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.
An Annoying Speck by Hugh W. Roberts
It was the tiniest speck of mud on the type, but it annoyed him. He couldn’t leave it there on such a special occasion.
“MARSHALL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” bellowed a voice.
“But sir, there’s–“
“I DON’T CARE. BACK TO YOUR POSITION, NOW!”
A few seconds before setting off, Marshall retook his chance and removed the mud while his leader turned his back.
Then, on the sound of his boss’s bellowing voice giving orders, Midshipman Marshall joined the other 97 royal navy soldiers in towing the carriage containing the Queen’s coffin as the sound of bagpipes played.
Stories Retold by Reena Saxena
He is ready to glide into the future. Inherited wings feel light on shoulders, as wheels whir before leaving the ground.
A force stands ready to support, send or receive anything as per instructions. Vehicles are cleaned and polished to carry stories into the future.
Somehow, the mud on tires refuses to go. It is mixed with blood and gore and talks about wheels skidding to death and a car forced to speed away from life.
A son wipes his tears away, as the prince gets ready for the throne.
Memories are subjective. Stories change form on being retold.
Mud on the Tires of Life by Miss Judy
Growing up rural in 1950’s was hard. Small rural schools taught reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, home economics for the girls, shop for the boys. Teachers were strict, parents stricter. Girls would be wives and mothers; boys would be husbands with jobs. Futures were cast.
The school of hard knocks taught how to survive, things not learned in textbooks, experiences gained navigating young lives. Some prospered, became successful and happy; others survived.
The experiences gained, lessons learned, successes and failures, whether thick or thin, it’s all just mud on one’s tires of life. Only one knows how thick the mud.
Driving Lesson by Kerry E.B. Black
Mia chewed her lip, shoulders tight enough to snug her ears. Heart pounding, gaze darting everywhere. Good speed. Not too close to the white. Not too near the double yellow with its onrushing traffic.
“You’ve got this.” Her mother depressed an imaginary brake on the passenger’s side. Her white knuckles belied a different story than her calm voice. “Stay in your lane.” Tone shift. “Back on the road!”
“You’re making me nervous!”
The car veered further.
While her mother checked for damage, Mia fought tears.
Her mother pulled Mia into a hug. “Just muddy tires. Try again.”
Driving Lesson by Duane L Herrmann
I let my youngest daughter drive on empty country roads. We turned a sharp corner and she abruptly stopt.
“I can’t dad.”
“Go slow, it’ll be all right.”
“No. You drive,” she insisted.
I did not argue, so we traded places. It was easy – for me, I’d driven on a low-water bridge before. The road went sharply down the bank to the nearly dry creek bed, then sharply up again. The “bridge” was just one lane wide, and narrow at that. She didn’t want to drive any more that day.
No mud on those tires.
The Ranch Christmas Party (Part I) by Colleen M. Chesebro
Montana winters are brutal, but this one started out like a lamb—until today. The road to Dearborn Ranch swerved sharply to the right. I hugged the curve. The mud on the tires of my red Chevy Sprint spattered the windows. The swarm of snowflakes caught in the glare of the headlights blinded me. Winter had finally arrived.
The ranch Christmas party featured Angus flat iron steaks, baked potatoes, and freshly baked bread and desserts from the Hutterite colony down the road. Drinks were on the house. This was when the city girl got to mingle with real cowboys!
The Ranch Christmas Party (Part II) by Colleen M. Chesebro
My thoughts were on the party, and not the road. Now, the snow blew sideways against the car. It was then, the biggest deer I’d ever seen in my life walked across the road! I slowed to a stop. The animal was huge. The bottom of his belly almost touched the hood of my car. Then he was gone.
I arrived without a scratch. The first thing I did was retell my adventure on the road. The cowboys hooted with laughter.
“Colleen, that wasn’t a deer. With that size, it had to be an elk,” the ranch boss said.
Mud Covered by Ann Edall-Robson
The rain from the past few weeks added to the level of the creek and she missed the crossing by five feet. Trying to correct her error, one front wheel sunk into the bank. Now she played the game…reverse, first gear, reverse…rock, spin…repeat. No use arguing with a tire covered in mud. Sloshing up the creek bank on her way to get help, she was glad it was mud and water and not ice and snow. It would undoubtedly be added to the dinner table banter, and living this one down wasn’t going to happen soon.
Stuck in the Mud by Joanne Fisher
Jess got out of the tractor. Due to an excessive amount of rain the south field had turned into a swamp. Her tractor was mired, the tires caked with mud. She sighed. Already she had tried for several hours to get the tractor moving again, but to no avail. Cindy had gone to Faerie to meet the Elven Queen. She had been gone a couple of days now. Jess hated it when Cindy wasn’t here. The farm never felt right without her. Jess decided to walk back to the homestead and figure out what to do over some coffee.
Last Ride by Charli Mills
Mud on the tires slid the truck toward the unpaved road’s edge. The sandstone plateau loomed above the serpentine track. Jan aimed the hood left, then right, spinning the steering wheel to counter each skid. She refused to let off the gas despite every thought screaming to brake. She ignored her fear, pressing onward, upward. Windshield wipers swiped rain and smeared red mud. When clay gave way to exposed sandstone her truck glided sideways. No traction. No response between steering and tires. Like rain over the rim, Jan’s truck poured off the road. Dropping, she lit a final cigarette.
A Muddy Disappearance (Part 1) by Kayla Morrill
I open the door and foggy cold air creeps past my ankles uninvited into my house.
“Good morning Miss Charlotte Begolonni? Have you seen Sarah Lancaster recently?” Detective Morgan asks.
“I was with her last night until about…11 o’clock and…”
“A-a-a-n-n-d-d?” the detective asks.
“I-I don’t remember,” I honestly say.
“Can we look around?”
“Sir, there is mud on her tires.”
“Can you explain where the mud came from?”
“No I-I can’t,” I reply confused.
“We are going to have to take you down to the station to ask you more questions and impound your car.”
A Muddy Blur (Part 2) by Kayla Morrill
I sit on my bunk reading the paper headlined “Sarah Lancaster Still Missing 10 Years Later”.
I turn my eyes towards the picture of my mug shot. My red hair parted like a wet mop and my bloodshot eyes searching for answers in a faraway land. Next to my photo was Sarah’s, as if the journalists wanted to make it obvious who the bad one was.
I tried to remember that night many times but can’t.
What was worse, muddied brain or muddied tires?
According to the court, muddy tires were good enough to put me on Death Row.
Back Tracking by D. Avery
“Relax, it’s not a spider.”
Her husband’s voice startled her more than the string that brushed her face. She switched on the light, illuminating the motel cabin, a stringed balloon at the ceiling, her husband sitting up in the armchair, the portable oxygen tank in his lap.
“I put the top up on the convertible.”
“And stole a balloon.”
“Just before this downpour.”
He was wheezing and didn’t argue when she gave him morphine drops.
“It came on fast.”
“It’s just rain,” she said. “What’s a little mud on our tires?”
He smiled wanly. “We should head home tomorrow.”
Nature Cure? by Anne Goodwin
She cursed when she saw the sign for the diversion, barely a mile from the edge of the moors. She took a chance and drove around it; the road crumbled beneath her wheels. She abandoned the car and stomped through the heather, the wind whistling around her ears.
She hadn’t come for answers. She hadn’t come to forget. But here in the moody landscape she could let her emotions roam free.
She returned to the parking place as darkness gathered. Footsore, hungry, tired. Mud on her boots, mud on her tyres, the ghost of a smile on her face.
Rut-riding by Nancy Brady
Annie learned to ride a bicycle long after her younger sister did. Soon, she could keep up with more experienced riders. Often, Annie raced her sister home and won when she rode her older sister’s bike. The bike didn’t look racy at all with its balloon tires, but it was deceptively fast. It was fun to ride, too.
Annie discovered that if she rode on the berm, she could ride in the ruts. She named this activity rut-riding and enjoyed the bumpy ride especially when it was wet. Splashing through puddles with mud in her tires made her smile.
Mud on Tyres by ladyleemanila
When Mark and Pat renovated their home, they discovered an old bicycle. It was Mark’s old bike when he was a boy. He remembered all the adventures he had with that bike. All the scratches, bruises, mud cakes formed and mischiefs.
He checked it out, it still works. He has to pump air in the tyres, check the brakes, scrub and paint the rusted parts. Voila! A new bike for their son, Peter. He’s looking forward to teaching Peter how to ride a bike. He might even buy a second hand bike for himself. That was a good find.
Muddy Tires by Sadje
The layer of caked mud on the tires was thick and the wheels were stuck hard. Jessie pulled hard without success.
She then had a bright idea, she brought the water hose, turned the water on the bike to make it easy to extract. Now the mud was acting like bubblegum and the bike was stuck fast. When Jessie pushed harder, she slipped in the mud and the bike fell on top of her.
The bike was free at last, all they both needed was a hosing down, hopefully before her brother found out that she’d taken his bike.
Complex Chocolate? by JulesPaige
When you can’t drive you can’t get mud on your tires, but adults can. They got mud on their tires when we went to visit relatives in the country. I didn’t know the eldest son of my grandfather from his first wife. The Grands lived with Randy and Kate who I don’t think were happy to see us. But Grampa was Dad’s father in law. Gran, Mom’s mother.
My sibling and I were told to go out and play while the adults talked. Together we found a water hose and dirt and had fun making stacks of mud pies.
Mud on the Tyres by Norah Colvin
After the wedding, Teddy and Ollie scrunched into the back of the little red convertible.
As Amy and Lucy drove them away from the faraway forest, the guests cheered and threw confetti. The empty cans, now replacing balloons on the bumper, clattered across the wooden bridge and scattered gravel along the mountain trail.
At the honeymoon resort, Teddy and Ollie splashed in the pool first, but they were overexcited, and the grounds were soon a mucky muddy mess.
When Mother called, ‘Dinnertime!’, the girls were mud-spattered, from the hair on their heads to their convertible’s tyres.
‘Coming!’ they replied.
Mud by Sylvia Cognac
My older sister called to warn me that a monsoon was coming.
“The more time we spend on the phone, the later I’ll get home,” I said.
A moment after hanging up, I was soaking wet, and my legs, feet, shoes, and tires were all soaked in mud.
My muddy shoelace caught in my pedal, nearly ejecting me off of my bicycle into the monsoon.
Stopping in the storm, I tied a stronger knot.
“I cannot believe you took a bike ride during a monsoon,” scolded my sister when I arrived home an hour later, drenched to the bone.
Mud Flats by Bill Engleson
She’s a little putout. “You can’t bring them in here. This is a house. Not a mud hut.”
“Ma,” I scream, “The river’s rising. All of my tools and my bikes will get washed away.”
“I don’t care if the heavens are weeping buckets till forever, I will not have all that gas-guzzling machinery in this house. Put it all back in the garage like it always is.”
“Ma,” I point out with clarity and passion, “The bloody garage is already a foot under…”
“Then, Sonny boy, that was the way that he intended it to be. Now scoot.”
A Sweet Tragedy by Frank James
Convict Carl Brown trained a blind veteran’s dog, Maverick. Every day, he pushed a cart down a clay path and mud caked his tires and boots. He slogged to the kennel giving him meaning. Training ticked years away. Without noticing, Maverick became his visceral life.
Feeding Maverick flashed thoughts of him eating at five-star restaurants. Other times, Carl imagined him trotting from a boat or plane onto an exotic island.
Six-years later, Carl cleaned the mud because Maverick’s veteran arrived. Carl kneeled with Maverick, “I’ll miss you. Go experience the life I’ll never have.”
The Drive that Changed Everything – A True Story by The Curious Archaeologist
He had kept raising difficulties. From doubts about the engine to mud on the tyres.
She was more confident, her money had helped built it, she had helped design it, she knew it would work.
She planned it carefully, told her husband she was going to her mother’s home more than a hundred miles away, he expected her to take the train, she waited until he had left the house.
Then her sons rolled the ungainly machine out of the stable, pushed it until it started, and Bertha Benz took the world’s first motor car and drove into history.
As Clear as Mud by Doug Jacquier
The ashen-faced homicide detective said ‘We know it was you from the mud on your tyres matching the crime scene. So confess.’
I said ‘It’s a supermarket car park.’
The detective groaned ‘OK, but we’ve got your prints on the murder weapon.’
I said ‘Which was?’
The detective grunted ‘OK, so we haven’t found the murder weapon but you’ve been positively identified as being in the vicinity shortly after the crime.’
I said ‘Boss, I’m your Sergeant. I came with you.’
The detective yawned ‘I really need to get some sleep. Just don’t leave town without letting me know.’
A Brand New Chevrolet by Nicole Horlings
When Brad’s sedan broke down, he thought about what car he wanted to buy next. He had recently gotten into crafting coffee tables for a hobby, and having a vehicle with a big open trunk would be perfect if he began taking commissions.
After he drove home his new Chevy pickup, his uncle happened to stop by to drop off something, and seeing the truck, laughed and asked, “So Brad, when are you going to get some mud on the tires?”
Brad looked confused, so his uncle played a specific country song for him. Brad listened then laughed too.
Gender Reveal by Sue Spitulnik
Lexi and Adam’s families were excited the day of the gender reveal party but the fact there were no decorations caused a lot of hushed comments. Everyone had eaten and some were ready to leave. A cousin was snooping in the house for color clues. Then a cheer started from near the garage when Emma came out pulling her wagon that had blue balloons fastened to it and was hauling a cake with blue frosting. After the group settled down, it was disclosed that mud had to be cleaned off the wagon wheels before Emma could pull it easily.
A Stain Transformed by Gary A. Wilson
“Yo babe! What’s this? It was in your old dresser”
“Oh that. It’s from the night some jerk drove through an oily, muddy puddle and sprayed me outside my prom.”
“You – may have mentioned this.”
“I had mud and road grit in my hair, down my cleavage. The dress was ruined. I saved it to recall my hatred and anger.
“But – years passed: college, first jobs, a war, an unplanned child and a marriage – all happened. That dress transformed from an icon of hatred into one of blessing when you, that same jerk, transformed into my husband.”
The Phynx’s Riddle by Christy Gard
When I woke that morning, the reak of new rubber wafted off the tires. I imagined buffing that black every hour until it shined. I’d keep my tires pristine until dusk.
He arrived that afternoon, insisting on taking my vehicle for a spin. I begged him not to blemish my beauty. He promised he’d be careful. I argued that just driving down the street would cover the tires in dust.
That evening I scrubbed and scrubbed at the muddy stains left behind on my ruined tires. His recklessness had tainted my entire view of the day.
Internally Combustive by Geoff Le Pard
From three, Sandy Mudd wanted to be a car mechanic. He re-sparked plugs and dipped sticks until everyone said he’d surely be the youngest ever winner of the Total Spanner award. His ambition to join Little Tittweaking’s star team at The Greased Monkey, was set back when he displayed his supersized big end during a speed-dating event at the Compost and Rot for which he was temporarily banned. Sadly, his exceptional dexterity when nipple greasing Penny Forthem’s open top failed to help and anyone asking as to his whereabouts was always answered with ‘Mudd’s on the tyres.’
Homicide by Simon
Andrew never thought the mud on his tires could serve him jail sentence.
A rainy night, cold climate, while she hung up on her Secret friend, Andrew hung up his knife on her neck. Dragging her body he disappeared in woods, resumed back to his routine life like nothing happened.
It was a month now, he made everyone believe she ran away.
Andrew was confident that nobody could find any dead body, he was wrong.
Police were clueless except the tire mark and muds that matched Andrews car for all 8 murders .
Andrew regretted, for not changing his tires.
A Red Faced Wang by Scott Bailey
In police headquarters garage, the Captain showed two detectives the stolen Jeep and said, “Detective Cagney, Detective Lacey this is Forensic Specialist Dr. Wang HangLow”.
Dr. HangLow showed them the white chips he dug out of a mud packed tire. “Definitely bone fragments from your missing man,” he said confidently and beaming with pride.
“What about that big piece sticking out on top?” Cagney pointed.
With tweezers, Lacey picked it out of the mud, looked closely, turned it over and remarked, “It says made in China”.
“Great work, Dr. HangLow, you found an old coffee cup”. Cagney said.
Plenny a Problems With the Prompt (Part I) by D. Avery
*Some ya might recall thet ma last words last week was, “What could go wrong?” Kin tell ya: plenny.
First off, beavers is good at a lot, but not knot tyin, though them knots held fer a bit, longer on the rear a the truck.
Seconly, a hot air balloon ’parently ain’t powerful ‘nough ta lift a ranch truck outta a creek, though it looked promisin fer a bit.
Thirdly, worse’n thet truck ta begin with is thet truck flippin in the air an landin belly up in the creek. Dang tires ain’t got no mud on ‘em!*
Plenny a Problems With the Prompt (Part II) by D. Avery
“That didn’t go swimminly, Pal.”
“No shift, Kid!”
“Uh-oh, here comes Shorty.”
“Hey Kid. Seen the Ford?”
“Ford’s in the stream.”
“I don’t want to ford the stream. I want the Ford truck.”
“Oh shucks. Um, I’m havin it cleaned?”
“That’s thoughtful, Kid, but unnecessary. I want to go back-roadin, get some mud on the tires.”
“Thought ya was inta kayakin? Mebbe ya wanna go boatin ‘stead a takin the truck.”
“Stop spinning your wheels Kid. Where’s the truck?”
“Long story, Shorty.”
“Think thet story’ll hold water?”
“Tell an abridged version.”
“A bridge! Yer truck’s become infras-truck-cher.”
Great collection of stories that really showed a lot of range. For me, some that stood out immediately were Hughs’ story, that painted a very clear picture and I could almost see it happening for real (maybe it did!). Charlis’ rain soaked mountain sprint set such a frantic pace I’m still out of breath, great tempo! I thought it was funny that Doug wrote almost the same story as mine, and here I thought I was being original (LOL). I liked the historical Benz story, a little history is always nice. But for me, D. Averys’ story hit the hardest. Not the Kid/Pal ones but the other one: Back Tracking. It set a very clear visual scene, and while I can only guess why they were in the motel it left me with a very heartwarming yet sad feeling when the guy said they should go home tomorrow. Well done.
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Nothing wrong with having the same idea, Scott. Great minds think alike. 🙂
Doug, I know this sounds crazy, but I was just thinking the exact same thing! LOL!!!
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After reading my reply to your comment, my joke while obvious to me, comes off as me saying I have a great mind when in fact it is really meant to be just the opposite. It’s supposed to show someone (me) NOT having a great mind by simply parroting what you said. Oh well, I thought it was pretty funny.
I got it, it was funny and I laughed. 🙂
Thanks so much, Scott. Hearing that my story came to life as you read is fantastic feedback. Given that our news was all about Queen Elizabeth’s death, when I saw the prompt, the scene came straight to me.
Well, aren’t you all just a bunch of dirty tyre kickers treading new paths and pretty slick into the bargain. Some highlights for me:
Hugh – a forgivable obsession at a memorable time
Reena – ‘Stories change form on being retold.’
Charli – ‘Like rain over the rim, Jan’s truck poured off the road.’
Kayla – ‘What was worse, muddied brain or muddied tires?’
D – A wonderful story continues
Bill – ‘Then, Sonny boy, that was the way that he intended it to be.’
The Curious Archaeologist – Go, Berta!
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[…] can read last week’s Mud on the Tires Collection […]
[…] The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Mud on the Tires, including mine, can be read at the Carrot […]
Here’s mud in your eye for all the wonderful variety of stories this week. Well done to all. ~nan
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