September 17: 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 18, 2020

Ranch radio interrupted its regular programming schedule to deal with mice. First, it was the stripey mouse (aka The Camp Chipmunk), and then the mice squatting in my tea cupboard. Please accept my squealing apology for the lateness of the collection. I’ll offer you a story of mice.

Really, I should have gone camping over break, not the first two days of school. I even had two weeks, which I can hardly believe was that long. How did those days get compressed and shifted so quickly? My calendar bears the marks of numerous scribbles where camping had to be delayed for weather or other pressing issues. I covered my squash and tomatoes, winning an extension for my garden. At last clear blue skies, extra courgettes, and a date emerged.

I reasoned that I could “catch up” at school, and earnestly completed all my tasks from the last term and worked on my thesis plot, planning when I’d schedule my next submissions with my prof. Typically the first week back is a light load. I researched the properties belonging to Northwoods Nature Conservancy and made a date with my COVID buddy (we do outdoor activities together). Sunday night, I even set up my weekly schedule and planned my posts, of which this is not the one I planned. That’s when I realized I double-booked camping with 5 at the Mic.

As I stared at my calendar, I couldn’t understand how this was already the third Tuesday in September. Next, I realized I had a Zoom meeting with my spectacular Rodeo Leaders and that I was the one who asked to move it from Thursday to Tuesday! Groaning, I decided to delay 5 at the Mic and cancel Tuesday night by the Lake but stay as long as I could. Which I did, arriving home seven minutes late only to realize one leader forgot, two thought it was Wednesday, and the fourth had waited 15 minutes for me to show up, leaving as I got on. (I still think they are spectacular and patient with my scattered brain). We all connected off-Zoom and agreed to meet next week. Wait until they reveal their contests! You are all in for a wild ride in October with five contests.

And the mice? Well, first, it was the Northwoods mouse. He was stripey and adorable. As I set up my kitchen camp, he grew excited and galloped over everything I set out from tablecloth to bottle of garden flowers, hopping into my washtubs. I’m careful not to leave out food, so he was soon disappointed. He tried to get into our tents, urging me to be diligent about zipping. Later he ran over my camp buddy’s foot. This was a mouse underfoot! Ah…but we built a rock campfire ring and lit a beach fire right on Lake Superior. It was glorious. The stars hid behind high clouds, and the sun dipped into the smoky haze of the west, turning red. That night I slept with the mouse nearby as waves lulled us all to sleep.

The next day I had coffee, sitting at the shore in agate cobbles. I found ten while tending to my caffeine. The wind shifted, and soon, the waves rose, eventually cresting the high watermark on the beach. I watched rock pickers comb, and soon my camp mouse returned, this time begging. He’d stand on his hind legs, clasp his tiny front paws, and quiver. I told him it was not good that he knew to beg. I didn’t think pistachios, tangerines, or chocolate courgette cake were part of a natural way of eating for woodland critters so wee. It didn’t stop him from bravely checking out my empty bowl. What a sight — a mouse in a bowl!

That should have prepared me for later events in the week.

Back home, I washed, laundered, and repacked my camp gear. I was so tired from my refreshment, I went to bed early, thinking I was ready to hit the books Wednesday morning. Instead, I took care of other business with the Hub. Then I called the Northwoods Nature Conservancy to clarify which sites were “designated” where we camped. The No Camping signs confused us. The mouse didn’t explain. We scanned the website, and under rules for this property, it said camping only in designated sites. We did our best to comply. Again, no complaint from Stripey. A county worker pulled in early, and I was in my jammies and slippers, all bed-headed and sleepy-eyed, smiling and drinking coffee. I said, “Hi,” and he said, “Hi,” and I figured we were in the right spot.

Turns out, No Camping means No Camping. I’m a recent member of the Conservancy and called tp clarify for next time and was embarrassed to admit I camped with the Northwoods mouse (no wonder he was excited — finally — people food). Turns out, they have not been the Northwoods Nature Conservancy for two years. I had carried their brochure for three years until I finally joined, paying monthly to help with their mortgages on these natural places meant for the public and protection from development. We sleuthed the situation and discovered that their old website was still live. They have changed their name to Keweenaw Natural Areas. And there’s no camping at Gratiot River Beach.

But it was one of those serendipitous moments. I have found a place for a rustic Writer in Residence and with my monthly donation, I can reserve the Conglomerate Falls Cabin for a week. I will certainly make this an annual retreat and open it to others once we get to do such things again. It’s a way-off thing, but it is what I’ve wanted to find in our area! Does it have mice? Likely. Mice are natural. This would be in addition to Vermont. And an exchange of residencies with the Vermont Folks. Kid and Pal, Frankie, Stinky, and all.

Once my excited brain subsided, I focused on downloading my coursework. To my horror, I realized this was no typical MOD One. Instead of the light week I anticipated, I had three assignments due Thursday. Here’s the thing with the first week. If a student is late the first week, they are administratively dropped from the course. That’s why instructors go easy and send lots of reminders. With my heart pounding, I raced over to my Thesis II cohort, knowing I had to submit my schedule, and I didn’t want to forget while panicking over three assignments due in 24 hours. To my dismay, I was one of only two grad students who hadn’t yet submitted, and both my preferred slots were taken. I had to choose one of the two left, and both will make my next two weeks nearly impossible. I’m going to have my own two-week mini-NaNoWriMo.

Working into the night, I went to bed before 4 a.m. with two assignments completed and edited. The third, I saved to finish in the morning. I had also promised the Hub that I’d help him move our RV and get it clean to show a potential buyer on Saturday. We have tried to give our rig to one of several veteran organizations, and none were interested. We tried to set it up for a couple who lost their home in a house fire, but COVID broke out, and we never heard back after that. The people who have stored it on their property needed us to move it. We have nowhere to move it to. Land and storage in winter on the Keweenaw are difficult to come by. I’ve tried to sell it, but it’s too big for this area. We can’t move it to a different market because our truck has an engine problem. It’s become an albatross and holds no good memories for me other than the kindness of those who helped us get through difficult times.

Now it’s a hot commodity. But no one can move it. I field at least ten inquiries a day, and that drives me crazy. Hopefully, the couple driving all the way from downstate will haul it home. We attempted to move it, renting an RV spot at the Baraga Casino ten miles from where we had it. I laughed as the veteran who owns the property told my husband we could bring it back if it doesn’t sell. I laughed because I know his wife. I’ve assured my friend we will not bring it back. These vets can’t say no to each other, so we spouses have to mark the boundaries. We both expelled our breath when we safely arrived at the casino without losing it or blowing an engine.

Then we found the mouse nest in my tea cupboard.

It could have been worse. We went through the whole trailer, and it was only one nest but a rank one. Field mice must have thought they found Valhalla. Masses of flies emerged on the outside of the slides. It disturbed me. At least it was outside, not inside. But it is so dirty and so disheartening. We cleared out most of the random remaining items, and the Hub took care of the mice palace. Still, I came home and showered and smudged with sage. We have to return tomorrow with Clorox and the shop vac. Many minor repairs like missing screws and a cabinet door we broke, forgetting how to open the slides properly. I feel like our fate hangs in the balance on Saturday, which is entirely untrue. It just feels ominous. Of mice.

Saturday is also our 33rd anniversary, and iron is the traditional gift. Cast iron? Certainly not an iron for the ironing board or a branding iron. I’ll go with a Dutch Ove made of ceramic sealing iron. I’ll go for selling the trailer to get enough money to one day retrieve our belongings from Idaho. The Hub is now convinced I’ve changed, and he’s always been wonky. Well… The way my brain is lately, maybe it’s me with the CTE and not him. We’ll make a great dementia couple — him with no filters, and me with no recollection between fact and fiction. Anyways, I told him he was right, I’m certain I’ve changed. That’s part of growth. But there’s still that old me who doesn’t really like mice.

September 17, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story of mice. It can feature any variety of the little critters in any situation. Are the character or the inciting incident? Use any genre, including BOTS (based on a true story). Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by September 22, 2020. 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 are now closed. See our latest challenge to enter.

Of Mice, No Men by Charli Mills

In the end, the packrat was her only companion. Clara rode into Vaquero Camp after her diagnosis. What do big city bone-setters know of a woman’s breasts, anyhow? She was born with ‘em and would die with ‘em. Jake said she was foolish. After all, girl babies aren’t actually born with breasts. He’d heard that Flatfoot Bob’s wife had hers reconstructed into perky 20-year-old versions. Clara wanted no men with her. Not the son who left for Portland. Not the dead-beat cowboy who fathered him. Not even Jake, her best friend. Solitude with a packrat set her soul free.

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  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Breathe, Boss. (Unless the inhale has that mice-in-camp-smell) I took your advice and went electric- that plug in pulsing thing has kept my trailer mouse free since installation.
    How cool, you found a Writer residence cabin. Write on!
    If you need to be away from this here Ranch we all understand. Take care of your MFA and mice.
    I feel like Clara’s story with the companionable packrat has just begun.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, it has? That’s great! The RVers in Zion all swore by those devices. They don’t work on skeeters, though. And they only work when plugged in to electricity. The RV is clean, mouse-free, and all systems hold. Still have a hitch glitch, though.

      Got coursework turned in narrowly in time. I’m not in good shape for my thesis but working it every day. My second submission will be better.

      I think Clara gets a ride out of the mountains, the packrat might come along and take over the bunkhouse.

  2. Susan Zutautas

    I’ve heard that mice love to make nests in tea bags. Guess they’d be pretty comfortable. Our 33rd is coming up in November. Iron you say, hmm that’s a tough one. I’d go with cast iron too.
    Happy Anniversary tomorrow, you two. <3

    • Charli Mills

      I could see a cute children’s story about a mouse in a lavender teabag, but in reality it was unpleasant. Hey, happy 33rd to you and yours, too, Susan! Yeah, iron. I did find some nice iron gifts on Etsy, though, including bookmarks. Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      Yep. Thanks, Joelle!

  3. denmaniacs4

    I Mouse the Old Days

    “Go on, ask him.”

    “You ask him. You’re the curious one. ‘Sides, he’s always so grouchy.”

    “Okay. I’ll do it. You got that crumb of cheese?”

    “I ate it.”

    “WHAT? That was for him.”

    “It was so good.”

    ” Okay, no cheese. There he is, next to that old cobweb. Hey, grandfather.”

    “Welllll, if it isn’t my favorite grand-pests.”

    “Grandfather, tell us about…the old days?”

    “I’m busy.”

    “Doing what grandfather?”

    “Getting old.”

    “Please tell us.”

    “Fine. We had them by the TV knobs back then, Mighty Mouse. Our own club. The great Mickey.”

    “What happened?”

    “It’s a micetery to me .”

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! Great puns, Bill. I think the glory days ended when Annette Funicello left the Mickey Mouse Club. Micestry solved!

    • pedometergeek

      Mighty Mouse was my hero…him and Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Michael! Good to see you at the Ranch!

  4. Doug Jacquier

    Evocative and haunting piece, Charli. Up there with your best.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Doug.

  5. Doug Jacquier

    Playing it straight this week, with a horror movie PS.

    A Plague Upon Your Houses
    Shakespeare gave us the phrase ‘a plague upon your houses’. Here in Australia, a mouse plague is the epitome of such a curse. Numbering hundreds per acre and destroying crops worth millions of dollars, they even attack pigs and poultry. They can chew through almost any substance, including the wiring on tractors. They breed exponentially until the food runs out. Poison helps but kills us and other forms of life in the long term. Then again, lab mice die to save us from future suffering. But when mice have destroyed your livelihood, that doesn’t seem like sufficient poetic justice.


  6. Colleen M. Chesebro

    OMG!!! I don’t know how you do it all! I’m sending you lots of good jujus to get you through this energy crunch. Hugs, Charli. I’ll be back with a flash later. <3

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for the jujus, Colleen! <3

    • Charli Mills

      Of mice and Sunny. Thanks, Jack!

  7. Hugh W. Roberts

    Wow! You have a schedule busier than the Queen. How did you pack that all in, Charli? Do you have a secret is stretching time to make it last longer?
    Good to hear you got your assignments done, and good to hear the garden is still producing treasure.
    As for the mouse problem, I hope it’s sorted out now. May you be mouse-free for the upcoming new season. I hope you get some time to kick back and listen to the Ranch playlist. I’m loving it.

    • Charli Mills

      I need to stretch, Hugh! Mouse problem, sorted, and cleaned. Coursework continues. And the weather has been beatiful enough that I’ve been able to get out into the woods and write. It makes me happy to hear you are enjoying the Rodeo Playlist. Music is a constant companion.

  8. Jules


    Best to you and yours!!! Celebrate! Take a breather and relax.
    Enjoyed your flash. I went fiction… but sort of based on a kind of documentary about small animals. How they filmed it is beyond me. Maybe they had the story line and then shot footage to fit? It was a fun watch anyway. And so I named the mouse…

    (fiction haibun)

    Suddubsome was one of the batch to hatch in the roof thatch.
    The seasons were changing but the little grey mouse was careful of following her nest mates.
    She stayed clear of cats, hawks, and never entered a human home.
    The out building of the farm and the hollow walls where the pipes ran was good enough.
    When the barn was struck by lightning, she feared she lost her grain supply.
    Suddubsome was clever to not match, (her pace) her patch with (the trap) the catch

    one sanctuary
    and quick wits is all that is
    one needs to survive


    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Jules! Not sure when I’ll get a breather, but the consellation is that most of what I’m doing has meaning for me. Except the mice. Not the mice. But they are history and it feels good to be nearing the close of a chapter.

      I enjoyed your flash because Suddubsome was not in a house! But then I watched the BBC video Doug shared and seeing those mice pour out of the pig barn was disturbing, yet weirdly fascinating, too. I can appreciate a sweet little mouse living by her wits elsewhere.

  9. explorereikiworld

    Happy Anniversary Charli. Wishing you and your hub many more to come! I’m glad you could finish off with your assignments amidst all this chaos. A mouse can be quite a menace…pray it gets resolved.

    Have a fun day today and relax 🙂
    Love n Light!

    My take:

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Ruchira! I had more assignment woes, and they continue. Just coming so fast. I will do my best to keep up. And the mice are history. Well, for now! History does tend to repeat. Love and light to you!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Joanne!

  10. Norah

    That’s a wild couple of weeks over there, Charli. I hope you’re able to stretch time and ride the perfect wave. Look after yourself and don’t stretch yourself too thin.
    I’m not real keen on mice either – cute to look at – in picture books.
    Bec had some pet mice for a while, then some pet rats. We stayed overnight at a B&B when she was about 13, I think. The people had a huge mousery as they ran a mouse circus. Bec thought it was just wonderful and begged for some mice of her own after that. Although they are only tiny creatures, they can still have serious health problems and enormous vet bills. Now she has dogs which I think are much more suitable companions.
    Happy anniversary to you and the hub. Thirty-three has a nice ring to it. Enjoy!
    I hope Clara enjoys her time with the rat and doesn’t miss the company of others. She sounds like an independent woman.

    • Norah

      Hi Charli,
      I’m back with my story. It’s almost the story of what happened to my story this week. 🙂

      The Mice Ate My Homework
      “What happened to your homework this time?”
      “It was mice, Miss.”
      “I thought you got rid of the mice.”
      “We did. In the house. But I left my bag in the car last night.”
      “The car was in the shed.”
      “Should’ve been safe there.”
      “It would, except —”
      “Tommy forgot to let Rusty out.”
      “Rusty usually chases the mice away.”
      “Dad accidentally left the window down. The mice got in and —”
      “They ate your homework?”
      “They thought it was tasty, Miss.”
      “That’s not a smear of peanut butter there, is it?”
      “Definitely not, Miss!”

      • Norah

        Charli, apologies. I may have missed the last two lines off my story when I submitted. So sorry.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Norah!

      A mousery? That would be something to see. Maybe it would desensitize me a bit. Maybe. Doubtful. I never thought about having to take a mouse to the vet.

      It’s going to be wild through April, I think. I’m now remembering my kids in grad school and how I thought I would never do that or how I might have believed my program would be easier (ha, ha!). But here I am. I remind myself, doing what I love, taking a deeper dive.

      I’m curious about Clara, too. Independence and isolation are a fine line for some.

      Ha! I think it is more likely that a mouse would eat (or shred) homework over a dog. I like the series of events that unfold and the mysterious smear that might have attracted a mouse in the first place. I’ll double-check your story before posting!

      • Norah

        The mousery was not only something to see but something to smell!! I don’t know about desensitising.
        It can be a problem for us when we think we can do everything and then feel overwhelmed by what we take on. One word, one sentence, one paragraph, one breath, at a time and you’ll get through until April. You know the little engine. I think you’ve got even more puff. But remember to breathe too.
        Thanks for checking my story. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        The smell must have been eye-watering, Norah! Thank you for the reminder to chug away one breath, one word, one sentence at a time.

  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Of Mice an’ Shorty, a Contradictin’ Pair (count the previous pompts!)

    “Pal, that a high wind a’screechin’?”
    “Reckon thet’s Shorty. She ain’t so inclusive, seems like, when it comes ta mice. Screams inside her heart an’ outside too. Dealin’ with them little critters ain’t her crownin’ glory.”
    “Huh. What happened ta protectin’ nature, ta justice fer all? This is crazy.”
    “Well, she don’t like mice sharin’ quarters thet’s fer sure. I’s wunnerin’ whyn’t she jist go back ta the library cat fer hep? Rainbow’d show ‘em the open road all right.”
    “Reckon she’s took charge a her mouse situation. Still… them resourceful little critter’s is jist sayin’, I got life.”

    • Charli Mills

      Nice mashup of earlier prompt! This had me laughing: “Screams inside her heart an’ outside too.” Yep. But I’d let Rainbow stay if she kept mice at bay.

    • suespitulnik

      I enjoyed being reminded of lots of past prompts. Well done and FUN.

  12. reading journeys

    Hi Charli

    Happy Anniversary!

    Hope you’ve had a chance to relax and recover from all the “adventures” of the past several days.
    And thank you for your generosity of time and encouragement for us Ranchers.

    Your blogs carry so many ideas for the FF.
    I think my FF was triggered by your vivid descriptions of the Camp Site Mouse and the Tea Mouse Nest!! ????

    Keep well.
    Wishing you success in the MFA courses.


    • Charli Mills

      Hi Saifun!

      I’m adjusting my sails and will ride the wind of these adventures. Happy to trigger your FF, although I have now rid my space of mice.

      Thank you!

    • pedometergeek

      Wow, nice photo of the dragonfly. Yours? I got a nice photo of one recently, but this photo has super wow factor.

      • tylermdeal

        Thank you! Yes, I took this photo a few years ago. I named him Zippy, and he’s become my flash fiction mascot. I love taking pictures of dragonflies, the big ones tend to sit still and let you take pictures.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m an accidental punster but you will find lots of punny people here at the Ranch. I enjoyed your reworking of a classic.

      • tylermdeal

        Thank you! I didn’t think of the ugly duckling when I was writing it, but I guess it does fit the… bill!

  13. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    I hate mice – they’re bad enough nesting in the compost heap, but we also get them in the loft and I’m currently ignoring the fact that we have to clear some out of the shed before the winter. So I’ve set my 99-word story faraway in India. Not only is Bombay mix and chai a BOTS, reviewing a non-fiction book – but my husband hasn’t yet told me I’m not the same person.
    Do ditch what you can, including the Ranch, and prioritise your coursework.

    • suespitulnik

      I find it fascinating what other cultures take as common, like the mice on the shelves. I could never fathom eating a half-formed baby bird, but I’ve read they are considered a delicacy to some.

    • Charli Mills

      I must say, Anne, I feel much better this side of having dealt with the mice. Having the task looming was making my brain itch. They are hungry nesters looking for an overlooked spot this time of year. I’ve had success with the sound emitters to keep them away. When we first got mice in the RV, it was on Mars, and martian mice of the Zion mesas are huge! RV neighbors told us about the sound devices and they really do work. Alas, they require eletricity so no good for sheds or stored trailers.

      Chai is calling!

  14. suespitulnik

    Hi Charli,
    Happy Anniversary.
    Your camping escapades sound hilarious and relaxing, too bad you didn’t belong there. Next time you’ll know to go where you are welcome. I’ll bet there will be critters waiting for handouts there too.
    Double booking the calendar is always a let down when we realize it’s our own fault. Never mind. Congratulations on getting all your class work done along with all your other responsibilities. I agree with Norah, take care of yourself too.
    I have always been a critter lover so anything cute can endear itself to me, even a mouse. On to the prompt…

    She Likes Critters

    Tessa asked, “Why did Gaylan’s Mom tell us to wear pants to the party?”
    Michael hid a grin. “You’ll see.”
    “Didn’t she raise mice in high school?”
    “Yup. And she still likes critters.”
    The huge patio at Gaylan’s was decorated like it belonged outside a bar-b-q joint. Oddly at one corner on the ground sat a pie-pan filled with peanuts, elsewhere there were pans of seeds and nearest the barn, there was an in-ground fake shallow “stream.” Tessa discovered when the humans partied, the chipmunks did too and weren’t beyond climbing a pant leg looking for a handout.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Sue! I’m happy to know that if I volunteer to be the beach host for a weekend, I can camp further up from Gratiot Beach on Seven Mile Point. It would be a great way to spend a weekend camping and writing my thesis. Yes, I’m sure there will be critters! I’ll be more mindful not to double-book, though.

      Your flash is amazing and remind me of some in my community who love the “chippies.” Yes, they will also go up a pant leg, too! My nearest neighbor live-traps them and drives them to our town beach. She takes them “camping.”

      • suespitulnik

        A beach host! My grandson would love to experience that with you. He loves the wild areas but alas lives in a crowded suburb.

  15. H.R.R. Gorman

    What a heavy week! By slots, do you mean when you’ll be taking an individual exam/qualifier? I remember for my PhD that I signed up to take one of the first qualifier slots because I had enough data and I was ready to get it over with, but then one professor on my committee couldn’t make it. So they moved it, and later another professor couldn’t make *that* slot until I was the second to last person to go. Crazy world, is grad school!

    Mice are something I would usually write about – but similarly, I’m in my own boat of mess and don’t do nearly as many prompts as I used to. But I’ll share my post from last time we did mice – Chaircat Mao and Cheeser the Mouse!

    • pedometergeek

      Glad you reposted it; I missed it the first time (probably hadn’t been on Carrot Ranch yet), but you got it right. Cats do wish to be worshipped.

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Haha, probably!

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Hi.! Similar to individual qualifiers. Instead of an exam, we have slots to turn in progress on our novels (15,000 words twice last term and now 20,000 words twice this term). It’s extensive feedback — line by line. So even compiling the feedback is overwhelming, let alone the daily generation of material. I had figured out two slots that would work with my schedule. We couldn’t submit before Monday, the day I went camping, and by Wednesday morning, only two slots remained and neither worked. But there I am, those are my slots, ready or not!

      So far, I’ve been blessed with attentive professors and advisor. My SIL had an absolute horror of an advisor on his PhD. He ended up quitting the PhD program and settling for his Masters. My daughter had greater struggles with her professors than her work, so I was prepared to experience something crazy, but so far, they’ve been gold. My SIL thinks its the difference between research and the arts but I’ve heard MFA horror stories, too. SNHU lives up to being student centric even at the grad-school level. And rigorous!

      Thatnks for gently pointing out I’m repeating prompts, lol! I blocked the former mouse prompt from memory, evidently. 😀

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Honestly, I just didn’t have time and was looking to see if I had a flash about mice I could fit into the 99 word format. Then I found that post, haha!

      • Charli Mills

        Recollection slowly dawned!

  16. Sherri Matthews

    What a week, Charli! Wow…and mice to top it off. But Happy Anniversary to you both! We got overrun with mice in the garage at one of our houses in CA and got into all my Christmas decorations. I didn’t know until I got them down and cried when I saw all the damage. We also had some get into our camper van, before we lived in it, and they destroyed chair pads and a picnic hamper. Little varmits! Hope you got it all sorted out and hope you managed to get all your work done. Hope too you find a new home for your RV. Loved your flash. And the title. Hugs, Charli <3

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Sherri! Ha, ha! Oh, yes, they are varmits! I remember sharing mice and trailer concerns with you. Hugs! <3

      • Sherri Matthews

        Yes, I remember too! Varmit and trailer stories in abundance! I meant to say too, how exciting about the Rodeo, great to see Colleen and Marsha’s names up there amongst your spectacular line up. Let’s ride, Pony Girl! <3

  17. Liz H

    Hope I’m not too late! And hope you -all enjoy!

    [Three Fine Mice]

    Hickory, Dickory, and Doc have lived with Auntie Dora for near-100 years. A special breed of mouse, they’d been tasked by the besotted wizard Harold to turn back the hands of time. They had done so faithfully since he’d abandoned Dora at age eighteen, astride his interstellar dragon, to restitch the ends of the universe, which goes frazzled every couple millennia.

    Dora had understood the need.

    And, as the nursery rhyme goes, with a gentle forward nudge of its hands, the clock struck one, and down they ran.

    They’d not miss this reunion for a million pounds of Stilton.

    • pedometergeek

      Love this, made me smile, and took me back to Mother Goose days with a twist.

      • Liz H

        Makes me happy!

    • Charli Mills

      I love this imagining of a familiar nursery rhyme! It’s so sweet and yet filled with adventure and purpose. Not too late if the form is stil a magic portal, Liz!

  18. pedometergeek

    Two Mothers, Two Mice, A Similar Story (BOTS)

    In a newly constructed house, a mother sat up late feeding her newborn daughter. Into the quiet crept a mouse. With eyes bright, the mouse watched the mother and daughter. The pattern repeated itself night after night until the mouse disappeared.

    Thirty years later, in a newly constructed condominium, a mother sat up late breastfeeding her newborn son. It was quiet, and a mouse ran across the floor. The motion caught the mother’s eye, but she dismissed it as tiredness. The following night she saw the mouse running away. Eventually, the mouse ventured out, was caught, and released outside.

    Nancy Brady, 2020

    • Charli Mills

      A tale of two mice! The things new mothers see in the wee hours of feeding. Fun stories, Nancy. Not one you’d expect someone to say, “Me, too!”

  19. Prior...

    Happy anniversary – and wow – 33 is special – and iron is fitting for that many years together (and my hubs and I have our “Silver” 25th next spring.
    also – nice fiction –

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Yvette! Cheers to your 25 in Spring!

      • Prior...


    • suespitulnik

      A comparison most women will understand. Hehe.

    • Charli Mills

      And she slides, under the fence with a doozy!

  20. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Anita!

  21. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Frank!

  22. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Donna!

  23. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Hugh!

  24. suespitulnik

    And one becomes many. Good story.

  25. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Kerry!

  26. Charli Mills



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