To Leave a Leak Collection

Written by Charli Mills

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

April 4, 2024

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.

A Leak by Ruchira Khanna

“I need you to hurry up!” she yelled.

“Relax, it’s just a small leak!” I yelped back as I walked towards the kitchen to get a pan to collect the drops falling from my roommate’s rooftop.

“Just a small leak?” she countered, “This small leak will sink the whole house.”

“Not unless we repair it and stop procrastinating about it,” I replied as I put a pan under the drop and searched for a repair person online.

“Wait! What if we can’t afford it?” she asked, concerned.

“We’ll pay in installments,” I reassured her, still looking at my phone.

Leaks by Hugh W. Roberts

Janie tried all she could to stop the leak. It was hopeless. 

Should she call for help or hope the leak stopped?

Damn, I never saw this coming, she told herself. If only I’d been better prepared.

After an hour, the leak stopped. However, Janie saw some of her surroundings ruined. If only insurance for mishaps like this had been available.

Standing up, Janie removed her wet trousers, blouse, and shoes before being shocked. The body she’d plunged the knife into twitched.’

Taking her fingers off the keyboard, Janie hoped this best-seller she was writing wouldn’t leak before publication.

Fake News by Doug Jacquier

I was being interviewed, over a glass of wine, by a fake science writer looking for a leak.

Having signed what he assumed was a Non-Disclosure Agreement, he said “I’ve heard that you are able to re-write the brain circuits of conspiracy theorists for the benefit of society. Are they true?”

I stood abruptly to indicate the interview was over. The writer sighed, downed his wine in one gulp, and then suddenly pitched face forward onto my lab bench.

I called my assistant and said, “Doctor, I have the newest volunteer for your research, complete with signed consent form.”

Plugging Away by Geoff Le Pard

Little Tittweaking’s history is littered with leaks. The unique dialect can be traced to a leak of German following a shift in the local Teutonic plates. More recently, a leak of growth hormone at Ohm Farm appeared contained, though the birth of a four buttocked bullock was considered the only bum note. Currently, a leak of the town’s positivity has been traced to the compulsive naysaying by local miserablist, Miss Rabble-B’stard. When asked to stop, she said, ‘I’d rather be damned’. Accepting her suggestion, vocal plumber, Larry Ghytis designed a bespoke gloom guard, to reduce the volume of snark.

Leave-taking by D. Avery

Gonna leave a leak.”

“Don’t leave a mark, Bob.”


Old Bob. A pleasant but quiet drinking companion. No one knew for sure when he’d moved to town. A little scruffy but mostly clean. Still drove the first truck he’d ever bought. 

They worried when he stopped showing up. Went to his trailer. Called the sheriff who called the coroner. 

A week later an attorney came into the bar. “A person should leave something,” the attorney read. “I, Bob, leave it to you to disperse my estate to local charities, after $500,000 goes in trust to the town library.”

A Lucky Leak by Margaret G. Hanna

“I’ve got to see a man about a dog!”

When you’re working on the bald-ass prairie, not a tree or bush in sight, you need warning phrases to let your co-workers know you have to answer “The Call.” Especially when you are the only woman working with three guys.

I wander off a short distance from my co-workers (they look the other way), squat down, and answer The Call.

And then I spot it! A Folsom spear point! At my feet!

I leap up, screaming “Come see!” They gather around, amazed.

And to think I almost peed on it.

Leaking Unknown by Duane L Herrmann

Walking in the back yard, I felt a familiar sensation on my leg. I stared down. There: a wet spot, getting larger and larger. How large would it get? How far would it go? I never knew. I only knew that if the wet reached my shoes, my mother would be very, very angry with me. She expected me not to do it, but I never knew. And, another mystery: Why did one leg ALWAYS get more wet? I didn’t solve that mystery for decades. I knew the source, I didn’t realize it was aimed! I was only two.

A Frail Bully by Charli Mills

Sometimes bullies hunch their shoulders. She leaked her resentments to all who’d listen. A perpetual victim, she’d stoop her thin shoulders like a wounded wren, tuck her chin, yet never avert her gaze from her target. No wonder they made her the frail poster child of our hometown’s busted dam. I volunteered, hoovered by her helplessness. Entangled in her claws, her venomous neediness, her obsession to be witnessed suffering. I left, but she prowls the place where I moved. She hunches her shoulders and creeps my street. The one-winged bird relentlessly taunts the cat to attack. A hunchback trickster.

Leaking Sorrow by Sadje

Eyes, bright with unshed tears, she’s afraid to blink, lest a drop leaks and rolls down her cheek letting others know that she’s not in a happy place. 

But sometimes tears are not of sorrow only, they can be an indication of memories relived, or the reminder of a quaint moments that are neither happy nor sad but something in-between. 

Leaking eyes, 

Joys or sorrows 

Celebrated in style 

Don’t begrudge this emotion 

For this pure aqua cleanses the heart

Lightens the heavy burden on our souls 

And revives the soil in which the seeds 

Of humanity and humbleness sprout

P3 Leak: Patience Plumber Problem by Simon

I dialled up my electrician, hoping he could work his magic on a leak since no one else was available.

He tackled the problem like a true jack-of-all-trades and charged me 50 bucks. It leaked, again, begging for a proper plumber’s touch.

I patiently waited for a day, plumber fixed the leak, and charged 150 bucks.

Could’ve saved 50? I have no patience!

The way I hurried my plumber and the way he hastily left, “red flag!!!” he did fix the leak, but also gifted me with an unexpected flood in my apartment. Oh, the joys of home repairs!

Faulty Flow by JulesPaige

tired of tires

slow leaks leaving flats

…safety first?

Air apparently escapes, especially when the rubber has been punctured. So far within a short space of time I’ve had to use the warranty we bought when I got new tires for my car, twice. The street cleaners are not as active when the winter roads are full of slush. That melting and refreezing mixture of ooze from nature and man made elements…  some of which perhaps only CSI could identify? At least my rescuer could put on the ‘Maypop’ spare until we got the car to the tire place.

Priming the Pump by D. Avery

Now? With this, of all prompts? A dry spell? 

If only there were a spell for dry spells.

And maybe there is. Is that a tinkle bell?

A good faerie with a magic feather to tickle

An idea an image a phrase anything at all

To get ink flowing even if only a trickle

Why do story ideas hide and make me seek?

My stock tank of creativity has sprung a leak

I don’t want to write about lifting a leg

Won’t beseech my non-existent muse, won’t grovel and beg

These eleven lines— a waste of time; times 9.

Do As I Say by Joanne Fisher

“Yes?” I asked my advisor while finishing some foie gras in my private dining room.

“There’s been a leak to the press about the latest cuts. It’s bound to spark more outrage.” He said.

“People have to learn to live with less. We all have to tighten our belts.” I said as I poured another glass of champagne. “Want some caviar?”

“Nevertheless there is the perception that the cuts to public spending is being siphoned by us in government to pay for our rather excessive lifestyles.”

“That’s nonsense. We’ll talk more about this later, my gold-plated Rolls-Royce is waiting.”

Beer as a Food by Sue Spitulnik

Ya know that old adage? “Don’t fret when your child moves out. They always come home again.” After a breakup, my son returned for a few weeks. We told him he wasn’t intruding, but he would come home from work, grab a beer, and escape to the patio to talk on his cell and pace.

Upon his departure, we noticed the grass between the fence and patio was a lush dark green. We asked if he could explain. With the look of a guilty child, he replied, “That’s where I peed.”

My husband mumbled, “Beer is a complete food.”

Time Heals? by Michael Fishman

You wouldn’t think such a thing possible, but he had, at some point, lost count of the years. It had been so long and now—

He would dutifully visit every year on the day. He’d pick the weeds, touch the stone, maybe say a prayer on the chance someone was listening. Sometimes he would sit cross-legged on the grass and try to make sense of things. And then one year he just stopped.

But his mind never emptied of memories, and emotions would sometimes be strong. Like today, on this anniversary.

He wiped a tear and tried to smile.

Goin Fer Broke (Part I) by D. Avery

“We there yet, Pal?”

“Dunno, Kid.”

“Feel like we’re neither here nor there. Cain’t tell if we’re comin or goin.”

“Speakin a goin, I gotta go.”

“Agin, Pal? Gee whiz, ever’time we git set ta leave, you have ta leave a leak.”

“Ees true, Pal. Eet ees like you are stalling. I tink you not only find dees move awkward, I tink eet scares you.”

“Ya don’t know whut yer talkin ‘bout, LeGume.”

“I do.”

“Doc Ranger!”

“Pepe is right, Pal. This move is scaring the pi** out of you.”

“Mebbe Pal’s jist markin territory. Fer old time’s sake.”

Goin Fer Broke (Part II) by D. Avery

“Hey Pal, do old ranch hands wear boxers or briefs? Depends! Git it? Yeah, Pal, mebbe you should put on a nappy a’fore saddlin up fer the move.”

“Very funny, Kid. Uh, speakin a saddlin up, I gotta see a man ‘bout a hoss.”

“See, Doc? We cain’t get anywheres with all Pal’s weein. 

“Hey, Pal, whilst yer liquidatin, yer assets is showin. 

“Doc, try an talk some sense a’fore Pal spends anuther penny.”

“Pal, don’t think of it as leaving, but rather going home.”

“Yep. An that ol’ ranch hand’s goin wee, wee, wee, all the way home.”

Goin Fer Broke (Part III) by D. Avery

“Shush, Kid. 


“Yes, Pal?”

“I reckon yer theory does hold water.”

“You sure don’t, Pal! All ya been doin is passin water.”

“Shush, Kid. 

“Reckon I am a might skeered a this site migration, Doc. All I’ve ever known is this here ranch. I’m ‘fraid anywheres else I’ll be a fish outta water. Speakin a which, I gotta make water.”

“Admitting your fear is a step forward, Pal.”


“Yer in deep, Pal. Get it? Yer. In.”

“Pal, it’s scary but it’s not like you’re stepping into the void.”

“Speakin a which…”

“You’ll be relieved in the end.”

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

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  1. Charli Mills

    Can anyone leave a comment? I think I fixed the issue.

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    This is good and good progress. Next: I may need to re-follow perhaps? The latest challenge did not make itself known to me through email or in the side bar of my site as it used to do. The good news is there is a challenge!

    • Charli Mills

      Those are details I’ll need to sort out. I still have all my followers/users listed in my dashboard, but will either source a plugin to reconnect to the WP Reader or set up an internal email (my preference). Problem is that I have so many followers the preferred internal email option are pricey. But I’m exploring a more affordable Mail Chimp plugin option. For now, posts may not show up in the WP Reader or your email.

    • Hugh W. Roberts

      Likewise, I didn’t get an email notification about the latest challenge dated April 9th (nor this post). I only knew about it because Geoff included a pingback to the post on his story. At least pingbacks seems to be working.


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