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Does enrichment speak to our dissatisfaction? Do we need to add to our food, our wealth and our lives because we want more? Perhaps, instead, we appreciate what enriching life has to offer — nutritious food for children, opportunities for world growth, and sunsets to make us pause and feel the beauty.
No matter where the idea of enriching took our writers, they returned with a wealth of stories.
The following are based on the January 10, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the idea of enrichment.
Part I (10-minute read)
A Positive Outlook by Susan Sleggs
“Grandma, when I bring in each box it sounds like you are saying ‘mint.’ Do you need a throat lozenge?”
“No. I’m saying enrichment over and over to convince myself this move is a good thing.”
“Mom said it was your idea to give up your house. I don’t understand.”
“I have found an unexpected enrichment whenever I have done something new. I know some pleasure or fulfillment will come from living here, but right now the newness is frightening so I am repeating a positive mantra. It keeps me looking ahead.”
“Sounds like it would help me too.”
The Recipe Box by Teresa Grabs
Lacy ran her fingers over the small, well-worn wooden box with a hand-carved rooster on it and sighed. Finally owning it was a bittersweet moment. She opened the box and wiped a tear from her eye as her Grandmother’s handwriting greeted her. Apple pie and peach cobbler, pot roast and her famous Thanksgiving turkey; generations of living, learning, experimenting, and sharing filled the small box. Now she understood why her grandmother said that lives could be enriched through food. Memories of one passed to another; the past and the future captured on a single notecard filled in with love.
Snack O’ a Sunday by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Butter, on countertop, softened with time
Sugar, stored frozen ‘gainst careless craving
Egg twins, room temperature, golden eyes wide
Dash of vanilla, razor-sharp sweet
Whip to shiny, slick peaks.
Mash bananas, fold, spatula stiff.
Elastic Spirit prepared.
Add the Dry:
Flour, slows to human time
Baking soda/powder rises, joins
Sweet body back to Spirit.
Pans glisten like hungry mouths,
Ready to receive the blessing.
Oven clicks, glowing red, sings scent of recipes past.
Further enrichment, Chef’s Choice:
Pinch of cayenne
All you desire, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes,
Give ‘r take.
Fortified Cocoa by Kerry E.B. Black
Fragrant steam wafted from the pottery mugs Oma filled. “Have a seat, little dear. Help yourself to a biscuit in that tin.” Mugs made little thumps on the knotty-wooden table while Oma hefted herself into a groaning seat beside Melanie. “Now, what inspired you to shovel my walkway?”
In the cloud of cream within the hot cocoa, Melanie saw her mother’s smiling face.
“Ah,” said Oma, “you’re Heather’s child. Give your momma my best.”
Oma poured a bit of something pungent into her own cocoa.
“What’s that, Oma?”
“A bit of something to help old Oma through the night.”
Surprise by Allison Maruska
The boy sits in a tight ball in the produce section. Arms clutch his folded legs and his eyes press into his knees. His back shakes with his breath.
Cautiously, I crouch and touch his shoulder. “Sweetie? Are you lost?”
His head snaps up, his brown, tear-soaked eyes fixating on me. “Necesito a mi mamá.” His eyes return to his knees.
“Cuál es tu nombre?”
His head snaps up again, perhaps in surprise that I speak Spanish. “Gabriel.”
“Yo soy Brianna. Vamos a buscar a tu madre.” Smiling, I reach out.
He wipes his eyes and takes my hand.
Wonder Bread by Faith A. Colburn
Hastings once had a Wonder Bread bakery. Grade school kids got to tour the plant every spring. We saw huge stainless steel vats of ingredients, sacks and sacks of flour, ingredients in boxes and barrels. We watched steel paddles rolling and kneading monstrous balls of yeasty dough. We smelled fresh-baked bread.
We learned that Wonder enriched its bread with vitamins and minerals to help us grow into healthy adults. We didn’t learn until years later that they supplemented the bread because they used white flour, milled in a process that removed bran and germ—the grain’s vitamins, minerals, fiber.
What Kind of Enrichment? by Norah Colvin
The meeting dragged. After analysing data, discussing duty rosters and responsibilities, lockdown and evacuation procedures, enthusiasm flagged. Jocelyn itched. Last on the agenda; her topic was enrichment.
As she took the floor, groans and tapping pencils defied her resolve. A phone ban meant some eyes were on her, at least. Her suggestions of enrichment were met with derision.
“They don’t learn what we teach ‘em. ‘ow are we gonna’ enrich ‘em?’ Everyone laughed.
Jocelyn’s mouth opened to respond but gaped as Taya burst in bearing an enormous cake with candles ablaze.
“Now that’s my kind of enrichment.” Everyone cheered.
Enrichment by Floridaborne
Confined to her room. Again.
Her father believed it a fitting punishment. She looked out at a bright blue sky framing the foothills and stopped to appreciate a view that city folk paid dearly to see a few months each year.
People read books, abandoned them, and a growing collection filled the space under her bed.
“Your betrothed is here,” her father said.
“I’d rather stay in my room for a lifetime than be squeezed into a corset and forced into a marriage!”
“You will clean rooms until you listen to reason!”
Books enriched her life. Nothing else mattered.
Over the Years by Ruchira Khanna
“Always look into ways to enrich your life.” used to be the mantra of the moral science teachers of my school.
Initial years I would carry a frown and a confused look, but as the years added on; I realized the true meaning!
Studying in a convent school had its perks since being of service came upon early, along with the environment of my home which was very nourishing as my parents not only took care of my natural nutrition but also fed my soul the right ingredients to carry forth the idea of living my purpose in gratitude.
Learning by Tracey Robinson
For the first week she typed away at her novel while walking on the treadmill. And then she got stuck. She knew more needed to happen. Her characters were flat and lacked interaction with each other. All those mystery books she had read over the years and she had no idea how to pull together a murder mystery? How did Agatha Christie do it? She Googled away but none of the articles helped. She sighed as she turned to the community college website and found an on-line writing class. At her advanced age she was going back to school.
Oak Ridge Girls by Nancy Brady
Newspaper advertisements across the country said that a new firm was looking for young women to work in a factory in Tennessee. The job description was vague, but housing was supplied.
Girls from the Midwest flocked to apply. Many high school graduates were hired for this job. It was good money for the times.
These women went into the job blind, not knowing what to expect. They were trained to keep the dial steady between two points, and they did. Only later did they find out their contribution to the war effort: enriching uranium for the first atomic bomb.
Into Focus by Kay Kingsley
He felt she was a disappointment and didn’t mind reminding her daily. Life with her husband was underwhelming at best but she settled thinking he would have been her only suitor. Now trapped and miserable, they lived together alone, her self esteem non-existent.
Daydreaming from the counter she hears, “Vanilla latte for Kiley” and spun around bumping into the most beautiful man she had ever seen. Apologizing, he offered to buy her a new drink. “Wait, I remember you.” he said. “We went to high school together”. He smiled, she smiled and her once invisible life came into focus.
Enriching by Linda Ward
His only ambition in life was to be rich. Money, Money, Money became his soul purpose and reason for living. The obsession was unbearable. He built his bank account from the money from the oil wells. Searching, drilling, pumping oil was his life. The world needed his oil.
She loved him for his ambition. He loved her for her loving him. His whole life was money and the oil. So she put on a mask (as usual) and robbed his bank account. His empire was gone. The heart attack was massive.
She left for Bermuda and Jimmy Buffet’s condo.
My Treasure by The Dark Netizen
This is mine, all mine.
The gold coins, glowing stones, studded goblets, and all the priceless paraphernalia, every bit of it is mine. They dazzle gloriously all around me. The bits and bones lying among my treasures bother me. They diminish the glory of my place. However, it was required.
Those puny intruders: The bold humans, the headstrong dwarfs and vile goblins, do not deserve to gaze upon my treasures, let alone touch them. Yet, they had the audacity to try and steal them. They were punished.
Not fit for a dragon’s meal, but my treasure satiates my hunger…
Enrich That Rush by kate @ aroused
Financial hardship started this journey of acquiring others identities. Since James passed we no long need the funds but with nothing to lose we enrich ourselves by indulging the adrenaline rush.
There is no sick child to rush home for … and although we haven’t verbalised it we simply don’t have the courage to try for another child. The sickness and then the loss rocked our core.
Try telling that to the courts or law enforcement people! Without the fear we have become most adept at what we’re doing. Numbing our social conscience is essential to our core business.
Found by Anita Dawes
My life became a whole lot better
When my father found me sleeping
In the street, after mum died
Now I sleep in a warm bed
Eat my food from a plate
Coffee served in a china mug
My father explained why
I had been left with mum
This was news to me
My father explained his part in this
He fell in love with someone else
His football partner, a childhood
Love they had to hide
Until my tenth birthday
When mum caught them together
This was when she ran, taking me with her
Now I am found…
Enrichment by Robbie Cheadle
The nightmare recurred every night. My son was dying. Suffocating due to his inability to draw enough oxygen into his lungs.
Jerking awake, sweating and anxious, I believed I’d forgotten to give him lifesaving medication. The need to check on him was overwhelming. Looking at his sweet face lying on the pillow I knew I could not sleep again without him close to me. I collected him in my arms and staggered back to my own bed, tucking him in beside me.
The pain has been immeasurable but my dear one has enriched my life, bringing me immeasurable joy.
Life Experience (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Sitting with Ramona, Danni sniffled. The older woman said, “We all look to enrich our lives, Dear. You might say each experience is like putting dimes in a slot machine. We hope one gives us the jackpot, but before you know it, we’re out of dimes.”
“That’s not hopeful,” Danni said, wiping her nose with a paper towel. She hated crying. Saline didn’t solve anything.
Ramona continued to smile. “Enjoy the gamble, Danni! In the end, we all lose our dimes. You’ll be disappointed if you wait for one jackpot experience and miss the fun in all the others.”
Part II (10-minute read)
Enrichment (Part I) by D. Avery
Lowering her book, Ilene answered Ernest. “You just might like some of these stories.
But here, try this one first.”
Ernest took the anthology that Ilene handed him. “Congress of Rough Writers? Is it a western?”
“No, it’s not a western. It gives background on flash fiction with excellent examples.
These books are for my literary arts course at the community college.”
Ilene and Ernest were still reading when Marge and Lloyd returned from the garage, the poker game over. “If you’re wondering, bookworms, we both won, but didn’t get rich.”
“No? We both got enriched.”
Lloyd beamed. “Epic.”
Enrichment (Part I) by D. Avery
“How’re your classes going, Ilene?”
“Good. I’m getting myself ready for an office job. It’s all about the spreadsheet.”
“So why a literary arts course? What’s this flash fiction stuff got to do with anything?”
Lloyd spoke from his perch at the counter. “Ernest, literary art is cultural literacy. It’s…”
“Lloyd’s right. Honestly, the secretarial skills courses would be such a bore without the Literary Arts class. And it’s going to help me get the job I want, help me to sell myself.”
“Ha! I thought you were giving that up.”
“Marge, don’t be a Nard.”
Hobson’s Choice by Anne Goodwin
He could try kittens chasing coloured ribbons, but they’d have to buy a litter tray, and the baby was allergic to cats. He could film the baby learning to feed herself, chocolate sauce smeared across her cheeks, but, oh, the mess.
Or he could go the other way, pandering to prejudice, make himself the mouthpiece of those who feared foreigners and benefit scroungers had brought country to its knees.
His blog was at a crossroads, he had to feed his family. He tossed a coin: heads for vitriol, tails for cosy comfort. Did it matter if neither was him?
Alternate Prediction by Frank Hubeny
Three crows landed near Pablo. Two of them pretended to peck around for treasure while the leader laid into Pablo with an obnoxious, “Caw! Caw! Caw!. Fortunately, Pablo was fluent in this particular dialect of crow. Crows don’t stop by without a message they feel they must deliver:
“You will experience enrichment beyond your puny imagination. All those plans you’ve been making will fail. They are nothing compared to the reality that awaits you. Any questions?”
Pablo and this crow had previous encounters. “Do I have a choice?”
“Unfortunately, all you can do is mess things up a bit.”
Eating Healthy by Joanne Fisher
Victoria was a vampire who was rather fussy about who she drank blood from. She preferred to target people who did plenty of exercise and ate the right foods. According to her their blood tasted better and was enriched from all the vitamins and minerals they consumed.
She began doing this after an incident when she was needing to quickly feed from someone. She grabbed the first person she found and instantly regretted it. She could taste the fat in their blood from all the cheeseburgers they ate.
That was the last time she would go for fast food.
An Active Man by Bill Engleson
For several weeks, he was sitting all day.
And half the night.
Bereft of energy.
“You’ve gotta get moving,” she said more than once. “If you don’t, you’ll calcify.”
She was right.
Occasionally he put some effort into moving.
He didn’t have a dog, so he made one up.
And took Happy for a walk.
That didn’t last long.
Happy, the imaginary dog, hit the road.
He’d forgotten to imagine a leash.
He came home.
“You weren’t gone long,” she observed.
“I got bored,” he answered.
“You should get a dog, darling.”
“Maybe I will,” he said.
Centering by Sascha Darlington
Sara thought she was good.
She gave to charity, volunteered at soup kitchens, and walked dogs at the shelter. She belonged to a group who sang at hospices and nursing homes.
But two weeks with her prospective brother-in-law taught her maybe she wasn’t that good. After hearing his opinions on gays, tattoos, Asians, she thought she might throttle him until he begged for mercy.
Rather than attending the brewery event with her fiancé, she went to the vets. There she whispered endearments to the dogs and cats in the ICU. She welcomed kisses and purrs. The world spun right.
Blind Faith by Di @ pensitivity101
It was hard to believe it was a year ago that she came into his life.
He remembered how he’d been preparing and looking forward to that day.
It was the first time for both of them, had been a long time coming, but the rewards were endless. She had opened up a whole new world.
Practice made perfect as they took their time to get to know each other.
It didn’t take long to bond, to anticipate each other’s needs and moods.
Now they were inseparable.
He reached for her harness and she was at his side immediately.
What Will Go With Me? by Reena Saxena
I see my father-in-law, aged 90, act in a childlike manner, and hear the reactions,
“He has lost it totally.”
He has to be reminded of his wife’s first death anniversary, and he quietens down for some time. There is no calendar memory.
Suddenly, he grabs an envelope on the table which is somebody’s medical report, reads and gives the perfect prescription for the condition. The medical intelligence of a doctor who was once hailed as a genius, is intact.
I know what will enrich, and go with me till the end. My core competence needs to be nourished.
Janice by Saifun Hassam
Janice passed away the morning after her brain tumor surgery. Tom and Janice knew the risks. The tumor was growing into the cortex. Numb with shock and grief, Tom remembered her last words. “I love you. And thank you, Tom.”
They had plans for their own financial services agency. Having children. Traveling. She was courageous, determined, doing whatever was possible. She worked until headaches made online work unbearable. She continued to tutor the children at the library. Weekends were with Tom’s parents; Janice’s parents drove down from Seasquall.
Each day became a precious gift. “Janice, my love, thank you.”
A Farmer’s Wife by H.R.R. Gorman
Della’s nails always had earth under them. Despite the bonnets and sleeves she wore, her skin would never be as milky-white as fashions required, as the folks in town would desire.
She surveyed the plains, ready for tilling and fertilizer. Her horses swished their tails, her husband stood behind the plow. In one hand she held the reins to another horse that pulled a wagon laden with manure, and with the other she held a pitchfork ready to toss the fertilizer onto the ground.
This smelly job would enrich the earth and keep the farm running, her family fed.
Amelioration for All by JulesPaige
in spring you can smell
the natural enrichment
of the local farms
mixed with petrichor
there is no denying the
return of spring in your face
until then though; smoke
rising from the chimney stacks
in attempts to ward off chills
animal compost happens
so stalls get cleaned daily
farmer’s own gold
enriching the corn
crops packaged for sale
somewhere, everywhere, here and there
ancient kings used the
very same method for their
own private gardens
insecure to dine from the
public crops; were they enriched?
Bio-Enrichment by Chelsea Owens
“Whatcha got in your lunch, Bi890?”
“C’mon. I got plain ol’ Wondermeat again. You can’t have anything worse than that.”
“Hey, humanoids! What’s for lunch?!”
“Greets, Bi880. I’ve got Wondermeat again.”
“Too mortal, Bi896! My parental unit sent me One Smart Cookie!”
“I know. Pretty spaced, yeah? …So, whatch you got, 890?”
“He won’t say.”
“I just don’ wanna.”
“We won’ tell.”
“Sures. C’mon, ‘noid.”
*Sigh* “Homemade chicken noodle soup again.”
“What?! No way!”
“What is that stuff?”
“It’s okay, 890.”
“Yeah, ‘noid. -not all parental units know what’s good for ya.”
Solitude by Joanne Fisher
Gertrude turned up the stereo while listening to Symphony No.2 by Sibelius. It was her most loved piece of music. She looked through the window and gazed down at the world below. The tower block she lived in was built by the Kren after they invaded the Earth and now she was so far up she could barely see the surface. It made her imagine she was down below wearing her favourite dress and among all the other people attending a concert in the new town hall.
The music enriched her drab life and enabled her to carry on.
Enriching by Pete Fanning
Occasionally while sitting down to dinner or passing through the kitchen, I’ll catch a glimpse of a family photo on the shelf. An adoring son in my lap, an arm around my wife. Happiness abounds.
Most of the time that’s it. Other times, however…
—TONIGHT, ON DATELINE. A BELOVED HUSBAND, FATHER…
Perhaps this blip in sanity is a chance to cherish my good fortune or to count my blessings. A chance to better myself.
…be thankful for what I have.
—THOUGHT TO BE A VICTIM OF A BRUTAL…
Or maybe I just need to write it down.
Time to Kill by Neel Anil Panicker
It was his road map. Without it he was lost; like a duck out of water.
With one by his side, he felt like a king, almost empowered.
Books served as his enrichment; his intellectual succor that is.
A life without books he coudn’t fathom.
For this very reason he was chided too, even shouted at___by all, especially those who he knew, and that were quite a small number.
One was Ashni; his girlfriend, the girl he’d been living with for the past year.
Also, the one he’d decided to kill.
Sarthak felt no remorse when he thought about this.
There’s Enrichment And There’s The Other Thing by Geoff Le Pard
‘You ever wonder what dog food tastes like, Logan?’
‘Is this going somewhere?’
‘I saw an old advert, where some dog folder was enriched with marrowbone jelly…’
‘Oh yeah. PAL.’
‘If you can call me ‘pal’ then I…’
‘The dog food. It was called PAL. Prolongs active life.’
‘You’re seriously dull. Anyhoo, dog food. Must be good if it’s enriched.’
‘If you enrich something it’s an improvement.’
‘What about enriched uranium?’
‘Anybody tries anything fancy with my anium, they’ll wish they stayed in school.’
‘Morgan, you’re a complete wassock.’
‘True, but anyway dog food?’
Enrichment, in No Particular Order by TNKerr
art and artists
knowledge and teachers
buildings, builders and architects
children and discovery
dogs and cats
food, farmers, ranchers
coffee and mornings
freedom and soldiers
big skies in Montana
friends and family
oceans and boats
giving without taking
help and contributors
confabs and conversationalists
ideas and thinkers
jobs and colleagues
mountains and fresh air
music and players
amor y novias
New Mexico and wide open spaces
poetry and poets
sculptures and sculptors
seabirds and majesty
shipmates and brothers
when a plan works
stories and storytellers
wives and daughters, or husbands and sons
books and authors
cake and ice cream
Mucking Rich by D. Avery
“Ya know, Kid, Shorty never did strike me as no blogger; this here’s a actual place, virtual or not.”
“Yep. An’ they’s real folks at the ranch.”
“Kid, you writin’ agin?”
“Kinda like the prompt. Got some strong ideas ‘bout enrichment.”
“They’s a strong smell of it it off ya. Don’t think Shorty’s meanin’ manure though Kid.”
“It’s a Ranch, Pal. An’ who else’s gonna muck the stalls?”
*They once was a Kid with good luck, it
Helped that the Kid’uz happy to muck shit
Every week got a prompt
All a Kid could want
Gathered elixir in buckets*