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Shame 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.

Shameful — Conversation Overheard by Norah Colvin

“Look at that,” one mother tut-tutted.

“So shameful.”

“What is?”

“That. I’d be totally ashamed to send my child to school looking like that.”

“That’s a shame.”

“Unfortunately, our children have to mix with the likes of that. Have people no shame?”

“I’m not sure what you mean by the likes of that. Our world is enriched by diversity. The more the better, I say. It’s true some people have no shame. Nor should they. They should be proud of who they are. Except for the likes of you. You’re shameless. Shame on you.”

“Well, I —”

“Never. Obviously.”

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Wrong by Gloria McBreen

His tiny bones were found buried deep in the earth; unworthy of a holy grave. He did no wrong! He was born from the innocent womb of a young woman. Her voice too small to be heard. Powerless against a society filled with sanctimonious humans. She did no wrong! An insignificant woman, robbed of her deserving place in society—impure, blemished, broken. But she did no wrong! Those who hid under black and white habits, the ones behind the twitching curtains, and the men who robbed and walked away, weren’t the ones who carried shame. But they did wrong!

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Shamed: A Young Jess and Cindy Story by Joanne Fisher

“Cindy got caught kissing another girl in school!” Stephen suddenly blurted out at the breakfast table. “It was Jess she was kissing.”

Cindy’s father shot an angry look at her.

“Is this true?” Cindy’s mother asked. Cindy’s face had gone a bright red.

“Of course not!” Cindy lied. Her no good brother had tried to shame her.

“Homosexuals burn in Hell.” Her father stated. “No child of mine is going to choose to be gay.”

Cindy ran from the table and hid in her bedroom. She knew her parents would never understand. 

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A Mother’s Shame by Nancy Brady

Julia wasn’t a natural mother, hated babysitting, but she loved her children. Julia wasn’t perfect, but she aspired to being a good-enough mother to them. When they were crying infants, Julia would sing made-up songs of “It’s okay,” and rocking them until they calmed. But over the years, there were times when she realized that she probably was less present than she should have been. Sometimes, late at night, when Julia can’t sleep because thoughts like these fill her mind, she wonders if she failed them in some way. It’s then that her face flames, feeling guilt and shame.

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Shame by Reena Saxena

It’s that moment when you are made to feel less human – for not following a code of conduct devised by other humans. You don’t understand why the majority matters more than your originality, your right to be. You’re unable to achieve your goals because you are excluded from the club. And then you make it your business to tell others what they should do – anything to prevent shame being brought on the family or organization. You tell them affiliation is important, and secretly hope no one finds out you were guilty of defiance – once when you were more human.

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That Harry, He’s a Hell of a Guy by Doug Jacquier

Preamble: I spent many years as a social worker and a probation and parole officer. What follows is an example of what most of us know as ‘shame’ doesn’t begin to cover what human beings are capable of and that certain lines once crossed can never be uncrossed. And, apart from psychopaths, those people know that redemption is a pipe dream.

What Harry had done was beyond shameful, so egregiously evil that his family and his friends recoiled from him in disgust. They wondered how the man that they thought they knew could do such a thing. Confession made his victim re-live the secret kept in order to survive. Harry’s punishment, even his execution, would not bring the myth of closure for them. The only way he would pay was to stop him taking the coward’s way out and make him live with what he had done until the day he died, just to be sure there was a Hell.

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An Unoriginal Life by Scott Bailey

Why did I steal it? The one I already had was probably good enough. Now it defines me, but it is not me. I only kept it because it worked so well. The longer I had it, the better I got at using it. From the onset I learned how to leverage it for everything I wanted. I still use it like that, even at this age. Yet here I lay, withered and dying, regretting every day that passed. Me, but not really me. No one knows what a phony I am or of the shame that I carry.

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The Building Blocks of Shame by Anne Goodwin

I thought I was hungry, but Mummy laughed because only greedy-guts ask for second helpings. I thought I was tired, but Daddy laughed because only weaklings want to rest. I thought I liked algebra, but my classmates laughed because algebra’s not cool. I’d have liked to buy the purple dress but my sister said I couldn’t carry it off. I’d have liked to date the shy guy but my friends called him a creep. I wore the clothes and married the man that met their approval. Every morning I paint a smile on my face and camouflage the bruises.

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The Blame Game by Hugh W. Roberts

“What are these cuts and bruises? I got them when I fell over. How did I get my black eye? I walked into a door. Am I sure this is how I got these injuries? Yes. But I’m sorry for the tears. If I told you the truth, I’d bring shame on myself. The truth is that I’m a victim of domestic violence. Why does that bring shame to me? Because I’m male, and men don’t admit to being victims of domestic violence when being beaten by their wives, do they? Can you imagine the shame if people knew?”

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Making Guilt Worse by Gary A. Wilson Stories

“You made a mistake Jodi and a family died because you threw a burlap sack over that stop sign. It was a terrible idea. A healthy person would not have done it.

“You’re guilty of making a horrific decision.

“We didn’t know your mind was such a mess until we had you checked when you told us.  You’ve been on these new medications for only a week and look how clearer your mind is.

“But sweetie, not confessing might cause authorities to penalize an innocent person. That would increase the damage you’ve done and turn your guilt into shame.”

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Caught by Jenny Williams

My wife walked into the bedroom and I was wearing her black lace dress. The blood drained from my face, making my red rouge and lipstick glow.

“What are you doing?” She screamed, after the unexpected image of my alter ego slowly registered and then totally confused her. I was caught and in a panic stumbled out of sight into the bathroom. I struggled to undo the jammed zipper. My shameful secret was exposed. She had discovered I am a cross dresser, something I have lived with since I was four. My life and future has suddenly changed forever.

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The Song of Shame by Nicole Horlings

If shame was a song, it would be played on an out of tune piano in a large empty room, the notes painfully, obviously, off key. The melody drifts left, lower, and deeper, and does not return to the right. The simple beat of the chords is a slow thud in the echoing silence. Close the window, lest someone below on the street accidentally overhear what is being played. Cancel plans, let no one enter this room, and bar the door if necessary. This song was meant for only one recipient: the one who needs to hear the apology.

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Shame by Kippy

I stared at the ring he’d casually handed me and back at him; slouched on the wrought iron sofa in my livingroom. It’d been barely a year of whirlwind courtship; we were still learning each other. But the kit we’d bought stated we were well on our way to parenthood. My heart broke into a million pieces for I’d never know if he’d planned this all along, see, I lacked the courage to ask. Also, I’d always know that my “yes” resonated more with fear and shame of premarital pregnancy.

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A Letter to Mac by Sue Spitulnik

My Beloved Mac,

I’m sorry I didn’t have enough courage to visit the United States. I have so much guilt for bowing to my family’s wishes years ago. I’m also filled with shame, for I have never told my other children about their brother, and now I am afraid to. Life is such a funny thing. My happiest memories are of us laughing and feeling alive during a horrific time. I must accept that they are only memories, not the reality of today, but they do help me carry on. I’m happy for you in your life.

Love, Truyet

Author’s Note: Truyet is Mac’s son Thad’s biological mother in Vietnam. Her father forced her to send Thad to be raised by his American father 50 years ago.

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Mr. Shame by Ruchira

“Mr. Shame,” announced the nurse with a broad smile that displayed her braces. Her thick spectacles and wonky walk made her look like an alien. The young man raised his hand and was about to take steps toward her when a blonde sitting next to him got his attention.

“Is that your name?” she said with a snort.

“It’s Shaine. But, Teresa tends to lisp.”

“And, you have no issues with it?”

“This noun is nothing if I have not performed any shameful action. It’s all about your consciousness,” said Shane with a broad smile leaving the blonde speechless.

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Arjeet Egoistic Villain by Simon

Arjeet Egoistic Villain by Simon Arjeet an Indian gang leader planned to make million dollar deal with an ancient map. On that day, he presented the ancient map in front of hundreds of big shots, to his shock it was written “Map” in place of map. He was humiliated, he must find the map to save his reputation, before that he must find Sherloq. Sherloq grinned as he shoved the map in his coat pocket and walked away disguised as one of them. Arjeet will soon find Sherloq and his treasure hunting journey. Sherloq teased an evil ego, he will face wrath of Arjeet.

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Reimagined by D. Avery

This woman seems kind, look how she is with the children. Look at that garden! Go to them. It’ll be alright.

She clung to her imaginary friend. “No.”

I’ll go with you.

“I’m ashamed.”

Of me?

“No! Of me. Of my family. You know…”

I do know. I know that is your sorrow, but it is not your shame.

She sobbed then in the strong comforting arms of her imaginary friend. And when she opened her eyes, she was in the embrace of the woman, who told her she was safe now, everything was alright, she would be alright.

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Friends Reunited by Jenny Logan

We caught up over tea after over thirty years. We had one hour and managed to cover the basics; the “edited highlights” of a lifetime.

“She’s a proper grownup,” I would tell my husband later.

I reflected on all the things not said. I didn’t mention the divorces, the abuse, the years wasted. Nor did I mention time served in a religious cult. Am I ashamed of my life? Perhaps. A bit. Had my long-ago friend done the same thing? Put a positive spin on her history? If so, had we only succeeded in making each other feel inadequate?

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(Spot On?) Contemptible Chagrin by JulesPaige

Home rules – from the nest of your parents. The ones you are taught for polite occasions; like to mind your ‘P’s and Q’s’, don’t talk with your mouth full. Especially when you are a child to only speak when you are spoken to. Gertie learned all the right lessons. But she felt shame for those, especially the people from high political families or those with huge inheritances that they believed they could ignore some of the very basics. Some didn’t even have to have consumed great amounts of alcohol – to talk with their mouths full of food.

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Weapon of Shame by Sadje

Don’t wield the weapon of guilt, don’t make me wear rags of regret and the ashes of shame. Your views and mine are vastly different and making me ashamed of my choices, will make us part ways forever. You don’t own me. We all have the right to live our lives as we think right. Making me feel that my choices are to be condemned is your failure. Look in the mirror and you’ll look at a hypocrite, who needs to wear that cloak of shame more than me, for usurping my right to choose. Live and let live!

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Shame by Gia

What was happening, why were my eyes following him? Our eyes crossed again. Every time he looked at me, he saw me. He saw my imperfect emotional and perfect physical contours. I felt that look, like someone gently running a finger down my back. It was like some drug rushing through my blood and giving me a high that I had not felt in years. I was being touched, kissed, and pleasured, but I was not desired. Not this way. Damn! What was happening? Why am I thinking this? I had a ring on my finger. Shame on me!

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A Letter to Mac by Sue Spitulnik

My Beloved Mac,

I’m sorry I didn’t have enough courage to visit the United States. I have so much guilt for bowing to my family’s wishes years ago. I’m also filled with shame, for I have never told my other children about their brother, and now I am afraid to. Life is such a funny thing. My happiest memories are of us laughing and feeling alive during a horrific time. I must accept that they are only memories, not the reality of today, but they do help me carry on. I’m happy for you in your life.

Love, Truyet

Note: Truyet is Mac’s son Thad’s biological mother in Vietnam. Her father forced her to send Thad to be raised by his American father 50 years ago.

🥕🥕🥕

Shame by Reena Saxena

She says she did not get the kind of daughter she wanted. I’ve just poured myself a drink which she considers sacrilege. One fine day, uncharacteristically she heaps praise on me. I’ve carried the garbage out twice because the house help did not turn up. Someone else who moves about with a duster in hand all day is efficient and lovable. But me – banging the keyboard or speaking in sessions – am not feminine enough. Rejection has been the predominant theme from childhood. I don’t know where to place the shame. She is not the kind of mother I wanted.

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She Hung Her Head in Shame by Marsha Ingrao

Victoria had secrets in her younger years. Longing for a life fulfilled to have a man to share her bed and arms to hold her tight at night. She fell prey to the compliments of a married man who made her feel alive. She hid him in her closet, and let him out at parties, pretending to be friends. Her face was glass, through which she thought everyone could see. Though she tried to pull the curtains, and let down the blinds, what she had done at midnight was like the noonday sun. She hung her head in shame.

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The Shameless Princess (a true tale) by The Curious Archaeologist

“Shameless!” The shocked women looked at the statue of Venus. A beautiful reclining semi-nude woman.

“But it’s her! A princess and the favourite sister of the most powerful man in the world. How could she do it?”

Princess Pauline Borghese entered the room, the ladies curtsied. She watched as the statue was rotated in front of her, the likeness was unmistakable. “What do you think?” she asked one of her ladies in waiting.

“Very fine,” the woman hesitated, then asked nervously. “Didn’t you feel nervous when you posed?”

“Oh no!” The Princess laughed, “The studio was very well heated.”

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A Cryin’ _____! by Bill Engleson

Gibson listens to my sorry-assed tale. After I wrap it up, he rubs his ear the way he usually does before unloading one of his set pieces.

“That’s a cryin’…”

“Don’t say it,” I cut in.

“It’s beneath you…”

“You’re right. Shame on me…”

He gets up, strolls to the bar, orders another jug, and returns. “Help yourself, Vinnie.”

I pour the liquid solace into two glasses. He downs half of his brew, all the while shaking his head. “You’re a fool to cheat on her,” he declares.

I chugalug all of mine. Truth really makes me thirsty.

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Making The Best by Geoff LePard

Anthony ‘Tone’ Deaffe lived with his shame. He barely left home, so embarrassed was he. When Annabelle Ringer, seeking new members for the Little Tittweaking gleeclub, called round, Tone nearly didn’t answer. However, before he opened the door, she knew his secret. ‘Oh!’ squealed Belle, ‘what balls.’ Belle knew – she’d suffered her own despair, having a whistling vagina since puberty. She studied musical genitalia at Cambridge and consoled Tone that his tinkling testicles weren’t unique. Freed of shame, they formed a duet, playing ballsy versions of film scores, being especially popular at bar mitzvahs and S&M recovery parties.

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Shame on the Airlines by Charli Mills

The airline scam begins:

“Welcome to Chicago! Your flight to Hancock departs from Gate E5 at 6:47.”

Passengers think they have a plane to go to their destination. They’ve paid their fare. But the switches start:

“Hancock flight now departs from Gate F6 at 6:47.”

These are more gate changes. The airline is switching planes. Crews do not come with the plane. Bait and switch continue. Passengers are stranded, sleeping in clusters on seats, luggage, the floor. They rise at 3 am cold, cranky and deprived of coffee. At 6 am, the scam resumes. After a dozen changes, a single flight departs to Hancock 24 hours later.

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Hangin Out Without Shame by D. Avery

“Pal, I’m worried I won’t come up with a response fer this un.”

“Thet’d be a shame, Kid, but nuthin ta be ashamed of.”

“What if I try somethin an it falls flat?”

“Might be a might awkward, Kid, thet’s all. Reckon this is a tough prompt. Cause there ain’t no shamin at Carrot Ranch.”

“Yer sayin this’s a shameless place?”

“S’pose. Ain’t ta say mistakes ain’t been made.”

“Guilty.”

“Uh-huh. But we’ve all learnt from em. Nuthin ta be ashamed of.”

“So it’s okay that I’m wearin ma chaps but not ma jeans?”

“Em-bare-assed ain’t a-shamed.”

“Cool beans.”

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 “Seriously, Pal, this’s a tough prompt.”

“Ain’t’cha got sumthin yer shamed of ta write ‘bout, Kid?”

“If’n I did, d’ya think I would?”

“What’re ya most shamed of Kid?” “

Reckon it’d be if’n I ever shamed anuther. Sometimes we kin say somethin hurtful an not even know we’re doin it. But then that person ain’t gonna say anythin. Cuz their shamed.”

“Be more shameful if ya knew ya were shamin.”

“Some folks do mighty shameful things.”

“Yep. An some folks forgive em anyways. An that’s acknowledgin their mistakes an letting em learn an grow from em. Givin em room.”

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


16 Comments

  1. Such a variety of shame stories this week. Nicely done to all, making me think.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Geoff once again shamelessly pulled out all the bells and whistles for his Little Tittweaking series. Is tourism up or down for that little village lately?

    I’m proud to be among these fine writers! This group always rises to the challenge, no matter how tough.
    I enjoyed all the musings here, from amusing to serious, true tales and tales of truths hard to handle, with victims and villains and characters that persevere.

    Speaking of perseverance- Welcome home Charli. Your time at O’Hell Airport is finished!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! These were such powerful reads. D’s affected me from the start. Sometimes truth comes from fictional sources. Bravo to everyone this week. 👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jules says:

    Wow there was a bunch on this prompt. I’m trying something new here (I got the idea from Doug and I’m not ashamed to borrow it). Not sure if I can do it every week. But I enjoyed reading the diverse way this prompt was used;

    Norah Colvin – comment at blog
    Gloria McBreen – Well done. Two wrongs do not make a right – ever.
    Joanne Fisher – Accepting differences is hard for too many.
    Nancy Brady – comment at blog
    Reena Saxena – Too often we are forced to play roles that are not natural to ourselves.
    Doug Jacquier -Too many ‘evil’ less than human people escape life by an early death.
    Scott Bailey – A death bed rant of regret.
    Anne Goodwin – Too often we are forced into roles we would rather not play.
    Hugh W. Roberts – Abuse in any form; partners, elders, children… shameful.
    Gary A. Wilson – When there is no ‘filter’ shame is meaningless.
    Jenny Williams – Hiding who we are shouldn’t be shameful – those who judge should be shamed.
    Nicole Horlings – Comment at blog
    Kippy – Some choices, it seems society makes for us.
    Sue Spitulnik – Family honor has its failings, too often the innocent suffer the most.
    Ruchira – There is no shame for Shaine.
    Simon – Interesting – unique take.
    D. Avery – Takes me straight to the book ‘Sybil’ which I later found out was false.
    Jenny Logan – True friends? True lies. Life can be cruel.
    Sadje – Comment at blog
    Gia – Some believe thoughts are as good as the action. Scary situation.
    Reena Saxena – We don’t always get to choose our parents, just how we react to them.
    Marsha Ingrao – I’ve been watching a series of mysteries…seems ‘double dipping’ was ordinary.
    The Curious Archaeologist – Well done! Made me shamelessly laugh out loud.
    Bill Engleson – Cheating – like karma seems to catch up.
    Geoff LePard – Oh to use the gifts we are given!
    Charli Mills – Overbooking has always been a problem too. Glad you’re home!
    Kid and Pal – Growing from mistakes and forgiving – that’s nothing to be shameful of!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      We develop new skills by borrowing an idea and putting our own twist on it. When a writer considers a response to other written works, the writer observes strengths in clarity, creativity, and craft. Happy to see you take the time to organize your thoughts here. Thanks, Jules.

      And the flight situation had nothing to do with overbooking. United does not have enough crews for its flights. But they cite weather in any part of the country as “delays” or “cancelations” to avoid trouble with the Department of Transportation. I’m not going to send my complaint to United; I’m addressing the situation with the DOT. United needs to be fined. What they are doing is dangerous because it also means they are deferring mechanical issues to play their shell game. Glad to be home, too!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jules, so nothing to be ashamed of there.
    Moby once said “Dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame. I should have a dog as a life coach.”
    In that spirit, here’s what I took from you shameless and shameful hussies and huskies this week.

    Norah – Squelch of the century 😊
    Nancy – ‘Julia would sing made-up songs of “It’s okay,” and rocking them until they calmed.’ I don’t think she’s got anything to worry about.
    Reena – ‘you were guilty of defiance – once when you were more human.’ Doesn’t sound like a sin to me.
    Anne – ‘Every morning I paint a smile on my face and camouflage the bruises.’ Devastating ending.
    Nicole – ‘If shame was a song, it would be played on an out of tune piano in a large empty room’. Great line.
    Marsha – A whole new perspective on ‘out of the closet’.
    Bill – ‘Truth really makes me thirsty.’ So that’s my problem. 😉
    D – “Em-bare-assed ain’t a-shamed.” Vintage.

    Liked by 3 people

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