face.

“But why such long strands?”

Nancy Jane shrugged. “The ones he brought with him in his Conestoga were brittle as bark but cooked soft. We had fresh-churned butter and chives over them. I still think of trying my hand at dried rafter dough.”

“Is that what he called it?”

“No, he called it something silly, like ‘spag-hettie’”

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  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Penne fer yer thoughts, Kid.”

    “Thinkin’ Shorty’s off her noodle with this prompt.”

    “Ah, come on, have fun with it. Make it saucy even. Write yer pièce de résistance.”

    “Nah, I got pasta resistance fer this prompt.”

    • Norah

      Hehehe! Just what I’d expect of that pair. 🙂

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        “Hey, Aussie. Write? The only pasta should be on a ranch is those wagon wheels. Less Shorty’s runnin’ some sorta spaghetti western.”

      • Norah

        I used to love spaghetti westerns. Clint Eastwood. Lots of fun! Is there such a thing as wagon wheel pasta? I wouldn’t be surprised. There seems to be so much variety. Pity I’m not a fan. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! Yes, there is, Norah, although it’s technically “rotelle.” I still love Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is my favorite flavor.

      • Norah

        It’s one of mine too. I’ve enjoyed most of Clint’s movie’s though some are a little violent for my taste. Does the fancy name ‘rotelle’ give the pasta a different flavour? It’s a good name for a wheel shape.

    • Charli Mills

      Add some bacon to that pasta resitance and all will be well!

    • Sascha Darlington

      very punny! Loved it! 🙂

    • robbiecheadle

      Haha, very well done.

    • anuragbakhshi

      Al dente!

    • Charli Mills

      Reena, I enjoyed the cultural tug between the excitement of the modern variety and the comfort of the familiar. It often does become the luxury.

      • Reena Saxena

        Thanks, Charli!

  2. denmaniacs4

    Remember that Old Elvis Song, In the Ghetti?

    “So many noodles in the world. Whatdaya think…? You gotta choose, eh!”

    Right, buddy. It’s been a long day, All I want is a quiet bus ride home. But that ain’t happening, is it?

    There I am, going all silently rhetorical on the fellow sitting next to me. And all he wants to do is chit-chat about pasta.

    I try and remember what Emily Post had to say about Public Transportation Etiquette.

    Nothing immediately jumps out.

    So, I say, noncommittally, “Noodles?”

    “Yeah man,” he says, “My mom’s Mac and Cheese. It was the best.”

    Yeah, I think…mine was too.

    • Norah


      • denmaniacs4

        Thank you Norah…and I meant no disrespect to Elvis or Mac and Cheese lovers…

      • Norah

        I’m sure none was taken.

      • Liz H

        Elvis would’ve appreciated your take on his song!

    • Charli Mills

      Elvis would approve, Bill! I also like how the playful title makes me think of the mournful song and both humor and nostalgia color your flash.

    • anuragbakhshi

      Ha ha ha, I like this take on the song better than the original 🙂

  3. Norah

    The history of the Keewanaw Peninsula is rich, Charli. Thank you for sharing it. I knew of the Cousin Jacks from a song my friend sings in his band. The Cousin Jacks came here too. Congratulations on your soon-to-be #31 wedding anniversary. It’s quite a feat. We’re up to 44 this year. That’s a feat too. But pasta is not one of my favourites, so I’ll be thinking how to incorporate it into a story. I think the one about spaghetti growing on trees is already taken. Did you share it with me earlier this year? 🙂 [youtube

    • denmaniacs4

      Ah, we could use a few spaghetti farms on my little island…I think I’ll mention it…

      • denmaniacs4

        So, I did mention it and, golly gee, they thought it as a hoax…go figure!

      • Charli Mills

        Good luck with inspiring some island spaghetti farms, Bill!

      • Norah


    • Norah

      Hi Charli, I’m back with my response to your prompt. I hope you like it.

      Pasta for Breakfast

      Papa Bear pushed back his chair. “Not this muck again.”
      Mama Bear stopped mid-ladle. “It’s Baby Bear’s favourite. I— I thought it was yours too.”
      Baby Bear’s lip quivered.
      “Pfft! Sometimes a bear needs real food.” He grabbed his hat. “I’m going for a walk.”
      “Papa!” Baby Bear went after him.
      Mama Bear dumped the porridge, pot and all, into the bin, grabbed her hat and followed.
      “Where are we going?” asked Baby Bear.
      “Somewhere nice for breakfast. It is spring after all.”
      Papa Bear paused outside BreakFasta Pasta, then went in.
      Mama Bear smiled; pasta was her favourite.

      • Charli Mills

        I think Mama Bear had a sly plan all along. Love the BreakFasta Pasta name!

      • Norah

        Thanks, Charli. There is a chain here called Fasta Pasta. I just added to it. 🙂

      • Norah

        I remember that song! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! I had no idea spaghetti grew on trees in Switzerland! Did your Cousin Jacks leave a legacy of pasties in your corner of the world, too, Norah? Congratulations on your 44h this year! According to the Hallmark, you and your Hub should be gifting electronics, and me and mine should gift travel! I’m down with that. Not sure electronics would be exciting. But the 39th anniversary is the best — the gift of laughter is advised! Pasta is not typically my favorite, but not having it, I find it’s still favored.

      • Norah

        It’s a great video explaining where spaghetti comes from, isn’t it?
        We can buy pasties here. Hub brought his love of pasties with him. I’d not heard of them before I met him.
        Gifting electronics. I wonder what kind??? Pacemakers …
        Travel sounds good. Is Australia on the itinerary? I hope so.
        Laughter – that’s a gift we need to both give and receive each and every day.
        I’m not keen on pasta. It would be one of the lasta things I’d choose. (tyop intended – both!)

      • Charli Mills

        Pacemakers! Ha! For us, it’ll be his and her blood pressure cuffs! Glad you were introduced to pasties. I love ’em.

    • Annecdotist

      I haven’t checked the dates, so I might be wrong, I’m pretty sure I recall when this was first broadcast. Since, at that time, we were most familiar with spaghetti from a tin, somewhat soggy and swamped by over sweet tomato sauce, we’d have believed anything!

      • Norah

        I used to have that spaghetti too. I guess it’s still available, but I haven’t bought any for years!

      • Charli Mills

        In the US we had a canned spaghetti and a small round noodle option called Spaghetti-Os. Did you have those, too?

      • Annecdotist

        I’d seen Spaghetti-Os mentioned in other comments, so thanks for clarifying. We call them spaghetti hoops.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for delivering a tasty response, Deepa!

  4. Jules

    Charli and Crew…

    This one was easy for me… more of a BoTS with a just a bit of fiction tossed in for good measure. Please gobble up the title link if you want to go to the blog post:

    Mangia, sii benedetto e mangia!

    Mama thought a good way to teach us to listen was to keep
    our mouths full. Mama would serve us bountiful plates of
    Orecchiette. Sometimes the way Nonna Bella would make
    it, or she used recipes from Nonna Julia. Northern and
    Southern Italians cooked a bit differently. But there was
    always too much food!

    Nonna Bella made rich red tangy sauces. While Nonna
    Julia employed creamy cheeses to dress her pasta.

    Today you can get Gluten free pasta. Though Doc’s say
    a serving is one cup cooked of any shape you choose.
    And that Isn’t nearly enough, is it?


    Italian words:
    Orecchiette (shaped pasta) = a small ear-shaped pasta.
    Mangia, sii benedetto e mangia! = Eat, be blessed and eat!

      • Jules

        Kinda like BMI a useless measurement created by science in an attempt to ‘enlighten’ the masses. Never hurt our grandparents to eat, but then they also moved quiet a bit too.

        Like farmers having steak and eggs for breakfast. Need a big meal for energy. White collar Guys and Gals might not need so much food for mental activity. But breakfast is still supposed to be an important meal.

      • Molly Stevens - Shallow Reflections

        I am with you on that, Jules. BMI is so in accurate especially as someone ages. We need a little extra cushion in case we get sick. And I love a big breakfast. Bring on the bacon!

    • syncwithdeep

      Oh.. I am hungry now

    • Charli Mills

      What a great blessing over a meal. Jules, that’s a tasty title and flash, indeed! And no, one cup is not enough.

  5. tnkerr

    I titled this one ‘Elbow Macaroni’

    Margarite grinned wildly, stepped off the bus and hurried toward me.

    When she got close she dropped her backpack and leapt into my arms.

    “Holy smokes, Kiddo,” I pushed her hair back and kissed her, “what are you so excited about today.”

    “Art class, Daddy. I made a picture of you.”

    “With paints?”


    “With crayons?”

    “No, Daddy. Mixed media,”

    “Mixed media? What’s that?”

    I put her down. She pulled a paper plate from her backpack and showed me.

    Macaroni was glued to the plate. There were pencil lines and hints of orange marker. It looked just like me.

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, what a delightful flash. It’s a wonderful feeling to matter so much to a budding artist as to be rendered into a likeness with elbow macaroni.

      • tnkerr

        Ain’t it the truth?

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Too funny, Joelle! That “h” gets me hung up every time! Glad it gave you an extra spark for your flash.

      • floridaborne

        I thought you’d appreciate the humor and laugh about it. The names of Italian pasta get me every time. 🙂

  6. tearsofbloodinmyheart

    Heres my contribution for the week.

    1975 was the summer that changed everything. I spent most of my time filling my sketchbook with dragons and trolls and pressing small daisies linked into chains between the soft white paper.
    The whole summer moved in slow motion. I made Vodka Jellies, drank ice cold Tab went around barefoot and climbed our neighbours trees to steal fuzzy ripe peaches. Milo said I’d turned feral and called me Wolf Girl.
    At night I made huge bowls of twirled pasta slathered in a garlicky concoction of tomato and oil. In between mouthfuls I kissed Milo and released the feral within me

    • anuragbakhshi

      Awesome. Sounds like an unforgettable summer indeed.

    • Charli Mills

      Love the barefoot and feral ideal of that 1975 summer! Be sure to upload it in the form and I’ll get it into the compilation.

    • susansleggs

      Such a vivid picture of a teacher’s day

      • Ritu

        Thanks! It’s my every day!

      • susansleggs

        My hat is off to you.

      • Ritu


    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Ritu! When I write history, I’m always looking for interesting touch points with things we know today. So I wondered…when did spaghetti come to America and what if someone brought it on the pioneer trail.

      • Ritu

        I love that real, human connection!

    • Charli Mills

      I like that perspective, Heather. It reminds me of an aunt who used to make tamales and how fast her hands worked. It wasn’t until much later that I appreciated the tradition of the recipe.

      • notyouraveragemomblogweb

        I grew up with the smell of my grandma’s bread. She never took the time to teach me her magic, so I wrote this thinking about how I would have liked to have been apart of that.

  7. pensitivity101

    A bit of verse for you Charli

    Tomatoes red,
    Tomatoes green,
    Hundred of marbles
    On vines to be seen.
    Pasta is long,
    Pasta is thick,
    Cheesy or savoury,
    It’s simple and quick.
    Put them together
    A meal in a flash,
    Wholesome and nourishing,
    Even better than mash.
    Add meat and an onion
    For spaghetti bolognese,
    Or kidney beans and chilli
    On somewhat colder days.
    Pasta is versatile,
    Be it boiled or baked,
    One thing I’ve not tried yet
    Is a pasta filled cake.
    Macaroni is pasta,
    Add sugar and UHT
    To make a sweet pudding
    As afters for tea.
    Pasta’s a staple,
    For Hubby and me.

    • Liz H

      (Humming happily in your kitchen, hoping for leftovers!)

      • pensitivity101

        Come to dinner!

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a fantastic homage to pasta, Di! Your verse is as vibrant as the marbles on the vine.

      • pensitivity101

        I’ve still got plenty of those too…….. marbles on vines that is. The toms are still going nuts!

  8. reading journeys

    With apologies to Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, and all poets :

    “And so we sailed in our scallop shells
    And we dined on shrimp scallopini
    And morsels of conchiglioni.
    On the Isle of Gorgonzola
    We spied Medusa, her serpentine hair
    Twirling like spaghetti.”
    from Lazie Anya’s “Travels in Strange Seas”

    Thank you, Charli, for the “feast of stories” every week !

    • Charli Mills

      No apologies needed! I think the Poets would find this verse full of pasta-literati magic. Thank you for adding to the table!

  9. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Kid may have pasta resistance but Marge finds it irresistible and maybe Ilene will too.


    “Ilene loves pasta.”


    “Yes, Lloyd, pasta, and it’s real sweet if you cook at home for her. First meal I had with Ernest, he cooked up his chili lasagna.”


    Ernest joined Marge at Lloyd’s truck. “That’s right, Lloyd. It’s how I got her to stay. Made her pasta.”

    “Pasta. Epic. Thanks.”

    Marge and Ernest returned to the garage. “I bet Nard’s taking bets.”

    Lloyd unpacked his groceries, proud of himself for thinking of garlic bread and for getting not just one kind of pasta but two. He wondered which Ilene would prefer, Chef Boyardee ravioli or spaghettiOs.

    • Molly Stevens - Shallow Reflections

      I just posted my story and it also includes SpaghettiOs. I promise I didn’t read yours first. haha!

    • susansleggs

      Canned pasta…..I wonder if he earned any points with that meal.

    • anuragbakhshi

      Canned pasta? Nah, she’ll know it in one bite.

    • Jules

      A staple for my grands even to this day.
      It’s the neat little spaghetti you can eat with a spoon…

    • Charli Mills

      That’s not going to be an epic meal for a pasta-lover. But then again…those Chef Boyardee ravioli are strangely scrumptious.

  10. Molly Stevens - Shallow Reflections

    Hiking and carbs, can there be a better combination, Charli? A well-deserved heaping plate of pasta after a vigorous walk. Here’s what Chester thought about this week’s prompt.

    Chester, the reluctant dinner guest

    “Myra invited us over for pasta tonight,” Ruth said.

    “Pasta?” said Chester. “Don’t she mean spaghetti?”

    “No, she was clear about it. She said pasta.”

    “Well, la-de-da! That’s what she calls it, does she? Was there another fancy name stuck to her highfalutin pasta, like ‘prime-a-veers?’”

    “She didn’t say. It’ll be a surprise.”

    Harrumph. “I better grab a six-pack of Papst Blue Ribbon. I know she’ll be pourin’ some cheek wine, like chardonnee that will give me heartburn.

    “You can always stay at home if you’d like.”

    “Nah, I’ll go with along you. Besides, I’m clean out of SpaghettiOs.”

    • Charli Mills

      Hiking and carbs seem so autumn-ish. Chester, though, he’s got some serious resistance going on with fancy-smancy stuff. He seems like a spaghetti-o kinda guy!

      • Molly Stevens - Shallow Reflections

        Haha! Yes, Chester would pack a can of Vienna sausages and some Ritz crackers if he went hiking. And he’d eat that horrible jelly the sausages are packed in. Ewwww!

  11. Pete

    David shut the door, shaking his head. Heather smirked. “Who was that?”

    “The Pastafarians,” he said with a flourish.

    “Welcome to Austin, right?”

    “You’d think they’d respect dinner time.”

    “What did he say, about the Flying Spaghetti Monster?”

    They watched the disciples slink down the driveway, the tallest holding a book with a noodle dangling from the binding. “Do you think they’re serious?”

    David shrugged, halfway holding a smile. “No. Yeah. I mean, I think that’s the point. We take this stuff too seriously.”

    “Careful. You might get struck down talking like that.”

    “Wouldn’t that just prove their point?”

    • Jules

      You know one can get ordained as a Pastafarian – and be able to wed folks. And that’s no joke. I actually know someone who is a Pastafarian!

    • Charli Mills

      I would love a visit from a Pastafarian! I’m glad you included them in a flash about pasta, Pete.

  12. Sascha Darlington

    Love your flash! The last line made me smile. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Sascha! Spaghetti would have been an odd word to a prairie gal.

    • Charli Mills

      Lovely tale of Macaroni, Michael. Be sure to put your story in the form. I’d love to have it in the compilation.

  13. Liz H

    Not quite a whale of a tale, but it all starts here:

    A Fish Tale from Lake Country

    It couldn’t be un-seen. It was right there in front of me: the giant spaghetti bowl, the splash of Tante Lianna’s special sauce, meatballs rolling off the table and onto the floor, parmesan spread all over the dining room table, like sleet in a Minnesota mid-June storm.

    And the noodles! Seemingly caught in mid-flight from the bowl, they lay heavy as nightcrawlers escaping a flooded sidewalk, the aftermath of the aforementioned storm, turned to punishing rain.

    And Uncle Wilford, face down in the middle of it all.

    He should have heeded the warning twinge in Tante Lianna’s trick knee.
    [Continue ]

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! Liz that’s a whopper of a Lake tale

      • Liz H

        And it’s almost true! <>

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, yes, the many give and takes in the dance of love — and all around pasta.

    • Charli Mills

      And thanks for the carbonara! I’d love to include your story if you’d like to be in the compilation. Just put it in the form above.

      • Bladud Fleas

        Okay, Charli, I’ll try that.

  14. robbiecheadle

    An entertaining post, Charli. I am sorry your husband no longer cooks pasta for you, Terence likes to cook – long may it last. Here is my link for this week:

    • anuragbakhshi

      I used to be like her for the first two decades of my life, thankfully, not anymore.

    • Annecdotist

      Tried to leave this comment on your post without luck:
      Congratulations getting your book out, Robbie! But I’m rather surprised the web tells you the English were drinking wine in the 1950s and 60s. That’s very sophisticated! But then we didn’t know about dinner parties either where I grew up!
      Enjoyed your flash – I quite fancy the idea of pastry with potatoes.

      • robbiesinspiration

        Thank you, Anne. That is what the web said but it may have been limited to certain circles of people. It wasn’t that specific.

    • Jules

      We work with our prejudices and with what supplies we have…
      Thanks too for the background. Good Luck too with your publication!

    • Charli Mills

      Long may it last, Robbie!

  15. Peregrine Arc

    Pasta Pray Tells: What Are We Eating, Exactly?

    The little girl grimaced in her seat, staring at her plate of pasta. The garlic bread basket sat in the middle of table, steamy and pleasant. Her parents urged her to try her meal.

    The little girl sighed resignedly and tried to eat. The fork and spoon soon fell to her plate with a clatter.

    “I can’t do it!” she exclaimed. “Please, don’t make me.”

    “Why not, dear?”

    “It’s angel’s hair!” the little girl sobbed. “Give it back to them, please!”

    Author’s note: For anyone unfamiliar, angel hair is a type of very delicate pasta. It’s long and golden, hence it’s idyllic name. When I was a little girl, I had angel hair pasta for the first time at a restaurant. I, too, thought it was actual hair from an angel. I smile at this memory even now.

    Thanks for reading and happy writing, everyone!

    • Peregrine Arc

      And sorry for the grammar/typo error. Didn’t see this until just now. May I use recovering from a cold for an excuse? 🙂 😉

    • anuragbakhshi

      Awwww, so cute. Wasn’t aware of that particular pasta.

    • robbiesinspiration

      This is such a sweet flash. I can just imagine this happening.

      • Peregrine Arc

        Thanks for reading. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, that would be a shocking meal to serve a child. I like angel hair because it’s thinner than spaghetti. A fun take on the prompt, Peregrin.

      • Peregrine Arc

        Thanks, Charli.

    • Jules

      Oh, you romantic!

      • the dark netizen

        Glad you liked it, Jules! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, Dark is showing his romantic side again!

  16. oneletterup

    A new, now culinary, challenge! Thanks Charli! I enjoyed your flash – I remember my great grandmother laying out fresh pasta noodles on our dining room table to dry. It seemed like alot of work to me as a kid. But it was delicious.

    My contribution:


    “I think I know who she is.”
    “What should we do?”

    They whisper, but she hears.
    Crouching in the hall shadows. Hidden.
    Disappearing. Like before.

    “Lunch time!” the nice man calls.
    The little girl and little boy are at school.
    She perches on the edge of her chair.
    Her very own place at their table.

    “Honey…” the nice lady begins.
    “We’re so sorry…”
    Looking down.
    “You can’t stay here anymore.”

    The girl freezes. Stares. Forkful of spaghetti suspended.
    Fingers clench into a fist snapping the fork upright.
    Steaming tomato sauce spatters.
    Drips down her hand.
    Red spreading. Staining.

    • Liz H

      I DO want her to find safety and permanency! 😮

    • anuragbakhshi

      That’s just so sad 🙁

    • robbiesinspiration

      Oooh, this is very emotional.

    • Charli Mills

      Those noodles must have been delicious, and a labor of love. Your flash is the moment I’ve been dreading for your character.

    • Charli Mills

      A classic this week, Anurag!

      • anuragbakhshi

        Thank you so much Charli

  17. Kelvin M. Knight's blog

    Haha – could be worse, Charli – he could have called it spag-bog!

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! Yes, that would be dreadful.

  18. Annecdotist

    The perfect combination: history, mountains and pasties! But sorry you’re missing your spaghetti.
    Hancock’s quite a common name over here and I was unaware it was Cornish.
    Love your flash, especially as it’s plum-picking season in our garden. I’ve never been tempted to make pasta from scratch – happy to harvest mine from the supermarket.
    I’ve gone to Italy in my reading especially for the prompt! The second has some lovely descriptions of mountain scenery with reference to mining done there in the past.
    No pasta was harmed in making this story
    Italy translated, urban and rural: The Eight Mountains & The Night of Rome

    • Charli Mills

      I hunt for my pasta in grocery aisles, as well, though it’s been a while. I think Hancock probably is English, but it pops up in mining towns where Cornish miners settled so perhaps a crossover. Plum season sounds about right. We are plucking MacIntosh apples. Love your title!

      • Annecdotist

        I don’t often put much effort into titles, but I’m pleased with this one and should probably aim for an imaginative intro more often. It can sell the story.

    • Liz H

      Welcome! And keep em coming. You made me laugh out loud!

    • Jules

      Welcome to the Ranch – A dream of a tale.
      Now to pursue some pasta – Hope your Doc gets his Mary!

    • Charli Mills

      Good job! Welcome to the Ranch! If you’d like to be in the compilation, you can post your story in the form, too.

  19. susansleggs

    It’s been a rough couple of weeks….but I’ve met all the deadlines. Thanks Charli for the outlet. Writing is indeed a blessing and I appreciate the safety of the Ranch.

    Too Bad It’s True

    Dear Diary, They say pasta is a comfort food. I’m choosing to believe that and plan to make a serving every Saturday from here to forever because it seems I end up at one hospital or another on Sundays. A few months ago I sat with my sister while she and her husband decided whether kidney dialysis was worth the extra time on earth for him. Two weeks ago it was my daughter fighting sepsis (she won) and this Sunday it was my son with a smashed shoulder. The wine is gone tonight, the yummy red sauce pasta awaits.

    • Liz H

      Good grief, hope things ease up (hands over the bowl of parmesan sprinkles).

    • Jules

      It’s a pasta get better…
      Humor is said to be healing… I hope!

      • susansleggs

        Thanks for the chuckle.

    • robbiesinspiration

      Gosh, Susan, I am sorry you have been having such a difficult time.

    • Charli Mills

      Susan, you’ve been riding hard on the writing trail and getting through. I’m so glad you find this a safe and inspiring environment at the Ranch! Your flash expresses those hard seasons when we sit with the ill health and injuries of loved ones, craving comfort food.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! I thought I had hit that point. And to be fair, the bleachers were painted like cream in marinara so maybe I’m with you on the afredo! 😀

  20. johannawritest

    Beautiful, just beautiful!

  21. Jules

    Reely a spectacular read! (pun intended) 🙂

  22. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Patrick!

  23. Liz H

    Ciao bella! <3
    Tastes like more!!

  24. Charli Mills

    Anything plated with wine improves! 😀


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