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.
Warm Zippers by Chris G.
Zippers zip, but can still unzip. Zip it up can mean closing an article of clothing, a meeting, one’s mouth. But you can’t zip up your mind, can you?
I asked this question of no one in particular, and truth be told there was no one near enough to hear.
Still, I waited for an answer.
None came of course.
The day was cold and I reached to zip up my gaping coat.
And then I saw a woman with no coat. I place mine on her and zipped it up and dashed to my open door for another.
Open Zippers by D. Avery
Little fingers tickled where they brushed white chest hairs.
“Gramps, what’s this zipper?”
“On my memory chest? It keeps them from spilling out.”
“Memories? Memories are up here.” The child tapped the side of his head.
“There? No! That’s for times tables and state capitals and things you don’t really need to remember. Memories are kept close to the heart, never to be forgotten.”
“Zip!” The child ran his finger down the length of the scar. The old man pulled out memories, sharing stories until, sleepily, the boy zipped him back up, with another memory added to his chest.
Smile Through by Michael Fishman
Deb once described her childhood as ‘difficult’. When her therapist asked her to explain, she shut down. She never returned to therapy.
Deb reminisces sometimes, summons childhood memories. Today is such a day: You’re wearing that dress? Don’t be stupid. What were you thinking? Don’t be a cry-baby. Don’t be afraid.
Deb learned to keep her lips zippered and her thoughts to herself.
Deb grew up. She made her way. She became successful. She accepts her hidden scars and doesn’t mourn their origin. She still keeps her lips zippered, but she can smile through the teeth of her chain.
The Trouble with Zippers by Nancy Brady
Audrey was Tom’s and Barbara’s neighbor for years. They often wondered about Audrey’s past since they’d heard various rumors; she was a retired nun, teacher, or nurse.
Their experiences with Audrey never quite squared with her supposed past. Once, she had an issue with her garbage disposal, asking Tom for help. He found that she’d put a box of uncooked spaghetti into it; adding water created a starchy mess, clogging the disposal.
Like them, Audrey walked all over the town no matter the weather, but unlike them, she always held her coat closed, rather than zip up the zipper.
Old Faithful by E.A. Colquitt
The largest zip fascinated her – not only because it was the biggest, but also because it was neon. (The rest of the bag was black.) It unzipped with a satisfying scratchy sound, but didn’t reveal a compartment. Instead, there were two straps…
Woah. The front half of the backpack could come off, and be another backpack! She had to have it.
Those days of wonder are gone. She’s still too small to wear both parts zipped together. How long has it been? Seven years? Seventy?
It doesn’t matter. Her bag is here: a little worn… but intact, loyal, enduring.
Zip by Kerry E. B. Black
The firemen’s yelled instructions blurred into a background distortion. They might save the apartment building, but to Caryn, it didn’t matter. What mattered rested his greying head on her lap, brown eyes large with love. Smoke scented his fur. Soot coated his back. His quivering black nose struggled to suck air, sides heaving, hitching, struggling.
“It’ll be alright, Zip,” Caryn lied. Her stalwart best friend needed oxygen, but injured people hogged the EMT’s.
Her neighbor knelt on the sidewalk beside Caryn. “Can’t believe the smoke alarms didn’t work.” Mr. Halloran rested a hand on the dog. “Thank God Zipper barked.”
Zipper by WriterRavenClaw
A zipper for all occasions, it was an idea Helen had since her zipper got stuck on a dress she had once loved. No more throwing away clothes, which could have lasted longer. Just send away your treasured item, and it was sent back a few days later with a brand new, multi-coloured upgrade.
At first, business was as slow as a broken zipper, but with the help of her friend, she was able to create a website – Zip-pidee-doo-dah. Orders flew in and now she had enough money to buy a brand new dress with a gold zipper.
Zipper Obsession by Norah Colvin
Jayden was obsessed with zippers almost from birth. The swish of a zipper always turned tears to laughter.
When a toddler, Jayden’s fascination with interlocking teeth equalled the zip-zip-swish. Zippered items were treasured more than any store-bought toys.
When grandparents visited, Jayden targeted Grandma’s handbag. Zip. Zip …
“Is that boy still obsessed with zippers?” said Grandpa. “Has he been tested yet?”
“It’s just a phase,” said Dad.
“Humph,” said Grandpa, opening his Gladstone bag. Swhooosh.
Jayden stopped. What was that?
Grandpa closed the bag. Blonk.
Swhooosh; blonk. Swhoosh; blonk.
Jayden abandoned Grandma’s bag for Grandpa’s.
Zipper phase zipped.
Jack the Zipper by Bill Engleson
Jack was an eager lad. Momma Jackie, grifter par excellence, had taught him everything she knew. Descended from the great if somewhat inept quacksalver, Sam Thompson, she only wanted the best flimflammery for her son.
Alas, Jack, for all his mountebank genes, was an awkward thief, more bungler than bunco artiste.
Recognizing Jack’s limitations, Jackie’s part-time lover Alphonse the Needle suggested a brilliant way to improve Jack’s criminal usefulness. “A Coat of Many Zippers. We shammers can stuff booty into the coat and steal away.”
From that day forward, he was known in certain circles as Jack the Zipper.
That Blue Dress by Gary A. Wilson
Outside their classroom, Douglas was afraid to face Kari.
She had been stunning in her new blue dress and their first formal date went so well — until the disaster.
Facing each other with raised crystal — everything was perfect. He could still taste the rich meal — so wonderful. They synchronized setting down their dessert spoons and leaned back to take deeply-satisfied final breaths. But hers was too much for the zipper. It failed at that moment — explosively.
She arrived and faced him.
“Douglas. Never — mention last night or that dress again. I’ve reduced it to ashes.”
Butchered by Gloria McBreen
In 1983, skin tight jeans were fashionable. After begging my mam for two weeks, she eventually bought me a pair in Finnegans.
Not only were they tight, they were probably a size too small. I had to use the pliers to pull up the zipper.
But the legs weren’t tight enough, so I took them in with the sewing machine. Now they were perfect—until I sat down. The zipper burst.
I peeled them down my legs but they got stuck at my heels. I had to resort to the scissors! Mam never knew I butchered my new jeans.
The White Dress by Sue Spitulnik
When Michael and guests got their first glimpse of Tessa in her flattering wedding gown, there were gasps of recognition. Becca had worked a miracle transforming the old white prom dress.
Michael took Tessa’s hand when her father offered it, then leaned over and whispered, “I’ve dreamt about you in that dress for years.”
Tessa whispered back, “You’ll have to help me with the zipper later.”
Michael’s eyes went wide. She squeezed his hand hard, and they both laughed out loud as if all alone.
When they settled, the minister said, “Obviously a private joke. Can we begin now?”
Author’s Note: Becca is Michael’s sister.
No Zippers Required! by Miss Judy
In the dimly lit Doll House, a crowd anxiously awaits the Show, Her Show. She is the Queen, Mistress of the Tease. The music starts seductive and low, growing to a fever pitch. The spotlight shines – She’s On!
Take it off! Take it off! Take it all off!
A raucous crowd yelled from the loft
Clad in satin and lace
With a slow steady pace
She’d dip, spin, and slide
‘Round the pole she would glide
She danced to the crowd
Their passions aroused
No buckles, belts, zippers or snaps
Only satin and lace for this stripper’s acts.
Zippers by Charli Mills
Gerri didn’t remember so many confusing zippers on a single pair of snow pants. At 60, she’d decided to relive her childhood Olympic dreams, returning to the downhill sport she loved as a kid in Idaho’s Sun Valley. Why did these newfangled modern powder pants fit like armor? She visited a small ski resort in the Midwest, confident her mountain experiences provided the skills needed for hilly slopes. Her first mistake — she shunned the bathroom to avoid unzipping. Her second – underestimating the slopes. When she crashed, her bladder let loose. A trail of gold destroyed Gerri’s Olympian fantasy.
You Will Always Be Her Daddy by Goldie
On Kimmy’s first day of grad school, I promised to take her on a road trip across Europe upon graduation. She squealed with joy.
Three years later – before I lost her to adulthood permanently – with a car full of bags and snacks, we hit the road. Soon after, we came to a standstill while the lane to the right kept on moving.
“See anything?” I asked Kim, drumming my fingers.
“Lane merge,” she explained.
“Use the zipper method, Idiots! One from the left, one from the right…” I groaned.
“You’re so smart, daddy.” Kim disarmed me with her smile.
Zipped by Geoff Le Pard!
Little Tittweaking’s punk poet in residence, Plantagenet Flish is often banned because his poetry is egregiously awful. The landlord of the Compost and Rot prefers profit to propriety, giving Flish a gig. Flish is old school: he spikes his hair and sports zip-covered trousers. Popping out for a final comfort break, Flish panics when he can’t find the right zip. Hurrying to get on stage, he closes said zip too soon. His audience assumes the howls that follow his penis perforation are part of his act; next day’s headline is closer to the truth: From Circumscribed to Circumcised
Zipper-topia by Susan Budig
Reincarnate me as a zipper Despite I’d be yanked around
The intimate pleasure of linking
Two opposing sides, off-set from one another
Into a unified front
As I move up in rank
In my wake, all’s interconnected
When I retreat, a stop keeps me from
Coming completely undone
Plus, I’d still have a ladder
To climb back up
Each of my ideas would chomp like teeth together One atop one another Hooking snuggly with clever panache
As I tab upward, secure and controlled
So reincarnate me as a zipper
To make our world an organized bliss
Zipper by Sadje
“Is there any way that you could’ve kept quiet?” My friend asked in desperation.
“What did I say wrong?” I was in full defensive mode, knowing that I could have kept my mouth shut and saved embarrassment to both of us.
“Sally, you knew that I was trying to be diplomatic and let Cathy down gently and you had to tell her that we were planning to go to the party without her. I do wish I could invent a zipper for your mouth to stop you from blurting out every secret that I share with you!”
Title by To Zip or Not? by Duane L Herrmann
A zipper is a fascinating contraption. It was not easy to invent, yet they are everywhere and we don’t think of their complexity. We’re only concerned when something goes wrong. If we can see the problem, and resolve it, we think no more about it. If not, then the item it is to zip, is likely ruined. That can be a disaster!
Who can replace a zipper? Not me.
The “Separable Fastener” we zip up (or down) has been around only since 1917. Soldiers in the Great War missed out on its convenience.
Even so, now we have velcro!
Inheritance — Unzipping the Past by Saifun Hassam
Maureen inherited her grandma Alicia’s books and four briefcases. Intrigued, Maureen sorted the books first, finding first editions and signed copies by the acclaimed historical fiction novelist Yllas Mathis.
Alicia and Yllas first met in the 1980s. Alicia was a book editor. Yllas was already a popular author. They became close friends, remaining so until Yllas died in 2009. Would her dad open up about the past, when Alicia divorced his dad?
Maureen unzipped the first briefcase. She was unprepared for the incomplete manuscripts from Yllas to Alicia, with informal notes. She cried quietly, imagining novels from the drafts.
The First Date by Irene Waters
“Listen to….” Carl couldn’t get a word in. Bringing Cassie on a first date to his favourite walk was a mistake. Her constant chatter drowned out the birdsong he so loved.
“Put a zip in it.” Heard at last, he breathed a sigh of relief when she marched ahead, shoulders set firm. Peace enveloped him.
Carl followed her. A surfer was the next victim to her chatter. She turned her back on Carl, saying loudly, “The zipper on your wetsuit’s jammed. I’ll help you, then let’s get a cup of coffee.”
“Zippety do dah. Yep. Things were going his way.
A View from the Top by Margaret Leggatt
“It doesn’t get better than this,” he says, pulling me close. I feel the heat of him. The valley below is a green tangle, the distant ridge shadow-rippled.
“Glorious,” I reply.
Returning to camp, he smiles encouragement.
“I knew you’d love it,” he says.
We pack up before dark, stowing the gear into zippered bags. His back is sweat-sheened, his body taut as he works. In gathering dusk, nightjars call. Mating songs.
My skin is aflame with insect bites, bruised and blistered.
I take a long, last look, drink him in, then pull the final zipper shut.
Shifting Boundaries by by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Lois started awake, struggling with her sleeping bag, before recalling she’d agreed to camping with Kenny. Not too keen on the northern woods, wild animals, and biting flies, but fair was fair. He’d gone to that Writer’s Conference with her, and from all appearances had a great time.
So she’d agreed to camping, in separate tents because they weren’t quite THERE in the relationship.
And again: the sound that’d awakened her before: snuffling around the tent’s perimeter, a low growl.
And more: the tent’s zipper, cutting through the night as it peeled across and up.
“Want company?” Kenny asked.
Celebrating Love By JulesPaige
‘Mommy’ wondered when she’d be able to wear a pair of trousers with a zipper again. Ballooning body with two babies called for stretchy clothing. Ultrasound imaging unzipped the mystery of their growth. And a slight normal complication called for an earlier than planned delivery.
The babies would be in NICU for a bit before they were able to come home. Until then – there would be quite a bit of zipping to and from the hospital until they could come home. Two new members of the family – details yet to unfold. Today would be one memorable Valentine’s Day.
Twins Entwined by Anne Goodwin
As children, they slept entangled, as in the womb. Dreaming, they couldn’t distinguish their twin’s limbs from their own. Nor their thoughts, it seemed, as they finished each other’s sentences, read each other’s mind.
Alba reached her teens an hour before Zoe did. Watching her whisper to other girls, Zoe felt Alba had ripped out her heart. Approaching their twenties, Alba partied. Zoe stayed home, stitching matching outfits Alba wouldn’t wear.
Zoe claimed she was honing her skills for Alba’s wedding dress. But she was sewing a suit they’d both fit into, fastened with a zip beyond Alba’s reach.
A Lot to Explain by Simon
He carefully applied the eyelashes, checked himself in the mirror, he pouted his lips and kissed his reflection in the air.
Panicked, he unzipped the back of her dress, the zip got stuck. He quickly undid his eyelashes and hid his secret items, wore a baggy shirt over her dress.
His wife entered the room. He remained cool.
She asked concerned ‘Is everything okay?‘
Panicked but pretended cool said ‘yes’ and fiddled with his phone.
She asked ‘The zipper of tube top is stuck because I glued‘‘
His face turned white.
‘You got a lot to explain’
Zip It Up by Myrna Migala
Waking up today, a little sad remembering Valentine’s Day, I would find a big box of candy, but he is gone now, living still but high in the heavens; looking for something to cheer me, I found cherished happiness right here on UTube. Music meant for me!
It’s called “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Even that title of song frolics with joy, don’t you agree? It speaks of a Wonderful day with a Bluebird on our shoulder. The song goes on to say that everything is satisfaction! There is plenty of Sunshine, and we all need that to melt the Winter away. ♫
Zipperty Doo-Dah by Doug Jacquier
Finally, the superhero of all superheroes, The Prince of Lightness, had come face to face with his archrival, Count Schicklgruber, in his lair in The Den of the Iniquities in the deepest, darkest blackness of the Black Forest. Now the world would be rid of this monster, with his plans for world domination.
The Prince turned to his hard of hearing sidekick, the young Kid Sparrow, and said. ‘Kid, hand me the zapper’.
Kid rummaged in his backpack, handed the weapon to The Prince and then watched in horror as The Prince died with a zipper in his hand.
Don’t Do This With New Clothes by Hugh W. Roberts
She’d been lucky. Nobody had noticed the price tag still attached to the dress she wore at the Christmas party.
While packing up the dress into the returns envelope to get a full refund, she noticed a zip just above the hem inside the dress.
‘That wasn’t there before,’ she announced.
Unzipping the mysterious zip, she placed her hand inside the hole. A hand grabbed her and pulled her inside the dress, but nobody heard her scream.
Although her husband filed a missing person report, she was never found and lived in darkness for the rest of her years.
Healing Takes Time by By Leanne Lieu
Agent Donohue unzipped an oddly-shaped black bag and broke into a sweat, frozen like a statue, watching the red numbers speedily count down. Before he knew it, Donohue saw “Fail” in red.
“What went through your mind?” asked Agent Morrow.
I … don’t know,” Donohue answered quietly. “Greene told me stay away because I had a family, so he faced it. Saw him blown to pieces.” He turned to Morrow unblinking, “Told his parents. Worst days of my life. It should’ve been me.”
“Losing a partner is never easy,” said Morrow. “You know what you need to do, right?”
Serial Killer by Simon
Mortuary cover Zipper noise filled the empty building. Red eyes, filled red had no mercy seeing the dead bodies. Hands were filled with blood stain, his hammer still dripping blood from the cold blooded murder it did.
He washed his hands, and prayed.
Dear Lord, Forgive me, These sinners had took a life of young girl, I smashed their heart, sent them to you. Unzip and fry these souls in hell.
He lit the Lighter and dropped on floor, the fire spread across the floor.
8 Bodies found burnt, is this a serial killing? who is the killer?
I Closed the Zipper by Dark Feather
When I was a boy, I used to walk to school, where I passed a beggar sitting on the footpath. He was an amputee without legs below the knees. My ma would give me pennies, opening the zipper to a side pocket of my backpack. I’d reach behind, open the zipper, and offer what I had to him. One day, I arrived early to see the man walking to his place. He cautiously took a seat and hid his legs to look like they were cut from the knees. From that day on, I closed my zipper to him.
Fighting Teeth and Tale (Part I) by D. Avery
“Kid, did I jist see thet puglet a yers in a Finlandia Lions hoodie?”
“Yep. No more faux fur fer her! That sweatshirt keeps her warm whilst showin support.”
“Thet splains thet. Now what bout you? Back out?”
“Ain’t backin outta nuthin. I’m steppin up. I cleaned up, got ma best shirt on. Case we git university folks comin roun.”
“Kin see yer shined up a might, shirts tucked in, but it looks more like yer steppin down. Yer bent over.”
“I’m stuck Pal. Shirt’s in my zipper. Zippin up done brought me down.”
“Cain’t make this zip up.”
Fighting Teeth and Tale (Part II) by D. Avery
“What I need is fer the zip ta go down!”
“I’m tryin Kid! An fer the record, this’s the most awkward situation I been in fer you.”
“Does give new meanin ta the fact that yer crotchety Pal. Ow!”
“Ya cain’t wriggle outta yer jeans or yer shirt cuz yer too bent over. Gonna have ta cut it.”
“No! Don’t cut ma fancy shirt!”
“Well, thet zip ain’t budgin. Kid, I’m gonna have ta go fer hep.”
“Who else? Fact, she should be here with Burt soon makin her appointed rounds.”
“She’ll have the zip code.”
Fighting Teeth and Tale (Part III) by D. Avery
“Pal, where’s Frankie?”
“Laughin so hard tears is streamin from her eye. Says there ain’t no zip code fer the place yer at Kid.”
“Dang! Feel like I’m codin. I’m slippin inta last week’s prompt— anxiety!”
“Slip all the way back ta the wishes prompt Kid. Ya got three.”
“Ok. Wish ya wouldn’t cut my shirt.”
“Grannid. But you’ll remain in yer present situation.”
“Well, I wish I could stand up.”
“Grannid. But in yer present situation we’ll have ta cut yer shirt.”
“I wish this situation were presently over!”
“Pal! Ma shirt! Dang ya!”
“Zip it, Kid.”