April 29: 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.

April 30, 2021

Pavement calls like a slithering snake that can wind to anywhere. Windows rolled down, engine roaring, music blasting. I’m seventeen again, driving my truck across the Nevada valley I once knew so well I could drive the roads in my dreams for decades after moving on. I didn’t know what came next but I knew I was outta there. Never did I think I’d move 22 times between then and now.

I’m not moving but I am moving on.

School’s out next week, and my wheels are turning. It’s hard to think beyond that one last essay I have to write because it’s Friday, due Sunday, and I really wanted to cross the finish line by now. Regardless, when I wake up Monday Morning, May 3, it will be like looking down a long stretch of road.

Where to next? Do I follow my map? Take a pleasure cruise, a side trip, an adventure down a two-track? Maybe I park under the shade of a black oak, and watch clouds scud across blue skies. May is not the month for hard decisions, nor is it time to lose momentum.

I’ve landed a freelancing gig and have plans to collaborate with a local artist, a podcaster, and a new storytelling center. I have business plans and job applications to finish, each taking me down different roads, each a companion to writing novels. The Ranch needs some new paint. My manuscript needs final edits. June 23 is the Big Day — the date I send my book to the agents who are interested. The wheels keep turning.

It’s the song, Hit the Road Jack, that comes to mind, though.

It’s more than moving on. It’s about leaving what is no longer needed. It’s telling 2020 to get lost. It’s declaring a new era. Claiming the road trip for your own purposes. Whatever happens next, I get to decide. When I left Nevada all those years ago, I never expected to live in almost every western state. I certainly didn’t expect to settle along one of the Great Lakes. When I hit the road, I had dreams.

I still do. We never stop dreaming.

Next week, I’ll let you know dates for my party plans. I have a truckload of fun to work out. Without a formal graduation ceremony, I decided to create my own. A friend is a neo-Druidic ceremonialist is going to lead an online graduation cacao ceremony. Another friend is going to host an online Sound Bath. I’m going to camp for three days at McLain State Park after I pick up the most incredible bucket-list celebration cake ever made by three young Chippewa sisters in Minnesota. And I will set up several readings and times for Ranchers to meet up on Zoom for friendly socials. Finally, my son and daughter-in-law will visit for a family weekend with a vegan cake (yes, two cakes).

On Monday, I also tell Covid to hit the road. I’ll be fully vaccinated and out of quarantine. It’s strange to emerge from the pandemic cocoon. Strange to not have coursework next week. But that’s the nature of moving on.

April 29, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the road, Jack.” You can interpret the phrase any way you like — road trip, goodbye, or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 4, 2021. 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.

Jack’s Escape by Charli Mills

He waited for her the mouth of the mine. She visited late at night with stubs of carrots. She’d light a pipe and he’d sniff puffs of smoke while she spoke her troubles, wetting his neck with tears. Life in a mining camp caged a white mule and a soiled dove forced into service. One night, she arrived with a rope, blanket, and satchel. He had no regrets stepping outside his pen, letting her rig a makeshift bosal. She said, “Let’s hit the road, Jack,” and they left behind what they had known, never to speak of it again.

????????????

You May Also Like…

139 Comments

  1. Claire

    Great interpretation of the line!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Claire!

  2. restlessjo

    Freedom beckons. Good to see you embrace it, Charli. On the road again… 🙂 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, it does, Jo! Hope you are doing well.

    • Anne Goodwin's next novel is out May 29th

      My 99-word story has hit the road. Recycling a longer one this time.

      The rocky road back to humanity

      When they dragged him from the boot of the car, he swayed, staggered, crash-landed on the dirt track. But the shock of pain receded when they ripped off his gag and blindfold, and vroomed away. For some moments his mind remained shackled, fearing the freedom, the vast purple sky.

      Continues
      https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/female-friendship-and-kidnap-we-run-the-tides-the-son-of-the-house

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I remember that story, Anne, having read Becoming Someone. I’ll have to venture back later for your book reviews, I only took time to hear your excerpt and read your flash.
        I bet you enjoyed that exercise, getting a 99-word response out of that longer story. It is a great stand alone flash.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, a leaving ritual. I like that phrasing, Anne. Indeed a series of leaving rituals. The moving-on part feels good.

      Your longer story condenses into a powerful moment. We can all relate to “fearing the freedom” which can be why many choose to stay shackled.

      • Anne Goodwin's next novel is out May 29th

        When I left my last but one job I was also leaving the area, and I think I had at least half a dozen leaving parties, it got tricky to keep track! You’ve had such painful transitions in the last few years, it’s great to have one with more gains than losses. Of course you’ll have another cause to celebrate when you get your results.

  3. Rebecca Glaessner Author

    The cacao ceremony sounds like another form of Earthing, in its own way, taking in a product of the earth, in much the way it was meant, and allowing it to nourish and heal. Beautiful.

    My own regular sound baths come in the form of the musical mastery of Tool, or various instrumentals. Powerful creative inspiration, keeping the mind tethered to the art rather than the stresses of the world beyond.

    And one cake is never enough.

    I’m looking forward to hearing all about your celebrations, Charli! In the meantime, I’m testing out the wheels of a new character as he hits the road with this week’s prompt. Will link back when done.

    Enjoy all! Can’t wait to read everyone’s work.

  4. Dave Williams

    Best wishes on your freelance gig and the options you have before you as new possibilities 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      All the options are blooming and I get to be the gardener of possibilities. Thanks, Dave!

  5. douryeh

    I sent my story twice, probably… I apologize for that.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Perfect. When Charli emerges from her MFA haze this will keep her on her toes. Will you get published twice? Maybe. Stay tuned…

    • Charli Mills

      Not a problem! I use the last one submitted as often writers will send a second one to correct or change something from the first. And D.’s right — I’m still in a haze although it feels more like a laze.

      • douryeh

        ????????

  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Six-Pac Tall Tale

    “S’matter Kid? Yer lookin’ lost.”
    “Dunno, Pal, got a crossroads kinda feelin’, don’t know which way ta head.”
    “Thet’s cuz there ain’t no sech thing as the end a the road, Kid. But sometimes ya gotta look fer signs, git a sense a direction. So slow down, take time fer a story.”
    “Alright, Pal. Do tell.”
    “Hmmmf.
    Was a strong woman, name a Jacquelyn, folks jist called her Jac.”
    “An’ she hit the road!”
    “Shush Kid. Asides, though Jac was stronger ‘an any a the lumberjacks in camp, she chose non-violence. Gen’le as a butterfly, she never hit nuthin’.”
    XXXX
    “Ok, Pal, so Jac lived in a lumber camp?”
    “Yep.
    Jac was the camp cook, but thet’s only cuz she liked ta cook an’ liked ta keep busy. See, she’d already felled trees, milled the logs an’ crafted fine furniture by the time the other jacks had even begun ta lumber off inta the woods.”
    “What kinda furniture’d she make?”
    “She always ended up makin’ writin’ desks.”
    “Was she a writer?”
    “Jist let me tell the tale, Kid.”
    “Is this a tall tale, Pal?”
    “Well, it’s certainly gonna be longer ‘an most, ‘specially with yer inneruptions an’ questions. Jeez.”
    XXXXX
    “Jac made beautiful writin’ desks an’ hankered ta set hersef down ta one. The woods was full a poetry an’ the camp was full a characters, but more an’ more she felt like they was too much lookin’ over her shoulder. More an’ more she was feelin’ like her stories was down anuther path. So one day she loaded the writin’ desks onta her truck an’—”
    “Hit the road!”
    “Set off.”
    “Bet she sells the desks ta make her fortune. Or trades ‘em fer magic beans.”
    “She give ‘em all away, ta other folks with stories ta write.”
    XXXX
    “Jac set off beyond skidder trails an’ loggin’ roads, headed down the biggest widest road she ever seen.”
    “Jac hit the road!”
    “No, Kid, told ya, she wouldn’t do thet. But oh, how Jac marveled at thet road…
    Thet road was like a trail a ink, ableedin’ from her past an’ aleadin’ ta her future. She didn’t hit the road, but she did pick it up an twirl it like a lasso. She caught stars an’ stories with thet lasso. Thet road had loops an’ swoops thet made it hard ta see ‘roun the bend, but she kep’ on.”
    XXXX
    “That sounds skeery Pal, not bein’ able ta see ‘roun the bend.”
    “Kid, would ya really wanna be seein’ straight ahead all the time?
    Jac kep’ on. At ev’ry turn she met good folks. Late nights, unner the stars, she’d set at one a the desks she’d made. Her adventures an’ ‘magination come t’gether inta constellations on the page. She was stronger ‘an ever. Each story she wrote gave her power an’ strength, more ‘an she ever thought possible.”
    “What was Jac’s greatest strength, Pal?”
    “Reckon thet no matter what, Jac kep’ on keepin’ on.”
    “Down that road.”
    “Yep.”
    XXXX
    “Pal, ya said roads ain’t got no end. Does this story have an end?”
    “Nope.
    Jac coulda stayed on in the camp where she started, or even circled back ta it. On the road she saw plenny a folks in houses, some fine an’ some not so fine, places where them folks’d decided ta stay put. She saw plenny a folks with no house an’ plenny who would never stay put, no matter.
    Jac knew thet road could lead back’ard or for’ard; could be knotted, looped, or pulled straight; but Jac kep’ it as a lasso fer her star.”

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      The road of life is long and winding, glad Jac felt confident to take that trip! It’s a rewarding one.

      I do love how you make such art possible through the slang and accents of Kid and Pal. Their conversations are always easy to follow despite the heavy drawl, you’ve a knack for it!

      As does Jac for keepin’ on keeping on.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Thanks. I appreciate that you appreciate those two. I enjoy them. Usually. They do best when I get out of the way.

        “Pal, ya hear that?”
        “Yep.”
        So? Why don’t she stay the heck outta our way?”
        “Needy, I reckon.”
        “Mebbe. Or a control freak.”
        “Easy Kid.”

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        You are usually correct, Ms. Goodwin. Not this time.
        No. More. Characters! (Having trouble keeping track)
        This is just a tall tale that Pal knows to tell, coincidentally about a legendary lumberjack/furniture making/lasso throwing writer named Jac who bears no resemblance to anyone we may or may not know.

    • Jules

      A cool six pack! An I think it’s great that Jac is fictional. It is tough keepin’ track of all the characters in stories. I was at a class once where the lesson basically was to keep index cards on you characters – like as to what hair and eye color they had. How tall etc. Family relationships – even where they were born so when you get to gettin’ on you don’t have to remember all the little details of whose who. Some big time authors have made the mistake of giving their character different eye colors or messing up a relationship. Continuity is a valuable tool.

    • Charli Mills

      A serious series that had me at the edge of my desk chair. Jac has a great lasso, and Pal a good sense of storytelling.

  7. Jules

    Charli,

    You are brave, courageous and beautiful!!! I got my second shot yesterday. We still have to be careful though. Mainly because so many are refusing any dose and some who signed up for the second aren’t following through.

    At least with most of the elder pod vaccinated we’ll be able to celebrate with some small family gatherings for some up coming late spring and early summer birthdays for the grands.

    I’ve actually got a road trip – traveling with hubby on business this summer. One of those – he works, I play 😉

    Continued success in all your adventures and ventures (((HUGS)))
    I’ll be back later… hopefully sooner, with some fiction. ~Jules

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Jules,

      Good to hear you got your second shot and can see a future of family gatherings and even a trip. I wish you success, too in your new venture, too! Big hugs!

      • Jules

        That new venture is going to be interesting – that is for certain! ((Hugs)) – Celebrate big when you can!!

      • Charli Mills

        New ventures are! I will be partying until the hens fall over. 😉

  8. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    PS.
    Charli I really liked your flash, the perspective of Jack, the escape for them both.
    And so glad to see so much celebration planned. Of course! It has been a long road. Step aside for a moment, dust off, dance.

    • Charli Mills

      Been dustin’ off this week, gettin’ ready to dance next!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for your submission! Glad to have you at Carrot Ranch. If you want to be in the published weekly collection, submit through the form. You can share your story here or in a linkback if you want to connect with other writers. Visit a few blogs or posted stories if you want to meet and connect. We have a great group of writers and readers here.

  9. denmaniacs4

    Actually, Charli, I still know Jack…and this version is somewhat edited from the piece you may circulate…

    I Once Knew Jack

    I still count on my fingers,
    my pleasures and my pains.
    and though each of them lingers,
    the fine point of memory wanes.

    In the dark of evening’s decline,
    sun dimming its luminous light,
    shadows offer a somber shrine,
    as all I am slips into the night.

    And there, entranced by the dark,
    as silent as shadows can be,
    I reflect on my lifelines arc,
    the way time has had with me.

    Poems come quite easily to me,
    though I am a bit of a hack.
    Still, I offer this assigned poesy,
    that expires with, “Hit the road, Jack”.

    http://www.engleson.ca

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      This poem flows beautifully, it was a pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing and taking part!

    • Doug Jacquier

      Of course you know Jack, Bill. You’d never struck me as someone who wouldn’t know jack. 🙂

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      That ain’t no hack job. (though I know jack about poetry) A finely wrought tale of decline- in rhyme!

    • Liz H

      Oh, that’s a smooth stretch of bituminous, there.
      There’ll be a fine hum of tires on pavement as the miles unwind.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, I agree, you still know Jack. That’s a fine bit of verse with an expiration prompt.

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      It’s such a great feeling when you hit that block and then power straight through it without really knowing how. Glad you found momentum with this one! Star Wars never fails.

      • Norah

        and me!

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, little did they know! I’m glad you pushed through because this was a good one, Joanne!

  10. ellenbest24

    Charli, I am sure you will instinctively know where to go next and I can not wait to see where you land. I enjoyed the version of hit the road thank you for introducing me to them. Your response to the prompt as usual fits like comfy pants under well-loved jeans .

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I too liked that take on this classic song. And the video, the dismissive reaction to the producer.
      As far as our friend, I bet it’s an instinctive landing fortified with a solid plan. (I think these new age earthing types call it flow)

    • Charli Mills

      Ellen, what a great compliment — my goal now is to write stories that fit like comfy pants under well-loved jeans. I’m glad you liked the modern twist on the classic song. And D.’s right — I’m going for flow!

  11. Doug Jacquier

    OK, went all Jack Kerouac here and ended up in some weird places, just like Jack, but briefer in the telling. Those not familiar, look him up.

    ‘Hear your book On The Road is out, Jack.’
    ‘Yeah, Ray.’
    ‘When’s it coming out in braille?’
    ‘Soon I hope. Why?’
    ‘I think there’s a song in there that I could make a hit.’
    ‘That’d be cool.’
    ‘Hear Truman Capote’s not impressed. Said this ain’t writin’, it’s typin’.’
    ‘I’ll remember that when I have breakfast with him at Tiffany’s. I’ll shoot him down in cold blood.’
    ‘Hear the book is full of beets.’
    ‘No, Ray, beats. Poetry, drugs and all that jazz.’
    ‘Hey, Jack, you talkin’ ‘bout my generation?’
    ‘No, Ray, not unless your name is Ginsberg or Burroughs.’

    • reading journeys

      left a note for Charli from me:
      My FF idea came from last week’s FF by Doug Jacquier — conversation by Earthling with Martian… So thanks, Doug!
      Saiifun

      • Doug Jacquier

        Go for it! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Great when we can inspire one another!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Cool, man. A howl.
      Did you know that Ray Charles’ favorite color was corduroy?

    • Liz H

      Maybe a little Leary at first, but then I totally turned on and tuned in.
      No need to drop out of this clever piece!

    • Norah

      Very clever!

    • Charli Mills

      Kudos for reference to the beatniks. I love the rhythm of your 99 words.

  12. Hugh W. Roberts

    Congratulations on reaching the end of the current road you’re on, Charli. It sounds as if your next journey is already being planned. Your post took me back to the day I got on a bus to London with only a small bag containing my life. The bus driver was called Jack. How do I know? I remember his name badge for many reasons. ????

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! I will take your memory as a good omen, Hugh. Life in a bag, and someone to remember. It’s going to be a good direction from here. Thanks!

  13. Jules

    Charli,

    I had the same issue as last week. I put in my piece and it said my link expired… Did you get it? I backed up and the option to submit vanished.

    Every generation is known for something… I was told my folks almost made it to Woodstock… Anyway the prompts conspired and here’s

    Got Eyewash (#2)?

    There wasn’t anyway to augur how a visit to the community pool would go. I had to auger into my parents that they had to stop bringing hidden cocktails. All their retired groovy generation wanted to do was to lay around the pool in a few strategically placed lei. Which I guess would have been better if they actually belonged to a nudist community. They didn’t.

    “Too Much Information” could make elder matrons or curmudgeons ask management to politely tell them to ‘Hit the road Jack’. Then they’d move the party to someone’s backyard. Would that be any better?

    ©JP/dh

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      These are not my parents. Community pool? No need in the Land of Lakes and Ponds. Still, I chuckled as this reminded me of some of the groovy city folk that migrated north back in the day and let it all hang out.
      Heehee. Ol’ Charli will have ta deal with ranch machinations once she crawls out from under that FINAL MFA shift. I bet it gets straightened out, but curious that you had this issue and trouble with my links too…
      (Yep, blaming the victim)

      • Jules

        I’ve had that happen several weeks in a row. I’m barely on ‘site’ and the link says I’ve timed out. – But it’ll work out eventually. I’m more patient with some online issues than others. 😉
        I don’t mind waiting for Charli to rest up and then figure the blog shift out. 😀

      • Charli Mills

        D., reminds me of the time my dad had a logging camp next to the nudist colony at Lake Tahoe. When you become a certain size or certain age, just be comfortable!

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Jules! Getting blog shift sorted. I’ll have to troubleshoot the timing out. What browser are you using? Your entry made it. Love your flash! It made me laugh and I shared a memory on D.’s response.

      • Jules

        “Shift Happens” …Just like Compost 😀
        No worries.

      • Jules

        Charli,

        It’s one thing to see a guy with a good ‘six pack’ mowing without a shirt… but not so much when it could be someone’s uncle with a beer belly hanging over the tool shed… And maybe folks need special certificates or somethin’ to be allowed to wear ‘speedos’ at a public beach!

        I knew a gal who lived sorta in the country. But had nudists for neighbors… she wasn’t too happy, but there wasn’t a whole lot she could do. Well maybe (I thought about a different word here… but well it fits) erect a tall solid fence. I can’t imagine seeing someone mow in the buff.

      • Charli Mills

        Anyone who feels comfortable in a speedo should wear one! We all have bodies. Our bodies are different, not good or bad.

  14. reading journeys

    Hi Charli

    Good to know your plans are falling into place. All the best for the days ahead.

    My FF idea came from last week’s FF by Doug Jacquier — conversation by Earthling with Martian… So thanks, Doug.

    Always great stories at Carrot Ranch!

    Saifun

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Saifun! I always enjoy when writers catch a spark of inspiration from another.

  15. Jennie

    What a delightful post! Hope, freedom, and the open road all are in front of you. You must definitely feel seventeen again. I’m excited for you!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I’m excited to see your second 99 word flash! (Hit The Road Gloria?)

      • Jennie

        That’s an idea! I may be too late, though.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        You’ve plenty of time! Through Tuesday. Go for it.

    • Charli Mills

      Except for the stiff joints, Jenny, I’m feeling seventeen! Thanks!

      • Jennie

        Hooray!

    • Doug Jacquier

      Cute as a button and well written.

      • ellenbest24

        Thank you kindly Doug.

    • Charli Mills

      So close to winning the roses!

  16. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Hapless Jack

    Like a hapless fairy tale Jack he was always certain his luck would change, that things would work out for the better.

    But the perfect job always fell through, usually after a heated argument with his boss. Or he’d quit to pursue some entrepreneurial scheme. “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick,” he’d say. But the scheme would fail.

    “Next time,” he’d say. And he’d smile that smile and tell Jill no matter what, she was his princess. Once more they’d pack up. “Time to hit the road, Jill.”

    Again.

    Jill sighed. How much longer would she go stumbling after?

    • Nicole Horlings

      Oooh really like this one

    • Jules

      Mostly with the same job… but I followed my guy through four houses. – it’s the person that makes the home!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m just saying, Jill will find a limit. But then, what if Jack decides to stay? Hit the road, Jill!

    • Charli Mills

      A firm, “no more, no more, no more.”

  17. Nicole Horlings

    Being a young, healthy person in a county with low numbers (some of the lowest in Southern Ontario), with a day job that doesn’t involve working with venerable people, combined with how Ontario has been distributing the vaccine, I’m not able to get yet, and have no clue when I will be able to. However, I did get covid at Christmas (a mild case), so at least I do already have antibodies.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yikes! So glad you’re okay. So sad things don’t sound so great north of the border.
      But here’s a non-covid fun fact… did you know that the Ranch Yarn character Pepe LeGume was picked up as a hitchhiker in Ontario? I said no, but Charli Mills insisted, and things haven’t bean the same since. (But he is actually from Quebec)

      • Nicole Horlings

        I have plenty of thoughts about how our government has handled things versus how they could have handled them…
        Yeah, Pepe! I love seeing Canadian characters in stories.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Okay, full disclosure; Pepe was picked up in Ontario and is Quebecois but actually he’s from south of the border, Derby, Vermont. He has dual citizenship. His wife, Loggatha is from near Granby. South of the zoo.

      • Charli Mills

        Hey, Pepe’s a great addition to the Ranch. If you’re standing upwind when he’s steaming the beans.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m going to be sending your antibodies encouragement to fight the good fight for you, Nicole (if only they could hear me). The best distribution we’ve had here has been through the Native Nations. Any First-Nations near you? My daughter and son-in-law who are also young and healthy went to an Indigenous clinic an hour away for both shots.

      • Nicole Horlings

        I have friends who are Metis who could get their shots earlier.

      • Nicole Horlings

        But they aren’t running any clinics for non-Natives. There aren’t enough doses here for them to do that.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m glad the First Nations are getting supplied but worried that there are not enough doses and it’s taking so long for the younger cohort. I hope more vaccines come soon!

  18. Norah

    All those celebrations and a birthday in there too, I do believe. Enjoy. So much anticipation and no regrets. That’s the way to do it.
    What a haunting version of ‘Hit the road, Jack’. I used to sing along with the original all the time so it came back to me in a flash. (I hope it comes to me in a flash story too.)
    I like that Jack is escaping with a peace dove in your flash. What a lovely story. They also have no regrets and are bound to have a happy future together, I’m sure.
    May is a new beginning as it was all those years ago when a special bright star fell to earth from heaven.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      More than one bright star, Gemini Buddy. Those stars took root and are blooming bright!

      • Norah

        Are you a Gemini also, D. 🙂

      • Norah

        Yes, I am. I didn’t expect you to be talking about me. Thanks. 🙂

    • Norah

      And here’s my story. I hope you enjoy it. https://norahcolvin.com/2021/05/04/hit-the-road-jack-flashfiction/

      Nursery Rhyme Nursery School

      “What’s upsetting you, Jack?”
      “Mary won’t let me play.”
      “Why are you contrary, Mary? Didn’t Jack build this house?”
      “He broke it too!”
      “Don’t blame me,” said Jack. “The alligator smashed it.”
      “What alligator?”
      “The doctor’s. He trampled everything.”
      “Don’t blame me,” said the doctor. “Polly said come quick.”
      “Because … ?”
      “My dolly got burnt from the kettle.”
      “Who put the kettle on?”
      “I did. But don’t blame me. Jack bumped me.”
      “You were hogging pies.”
      “You were sticking your fingers in them.”
      “Look, everyone! Humpty’s cracked!”
      “Who pushed him?”
      “Jack?”
      Jack was gone. He’d fled the scene.

      • Liz H

        Some days a rea unavoidably like that!
        Clever flash on nursery school!

      • Norah

        Thanks so much, Liz. I’m pleased you enjoyed it.

      • Doug Jacquier

        Hilariously inventive, Norah. Gob-smacked admiration. 🙂

      • Norah

        Thank you, Doug. Your comment has made my day. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      New beginnings, new starlight, Norah. And, yes, there will be birthday celebrations, too. This is really a party month from Mother’s Day, a full week of grad celebrations, my birthday, and then Memorial Day to bring a quiet somber tone to the month. I had a long chuckle over your nursery rhyme devolving into a social group of young ones. There’s a Jack in every bunch.

      • Norah

        The merry month of May. Enjoy every moment and every morsel of celebration. Boy, do you deserve it!
        Everybody knows a Jack. 🙂

  19. Simon

    Hit the road Jack ???? my new favorite song, thanks for sharing an amazing song Charli ????. Do you podcast? What is your channel name? I folow Google podcast and got addicted with good story tellers from my country????. You have a busy schedule ahead, may all your busy schedule turns into success and have a lovely week ahead..?????????????

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Simon, that was a great version of that song Charli shared for sure. It was written by Percy Mayfield but made famous by Ray Charles.
      I am curious. What was your new favorite song before this one?

      • Simon

        Thanks for that information ????. My favorite before this is one Bruno mars – Leave the Door Open ??

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I have heard of him. Through the power of the internet I will listen to that song. Thanks!

      • Simon

        you will love it ???????? Enjoy listening to it ?????? Try to listen to Old town horse as well ????

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Had a retro sense to it. Back at ya with Jon Batiste:

      • Simon

        ????????

      • Charli Mills

        What a fun song and video, D.!

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Simon! I’m glad you have a new favorite song. I love the music of Bruno Mars. I can sink into the harmony of Leave the Door Open. Ah — podcasts. That’s something I want to work on. Good to know you enjoy listening to good storytellers from your country. Thanks! You have a good week, too!

      • Simon

        Hi Charli, Glad to know Bruno Mars are already a fav list of yours. Podcast I’ll ve happy to listen to yours ???? let us know if you are starting it. Have a good day ?????

      • Charli Mills

        Hopefully this summer! I’ll let you know.

  20. suespitulnik

    Hi Charli,

    I’m looking forward to sharing some of your well-deserved celebrations. I am so proud of you and thrilled to be along for the ride and benefits. How exciting you already have a free-lancing gig landed and are submitting resumes elsewhere. I’m sure you will have more than one road to choose from for your future travels.
    Your flash expresses hope for the characters, a new beginning. On to the prompt…

    Same Words, Different Thoughts

    It’s interesting how song lyrics can elicit different thoughts in different people.
    Thad played the melody to “Hit the Road Jack” on the piano and sang the words as if trying to perfect the phrasing.
    Mac remembered being ushered out of his pregnant Vietnamese girlfriend’s house by her unrelenting angry father and said, “Son, the band will NOT be singing that song.”
    Michael added, “I don’t care to sing that either. It brings up painful memories.”
    Tessa kept her good memory to herself. She had enjoyed a look of shock from her ex when she said it to him.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Ha! Brilliant. (You are Using your characters! In a good way) I love all the different takes on the prompt.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Sue!

      I wish I could share the wild rice cake with you, but I’ll take some photos! I look forward to celebrating with you over screens. Lots of possibilities next.

      Your flash is great! That was a clever way to show the difference in characters through their memories to a song. Of course, I liked Tessa’s quiet memory best.

  21. Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

    I don’t Know How it qualifies but it’s what I thought of first

    It was Tom’s last evening at Ray’s and he wanted to go out with a bang. He was glad it was a slow night, but some action would have made the time go faster. Sadly, Ray was his uncle. He might have pulled some last-night mischief, but he knew that kind of thing would follow him through the family and he wanted to be free of all this business as fast as possible.
    At ten to closing the stinking call came in. Damn, a flat on Cooper Dr. Tom looked at his tools. “Time to hit the road Jack”
    ;;
    ;;
    ;;
    Laugh You’ve earned it

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      The phrase “go where the prompt leads” qualifies many a response. It’s all good at the Ranch! It is a legit response, jack as a tool. (But with Coopers don’t you just flip them over like a turtle?)

    • Charli Mills

      So glad you included the least considered Jack, the one we all need for a flat. Good thing you let the prompt lead. It did you good.

  22. Liz H

    A little late night, an implied order to “Hit the road, Jack.” But we all know how the story ends up…

    Runner Beans and Sky Dreams

    Jack’s a nimble lad, head in the clouds, quick with a story of why This went unfinished, and That was never started. He’s a good boy, though, quick to cheer the cheerless, and help the weak haul water…
    [Continue ]

    • Charli Mills

      Those late nights will do that, Liz!

  23. Writinginthedeep

    This week made me think of riding around with my family as a kid listening to the oldies station on the radio. Here is what I wrote:

    https://writinginthedeep.com/2021/05/03/flash-fiction-hit-the-road/

    I wanted to say thank you for always having interesting 99 word prompts. I have truly enjoyed practicing the art of flash fiction. I feel like it makes you have to think harder at what the real meat of the story is.

    • Charli Mills

      I remember listening to the radio as a kid. I still love driving to music.

  24. Writinginthedeep

    This week made me think of riding around with my family as a kid listening to the oldies station on the radio. Here is what I wrote:

    https://writinginthedeep.com/2021/05/03/flash-fiction-hit-the-road/

    I wanted to say thank you for always having interesting 99 word prompts. I have truly enjoyed practicing the art of flash fiction. I feel like it makes you have to think harder at what the real meat of the story is. It definitely makes you take a real look at how you approach an idea in such a small limit.

    • Writinginthedeep

      My phone was acting up and it sent it twice.

      • Charli Mills

        It was worth saving twice, Heather!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I agree with you regarding Charli’s prompts. There’s always a lot to ponder.
      Great flash! I did not see that coming.

  25. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Donna!

  26. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Anita!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #99WSP – Daily Observation - […] https://carrotranch.com/2021/04/30/april-29-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ […]
  2. Irreplaceable – Rebecca Glaessner Author - […] April 29, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the…
  3. The Bully – Carrot Ranch | Sound Bite Fiction - […] The Carrot Ranch Challenge:In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the road,…
  4. Short Story: Fun Kind of Crazy | DJ Ranch - […] words – no more, no less. This week’s challenge is to write with the prompt of “hit the road,…
  5. CRLC Challenge & SixSentenceStory | ShiftnShake - […] Sentence Story. The prompt word is pawn, and I almost let the living chess idea go, but then the…
  6. The Movie (flash fiction) – joanne the geek - […] This was written with the prompt “hit the road, Jack” provided by the Carrot Ranch April 29 Flash Fiction…
  7. #Flash Fiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community | Books & Bonsai - […] April 29: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  8. nd 5.2 Got Eyewash (#2)? 3p – Jules Pens Some Gems… - […] Carrot Ranch April 29 Flash Fiction Challenge April 29, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write…
  9. CRLC Challenge; Hit the Road Jack | ShiftnShake - […] Carrot Ranch Literary Community April 29, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using…
  10. Don’t You Come Back No More | Elderberry Tea - […] by this prompt from the Carrot Ranch Literary Community: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story…
  11. Runner Beans and Sky Dreams | Valley of the Trolls - […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (04/29/2021): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the…
  12. Flash Jacks #flashfiction – Hugh's Views & News   - […] for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join […]
  13. Hit the Road Jack #flashfiction | Norah Colvin - […] This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write…

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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

Continue reading