Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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Sweet as Cherries Collection

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.

Sweet As Cherries by Marsha Ingrao

Jolene walked towards him. No time to wipe the telltale signs of nervousness and Oreos. Everyone would see if she wiped on her gown. She rubbed her fingers together to make the stickiness disappear before she reached him.

She remembered her first dance. Worse than sticky hands, beads formed on her nose. Boys looked and turned away. This time she wasn’t going to be defeated. She had already performed. Her accomplishment felt as sweet as cherries.

Jolene reached out her hand as she reached him.

“Well done, Jolene. You earned this.” And the University President handed her the diploma.

🥕🥕🥕

Had I a Cherry by Gypsie-Ami Offenbacher-Ferris

Had I a red cherry for every memory lost
I’d own the largest cherry tree
from the East to the West Coast

Sweet mountain cherries all fresh
Picked daily in the new morning dew
Each one a memory returning to me

Some so tart set my mouth a-pucker
Others sweeter than honey’s nectar
Good ones or bad ones memories all

Erubescent rubies piled up so high
A delicious bite of cold crimson fruit
Bringing magical memories to mind

Each remembrance is treasured true
Lay in a bowl full of luscious cherries
Lovingly shared with every one of you

🥕🥕🥕

Cherry Wine by Kerry E.B. Black

I sip cherry wine from a crystal goblet.

Within its red swirls a summer spent on a picnic blanket at the edge of Lady’s Lake, dandelion fluff caught in our hair. Birds sang of hardships to come, but we didn’t heed, tangled in each other, legs entwined, hearts beating the same romance. Ants collected scraps as we tasted sweetness in each other. When summer storms threatened, we’d roll until the blanket enveloped us, its red and white checks deepening to burgundy and grey as rain soaked through. Nothing dulled our love. We lived on cherry wine and each other.

🥕🥕🥕

Honeyed Memory by JulesPaige

On the postage stamp lot of our first home there was a Black Cherry tree. It had to be over eighty years old. That’s at least how old the house was when we bought it. It was so large it was able to shade all of the backyard. Bing Cherry trees can live to be over two hundred.

Those sweet cherries were unreachable for humans. We never got to see its fruit on the longest day of the year. We only got to see it bloom once before we had to move.

newlyweds
bowl of cherries life
That old tree

🥕🥕🥕

Cupboard Love by Ann Edall-Robson

The warm breath before the sensation of his facial hair tickling along the neckline of her shirt made her giggle. She playfully pushed him away with a gentle hand. She didn’t mind the interruption, cleaning stalls was not her favourite chore, but a necessary one. She felt him nibbling at her ear, and giggled. Turning, she buried her face in his warm neck. He was the sweetest thing in her life. Certainly better than a bowl of cherries. Stepping away from her embrace, he reached for the oat pail. Laughing, she scolded the foal. “You’re nothing but cupboard love.”

🥕🥕🥕

Sweet Cheeks by Charli Mills

“Look at those cheeks, sweet as cherries.” Old Fran cooed, grasping the blurry face inches from her nose with gnarled hands.

The young farmers watched their ancient neighbor fuss and sputter. Chad glanced at his wife. Worry furrowed between his brows. “What do we do?”

“Don’t whisper,” Jenna said. “Old Fran’s deaf as mine-rock.”

“Blind, too.”

“Apparently.”

Old Fran creaked when she pulled away, gumming a smile. “Put that youngin’ to bed. Read to him.” She shuffled away muttering, sweet, sweet baby.

The farmers resumed their walk, tugging the lead to their rosey-cheeked red goat. “Think she’ll ever notice?”

🥕🥕🥕

Break for the Border by Jenny Logan

It was my maiden visit to Galashiels, the capital of Scotland’s border towns.

We had cherries for dessert—the richest, juiciest, sweetest, plumpest. I romantically imagined they had been purchased from a farm shop. But no. Tesco.

We counted the pips. I was to marry a tailor.

“Imagine the dresses!” Perhaps my tailor would be too grumpy and tired at day’s end. A busman’s holiday? Is that how he would see me?

Maybe I’ll find a Taylor instead. Bulging muscles and an inferiority complex—would I have to constantly massage his ego?

Maybe I’ll stick with the first one.

🥕🥕🥕

Fresh Meat by Sylvia Cognac

She was laying across the steps behind Storke Tower, colossal chemistry book strewn wide open over her tiny lap. Blonde ringlets twirled past cherry red lipstick, cascading past her collarbone, finally falling onto her cherry-print halter top. Other than a blue jean mini skirt, flip flops, and matching cherry accessories, she was all cleavage. Being raised strictly Baptist in my conservative hometown in the Mojave Desert, I’d been told that only sinners dressed that way, but she looked like Heaven to me. She glanced up, interrupting my pondering as to whether her lipstick tasted as sweet as it appeared.

🥕🥕🥕

Sweet Cherry Pie by Colleen M. Chesebro

It was time. Hazel opened the oven door. The sweet scent of cherries filled the room. She knew this pie would be a winner at the Pie Bake Off at the park this afternoon. After all, she’d added her secret ingredient.

Later, she watched in fascination as the judge took his first bite. His eyes lit up with pleasure at the taste of her sweet confection.

“This is the one,” he said. “First place!”

Then he crumpled in a heap to the ground.

Hazel smiled. She had finally found a way to deal with her ex-husband once and for all.

🥕🥕🥕

Disappeared 36 by Liz Husebye Hartmann

It wasn’t that they didn’t miss their stepdad. He was fun, taking all four children to the zoo, the pool, or out for ice-cream right before he brought them home for dinner on Sunday nights. When they made a mess of his house, his maid picked it all up.

And he always had Smith Bros cherry cough drops in his pocket.

Then he lost his job, his maid, and his coterie of girlfriends. Eloise and Andrew had to pick up his slack.

The Twins were bereft. “Weezy, where’s Daddy?”

She’d shrug, and hand them a cherry cough drop, instead.

🥕🥕🥕

Cough Syrup Memories by Sue Spitulnik

Michael developed a change of seasons cold, so Tessa bought him some cherry-flavored cough syrup. She received an unexpected burst of complaint when she handed it to him.

“I’m not going to swallow that. I remember. My mother told me that it tasted sweet as cherries. Cherries, my ass. That stuff made my mouth pucker and my throat burn. I gargled two glasses of water trying to get the crap off my teeth, and it gave me an upset stomach. Mom fooled me when I was a kid, and I’m not getting fooled again.”

Tessa belly laughed at him.

🥕🥕🥕

Life is a Bowl of Cherries by Charli Mills

A cherry pit landed on the page Lucy was reading. Wet and red, it stained the print. “You jerk!”

Laughter sang from the branches above before a small boy dropped to his boots. “Gotcha, Four-Eyes!”

Throughout the summers, Trevor spat numerous cherry pits at Lucy. At the Fourth of July Parade, the county rodeo, their senior picnic. When Trevor returned home after three tours in Iraq, Lucy met him on the tarmac in Oakland. His hard eyes softened when she spat a cherry pit, hitting him squarely on the chin.

“You jerk,” he said with a lopsided grin.

🥕🥕🥕

A Nostalgic Salvation by Gary A. Wilson

I had no experience with depression.

But losing friends to age – then a nephew and daughter to war all left this man who never cries, soaking in tears.

But losing my precious wife to covid – was the abyss I could neither avoid nor survive.

Searching the attic for papers, I found a boot box of letters from Cherise, circa high school promising to stay in love despite our college separation.

Reading about our innocent love was soothing. Then the phone rang, and voice said, “I heard of your loss.”

Cherise, my Cherry, came to hold me, closing that abyss.

🥕🥕🥕

Bing Cherry Memories by Nancy Brady

I knew Cammie throughout school, but in high school, she became my best friend. Spending days at the pool, we followed up by spending evenings coloring or playing various games at my home. At her house, we’d needlepoint or write mysteries, using certain phrases. There, Cammie’s parents gave us huge bowls of Bing cherries as a snack, expecting us to eat them all. As an adult buying Bing cherries for my family, I realized just how generous they were. Cherries are expensive particularly the vast quantities they gave us, yet to my knowledge they never begrudged me a one.

🥕🥕🥕

A Bowl of Cherries by Sadje

Sara brought boxes of dark succulent cherries for everyone in the family when she returned from her trip up north. Dark and sweet, they were hard to resist and we had gone through almost half of our share by morning.

“Don’t eat everyone’s share”, she said, because they were so tempting. “Also you might upset your tummy from eating too many”. Needless to say, her advice fell on deaf ears and greedy fingers, with consequences foretold.

Next morning, I asked her to send the leftover fruit to her brother and sister’s so that I don’t have another bad night.

🥕🥕🥕

Glee by Simon

Hey little cherry
You grew up as a family
What will be your taste
for your color I don’t hesitate
I am looking for a fruit
That taste very absolute
What will be your flavour?
Will you do me a favor!
Tell me about you
I’ve decided to chew
How will you be
I’m searching glee
Will you be sour
That only is bore
Will you be sweet
That’ll be a treat
What if you are both?
I’ll give an oath
Let me put you in my mouth
And bite you with no plea
Sweet lord, I found glee!

🥕🥕🥕

The Sugar Wars by Geoff Le Pard

While in 1642, Little Tittweaking refused to take sides with either Roundheads or Cavaliers, not that either noticed, it has had its own civil war, when Di Abetes barred Sue-Lynn Shotte from their jointly owned sweet shop concession. Di’s supporters, The Humbugs were hard, rather brittle and considered to be sucky sods; Sue-Lynn’s supporters, the Pastels by contrast were colourful, inclined to believe they were good-for-everyone and chewy cuds.

Things got out of hand until St Pancreas brokered a peace by persuading Di Abetes to let in Sue-Lynn Shotte, achieving a balance previously unattainable.

🥕🥕🥕

Are Cherries Allowed on a Low-potassium Diet? by Anne Goodwin

“What do you think of the food?” asked the dietician.

“It’s okay,” said Anne. “There’s plenty of it but it’s not very healthy. The vegetables have the flavour boiled out of them and the fruit is tinned.”

The dietician handed her a leaflet. “Let me explain the low potassium diet.”

No coffee, chocolate or bananas: she could handle that. But no stir-fry, roast or steaming without pre-boiling? No muesli, lentils or nuts? No beetroot, blackcurrants or tomatoes, would she have to compost the crop?

It’s summer and she fancies cherries. High or low potassium? They’re not on any list.

🥕🥕🥕

Cravings by Hugh W. Roberts

Life was a bowl of cherries for Vinnie.

Despite what was happening, he still had ample food.

Life was fun, and had given Vinnie a sweet tooth. When he saw Mrs Longacre running past his kitchen window holding a cherry pie and screaming, he knew life was about to get sweeter.

Within seconds, Vinnie was out of the house and sinking his teeth, not into a cherry pie, but into Mrs Longacre’s neck. The sweetness of flesh helped his sweet cravings.

Having been a Zombie for an hour, Vinnie hoped the sweetness of this new life would last forever.

🥕🥕🥕

Un’altra Notte Rossa by Tina Stewart Brakebill

All around me, conversations swell. I understand little but instead of seeming cacophonous, the words soothe. They distract from my reality until the prosecco dulls the pain.

Then the old woman who runs the osteria stands over me, “Ciligie”?

Seeing the cherries shakes me from my stupor.

She continues, “Devi rimanere per La Notte Rossa.”

The Red Night.

Stuck in an unrelenting loop, I had forgotten the world moves on. Ciliegie abound. And the people celebrate. But not us.

The cherries taunt me with their promise of sweetness but my mind fills with another red night as darkness falls.

🥕🥕🥕

Extraordinary Plot by Reena Saxena

The bowl of cherries on the table are pure temptation, and your slender fingers feed my lust.

A champagne flute almost threatens with its glistening transparency, till a golden liquid satiates its dark instincts.

I need to feign intoxication till secrets spill out, and your fingers laced with poison dip into a sea of fantasy.

Evenings can’t get better than this … I know I’ll wake up next morning with a new plot..

or not wake up at all and let the world write extraordinary fiction – a life that others only dreamt of, that I lived and died for…

🥕🥕🥕

Sweet Cherries by Norah Colvin

Mum loves cherries, but are they sweet? She taste-tested. Yes! She tore off a bag and stuffed it with cherries. Further on, she spotted punnets. That would impress Mum more. She grabbed one and ditched the loose cherries.

Code blue. Code blue. Customer down in fresh produce!

“You alright, ma’am? Need a hand?”

“I’m alright — this time!” She was as red-faced as the cherries. “But you should keep these floors clean.”

Later, dignity reinstalled, exaggerating injuries, she demanded compensation.

The video told the story — a cherry, yes — a rogue cherry; escaped her unceremonious dumping; only to be splattered underfoot.

🥕🥕🥕

Sweet by Duane L Herrmann

There was a dessert in my childhood that I loved. It was made with dates, nuts and syrup, and best eaten when covered in whipped topping. Oddly, it was called a “pudding” though when baked, the top layer became more like a cake with a crust. I enjoyed making it, but reserved it only for special occasions. As an adult, when I ate some, my stomach would get queasy. As much as I enjoyed it, I could tell I should not make or eat it anymore. I eventually learned this sweet, delightful treat was no good for my diabetes!

🥕🥕🥕

A Sour Taste by Bill Engleson

The moon glowed full. A sky of brightness. Wise thieves would have stayed in the shadows. I would have stayed in the shadows.

Cowering.

But there was a yearning.

Inexplicable, I know.

A taste for youth.

The honeyed flesh of youth.

Our lost youth.

It went beyond the pale. Anyone with an iota of sense would know that sampling the wayward flesh of youth would not return the nibbler, strips of youthful flesh dribbling from his lascivious lips to full bloom.

But the yearning would not be assuaged.

Though the mind left a sour taste, the craving was sweet.

🥕🥕🥕

What Hodags Are Made Of by Charli Mills

Sweet as cherries and dark as death, a new hodag slithered through the swamp on a moonless night. By the next full moon, her fangs had grown big enough to reflect the lunar light. She hopped on a marsh mat of moss and decayed logs, thrilling to the jiggle of bouncing her spines from head to tail. Jumping strengthened her repurposed bones. The spine of an old oxen, the hooves of a young calf, the ribs of two wolves, the skull of a baby bear, the ear bones of a murdered lumberjack. A Bing cherry pit for a heart.

🥕🥕🥕

Pit Stops (Part I) by D. Avery

“Kid! Bout time ya got back ta the ranch!”

“Ya look peeved Pal. Ya gonna ground me? Get it? Grounded? Cause I jist landed in Pepe’s hot air balloon?”

“Kid, thet was one a the most irresponsible things ya’ve done yet.”

“Tough call.”

“Ya left the ranch when ya should a been heppin out. An poor Frankie. She’s been bawlin her eye out worryin an missin Burt. An whatever did ya do with the mail in his mailbag?”

“Airmail! Them letters’ll land close enough fer goverment work.”

“Kid, thet’s it. Yer fired.”

“Sure am. It was a long trip.”

🥕🥕🥕

Pit Stops (Part II) by D. Avery

“Fired! Yer fired Kid.”

“I’m fired up alright Pal. Trip up north was jist what I needed. An Curly too. She an Pepe both met up with kinfolk. Good times.”

“Dang it Kid, I ain’t sure I kin take much more a yer shenanigins. An look up there, ya went through 99 words an didn’t even use the prompt. I oughtta can ya.”

“Canned Kid? Convenient! Like canned cherries.”

“Hmmf. Kid, is thet lipstick on yer pig?”

“No! She’s been eatin fresh Michigan cherries. Here, try some.”

“Sweet! Ow!”

“Mind the pit. Ow!”

“Back at ya, Kid.”

🥕🥕🥕

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


11 Comments

  1. Reena Saxena says:

    Thanks for the mention!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gloria says:

    Lots of fruity sweetness today! 😋 With a zombie thrown into the mix! 😄

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Anne Goodwin says:

    Sweet collection. Special thanks to Colleen and Hugh for a much-needed laugh.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Norah says:

    A great collection with a few minor themes thrown in. I was pleased to see stories (and 3 at that) from you, Charli. Thank you everyone, for a sweet (and sometimes sour) read.
    I’d never heard of Bing cherries before but I guess they must be a thing. It’s always good to learn something new.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Sweet collection.”
    “Sure is Kid.”
    “I ain’t really fired, am I Pal?”
    “Naw Kid, don’t reckon Shorty’d allow thet.”
    “I’ll git caught up with ma chores, Pal. But it were sure good ta have a break, it was real refreshin.”
    “Refreshin? Ya was with LeGume.”
    “Zactly. I was with my good friend. Pepe’s a gas to be with. Ya know, Pal, mebbe you should take a break. Git away fer awhile.”
    “Hmmf. A vacation? I ain’t ever, I mean never, gonna vacate this ranch.”
    “So take a vacation somewheres remote on the Ranch.”
    “Ok. See ya next week, Kid.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fruitful prompt! Over the centuries cherries have been sacred and secular symbols; this literary collection of stories represents the vitality, variety, and abundance of this humbly elegant fruit. Well done Everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jules says:

    Charli….I thought I had put a link to the post in my entry. My PC had been giving me some hiccups this week.
    For those who would like to go to the link here is the link; it is; Honeyed Memory

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A sweet collection this week. Enjoyed the various takes on the cherry, but I have to say that the twists in the stories about the zombie and the pie contest made me laugh aloud. Well done to all. ~nan

    Liked by 2 people

  9. suespitulnik says:

    Another colorful collection. Well done everyone. I especially liked Geoff’s characters Di Abetes and Sue-Lynn Shotte. I never see the obvious wordplay that he does.

    Like

  10. […] Each week Charli at Carrot Ranch invites participants to submit a 99-word (no more, no less) story on a given prompt. I missed last week, but you can read the other submissions in the Collection using prompt SWEET AS CHERRIES. […]

    Like

  11. […] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Sweet As Cherries” collection from last week. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and Pal’s […]

    Like

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