November 19: 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.

November 19, 2020

Wolferick III has claimed a crack between the wall and wooden frame that encloses a porcelain Yooper Pooper in the basement. Yes, I have a random toilet downstairs and a wolf spider on guard duty about five squares of toilet paper away from the seat.

It’s hard to know where to go next with this story. Do I tell you about the spider or the toilet? Today is World Toilet Day so porcelain wins top billing in this tale. At one time, my toilet stood alone in the open expanse of space where homeowners stored their coal for winter heat. A large antique sink, something I’d call a laundry tray, is mounted next to the toilet.

In 1859, the Quincy Mining Company founded the city of Hancock whose modern population is 4,549 people, give or take several hundred Finlandia College students. Quincy Mine with its massive hoist house sits on the hill above my house on Roberts Street. This was a working-class neighborhood where miners worked the shaft called Old Reliable for 83 years.

In the blip of existence, 83 years is a grandma still driving on her own. But in US mining time, 83 years was stability for two or three generations before it joined the boom and bust cycles prevalent out west where I grew up. Someone constructed my home when work felt stable enough to commit rock foundations and pipes to a family dwelling, around 1905.

My neighbor has a ghost of a toilet past in her basement. She reminded me that in addition to toilet and sink, builders included a drain. It’s handy because I can hose the toilet the way I used to clean bathrooms as a teen when I worked for a state park campground with six public restrooms.

While it makes sense that the lone basement toilet provided a place for a dirty miner to clean up before entering the upstairs living areas, the drain feature hints at another use. My friend and historian, Robin Hammer Mueller, shared an article with me that explains old-time plumbing. The toilet downstairs acted as an overflow in case of a backup.

Or, as other friend said, it was Grandpa’s toilet, Dad’s toilet, something to claim with pride in the dark recesses of the house.

If you read Robin’s shared article, let me explain the difference between a Pittsburg potty and a Yooper pooper — location. Da Yooper is someone from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and you can glean many insights from these authentic locals, including a brief look at an outdoor toilet also known as a Yooper pooper:

My local friends have also informed me that a baby from the UP is also a Yooper pooper, so it’s an informative phrase.

As for the lone toilet, Minnesota has dem too, ya, sure, you betcha (I still remember how to speak Minnesotan).

Maybe we laugh because poop is an uncomfortable topic despite the fact that everyone does it. Listen to Morgan Friedman. He reads Everybody Poops by Taro Gomi (I once heard an Elvis impersonator read this book at a Montana vaudeville show and it is burned into my brain as hilarious). Morgan is more dignified.

But for many, toileting is no laughing matter. Another friend informed me that over 850k people a year die because of a lack of proper toilets. In previous years of following World Toilet Day, I found out that girls and women are susceptible to rape when trying to find a place to go. Imagine the stress and worry.

When I didn’t have a toilet to call my own, I developed a hyper-vigilant bladder and once faced a charging moose to get to a vault toilet because I had to poop. Yet, I also wonder, how did everyone poop thousands of years ago? I’d love to know how Indigenous ancestors lived as one with the land, not contaminating their environment.

Would humanity solve toileting issues if we mentioned it more in literature? How often does a novelist mention toilets in a book? Do you? Well, now is your chance to practice writing about toilets. We will get back to Wolferick III another time.

TWO WEEK DEADLINE: due to the holiday in the US, Carrot Ranch is taking an extended week break. Stories are due December 1.

November 19, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that glorifies a toilet. Capture the marvel and status and love for a contraption we’d rather not mention. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by December 1, 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 now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.

The Prized Possession by Charli

Opal prized something more than her grandmother’s Corning teapot. Leonard had hollowed a dead tree in spring after thaw. He and three pals from the mine heaved their backs and pickaxes to carve a year-round drainage system for their new home below Quincy Mine. It made the attic space above her uncle’s bar more tolerable to know she’d soon have a home for her children. The hardwood floors and oak staircase were fine craftsmanship, but the porcelain seat downstairs captivated Opal’s awe. Who’d have thought such privacy existed? For the love of God, she’d have her own inside toilet.


You May Also Like…


  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Taking a potty break, Boss?
    The Saloon will remain open and remains a plumb fun place to hang out.
    Come by and take up a stool.

    • Charli Mills

      You are plumb full of puns. I’ll wipe the stools off first. 😉

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Yeah butt, took me this long to realize yer asking for flush fiction this week.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! This prompt is going down the drain.

  2. denmaniacs4

    Toi Let or not to Toi Let

    Sometimes the prompt is rather iffy,
    I rarely dwell on it;
    I jot down thoughts…in a jiffy,
    A flash, a song, a sonnet.

    Yes, I have raw writer’s remorse,
    A dose of white porcelain regret,
    You write your bit, stay the course,
    complete your work, your sweet vignette.

    And then one day, a newer tone,
    A wondrous prompt, a flash quite spiffy.
    An account of the basement zone,
    The tailback john, the backup biffy.

    We had but one in my long ago,
    It opened to the kitchenette.
    We would watch the traffic flow
    from table et to loud toilet.

    • Chel Owens

      How’d you push that one out so fast?

      • denmaniacs4

        Well, Chel, I was feeling flush with possibilities and went about my business with quite a lot of zeal…

    • Charli Mills

      I think you and D. are punny tonight, Bill. I now have a new name for the porcelain downstairs — the backup biffy — states exactly what it is and doesn’t confuse local folks about babies and outhouses.

      That’s a whole other story — the bathrooms plumbed off the kitchen.

    • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

      Love this, Bill. Reminds me of the first flat I lived in as a student had an outside toilet. Then the landlord portioned off part of the kitchen to make a bathroom. Seems like yours was similar.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Brilliant rhyme in fastest time.
      I don’t recall a basement john, but one house from childhood had a toilet tucked under the stairs. It too looked out into the kitchen.

    • Norah

      Hilarious! It’s not good to have the toilet too close to the table.

  3. Chel Owens

    This is the oddest prompt ever, but I also can’t get over how you’d let Wolferick hang around. He’d be evicted at my place.

    Enjoy your break (please!)!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m fine with Wolfrick, Chel. Wolf spiders eat black widows, so handy company to have around. He’s not troublesome. He did have a predecessor who caused a spontaneous rodeo in the kitchen one day but that involved a cat, too. My break begins in two days! Thanks!

  4. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    So excited to see this post, Charli. This is the first time in 5 years I haven’t put out a new post for World Toilet Day and you’ve done it! Will be back later to read the full post but your ff beautifully sums up why this issue is so important. Thank you for spreading the word.

    • Sarah Brentyn

      It was you who alerted me to this important day years ago. Ever grateful for that, Anne. ??????????

    • Charli Mills

      Anne, we are sharing the message. You have led the way five years. I finally remembered to prompt it. Good thing that spider was looking at me on the toilet as I pondered what to write.

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        The power of community! So many people still think I’m joking when I mention WTD. Thanks for spreading it further.

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks, Anne! It was a pleasant break. I’m not looking forward to the end of the world! 😉

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I sent toilet paper for Christmas last year. They thought it was funny, then prophetic. Thank you Anne for the word on WTD.

      • Sarah Brentyn

        So did I. 🙂 I got the same response as you, too. Funny then prophetic. (It was the Who Gives a Crap? brand from my post. Learned about it from Norah.)

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Yeah, that was it, Who Gives a Crap. Think I did find the link at your place… those were the days, huh?

      • Sarah Brentyn


      • Charli Mills

        This year, people are going to love our TP gifting!

  5. joanne the geek

    I’ve got spider living next to my toilet too. When I’m sitting there I watch the spider (I don’t know it’s name) explore the wall and the floor. They seem to like toilets…

    I can’t think I’ve mentioned any of my characters using a toilet. I’ve mentioned bathrooms though. I mentioned Melissa showering in My Life in Darkness and looking at herself in the bathroom mirror. I’m not aware of any fiction I’ve read specifically mentioning characters going to the toilet. In Lord of the Rings the hobbits go from the Shire to Mordor without needing to poop it seems. Maybe it was a lack of roughage in their diets.

    I didn’t know there was a World Toilet Day until now. I will have to think on it. It’s not something I particularly like writing about, hell I even try to avoid toilet humour…

    • Charli Mills

      There’s got to be a story about a toilet spider, Joanne! I wonder if it’s a handy source of water. Do spiders drink? Maybe dew, if they live outside.

      Researching a specific period in US western history, I cannot find mentions of women toileting on wagon drives, yet it is “understood” that’s why they wore skirts. However, I’ve found accounts of pioneers taking care of each other during bouts of sickness on the trail that often included loose bowels. That seems more horrific to write about than an everyday poop, yet many journals and accounts include the circumstances matter-of-factly. So what is it with our aversion to toileting, I wonder?

      Ha! Hobbits eat too much sausage and not enough broccoli!

      • joanne the geek

        Thanks, but I managed to write one a few days ago.

      • joanne the geek

        Though everyone here has ignored it ????

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        Note: these are all in novels (not mine) and was in response to your saying you hadn’t read any fiction in novels. Sorry it wasn’t what you wanted.

  6. Gloria

    I didn’t know there was such thing as world toilet day! 850k people a year die because of a lack of proper toilets? Wow! We really do take our toilets for granted. When I’m travelling, I like to know I have access to a toilet. I can’t relax fully until I know where the toilets are in a restaurant or a pub.
    Actually, toilets feature a lot in my dreams. And they’re never private, always out in the open. Wonder what that means!
    Enjoy your week off Charli!

    • Charli Mills

      Anne Goodwin alerted Carrot Ranch to World Toilet Day five years ago and if she reads this, I hope she’ll share a link to a short story she wrote a correspondence between a woman inconvenienced by a bathroom renovation and a schoolgirl in another country who has no access to toilets.

      I understand the need to know where the toilets are when out, Gloria! Pee anxiety exists. I think it’s a basic need for safety. I’ve had such dreams, too. Like deciding, I’ll pee here and no one will notice even though it’s in the midst of people! I usually wake up and realize I have a real need to go.

      Thank you! I’ll enjoy my week!

    • joanne the geek

      That was my submission ^

    • Charli Mills

      Social anxiety can make a haven of the bathroom!

  7. Sarah Brentyn

    Great post and prompt for a critically important day in the world. ??????????

    • Sarah Brentyn

      *important issue

    • Charli Mills

      It is, Sarah! I love that you still give out Who Gives a Crap. I have a case in my living room for gifting!

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Well, who gives a crap? (We do!)

  8. robbiesinspiration

    An interesting topic, Charli. H.R.R. Gorman asked a similar question a short while ago and I realised that I write about toilets quite a bit. I set whole scenes in toilets. Hmmm.

    • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

      Perhaps living in a poorer country you’re more aware of the importance? Does SAfrica have Blair toilets in rural areas like they have in Zimbabwe?

      • robbiesinspiration

        Possibly, Anne. We do still have pit toilets here and every now and then there is a terrible story about a child falling into one and sometimes dying down there. Shudder! Government has tried to install chemical toilets in many of the squatter camps and informal settlements, but a large number of people share one toilet. Since C-19, government has tried to install water tanks in rural areas where people still didn’t have water [you wonder why they waited for a crisis?]. I am currently involved in a fund raising project to raise money to install a toilet block in an inner city school that doesn’t have one. I feel a need to say that the poverty in Africa is a real thing, but it is partly a result of government’s choices on spending. Private jets, expensive cars, and overseas trips for everyone working in government tend to deplete the resources available for upliftment of the masses.

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        Our poverty in the UK isn’t as extreme and we do have toilets, but corruption in government is no different. The most recent is millions spent on accessing PPE that wasn’t fit for purpose, but the ministers’ friends lined their pockets. Yet people voted for them!!!

    • Charli Mills

      Those who line their pockets while other suffer need to experience a week without toilets.

  9. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Tanks Anyway

    “Pal, where ya headed? We need ta confer on the Saloon schedule.”
    “Stand jist outside the door if’n it cain’t wait, Kid.”
    “Ah, shift, yer headed ta the outhouse!”
    “Nope. Shorty’s brought plumbin’ ta the bunkhouse, got us a flush toil-it. Now shut the door or it’ll be a blush toil-it.”
    “Well don’t toil too long in there. What was wrong with the outhouse anyway?”
    “Don’t be anti-septic Kid. My home is my castle, an’ I reckon I’ll set on the throne a while.”
    “Jist hurry.”
    “Won’t be rushed. An’ no job is finished till the paperwork is done.”

    • suespitulnik

      “The paperwork”—I’m still chuckling.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        It’s funny ’cause it’s true. But as I read I see what’s not funny and that’s that many have no toilets or paper to put in them.

      • suespitulnik

        We live in a country that lacks understanding of not having a toilet. I’m not sure I can imagine it.

    • Charli Mills

      Paperwork is important to file after the job is finished.

    • Doug Jacquier

      Anyone who’s visited India (and many other parts of Asia) will relate to this one. 🙂

      • Ritu

        Thanks, Doug ????

    • Charli Mills

      Good to see you, Ritu!

      • Ritu

        Thanks, Charli ????

  10. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    How an’ Zen

    “Sorry, Kid, didn’t see ya in there.”
    “Well I am. Kin shut the door anytime Pal.”
    “Yep. Ya remin’ me a thet statue, The Thinker.”
    “Settin’ an’ thinkin’, Pal.”
    “Yep. ‘Cept might be more acc’rate ta call ya The Stinker.”
    “Funny. The door?”
    “What’re ya thinkin’ ‘bout?”
    “Was readin’ here ‘bout a Zen master asked a monk, ‘Where will ya go after death?’ Monk says, ‘’Scuse me fer a minute, I gotta go to the toil-it.’”
    “Deep shit, Kid.”
    “Yep. After, might go set in the Poet-tree, write an ode ta the commode.”
    “Pal. The door’s still ajar…”

    • Charli Mills

      Stiny thinking is often productive!

  11. floridaborne

    Oh….this had so many possibilities. I settled on “sinister.”

    • Charli Mills

      That was deeply sinister, Joelle!

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

  12. Doug Jacquier

    Ode de (bleep)

    In the fifties in the USA
    on TV this was a word you couldn’t say.
    ‘Powder your nose’ if you were a ma’am
    or ‘see a man about a dog’ if you were Sam.

    ‘Bathrooms’ were allowed but never an inkle
    that this was where you went for a tinkle.
    I suppose it was for our moral improvement;
    that ‘To Let’ was born from creative vowel movement.

    Here in Australia we were proud of our dunny*
    where we deposited our stools, either firm or runny.
    Amongst the redbacks* and the daily news,
    be it Number Ones or Number Twos.

    Dunny – Australian slang for (bleep)
    Redback – Venomous Australian spider, inspiration for the song ‘Red Back On The (bleep) Seat

    • suespitulnik

      I hadn’t heard the term “Dunny.” I like it, and the visual you write about.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      This poem should be quite a hit
      not too deep, and quite funny
      replete with clever hints of –it
      publish it in volumes for the dunnies

    • Charli Mills

      I find it funny that we ask where the “bathroom” is as if we are looking to go bathe. It’s a holdover of modesty in our language which we share. Of course, our spiders are less venomous!

  13. reading journeys

    Hi Charli
    I remembered reading Mary Roach’s
    “Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void” (2010)
    — ????hilarious as she writes about space travel & the human body — including going to the toilet!


    • Charli Mills

      A great example from the literature, Saifun! I love Mary Roach’s work. Of course, she would include toileting. 😉

  14. Norah

    Enjoy your break. May you find much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. It was interesting to read about your Yooper Poopers. As Doug says, here in Australia we have the dunnies and, if anyone was lucky enough to have a flushing toilet, a redback on the toilet seat and a frog under the rim of the toilet bowl. What fun!

    • Norah

      And my story doesn’t feature any of those:

      The End (with apologies to Alan Alexander Milne)

      When I was one and had just begun
      Nappies were where my business was done.
      When I was two, not nearly so new
      A training potty was home for my poo.
      When I was three, I was learning to pee
      In a toilet that flushed away to the sea.
      When I was four or not much more
      I learned to be private behind a closed door.
      When I was five, school days had arrived
      And toilets were places to play and hide.
      When I get old, or so I am told,
      A clean handy toilet is precious as gold.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        This is a fine poem. I was amazed to find out that you actually scribbled it onto toilet paper when inspiration hit whilst you were on the

      • Norah


      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        What I meant to say was it was well worth the trip to your site for all the extra story and information there.

    • Charli Mills

      Somehow I think the frog would be more surprising, although I once startled a moth who then startled me! I had a fine break, thanks! Back to reality and a capstone term.

      • Norah

        Have a productive, successful and satisfying term!

  15. Jules


    I’ve known of other homes that had ‘Thrones’ in the middle of the basement. No walls. There’s actually one in a relatives home, but it also has a large basin and and open shower area for washing large dogs (though they don’t have any dogs at the moment. Maybe it was for ‘washing up’ before entering the main part of the house. But it is rather strange to have it there out in the open.

    Anyway… I was waiting for the right set of prompts to incorporate this into my running saga and I think I managed with another haibun with a tau ku opening:

    (35) Damned Family (Jesse’s Uncomfortable on the Golden Throne)

    tormented visions she sees
    all flushed
    her cheeks reflected in mirrors

    Jesse tried to use the fancy Presidential suites commode. There were just too many mirrors. Looking at her reflection – her thoughts were far from down to earth flopping between “She just gets it” or “She lies”.

    Norman’s journal wasn’t really revealing much. Even the pages with invisible words that she brought to life with ultraviolet light. It’s just smoke and mirrors – what was Norman up to. She found a name though that didn’t fit. She’d known him as Norman North… she’d found an invisible acrostic with ‘Mae Norwich’.


    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I am looking forward to more installments. (I suppose this was literally an in stall meant.)
      “Tau ku” sent me googling. I like it. Thank you for the fresh form.

      • Jules

        You ‘rolled’ that ‘in stall meant’ in very cleverly!

        Besides the page of links… Let me know if you’d like the whole thing… I can send it to ya. I’m kinda amazed I’m up ta 40 segments.

        I think I put a page on my ‘blog’ with other forms that I’ve used. Some are easier than others. 😀

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I am enjoying the unfolding as it unfolds. A bit in the weeds for reading etc just now.

      • Jules

        No worries… I try to write each piece to stand alone. Though it might make more sense to know the whole. Hope yer not to flushed to have a break now and then 😉

        I’ve kept all the segments to 99 words!

        Stay safe and sane (OK if you don’t want to be sane… perhaps none of us really are…)

    • Charli Mills

      Jules, I hadn’t thought about the basement wash area being a good place to bathe the family dog. That’s repurposing the space! Your story continues to build its mystery. I like the presidential suite addition of mirrors in the bathroom.

  16. Ann Edall-Robson

    Sometimes the only homelike comfort sits alone in the middle of no man’s land.

    Aged Timbers
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    His hat tipped back on his head, a visitor of years rests on a creaky wooden seat smoking his pipe. Wispy tendrils of smoke drift through the doorless entry. From behind relaxed eyelids, the memories sidle across the meadow.

    He appreciates the slightly askew structure. The only building still standing in these parts. A welcome respite after hours in the saddle. More comfortable than the log his bare behind would have sat on had he trailed the heifers across the creek.

    He wondered how long the aged timbers would stand. He’d miss this old friend and their quiet conversations.

    • suespitulnik

      Growing up, our summer cottage had an outhouse high on a bank among scrub trees across the road from one of NY’s Finger Lakes. When I had to go, I wouldn’t close the door so I could watch the critters nearby and the happenings on the lake. It was peaceful. I can imagine your guy’s pipe smoke improving the odor.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, settin’ an’ watchin’ the world go by through the open door. You made this tale of toileting poignant.
      At my parents’ camp there’s a notebook so those few who might pass by and have a need can leave a message. My brother found an artifact from when they used to have the Fourth of July fair in a neighboring village; a broad board with three holes, you know to accommodate the crowds. The porcupines and weather have antiqued it, but he might use it to frame pictures of his three children.

    • Charli Mills

      This is a lovely ode to a private privy, Ann.

  17. H.R.R. Gorman

    I skipped a lot of comments, but I wanted to say I really appreciate crappy posts like this one.

    Also, as your historical columnist, I will put what I can into context about Ancient Poopin’. While ancient man was all spread out, it was a lot like camp pooping today: dig a scat hole, cover it up. Use a leaf or – sadly common – your hand to wipe with. I’d assume New Worlders used corn cobs for quite some time, since that’s not too bad at all.

    Once you get cities, that’s when pit latrines start popping (or pooping) up. Those are the ones you hear about as being dangerous for women and girls, or the ones where tons of infections sprout up. Some of the most dangerous pit latrines are in India simply due to the overuse of the land for the purpose.

    How do I know any of this? Prof. Michael Hoffman (see here gave a lecture at my university about new toilet technologies for the developing world. Check it out – the tech is really neat, and they’re already starting to make a difference in faraway nations! When he gave the talk in 2017, they’d worked out a lot of bugs that still existed when the article was posted. They used electrochemical reactions to rid the wastewater of contaminants and recycle the liquid while pretty much vaproizing the carbonaceous material. The main problem at the time was the use of expensive catalysts, but that’s mostly been solved now. The other problem they talked about was how people in some places associate the smell of bleach with “dirty” rather than “clean”; because their initial design created a sort of chlorine byproduct and thus a bleachy smell, they had to rework everything so women, especially, would use their toilets.

    Really cool sh*t. Bravo!

    • suespitulnik

      Thanks for the history lesson Doc G. I grew up using outhouses and have no fear of “porta-potties” (used at fairs and festivals in the states) like some people do. Ya gotta go, ya go.

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Some of my relatives had outhouses when I was growing up, and all the horse pulls I’ve been to used outhouses and port-a-potties. For some reason, I had this absolute terror of them… turning me into chopped carrots?

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I will check out the link you share here in a bit, and thank you for this response. In FH King’s classic 1911 work, Farmers of Forty Centuries (reprinted by Rodale Press) he writes of his travels through China, Korea, and Japan and tells of their much greater appreciation of and ability with composting. Farmers would even set up screened areas by the road so that travelers would be encouraged to leave their “night soil” for collection. I understand that there are issues and concerns with human feces but surely we could have been doing a better job all along with composting toilets and with how waste is utilized.

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        We definitely could. There are currently movements in Uppsala to use our biowaste to produce biogas, which is pretty much natural gas! It’s a bit slow in the creation, but it’s an interesting solution, especially for the field I’m in (biopharma). We produce a LOT of biowaste.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I have now read the linked article. That’s some cool shit.

    • Charli Mills

      It’s cool shit to have a ranch historian who knows toilets, H.! Wow, I love technology that makes a difference and the scientists who work to overcome barriers such as smell. Thanks for sharing!

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        No problem!

    • suespitulnik

      A true golden throne–I’ve not seen one like it.
      I enjoyed your new novel, Bowled, But Not Out, and have left a review on Amazon. Thanks for the opportunity to do so.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Ruchira! I’ve returned to privys and golden toilets, lol!

    • suespitulnik

      Once a mother, or pet owner, going to the bathroom is rarely a private affair. Good for June, she took her headphones along.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, the refuge of the bathroom for a mom! Until they start wanting to come in. 😉

  18. suespitulnik

    Hi Charli,

    The video of a Yupper winter has me wanting to move there. Of course, I would want to experience it from inside a warm, well-stocked, house. The Lakes power is incredible. And Morgan Freeman talking about poop. I wonder how the making of that clip ever came about. I could listen to his voice for a long time.
    Have a good rest, thank you for posting the Rodeo results, and may you get to enjoy a feast with family and friends, safely of course. Happy Thanksgiving. On to the prompt…

    Feeding the Soul

    The night before Thanksgiving the No Thanks Needed welcomed military members only. The Band of Brothers served turkey and fixin’s, prepared by their families, to any service person who came through the door. After the meal, Mac announced, “Being thankful for family and friends goes without saying, but if you ever fought in a warzone, hot running water, and a flushable toilet are right up there on the list.” The crowd cheered with understanding and others shouted; food, clean clothes, life, the brotherhood. Service-related stories were shared openly until the wee hours of the morning in the comfortable safe-haven.

    Note (for our new members) The No Thanks Needed is a fictional Vietnam veteran-owned bar. The Band of Brothers is the house band, all veterans, one of which is Michael, the main character of my on-going serial stories.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yeah, those guys would have had to hang it out too. (Unless they were scared –itless, like I’d be)

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Sue!

      Oh, it is so lovely to experience the winter from inside a warm house! I have friends further up the peninsula who get slammed once the harbor freezes over. 15-foot drifts in a single storm. It unsettles the Hub. It reminds me of winters in the Sierras. Thank you — I had a good break.

      I had to read your flash several times because it warmed my heart so much. I was trying to figure out how you captured that feeling of community so well and I think it’s in the sequencing. Well done.

      • suespitulnik

        Thank you Charli.

  19. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Wally’s favorite room—his inner sanctum; throne room; library; oasis.
    “Peace and quiet in return for my daily offering— priceless.”
    After installing the colored motion lights in the bowl Wally became even more reverent. The ‘rumble seat’ became the porcelain oracle became his muse; a pad and pen were kept near the other scrolls.

    *I come to you more than time to pass
    Show you the moon, my mirrored ass
    Your waters soothe, shimmering votive candle
    My sins absolved when I push the handle.
    This poetry, people don’t care for it
    To that matter, I don’t give a shit*

    • Charli Mills

      I had to look up toilet lights — this is a real thing! This is funny — the “porcelain oracle!”

    • Charli Mills

      This one would not be fun at a party!

  20. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Last Room Standing

    “Really? I’m going to the bathroom!”
    A euphemism. She’d already gone to the bathroom, was now in the bathroom and sitting on the toilet using it for its intended purpose.
    Though originally she’d gone just to be away from him. Victor was getting carried away again. Another euphemism; he was out of control yelling and screaming. Not at her. Something about work. Still. And now he wanted her to unlock the door?
    Victor yelled a lot but had difficulties communicating clearly. He never stated why she should let him in…
    The tornado carried him away. Not a euphemism.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! Communication was not their strong suit.

  21. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    (Jeez, another one?!)
    Yes, a three-fer seen all together and more here:

    Oasis Stasis

    It was not a mirage, it was marriage, marriage all-inclusive, with children, pets, dishes, laundry, and working from home. It was enough to blur her vision and make her misty at times but there was an oasis, a peaceful place to recover, to take respite from the whirlwinds that swept through the house.

    Gathering up clothes and other debris, flotsam wake of the twins, she paused and smiled at the picture book, Everybody Poops. It had been a hit with her older children too.

    She shuddered with a sudden realization. Potty-trained twins would mean increased competition for her oasis!

    • Charli Mills

      Someone has the runs. 😀

  22. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Waiting by D. Avery

    “Don’t make me laugh, Angela. I have to pee. Bad.”
    “Me too. Let’s go.”
    “I can’t go in there.”
    “It’s the ladies’ room. Come on.”
    Celia pulled back when Angela took her hand, leading her toward the entrance. “Angela, no!”
    The old towel woman stood, picked up a broom. Head ducked, she watched the girls carefully. The other women paused in their gossiping to turn tight-lipped stares on the girls. Celia broke away and ran off to the further toilets.

    One woman swept. The other women resumed their gossip. All paused again when Angela started running.
    “Celia! Wait up!”

    • Charli Mills

      A thoughtful story to ponder.

  23. Charli Mills

    Thanks, R.!

  24. Charli Mills

    Ha! Based on a true story, Donna?

  25. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Jay!


  1. Time Out (flash fiction) – joanne the geek - […] This was written with the prompt of story that glorifies a toilet provided by the Carrot Ranch November 19…
  2. The Little House | Padre's Ramblings - […] Flash Fiction Challenge: Toilet […]
  3. November 19: Flash Fiction Challenge – Toilet | But I Smile Anyway... - […] It’s been a long old while, but I thought, I have to get back to creating, and why not…
  4. Flash Fiction: Revenge Awaits | DJ Ranch - […] Author’s Notes: It’s a Friday. Revenge Awaits a story. Call it Friday Fact or Fiction. Some stories will be…
  5. 99 word prompt : toilet | Two on a Rant - […] If you want to participate, here’s the link:  CARROT RANCH […]
  6. nd 11.22 (35) Damned Family 4p – Jules Pens Some Gems… - […] Carrot Ranch 11.19 TWO WEEK DEADLINE: due to the holiday in the US, Carrot Ranch is taking an extended…
  7. #Flash Fiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community | Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie ~ Authors - […] November 19: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  8. The Toilet to Hell (flash fiction) – joanne the geek - […] This is my second take on the prompt of a story that glorifies a toilet provided by the Carrot…
  9. Toilet Triple; CRLC & SixSentenceStory | ShiftnShake - […] November 19, 2020, prompt from Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch is to “In 99 words (no more, no less),…
  10. #Haiku: “Melancholy Autumn” – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write - […] you host or participate in blog challenges? It’s a lot of work. The enjoyment I get from blogging is…
  11. CR Flash Fiction Challenge: Toilet Training Gone Awry – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write - […] WEEK DEADLINE: due to the holiday in the US, Carrot Ranch is taking an extended week break. Stories are…
  12. Newspaper and Sawdust | Norah Colvin - […] In the most recent flash fiction prompt posted on the Carrot Ranch on World Toilet Day, Charli Mills challenged…

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading