Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.
We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
Our Angst Society by Bill Engleson
Bob Tinkler isn’t a fellow who has ever opened up much about what is bothering him. That’s my take anyway. So, after our just-resumed masked-up book club wrapped up tonight, I am surprised when he hails me as we walk to our cars.
“I was wondering,” he says.
“About what, Bob?”
“Well, you being a recent widower and all, did you and Maddie…talk about…you know…?”
“Yeah, we did. Quite a lot, actually. Why?”
We stop on the sidewalk.
Six feet apart.
Moons away in awareness.
I see the unease in his eyes.
And the tears flowing.
Desperately Anxious by Gary A. Wilson
Desperately addicted to antacids, Charles swallows and takes the stage.
He knows the auditorium sits 900 and is packed – again.
The video reaches thousands more.
They come from miles expecting truth and inspiration.
Today — they’ll see my failures.
Today – I’ll fail them.
– = Ξ = –
Desperately addicted to his words, single-mother, Tami, holds her sleeping new-born.
The skin of her guilt will be peeled away . . .
Exposing me — before everyone.
. . . the evidence of her failure sleeps at her breast.
A path to forgiveness will be offered.
What if I can’t find and follow it?
Recipe for Anxiety by Duane L Herrmann
Never knowing when screaming would erupt, her children lived in fear. Mother was no help, trapped inside her pain planted by her mother overwhelmed by her own depression since her mother died when she was eight and abandoned.
Would it be the way I walked? Shut my lips? Swallowed? Even sleeping was not safe. What would set her off? Of course, none of the work I did at her demand was completed to her satisfaction. When would the screaming begin again? I couldn’t please her no matter what I tried. I grew up, lived my own life, but PTSD remained.
The Cost of Never Again by Anne Goodwin
The guide thrusts his shaking hands deep into his pockets, tries to steady his voice although his tongue cleaves to the roof of his mouth. Yet his ratings are perfect; the tour so familiar, he’s abandoned the script. Must be some bug; it can’t be nerves.
The students aren’t listening. They pose for selfies below Arbeit Macht Frei. They see his head jerk towards the ghost-sounds: a steam train; children crying; the shouts of the guards. His nostrils twitch at the stench of burning bodies; the sweat; the fear.
His bowels know the terror of being Jewish in 1944.
I Think I Used to Be Something by Doug Jacquier
I don’t know how to be yet
when I am nothing that I used to be;
how to begin and end the day at the same place
and radiate contentment.
I don’t know if I will go mad
or how I will know
or how it will end,
if it ends.
I don’t know how to be still
long enough to be
so I can decide
if there is any something to be.
And what if I want
to be nothing?
Will there be anything left to love?
And will there be anything left of me to care?
A Truckstop in Georgia by Kerry E.B. Black
To break up our road trip, we visited a rest stop. We unfolded ourselves from our seats, grateful to stretch.
Without warning, a storm seized my girl. As though lost within herself, she lashed out with words and crutches, bites and pinches. We encircled, offering comfort and gentle words. She bucked, wild and incoherent, unseeing eyes all whites, teeth a weapon for the unwary.
I dodge, lift her in a hug and rush from the store, soothing. With a rush of tears, she returns to the here and now, embarrassed, contrite, and unable to identify what triggered her attack.
Knowing My Grandmother by Hope Wagner
“How’s college, my dear?”
My grandmother glances over to me from the brown rocking chair, her body rigid and motionless. A warm smile flashes accompanied by blank eyes. I tell her about the classes I love, and the one I hate, Introduction to Computers. She used to know how bad I am with technology. I lightly cover the run-down buildings and my floral decorated dorm. When she rests her hand atop mine, cold and feather-light, I know to stop speaking.
After a few more minutes, she asks, “How’s college?”
My stomach crumbles a little as her hand squeezes mine.
A River Runs Through It by Geoff Le Pard
Anxiety reigns in Little Tittweaking around now. If the River Tweak hasn’t begun to flow by St Poon’s Day, much wailing and gnashing ensue; if the first dribble is declared by the designated elder before the saint’s day, fecundity is guaranteed. Since the elder is always chosen from the regulars of the Compost and Rot, by the time moisture is detected, said elder is usually face down in the mud, babbling incoherently. Consequently, the anxiety grows which explains why this day is known locally as Ground Bog Day and, in recent years has coincided with an early Valium harvest.
Faith by D. Avery
Grinning, he stamped snow off his boots.
“You’re something else,” he exclaimed.
She looked at him, uncomprehending.
“You made snow angels!”
She smiled weakly, petting the dog. Here’s an angel, she thought.
She wouldn’t tell him that with fogged glasses she’d lost her bearings in the pitch black; that she’d fallen in the deep snow then flailed wildly, panicked, trapped in a whirling vortex of anxiety; that even after regaining her footing, she’d still felt completely lost until barking directed her to the house, stumbling and sobbing with relief.
She would let him believe she’d intentionally made snow angels.
Anxiety Superpowers by Charli Mills
Peanut excelled at detecting anxiety. When she was a puppy, no more than a bit of fluff, anxiety scared her. Her partner, a woman who slept in a bigger cage than Peanut’s, stroked her fur, crooning. Little by little, Peanut stopped hiding. She padded toward discomfort, sniffing the air. To her amazement, the anxiety melted. The more Peanut pushed through invisible walls, the easier it became. Her partner nodded. “You got superpowers Little Dog.” Now Peanut roams the prison, sleuthing anxiety, cuddling anyone in need. It’s not easy living in cages, but together Peanut and her women grow braver.
First Day Jitters by Norah Colvin
“I feel sick.”
“My tummy feels all jumbly.”
“My head hurts.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“You’ll be okay once you’re there. Everyone feels the same on their first day at a new school.’
“But what if they don’t like me?”
“They will. Come on. You’ll feel better when you’re up.”
“But what if I mess up?”
“You won’t. Close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. Relax. You can do this.”
Everyone was already seated when he entered the room. They smiled. “Good morning, Mr Clarke.”
He smiled back. “Good morning, children.”
She was right. He could do this.
Wedding Guests (Part I) by Sue Spitulnik
Tessa’s daughter, Vicki, was still her Daddy’s girl and up until her mother’s remarriage day had refused to come for a visit or meet Michael. When she finally walked into the No Thanks, Lexi pounced, “Mom’s been fretting all morning that you weren’t going to show.”
“I’m not late. Dad and I flew in together. We had to wait for the rental car.”
Lexi’s face turned beet red. “WHY, is he here?”
“He wants to meet Emma and see you and Brent. Tomorrow will do.”
“You’re unbelievable. This is about celebrating Mom and Michael, not catering to our father.”
Wedding Guests (Part II) by Sue Spitulnik
Tessa’s father saw the heated exchange between his granddaughters and went to investigate. “Hi, Vickie. Glad you could make it.”
Lexi snarled, “She brought Dad.”
“Excuse me,” Don replied.
Vickie whined. “He deserves to have a Thanksgiving with all of us too.”
Don shook his head in disbelief and sadness.
“I don’t mean today,” Vickie added. “He went to our hotel.”
Don spoke evenly. “You text him and say I said to stay there. And don’t tell your mother he’s here.”
“Yes, Grandpa.” Vickie pulled out her cell phone.
Lexi waited, then took her sister to see their mother.
Wedding Guests (Part III) by Sue Spitulnik
After dinner, the photographer called Michael and Tessa to the cake table. Katie went to open the back door of the No Thanks for Gaylan’s group. “It’s time.”
“I can’t. “
“Come on. We’re all expecting this!”
“Except the happy couple.”
“You cleared it with Tessa’s Dad and Michael’s Mom. Hurry up!”
“What if Michael gets upset?”
Gaylan gulped, looked back at the group, blew the pitch pipe, and motioned, onward.
The church youth choir encircled the room as the invited guests backed away from the cake table. The rendition of “Unchained Melody” took everyone’s breath away.
First Night Nerves by Hugh W. Roberts
The thought of the upcoming honeymoon caused Arnold nothing but anxiety.
What if he couldn’t perform? What if Enid, his soon-to-be new wife, demanded more? Not even the thought of Enid’s lovely, long legs helped with his anxiety.
But Arnold needn’t have ever been anxious. On the night of their wedding, Enid made him feel relaxed and comfortable. By the time the performance was over, Arnold’s anxiety had disappeared. But three minutes later, Arnold was dead.
As Enid cocooned Arnold’s hairy body, she thought about her next husband. How lucky she was to be a female, black widow spider.
Anxiety by Simon
I told million times I won’t come, it wasn’t a lie
Mingle with scary crowd? I’d rather die
As I stood inside the crowded park
Jesus statue beside was the landmark
Dark cross shaped mole was my birth mark
I jumped for the noise of black dog bark
I want to escape this before I faint
Forgive my friends? I am no saint
Million times, I said I have anxiety
Don’t look at me like it’s an abnormality
We all have issues, and I have this anxiety
It’s not a disorder
Now listen to my order
I’m going home.
Accounting Anxiety by Colleen M. Chesebro
“I can’t do this again,” I mumbled. I’d tallied the debit and credits four times and they still didn’t balance by mere pennies. I prided myself on balancing to the penny. My face grew hot.
O.K. calming breaths. I inhaled and closed my eyes as I slipped into the darkness of meditation. Colors danced behind my closed lids. Peace and calm filled my soul.
“Colleen, are those expense reports ready? They were due an hour ago,” my boss called out.
My meditation finished; I added the numbers again. The error was obvious. I’d transposed a number.
“On my way!”
The Boards by Nancy Brady
Five years of schooling came down to this: the boards. Julia knew that she’d studied hard, especially math, her biggest worry, but she also knew that some of the smartest students failed in their first attempts passing the tests covering all the knowledge the university taught.
The night before she was reviewing some material when she realized she didn’t know anything about Kayexelate. It was a random question on the practice materials, yet suddenly, her anxiety level climbed into the stratosphere.
Panic set in, but Julia called her tutor, who calmed her down.
The next day, the exams began.
A Surprise Test by Ruchira Khanna
“What! How can that be?” I howled, “How can our teacher give us a surprise test?” I exclaimed as I sat on the bench with a thud staring at the paper while rubbing the back of my neck.
I chewed my pen while fingering my necklace, trying to find the solution to those questions.
Just then, the alarm buzzed.
I woke up with a start with sweat on my forehead.
When I realized my surroundings, I pressed my palm against my eyes and gave out shaky laughter.
“Oh! God, I promise I’m going to study before this comes true!”
Searching by Leanne Lieu
With textbooks, class notes, and laptop spread on the coffee table, Barry is trying to study for his midterm. In the corner of his eye, he couldn’t help but get distracted by Claire at the dining table.
Claire was staring at her laptop like she was searching for a demon in the World Wide Web. If she blinked, the demon would disappear. Her fingers pressing buttons under the table, as if she was orchestrating an attack against the demon.
Barry forced his eyes to his notes until he saw Claire pull a clump of her hair and chew it.
Anxiety by Diana Coombes
Walking into a room, where strangers are abound
Your ears sensitive to each little sound,
Heart beating in an irregular way,
losing the ability for anything to say.
Talking in a room, where your fears are bound,
Your eyes sensitive to bright light all around,
Palms sweating in an uncontrollable way,
Wishing you could end this without delay.
Running for a room, where control is found,
in your brain, there is fog all around,
Your stomach sensitive and without delay,
You find somewhere safe in which to stay.
Heart rate slows, a deep breath in, this day will end and you’ll begin.
Flying Fear Freezes by Irene Waters
Janice took some deep breaths, feeling her heart racing in her chest. Anxiously she spread her arms to the sky. “I can do it” she muttered under her breath although her fear of flying was freezing her as hard and turning her as white as marble. One more deep breath and she dialled the airline to book her ticket. “Breathe” she whispered wondering how, if she was struggling now to control her fear, would she ever get on the plane.
“You’re booking number is R I P 76543.”
“I’m sorry but you’ll have to cancel the ticket.” Janice stammered.
Re-entry by D. Avery
“Breathe,” she reminded herself going through the gate.
The woman watched her approach, accusing eyes penetrating her, scanning her bag, evaluating.
Just one bag?
Breathe. Just answer the questions. Stay calm.
What’s the nature of your visit? How long do you intend to stay?
She’d already made these declarations. Why another grilling?
She stammered out her responses, lightheaded with anxiety. Why was it always this way? Why couldn’t she handle herself better by now.
A man appeared beside the woman with the accusing eyes.
“Everything okay here?”
They both looked at him. Her anxiety subsided.
“Yeah Dad. Everything’s okay.”
Anxiety Times Three (Anxiety #1) by Michael Fishman
“Are you there, Daniel?”
“This is Daniel. Hoffman.”
“How are you, Daniel?”
“Uh, ok. So, y’know the school’s Valentine’s Day dance is coming up… I, uh, thought you might want to go? Y’know, with me. To the dance.
“If you don’t, I understand. Or if somebody else already asked you…”
“No, I’d love to go with you.”
“Ok. I think I should probably go now, Eileen. See you at school tomorrow maybe, ok? We’ll talk?”
“Yeah, for sure!”
“Ok, thanks. Bye.”
Anxiety Times Three (Anxiety #2) by Michael Fishman
Russell was uncomfortable.
Tonight’s group had been difficult: too many people and too much noise. He didn’t want to go, but he forced himself because if he didn’t try… if he stayed home, what then?
Russell picked up his pen, opened his notebook and started writing. He journaled in pen because he liked the physical connection between his thoughts and the paper. He wrote quickly, messily, but neatness didn’t matter. Russell wrote until the pain in his cramped fingers was stronger than the pain in his chest. He closed the journal, went to bed. Prayed, and willed himself asleep.
Anxiety Times Three (Anxiety #3) by Michael Fishman
Tuesday evening and Robert was driving home from his job at Gregor Hardware. For an afterschool job this was perfect. When it was busy he worked; during downtimes Mr. Gregor encouraged him to study.
Robert was lost in thought when the flashers lit up behind him. He put on his blinker, moved to the curb and stopped.
He rolled the window down and looked up at the police officer who was shining a flashlight around the inside of his car.
“I saw you weaving back there, sir. Would you mind stepping out of the car?”
Don’t Take Anxiety, Lightly by Sadje
From a young age, Janie was beset with excessive worrying which was taking a toll on her studies and relationships with her family and friends.
As she grew older the complications grew. Her mom suggested seeing a therapist for her excessive anxiety but she was offended at the idea. Things came to a head when she had a baby. Combined with the worries of a first-time mom, postpartum depression, and anxiety, she just wasn’t able to cope.
Finally, it was her husband who convinced her to seek treatment and eased her worries about the stigma attached to mental health.
It Is by Hannah Everingham
Anxiety knows I have to meet the therapist today
It knows that I have to tell her how I have been doing
It lingers when she asks the simple question
It attacks only when I least want it to
A simple touchy question is asked
Anxiety takes that as a cue to strike
Anxiety understands today is a big day
It knows I took a big step and scheduled another appointment
I walk in with hesitation knowing what will happen
It will always be there no matter what time of day
Along with myself, I wish anxiety would die
Not Me by Greg Glazebrook
My heart races as the world closes in. Periphery blurring to gray as my jaw tightens. The room seemingly devoid of air. Fingertips numb and tingling, I clutch at the pain in my chest…
Embarrassed and disoriented, I wake to the voices of the paramedics. As I recover I downplay the significance but inside I’m freaking out. Could I have had a heart attack at 27?
After several hours in the ER, the doctor shares his diagnosis, “Your heart looks good, I suspect it was an anxiety attack.”
“Me, panic?” I reply. “Not a chance. You better check again.”
My First Panic Attack by Joanne Fisher
I didn’t realise I had anxiety. In my early twenties I had my first full-blown panic attack. I was in a marketplace and my heart started racing, and the flat ground around me became steep and I was unable to traverse it. I suddenly feared gravity would fail me and I would fall into the blue sky. I didn’t know what was happening. I thought I was dying.
These days I know the signs, and when it hits in a supermarket or out walking, I focus on my breathing and try to touch something around me. Eventually it passes.
Magic for Every Day by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She picked at her cuticle, her nail scraping at the skin that had grown terribly hard and calloused, and now extended like a unicorn’s horn, on her middle, tallest finger. “That’s prophetic,” she thought wryly, giving the side-eye to her boyfriend.
He was explaining why his mother should to move into the basement of her townhome: Limited income, loneliness, chronic health problems.
Funny, that’s what he’d argued when he moved in with her. Was any of this worth it?
She considered biting off the hangnail, but reconsidered. She’d need the protection of a unicorn’s horn in the coming days.
Car Ride by Madeline Murphy
“Shit, shit, shit! Lord, please not now!!
I’m zooming down I84 when it hit.
It starts with a tightness in my chest.
I grab the steering wheel, hold it as tight as the hold in my chest.
The faintness comes next. Then the fear that I will have a heart attack right here in this car. I slide over to the far right lane. If it happens then at least the accident won’t involve too many cars.
“Breathe girl, breathe! Please breathe!” I count to ten. I catch my breath. My heart slows down. I’m back. “Thank you Lord.”
AnXieTY by Chel Owens
tHE groCERy StOre ClerK ScoWled tHE Woman HONKeD NO ONE caMe to BooK gROUp but ThEY SAID they DidN’t hAte Me I boUGht tHe pineaPple laMP he SAid hE LIKed TheN he PrOmIseD hE lOveD me AS he FLiRTed So i GuESS it’S tRUe BuT wHAt is tRue i ASkeD mY cOUNselOR wHO says THIS IS ALL NEGATIVE THOUGHT PATTERNS buT am I ReAlLy NegAtIve OR arE You ALL DElusiOnaL gUess i’ll GO To bEd sInce It’S 3 a.m. AgaIn
What a lovely, new day. Hello Clerk, Woman, Neighbors, Pineapple lamp, Honey, Counselor. What shall we tackle today?
Just a Medical Consultation by Marcelo Medone
The doctor motioned for me to sit in front of his desk and began flipping through my chart.
“Mr. Marcus, what makes you think you need an on-call psychiatric consultation?”
“I already explained it in Admission. I suffer from anxiety attacks.”
“Are you under the influence of any medication?”
“Only clonazepam. I take it when I am more nervous than usual.”
“And now you’re nervous?”
“Shrinks make me crazy and I get out of control.”
Then the doctor pressed a button on his intercom.
I don’t remember anything that happened next.
I just hope they let me out soon.
Bloody Fingers by Sam Kirk
In disgust, Anne looked at her bloodied fingers, wondering what her parents would say. She recalled the days when they would scold her for biting her nails when she got worried. In a way, she missed it.
The sheer recollection of her being nervous made her anxious, and so her fingers met her teeth again. No one seemed to understand that it helped her think. It helped her focus, and she needed to focus then more than ever.
She had to figure out what to do with Janet who lay in front of her in a pool of blood.
Never Show Fear by MR Macrum
Should he tell his mother he heard her on the phone last night?
Should he tell her he knew someone far away threatened his life?
Should he run to her, grab her, hug her; tell her everything is alright?
Even at the age of nine, Mark knew the answers.
His family always kept their eyes dry above their stiff upper lips.
Never show pain.
So he held back, restrained himself; quaking and shaking under his blanket until daylight.
The next day Mark was on a plane to Florida to join his father who had just started a new job.
Seeing Double? by JulesPaige
After a successful medical assist in planting their garden… the couple watched as ‘she’ bloomed.The unexpected twist was that identical twins were due. They were both very anxious to be new parents.
Stress piled up due to the current pandemic. Distress about being about in public places, knowing that they lived in a small space, not being able to travel, delayed job transfers, who could they hire to help, and earned promotions would also change their lives.
Premies might have to be in the NICU for a while. Family support was paramount. And for that the couple was grateful.
Anxiety is by Day Anderson
Lying motionless on a deathbed while the sun stands firmly on an mountain horizon
Waiting for darkness to wrap her frigid hands around my face and kiss me slow
I have an fatal attraction for your binding love
Running through the night escaping my sorrow
Swimming in circles
Will God see me tomorrow?
How can a young bird fly freely if it is trapped behind bars?
Demons taking it to far
Guiding me to this dark place they call my mind
Old souls decay while new seeds bloom
My soul can no longer see it through
Anxiety is undefined
Death Overwhelms Living by Kayla Morrill
I stare out at the expansive city landscape from my fourth story office. I look thoughtfully at the river and then further to the many snow covered roofs of houses and businesses.
My glance veers towards a clearing away from the city. The clearing contains multiple, evenly spaced, dark specks in the snow that jut upwards.
I thought it was peaceful at first being away from the bustle of people, but then I realized and I began to shake, cold with fear.
Death was watching me from beyond my window.
“I am not ready to die,” I screamed aloud.
Diagnosis by Ami (Gypsie) Offenbacher-Ferris
The pounding on the door was beginning to irritate me. My recliner wasn’t too far away from it but it might as well have been a million miles.
My neighbor let the paramedics in with his key. I tried to tell them to go away but, as I couldn’t breathe so well, nothing emerged but a strangled gasp for breath.
Oxygen installed over my nose, the little paramedic diagnosed me with an anxiety attack. He suggested I seek out professional help. They left.
Leaving me alone in my recliner with my mask on, still battling COVID-19 and pneumonia.
You’re Only (and Specially) Human by Doug Jacquier
Covid is the classic example of why trite words about the management of anxiety are insufficient for dealing with uneasiness and apprehension, especially when there are no silver bullets. The raison d’etre of most media outlets and campaigners for causes, both real and imaginary, is the production of anxiety about outcomes that are as about as likely as winning the lottery and which generate the same unproductive adrenalin. Cutting off the oxygen to things that don’t bring you peace is a start but it won’t protect you from the ancient instinctive responses that make you a very human survivor.
Liberation by Frank James
“Mommy, my belly hurts,” Billy said.
“Baby, it’s your anxiety,” I replied.
His eyes teared, “What should I do?”
“Breath, baby,” I hugged him, “You control reaction to thoughts.”
“I will,” he sobbed. My heart sank because he couldn’t manage anxiety manifesting from watching paramedics trying to save his father. Each occasion, I only distracted him. I learned tools to redirect emotions. We made a game, and our ”Tummy Time” every day shaped his stability and work ethic. We walked the steps.
He later harnessed anxiety’s energy to become class Valedictorian. He eventually graduated medical school, specializing in anxiety disorders.
Gravel Travel by Ann Edall-Robson
Gravel travel soothes me…
The sound of rocks nipping at the underside of the vehicle, washboard ruts, and whoa, back up, stop moments worthy of being captured in the mind or on film.
Finding that place to pull over and sit watching and listening. Uninterrupted, with the exception of the local rancher or farmer stopping to see if you need help.
An easy smile, thoughts and memories shed tears.
Morning darkness welcomes the sunrise and the wakening earth sounds until the sun and clouds drift towards sunset, moonrise, and star-studded sky.
The gravel roads soothe me, grounds me.
Hannah (Lynn Valley Stories) by Saifun Hassam
Like her fellow restaurant owners, Hannah experienced unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety during the pandemic. She shut down her “Spuds Restaurant” to think through how to open the restaurant again.
Hannah spent her days in the restaurant’s gardens, unwinding, creating mindfulness. She wrote her ideas on posters. Pickup and delivery services. Closed after lunch. Masks and social distancing in the kitchens.
Her sister Carol, and her staff, joined her in the gardens. Sitting six feet apart, masked, they laughed. They cried, wanting to hug. Exuberant, supportive. Suggestions poured forth. Free meals for First Responders. “Chef in training ” on Hanah’s website.
Stampede Impede (Part I) by D. Avery
“Kid, git outta thet bunk already. There’s anuther prompt ta wrangle.”
“Ya feelin okay?”
“No. I’m not. Feelin’ like I jist cain’t do this Pal. I don’t know nuthin bout wrangling words. What’m I even doin’ here? Should never a left back east.”
“Jist shush, Kid. You kin do this.”
“No. I cain’t. Folks’ll laugh at me.”
“Ain’t thet what yer here fer?”
“Oh yeah. Well, what if folks don’t laugh at me? What if I fall flat?”
“Fallin ain’t failin Kid.”
“There’s a stampede thunderin in my chest Pal.”
“You kin do this Kid.”
Stampede Impede (Part II) by D. Avery
“Feelin any better Kid?”
“Little bit. Pal, member when ya fell in that old mine? How ya described fallin inta it an bein down there in the dark… that’s kinda what happens. I jist gotta settle an look fer shafts a light.”
“Reckon Ernie could hep ya out?”
“I’d ruther not go thet route. His cookies kick my butt, an might git that stampede goin agin. I’m jist gonna set a spell, breathe the fresh ranch air.”
“I’ll set with ya, Kid.”
“Thanks fer not accusin me a whinin or sayin this ain’t real.”
“ ’S’okay Kid.”
Faux Better Not Wurst (Part I) by D. Avery
“Whut brings on yer anxiety, Kid?”
“Most anythin if’n I think on it too much.”
“Thinkin ya shouldn’t think on things too much.”
“Been thinkin on that rogue bear that’s been spied ranging roun the ranch.”
“Rogue bear! Thet mebbe cause fer some anxiousness.”
“I’m anxious cause it’s Curly. In a fur coat.”
“Really? Fur? Whut fer?”
“Faux fur. Fer her ta keep warm. But now with the rampant rumors of a rogue bear roamin the ranch I’m real worried bout bear hunters.”
“Only things get hunted at Carrot Ranch is stories, Kid. This un’ll turn out all right.”
Faux Better Not Wurst (Part II) by D. Avery
“I know, I know Pal. Carrot Ranch is a safe place an this story’ll jist have ta turn out all right fer Curly in her fur coat, but I cain’t hep thinkin someone’s gonna wanna open season on a bear that’s wanderin aroun. An if somethin happens cause I put my pig in a fur coat—”
“Faux fur, Kid. Faux fur. Jist calm down. Ya were jist tryin ta take care a yer hoglet, make her comforble.”
“That’s jist it, Pal. It were actually a selfish move. See, I wanted Curly ta be more snuggly. Fer my comfort.”
Faux Better Not Wurst (Part III) by D. Avery
“Kid, ya ain’t got ta git all anxious bout a pig in a fur coat bein took fer a bear. Think pos-tively. Envisionin like.”
“Ya visioned yer hoglet bein warm an snuggly in thet coat.”
“Now vision folks findin thet so, mebbe pettin her.”
“I see it Pal. She’s gittin lots a attenshun. An food too! Everone’s feelin good.”
“Good Kid, thet’s a good vision.”
“An I ain’t worried bout her bein mistook fer a bear no more. She et so much she burst the buttons on the fur coat.”
“But yer anxious agin Kid.”
This was an absolutely stunning collection of anxiety ridden stories. I have to go meditate the stress away now. LOL! Congratulations to everyone! <3
Ha! We could have ended the collection with an All-Ranch Meditation!
That’s a great idea! LOL! <3
I was relieved, truly, by the more humorous responses and am truly humbled and impressed by the bravery of the many writers who wrote so openly and honestly here what it is to live with anxiety. Saifun, I was inspired by your characters who adapted and moved forward together (albeit six feet apart). And for Frank James’ character to “harness anxiety’s energy” is also encouraging. A big shout out to all! This is an amazing and powerful collection of terrific individual contributions, everyone.
I appreciated the daring, the willingness of writers to take on this challenge. Humor is not easy to achieve and requires as much understanding and compassion as a BOTS or fictionalized realism. I enjoyed the playfulness of Kid coping with his own brand of anxiety and seeking comfort through the soothing connection he has fostered with Curly. I concur, D. Avery, Anxiety is an amazing and powerful collection.
Thank you, D! And I enjoy the way Kid and Pal respond to the different challenges that come their way on the Ranch!
I’ll let them know!
What D said in spades. Brave and insightful to the max. Some particuar lines I loved:
‘We stop on the sidewalk.
Six feet apart.
Moons away in awareness.’
‘A path to forgiveness will be offered.
What if I can’t find and follow it?’
‘My stomach crumbles a little as her hand squeezes mine.’
‘Consequently, the anxiety grows which explains why this day is known locally as Ground Bog Day and, in recent years has coincided with an early Valium harvest.’
‘a woman who slept in a bigger cage than Peanut’s’
Norah’s ‘First Day Jitters’
Hugh’s ‘First Night Nerves’
‘Claire was staring at her laptop like she was searching for a demon in the World Wide Web.’
“You’re booking number is R I P 76543.”
“I’m sorry but you’ll have to cancel the ticket.”
‘Anxiety knows I have to meet the therapist today’
So i GuESS it’S tRUe BuT wHAt is tRue i ASkeD mY cOUNselOR wHO says THIS IS ALL NEGATIVE THOUGHT PATTERNS
‘Gravel travel soothes me…
The sound of rocks nipping at the underside of the vehicle,’
And Doug’s poem with all its poignant IFs, its anxious doubts.
And what if I want
to be nothing?
Will there be anything left to love?
This collection of writing, of writers, is really something.
The collection of lines reads like a powerhouse statement on how to enter the arena and dare…despite anxiety. Thank you for the time to pull and post your gems, Doug.
I’m learning, Teach. 🙂
That’s a very thoughtful way to respond to all the stories, Doug. Thank you for the mention. I wish I had your creativity and thoughtfulness. You have drawn out so much meaning encapsulated in so few words. There was so much truth in yours, I wasn’t sure whether to nod or shake my head.
Thanks, Norah. Much appreciated.
Great collection this week, and some are truly poignant about dealing with anxiety. Yes, and some are humorous to allay the anxiety.
Of course, I am anxious about how to tackle zippers, but I’ll take a deep breath and think about it first.
Ha! I didn’t think about the anxiety of zippers, Nan! We have the encouragement, now.
I chickened out. And they do say it’s good to write about your fears…but I procrastinated and then I was, ‘Oh dear, I missed the deadline.’ (Not disappointed)
So well done everyone. I enjoyed all of them and I can relate to all that anxiousness, but my favourite is First Night Nerves by Hugh Roberts. I can’t help but love his dark humour. I’m not sure what that says about me! (Or maybe I am)
My other favourite is Anxiety by Diana Coombes. I found myself rapping to her words. Like I was saying ‘Bully for you anxiety’.
Flying Fear Freezes by Irene Waters gave me the shivers. I’m not good with flying and if my booking number was rip76543, then I wouldn’t board either. Nope!
Charli’s Peanut gave me little goosebumps. At first I thought the woman’s cage was something she built around herself because of crippling anxiety. So nice little twist there! Bravo peanut!
Gloria, I’m chuckling at your admission of avoidance of anxiety! And yes, I’ve long been a fan of Hugh’s dark humor and Irene displayed it too. Every time I fly, I’m going to look for RIP on my ticket! I needed a Peanut moment…or a Curly moment or D.’s Lassie moment. I needed the roundness of this collection. Thanks for your comments on the reading because that matters as much as the writing.
[…] Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. […]
Ya warn’t kidding ’bout the pig!
So many stories! Impressive.
Your tale about Peanut, Charli, was beautiful. I bet many can relate, which is why pets are so loved.
[…] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete Anxiety Collection from last week’s […]
Thank you to all of you who dared share some anxiety. I think we have all felt it in one way or another, some more than others. I especially liked Ann’s answer to dealing with it. I also enjoyed seeing so many new names. We do share well in this safe place.
A marvellous collection of anxiety and I loved the way Doug pulled out lines from random writers but when read it reads as a powerful poem. As always the one prompt gives us humour, pathos, inspiration and great story telling in 99 words. I feel privileged to read all the entries.
[…] Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Anxiety can be read at the Carrot Ranch here. […]
[…] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete Zipper Collection from last week’s […]
That’s quite a collection. I could identify with the anxiety described in so many of the responses. The situations may differ, but the anxiety response is the same. Not so the story responses. It’s so great to read them all together, and the comments (like those of Doug and others) help draw out meaning that I may have otherwise missed. Thank you everyone. I think understanding anxiety helps us overcome it.