October 28: 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.

October 29, 2021

All those years, driving up the North Shore of Lake Superior to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, I missed Great Lakes Candy Kitchen. Was it the smell of smoked fish lingering in the air of Knife River that hid the sweet scents of vat-stirred confections? With a bit of sleuthing, I realize that the candy kitchen and I missed like two Great Lakes freighters passing on a moonless night.

For ten years, my family camped along the Gunflint Trail with our tents, dogs, and red Coleman canoe. I savored the North Shore drive that hugged the craggy coast of Lake Superior on the Minnesota side. Knife River, twenty miles north of Duluth, was our first official stop. Smoked salmon. The smell would fill our Expedition and our mouths watered until we found a way-stop where we’d picnic and watch the waves crash to shore.

I never saw the candy kitchen.

Turns out, the last camping trip we ever took as a family was in 2007 when we camped in northern Wisconsin instead because we were taking our eldest to college at Northland College. That same year, the third-generation candy-makers from the Iron Range opened their shop on the scenic North Shore. We never returned to the North Shore, shifting our camping and Lake Superior outings to the Chequamegon Bay. By 2012, I was living the dream — writing my first stab at a manuscript from the picturesque communities of northern Wisconsin. That was the year I discovered bobbing in the waves of Lake Superior, something not possible on the North Shore.

All along, Lady Lake has wrapped me up in a siren’s call, luring me from my mountains of the West.

A good friend later purchased a timeshare at a North Shore resort outside of Knife River. Where my timeline dropped off, hers picked up. She’s only known the North Shore with the candy kitchen, and I only knew it without. Until last week. At first, I was shocked that my kids and I had no idea such delectable chocolates and sea salt caramels existed. Although the family has been in business for three generations, they didn’t open this location until after 2007.

And, you don’t have to visit in person. After the busy season, they shift their sales to online (November 1 — what a way to kick off NaNoWriMo).

The North Shore had felt like wilderness to me, all those years ago. I suppose it still is, but I had no idea about Madeline Island or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan until later. Now, it feels overly commercialized. There are few public beaches and most are state parks. Unlike Michigan, Minnesota has outlawed the collection of rocks and agates along what few pebble beaches it has. However, my friend has purchased time in a condo she shares with other owners on a rotating schedule, and her place faces due east — sunrises and splashing waves.

It was cozy to sleep on my camping pad in front of the gas fireplace with one of the huge picture windows cracked to let in the crisp air and sound of the surf. We shared good meals, and I had my first-ever Bloody Mary. I got to hike along Gooseberry Falls, look (not touch) agates along the beach at a state park, and watch eagles wheel overhead as if to welcome one of Nibi’s friends to the other side of the Big Lake. The full moon rose over the water, painting a silver path. I got to taste some of the best chocolates ever, share good food, and coat my nails in cherry bonbon glitter. And, the car I rented was upgraded at no extra cost to a Mini Cooper! It was a fun trip and yet good to return to my community and classroom.

The weather has since shifted. I feel the cold in my bones and a call to hibernate during the dark of the year. I remind myself that it is sunny Down Under. Somewhere there is warmth and light. It will return. Time to prepare for snow. Time to take a deep breath and steady the resolve for NaNoWriMo.

I’m not a participant this year, but I will offer NaNo Mentoring. I will cheer your efforts, listen to your woes in the official NaNoWriMo group for Rough Writers, and offer tips. When it comes to mentoring, I’m aware that all writers are different. It can help you to absorb this truth. Why? Because writers often compare themselves to others or expectations. This week, before NaNoWriMo starts, whether you are participating or not, write a love letter to your inner writer.

Acknowledge your hopes and dreams. Recognize your efforts. Look for growth in your craft. Count your celebrations, big or small. Give your inner writer some love. Be generous, kind, and accepting.

All writers suffer from doubt. In fact, the very first article in my MFA program was all about writers and the imposter syndrome. Read the article before you craft your letter. If you feel scared, recognize the truth that writing matters to you. If you feel you are behind, different, or not good enough, recognize the lies of self-doubt. Every week at Carrot Ranch, don’t we see how beautiful and compelling variety is? If you must compare yourself, do it in a healthy way. Learn what you admire in other writers. Study the craft. Read (listen to the spoken word or watch films) to learn how stories are felt and shared. Let your inner writer grow.

That’s the best way you can prepare for any writing project as big and intimidating and thrilling as NaNoWriMo. And if this isn’t your year to tackle it, so what? It isn’t mine and I’m volunteering to be a cheerleader to those who are! So join me in that endeavor. And if you are committing to the big NaNo Event, don’t fret if you discover that your capacity for daily word count is less than what is required. Either you will binge when you have longer stretches of time, or you will learn what your daily limit is.

Keep on writing. Your writing vision belongs to you, and you alone. Strategies, tools, time, and energy will come and go like seasons. But your inner writer will remain. Remember the “power of yet.”

October 28, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features a candy kitchen. You can interpret the phrase creatively or stick to the traditional. Is it sweet? Ironic? Any genre will do. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by November 2, 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 are now closed. Find our latest challenge to enter.

Ranch Candy by Charli Mills

Red paint smeared across a box flap declared, “Bailey’s Candiey Kichun.” Jolene eyed the boss’s daughter who’d set up shop on the cookshack table. The crew sauntered in, and Bailey explained confections and prices. Bittersweet chocolate chunks sprinkled with dried garlic. A dime. Butter rolled in coffee grounds. A quarter. Balls of bread softened in pickle juice. A nickel. Change and delicacies exchanged hands.

Bailey wiped the table and gathered her mama’s plates. “Well, ain’t you gonna eat your candy?”

Hank said, “Jolene don’t like us eatin’ sweets ‘fore breakfast.” Everyone nodded vigorously.

“Why, Hank Barret, that ain’t so.”


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  1. Rebecca Glaessner Author

    What a glorious getaway. I’ve been to a popup boiled candies store at the Queen Victoria market here in Melbourne. The variety was stunning and utterly delicious, much like the stories we share here.

    I’ve completed NaNo once, and that manuscript will never see the light of day BUT in doing so, I promised to compete it and proved to myself that I could trust me. My promise was fulfilled and it gave me the confidence that I could follow through, and 4 years later, I’m looking at the draft of a manuscript that will be published in the next few years, it’s solid, it’s bigger than my nano work, and I’m utterly excited.

    NaNo is an invaluable experience.

    As for the prompt, I’ve once again pre selected an image, and the ideas are churning. These weekly challenges excite me too, no matter how big of a hurdle they offer, I’ve promised myself I’d respond each week, and knowing that I can trust myself to just get it done, is a powerful feeling.

    • Doug Jacquier

      I haunted Queen Vic Market in my inner suburban hippy student days and can still smell the brattwurst bar that was always my first stop. 🙂

      • Rebecca Glaessner Author

        Oh the battwursts and kranskies, loaded up with sauerkraut and mustard and hot sauce and sharp cheese. So good.

      • Doug Jacquier

        Nice one, Rebecca. Candy really caned him. 🙂

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        Good one! Didn’t see it coming.

    • Charli Mills

      You and Doug have me curious about the Queen Victoria Market Experience! Such places make lifetime impressions on us, don’t they?

      Rebecca, you have found the key to trusting your writing to yourself. That is such a huge factor, finding your ability to follow through. It’s one of many reasons that I support NaNoWriMo — the experience opens doors for writers even if they are different doors. We learn to write through writing. Lots of other studies, reading, and feedback help too, but none of that works without the act of writing. I’m excited about your solid second manuscript. You took a break at Carrot Ranch, too, and when you returned I noticed a huge leveling up in your craft and greater ease with which you wield your author’s voice.

      And now you’ve found another way to challenge your writing and follow through. Your awareness will serve you well in your growth and career.

      • Rebecca Glaessner Author

        Thanks Charli. Your support, in all the forms it takes, is helping writers from all over to find their voices. You’re doing inspiring work around stories and words and I’m so grateful to have found this community.

        The VIC Market (as it’s shortened to here) is definitely an experience. Stalls of all kinds open daily there. I wonder how it fared through the lockdowns. I’m sure it was chaos with shoppers after the state dropped restrictions just before the weekend though. Will have to show it to you when you come our way!

      • Rebecca Glaessner Author

        Further to that, the market sits with me because I used to go there for a day every now and then with mum when she worked there. I loved taking a few coins with me and strolling through the aisles. I don’t think I bought much at all, but the prospect of so much unique selection was glorious! I don’t know how I lost so many hours in that place. Time moves so differently for children, and memories form differently too, more emotionally.

      • Charli Mills

        I hope to see the VIC market someday! You’ll have to be my tour guide. I’m so glad you are part of this community where we get to grow and share our voices.

  2. robertawrites235681907

    HI Charli, it sounds like you had a wonderful time away. A candy kitchen sounds interesting. I can’t think I’ve ever seen one other than in the UK.

      • robertawrites235681907

        HI Anne, I interpret a candy kitchen (after I googled it because the expression was unfamilar to me too) as being a place where candy and chocolate is made by hand. There is a place like that we visited in York. It was actually very interesting as I didn’t know before we visited York that it was the home to so many sweet and chocolate factories.

      • Anne Goodwin is bringing Matilda Windsor home

        Thanks, Robbie, I realised afterwards that it could apply to chocolate and we have a few of those here. And York has so many fabulous shops it doesn’t surprise me they have a candy kitchen.

    • Charli Mills

      Robbie, I imagine your kitchen as one where mascarpone transforms into story! Such a sweet space. I was not familiar with the old-fashioned term before I found this shop. There are so many other terms, sweets shop, candy emporium, confectionery, chocolatiers, fudge store. I’m enjoying the different reactions and perspectives.

  3. Anne Goodwin is bringing Matilda Windsor home

    Looks like you had a great trip, Charli, and the comfort of home to return to. Somehow I need to match this prompt to a review post on novels about celebrity. Maybe that’ll work, given I’ve never heard of a candy kitchen. Looks like a glorified sweet shop?

    • Anne Goodwin is bringing Matilda Windsor home

      Okay, so a candy kitchen is a sweet shop where the product is made on the premises? Given my confusion, I’ve composed my 99-word story around geographical and cultural differences in the use of the English language, and managed to fit in two celebrities, only one of whom you’re likely to recognise.

      Divided by a common language

      People often asked for directions to Wordsworth’s grave, but this was a first. “There’s a soup kitchen in Barrow.” Where tourists never go.

      [cont] https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/in-the-public-eye-trust-blue-skinned-gods

    • Charli Mills

      I think it’s another (unfamiliar to me, too) name for a sweet shop, Ann. Though my mind is whirling at the connections between “candy kitchen” and celebrity. My mind goes to saccharine names given to drugs or illicit acts. That’s a darker direction, less sweet!

      The differences in cultural and regional use of the English language make for fascinating expansions of ideas (after the initial confusion).

      • Charli Mills

        I enjoy learning the different interpretation of shared words.

  4. restlessjo

    Ending on a smile! What a great cheerleader you are, Charli. Love that second shot and the shimmery moon one. Wonderful times. Wishing you many more.

    • Charli Mills

      The moonrises were stunning, Jo! Thank you!

      • restlessjo


  5. Donna Matthews

    Love, love all your encouragement. Thank you ??

    • Charli Mills

      This is the time to fill up the canteens for our continued journeys!

      • Donna Matthews

        Yes, yes ????????

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      Candy can be blissful, but can’t sustain forever. I’m sure the love does though, that ache to communicate and connect proves it’s still there. Beautiful take on the prompt Reena.

      • Reena Saxena

        Thank you, Rebecca!

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      A reflection of life put to words. Nicely done.

      • Reena Saxena

        Thank you so much, Ann!

    • Charli Mills

      That is the essence of re-aligning our relationships as our kids grow. Great use of the prompt, Reena.

      • Reena Saxena

        Thank you, Charli!

  6. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    And Eat It Too

    “Kid?! What’s with all this candy? Kitchen’s a mess.”
    “I’m a mess, Pal. Workin’ things out through culinary art.”
    “Well Shorty says cake’s always a good beginning to a fine ending. But what else is goin’ on with this cake?”
    “This pile of chocolate covered pretzel sticks is a beaver lodge. An’ here’s a pretzel dam mudded over with chocolate. This here, with the V out behind it in the blue icing, that’s a beaver, see the black licorice tail?”
    “I see it Kid. And this one with the skinny little tail?”
    “Made outta pink licorice— that’s my Curly.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      “Kid, shouldn’t ya be tendin’ ta yer literary art? Mebbe writin’ yersef a encouragin’ letter?”
      “I don’t think so Pal.”
      “Come on Kid. Time ta run with the wolves. Or at least the Writers”
      “Cain’t focus on anythin’ Pal, not with my puglet out swimmin’ with the beavers.”
      “As Dylan sang, If pigs swim free, why not me?, or somethin’ like thet. Curly’s embraced her inner beaver, bravin’ new waters. It’s inspirin’.”
      “Cain’t git over my puglet flyin’ the coop.”
      “‘Ain’t no excuse ta chicken outta writin’, Kid. Heck, pigs’ve flown b’fore at Carrot Ranch! Anythin’s possible.”
      “Reckon so.”

      • Jules

        I’ve made a few chocolate covered preztels…
        I think though that writing is just one part of art and cooking could be too. Especially with treats 😀

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      Aww how beautiful of Kid. I can imagine the mess, but all the love too. Seems like there’s a theme of love to the Candy Kitchen pieces so far.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Kid and I would do well together making a mess in the kitchen.

    • Norah

      I love Kid’s cake. I’d like a slice of that. And his literary work as well.

    • Charli Mills

      It’s hard, watchin’ them puglets grow, rebel with tail-slapping. But Curly has heart and a cause. Kid can feel proud. Nice cake decoratin’ skills.

  7. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Taking It In

    When the bread crumbs disappeared, Hansel and Gretel had no choice but to press on. And why follow a trail back to where they were unwanted? Hungering for a loving home, hungering for a mother, hungering also in their tight bellies, they were not wary when they found the candy house. Surely the smiling crone was kindly and sweet.
    But the bone littered kitchen was the heart of this house. Hansel was a caged bird, his hungry heart drumming fear.
    Gretel saw it all. To this day she recalls that crone as she bakes bread for her own children.

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      Gretel’s not as innocent as she seems. Great twist D!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake


        Nibbling on candy in that greasy kitchen, they planned their next move.

        “We can’t go back Gretel. She’s turned father against us.”

        But Gretel, standing tall in the face of what she had done, told Hansel they would return. “We have food and treasures from the old crone. We’ll be let in.”

        Even before seeing the treasure their father welcomed them back and begged their forgiveness. He told them their stepmother, sweating feverishly and gasping for breath, had died.

        The children grew. Gretel became a strong and gentle woman, ever wary of what a person might be capable of.

      • Rebecca Glaessner Author

        Oh that’s a sweet ending and yet another twist. Twisted fairy tales looks to be another skill of yours, D!

    • Doug Jacquier

      D, I was so tempted to go down the Hansel and Gretel path but I am glad I didn’t because both these pieces are far superior to what I had in mind.

      As a sidebar, it’s interesting how the evil step-mother trope has almost disappeared, only to be replaced with the evil step-father. ????

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Doug, I am sure your Hansel and Gretel stories would have their own special sparkle. I see these as more of a summary/interpretation. I’m glad if they work as a response to the prompt.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Thanks for giving us two stories! Your twisted rendition made the original vintage story seem lame, but maybe that is an age thing on my part.

    • Norah

      Love these stories, D. Seems like there may have been some connection between the old crone and the step-mother, eh? I like it.

      • Norah

        Exactly. It’s fitting.

    • Liz H

      “Bone littered kitchen” (shudder!)
      That hit the old-school fairy tale spot. And that final line hints at some happily ever after.

    • Charli Mills

      Fairy tale themes resonate so strongly, that we can continue to visit the stories and make them new. Your focus on hunger drives each tale.

  8. Doug Jacquier

    Here’s my piece for this week, in which a pedantic Australian Grandpa does his brave but futile best to stem the tide of Americanisation of Australian English with his absurdly-named grandson. Any resemblance to the author’s life is purely coincidental.

    Grandpa holds out

    ‘Grandpa, can I have a soda?’

    ‘No, Jayddyynn, I only have soft drink. You may have some of that.’

    Jayddyynn’s eyes roll and he follows with ‘Grandpa, can I have a cookie?’

    ‘No, but you may have a biscuit.’

    ‘Grandpa, have you seen my cellphone?’

    ‘Yes, you showed it to me once. If you mean do I know where it is right now, the answer is perhaps I might know where your mobile phone is located.’

    ‘Grandpa, you’re the weirdest person I know. Do you have any candy?

    ‘Jayddyynn, you know very well this is a no candy kitchen.’

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      I remember being berated for using US terminology as a kid.

      Our own kids use multiple accents and pronunciations freely though. As long as people know what they’re talking about, they can talk however they like.

      Jayddyynn however… what a life. Poor kid.

      • Doug Jacquier

        I put pathetic kids names up there with tattoos as sad attempts to be ‘different’.

      • Rebecca Glaessner Author

        I understand the frustration about names, sometimes they become an unnecessary burden. But tattoos? I’ve got a gorgeous piece (my only tattoo as yet) on my back of an open book with Da Vinci’s quote “the noblest pleasure, is the joy of understanding” flowing out of it amongst strands of magic. Words are a part of me, and I love that it’s always with me, and my pride in my art isn’t hidden, it’s celebrated. And my hubby has full sleeves with Chinese characters amongst Chinese artworks that say things like “love, hope, courage, discipline” etc and he gets to carry that gorgeous art with him. And on his back he has our childrens’ newborn footprints with their names in a flowing script and our wedding vows on his calf with a cross for his faith in something greater. We’re not so bad now are we, Doug? ???? I do understand your frustration with tattoos though, despite all that; putting our private selves out there as a way to prove to the world that we’re individuals, it shouldn’t feel needed, I can see why tattoos aren’t always supported.

      • Doug Jacquier

        Rebecca, let me clarify that I am not anti-tattoo and I don’t think all people who are tattooed are weird. I am a cleanskin myself but my wife and almost all of our offspring and their spouses have taken to the ink in many different ways and to different extents. What makes me sad is when people don’t think through the consequences e.g. when relationships change, employment prospects etc or when either the inkee or the inker is illiterate eg, ‘Born Too Loose’. 🙂

      • Rebecca Glaessner Author

        Yeah, those are some rough choices! It’s getting easier to get Tatts covered now though, and I’m grateful you’re not “anti-tatt” too. ???? Love can make us do some crazy things though! That “in-love” phase has seen many a name tatted and covered over the times, for sure.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Made me smile. I wonder if it is considered being able to speak a second (or more) language when one can verbalize and intertwine words from other countries, and know their meaning?

      • Doug Jacquier

        You mean like English? 😉

    • Norah

      Doug, that is so clever. I love it. Sweet, some might say. ????

      • Doug Jacquier

        Thanks, Norah.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      This made me smile. And now I’m remembering some struggles with the language when visiting New South Wales some years ago.

    • Jules

      I’ve been watching a show with Brittish English… some differences.
      but nothing that can’t be figured out.

      Children’s names on the other hand… reminds me of Lear who named his children ‘King’ (the son changed his name) and the daughter was ‘Chrystal Shanda…’ when she married she didn’t have to worry anymore.

    • ceayr

      Painful name, if it’s real, Doug, and fun story.
      The sad thing is that even here in France the language is becoming Americanised
      Le Smoothie makes me scream!

      • Doug Jacquier

        There are many names out there just as painful for the unfortunate sods that have to carry them until they can change it. As for Framerican, I think the cultural war was lost when le weekend appeared. 😉

    • Charli Mills

      Yay! The grandson called it soda (not pop). It’s a regional difference in the US. Clever breakdown of English. Is this the American (language) invasion? Can’t say we are to be fully trusted with our use of English. 😉

      • Doug Jacquier

        We are the ones not to be trusted, it would seem. in preserving our own cultural references. I mean whatever happened to ‘About as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike’ and describing men’s swimming briefs as ‘budgie smugglers’ ? 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Budgie smugglers! Now, that’s having fun with English!

  9. floridaborne

    Rough week and I’m beat. Not posting anything on my blog today, so I’ll put my contribution here:

    I first entered an Ethel M candy store in 1988, at high-end San Rafael mall, where the best dark chocolate coconut candy on Earth awaited.

    I was living north of San Francisco at the time, traveling 25 miles to work near the Marina, and passing San Rafael to sit in a traffic jam. If you’ve never watched the incredible sunrise over a San Francisco fog, you won’t understand why I looked forward to being stuck on the Golden Gate Bridge for 20 minutes.

    Ethel M still exists. Like California, I can no longer afford to live within that dream.

    • Rebecca Glaessner Author

      Your piece echoes the rough week you’ve had. That sunrise sounds magical though. I hope next week is better for you.

      • floridaborne


        I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again this year, but I also have a very busy November work-wise. I envy people who work a full-time job and can still write 50,000 words in a month.

      • Rebecca Glaessner Author

        Me too. Best of luck with NaNo! Enjoy the process even if the words elude you.

      • Doug Jacquier

        Me too re NaNoWriMo 🙂

    • denmaniacs4

      A fine dash of sweet and sour realism. Highly enjoyed it.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I like how you found the bright side of the traffic jam. Location, location, location.

      • floridaborne

        It was a beautiful place.

    • ceayr

      As a Scot who has travelled a bit, San Francisco is still in my top 3 cities in the world.
      Nicely told.

      • floridaborne


        An efficiency apartment with a view of someone else’s window is around $1,200 per month and you have to pay water/electric. A 2 bedroom apartment in a decent part of town is almost $6000 per month. Most of us couldn’t afford to live there.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, yes, Ethel M chocolates! A blast from my past. California is a totally different economy. Say, did you see your invite to the Rough Writer group on NaNo? You are off to a great start!

      • floridaborne

        Sorry ’bout that. I thought I had responded. Did I mention I’m terrible with technology?

      • Charli Mills

        I think you have to accept the invite. Not sure what it looks like on your end but you are not alone in not knowing!

  10. petespringerauthor

    My family and I have continued a tradition my parents (since passed) started many years ago. We hold a family reunion every three years. Since my three older brothers and I got thoroughly spread out across the country over the years (one of us in each of the four continental time zones), we see different parts of the country. My Minnesota brother planned our most recent reunion this summer on the shores of Lake Superior in Twin Harbors, MN. We had a lovely afternoon at Gooseberry Falls, and I recognized some of the other places you mentioned.

    • Charli Mills

      What a great way to see family on a rotation of regions! Two Harbors is a wonderful little port town and a great place to launch family adventures. Gooseberry State Park is beautiful.

  11. Michael B. Fishman

    I apologize on behalf of the state for the rock collecting ban in state parks. We hope you forgive us and revisit again! Hopefully the upgrade to the Mini Cooper helped.

    Thank you for the second to the last paragraph. Just the thought of Nano and the accompanying self doubt (and worse) is more difficult than the actual writing.

    • Charli Mills

      No wonder people show up with buckets to our Keweenaw shores! It was a lovely visit, Michael. And yes, the NaNoDoubt is real. It will ebb and flow the whole month, too. We shall overcome!

  12. Jules


    I liked your flash. Creativity aught to be rewarded. But well… sweet just ain’t sour is it?

    I went a tad dark because I mashed three prompts at my site. There is a link about the real ‘Stingy Jack’ who is the not so sweet guy of whom our tradition of Jack O’ Lanterns comes from…

    Sour Grapes?

    The Candy shops’ new owners were not aware that just down the block lived Stingy Jack. The man rarely came in and when he did, he was frank about just wanting the smallest of pieces. Only Eve from the kitchen knew him better. But she would never repeat that she noticed his raw pain. She remembered seeing him with a happy grin – that was when his wife was alive.

    His Mrs. was the owner of the shop. One eve, before Halloween – through the kitchen door – a burglar. Just wanting coffee ended up taking her life. Jack died then too.

    © JP/dh

    • suespitulnik

      What a sad story and a true reflection of life. Well done.

    • ceayr


      • Jules

        Emotions can be such a bother… gotta reign ’em in.

    • Charli Mills

      Some sweets are not so, eh? As for your flash, Jules, its perfectly pitched to All Hallows Eve and is a shuddering tale of the walking wounded.

      • Jules

        Too many walking wounded… (sigh).

      • Charli Mills

        We need healing solutions on the go.

  13. denmaniacs4

    Sweet Dreams

    Jean had been raised in a very spartan family.

    “No fun, we absolutely have no fun,” she told me the day we first met at Woolworths.

    They had a little coffee shop down in the lower section as many of those old-time department stores had.

    She ordered a chocolate shake.

    Three chocolate shakes.

    “I’ve heard of them,” she said. “Always wanted one.”

    “You have three,” I said.

    “I know. There is so much more that I want. That I’ve never had before.”

    “The good life?”

    “ Yes! A sugar bed, fudge furniture, candy kitchen, and a chocolate shake house.”


    • Doug Jacquier

      I think Jean might soon be eaten out of house and home. 😉

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Those oh so thick milkshakes from Woolworths were a meal in themselves. I wonder how she’ll manage to get through three before moving onto her other wants in life?

    • Norah

      They are very sweet dreams.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Such a sublimely told tale of sublimation and savoring the sweet life.

    • Charli Mills

      All the sweets might be the first response, but Jean will figure out that life has plenty more to offer. The Storytelling Center in Calumet will have an old-fashioned malt shop. It used to be a Woolworths!

  14. Ann Edall-Robson

    There will be no NaNoWriMo for me this year. I am in a state of “get ‘er done” for three of my projects. Annnnd, it is soon to be the Christmas season which is where I let my brain wander for this week’s prompt.

    Sweet Traditions
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    She lived close to her childhood home, and the drive unless the weather said otherwise, could easily be made in a few hours. Her mom had telephoned to say it was time for a weekend bake and make for Christmas. Spending the weekend helping to create holiday goodies would be a treat after the gruelling hours preparing her latest book to send to the beta readers. Opening the door to her parent’s kitchen the aroma of Peanut Brittle and Peppermint Patties announced the candy production line had started. A sampling of both had her taste buds doing a jig.


    • Norah

      What a sweet tradition. I wouldn’t mind being in on that.

    • suespitulnik

      We must be channeling thoughts. I have peppermint patties and peanut brittle in my story also. Hugs.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I recall similar sweet traditions. I could smell this candy kitchen!

    • Jules

      There is a nack for making candy. Like cake and pastry you have to measure. I’ll stick with making cannoli. 😉

    • Charli Mills

      You are full to the brim with projects, Anne. No need to add another until the work is done. Sweet delivery, doubled. You got me thinking of holiday baking already!

  15. Norah

    Lovely post, Charli, though I have to say, I didn’t recognise it as your writing at first. I thought it must have been a guest and wondered why we weren’t told in the beginning. It was only when I was half-way through that I realised it was you and had to go back and re-read. Funny, eh?
    I’m so pleased you can still gather your pebbles. How sad it would be if you couldn’t. Perhaps worse that missing the candy store.
    I love your flash. Such creativity and imagination, on both seller’s and the customer’s side. It is a good thing they are not permitted sweets before breakfast.
    I appreciate your suggestion of writing a love letter to our inner writers. Mine could do with a bit of love at the moment.

    • Norah

      Here’s my story: https://norahcolvin.com/2021/11/03/candy-kitchen-flashfiction/

      Marshmallow Waves
      The cooks bustled about my kitchen making sweets to gift.
      “I love homemade gifts,” she said.
      “Especially when we get to share,” he said, sampling largish crumbs of fudge and coconut ice.
      “Marshmallow is amazing,” she said. It mixes up so light and fluffy,”
      “What’s in it?”
      “Sugar, water and gelatine.”
      “What’s gelatine?” he asked.
      I dared not tell the vegetarians, but he searched for information on his phone.
      “We can’t eat that,” he spluttered. “Gelatine’s made from animal bones!”
      The marshmallow mix, so light and fluffy, was binned. Not even a taste for me, although I’m not vegetarian.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, that’s funny, Norah! I was unrecognizable in voice. I had on Off-Charli day. 😉 I’m glad we have good collectible rocks here and no candy kitchens! Write a love letter because that writer has been tenacious and gracious and always growing. Well, you made me laugh too but in the way you intended — gelatine would be a hard sell in a candy kitchen of modern era kids.

      • Norah

        It might be more that I’ve had an off-day or more, Charli. Yeah, I probably need to write that letter. The writer is feeling very discouraged and unloved at the moment. I’m pleased you laughed at my story. It really was quite funny and we all had quite a laugh about it. I was surprised they didn’t know and had no need to think about it myself.

    • Charli Mills

      The Ranch is a late night place, C.!

  16. suespitulnik

    Hi Charli,
    Your time on the North Shore sounded marvelous. I’m glad you got to get away for a few days.
    One of my favorite candy shops is in Seattle. Dilattante Chocolates. Many memories of visiting there. Rebecca and Doug brought back another fun memory of Seattle’s public market. The fishmongers throw fish past unsuspecting shopper’s heads. Fun to experience and also a great place to buy dinner.
    On to the prompt…

    Candy Making Day

    Tessa’s mother had made homemade holiday treats for as long as Michael could remember. His mouth watered thinking about them. Recently his clunky wheelchair and inability to reach things kept him from helping during production. Not this year.
    When Michael walked into the candy kitchen, Jenny did a double-take but didn’t comment as she smiled up at him. At the end of the day, they had made chocolate and maple-walnut fudge, peppermint patties, and peanut brittle.
    Michael was beaming. “Guess I’ve been missing a lot by not standing.”
    Jenny hugged his solid torso. “‘Bout time you figured that out.”

    • Jules

      We are all differently-abled! Good for Michael!!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      He’s getting up and getting back to what makes him happy. Sweet.

    • Charli Mills

      Sue, I’d love to visit the Seattle Market one day! Not sure about the fish, though. Your story reveals the moment I think we’ve all been waiting for — Michael walks into the candy kitchen!

    • Charli Mills

      Keep on rockin’ the NaNo vibe, Liz! Nice teasing twist.

      • Liz H


  17. Liz H

    “Bone littered kitchen” (shudder!)
    That hit the old-school fairy tale spot. And that final line hints at some happily ever after.

  18. Charli Mills

    Oh, divine divinity! Now, there’s another candy kitchen on the Great Lake Superior, but in Wisconsin…

  19. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    A timely (and fun) tale, for I find dentists to be quite scary!

  20. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Donna!

  21. Charli Mills

    The seasonal candy kitchen!

  22. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Hugh!


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