It’s Festa Time Collection

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

September 7, 2023

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.

Food Is at the Center of All Celebrations by Sadje

In a country where opportunities for recreation are scarce, and our enjoyment is limited to eating, all our festivals revolve around food.

Be it a birthday, anniversary, graduation, promotion, or any other special occasion, we celebrate by eating.

The festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is the one where food takes on a special significance as it comes after a month of fasting. People usually think that after abstaining from eating food whenever they wanted, eating on this holy day is mandatory. So we cook, entertain, and eat like there’s no tomorrow!

Predictably many have regrets about their actions the next day!

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Festival for Everyone but Grandma by Mario Milizia

Instead of going to festivals, as a kid, we visited my grandparent’s (Mom’s parents) house.

Grandma cooked on both a small gas and a large, cast iron, wood-heated stove. Food included handmade macaroni and sauce created from her garden tomatoes.

Dinner lasted three hours. Mom delivered new dishes every fifteen minutes. After initially eating, the men surrounded a small black and white television, playing cards. Us kids played outside.

Occasionally, Grandma would say, “Mongiare.” Italian for eat. Everybody would nibble more.

After, Grandma ate quickly and then cleaned up. Nobody ever complimented Grandma’s hard work. It was just expected.

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Pride and Prejudices by Hugh W. Roberts

Amid the vibrant fiesta in my town that once silenced love’s diversity, Johnny and I dared to be ourselves.

No longer afraid, we clasped hands and weaved through the colourful crowds of acceptance.

Together, we two young men danced under the moonlit sky while rainbow butterflies fluttered around us.

This fiesta was more than just a celebration; it was a declaration of our love over prejudice.

Embraced by cheers and applause, we finally kissed, the world around us fading to insignificance.

Our love was a beacon at that moment, guiding others towards acceptance and a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow.

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Brownies Idea Is a Winner by Sue Spitulnik

The conversation at the No Thanks was about raising money for the Irish Dancers. Mac said, “We have to come up with something no one else does for an annual event.”

Brownie looked at everyone. “Locally, we’ve already got an apple, grape, pumpkin, balloon, dogwood, lilac, and jazz festival. The only special food is grape pies. An’ they all sell the same junk food. The only thing we ain’t got is one for squash. Ain’t nobody gives it any credit.”

Mac’s eyes got big. “That’s it, we can have a squash festival.”

Brownie muttered, “Shoulda kept my trap shut.”

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Family Fun by Norah Colvin

The celebration was progressing in the usual Festa fashion. The aunts huddled down one end, criticising and badmouthing anyone out of earshot, and even some who weren’t. The men propped up the bar ensuring they didn’t miss their fair share of the free-flowing beer. The children played spotlight outside, relishing the lack of supervision. Any young people whose protests had failed wished they were somewhere, anywhere, else. Including Josie. The stranger, who’d become more intriguing with the aunts’ warnings, was totally self-absorbed. Seems the cool exterior was just that. Nothing of substance below. Now what was Josie to do?

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Eclipsed (Part I) by D. Avery

I made a new friend at school. She’s interesting. Her family celebrates blue moons with a traditional feast.

‘Just bring yourself’.

And here I am, sole guest. Her grandmother pinches my cheeks. Then my arms. ‘Stop, you’ll bruise her’. We all laugh. Her mom and dad, both wearing aprons, begin honing knives. Through the kitchen window I see the moon rising.

“Thank you again for having me,” I say. They smile, say it wouldn’t be a celebration without me. Then my arms are held, my throat neatly slit. My blood is caught in their traditional way. The moon fades.

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The Curse by Simon

Dear God,

It is enchanting. To sit at the top of the roof, alone in the dark, with moon light. It is a special day, festa night is here, it’s an eye treat to view the rocket works decorates the sky.

Villagers pass on their wishes to you, so do I. You heard my wishes right?

If you give me opportunity, I am going to waste it. In reality magic doesn’t exist, I am matured enough to know that part. But please do a magic spell, and remove my curse called “FEAR”, because that’s my only barrier of all.

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Alive and Dancing? by JulesPaige

summer ends
unofficially
long weekend

Wind blows the white puff clouds across the blue sky; birds fly, leaves yellow, fall.

Some celebrate the return of students to school. Some have been lucky enough to have a family vacation down by the shore. Building sand castles, watching seagulls and maybe dolphins jump in the sea. For others the day passes as a birthday, some have cake, others toast.

On the table in a jar, summer blossoms celebrate the gift of the sun with pinks, purples, yellows, reds, whites and greens. Everyday is a fiesta when we can live life fully.

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Squiggly by Bill Engleson

He was that kind of kid. Always squirming, like he had fleas. While he may have had fleas- okay, I know he had fleas- what he mostly had was beer drinking parents.
Serious beer drinkers.
Squiggly spent a lot of time outside, day and night.
My folks often brought him home to us.
He’d be crying, saying ‘beer…they drink all that beer.’
It wasn’t a secret.
‘Why?’ we’d ask.
‘Cause of Iceland.’
Squiggly’s folks were from Iceland
Iceland had banned beer during WW1.
His parents opposed that.
They went overboard with their protesting.
They desperately wanted Beer Emancipation Day.

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Eclipsed (Part II) by D. Avery

My mother was surprised when the school called her, asking why I was absent. “She’s probably with friends,” my mom had replied. Good old Mom, the only person who would guess that. The school notified the cops.

Now that my whereabouts are unknown, I’m finally getting noticed at school. Everyone talks about me. The new girl just shrugs at their questions, and they quickly move on. Smart.

Yeah, she played me. Still… I had a friend and joined a real family in their traditions.

It felt good. That feeling only happens once in a blue moon. Truly worth celebrating.

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The Spoiler by Dianne Borowski

The highlight of every Labor Day weekend was our trip to the church’s annual festival. It was hot and crowded that Sunday. The food was gross. Greasy spaghetti and rock hard bread had my stomach churning.

“Ma,” I yelled, “My stomach hurts!”

“Go to the john,” she said.

I didn’t make it to the stall. Some lady started screaming. Someone said, ” She’s Betty’s kid. Go get her.”

Ma slapped me hard and dragged me back to the table. We left.

The kids were crying and smacking me, telling me you stink. At home I got slapped again. Dang! I hate
festivals.

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Eclipsed Part III by D. Avery

Relatives I’d hardly seen while I was alive come to my funeral service, then afterwards gather in the back room of Gustav’s for food. I wonder who’ll pay for that.

Mom’s a wreck, as confused as she is sad. But what are you supposed to do when there’s no body? It’s been weeks, and I am gone without a trace. There’s no suspects, no leads, but Mom says she knows I’m dead, not missing.

My friend and her family aren’t here. I get that.

But that one time, short-lived as it was, I was the life of the party.

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Flowers Always Mean Celebration by woundedcat

I was walking along an ordinary street when I suddenly came across a cluster of flower shops selling beautiful bundles of flowers with splashes of the brightest colors that contrasted against the dingy sidewalks and storefronts. In addition to the colorful array of sunflowers, daisies, carnations, and roses, there were life-sized stuffed animals and balloons. Some shops even had music and strobe lights to get shoppers in festive moods. It seemed that a banquet hall or a club was nearby, but as I walked a bit farther down the block, I saw it. A cemetery was right next door.

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Say You Love Me With Flowers by woundedcat

Stone statues of Mother Mary were hovering over the departed to keep a watchful eye over the graves to ensure the spirits had escaped the earthly bodies only to be sent directly to heaven. The graves possessed built-in vases where flowers could be displayed as a sign of the life that was now buried under the engraved marble bearing their names. Indeed, the cemetery didn’t smell of death, as the fragrance of roses wafted in the air to fill visitors with an uplifting feeling of life. The streaks of color cropping up throughout the cemetery were symbols of lives celebrated.

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Night That Never Ends by Simon

The shore reflects the festa nights enchanting view. It was loud, people were cheering, celebrating, praying, wishing to God.

While the hands of this little girl worked hard on making a statue out of sand. Her little fingers made it’s best to make a statue in memory of her late Mother. She kept the photo in front of the statue and hugs it tight closing her eyes.

Her tiny tears recalled the nights she spent watching the fireworks with her mom. She passed a note in the sea “Those were the days I wished it will never end Mom.”

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Festa by Reena Saxena

“Did you celebrate all these ‘Days’ in your childhood? Now, it looks like I’m not a good son, if I don’t write a message to my father on Father’s Day.”

“What gets more ridiculous than that are love letters to your spouse or live-in partner published on social media on an anniversary or something? Oh, boy … you do live under the same roof, don’t you? Or do you connect only through Facebook?”

Anna echoes my opinion on the subject.

“So, how do we plan to celebrate our anniversary?”

“Right where we are … but with a digital detox.”

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The Little Brown Bell by Geoff Le Pard

Little Tittweaking’s Festival of Poop takes place every August for the honour of winning the Dung Bell, a pat shaped trophy gifted by first winner, Sue Rage. When she retired because of a growing allergy to the obese flies (known locally as ‘walks’), Fi Cees took her mantle. Fi was a monumentalist, whose herd of Charolais deposited enormous sculptural turds that rivalled all waxworks for their facial as well as fecal accuracy. As soon as the winner was chosen, the MC closed the Festival by asking:

What’s brown and sounds like a bell?

To which the crowd chorused:

Dung!

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Pepe’s Sprout Shout Out by D. Avery

“Pepe LeGume!”

“Ello, Keed. Ello Pal. I am hopeeng you weel join me and Logatha for a fair la fête.”

“Fair la fête? You bet! What’re we celebratin?”

“The upcoming birth of our leetle bambeano! Eet ees strange, no, how life imeetates art.”

“Thinkin yer bass-ackwards on thet, LeGume. Yer the mimesis.”

“Why must you eenseest on being my nemesis, Pal? And no, I announced our bakeeng bambeano before Mees Shorty announced her grand. Eet ees no coeencidence.”

“Hmmf. An now yer havin a festa.”

“Fair la fête. Eet weel be, how you say, artsy-fartsy.”

“Yer half right, LeGume.”

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How Ya Bean by D. Avery

“Ernie, come here.”

“What d’ya need, Frankie?”

“Need anuther set a eyes on this potluck signup sheet fer the LeGumes’ shindig.”

“Looks full ta me.”

“It’s full all right. Pal’s makin Shorty’s western-style baked beans, so Shorty’s makin Kid’s New England baked beans.”

“What’s Kid bringin?”

“Rice.”

“Phew.”

“An beans— Jamaican jerk.”

“Didn’t know Kid was Jamaican.”

“What’re you bringin, Ernie?”

“Bringin a salad.”

“Good! Things is lookin up. What kinda salad?”

“Uh, was gonna bring my three-bean salad.”

“Ugh, this festa stinks!”

“It’s got pot-ential.”

“Heard Wanda will be there.”

“Yep. She’s bringin her signature dessert.”

“Yeah?”

“Jellybeans.”

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Dancin an Prancin by D. Avery

“Hello Frankie! We’re here!”

“Tip an Top, loud an proud. You two are certainly a sight for a sore eye. Glad yer comin ta the LeGume’s fair la fête.”

“Wouldn’t miss a party!”

“The Lemmon brothers are the party!”

“Only thing’ll be better dressed than us’ll be Top’s roast turkey and my fresh garden salad.”

“And we brought our dancin shoes!”

“Dancin? I’m not sure if there’ll be dancin at a baby shower.”

“Ello, ev’ree one.”

“Pepe!”

“Dere weel be music. I weel tune up. How ees da menu comeeng, Frankie?”

“Think it’ll strike a chord with ya, Pepe.”

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Ain’t No I In Festa by D. Avery

“Frankie, tank you for helpeeng weeth dees party for Logatha and our leetle bambeeano.”

“Way I see it, a young’un is cause fer celebration, Pepe. You an Logatha’ll have yer hands full, but we fictional folks’ll all pitch in. That bambeano a yers’ll have plenny a characters ta hep it along.”

“Eet takes a ranch, no?”

“Yep. Which’s why I wanna ‘spress ma thanks fer this here weekly festa at Carrot Ranch. Ev’ry week Ranchers from all over the world show up, bring new stories ta the page, they read, they comment.”

“Dey are de life of the party!”

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

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8 Comments

  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Frankie’s right. This here is a weekly festa, a feast of words and stories.

    • Charli Mills

      It is a festa of storytelling, a festa of food for the soul.

  2. Norah

    What a great collection, seems a good bit of it written by the one and only D. Avery. Along with her usual humour, she has a macabre story or three. Then we had other humorous stories like that from Sue, sombre from Simon and traditional events like that from Sadje, and a little of everything in between. Well done everyone. As D. says, a feast of words and stories.

    • Charli Mills

      Norah, your story is intriguing and could have (and could yet) take a dark turn. A festa can be a great setting to pit expectations of celebratory fun with the boring or sinister aspects of humanity. I wonder how Josie would look back at that moment from a later-in-life perspective.

      • Norah

        I’m not normally known for dark, Charli. Too much in life, I try to avoid it in writing, but you’re right. It could take a dark turn. I’ll keep that in mind when next you prompt a Josie and her aunts story.

  3. Jules

    Some very interesting contributions this week!
    The Piñata of a prompt exploded!

  4. da-AL

    so glad I stumbled here, Norah. I love anything to do with books & would be thrilled if you’d write a guest blog post for my site, which is for anyone who loves writing, or books, and all the arts. If you think it might be fun or helpful to have my followers (who total about 10k across my various social media) meet you, here’s the link for general guidelines: https://wp.me/p6OZAy-1eQ – best, da-AL

  5. Sue Spitulnik

    An interesting mix of happy, unhappy, exciting and boring festivals. I love how we traverse so many emotions in this group. Welcome to Mario and other new comers. Mario gets the shout out because he is a fellow fiction writer in my locale.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #99Word Stories; Southwest Pumpkins | ShiftnShake - […] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Weather Arrives” collection and the “Festa” […]
  2. It’s Festa Time Collection – Mom With a Blog - […] It’s Festa Time Collection […]

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