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March 7: Flash Fiction Challenge

Franklin Township Hall sits on Quincy hill among extensive ruins of an abandoned Keweenaw Copper mine. The No. 2 Shaft Hoist House built in 1916 still stands with its engineering marvel intact — the largest mine hoist in the world. An entire company town with houses, feedlots, and gardens once sat above shafts dug to over a mile deep. Today, it’s a historic tourist attraction, and the town hall still functions as it always has.

Concerned citizens from across the Keweenaw have crashed the multi-township fire department meeting.

First, let me explain the geography and geology of the landscape pocked with copper. My fellow Michigander and writer, Annette Rochelle Aben, gives a great visual of Michigan split into two land masses by the Great Lakes: picture two mittens. I like to add that the mittens are backward (kinda like some of us Michiganders, eh). If you flip the right mitten backward, the thumb points outward toward NYC. Set the second mitten top and perpendicular to the first and flip it back so the thumb points to Canada.

Here’s a visual from Michigan Mittens (great hand warmers, by the way):

So, when I say I live on the thumb of land that juts up into the belly of Lake Superior, I’m talking about the Upper Mitten (or the UP as downstaters call it). Lake Michigan separates the two landmasses, which is connected by the Mackinac (or Mighty Mac) Bridge at St. Ignace. Yoopers (UP-ers) like to joke that the bottom mitten is below the bridge and therefore all downstaters are trolls. Further, the Mighty Mac exists so trolls can get to heaven (the UP), too. Michigan is its own kind of special! I suppose we can grin and say that about the idiosyncrasies of any place.

And before I forget (again!), I had a blast connecting the mittens with Annette Rochelle Aben on her standout podcast, “Tell Me a Story.” We share more in common than living in the same state, but you’ll have to listen to find out: The Magic Happens Magazine. She lists her guests’ stories alphabetically scroll down to my name (and check out other familiar names, too).

Water surrounds this thumb called the Keweenaw Peninsula — Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Waterway which is a dredged portage canal linking the greatest of the Great Lakes. Early settlers, among them Finns and French Canadians, called this geographical region Kuparisaari. Copper Island. I  like the name Copper Island, but I’ve yet to hear anyone use it. Often, this region is called Copper Country, but locals prefer the Keweenaw. It’s only taken me 18 months to sort out where I live.

As the winter raven flies, Franklin Township Hall is less than two miles from my Roberts Street home (among the “Swiss Alps” of snow piles). I’m close to ruins of old mining communities, and when spring arrives, I plan to hike up to Swedetown to watch the progression of flowers from long-gone homes emerge. If I looped around from Swedetown, I’d walk past the millhouse ruins of Quincy Mine, cross the road and arrive at the town hall. If I passed the meeting place, I’d go down a steep slope and end up in Ripley, which is a remnant of a village where the stamp mill workers and their families lived along the portage canal.

Basically, this thumb has a bone made of copper-infused basalt and little flesh. Soil on the peninsula is sandy and shallow. We might experience deep snows, but we don’t typically get heavy rains. Last June, a 1,000-year flood struck our ridge, washing away the sand from basalt and the land and trees slid. My friend Cynthia who has a retreat where I’ll be working with local authors lives below Franklin Township Hall, Ripley Falls, and Michigan Tech’s ski hill. Part of the ski hill slammed into her home, burying her yard and first floor in mud and rubble.

An old dump from a ravine higher up also purged its treasures in Cynthia’s back yard. Among the kale that reseeded itself on the heap, we picked up old machinery bits, broken glass and pipe stems. Before the snow fell, we managed to get a meeting of all the agencies and citizens — stakeholders — to discuss mitigation. Within a week, equipment dug out more of the rubble, built a barrier of sorts in the back yard and stretched silt netting at the site of the landslide. Then winter came.

Like a little mouse with sensitive ears, we heard through the grapevine that an emergency planning meeting was to be held at the Franklin Township Hall. So, we concerned citizens gathered. The topic was spring thaw. To the dismay of the county emergency planner, we packed the hall like Keweenaw snow. He announced that the meeting was intended for township fire departments. No one moved. He then said it wasn’t really public and he didn’t have enough handouts. No one moved. It’s a civic meeting at a public place and citizens have the right to sit in on these meetings. We exercised our civic power and stayed.

Everyone knows all this snow is going to melt. It always does.

At the town hall, I can’t see out the windows. Curving layers of snow pack up against the window pains blocking the last of the early evening light. I hold the moment in memory and store it for later recall. We listen to fire chiefs respond in grunts and jokes. One details his station’s emergency plan as “high boots.” Yes, the snow will create water runoff. The question is, how do we know if it’s too high?

You see, snow melts from underneath. Even if we employ Civil Air Patrol or enlist volunteers with drones to check on vulnerable water flows, the snow will block the view. Another problem could be ice jams. As larger chunks break away, they can also congregate in bottlenecks and back up water. Following an unprecedented event last summer we enter new territory this spring. Snow sits above average and has an equivalent of 6-8 inches of water. That actually sounds small compared to 300 plus inches of snow over the winter. But that’s what the meteorologists are reporting. And the rest of us wait.

After the meeting, Cynthia and I approached the emergency planner with an idea we concocted — instead of getting frustrated with us concerned citizens, why not put us to good use and appoint a Citizen Advisory Board? He liked the idea and encouraged us to present a proposal to the townships and get the county supervisors to appoint us. We can even count our work toward matching funds needed to secure grants to clean up last year’s landslides and floods. This is how democracy works.

And it began here in the town hall where miners gathered to discuss how to take care of their villages and families. It seems they were better than we are at civic duty. Many of their efforts are now abandoned like the mines. I think of families like Jules’ and others who still volunteer as firefighters or serve in the public sector. How did we stray from that in America? Busy modern lives? Less connectivity? Maybe it is a key to unification. Maybe if we find common ground, we’ll stop bickering over politics and roll up our sleeves and make our towns the kind of places that are welcoming to all.

I like living on this mitten thumb.

This week, I’m wrapping up on my loaner just because I finally figured out where all my settings are and need more time to get my new laptop ready to work. Kind of like getting a new horse settled into the herd. Takes patience. I’m loving my new Mac Air 13, though. I plan to have this laptop for a long time. On Saturday, I get a session with the Apple Techs, and over the weekend my techie friend will transfer my dead laptop’s data. May Acer rest in peace. I need a name for my Mac. Any suggestions? Especially from you punsters out there.

MacApple came with a Magic Mouse. Oo-la-la! It’s sleek and shiny and feels good beneath my palm. So we are going to chitter stories like mice this week.

March 7, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or whiskered. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by March 12, 2019. 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 to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.


The Night of Forgotten Chores (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

Snow crunched beneath Ike’s boots. Danni hastily stepped into them with her slippers, throwing a jacket over flannel pajamas. She grimaced against the blast of cold air. How did she forget her chores? The animals relied on her, especially when the weather turned. She pushed open the barn door, flicking on lights. Three mournful dogs glanced up from the cocoon of their cedar houses. Blackjack nickered his discontent, and the chukar fluttered in their cage. Sluggish with guilt Danni slid her hand into the grain bag to find the scoop. She yelped when instead she grabbed a live mouse.


  1. Norah says:

    Poor Danni. I would have yelped too! What a picture you created of her apparel. 🙂
    I wish you success with your community group and your new MacAir. A magic mouse. I hope it works like magic for you. I used a Mac and mouse for some of the work I did at UQ (Uni of Qld). I don’t know if it was a magic mouse, but it looks like yours. I never felt any magic in my fingertips, though. I hope you do. Perhaps, it’s just a matter of getting used to it. A new adventure awaits! Maybe it’s the Buckaroo’s new Macaroo. I think D. might come up with something more fitting, but being first, mine’s best so far. LOL.
    Enjoy your weekend.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m going through a major MacDevice adjustment trying to set up all my programs. Argh!!! But I do love my devices. Ha, ha — the Buckaroo’s new Macaroo! I’m liking that name!

      • Norah says:

        There are a major differences between the way Macs and Windows computers work. I think that’s often why we are in one camp or the other. I started out with an Apple in the 80s (a IIe) but when I needed an upgrade, the Macs were a lot more expensive and my son convinced me to get a Windows computer, and I’ve stuck with it ever since, but always thought I would have loved a Mac if I’d been able to afford it. When I had to use a Mac for some tasks at UQ, I found it counter-intuitive and decided that I wouldn’t like to have to readjust now. Funny thing is, son is now into Apple as he writes his Apps on it. In the past he didn’t ever use Windows. He used other operating systems that I don’t understand. He’s a computer scientist and is allowed to understand. I’m not, so am allowed to not understand. 🙂
        I’m pleased you like Macaroo. It almost sounds like an Australian Macdonald’s Aussie burger using kangaroo meat. Better hop to it! 🙂

      • Charli Mills says:

        Oh, I knew someone in Idaho who tried to convince me to go with the operating systems your son probably knows. I think the techie brilliant among us like the social freeware system of creating these systems to undermine the tech giants and their monopolies. But I’m finding old buckaroos can learn new macaroo trick! Ha — a McDonald’s kangaroo Big Mac is something I never knew existed!

    • You win, hands down, Norah. Hopping to it with Aussie kangaroo burgers? Yep, you win. I hope the buckaroo sorts out her Macaroo but soon.

      • Norah says:

        That’s funny. 🙂 I was just happy to have a suggestion to offer and it’s not like me to be first in. I’m not really competitive. I’m sure even if you can’t come up with something, Pal and the Kid will. 🙂

    • Norah says:

      Here’s my story for this one. I hope you like it.

      A Mouse Backfires

      “Eek!“ shrieked Granny, toppling back on the chair, arms and legs flailing.
      “Thwunk!” Her head struck the wall, silencing the children’s sniggers.
      Granny slumped motionless, eyes closed, tongue lolling from her slack jaw.
      Barney gaped. “D’ya, d’ya think she’s dead?”
      “Don’t be silly,” admonished Eliza, older and wiser. “She couldn’t be. Could she?”
      The children tiptoed closer.
      “What if she wakes up?”
      “What if she doesn’t?”
      “I’ll check her pulse,” mouthed Eliza.
      Suddenly, Granny jolted upright, eyes staring blankly.
      The children gasped.
      “Gotcha!” laughed Granny. “But that is a clever mouse.”
      “How did you —?”
      Granny winked. “Granny knows.”

  2. Nobbinmaug says:

    We have a mouse who lives in the garage. His name’s Algernon. He doesn’t get flowers, but he did get into a bag of grass seed. Grass seed doesn’t grow in the garage.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Algernon! What a great name — we have dead roses “planted” in our snow hill. Perhaps, flowers for Algernon. Ah, those mice, they do love seeds.

  3. Prior... says:

    I would help too. Nice fiction and cool mits – I like learning more about geography – 😉

  4. Shorty believes in Carrots
    From this a fine Ranch made
    When dealt a bunch of lemons
    she dispensed fine lemonade

    Shorty’s Acer up and shit the bed
    She wrote on with phone and loaner
    Shorty got her shit together
    And is now a Mac Air owner

    Yep, Shorty’s got a Mac
    Does she now make Macaroons?
    And other sweet concoctions
    We hope it’s up and running soon.

    My lip it has a mega-bite
    I’m anxious on this Mac’s eve.
    And what will Shorty call it
    What name will she conceive?

    Is this the powerful Apple
    That Shorty was tempted by?
    Her Acer went and bit the dust
    To give her a reason why.

    Maybe she’ll call it Pandora
    Forever open and unleashed
    Like a wild woman warrior
    Shorty’s words glistening, unsheathed

    If this Mac is Pandora’s jar
    Remember hope remains inside
    Shorty can churn it into Carrot juice
    And at the Ranch this hope reside

    I don’t know what Shorty’ll call this Mac
    But may it long stay fast beside her
    Shorty’s got herself an Apple
    And now she’s sure to make some cider.

  5. jenanita01 says:

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

  6. calmkate says:

    Great you all showed up and stood your ground! Here most things are done by community consultation but I’ve found it to be only token. People on the dole must do community/ volunteer work, means less paid employment when they can get it done for nothing …
    Meanwhile I strongly advocate volunteering to integrate into local community, network and boost our self worth!
    I call mine mac …

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s not a bad idea to exchange welfare support for community work, but sounds like the practice might fall short if it perpetuates fewer paid opportunities. And yes, I find it is good to get involved with a local community to be part of the social fabric.

      My mac waves to yours! I’m finally driving without lurches and stops!

  7. […] This was written with the prompt mouse provided by the Carrot Ranch March 7 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

  8. I don’t especially dislike mice. In fact, they’re kind of cute. Outside. Grabbing one by accident would be a bit of an unpleasant shocker. Poor Danni.

  9. Here’s mine Charli (true story and I’ve condensed it)

    I heard scratching and told partner we had a mouse in the bedroom.
    He flicked on the light, looked around, then switched it off.
    The scratching resumed. Another nudge, he got up to look.
    I saw a shadow and turning on the light saw a little mouse disappear behind the wardrobe.
    Partner threw himself out of bed and whacked everything in close proximity.
    With the bedding wrapped around me, I was in hysterics.
    Not that I was afraid, but the ridiculousness of the situation as he’d been charging round the bedroom stark naked, in all his dangly glory.

  10. Somehow mice get into our loft where they feed on plastic and paper. But the noise of them running across the floorboards is like there are foxes up there.
    Glad you’ve got a new mouse (and computer to go with it). Hope you enjoy getting acquainted.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Mouse do scratch loudly. We had them living in our walls in the house I grew up in and I’d get the jitters over them. I’ve encountered bears, moose, and mountain lions, but I quake at mice. I’m happy to say I’m mouse-free! I sent the Magic Mouse back because I discovered Mac’s trackpad and I’m learning finger gestures.

  11. Gee, I never saw a mitten in the Upper Peninsula. I saw a dog running with his tail (thumb) held up. One man’s mitten is another man’s dog, I guess.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ha, ha! I’m in the dog corner with you, Nan. When I settled here, everyone kept talking about the “mittens” and I couldn’t see it either. I thought it was a bat. But I’m learning to be a proper Yooper, so mitten it is.

  12. denmaniacs4 says:

    I regret that I couldn’t fit in that great Carter Family ballad, Will You Mice Me When I’m Gone, but the numbers didn’t work. As of last Monday, we are down from two cats to one. The one who left us, Shadow, while not a great mouser, was better than her sister and clearly love seeking mice out, even if she left it to her humans to deal with the messy bits.

    That’s Mice-A Conversation for Musicologists

    “Ah, Mick, do you ever ask yourself where we belong in the grand scheme?”

    “Gee, Squeak. Not a lot. Why?”

    “Well, I was thinking. Take music. Sometimes we just pop up in a song…its neat.”

    “What songs?”

    “Glad you asked. I’m thinking of that great Johnny Cash ditty, I Still Mice Someone. Sure brings a tear to my eye.”

    “I do like Johnny Cash…but…”

    “Or, Little Richard’s, Good Golly Mice Molly. That sure shakes the floorboards.”

    “Squeak, don’t take this the wrong way but I think you oughta get your hearing checked.”

    “I hear ya, Mick. I hear ya.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, Bill, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of Shadow. Cats leave such an impression, just as dogs and horses do, too. Part of the family despite leaving us “gift.” Shadow must have had confidence in your ability. Scientist theorizes that cats that leave us mice bits do so because they perceive we are unable to take care of ourselves. Your flash is clever! I think Alice Cooper once sang, “No More Mr. Mice Guy.”

  13. […] Carrot Ranch March 7, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or whiskered. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by March 12, 2019. […]

  14. johnrieber says:

    Here you go, based on a true story:

    Eek! A Mouse! By John Rieber

    My Mom was a “Country Girl.” She grew up with nature, and as they say: “the closer you are to it, the closer it is to you”. When she came to visit my wife and I, she noticed immediately that we had an unwelcome guest in our house. “I can’t catch it”, I admitted. Traps didn’t work, and we didn’t own a cat. Yet, one day when we got home, she informed me the problem was solved. “Did you let it out?” I asked “John”, she replied, “some animals can’t be rehabilitated.” I didn’t ask, and she didn’t offer.

  15. Jules says:

    Charli, I plum forgot to think on a name for your new Apple. Some folks name their cars. I just never thought to actually name my laptop. (But then I haven’t named my car either.) Hmmm…

    How about a familial hit like McCandles? It’s been awhile since you’ve written about your other WIP and I don’t recall the correct spelling.

    Anyway I’m not exactly sure where I pulled my little shrew of fiction prose from. I could take some guesses, but I think I’ll just post it (the title is the link):

    Cosmopolitan Collapse

    The Fashionista thought she’d replace her dogs toy.
    The only place she could find Mookies favorite
    mouse squeaky toy was through the internet.

    The Fashionista attempted to order the toy herself.
    But there was a Troll waiting to capture
    and sell her personal information.

    The Fashionista used insecure protocols
    allowing the nasty Troll to unleash a virus
    that crashed and burned The Fashionista’s
    personal site, the Pet Place and
    several major operating systems.

    The Troll thought it was hilarious
    that his virus was called the Black Plague.
    All because The Fashionista wanted
    a squeaky rodent toy for her dog.


    The Black Plague…Due to climate change in Asia, rodents began to flee the dried out grasslands to more populated areas, spreading the disease. (from Wiki)

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hey Jules, the Book Fairy showed up at my door today! Thank you for the reading material.<3 My kids used to name our vehicles and animals and for a creative crew, they weren't very creative! We had CarCar, TruckTruck, and a horse named Happy Animal. 😀 I like the link to the McCanles family (many spellings, but I'm dropping the "d" as they did so). I've been going with Norah's Macaroo, so I think officially, The McCanles Macaroo — TMM.

      A chillingly funny flash — definitely dark humor. Your note about the Black Plague is intriguing as I didn't realize its origin other than it came from rats.

  16. […] you’d like to join us please follow my link to the ranch. Would love to see you there. We have lots of […]

  17. Grabbing a live mouse … eww, make me shudder thinking about it.
    I hope Spring thaw doesn’t create too many problems for you and your community.
    Today as I was typing my flash fiction for this week I looked down at my Word screen and noticed that the word count was stuck on 20. I panicked a little but figured it out. If this ever happens to anyone else ….. save what you’re typing and close the program. When you reopen your document the word count should then work.
    Here’s mine for this week.
    I’ll be back over the weekend to read everyone else’s flash.

    • Jules says:

      I can see that description fitting a few people I know…

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’ve had so many encounters with mice that the thought of grabbing one is not a pleasant idea! Is the thaw happening your way? Yesterday and today were warm and we have a lake pooling from beneath the Swiss Alps of Roberts Street. We are sending out drones to look at the source of the landslide in Ripley. Not sure what we can do than prepare to help neighbors evacuate. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

      Ha! What a disconcerting glitch. I haven’t encountered that particular one but after I worked with an Apple Tech on Saturday I got locked out of Word Press! Frantic calls on Monday and we figured it out. But I couldn’t like, share or comment on any WP blog including my own. Thanks for the tip with the word count glitch! Sometimes, I need to reset (me, not my devices).

      Fun flash!

      • My house is pretty old – somewhere around the 130 – 140 year mark, so mice are the norm to me. I really do need a cat 🙂

        The weather here is starting to get warmer and some of the snow has melted. I was out last night and the sidewalks were pretty icy but hopefully with the warmer temperatures the ice and snow will be gone.

        Oh wow you must have been ready to throw in the towel being locked out of WP.

  18. Good on you for creating the advisory board! What a great solution! I’ve never had to deal with snow runoff – either lived in the South, where it doesn’t snow so much, or in CA where the weather was basically perfect year-round.

    I loved the prompt this week – mice are interesting critters (or devices), and I have a strange liking for them. Perhaps it was all the Redwall books growing up, or perhaps it was this one time we saved a mouse from freezing in the garden, but I like it. So, here’s to your excellent prompt!

    **Chaircat Mao and Cheeser the Mouse**

    “Chaircat Mao,” asked Cheeser the mouse, “Why don’t you ever chase me?”

    Chaircat Mao rolled his rotund body over and readjusted his luxurious gray coat. “Well, have you ever chased me?”

    “No, Chaircat Mao! That would be silly!”

    Chaircat Mao closed his eyes as if the question were answered.

    Distraught, Cheeser scurried onto Mao’s flesh. Without response, she balanced down to his nose and pulled on his whiskers. “It’s not right, Chaircat Mao! God made cats to chase mice!”

    “Don’t be silly. God made cats to be worshipped. Now stop disturbing my nap.” So, at last, Chaircat Mao slept.

    • Jules says:

      Awe. I really like this story. Kinda reminds me of the Garfield the Cat comic where the mice get along with him. Like your names too!

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m pleased you like the idea of starting an advisory board. We still have to get it accepted by each township and two counties, but that’s part of the civic process. Sometimes we forget that we can get involved in local politics in meaningful ways.

      Where in California were you? My home-state has taken a beating this past year from deadly fires to floods and snow like what we got. But I remember that fine weather. Perfect rancho weather. Then we moved to the mountains and added snow to the mix.

      My eldest read all the Brian Jaques books. I always meant to read them myself, she loved them so much. And we went to a book signing with Mr. Jaques and he was a character.

      Speaking of, Chaircat Mao is the best cat character name ever! I might steal that if I ever get a cat again. There will be Chaircat Maos across the world because of your flash. 😉

      • I was in Berkeley – went to grad school there for a while. So I traipsed about the bay area for those years.

        I have never met a famous author in real life – I hope Jaques us as nice as I believe Richard Adams of Watership Down was. I think I’d still enjoy meeting Jaques, since he shaped some of my childhood!

        And you should steal Chaircat Mao – I’m allergic and doubt I ever get my own Mao!

  19. […] Charli’s prompt this week: […]

  20. Ritu says:

    Here you go Charli!
    Oh, and what to call your new MacAir…

    Majick – because I know you’ll create magic on there!

  21. Yeah to your Mac. Go create some magic with the mouse and your fingertips!!

    My take:

    • Norah says:


    • Charli Mills says:

      The first magic trick was learning that I don’t need a magic mouse! I’m in love with Macaroo’s trackpad that has me gesturing and no longer in need of a mouse. Your flash made me laugh, Ruchira! I think that doors needs oiling right away!

  22. […] Carrot Ranch, March 7, 2019. Prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or whiskered. […]

  23. Peace Offering

    It had to be done. “I won’t have them on my countertops.”
    In the hardware section she reached for the wooden Victors. “Can’t improve on those.” Very effective, though she didn’t like setting them, flinched if they snapped, worried about her fingers. “At least it’s just my fingers.”
    She moved on to the toy section. “There, little doll dishes, perfect.” She took her purchase home to do what had to be done.
    She cleaned her counters. The doll dishes, filled with tasty morsels, she set on the floor. “We can share the food. But please stay off the counters.”

    • Won’t have them on the counter or anywhere else in the house, for that matter. And, really discourage them in the out-buildings, too. The man of the house used to laugh at me setting the “trap line”.

      • I could tell truer stories than this one. I could also advise that if one were ever to be so foolish as to use a BB gun in the house, do not pump it up too much. Ricochet. Saying. (For those of you that are retreating, don’t worry, I have had no mice or chipmunk issues at the A Frame cabin you’ll be staying in.)

      • I am laughing with you, not at you. I can see this playing out. Advise has been stored for future use of the BB gun.

      • susansleggs says:

        D. I have no fear of mice, chipmunks or red squirrels. They don’t want to chew on me. Just Saying.

      • Charli Mills says:

        We might have to have a night of True Stories of Mice around the campfire in Vermont!

    • Charli Mills says:

      That’s a creative compromise, D. I have a similar one for the house cat — snuggles, morsels, and the best cat bowl to curl up in ever, but stay off my desk!

  24. […] to Carrot Ranch’s March 7th 99-word flash fiction challenge using “mouse”. Also this will be linked on Monday to K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge with the […]

  25. Frank Hubeny says:

    Other Worldly

    I move my black mouse and click. I know I should be doing other things.

    “Like what?” That silent voice inside me asks.

    Well, like watching this orange sunset or bothering that white bird sitting for no good reason on the railing or contemplating the other worldly mysteries of this grand universe.

    Knowing I have no clue, I hear. “Really, like what?”

    So I let my inner squeaky wheel, my imaginary “friend”, guide me downward into the depths of another suspicious, weedy, mosquito-loving rabbit hole I have no business exploring. But what else, really, do I have to do?

  26. ShiftnShake says:

    […] only think of this because of Charli’s prompt this week, March 7, 2019: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or whiskered. […]

  27. […] I wrote this in response to the weekly flash fiction challenge over at Carrot Ranch. […]

  28. […] is going to lead to a spring melt that could well threaten many of the homes in the area.. In her Challenge post, this week she shares the efforts of the local residents to influence the efforts of the council to […]

  29. Terrific post Charli and I do hope that your input will be taken on board as I am sure the accumulated knowledge and experience of your unique home turf will be hugely valuable. I am afraid I had two attempts to submit my story. apologies the first one had a typo…. Sally

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m reminding my neighbors that we are the “we” in we the people. If not us, then who will take interest in what happens in our community? It’s a slow process to build a coalition but we are committed. And no worries — you are not alone in your editing process!

  30. […] was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week we’re […]

  31. Nan Mykel says:

    I smell a cat in the house.  That means my time on earth is limited.Hmmn. What can I contribute to the world during my shortened lifespan?I know!  The stepfather who sneaks into his stepson’s room at night silently, on tiptoes to molest him!There he is, stealthily approaching the sleeping boy.  Now on his knees, pulling back the covers. Strike now!  Nails extended, I rush up his feet, up his legs and high on his head. I dive triumphantly onto the boy, whose screams are echoed by the perpetrator.Lights throughout the house.Goodbye mouselife, hello glory.

    My blog is Story Name: Lionhearted
    by Nan Mykel

    I’m not sure about this process.

    • You made it! You can leave a link to your site. If you want your story to be published in the round-up there is a spot up above, just under the post to paste it into.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Nan! A noble mouse story. As D. explained, you are welcome to link to a blog, as well and use the form beneath the prompt if you’d like your story to be published in a weekly compilation.

  32. Ha! We just got new neighbors from Michigan (their son is attending the tech school near you) and they demonstrated where they lived with their hands posed like your mittens. 😀

    For names, I’d go with: Newton, Peterbilt, or Flicka.
    The first, for Newton’s association with apples; the second, because of a truck brand reference (Mack vs. Peterbilt); the third, in reference to Carrot Ranch and your laptop being like the horse that lives there (or brings us there).

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sweet! Yes, that would be Michigan Tech. I’ve seen people do the hand demonstration, too. The mitten thing is, well, a thing!

      Peterbilt! Okay, The Majik MacCanles Macaroo’s nickname is Peterbilt. Although I really like Flicka. Great name scheming, Chelsea. Now to see what I can teach Siri to say…

      • 😀 After they did the hand thing, I told my husband about it and he already knew it was a ‘Michigan thing’ to do.

        You learn something every day, I guess.

        I’m glad you like the names. You can also pick your favorite horse’s name… Or, favorite apple.

  33. The Little Ones
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    The tiny flecks of dust shimmered like specks of gold in the early morning sunlight streaming through the six-pane window. The building was old, but it was obvious someone was keeping it weatherproof, save for the tiny knothole in the corner, near the back door garden entrance.

    The wooden bung had shrunk over time, slipping to one side, going unnoticed in the overgrown flower beds, and allowing those who knew of its whereabouts to come and go as they pleased through its odd shape.

    Thanks to the friendly garden mouse, the Little Ones now had a new home.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Where there is a knothole, there is a mouse way. I really like the way you zoomed in from a wideshot of morning sunlight to an overlooked hole. Thanks, Ann!

  34. susansleggs says:

    I suggest “Runoff” as the name for your new Mac. Thought process is your information won’t run off any more and you got it during the time the townspeople stood up to the council about dealing with snowmelt/water runoff. Not the ring of Macaroo, but unique. Good for you and the citizens that didn’t take no for an answer. May you all fair well in the spring thaw. I’ve been across that seven mile bridge. It’s one of those things that must be experienced to believe. Gorgeous, but daunting. I let out a long breath once we hit ground on the north side. On to a mouse…………

    Meanings Change

    “My mouse isn’t here,” my son lamented
    “He better not be running loose.”
    “I’m talking about my computer mouse, not Whiskers.”
    “That’s a relief. Where could it be?”
    “Probably at school. I used my laptop to work on an assignment about archaic words. I had a lot of windows open looking for examples.”
    “Windows used to let air in, not information. Come to think of it, RAM, byte, virus, web, boot, spam, and cookies have all taken on new meanings in this techie age.”
    “You’re a genius. I’ll write my report on those words and easily get an A.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Runoff has deep meaning, Sue! It’s a nod to purpose on many levels. I’m up to a pedigree of names now: The Majik Runoff MacCanles Macaroo with the nickname Peterbilt.

      That bridge is something to cross, so I hear. I will experience it next summer and like you, I’ll probably feel better once on land. It is problematic in winter for falling ice and sometimes the state closes it.

      Love your flash! I can hear those mind wheels whirring, and laughed at how such common words have evolved in such a short time.

  35. Mus Musings

    “Rats, this is a tough prompt Pal.”
    “You also complained when Shorty said cats. No pleasin’ some folk.”
    “Jist sayin’, Pal. Ya know, Pal, there’s all kinds a mice.”
    “So? The Ranch is a diverse place.”
    “Reckon Aussie’ll write ‘bout kangaroo mice.”
    “Sure, an’ D. Avery’ll write about deer mice.”
    “Moose mus?”
    “Punny, Kid. *Mus musculus* is the house mouse. Deer mice and kangaroo mice are actually a different family. But yer not outta order, rodent’cha know.”
    “Now who’s punny? Pal, how come it’s mice and not mouses?”
    “Jist is thet way.”
    “Mebbe all your grouses are grice.”

    • Norah says:

      Funny! Grice – what a good word.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Mousey nibbles from the Punstering Kid! Grice, hee, hee. Linguistically internal changes in words harken back to Germanic roots of English. Before Latin and French influences entered the lexicon. Meaning mice have been with us a long time!

  36. […] Written as a part of Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

  37. […] over for Carrot Ranch‘s writing […]

  38. […] Charli Mills’ flash fiction challenge for March 7, 2019 is as follows: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or whiskered. Go where the prompt leads! You can join in here: […]

  39. Hi Charli, here is my piece for this week: I’ll be back later to read all the other responses.

  40. I love Norah’s suggestion for naming your new Mac, Charli. I can’t improve on it. You are wealth of information about your state of MI. You know more about it than I do about Maine and I’ve lived here all my life (so far). We have two Maines, too. The Portland area in the south which is more heavily populated and the ‘other’ Maine which is everything north of Portland. As for mice, my husband works at Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor where they raise research mice and perform lots of amazing studies to improve treatment for cancer and other diseases. Mice and humans are genetically almost identical and the Jax mice are the most purely bred mice in the world. How they raise them is fascinating. Now to try to come up with a 99 word story about mice!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Your North of Portland Maine is probably similar to our top mitten, except you get lobster! I went to a communicator’s conference in Maine, back in 2007 I think. I ate lobster everything — in an omelet, a lobster roll, and a boil with clams, potatoes, and corn. Your husband’s work sounds fascinating. I hadn’t thought about how they raise research mice (other than what I learned in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM). We have made so many advances because of those shared genetics. Be sure to share The Dark Netizen’s flash with your husband!

      • Alas, I am allergic to lobster. But I do love the other seafood the Maine coast serves up. I’ve just gone and read The Dark Netizen’s flash and it is perfect! I’m sending a link to my husband. The raising of the mice is fascinating. The staff who care for them go through more levels of security and sanitation than someone going into a hospital operating room. And the mice are treated like kings. Until, you know…..

  41. […] This is written in response to the latest prompt from the Carrot ranch, here […]

  42. […] week’s challenge from Carrot Ranch gave me the […]

  43. […] Mighty Mouse Source:  Flash Fiction Challenge Prompt: Write a story about a mouse. Word count:  99 […]

  44. Of Mice and Girls

    Mighty Mouse was Julie’s favorite cartoon; she sat enthralled on the living room floor every Saturday morning. When the mice got into trouble, he would fly to their rescue, saving them from the mean old cat. She thought him handsome in his tights and cape as he sang, “Here I come to save the day, Mighty Mouse is on the way!”

    He was Julie’s hero, and she had a crush on him.

    Julie had a little doll with a brown ponytail, just like her. When Julie played with her doll, she pretended she was Mighty Mouse’s girlfriend, his love.

    Nancy Brady, 2019

  45. […] In her excitement, she put out the challenge to writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or … […]

  46. Macy says:

    Here is mine on my blog:

    I chose to write mine from the POV of the mouse and once I got started with it I found myself so into it that I had a hard time making myself stop writing and cutting it down to 99 words!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Macy! It’s good that the prompt can get you writing. But you’ll also find benefits to the 99-word constraint, too.

  47. […] Chari Mills: March 7, 2019 Flash Fiction Challenge – What Happened to the Mouse? […]

  48. A lovely post, Charli. I like how democracy works in your neck of the woods. It is not like that here at all.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Robbie! Can you join citizen groups or go to government meetings as a citizen? I’m curious as to the differences.

      • I have never heard of that here so I don’t think so. It would be a disaster as we have a lot of people who protest in a most disorderly manner here. Our parliament sometimes reminds me of a circus show.

  49. I’m so happy for you new Mac that comes with a fancy mouse! I haven’t had a Mac laptop, and my computers don’t include mice. I’ve had hp, Lenovo, Thinkpad etc.except Apple. I used Apple at work, just never own one. Here’s my post.

    What Happened to the Mouse?

    “What is that box?”
    “That’s my infrared camera.”
    “What’s that for?”
    “Did you see the oranges fell from the tree? Something ate up the cores. I wanted to see what happened.”
    “What did the camera catch?”
    “Look for yourself.”
    “OMG! A mouse! I thought all the mice were dead.”
    “I guess not. This one escaped.”
    “Did the camera take the pictures last night?”
    “No, these were taken two nights ago.”
    “Was the camera on last night?”
    “It was.”
    “Did the mouse come back?”
    “No, something else did?
    “Look again.”
    “Oh no, I know what happened to the mouse.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’ve had laptops by many other names, too Miriam. But always a mouse. I think it’s because I was never fond of shortcuts and remembering functions that way. But I’ve discovered the trackpad and I’m loving the hand gestures and no longer need a mouse. Maybe the trackpad is a cat and made the mouse obsolete!

      • Oh, is trackpad about the same as touchpad? I don’t need to use a mouse but I’m used to it. I strained the index finger tendon by intensive use of the mouse. I should get use to not using the mouse.
        I just arrived Portland visiting my granddaughter. Mercy and Will don’t use mouse.

  50. […] it came to me. Following the 99-word flash-fiction prompt Charli puts up every week at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community is just the thing! Without further ado, I give you […]

  51. […] little 99-word flash fiction is a response to Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Unfortunately, life – and a criminal misallocation of time – sometimes has a tendency […]

  52. floatinggold says:

    Oh, it looks like I missed the deadline.
    Sorry for the late submission, Charli.

  53. […] March 10: “I’d Like to Mouse Wheel a Motion,” my poem entry for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this […]

  54. […] “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse.” – a prompt for this week’s CW piece. [Source: CarrotRanch] […]

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