December 5: 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.

December 6, 2019

My walls are a color between lemon meringue and key lime pies. If you’ve ever eaten a Key Lime yogurt, you know the phosphorescent glow of the paint I slathered to bring cheer to my home. The Hub says he feels like he’s a frog, living on a lily pad. I like frogs, and I like key lime pie. Looking at my walls makes me simultaneously happy and hungry.

Painting was not on the plan. I’m plowing through grad studies eyebrows deep in plots. For a plantser (a writer who writes by the seat of her pants), plotting can feel awkward and frustrating. Yet it’s become apparent that plotting is my weak point, and if I want to get stronger as a writer, I have to work that muscle. Evidently, I needed to paint to plot. Last time I was in school, I had a clean house from baseboards to ceiling. Now, I’m destined to have a colorful one.

Recently, I wrote a 1000-word romance, which my professor critiqued after peer review. It’s interesting, how much harsher peers are with one another. Not that my professor goes easy on us, but she points out the strengths of a piece and makes suggestions for improvement. Peers, like me, are learning. It’s not easy to give productive criticism. It’s much easier to criticize through opinion. That’s a start, but incomplete. The difference, as an example, is that one of my peers flagged my heroine as a dumb country chick. That left me struggling — was it my ability to craft a character or a difference of opinion?

My professor, on the other hand, praised my ability to develop characters, although my heroine didn’t resonate as strongly with her because of a lack of detail in what the character was thinking. The praise gave me enough confidence not to think I went off the rails, and her criticism was specific. Instead of telling me my character was “dumb,” she said my character did not resonate with her, and she offered a fix. In fact, she flagged three places to show me exactly where and offered examples, so I knew what to do.

While I’m working on my MFA to publish, I’m also earning an additional certificate to teach creative writing online. I’m focused on mastering the ability to read novels with x-ray vision (to see the underpinnings of how authors construct books) and critiquing writers to help them improve their manuscripts without slaying their vulnerabilities. I want to tear apart books and build up writers. And I’m practicing as I go.

I’ve painted myself into a corner, though. The dining room is perfectly smooth and ready to eat. The living room needs a touch-up and curtains hung. But, alas, the kitchen has odd angles. I’ve painted the walls I can reach, but there are corners I cannot. That’s where I’m at with my writing. How to fix my corners and beyond my reach? It’s going to look amazing once I figure it out. The upper ledge above the cabinets will be a dark blue-purple, the backboards behind sink, counters, and stove will be dark green, and the remaining walls will be key lime pie. I can see it.

Just like I can see my finished novel. I know Danni’s journey, I know what’s at stake for her. But I’m at the point where I can’t reach all the spaces between draft and finished manuscript.

At times like these, it’s easy to freeze up as a writer. I feel like I have nothing more to type! But I also know that is not true. The brain shuts down with anxiety, but I have a tool for creativity. It’s called 99-words. All this play, practice, and craft we do at Carrot Ranch train our brains to respond to problems with 99-words. This week, I’m writing another 1000-word microburst, and this time, it is in a less familiar genre to me — speculative fiction. I have several ideas, so I’m taking them to 99-words to explore.

The idea I like best is based on a weird dream I had after painting. Maybe the new color induced the strangeness, and yet it was not a nightmare. It felt curious. In the dream, I found hand-made crafts left like gifts in my cleaning cupboard. Among the artistic and woven items were a pair of slippers or moccasins. I had seen a group of strange people of various heights walking confidently beneath the tall branches of a winter tree. One bald man in a full gray cloak turned to look at me, and his face was blurry. I thought it looked like a face seen through a rain-washed window; only the window was clear. It wasn’t scary. It was like seeing water take human form. But why the shoes?

I still do not know why, and I wrote a 99-word story! I’ll TUFF it out and see if there’s a heart or a kernel or a punch to be found. I’ll rewrite it and (surprise, surprise) I’ll plot it out, using a flow chart that I’m building in Canva. I appreciate visual aids, and they make more sense if I create them, thinking about their use. If you are interested in flowcharts, check out Flowchart or Venngage. You can use the flow charts to map your story arc, plot, or show a protagonist’s (former hero) journey. A great model for plotting a story is something you might have encountered, but this is the original Story Spine.

This Saturday, I’ll be at the Rozsa Center listening to a live performance of Selected Shorts. I led a couple of workshops locally to prepare local writers to enter a contest to have a local story read on stage. We don’t know who won, but all the entrants will have their stories displayed at the Rozsa. I’m going early to join other writers for this exciting literary event. I also submitted a story to a contest to win a writing scholarship. I did not get picked as a finalist, but I’ll be studying the stories that did, and I’ll have another chance to enter next year. I also submitted two pieces to a regional journal and wait to find out if my pieces were selected.

I find that I don’t fret after I enter. No, fretting, just forgetting!

One of our Ranchers has met with lit journal success. D. Avery submitted a story that’s now published with Enchanted Conversation, a bi-monthly webzine that publishes original stories using fairy tale, folktale, and mythic themes. It’s more than 99-words and is paired with gorgeous cover art. Check out Wolf at the Door.

Incubation is powerful. I used to read our flash fiction collections at a poetry night in Sandpoint. The Poet Laureate taught me the power of incubating works with a live audience. Poets do it all the time. Musicians jam and come up with new ideas for songs. And we fiction and memoir writers? We write 99 words at a time — exploring, creating, and incubating literary art. Think of all the seeds you plant here! A mighty oak grows from an acorn.

December 5, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a key lime pie. How can you use it in a story? Is it about the pie? Or about characters making, eating, or otherwise engaging with one? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by December 10, 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.

Submissions closed. Find our latest Flash Fiction Challenge.

Curious Shoes by Charli Mills

Jena Warbeck found new shoes in the cupboard under the sink with her cleaning supplies – organic sage scents and purple dust-cloths. The shoes sat in a wreath of woven willow, soft brown leather and handstitched. She stood up and saw the beings with smeared features watching her from underneath the leaf-barren maple. They wavered like a wet mirage. Jena felt no fear. Only peace like when she relaxed with a cup of peppermint tea. Had they left the curious gift in exchange for nabbing her key lime pie? When they evaporated, a raven flew off with the pie tin.

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77 Comments

  1. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    I love your image of stretching to paint the corners. But at least you’ve noticed they’re there. Often we keep our gaze at the same level (in writing as in kitchens) and don’t even see the corners are there.

    I love how you’ve begun to shape your dream into a story. But key lime pie is a tough challenge over here. I’m sure you can buy it, but I doubt I’ve ever tasted it. Just need to find a character who has.

    • Charli Mills

      Corners stretch us, then! Your comment reminds me of your post last week about reading above your level. If we keep our gaze at the same level, we don’t grow (or get all the corners painted).

      I’m surprised to find that key lime pie is one you haven’t tasted! Key limes are small but other than juicing them, it’s a simple recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and zest in a graham cracker crust. Tart and tasty! It’ll be fun to see what kind of character pops up to fill in the pie gap.

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        I didn’t even know that key limes were a particular type of lime – but then we didn’t get them over here until recently, I mean in the last thirty years! Nor do we have graham crackers.
        So I have decided to build my ignorance into my story Makes a pleasant change from Christmas pudding which comes with a fun Christmas quiz
        Can you crack Christmas or does Christmas crack you? https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2019/12/can-you-crack-christmas-or-does-christmas-crack-you.html

      • Charli Mills

        Anne, I’m unable to get key limes in the Keweenaw! I did make a lime pie yesterday, though. You could also make a nut crust from ground almonds or pistachios, too. Now I’m curious as to the origin of graham crackers. I thought it was from the motherland.

        Well, I just learned this (internet makes it too easy): “Graham crackers were originally invented in the early 1800s by a Presbyterian minister by the name of Sylvester Graham, who introduced this snack item as part of his then-radical vegetarian diet which eschewed white flour and spices.”

        Your Christmas personality quiz is fun and also thought provoking!

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        That’s a shame for you, Charli. You’ll have to start importing key limes if ordinary limes don’t have the flavour you need.
        I looked up Graham crackers UK equivalent and it seems they’re similar to what we call digestive biscuits, which is a plain sweet biscuit with whole wheat flour – we usually have a packet on the go! I’ve made desserts with that type of biscuit in the past so I can see what you mean. But until our harvest runs out or goes mouldy, the only desserts we are having in this house are based around apples.
        Thanks for taking my Christmas cracker poll – and I hope yours is suitably cracking.

      • Charli Mills

        The limes I used worked as well as the key limes. Unless I hold a pie contest like Norah’s Jack Horner, I can’t comparably tell the difference. I’ll fudge and call it a key lime pie as a nod to the original recipe. You can get creative with apples, from sweet to savory.

  2. Norah

    What a bright and colourful house. I love colour. Everything starkly white seems to be the trend here but not in my house. I only have one wall painted yellow with blue trim. The other walls are beige/cream/off-white (whatever), but there’s lots of colour about. I think colour and creativity go together.
    It was great to read D.’s story. (Congratulations, D.!) so thanks for letting us know and for linking to it.
    I agree with Anne about the corners and the key lime pies. I’m not sure key lime can be bought here. Finding a key to the story – that’ll be the tricky part. 🙂 You’ve managed it well in your flash story, but then there was no pie in the end.

    • Charli Mills

      Color and creativity make good partners! I like the color scheme of yellow with blue trim, too. White can be the backdrop for colored accents. In Minnesota, we had all “eggshell” walls and the Hub never wanted to paint. I think he knew what I’d do! 🙂 I’m pleased that he likes the key lime. we had Mormon Missionaries help us, and they are a sweet group of young people from out west. He connects well with them and they were greatly encouraging for him to embrace the color. I daresay he’s even happier since we’ve painted.

      I wonder if you can find key lime juice in the bottle? Is there such a thing as lemon myrtle pie in Australia? Maybe that’s a key to the story from your region. Hope you keep your pie better than I did in my story!

      Thanks for reading D.’s story! It’s good to see our Ranchers publish.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Blaming, no, Thanking the two of you for dragging me in off the cold streets of Dontwrite and setting me down at the fire here.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        What a great time for the Hub, Charli. (Your Prince)
        Norah, what colors are optimum for creativity? Are there some that put it into retreat?

      • Charli Mills

        All colors are creative, as we contemplate what each can do. Yes, the Frog Prince is happy. I’ll take that as a HEA for today.

      • Norah

        I think green is probably a good colour for a house – calming. But I’m not a colour technician.
        I haven’t seen key lime juice in a bottle. I haven’t had a lemon myrtle pie but I’ve had a lemon myrtle self-saucing pudding. It was amazing. I hadn’t thought about writing about it. I was intending to do mango cream pie. I’ll think on it some more. 🙂
        It is great to see the successes of so many ranchers.

      • Charli Mills

        Lemon myrtle self-saucing pudding does sound amazing! I looked up a recipe and it calls for lemon myrtle powder. So, now I’m wondering if you can find key lime powder? A mango cream pie will do very well!

    • Norah

      I’m back with my story. There’s no key, but there is mention of a key lime pie (just a mention).
      The Pie Contest
      The instructions demanding no sampling until after judging challenged Jack as he proceeded along the tables. With hands clasped behind his back, he read the labels: key lime, desert cherry, lemon myrtle … He paused at his favourite — Christmas pie. A splinter of crust on the cloth spoiled the sumptuous display, he reasoned. Though using the utmost discretion, he was caught and banished to the corner. The harshest possible punishment already dispensed, he grabbed the pie and shoved it into his mouth. Once seated, he thumbed his nose at the other judges who succumbed and followed him into temptation.

      As Jack would say, enjoy! 🙂

      • pedometergeek

        Norah, I like the Little Jack Horner reference all the way through your piece. Clever, very clever. But then I have come to expect it. ~nan

      • Norah

        Thanks so much, Nan. I began writing a medley of nursery rhyme parodies – Jack Horner, Queen of Hearts and Sing a Song of Sixpence, but opted to just go for Jack Horner. I’m delighted you recognised it. Thank you.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! You wrote a modern and twisted nursery rhyme, Norah! That was a clever way to slip in key lime pie.

      • Norah

        I’m pleased you enjoyed it, Charli. 🙂

  3. denmaniacs4

    Hi Charli, excellent prompt and I was immediately drawn to a couple of my favourite films, Arthur Penn’s Night Moves and John Huston’s Key Largo and then I started humming a basic blues tune and voila, here is my take. I did have to truncate the repeat of the chorus to fit the 99 word requirement but what the heck, its only a song…The Key Lime Pie Blues

    Went to old Key West
    Many years ago.
    Lovin’ was the best
    That I’d ever know.

    No matter what I do,
    How hard I try,
    I can’t shake her
    Or her key lime pie.

    She took me in
    And she fed me well.
    Took me to her bed
    For quite a spell.

    She glowed in the sun,
    Sparkled in the sea.
    When she was done
    There was less of me.

    No matter what I do
    Or how hard I try,
    I can’t shake her
    Or her key lime pie.
    No, I can’t shake her
    Or her key lime pie.

    http://www.engleson.ca

    • Charli Mills

      Film, the blues, and key lime pie — what an inspirational response. I love the chourus, “I can’t shake her Or her key lime pie.”

  4. TanGental

    That’s a great range of colours. You’ve a strong constitution! Keep working at this corners and I’ll keep working at that pie…

    • Charli Mills

      Corners challenge will be met and I’ll use my strong consitution to fill them in. 😉 Keep at the pie!

  5. Jules

    Charli – thank you for the tons of info. And continued success with your classes, teaching and painting!

    I went easy with: #55 Key Rate Duration

    There was a calm to the evening. Until I remembered I needed to call my Mom back…

    “Hi Mom, …No I didn’t have to go to the emergency room. Clara came by. …Yes the traveling vet. …Do you know how hard it is going to be to walk Dawg on a leash for a week or longer? …From his perspective it may seem like I’m punishing him for all the wonderful things he’s helping me to find. ….The latest – a set of old skeleton keys. …What you’re indulging in Key Lime pie? Please describe each trace morsel you’re eating…”

    ©JP/dh

    There is an explanation at my post as to the title as a banking term. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Jules, I like the technique you used this week — a one-way phone call as if we are in the room and can only hear part of the conversation. I’m glad you like the shared information. The Story Spine is a great plot construction tool.

  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Charli Mills, I will just say thank you instead of telling how I felt awkward upon finding myself publicized in your post. (Yeah, that’s right, a contradiction, wanting to be published, but not public.) Amidst the paint and strange dreams, this post feels like a continuation of last week’s musings on winning. In many ways I have benefitted more from a rejection received two days after this acceptance, for they gave me a spot on critique explaining why that piece didn’t pass muster. They were absolutely and astutely correct and I have already used that gift to fix that hurried piece. I did not place in last year’s TUFF competition but have cultivated and grown some of those seeds, and was able to reap a Santa Barbara Lit Journal publication of the “Destiny” stories that began right here from 99-word challenges. That’s why I once again congratulate and applaud any and all who entered the Rodeo and to all who play here to build their skills and their collections of stories. The weekly feedback and the more targeted feedback the finalists in this year’s rodeo will receive are tremendous gifts, as are your thoughtful and thought provoking posts. Thank you, Perfessor Mills, you are a generous Teacher.

    • Charli Mills

      D. S. Avery, you have bravely achieved set out on the vast Sea of Submissions, and already received gifts. First, you were able to share Destiny’s story more broadly; then you sailed beyond 99 words, and you received and applied tips from sailing masters. It is all awkward, kind of like one’s first year at a nudist colony. (not speaking from experience but sounds awkward). There comes to be a joy in finding where you want to be in all of this literary art. Accessibility. It starts there and you made yourself accessible, accepted the open invitation at the Ranch, grown beyond the friendly pastures. But we gather back here to share our tales abroad. I learn best when I get to reframe information as lessons. Thanks for being such a sparkling star at the Ranch!

    • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

      Congratulations, D, that’s a lovely fairytale retelling. I think that conflict between wanting and not wanting our writing to be seen is quite common. I certainly identify with it.

      • Kerry E.B. Black

        D, I loved your artistry with words in your beautiful fairy tale. It is lush and rich, and I loved it.

  7. floridaborne

    One of my favorite pies!

    • Charli Mills

      From your region, Joelle! We appreciate Florida citrus in the snowy north. It’s like eating sunshine in winter.

  8. ellenbest24

    Those pesky birds will whisk anything away. I miss taking on your challenges Charli, but love to come read a while, to fondle Ideas, hidden in plain sight, in the corners of my mind.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Ellen! You are always welcome to fondle the ideas and kick the tires. Maybe it’ll lead to something unexpected. Thank for reading!

      • ellenbest24

        Always a pleasure Charlie. X

  9. Kirti

    New Baby born dessert
    “Hi, egg!’’
    “Hi Mr. Milk”
    “I’m so bored, because Larissa used me only in cakes.”
    “Oh! I can suggest you to be used in other dish.”
    “Please change into your condensed form.”
    “Abra ka Dabra shoooo! See I have changed myself.”
    “Now, call the key ingredient from the refrigerator”
    Milk misunderstood and calls an ingredient named with ‘Key’
    “Come Mr. Milk and Miss Key ingredient. Jump into this bowl.”
    The egg also jumps into it. Then a spoon puts all the stuff on a crust.
    “Hide, Larissa is coming” All Said
    Larissa- Oh! what’s that, a KEY LIME PIE

    • Charli Mills

      What a fun and quirky flash fiction! It’s great when ingredients mischievously make themselves into a key lime pie.

  10. Jim Borden

    I enjoy reading about your experience working towards your MFA, I feel like I’m right there with you learning how to be a better writer. Thanks for sharing!

    • Charli Mills

      We all get to learn, Jim! It helps me process.

    • Charli Mills

      Ruchira, I once spoke at a marketing conference, presenting on storytelling for businesses. The conference theme was “Do What You Love, Love What You Do.” I remember thinking that one day, I’d be there. And “there” is now. Writing, coaching, learning…I love what I’m doing. Thanks for your sweet and savory offering!

  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Kid, we’re not gittin’ writ this time aroun’. D.Avery’s done painted hersef inta a corner procrastinatin’ work deadlines.”
    “She’s busy workin’ jist now?”
    “Yep.”
    “Huh. I’ll have ta step up, though I prefer shovelin’ cow pies ta key lime.
    *Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night. The evil king had outlawed pies, except for apple pie made with Northern Spy apples and white flour.
    Meanwhile, deep in the forest and far from the swamp, the Key Lime Princess practiced civil disobedience, producing her green pies as peaceful as you please. And carrot cake. The end.*

    • Charli Mills

      Evil — white flour! Good for the Key Lime Princess and peace away from the swamp. Kid stood in well, but I see his writer also pursued key lime pie.

  12. H.R.R. Gorman

    This time, I wanted to comment on your flash, Charli! I think if you expanded that to 1,000 words, you could have a great entry for your class. It’s speculative, fun, and I love the sensory detail you were able to include within just 100 words! There’s also several questions (i.e. how did they get trees in a cupboard? Was it an illusion?) you can use to expand.

    Do you plan on submitting a story that blooms from your flash? 🙂

    Anyway, I wrote a very silly story based off real life (with a few embellishments). Hope it’s enjoyable!

    https://hrrgorman.wordpress.com/2019/12/08/the-king/

    • Charli Mills

      Funny that you should suggest my flash as a longer one, H.R.R. So, I went ahead and wrote a 1,000-word microburst for class, using this flash as a seed. But one thing 99-words teaches me is to try different perspectives. I ended up taking on the first-person POV of a “Crossover.” I came up with who the strange natural elements morphing beings are. Still have to rework it though — I’m not sure why they came or how they do what they do.

      I enjoyed your BOTS, especially the King connection!

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        I bet your microburst is fantastic! I’ll be happy to hear how it and the class finish up, now that the semester’s winding down.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! Well, one of my peers had 53 notations on the microburst, so I’m not so sure fantastic would describe it. At this point, we are learning to critique, so we aren’t working on our thesis material yet, and our professor advises us on how we critiqued. I’d rather turn in raw drafts that I don’t have my heart invested into so that I can take 53 notations of critique and not feel bad. It’s learning. It’s a process. And funnily enough, it was mostly because I did not have enough detail. I’m not sure how to describe it, but there’s a gap between detailing 99 words and detailing 1,000. It becomes like a three-dimensional puzzle with more depth to add. I’ll figure it out. That’s why I’m in school!

        I did outline my entire thesis, a first draft. I’m waiting for feedback. My thesis proposal is due December 29. Hope I nail that!

  13. Colleen M. Chesebro

    Lovely colors, Charli. Here’s mine for this week. <3

    “I hate lemon pie.”

    Susie pouted; her arms folded across her chest.

    “You love Key Lime pie,” her mother reasoned. “It was gran’s favorite. Remember, we decided to celebrate the Winter Solstice as if she was still with us?”

    “Not me. If I eat that pie it means gran is really gone.” Tears leaked down the child’s face mimicking the raindrops sliding down the window.

    Her mother pulled Susie into her arms in a tight hug.

    “Eating Gran’s favorite dessert is our way of honoring her memory.”

    Susie sniffed. “I miss her.”

    “Me, too. She’s always in our heart.”

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Colleen! It’s cheery! Your flash brings up the sorrow of loss, and yet the legacy of recipes. The first bite is hard, as you show. For Yule this year, I’m making a chocolate ganache tart. It’ll look good with the bright walls, too!

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        How cool! I’m making chocolate chip cookies for some of my neighbors. Gotta spread the love around. <3

      • Charli Mills

        Wonderful, Colleen! Keep spreading the love! <3

  14. susansleggs

    Charli, I love colors too. I do believe they are connected to creativity of every kind. Thank you again for sharing your classwork and links. I’m enjoying gleaning. I don’t think I understand TUFF yet even though we talked about in Vermont. So glad Hubs is happy with the “nest” and the helpers turning it into a home. Your dream story resonates. I always wonder where those strange thoughts come from and how the mind connects such different happenings so they seem realistic. On to the prompt.

    Do We Take Her For Granted

    “Doesn’t your sister-in-law usually bring you a key-lime pie on your birthday?”
    “Yes. She must’ve forgotten.”
    “After doing it for more than ten years, probably not. Should we call and ask if everything is all right?”
    “Don’t interfere.”
    “She’s always doing something for us and your family. I hate to admit, I don’t even remember her kids’ names. That’s awful.”
    “Then you call her.”
    ***
    “She did forget because her kids have been having medical problems. She was so happy I inquired and said she was sorry. Maybe we’re the ones who are wrong for not paying more attention.”

    • Charli Mills

      The colors feel creative, though I think my SIL just sees it as “bright.” You will get much from your gleanings, Sue, and just keep practicing TUFF. It’s meant to give you the ability to kill darlings, make new discoveries, and learn how to revise original drafts or stories or ideas. That means overcoming a lot of doubt we all carry as writers.

      I like the character insight. I recently learned that when a character helps another with self-awareness, that is considered a plot twist. Typically for character-driven stories.

      If you were to TUFF this flash, you’d reduce it down to what matters, the heart — and that is the moment of realization. You could rewrite it from any of the other characters’ POVs. Ultimately, you might find other nuggets, and then you could consider the plot (check out Story Spine in the links above!) and revise it.

      That’s what TUFF is meant to do. Push you to write and then rewrite. Too often we only focus on changing our syntax and call it revision. Revision goes much deeper and we need the confidence to get there.
      Your willingness to grow as a writer will serve you well.

      • susansleggs

        Thank you for the explanation Charli. I’ll have to give it a go.

      • Charli Mills

        The more you use it, the more it starts to make sense. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Robert! I like a good pie along with a good laugh!

      • Robert Kirkendall

        You’re welcome, Charli! I feel the same.

  15. pedometergeek

    Pie R Squared

    Laura was a math teacher; math consumed her life. She always calculated each ingredient in her recipe down to the lowest common denominator.

    Her husband’s birthday was tomorrow, March fourteenth, and instead of cake, Daniel wanted pie. Whether blackberry, pumpkin, or lemon meringue, it didn’t matter. He just loved pie.

    Laura went to the store to get the fixings. Returning home, she made the crust before assembling the pie filling. She couldn’t calculate the volume of the key limes which frustrated her because they weren’t strictly cylinders, but with the help of her favorite pi, his pie was delicious.

    Nancy Brady, 2019

    • Charli Mills

      Nan, you had fun with pie/pi. Your character “figured” it out.

  16. pedometergeek

    Charli,
    After many years of white, off-white, and beige walls, my husband and I bought our forever house. In other words, we plan on never moving again and dying there.

    We decided to go with color. Our living room is a deep navy called Ode to Blue, our kitchen is a deep burgundy called Cherrywood, our den is a deep turquoise called Fairview Blue (hence the Fairview Blue room), our upstairs bedrooms/offices are painted Cypress Green, and our bedroom is an even deeper burgundy/maroon that we had computer-matched to the duvet. Offset with white ceilings and floorboards, we love the deep jewel tones. Presuming we never change the colors, our kids will have to deal with re-painting.

    ~nan

    • Charli Mills

      Nan, I love your jewel tones throughout your forever home! That sounds beautiful and rich in ambiance. This one is mine and no more white walls. I laughed over your last comment, too.

      • pedometergeek

        Thanks, Charli. I am glad you found some humor and have embraced the color of key lime. We really like the colors. This is an old house, built in 1852 by a ship’s carpenter, but we have made it our home by changing up a few things (like the former kitchen which is now our bedroom).

        Actually, we have heard that it is easier to paint over dark colors than white because of the amount of pigment in white. Whether it is true or not, we may never know. ~nan

      • Charli Mills

        Ooooh, the woodwork must be marvelous! Our house is fifty years younger than yours, and still the woodworking craftsmanship is beautiful. Modern homes just don’t have that same character or skill in woodwork. We lived in an old Queen Anne triplex in Helena, Montana, built in the 1870s and we made a bedroom for our son in the pantry!

        And what an interesting concept — that it’s easier to paint over dark colors than white. We painted over dark teal and red and mustard yellow.

    • Charli Mills

      You pulled it off, nonetheless, Joanne!

  17. Ann Edall-Robson

    Who Baked?
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    There was nothing modern about the Apple Pie recipes that had been in Liz’s family for generations.

    Hanna had said, “No problem.”

    Standing in the kitchen shaking her head, Liz could see going to town with Mac had been a big mistake.

    No apple pies, no Hanna, only Tal covered in flour, cleaning up, and three large cake dishes filled with…what?

    “Where’s Hanna?”

    “Barn. Farrier came. ”

    “What are these?”

    “Key lime pie squares.”

    “Where did they come from?”

    “I made them.”

    Mac started to laugh.

    “Looks like you picked the wrong hand for the job this time, Liz.”

    https://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/who-baked

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! No problem until priorities — Hanna places horse-shoeing over pie-baking, evidently. But hand it to Tal, he stepped in creatively. Fun take with these characters, Ann.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        Charli, these characters sometimes cause me turmoil when it comes to your promts. There are usually two and sometimes five, six, seven (or more) renditions before I settle on one or a combination of ‘some’.
        As always, thank you for the challenge.

      • Charli Mills

        I like that they have you working with their stories, getting to feel them, explore. Good to have you working your ranch here.

  18. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Sascha!

  19. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Kelley!

  20. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Sally!

  21. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Anita!

  22. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Kerry!

  23. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Tracey!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Meant to Be - Sascha Darlington's Microcosm Explored - […] to Charli for this opportunity and prompt. I’ve been away from Carrot Ranch for a while, getting better from…
  2. Smorgasbord Short Stories – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – Key Lime Pie by Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine - […] week for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  the prompt is ‘Key Lime Pie’.... and I…
  3. pg: 12.6/#55 Key Rate Duration /Aooga, Carrot Ranch – Jules Pens Some Gems… - […] Carrot ranch December 5, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a…
  4. Pie Noir – Kelley Farrell - […] Count: 99 per the rulesWord/Idea/Food: Key Lime PieFor Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction […]
  5. Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up December 1st to 7th – Christmas Music, Festive Brussel Sprouts, Italian Biscotti, Winter Sun and plenty of other Shenanigans! | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine - […] response to this weeks Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  the prompt is ‘Key Lime Pie’.... and…
  6. Flash Fiction: Key Lime Pie | DJ Ranch - […] Author’s Notes: It’s a Friday. It’s a story. Call it Friday Fact or Fiction. Some stories will be 100%…
  7. Keepsake | ShiftnShake - […] Carrot Ranch December 5, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a…
  8. The King – Let Me Tell You the Story of… - […] was written for the December 5th Flash Fiction Challenge on the Carrot Ranch, key lime pie. This is based…
  9. "Memories," #FlashFiction – Colleen M. Chesebro - […] Carrot Ranch, December 5, 2019, flash fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that…
  10. 99 Word Prompt: Key Lime Pie – Robert Kirkendall - […] December 5: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  11. #99 Word Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community… | anita dawes and jaye marie - […] December 5: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  12. Key Lime Pie (flash fiction) – joanne the geek - […] This was written with the prompt of key lime pie provided by the Carrot Ranch December 5 Flash Fiction…
  13. Key Lime Pie (flash fiction) – joanne the geek - […] This was written with the prompt of key lime pie provided by the Carrot Ranch December 5 Flash Fiction…
  14. 6 Sentences, 1 Story – Allusionary Assembly - […] Ranch, (Check out the newest 99 word challenge there! The story must somehow involve Key Lime Pie. https://carrotranch.com/2019/12/06/december-5-flash-fiction-challenge/ I’ve…
  15. Would you like lime with that? | Norah Colvin - […] This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write…
  16. Flash Fiction: Key Lime Pie – Tracey at Home - […] week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch is key lime […]
  17. A Hero’s Journey Begins | ShiftnShake - […] conversation was regarding plotting and story structure, from MFA student Charli Mill’s posts at Carrot Ranch. Our hero is…

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