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.
Lies by Michael Fishman
Jerry’s mind was everywhere but where it was supposed to be. His quick eyes darted away from the person in front of him to look out at the crowd.
He spied an attractive brunette and wondered what she looked like from the back. Then what she’d look like lying down. He looked forward to answering those questions later.
Then he saw Robin and smiled at the warm memory.
Jerry turned his attention back to the man to his right and tried his best to focus.
“…and do you, Jerry, take Elizabeth to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
Living a Lie Via Zoom by Gary A. Wilson
Bryce watched his screen as peers discussed an expense management slide.
Progress is so tedious, he thought.
Suddenly his kids ran into the room screaming joyfully with his wife scrambling to silence them. He quickly muted the microphone and roared.
Furious, he was on his feet cursing and threatening his family when his phone rang – it was his boss.
“Bryce, you’re in my office in an hour. We thought we knew you but, your outburst; unacceptable and completely out of character.”
He’d turned the sound down, not his mic off.
“Your options are intervention or termination.”
Lies Can Be Expensive by Frank James
“Have you been drinking?” The Trooper asked Molly. She shook her head: no.
“License and registration, he replied. Her hands trembled, offering them.
“Are you sure?” He repeated.
“I never drink and drive, and it would be stupid to lie to a Trooper,” she snorted.
He smiled, “Uh huh, you don’t want to lose your truck.”
He asked for a simple test. Feeling spry, her eyes followed his pen. They wobbled a bit.
“Okay,” he reluctantly said writing a warning ticket.
She grinned, pulling away. She didn’t see a beer can tumbling from the bed. He radioed a wrecker.
Incompletely Lost or Completely at a Loss? by JulesPaige
Blanks in the data bank memories of mother…
Disillusioned tweenager, angst filled teenager
Angry adult (at established rules and thieves)
There will always be holes, those holes filled with lies
Like ‘The check is in the mail,’ or where to place blame
With either ‘Ida Know’ or ‘Not Me’
Lies completely fabricated, Lies completely created for comfort
Lies by omission -The little white lies we pretend are OK
As to not upset the person who couldn’t cope with truth
That magician’s gun that was supposed
To have blanks but the murderer switched bullets…
And now there’s a big blank.
Tell The Truth by Sweeter Than Nothing
Deb had never been one for the truth, ever since she was little. Who wants horrible, pointy realty when a nice soft blanket of lies can cushion and comfort you?
She used that motto for good and bad.
“Of course you don’t look fat in that dress”
“No, I would never cheat on you, I love you.”
Debbie hid behind her lies right up to the very last moment of her life.
“Who knew she was sick? She always said she was fine.” Said all, shocked.
Now here lies Deb, finally, telling the truth at last.
De-merger by Reena Saxena
It’s an interesting family tree.
Each carries a different name by choice, with scant regard for belonging or social identification.
Anna tells me it was reinvented after her grandfather left the field open for choice of names.
“I’m sure there’s a lot behind that story. I’ve heard about his multiple marriages and large number of foster children”. I can’t resist digging graves for a good story.
“It’s actually much more than that. Multiple marriages meant multiple failed relationships, and this was the lesson he gave us.
The greatest lie ever spoken in love is about the merging of identities.”
Galactic Encyclopedia Entry by Duane L Herrmann
Nouvelle France had developed its trading empire deep into the interior of Amérique du Nord, reaching into the heart of the Grandes Montagnes which formed the massive spine of the continent. The initial small trading posts where the Natives and French had met to trade furs had become towns and cities in their own right. Many, many of the French traders had taken Native wives and now fifth and sixth generations of descendants were the major population. Wars among the natives had ceased long, long ago: it was bad for business. Brits had been expelled long ago for rebellion.
The Letter by Margaret G. Hanna
The start of the lie. Part of the conspiracy. Would he fall for it?
“Emigrating to Canada was a grievous error.”
It was not. Another part of the lie.
“I want to return home, to England.”
No! Her sister Bessie wants to come to Canada.
“Alas, I can not afford the fare.”
Father could. He had promised to send it. If he did, she’d send it back to Bessie.
“Please send the money. I will be forever in your debt. Your loving daughter, Mary.”
He bought the lie. He sent the money.
Bessie arrived four months later.
Black Poppies by Anne Goodwin
Their mother would miss them, but the Motherland called. They stowed away on a ship taking rum and molasses to Liverpool and docked the day the country declared war. Eustace lied about his age to join up with his brother. When hostilities ended, he buried his brother in France.
He grieved, but was proud to have served the Empire. Until he learnt the flag that united the colonies was a colossal lie. When riots raged in Liverpool’s docklands, he feared for his life. He learnt that Black men could die for Britain, but they couldn’t live there in peace.
An Economics Lesson at the Food Bank by Anne Goodwin
“I don’t get it,” says the volunteer, as she distributes bashed soup tins between supermarket plastic bags. “Run it past me again.”
The politician sighs, but her colleague interrupts him. “Remember Robin Hood?”
“Steals from the rich to give to the poor? Of course.”
“Well, this is Robin in reverse.”
The woman sets aside a tube of charcoal toothpaste. The politician flashes a smile. “We scrap the wealth tax. People spend more. The benefits trickle down.”
The woman surveys the empty shelves. “Can’t see that working.”
“Be patient,” says the politician. “We’ve only tried this method for ninety years.”
Am I Fine? by Ruchira Khanna
“Can you please get my meds from the counter?” requested Pam as she settled with her cup of tea.
“When you have no physical aches, why are you still consuming these pills?” asked a concerned Dave.
“It’s the mental ache, and these pills keep me high,” she said with a forced smile.
Dave frowned and was about to give his opinion.
Just then, the phone rang.
“Hi, Lisa!” said Pam while keeping eye contact with her beau.
“Life is super! I’m rocking it, my friend,” said Pam with shrugged shoulders and a downward glance while fidgeting with the blanket.
The Big Lie! by Tessa Dean
Lawrence hung down at the bar with a bunch of young men about his age. He claimed he was 21 and old enough to drink. They played darts and flirted with the women. Lawrence wore loose clothes that just hung on him. The other guys were dressed similarly.
One night, while Lawrence was drinking, Anson mentioned that he looked like he was gaining weight. Lawrence just shrugged it off. Suddenly he let out a scream and grabbed his belly. Rushed to the hospital, it was discovered that he was a she and that she was pregnant and in labor.
A Little White Lie by Sadje
“What does it matters, it’s just a little white lie”
“That’s how it starts my dear and then one becomes two and two becomes too many. Lying becomes a habit that is hard to get rid of”
“But nan, I meant no harm. I just didn’t want to hurt Mel’s feelings by telling her I won’t come to her party, I’d already promised Cindy that I’ll hang out with her”
Then my sweet, you should tell her the truth, gently. If we start to hide behind lies, we will lose our true selves!”
“Okay nan. I promise, never again!”
A Catastrophe by Nancy Brady
It started innocently enough. My younger sister and I were playing Monopoly. Because I was sniffing a pine-scented cat sachet at the same time, out of the blue, I said the most outrageous thing, “I bit our cat’s ear,” never expecting her to believe me.
“You didn’t, did you?” she asked.
“Yep,” I said, filling in details that made the lie real.
My sister was gullible; she believed me. What prompted this preposterous fabrication, I still don’t know, but finally I told her the truth. That I had never done anything like that to our cat, nor would I.
Lies Are Allowed for Surprises by Sue Spitulnik
Tessa called her mother and invited her parents to dinner at their favorite Italian restaurant in the next town.
“Tessa, can’t you change the meal time to 7:00 PM, you know your father doesn’t like to eat early with the blue hair crowd.”
“Mom, the restaurant was already booked for prime time hours when I called, it’s the college’s Homecoming Weekend. You can eat a big late breakfast and an early dinner.”
Tessa called her sister,” I lied to Mom to get her to agree to the time. I’m sure she isn’t suspecting an anniversary party.”
They Lied by Gypsie-Ami Offenbacher-Ferris
As a child, I began to write. I constantly had pencil and paper, diaries and journals, just like Ernest Hemingway. I learned early on, to stop showing my father my poetry and prose. He told lies. His remarks snuffed out my confidence.
“You’ll never be a writer. Not possible!” He’d say, tossing my papers up in the air.
I’m now sixty-four years old and guess what? I’m not a Mark Twain or a Hemingway but I am, an author and a poet. Be careful telling someone what they can not be!
Poison by Simon
He always said
when I lied
He knew, he said.
This time, I said
He never knew When I lied
When I constantly lied
Because the doctor said
He cannot be cured
I lied to his face
Hiding the truth behind
I lied to his face
Smiling with tears behind
I lied to his face
When I killed me
I lied to his face
When I killed him
It was the kindest poison
I made with love and passion
A lie, I named it as a Lie
Kills slowly but definitely we die
Before he died
I died happily
Laying Down About Lying About the Lie of the Land by Doug Jacquier
His drive had landed in the rough and he groaned when he saw the thicket of trees between him and the green of the par four 17th. Quickly scanning for witnesses, he picked up the ball and dribbled it out of his trouser leg on to the edge of the fairway. His second shot landed just short of the green, making for an easy chip and putt. When his partner asked for his score, he said ‘Four’ and strode to the next tee. His partner grunted and wrote ‘4’ in the box, sighing to himself ‘Whatever you say, Donald.’
The Big Announcement by Miss Judy
The night had arrived. The audience was gathered. Time for the big reveal. Everyone knew what was coming. Tonight it would be official.
People expected fanfare, fist pumps, and high energy from the wannabe king. It was his castle; he was coming back.
He rambles in – more a wounded goose than a strutting swan. His head hangs, no fist pumps, no energy. He’s alone; he speaks.
The same tired montage of lies, unfounded theories, derogatory remarks of his enemies. Finally, he proclaims MAGAGA*. A tired crowd cheers and walks away, mostly glad that it’s over. Time to move on.
*Make America Great and Glorious Again
Talents by Devine Success
“Good morning sir.”
“Is Muna there?”
Anita’s eyes popped. Why couldn’t Muna take permission before going to her cousin’s wedding? Now what should she say?
“Sir… she’s not feeling well, she went to get drugs from the pharmacy.”
“Oh… it’s alright.”
Barely 5 minutes after the call their boss arrived. Anita’s heart thumped. “Muna isn’t back from the pharmacist yet?”
“No sir she didn’t come at all, she went to her cousin’s wedding,” answered innocent loquacious Priscilla, another colleague, before Anita could reply.
Another lie brewed instantly. ”Sir she changed her mind, she’s not feeling well.”
Lies, Damned Lies and Surprises by Geoff Le Pard
Little Tittweaking’s Reptilarium (owner: Jack Natter, something of a toad) comprising: Lounge, a swarthy narcoleptic lizard; Sid, a hissing salamander; and Griselda, a Peruvian gecko with attachment issues was struggling. Sid’s susurrating serenades slumped and when the preternaturally adhesive Griselda stuck herself to some passing Jedi missionaries, things looked bleak. Trying to prove Lounge was a natural levitator by feeding him an exclusive diet of mosquitos was a desperate bid to stave off bankruptcy. His film of Lounge, describing a high-pitched, helium-induced parabola fooled no-one and his humiliation complete when the paper ran with: Fake Newts Shame Little Tittweaking.
The Betrayal by Joanne Fisher
The Grond had invaded to subjugate our lands and people. We knew we couldn’t defeat them alone, but if we allied with the Olomik people, then together we would be strong enough to send the Grond back across the wide sea.
I traveled through the narrow ravine to meet the Olomik leader. We toasted our alliance with fermented yaks milk and agreed to meet on the field of battle. But when that day came, we faced the Grond alone. Though we Talchek would be defeated this day, we would carry the Olomik and their lie in our hearts forever.
Family Tree-Sons by Bill Engleson
“Tis so true.”
“We’re goin’ ‘round in circles.”
“If we are, you’re the dizzy one.”
“All I said…”
“I know what you said…”
“All I said was I look like Ma. You, mebbe not so much…”
“She ain’t here to ask, is she? And mebbe I don’t care ‘cause I take after Pa.”
“That’s a crock. Neither of us takes after Pa. I mean, he was gone before I even popped.”
“True enough. And I was in diapers. Got that one picture though.”
“There’s that. Pa sure looked like that actor fella, Gary Cooper.”
White Lies (Chapter 1) by Ann Edall-Robson
“I can’t live with these lies anymore.”
The words made him look up from the book he was reading. His heart lurched seeing the anguish on her face, tears pooling in her eyes. Did he dare ask, or let her say her piece and see where the conversation went? He thought better of reaching out for her when she walked past to sit in her favourite chair. Legs curled underneath her, shoulders shaking with sobs.
“Should we talk about this?” He ventured, not knowing what else to say.
She nodded. “There has to be a way to resolve this.”
White Lies (Chapter 2) by Ann Edall-Robson
Sniffing, she searched for the hankie she always kept in her pocket. Looking at him, she started to laugh.
“You think this is about us?”
“I’m not sure. I didn’t think we had any lies between us.”
“We don’t!” She hiccuped.
Relief settled across his face and he reached across the end table to take her hand in his. She clung to his fingers, letting the words fly out of her mouth unchecked. They sounded silly when she spoke then.
“Every product in our laundry room is a lie! I am so tired of white lies. No pun intended.”
White Lies (Chapter 3) by Ann Edall-Robson
They were both laughing. “Nothing’s white. Everything’s dingy. I want our linen and clothes to look and smell like my Gran’s used to.”
He stood, pulling her up into his arms.
“I think we can do that,” he said quietly.
“How? I’ve tried all of the products.”
Remembering the stories his own Gran and Mother swore were true, a plan started to formulate in his mind. It would take some doing, but where there is a will, there is a way. He couldn’t wait to get started on the upscale, outdoor laundry space showcasing none other than a clothesline.
Younger Cousin by D. Avery
The first lie was mine. ‘It’ll be fun.’
We lied about her age to get in. The crowd swallowed us up and we were separated. I was worried sick about her and when I finally found her, I was sick. She said she was okay, said she’d be alright.
She started living life as if it didn’t matter. Said she was in control. Said I could mind my own business, she was a good mom. When she started using, she said she could handle it.
‘Stop,’ I begged her.
‘Because I love you.’
‘You’re a liar,’ she said.
Geneva Steele by Chel Owens
Geneva Steele was often asked about her name. After all, she shared it with the local mill (closed). The mill gained its moniker from the nearby resort (gone), which its founder named after his daughter (dead).
But Geneva couldn’t answer with any of that.
“I’m Swiss,” she said.
Or, “I’m from New York.”
Locations and events became more elaborate, until Geneva’s great-granddaughter dragged Geneva to school for show-and-tell. Looking at all those faces, the truth exploded:
“I was conceived at the steel mill, out near the railroad tracks.”
Truth might be satisfied, but Geneva isn’t allowed at school again.
Jobs by Hugh W. Roberts
“How was work today?” asked my wife.
“Good,” I replied as I stuffed notes into a pair of old boxer pants at the bottom of my sock drawer. She’ll never look there.
“Are the people nice?”
“Will I meet them someday? Perhaps we’ll bump into them when out?”
But they’ll never know who she is. And she can never know who they are.
I told her my new job paid well and would take me worldwide. It does both.
I may have lied about what I do, but becoming a male escort is my best job ever.
A Skeleton in the Cupboard by Norah Colvin
Lucy was opening and closing every cupboard in the house.
“What’re you doing?” Amy asked.
“Mum lied,” said Lucy.
“The skeleton. Mum said Dad has a skeleton in the cupboard. I can’t find it.”
“You won’t find it.”
“Cause it’s not a real skeleton.”
“Skeletons are so real. I’ve got one and you’ve got one. Everybody’s got one.”
“Not those sorts of skeletons.”
“Things they don’t want nobody else to know.”
“So, Mum did lie.”
Amy sighed. “Mum didn’t lie, but there’s no skeleton in the cupboard.”
Deep in The Wood by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Natalie was born in Enoch Bunch’s trailer bed, a-way pas’ midnight, under a rare third moon in chill October. Or maybe she was left there.
He was early-widowed, growing older, she a promise finally kept. No sign of a mother, so he raised her hisself, taught her all he knew of the woods and river. The rest she figgered out for herself.
Under Natalie’s wisewoman care, he lived longer’n anyone woulda guessed. She buried him next to his wife, then took the truck, built a home deep, and deeper in the woods.
Some swear that house sprouted chicken legs.
Chickens or Eggs by Miss Judy
My parents are fairly intelligent people. They grew up on farms. Raised cows, pigs, chickens. They would solve a dilemma plaguing my young mind.
I asked Mom, “Which came first the chicken or the egg?”
“Well son, of course it was the chicken. Without the chicken there would be no egg.”
This makes sense, but I must ask Dad. “Dad, which came first the chicken or the egg?”
“Son, it was the egg. Without the egg there would be no chicken.
”DRAT! Why are they messing with my mind? One of them must be fibbing. I am so confused.
Lyin Like a Rug by D. Avery
“Kid! Git up outta thet bunk. Ya ain’t made a move on the latest challenge.”
“Au contraire, Pal. This is ma move. I’m havin a lie in.”
“Ain’t thet kinda lyin. Shorty’s talkin bout fibs.”
“Cain’t tell a lie. Won’t. Carrot Ranch ain’t the place fer it.”
“How kin a virtual gatherin place fer fiction not be a place fer tales bout a lie?”
“This is a place where fiction tells truths. Where fictional characters are as real as kin be imagined. Truth be told Pal, gonna set this one out by lyin here.”
“Wolf! Curly’s gittin drug off!”
Tip Top Truths by D. Avery
“Yer lookin glum, Kid. Pal weren’t jist cryin wolf bout Curly?”
“Huh? Oh, Curly’s fine. Thing is I’m worried bout her anyways. Feel like Curly’s a pathological liar. First that confusion whether she were a dog or a hog. Then she had that time amongst the beavers. An now this. See, she was the wolf.”
“A pig in wolf’s clothing?”
“Kid, we Lemmon brothers sometimes are in drag.”
“So that ain’t lyin bout ourselves or to ourselves.”
“Curly’s true ta herself.”
“Kid? Kinda lied ta ya bout one thing.”
Haven’t read them all (it’s too late tonight), but what I have learned is that we are all writers because we sure can lie. From little white lies to protect people to pathological liars, even. Way to go, Word Wranglers! Well done. And that’s the truth! ~nan
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Thanks for the mention! Excellent collection of stories!
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Look at you lot, sitting there in your pants on fire pretending butter wouldn’t melt in your mouths when I know you couldn’t lie straight in bed. Fun round of fabrication.
Michael – No doubt Jerry had his fingers crossed behind his back. Cad!
Gary – So Marcel can speak after all 😉
Duane – So all invasions generate the same lies?
Anne – ‘He learnt that Black men could die for Britain, but they couldn’t live there in peace.’ Just as our Indigenous soldiers learned. 😦
Miss Judy – So that’s what gaga stands for. 😉
Geoff – I dips me led to ‘Fake Newts’
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My one links to Sue’s site. Strange…
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Not anymore. The glitch has been fixed.
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The actual link to my one is https://jedigirlblog.wordpress.com/2022/11/20/the-betrayal-flash-fiction/
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Great collection as ever. My favourite lies are from Michael, Duane, Tessa, Miss Judy, D Avery, Hugh, and Norah. Thanks to all.
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Kid was wrong. Carrot Ranch IS a place for lies.
Kid was right. Carrot Ranchers’ fictions tell truths.
Truthfully, this is another outstanding collection. Well done, Everyone!
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[…] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Lies” collection from last week. And there’s always the Ranch Yarns with Kid and […]
[…] The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt A Story with a Lie, including mine, can be read at the Carrot […]