Stories for your sweet tooth.
Writers responded to the prompt, and what follows is a collection of perspectives in 99-word stories arranged like literary anthropology.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
The Candy Heart of Revision by Christy Gard
Walk-in. Look around. Breathe deep. Run your fingers over the glass jars. You know these sensations. They are familiar friends that have been with you for many years. Most of the candies on the shelf are made of memories of years past. See that chunk of chocolate on the counter? Whisper to it. Twist its shape to your desire. Rearrange the saltwater taffy into rows that make sense. Do what you know you can do. This is your candy kitchen. Here you have the power to shape the candies into things of beauty if you just believe in yourself.
One Sweet Sorority by Roger Shipp
Her eyes beckoned me with that come-hither look.
I confidently stood (at least I was trying to exude assertiveness). Untucking my polo from my stone-washed khakis (I watch the commercials; all the cool guys wear their shirttails on the outside) I boldly stepped away from the row of chairs that sadly lined the dance floor’s wall.
Just my luck. This radiant goddess was joined with three other voluptuous knock-outs.
She reached to take my hand.
“I’m Candy Cane.” She gracefully gestured around. “Kit Katrine, Almond Joylensky, and Twix Barac.
“Sweet,” I responded.
I could feel my blood sugar rising.
Candy Kitchen by C. E. Ayr
The front door is unlocked, so I step inside.
Are you there, Candy?
Kitchen, she replies. And shut the door, Roger’s dead.
Roger’s her husband.
Well, was, apparently.
I stand gazing open-mouthed round the blood-drenched kitchen.
I’m not really surprised that she murdered him, he was such an irritating wee turd.
I sigh and shake my head, lift my arms in a what-are-we-going-to-do-now sort of gesture.
Some mess, eh? Candy says, calm as ever.
I turn and see her smiling at me over her shoulder.
She’s at the sink, rinsing the carving-knife.
There’s wine in the fridge, she says.
Outsiders Deserve Chocolate Too by Rebecca Glaessner
Candy’s small kitchen sits outside the CityDomes. Her rare chocolates conjure hidden queues of children every morning. They grin as she hands each their single piece then hurries them on.
A commotion draws Candy’s attention to the front. The kids quieten. She retreats.
A man’s tossing shelves in the dark. He looks weak, but her overlay reveals otherwise.
She’s got strength mods too, except, hers are hidden better.
He spots her and grins.
She brings him down quick, arm tight around his throat, his arm twisted behind. He struggles, then falls silent.
Candy returns soon after, smiling, “who’s next?”
Sour Grapes? by JulesPaige
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.
Oh, the Horror by Michael Fishman
Despite all the sinister ghoulishness of Halloween, the day isn’t about costumes or trick or treating to me. Even though I have fond memories of my folks turning the garage into a haunted house one year, Halloween for me is horror movies. And not modern horror movies that leave nothing to the imagination, but the good horror movies*.
Ok. Halloween is also about candy and I can’t resist those snack-sized bags of candy. Bags and bags that fill my cabinets and turn my kitchen into a candy kitchen.
Sorry trick-or-treaters, the candy’s all mine, Mine, MINE!
Divided by a Common Language by Anne Goodwin
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.
“Not soup. Candy!”
“What kind of candy where you were after?” Was he blind? Her shelves heaved with glass jars: aniseed balls; sherbet lemons; sarsaparilla drops. Stacks of Romney’s Kendal Mint Cake.
“It’s made on the premises.”
“There’s a chocolatier in Orton.” Miles away.
“Is it the famous one? Established in 1854?”
She sent him to Sarah Nelson’s. Grasmere gingerbread was renowned the world over. Neither bread, cake, nor biscuit. Call it candy if you will.
Grandpa Holds Out by Doug Jacquier
‘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.’
Ranch Candy by Charli Mills
Red paint smeared across a box flap declared, “Bailey’s Cand
iey 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.”
Marshmallow Waves by Norah Colvin
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.
Taking It In (Part I) by D. Avery
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.
Taking It In (Part II) by D. Avery
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.
The Stepmother Speaks by D. Avery
We’re both still so hungry but I don’t send him hunting in the woods. Not yet.
I thought I had married a strong man, one who would provide for me, but look at him. He sits and stares, dumbly kneading the boy’s bag of white pebbles, sounding like rattling bones to my ear.
‘They had to be sent away’ I remind him. ‘There isn’t enough.’
He saw their mother in their eyes, I know. And now they’re gone he still doesn’t look at me, for he’s seen me and knows I’ll never be enough.
We’re both still so hungry.
Happily Ever After by Liz Husebye Hartmann
They could’ve gone to the right
To the tidy brown cottage in the ring of aspens,
Goat nibbling happily on the turf roof.
It had reminded them of home.
But they went left.
To the gingerbread house with the candy kitchen.
Blood-red door, vanilla frosting dripping from the eaves,
Fencing made of gingerbread children.
They’d been lost in the woods for ever so long.
The crow could tell you how it all came out.
But it’s not what you’d expect.
The children were canny, the witches kind.
They were all from the same family,
So deep within the woods.
Candy-Coloured Rage by Hugh W. Roberts
Why has anger and rage engulfed Richard? Is he to blame for his actions?
He loved everything about the house except the candy-coloured kitchen.
Moving through the rooms, Richard destroyed everything in his path, keeping the best until last. His fists did all the work like giant metal balls on the end of chains that swang and knocked down old buildings.
Upon reaching the candy-coloured kitchen, his rage and anger peaked. Moments later, silence surrounded the house until the sound of sobbing interrupted his discernment of achievement.
“What have you done?” sobbed his six-year-old sister.
“If Daddy won’t let me play with your dolls’ house, then nor can you,”” a wide-eyed Richard yelled.
Sweet Dreams by Bill Engleson
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.”
Candy Maker by Duane L Herrmann
In high school I took the first “Boy’s Foods” class. Not because I wanted to; I had been involved with cooking at home from about four and had to reach over my head, past the flames, to stir something I could not see. But, my best friend wanted to take the class and wanted someone to go with him. So I did. The only thing I learned was to make caramel candy. For the rest of my high school years, that was my speciality. Unlike at school, though, I could use real cream. The candy melted in your mouth.
Memories by Saifun Hassam
My mom and aunts had fond memories of candy stores, whose owners actually made candy in the kitchen in the back of the stores. The candy kitchens had vanished as supermarkets sprang up, selling candy manufactured in remote factories from around the world.
On hot humid days, a whiff of licorice would drift up from the plants growing along the patio. The mingled fragrances of wild honeysuckle and mint somehow drew those memories from the dark recesses of my mind. I could taste peppermint candy, green stripes on white. Peppermint patties, coveted only because of their thick dark chocolate.
Ethel M by FloridaBorne
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.
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.
Candy Making Day by Sue Spitulnik
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.”
Evolutionary Journeys by Reena Saxena
It is like getting to know them all over again, when they visit in the holidays – the long phone calls and FaceTime chats notwithstanding.
Reality strikes hard. It’s not enough to know what they are eating or wearing. I don’t know what goes through their minds in the interim phase, and what journeys they are on to reach a different place.
They are adults with a life story of their own. Lego blocks do not a life make, and chocolate is nor the only sweetness in life.
The candy kitchen alone won’t suffice – my kids have grown up now.
The Last Divinity by Denise DeVries
Kate Meade’s divinity was known throughout Hull Crossing, and everyone wanted to be on her Christmas list. Only the notoriously gossipy Bird sisters were privy to her secret recipe, and the most they would say was, “it’s not cream of tartar.” Then one year, Daphne Brown received an emergency call to deliver another dozen eggs to the boarding house. The divinity had fallen. “And would you happen to have any buttermilk?”
Suddenly she understood. “No … I hear vinegar works.”
Kate Meade’s sobs carried over the phone line. “I just tried that.”
Two divinities fell in Hull Crossing that Christmas.
Nooooooooo! by Donna Matthews
The dentist eyes me from behind her mask…eyebrows raised and with glee, “Looks like we have a bad tooth!”
Words like full of decay, root canal, maybe insurance will cover, another appointment, etc., come tumbling out next. I’m nodding, but inside, I’m in a panic.
“Nooooooooo!” My inner voice, childlike in its despair, wails. Because here’s the deal… I LOVE candy. Everything about it. All shapes, sizes, textures. I could’ve had a career…a confectioner in a candy kitchen! Yes!
Waking from my sweet reverie, I realize she’s staring at me.
“I’m sorry? What?”
“Cut out the candy, okay?”
And Eat It Too (Part I) by D. Avery
“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.”
And Eat It Too (Part II) by D. Avery
“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.”