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.

Donna is Found (Part I) by Sue Spitulnik

Tessa’s father had come alone to give her a taped plain cardboard box. “I found this in the attic and your name is on the tape, so I brought it over.”

Tessa opened the box to find her much-loved Thumbelina doll snuggled in shredded paper. “Oh my. I thought Mom threw her out because I wanted to take her to college with me. I used to pretend she was Michael’s and my baby.” Tear’s formed as she hugged the doll. “Wait till Michael sees that we’ve been reunited with Donna.”

“Donna?”

“Yes, after the best Dad we both love.”

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Donna is Found (Part II) by Sue Spitulnik

That evening Tessa and Michael sat on the couch with Donna between them. They reminisced about the dreams they had as teenagers and wondered how different their lives would be had they married then. Without thinking about their granddaughter, they left Donna sitting alone when they went to bed.

When Lexi dropped Emma off in the morning for “Gramma Day,” Emma toddled straight to Donna. She pointed to her, “Baby!” Then she picked her up, hugged her, and said,

“Mine!”

Tessa and Michael watched with their mouths open. Tessa touched Michael’s arm. “Well, she was home for a day.”

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Summer Picnic 1917 by Anne Goodwin

We’d make love as dawn light caressed the bedroom curtains and Molly would forgive my bristly chin. Later, as she prepared the picnic, our son would watch me as I shaved. We’d sing as we cycled to the river and I wouldn’t have to turn my back on them to eat.

I was prepared to sacrifice a limb for my country. Even give my life. I never thought my face was handsome till I lost it. But oh to have it back for just one day, not to have to choose between ghoulishness and disappearing behind a painted mask.

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Missing Parts by Frank James

I wished I were complete for a day, but that could never happen. Shrapnel wounded me during war, and I lost myself. A wonderful group of people at the VA took me on an untamed journey through the human mind and body. As we traveled, surgeons pieced me together. Others peeled away layers of emotional injury and anxiety. One day, we paused, and we reflected to reveal who I was. I am a veteran who survived war. They cleared my blurry vision leaving me to see my missing parts were that. Me as a person was whole all along.

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We Can Be Heroes and Be the Voice by Doug Jacquier

Unknown to most Americans, Australia sent 60,000 defence personnel to the Vietnam War. As the war continued, with no end in sight, a wide range of people began to object to the war and the draft on moral grounds. In May 1970, 200,000 Australians marched in city streets against the War. Right-wing politicians and media said it would be a blood-bath but clergy, teachers, academics, unions, politicians and school students made sure it wasn’t. It didn’t stop the war immediately but it changed our country forever because ordinary people realised they could be heroes, even for just one day.

You’re the Voice – John Farnham
David Bowie – We can be heroes

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For a Day by Ann Edall-Robson

The slender bodies in green standing guard over me need to move aside for me to feel the sun on my face. I’m tired, but I am a fighter, it will be worth it. Last night rain fell, leaving drops behind on my outer self. That doesn’t matter, I need to keep on track, everyone around me is expecting me to show my true colours. It’s a lot of pressure, every year is the same. I know I’m up for it because I’m one of the hundreds of daylily plants in the garden that blooms only for a day.

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Christmas with the Grandparents… Whenever by James M. Lane

Just for 24 hours the grandparents are back.
Is it a miracle? Who knows? But here we all are feasting on Christmas snap.
Good times, merriment, oh… How the world has changed!
A mercy you never lived it, or you’d be deranged!
And when you last saw me, I wasn’t doing too good.
A bit of a loser? Or misunderstood?
Yes, I’m doing better now, yes, I’m okay.
You could say I was a success at the end of the day.
Just as I prepared to tell them of the man I’d become.
The clock went and struck 12.01.

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For a Day by Bill Engleson

He stood on the corner below my window. He gently repeated the same six words.
“Each day is the last day.”
“Each day is the last day.”
The weather was pleasant, a warm July morning.
A heat wave was expected but for now, it was just that.
A pleasant morning.
Except, I suppose, for the delicate repetition of his message.
It was just for that day.
That one early July morning.
The next morning, he was not there.
I peered out my window, looked up and down the street.
He was not there.
That day was his last day.

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Death by RoundAbout by Geoff LePard

Three strange deaths occurred in Little Tittweaking during 2021’s fog-bound winter: Millie Peed’s electrocution when, lost in the mist she mistook the substation for a portaloo; committed runner Perce Strings, garrotted by Anna Bolic-Steroid’s washing line in the white-out; and Neville Erending, local Petomane* impersonator, who expired when failing to find the exit on the roundabout. His constant circling caused his lower intestine to knot and then explode. Ironic, they said that he both lived from gas and died by G.A.S. – Gyroscopical Anus Syndrome – which brought down the curtain on Nev Erending’s story.

*Author’s Note: in case you’re not aware of the story of Le Petomane.

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The Mysteries of a Foster Grandpa by Gary A. Wilson

We cousins had an iconic, audacious, and outrageous storytelling step-grandpa.

His life between hobo-ing for work across the country via railroad to joining our family was a mystery. His accounts were so wild and entertaining; no way they could all be true, but were any?

His adventures sent us dreaming, but our parents knew we were safe with him – mostly.

At twelve, he taught me to drive his old stick-shift truck after committing me to not telling mom.

Given one more day with him, I’d spend some clarifying actual history, but most of it capturing his barely plausible stories.

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Gravity, the Jokester by Scott Bailey

I first met the Jokester Gravity when I was just a little boy. He pushed me out of my treehouse. While falling, a beautiful sensation of weightlessness engulfed me as Gravity pulled me Earthward. Though I met the ground with a resounding thud, that floating feeling made the trip worth it.

Now, I’m old and apparently still a friend, that relentless Jokester Gravity still occasionally buckles my knees and drops me. I don’t look forward to those momentary bouts of weightlessness anymore because just last week Gravity saw fit to toss me down the stairs, breaking both my arms.

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The Exchange by D. Avery

“What you’re looking for is certainly here, but is it what you need?” The twinkle in the old man’s eyes turned sharp as he cautioned, “Consider the cost.”

“Someone or something from my past to spend a day with? — that’s a priceless gift.”

“To revisit what was for what might be,” he said, handing her an old mirror, “Giving up a present day, still charged with possibility— it’s a costly exchange.”

The mirror was identical to one she’d had as a little girl, the one that had once belonged to her grandmother. “The past is for reflection, not reliving.”

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Disappeared 32 by Liz Husebye Hartmann

The mage gently fed Joseph’s memories back to him, like one endless day in purgatory: the more Joseph remembered, the greater the pain. Both felt it.

Traveling through shadowlands to observe the living world came naturally to the mage, but not to Joseph, despite his intensive studies of magical worlds. And while the mage could travel anywhere just by thinking, Joseph was restricted to the tunnels, caves, and grounds of the robber baron’s mansion. Some said the mansion was haunted, most were insensate to the poor man’s cries.

How could the mage tell Joseph his woman had moved on?

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Marching on the Twenty-fifth by Kerry E.B. Black

She pulled the box from beneath her childhood bed and blew dust from its top. Bound with a chocolate heart’s red ribbon, the box held a maiden’s treasures. Poetic offerings from her only high school beau. A green pinkie ring – his favorite color. Her prom photo – They’d missed most of the dance, but their youthful smiles didn’t mind. A tiny brass rose and dolphin bookends. A dried corsage, its decayed perfume more vibrant than its crumbling flowers. An envelope of ticket stubs decorated with a floating dinosaur. No longer Romeo’s Juliette, she replaced the lid and slid it back.

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The Blue Bunny by Norah Colvin

By the light of a kerosine lamp, when the day’s chores were done and the house was quiet as the children gave in to sleep, but only after a one-millionth drink of water and a final trip to the outside dunny in the cool night air, she knitted a blue bunny for her third child’s third birthday. A baby slept in the cot beside her, and another stirred within her. It took a basketful of creativity and a pinch of magic to feed the growing brood, but stitched with love, a child’s gift was creativity of a different kind.

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If Only… by Nancy Brady

People always talk about closure, but it rarely happens. For Donny, at four, it never came.
Donny’s memories of his mother are nonexistent. He remembers the events of a photograph: him, dressed in church clothes, sitting in a chair by the teacher, who said he wouldn’t be in the picture. He remembers the short pants showing his knees. The back of the photo indicates she was alive when it was taken.
Life changed for this family when the mother and baby died. If for one day, the man could see and talk to her what a difference it’d make.

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The Other-side of a Day by Hugh W. Roberts

He couldn’t believe he’d slept for a day.

The world was still there when he drew back the curtains. He watched as people went about their business.

After making himself a coffee, he sat down and thought about what he’d done.

He’d just as well try again because nobody had missed him.

Picking up the empty pill bottle, he realised he’d need to get more sleeping tablets and another bottle of vodka.

In the pharmacy, he met David, working there for a day. He married him a year later.

He was so glad the pill bottle had been empty.

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At Day’s End by D. Avery

“Did you see this?”

She hadn’t. She sighed, looked at him over her book.

“I know what I would spend a day with.”

“What?”

“Who, really. You.”

“You are spending a day with me.” Another one, she thought. Another endless, aimless day. She tried to find her place but was interrupted again.

“I’d cherish a day with the old you.”

“Don’t you mean the young me?”

“Sure, you when you were younger.”

“So you want a younger woman?”

He looked at her uncertainly. “Just you. When you still loved me.”

She bent her head to the tear blurred page.

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The Iconic Mr. Patel by Scott Bailey

The old grammar school looks smaller than I remember, the trash and graffiti worse. In the bodega next door, I ask the clerk if he knew where the old man who used to own the place had moved too.

“My Grandfather owned it for fifty years, still lives upstairs but is very sick.” He said.

“I owe him something. May I see him?” I asked.

-upstairs-

“I recognize you, come to steal more candy?” Coyly grinning, the bed ridden old man asked.

Smiling sheepishly, I put ten thousand dollars in his hand and left, “Sorry about all the candy.”

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For a Day by Duane L Herrmann

What would I enjoy doing for a day if I had my choice of activity, time, or place? I don’t know. Going back to my childhood past would not be satisfactory, I am not the same as I was then.

After considerable days reflection, I realize there is one place of peace I would like to return to. I do often in my mind, going again in person would be nice. It is a sacred space on a hillside, a holy tomb full of light and peace and joy, the heart of the Bahá’í World Center. Take me there.

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Just for a Day by Sadje

I have regrets about the past, who doesn’t?

But I’ve come to terms with them because that’s the pragmatic, sensible thing to do. I don’t wish to go back and re-do or undo anything that happened for I know everything happened for a reason.

Would I like to spend some time with my mom who passed away before I even got to know her or form memories of her? Or have another day with my loving father? Yes, I would like to, but I know it will make things even more difficult.

Instead, I choose to remember them fondly!

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Worry Free (Spot On?) by JulesPaige

Water falls
Calm cool bracing air
For a day
Just us two
The faithful rescue pet that
Sparked a grand future

Gertie retreated to her private office, the other women could revel in their reunion. “Jane” and her friend, as well as the others who had taken refuge on L’isola Della Donna. Closing and locking the door. For just a day to be so free again without any worries. On the wall were many photos. The one her Mother took of her and Alba, when she thought she was alone, was a favorite. Closing her eyes; there again.

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Gifted Kid by D. Avery

“Pal, was you ever young?”

“Sayin I’m old Kid?”

“Sayin yer always sayin ya’ve been at Carrot Ranch ferever. So was you a kid here, with parents an all?”

“Works thet way fer some fictional characters, but not all. Nope, I was never a kid, Kid.”

“So ya jist showed up full blown onta the page?”

“Well, I’d like ta think I’ve developed some, but yep, full-blown, full-grown.”

“Huh. So what bout Shorty’s question? Got a icon a yer past, Pal?”

“Was kinda hopin it’d be you.”

“I ain’t from yer past.”

“Nope, but that’d be a nice present.”

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Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!


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