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An attribute of leadership includes taking charge. Like a boy herding piglets, leaders must find a balance with other qualities, including awareness, compassion, and a sense of doing what is needed at the moment. For the boy, the moment called for courage to overcome shyness. Taking charge happens in a moment and can have fun results to a lifetime impact.
Writers have a full interpretation of the prompt each week. They explored what taking charge means from different perspectives.
The following are based on the March 26, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story in which a character takes charge.
PART I (ten-minute read)
Time Trapped by Anita Dawes
Time trapped in a rain drop.
The watch maker said it was beyond price.
More precious than silver, gold, diamonds?
It has been here from the beginning
His wish was to take charge of it.
He did all he could, his experiments.
To outsiders looked daft, a waste of time
The watch maker replied, time trapped there
In one drop could unleash a mind full of magic
Unknown to this world.
Imagine who bathed in it, what could they tell?
Water has a memory
I need to find out how to unlock it
Find the wisdom that hides inside…
Taking Charge by Joanne Fisher
The explosion tore through the starship. Trisha struggled through the wreckage to access the bridge. Once there, she found most of the crew were either dead or injured. Pushing the Captain away, she checked the starship’s diagnostics and managed to reroute all remaining power to the shields, life support and whatever drive systems still worked so all the crew still left could survive. Thankfully she found the controls were still responsive. She piloted the ship away heading for neutral space. The enemy starships held their fire allowing the crippled starship to limp off. Trisha breathed a sigh of relief.
Rubble Takes Charge by Cara and Mikey Stefano
“Rubble on the double!” says Rubble. Rubble is rebuilding a broken cabin. It was smashed by a rolling observatory, which is for watching the stars. “First let’s clear away all the rubble!” says Rubble. All his friends rush to pick him up. “No, not me!” he laughs, “all this!” So after they all rebuild the cabin Rubble says “Hey Rocky, can you put some bolts in the walls and the roof so it doesn’t fall down again?” Rocky says “Green means GO!” Uncle Otis says “Yeah! You pups work fast! Thanks”
Taking charge of the road.
That was what he had to do.
Had to get the son to his father, fast.
Picked up his charge at the airport and flew…
The hour and a half ride was sliced by about half.
Told the folks he was doing eighty…
But the passenger said the speedometer needle
Swayed further right passed that number.
We’ll just call the driver a hero.
One of many in these trying times who
Took the proverbial bull by the horns and flew…
within what limits
we do what needs to be done
riding the wind true
Taking Charge by Faith A. Colburn
You wouldn’t call her meek, but Hazel avoided confrontation when she could. Standing on the doorstep of the home place, though, an old neighbor told of a time when she didn’t.
“I was helpin’ out at your place at dinnertime. Dad had said I wasn’t to eat there, but she sat me down at the table. Well, here comes Pop, rarin’ mad. Hazel met him on the step. Told him, ‘On this place, if he works, he eats.’
“Now Pop was used to getting’ his way, but he shut up and waited for me to finish Hazel’s apple pie.”
Taking Charge by Ann Edall Robson
The community came together as it always did when one of their own needed help. Someone organized a social. Food and music were donated. Items contributed for auction were sold, only to be re-donated and sold again. The potluck lunch served at midnight refuelled the musicians. Schottisches, polkas, waltzes, and two steps kept the crowd going until the wee hours of the morning. Finally, as the sun started to rise, the familiar smooth strains of Irene Goodnight took charge. Glide, step, glide, turn, glide, step, glide, turn. The old fashioned home waltz announced the end to the evening.
Stumbles by Michelle Wright
In the beginning, Liza would admire Jack at the improv class meetings. Admiration escalated. When the improv prompted them to hold hands, the blush on her face was real.
“Mighty fine couple,” Greg said while in character, greeting the newlyweds.
“We should be,” Liza blurted.
“Should be and are,” stated Jack, remaining in character, and clueless to Liza’s mistake.
At the end of the class Liza took a deep breath, marched up to Jack then shouted, “I want to go out with you!”
Jack stumbled around and knocked over chairs. He picked the chairs up, smiled, then said, “Okay.”
Let Go by Sascha Darlington
Within a week, I called friends, figured out how I could get Joe to Toronto. The one thing missing from my equation was Joe.
“I can’t run,” he said.
Have you ever looked at someone you loved and wanted to beat his beautiful face? I did.
“It’s not running away. It’s saving your life.”
He nodded, his eyes sad. “But, Jilly, if I run away, what will we have? I can’t come home? See the folks?”
I looked up at my cowboy, “We can visit.”
“Aw, hon, my friends have already gone. It’s my turn.”
I let him go.
Meg Takes Charge by Susan Zutautas
Ian was running a high fever, had a scratchy throat, and had lost his sense of taste.
“Ian, I think you should go to the hospital and get checked out.”
“What good will it do? Honestly, Meg, I’m far better off here with you.”
“Well you have the symptoms of Covid-19 and if you have the virus, I may have it too. I think it would be the responsible thing for you to go. Behind the hospital they have drive-up testing set up, you don’t even have to go in. Now get your coat on, we’re going right now.”
Ducks in a Row by Donna Matthews
“What are you doing?!?”
“What do you mean what am I doing…I’m moving these ducks over here,” Sally grumbled
“No, no, no…the ducks don’t go here! They go on the north end of the pond!” explained Dorothy.
“The north end?? Are you crazy? The wind is too brisk, and the oak trees have lost all their leaves…the ducks will be exposed if we put them there,” reasoned Sally.
“We put them at the north end, Sally. The north end is narrow, and that’s how we’ll keep the ducks all in a row,” an exasperated Dorothy explained.
“Ohhhhhhh, I see!”
Taking Charge by D. Avery
She cracked the front door, her face a bruised sunrise. “I walk into doors,” she explained. “I’m learning I should shut them tight or open them wide.”
“I would like to speak with the man of the house.”
Over her shoulder, thin pale legs scampered up the stairs. She blocked the rest of the view into the home.
“He’s not here.”
“When shall I call again?”
The woman paused, straightened. “He had to go away.”
“When will he return?”
“He didn’t say. Now, do you want to talk to the man of the house or to who’s in charge?”
The Lonely by Paula Puolakka
Fern took a few steely steps up the cliff. She greeted the lonely crooked pine, after which she went to talk to the large spruces and junipers.
Today, people had been told to stay 6.561 feet away from each other and to avoid public spaces. However, when Fern had gone out, she had seen more pedestrians than yesterday.
Fern started humming “Reincarnation:” the song by Roger Miller. The state of the world was saddening, but at the same time, she thanked the Lord for everything. The pandemic had not changed the historian’s world: the trees still needed her attention.
Taking Charge by Pete Fanning
We welcomed Mom back to our quiet, clean house. Dad had one elbow and I had the other, our voices forced and careful and sounding anything but like our own.
She’d been gone for two months. It seemed like so much longer. Meanwhile, I’d started sixth grade, found a new best friend, and had taken charge of the household. Now, I had so much to tell her. Even as the doctor said it would take time for her to adjust, much less notice all the clothes I’d washed and folded.
But that’s hope for you, stubborn as a stain.
Charge! by Norah Colvin
As if a starting gun had been fired, the children scattered, looking in grass, under rocks, in branches of trees.
“What’re you doing?” asked the playground supervisor.
“There’s eggs, Miss. Easter eggs — millions of ‘em. Enough for everyone.”
“How many’ve you found?”
“None yet. Gotta keep lookin’.”
After a while, the searching slowed. “How many’ve you got?”
They showed empty pockets and empty hands.
The supervisor said, “Who said there were eggs?”
When the punishment was handed down, the instigators explained, “It was just an experiment to see how many’d be sucked in. We meant no harm.”
Desert Dreams by Chelsea Owens
Swirling nighttime sand pummeled and rocked the old Suburban. Sequoia made for a poor windbreak, but Clara knew that was all they’d get.
“Mama?!” little Janey cried. “Papa?!”
“I got ‘er,” Dan said, stumbling over cans, blankets, and sleeping bodies to reach their youngest.
Clara settled back against the cold car wall. She needed to think. The endless roar of haunted desert souls echoed the wails in her mind, of the dying world they’d left behind.
“So,” Dan sat next to her and laced his fingers in hers. “What next?”
Clara narrowed her gaze, resolute. “I have a plan.”
Little Mouse Goes West by Wallie and Friend
Once upon a whisker, there was a cowboy who bumped into luck and fell down hard. It was the kind of fall you don’t get up from easily. Mouse, who had followed the cowboy’s dust for miles, didn’t like it at all.
So the mouse climbed up on Petie’s knee and told him so. She was squeaking loud and clear, and Petie didn’t dare argue. He got up and Squeaky slid into his pocket. There were crumbs in there and it was warm, and the cold morning air tickled her nose.
It was the perfect day for an adventure.
Welcome at Last by The Curious Archaeologist
A brick smashed through the window, glass fell on the praying sisters.
“Why do we stay, Mother?” Asked one of the newly founded Anglican Order of Sisters. “No one seems to want us.”
Then – Cholera.
No one knew how it spread, people fled and the rest died alone, no one helped – until the sisters took charge.
They cared for the dying, comforted the living, and became beloved by the people of Plymouth.
A little later a small women came and asked.
“Can you help me? I desperately need nurses.”
The Mother Superior smiled “Of course we can – Miss Nightingale.”
PART II (ten-minute read)
Walter by Bill Engleson
Walter beat me in by a day.
I became de facto number two.
Told myself that, anyway.
Who else would!
First thing Walter said was, “You’re a baby.”
I tried to deny it.
“No!” I sputtered.
“No offence, kid. It’s just, I’m me.”
And he was.
He was thirty. Fit as a friggin’ fiddle.
He’d been a soldier before.
Then he escaped to the West.
The next few days, our training troop filled up.
Most were like me.
Babies from the Canadian landscape.
Walter became our natural leader.
Later, we learned how crazy twisted he was.
In Which a Character Takes Charge by Papershots
Ministry of Health. Under25 Secretary slips into an office, “People are gargling with bleach.” What? “They’re afraid of the virus.” What? (Jokes have been going round because of the pandemic.) Some laugh, flabbergasted. “We need an official communiqué.” Now they all laugh. No one’s sure what’s going on. Typing, calling, “put me through, I said!” Under112 Secretary Never-take-charge-but-follow-orders takes it seriously, though; at her computer she designs a fake news bulletin warning people about gargling with bleach. It goes viral. The crazy are saved. The price of bleach goes back down. Stocks normalize. The world is a better place.
Who’s In Control? by Hugh W. Roberts
“A gun? Who’s got a gun?” murmured Doug, as he tried to take control of his body which felt like a block of concrete. “And where’s Sophie?”
Two floors below, Sophie’s eyes moved from the twitching nose of the rabbit to the back of the mysterious woman’s head. “You’re not as in control as you think you are, Sophie,” giggled the woman.
Forced to close his eyes, to protect them from the paint dust, the tapping noise Mike heard suddenly stopped. Opening his eyes slowly, he was stunned to see the face of a woman looking down at him.
Hometown Hero by Kelley Farrell
Joe showed up drunk, still clutching a fifth to his chest.
Hattie wrinkled her nose.
“The great hometown hero.”
Sam wore an unholy combination of rotten fish and garbage for cologne.
“It’s been a long night.”
“What did you guys do?”
“Oh, just me. I don’t know where he’s been.”
Hattie refused to see this get away.
“Help me get him up. We’re heroes and I’m not going to let our group get embarrassed like ths.”
“I’ve been up all night fighting crime.”
“Ok.” Hattie tossed the rope into his waiting hands. “We’ve got tug o’ war to win.”
The Gym’s New Sheriff by Dave Madden
There he was, again, flexing his middle-aged muscle to a team primarily consisting of young, amateur fighters. The handful of pros half-heartedly listened, but they, for the most part, tuned out his droning, senseless rambles and did their own thing.
Coach Tim didn’t have a clue what he was doing; everyone knew, but only Kelvin, the most experienced of the bunch, voiced the obvious.
“I think it’s time you go,” Kevin announced before Friday morning’s sparring session.
Echoes of agreement struck the gym’s walls, and the door hit Tim like a roundhouse kick on his way out.
Taking Charge by FloridaBorne
“Mrs. Jones,” her doctor said. “You’re pre-diabetic, and have heart disease. Go to the gym…”
“But I can hardly walk.”
“You’re going to be dead in a year unless you take charge of your health! Walk your dog!”
She cried all the way home, and searched the fridge for comfort food.
Just when she started to take a bite she yelled, “No!”
Her Pitbull knew what to do. Each time she tried to eat, he barked, and his paw forced her arm downward.
She lumbered toward his collar and leash, the first of what would be many more walks.
Reluctant Guide by Kerry E.B. Black
Troop 435 lost their map, and their compasses, emergency GPS, and telephones remained inside the leader’s tent. Ten boys bickered about fault and what to do next. They squinted at moss on tree trunks and the direction of streams. Their disagreements frightened woodland creatures into watchful silence.
The eleventh scout, Arnold, identified with the subdued critters. He trailed his troopmates, noting what they overlooked.
Fighting introversion, he faced the others. “This way.”
Ronnie, the troop bully, scowled. “Why should we listen to you?”
Arnold shrugged and stepped onto a deer path. Without turning, he knew the others followed, even Ronnie.
Diabolical Deer by Nobbinmaug
“You’re not the boss a me.”
“I’m older. That means I’m in charge.”
“I’m tellin’ Mom and Dad when they get back.”
“What if they don’t come back?”
“They’ll be back. Won’t they?”
“You never know. There’s a lot of bad shit out there. Robbers, murderers, diseases, deer*…”
“What if they don’t come back?”
“We fend for ourselves. It’ll be up to me to take care of you.”
“They better come back.”
“They probably won’t.”
“Hi, guys. Is everything O.K.?”
“Yeah. How was the movie?”
“It was really bad. Lucas should have never sold Star Wars to Disney.”
Saving Lives by Charli Mills
Rhonda didn’t bother with her boots. She’d wait for calving season to end before cleaning the floor. When the National Guard recalled Jess, she took charge of their small spread. A neighbor came over to help. News of the virus dominated the stations, and Rhonda couldn’t get a weather report. She ate a bowl of Spagettios, then returned outside to relieve Tony. Around midnight the last calf arrived with a spring blizzard. While Jess saved lives as a medic in a makeshift hospital 300 miles away, Rhonda snuggled a calf all night in the kitchen with the wood-stove blazing.
at mercy hospital by joem18b
my heart took charge this morning and my mind did not fight it. i dressed, had a light breakfast, and rode my bike to the mercy hospital emergency room. there was already a line. i was a candy striper at mercy in high school and i still have connections there. the staff was glad to have me but did warn me about the infection rate among those exposed to the virus. i spent the day bringing donated coffee and pastries to those waiting and listening to their concerns, both the ill and their families. we’re all in this together.
In Charge Now by Ritu Bhathal
“I’m sorry,” she wheezed, as she slowly picked up her bags, after switching off her computer.
“You’re sick. Just go. Don’t worry, we are here. Now remember, you need to rest up for at least seven days, do you hear me?”
I watched the retreating figure of my Headteacher and grabbed a cloth and the. Disinfectant spray. After cleaning her desk, and chair, I sank down on it.
Oh, man, this meant I was in charge of a school, still open, in a pandemic.
Three members of staff, and a clutch of children would be relying on me now…
Fear Makes Us Strangers by M J Mallon
It’s Friday night, the weekends coming. Yeah!
I dread what the queue might be like.
Each time I shop, I become more afraid. I pray I don’t see someone I know. Social distancing has become social avoidance.
I’m done quick, rush to the nearest till and am amused to see the vicar talking to the check out assistant. I’m still thinking of their cheerful conversation and the smiling vicar. The lady at the till demands that I step back further. I do, but I can never get used to this.
Shopping for Essentials by Liz Husebye Hartmann
“What the heck is that?”
“A new recipe for Stay at Home.”
“What you got in there?”
“Beans, tomato sauce, dark brown sugar, Tabasco, the last of that lunch meat…”
“The stuff that was getting slimy?”
“Cured Mystery Meat, so no expiration date! Anyway, I scrubbed it off and it kind of…shredded. So it’s fine. And then I added the last of the Velveeta, a can of water-packed tuna, and whatever was left in that carton of Half and Half.”
“What’s that floating on top?”
“The white stuff is cauliflower, green stuff is Kale.”
“That’s it! I’m going shopping!”
Feeding Bodies, Feeding Minds by Anne Goodwin
Although overqualified for retail, this was her dream job. Five floors of books and hordes of readers, hungry for literary advice. As the virus bloomed, sales did too, until nonessentials were forced to close. Lockdown had a silver lining: communing with her own bookshelves.
She read in the bath, on the patio, in the snaking supermarket queue, but her focus floated away. Abandoning Moby Dick in her trolley, she approached a security guard. From a distance of two metres, she begged to go inside. Soon her PhD (in creative writing) had charge of a checkout, keeping the nation fed.
Hannah – A New Direction by Saifun Hassam
COVID-19 spread rapidly. Lynn Valley restaurants provided only take-out or delivery services. Hannah and her staff decided to close “Spuds Restaurant.”
The Farmers Market Association requested Hannah to co-ordinate the collection and distribution of fresh produce to the Lynn Valley Soup Kitchens and Food Banks. She immediately agreed. The farmers dropped off produce at The Market which was closed to the public. Hannah worked with staff from the Soup Kitchens and Food Banks to sort and deliver requested supplies.
Hannah’s mother, Bev, had passed away a few months ago. She would have been at her side helping without hesitation.
Take Charge of Yourself by Susan Sleggs
The church teen choir started practicing without Gaylan. He joined them ten minutes later and the group came to life.
Tessa’s father, Don, running the rehearsal, after dismissing all but Gaylan, asked: “Would you say you respect this group?”
“Do you attend by choice?”
“Do you understand belonging comes with responsibility?”
“Do you believe your continual tardiness proves your answers are the truth?”
Gaylan hesitated. “No, sir.”
“Michael wanted to ask you to take charge tonight but didn’t trust you to be on time. Show up early from now on and you’ll earn that trust.”
Sherlock in Charge by tracey
Time for my every ten-minutes check on the family. Dad was still staring morosely at a blank television screen. My boy was fixated on a screen and clicking on a mouse. I don’t know why he called it that, it sure wasn’t a mouse. Mom was wiping down the kitchen counter for the eighth time, no sign of her cooking bacon. Darn. I decided it was time to take charge. I grabbed my leash from its hook and started barking and jumping around. “Great idea Sherlock,” said Mom and she yelled out “time for a family walk, right now!”
Kid’s Dilemma by D. Avery
“Pal, whut’s Shorty done charged us with this time?
“Charged us with? Why, nuthin’ Kid.”
“Nuthin’? That prompt’s gotta lead ta sumthin’. Always does.”
“An’ asides that, ain’t we in charge a the Saloon?”
“Could say thet, I s’pose.”
“An’ we still gotta discharge our reg’lar ranch duties.”
“Yep. Purty sure there’s discharge in the barn fer ya ta shovel now, Kid.”
“Bullshift, Pal, why’s it always seem like yer in charge a me?”
“I jist take yer bull by the horns is all.”
“Mebbe I’ll grab them horns. Take charge a ma own self.”
“Yep. Mebbe, Kid.”
Tootin’ Rootin’ Round Trip by D. Avery
“Lookin’ rough, Kid. Where ya been, anyway?”
“Checked out Slim Chance’s outfit.”
“Why ever for?!”
“Took charge a m’sef. Yer always bossin’ me aroun’. Shorty’s s’posed ta be in charge, but she’s always nice, jist says ‘go where the prompt leads’; well Slim Chance tells folks where ta go an’ how ta git there.”
“Where he wants ‘em ta go.”
“Real take charge sorta guy?”
“Sure ‘nough. Says, ‘Drink this kool-aid, it’s the best’, where’s Shorty jist has carrots out, fer folks ta take or not.”
“Yer back though?”
“Ferever. Ta re-charge on root crops.”
Who can say why the rabbit was on the roof? It was not an everyday occurrence, and yet, his tracks left the evidence of a departure from normal. The world has shifted from normal in response to a pandemic. It feels like a season of improbabilities. So, of course, rabbits would take to rooftops.
Carrot Ranch encourages writers to do what writers do best — write. It’s an activity we can enjoy and share while also practicing social distancing. This week, they showed up to ride herd on rooftop rabbits, following the prompt to where it led.
The following stories are based on the March 19, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a rabbit on the roof.
PART I (10-minute read)
Rabbit in the Stars by Saifun Hassam
Only the tops of lodge pines showed above the deep snow around the Observatory. The constellations glittered in the clear frigid air.
Rabbit paused on the nearest pine branch to the Observatory roof. An expert gymnast and acrobat, he jumped, spiraling through the air. He landed perfectly on the flattened area of the domed roof.
An automated Space Telescope rotated under the transparent window in the roof. Rabbit leaped across the window. And back and forth. Spiraling and twisting with the stars through the night skies. The telescope recorded beautiful mystifying shots of a rabbit flying among the constellations!
Rabbit Moon by Jo Hawk
On full moon nights, Vivian lit candles, rained rice onto the altar cloth, and prayed to the moon goddess. She had never forsaken Vivian. Gossamer clouds slid like silk across the sky, obscuring the moon’s rabbit image. Tonight, her entire heart filled her plea, as she begged for her townsfolk’s safety.
Cinnabun whispered to his mistress. She nodded. Armed with life’s elixir, Cinnabon descended to earth. Hopping to every village rooftop, he spread the remedy to each family.
At dawn, Vivian spied Cinnabun perched atop her garden fence. He gave her a wink, before the goddess spirited him home.
Magic Circle by Anita Dawes
Humans, what can you do with them?
The Great Bandini, my whiskers
Has overbooked the children’s party
Leaving my cage door open
So I am off, freedom awaits.
White fur, big ears, not so easy to hide
Wait for the fool
to open the door, load his van,
take my chance in the great outdoors
I need to get higher
The roof looks good
From here I can see the lay of the land
And look for my own kind
How did I get on the roof?
You may ask?
I cannot tell you, that’s magic,
don’t you know…
Feed Your Head by D. Avery
Leaning against the chimney, he put in his earbuds, listened to Jefferson Airplane while polishing his pocket watch. Unless the girl tripping around below suddenly became quite tall she would never think to look for him here. And anyway, she was much more interested in the March Hare, mad as he was. But it mightn’t be till May that the March Hare be less raving mad.
Yes, it was much the most interesting. The chessmen, all white too, were maddest of all, falling about in no direction.
Smiling, the rabbit flung his pocket watch into the endless blue sky.
Quick Like A Bunny by Dave Madden
Frankie headed toward the roof of his apartment with his coach—six-feet away from one another, of course.
The gym had been closed since the order of self-isolation went into effect.
“I think you’ll like this workout,” coach chuckled.
When Frankie stepped onto the roof, he counted about fifty bunnies hopping around. He was speechless and looked back at his coach with curiosity.
“Well, catch em’ and put em’ in that box,” was coach’s response to the silent stare.
Forty-minutes later, Frankie was completely exhausted.
Coach grabbed the box and headed to his next student’s place.
The Storm to Pass by Donna Matthews
The old-growth forest was a perfect place to calm her nerves. Out of control kids, cranky co-workers, and an ever-growing distance from her husband made her spirit anxious. A mile in, the sky darkens. The tall redwood trees surrender and sway in the high wind. Soon, the hail starts. Sharp, little pieces of ice falling on her head. She scrambles to find a fallen log to crawl inside. But she isn’t alone…running across her makeshift roof are the rabbits and squirrels seeking to share her shelter. She hurries to make room. They wait together for the storm to pass.
New Life by Susan Sleggs
Trying to focus on paperwork in the Iraqi heat had Michael agitated. The only positive, he was inside. Then he heard the words, “The babies are out.” He grabbed his binoculars and joined the parade leaving the building. They raced passed a lone guy loading a truck, went to the far fence and raised their glasses. Michael enjoyed the moment then returned to the loader. “I’ll do this, you go have a look.”
The newbie joined the group and after guidance, saw the hares playing on the burned remains of a jeep roof half-buried in the sand.
The Rabbit on the Roof by Faith A. Colburn
When my grandparents put in the septic tank back in 1951 when we got REA, they found the hewed rafters of Billy Arnold’s original soddy, wood that lay rotting in a jumble beneath generations of dirt and prairie on the level north of the house. When Grandma told me, I closed my eyes and pictured the blocks of root-frozen dirt and the roof, a growing prairie of grass and wildflowers. If I were the rabbit on the roof, would I vary my diet with some tough purple coneflower, or daisy fleabane? Perhaps I’d just stick to the succulent grasses.
The Roofing Rabbit by H.R.R. Gorman
Velour wiped her brow and sat back, hammer in paw. The roof of the cabin had been difficult so far, as they only had honey locust thorns as nails and bark for shingles.
“How goes it?” Velour’s mate, Timber, asked. His ears drooped from exhaustion, as he’d built the catted chimney.
She smiled. “We’ll have this finished by winter.” She pointed to a clay bottle sitting on a stump. “Take a break and have some ginger beer.”
“Only if you come down from the roof and drink with me.”
Velour clambered down, and the pioneer rabbits rested a minute.
Rabbit on the Roof by Joanne Fisher
Jess came back to the homestead to find Cindy was climbing to the roof.
“Hey honey, whatcha doing?” She asked.
“There’s a bunny up here.” Cindy replied.
“On the roof?” Jess clarified.
“How did it get up there?”
“No idea.” Cindy shrugged her shoulders.
After a short moment Cindy came back down the ladder cradling a rabbit in her arms.
“What is it with you?” Jess asked. “Since we got married you’ve become a lost animal magnet. We have a dog and a cat, and I guess we’ve got a pet bunny too now?”
Cindy smiled at her.
Granny by Tammy Toj Gajewski
I sat on the bench which used the window trim as the table waiting, with my spoon poised. My feet dangled several inches from the floor swinging to the beat of Granny’s humming. She moved from the wood stove like a tank that can only turned slowly left. Her cotton dress covered with small pink flowers, flour towel over her shoulder, ladle cocked and loaded with the stew. It hopped into my bowl and smelled like heaven wrapped in warm towels from the dryer. I filled my mouth with the soft meat and my stomach growled with want.
Spring Picnic by tracey
Unbeknownst to the humans below a family of rabbits lived on the 94th floor (aka the roof). The first spring-like day they decided to go on a picnic. The aunts got busy making egg salad sandwiches and carrot cookies while the uncles dug out the picnic baskets. The cousins gathered quilts and Frisbees and badminton sets.
They headed to the park and set up under a tree whose leaves were still buds and basked in the warm sunshine. They enjoyed the good food, pleasant company and fine spring weather. The simple things in life are the best they agreed.
Stuff You Wouldn’t Find on Netflix by papershots
They saw a movie last night. First they discussed which movie; he’s been downloading movies all week – stuff you wouldn’t find on Netflix. Then they talked about the movie for a while before switching everything off for the night. The building across the street: the same; so in the apartments below, above. They appreciate the dialogues of the movies they see, they find the plots credible, they spot holes and admire the cinematography. “Would they like mine?” His eyes go red, he twitches his little-white-rabbit nose, and on the roof he says, “Yes, I’m happy I started this pandemic!”
Wishes… by JulesPaige
across lily pads
thick enough roofs for baby
bunnies in this wood
away from foxes and hounds
within the fairy forest
just one wish of three
to allow those cotton tales
another day to live
Still have two left. Though perhaps only one. Within minutes his son made it to his father’s bedside. Our son using his emergency vehicle raced in record time from the airport to the hospital. After a flight connection cancellation to the local airport made a time shift later on arrival at another, further airport.
Third wish? A fantastical quick cure for our present disease…
Police, Fire or Ambulance? by Anne Goodwin
What service, please?
We’ll need a fire ladder to access the roof and an ambulance in case he’s injured … I don’t think a crime has been committed but what was he doing there?
Okay, calm down, let’s get this straight: there’s a man on your roof, not a burglar, you’re worried he might be injured and can’t get down?
It’s not a man.
Makes no odds whether they identify as male, female or non-binary, if a person’s in trouble …
I wouldn’t anthropomorphise.
It’s a rabbit.
A rabbit. How long have you been self-isolating, madam?
Rabbits on the Roof by Charli Mills
A hummingbird with wings green as shiny jalapenos flit between foxgloves. Caleb stilled his chubby hands. Marta couldn’t say her neighbor would’ve approve of foxgloves where he once mowed lawn. He would’ve hollered at barefoot urchins digging in his yard. Those who survived, claimed it as a community garden. His house served as a schoolhouse. Not like the old institutions. Marta taught all ages how to garden with pollinators. On the rooftop, they raised rabbits. The neighborhood had two milk cows. Three years after the Great Calamity, no one hungered. Humanity reclaimed what it lost. The Industrial Revolution ended.
PART II (10-minute read)
Rabbit What Rabbit by Susan Zutautas
“Hey Mom, you gotta come see this, there’s something on the roof of Maggie’s doghouse.”
“On the roof? Really? Hold on a minute, let me see if I can find my glasses.”
“You won’t find them, remember you left them at Aunt Becky’s.”
“Oh ya, I totally forgot. With all that rain coming down I can’t make out what it could be. Grab the umbrella and let’s go investigate. Don’t let Maggie follow us just in case … “
“Just in case what?”
“Never mind let’s go.”
Giggles … “Look at that, she’s such a silly dog, it’s her stuffed rabbit.”
Carrot Ranch by Nobbinmaug
“Is that a bunny on the roof?”
“Bunny is the equivalent of a slur to them.”
“Uh… Is that a rabbit on the roof?”
“You don’t seem impressed.”
“Does that happen often?”
“Working at a Carrot Ranch, one learns not to underestimate rabbits.”
“Even climbing on the roof?”
“They used to tunnel under the fence until we extended it deeper.”
“That doesn’t explain how it got on the roof.”
“How do you think it got up there?”
“Maybe. Our job is not to question the rabbits but to protect the carrots.”
Rooftop Rabbit by Kerry E.B. Black
They studied the painting, heads cocked, brows furrowed, careful to keep their champagne-filled flutes upright. Aggy whispered into Greg’s ear, “What do you suppose the symbolism means?”
His cheeks colored, and he tugged at his tie as though it had tightened. “The artist admires theatre?”
She side-eyed him. “Well, ‘The Fiddler on the Roof’ symbolized tradition.‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ a restlessness of spirit. But this?” She waved at the canvas.
A sheepish smile peeked beneath his clipped mustache. “Solidarity for Heffner?”
Her eyebrows crinkled as she examined the rabbit atop the structure. “I don’t get it.”
The Temptation of Rabbit by Doug Jacquier
Rabbi Tannenbaum trudged through the snow and knifing winds until he saw the diner. Inside, he was greeted by an older blonde woman.
‘Cold enough for ya?’ she said, her smile frozen but her eyes taking in every detail.
‘Could I get something to eat?’
‘Ain’t had no supplies in 2 weeks. How ‘bout a toasted ham or bacon sandwich.’
‘I just made a pie for my husband, Pastor Schicklgruber. We got lucky. Rabbit fell of the roof last night and broke its neck.’
‘Can I just have coffee?’
‘Kosher can’, she said, her eyes daring him.
Rabbit Trap by Michelle Wright
It was the Saturday after Nicolas and I had completed our first week of high school together. We had both been home schooled up until now. We each climbed out my window from my room and sat on the roof as we usually did. I asked him how he felt about school. He said, “Well, it’s cool to be around more dudes.” Before I could say anything some of those dudes from school shouted up at us, “Are there a couple rabbits on that roof?” I learned how disgusting teenage boys could be, including Nicolas. I locked my window.
Twitching by Hugh Roberts
As Sophie walked towards the figure of the woman, she noticed the front cover of the book in the woman’s hand. A rabbit on a roof. But was she dreaming, or was the rabbit’s nose twitching?
As Mike looked up at the ceiling of his room, the tapping noise he heard sounded like a rabbit he’d once seen hopping along a newly tiled roof. Particles of paint dust falling from the ceiling forced his eyes to twitch uncontrollably.
Two floors above, Doug’s eyes twitched on Clarice’s face. “Run rabbit, run. Doug, did you know there’s a gun?” she asked.
The Late Afternoon the Rabbit Died by Bill Engleson
“It’s too high, Charlie. I’ll break my legs.”
“You won’t break no bones, Pearly,” I tell her.
I don’t know a course.
“It’s just an old barn. You land right, problem solved.”
“There’s got to be another way. I never was a good climber.”
“I’ll git you up there. Don’t have to worry about climbin’. Just jumpin’.”
“Maybe we should wait a little while?”
“Pearly, we wait much longer, you be showin’ like a fat old momma sow. Then everyone’ll know.”
She gives in.
I boost her up.
Don’t matter to me which way the rabbit dies.
Rabbit Run by Lisa A. Listwa
Liz stared hard into the darkness. There was that familiar sound, just enough like someone walking in the attic space above that it made her start. Every time.
Probably a squirrel or a bat or the pair of mourning doves who lived in the neighbor’s tree.
Still, the sound frightened her. Not because Liz believed it was anything sinister, but because it always set her mind racing. Faster they came, fear after fear crashing through her brain, a line of rabbits increasing as they passed.
Tonight would be a long night.
Near morning the eagle’s grasp would save her.
A Wild Hare: Post-pandemica by Liz Husebye Hartmann
I looked in the mirror, unsure. Six months quarantine, but now it’s safe to go out. I stepped out back, hesitating to shake free the sheet full of recently cut hair. Could this be used?
Out front, the neighbors laughed and called to one another. I jogged around to join them.
They’d all done their own haircuts, looking like offspring of Seuss and Scissorhands: this one with curls cascading frontwards, buzz cut out back; that one tinted with precious bleach, a dandelion gone to seed; another with untamed lion’s mane.
And me, joyful, with a rabbit on my roof!
Bunnies on the Roof by Cara and Mikey Stefano
The day was hot. I looked out my window in delight, watching the bunnies hop around on their long furry legs with their enormous ears twitching like antenna in the wind. Our split level house was the perfect way to watch the world go by. I figured I knew how those jack rabbit bunnies had made it up to the roof – they took the stairs, polite as you please, hopped up on the window sill and from there – an easy jump to the roof for those long legged jacks.
What Rabbits? by Norah Colvin
“Wassup?” He knew something was when she stopped rocking.
“Nothin’.” She continued rocking.
“Musta bin somethin’.”
“Nah. Thought I saw a rabbit on that roof, is all.”
“I ain’t never seen no rabbit on a roof.”
“You ain’t never seen nothin’.”
“Thought there was two rabbits on that there roof.”
The rabbits multiplied, but she never stopped rockin’ and she never said nothin’.
One day, he stopped.
“Shhh. I hear somethun.”
“Sounds like …”
A multitude of rabbits exploded from the roof, landing all around, even in their laps.
They kept on rockin’.
The Rabbit by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
How did the rabbit get on the roof? Did it have wings? Had the whole world gone completely mad and animals suddenly attained previously unknown attributes?
The poor little creature pattered across the hot metal roof, confused and agitated.
A bit like me, thought Laura. Being isolated at home is making me feel peculiar, as if I am the only person in the world or the whole world has stopped except me. Business as usual, but not.
“At least I can do something positive to help the rabbit,” she mutters, heading for the garage to get the tall ladder.
Alice and Janice Save the World by eLPy
Alice sat atop the roof waiting for Janice. This wasn’t like her. Alice squeezed tight against the gable.
There came a high shriek. She twisted her ear listening. She heard the call and hopped out.
Janice landed next to her.
“I’m sorry Alice. You alright?”
“I am. You?”
“Should I worry?”
“No. It seems we’ve started a movement. Others want to know how we, prey and predator, have forged an alliance. They want to help. This is how we will prosper in these times now that humans have turned their backs on the world.”
“Well done my friend.”
The Library Reader by Saifun Hassam
It was close to midnight. An aerial silk ribbon was suspended from the Library roof. How had that fearless Library Cat Rainbow anchored the ribbon to the eaves??
Rabbit secured the ribbon around himself and in two spiraling movements he was up on the roof. A gymnast and acrobat.
Ferret had opened the trapdoor near the chimney. Rabbit clambered into the attic, down the steps into the library. Rainbow had left the door ajar.
On the nearest shelf were Carroll and Seuss stories. Rabbit loved to read. Before dawn he was gone, dreaming of March Hares and Green Eggs.
Smokin’ Caterpillar (Part 1) by D. Avery
“Kid, yer grinnin’. Figgered ya’d be scowlin’ over this wild prompt.”
“Didn’t ya hear? Shorty’s gotta surprise comin’.”
“What is it?”
“Dunno, jist that it’s a surprise fer me an’ you.”
“Huh. Prob’ly hookin’ the bunkhouse up with television. It’s rabbit ears she’s on about!”
“That’s receptive of ya, Pal, but I don’t think so.”
“Then what the heck is up with a rabbit on the roof?”
“Mebbe thet hare went over the rooftop ta see what it could see. It’s a unique rabbit. Ya know how ta catch a unique rabbit, Pal?”
“Ya ’neak up behind it.”
Smokin’ Caterpillar (Part 1) by D. Avery
“Smokin’ caterpillars? Thet better be a litter-airy ref’rence. An’ look at us, comin’ in behind thet dang D. Avery. Kid, what the heck is goin’ on?”
“Jist chasin’ rabbits, I s’pose, Pal. Been kinda hard ta focus lately. An’ now I’m jist so x’cited ‘bout
Shorty’s su’prise. Cain’t wait. Mebbe after the weekend we’ll see it.”
“Hmmf. Yer chasin’ rabbits alright. D. Avery know anythin’ ‘bout this su’prise?”
“Cain’t say Pal, not knowin’. We kinda drifted apart, disassociated, like. All I know is Shorty said it’s bigger’n a bread box, an’ it’s fer us ta take care of.”
It begins softly, a tap-tap-tapping sound that intensifies into an English word with multiple meanings, rooted both in French and old Germanic. From dancers to barrel valves, tapping gets around. What a fun word to play with.
Writers took to the multiple meanings, following the sound of their own keyboards. Some went into dark corners and others illuminated light-heartedly. This is a collection created as the world played taps to modern life as we thought we knew it. But, as creativity shows us, we are not tapped out. There’s yet something sweet to be made of the changes.
The following is based on the March 12, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tapping.
PART I (10-minute read)
Tapped Out by Bill Engleson
Ka-bang, the sound I hear.
The spigot twists in my heart, my dear,
Yet perhaps there’s another sound,
A fox death gasp run to ground.
Will we huddle in the dark?
Social isolates? Life, stark,
hidden from the hubbub, the buzz,
trapped in the recall of what was?
“Keep your distance,” the global call,
Six feet, ten feet, a virtual wall.
Two weeks, fours weeks, forever time,
The toll of it, the final chime.
How dark the mind descends,
Evoking lost dreams, chewing on swift ends?
The days regimen, the sound of taps,
Trumpeting great loss, life’s precious scraps.
Tapped by Anne Goodwin
Tap tap tap: is that the central heating system waking? Or rain on windows rehearsing for another flood? Is it him, coming to repay the loan he tapped me for? Is it the virus making a start on my head? I should open the door, in case it’s the woman I tapped off with at last month’s party. I should lock it, in case it’s her trying to leave.
How many days since I touched someone? How many weeks since I spoke to anyone face-to-face? I have beer on tap but I’m going mental. Let’s face it, I’m tapped.
Tapping by Donna Matthews
Sitting at the linoleum kitchen table, tapping my fingers, and bouncing my knee, I waver between wanting to be the-in-control-adult and being-human-is-being-vulnerable state of mind. The truth is, I haven’t felt this vulnerable in a long time…nor this anxious. It’s the unknown that’s doing me in. But also the morbid fascination of it all… new words like social distancing and self-quarantine. The crazy traffic when leaving town. We simply won’t be the same when this is over. I decide to pull myself together and assess the main area of our underground bunker. These boxes aren’t going to unpack themselves.
Tapping by FloridaBorne
Trees glisten in Florida sunshine that peeks between what is left of the clouds after they’ve finished pouring out their heart.
Our dirt road cuts through forests past our home. If I danced naked in the middle of my yard, no one would know but our dogs.
People think “tranquility” when told that I live in the country. I wish our neighbor a half mile down the road wanted to sit cross-legged under a tree to find his zen.
You can hear the music from his speakers, and the hard tapping of drumsticks.
Will Karma render his children deaf?
Fingers Tapping by Susan Sleggs
“Tap, tap, tap, tap. Michael’s fingers do it all day, sometimes in rhythm and sometimes not. It can get on my nerves.”
Michael’s mother nodded in understanding. “Have you ever seen the Dear Abbey response to the woman complaining about her snoring husband? It was something like, be happy he’s alive, be happy he’s home where you want him to be, and thankful he’s not out with another woman. And in Michaels’ case, it keeps him hearing music, not the sounds of war.”
Tessa thought. “Next time it gets to me I’ll ask him to sing what he’s hearing.”
Finally Relief by Susan Zutautas
Cathy not feeling that great the last three months suffered from severe anxiety and depression. Every medication she tried wasn’t working. Tired of living on the dark side of life she started to research different methods that may help. Willing to try anything to make herself feel like normal again.
Finding something called EFT Tapping piqued her interest. Acupressure along with tapping your fingers on meridian points while talking about certain memories claimed this would help. Also effective for PTSD.
Cathy made an appointment to try this and the end result was no medication, anxiety gone, and depression subsided.
Get Out of My Head by eLPy
There was tapping around my house. I could not find it. Upstairs, downstairs, I looked in every room.
“What the hell!” One more sign I did not have control of my life. I collapsed in bed. There was movement behind the blinds.
I jumped up and twirled the wand, opening the blinds. Away went the red bird. It was vibrant, not the drab of winter. The sun glowed on my face. Green points poked up through the dirt. Birds whistled around my yard.
“Oh Little Cardinal, thank you for enlightening me with your tap-tap-tap.”
Magic Fingers by Reena Saxena
“You have magic fingers.”
The compliment from my mother-in-law is more than music to my ears, as she initially disapproved of her daughter marrying an Indian.
I wonder if the secret to a change of heart lies in the tapping of my fingers on the tabla, the fame and wealth I’ve recently acquired after signing a contract with a renowned music director in Bollywood, or the first pregnancy of her daughter.
It hurts. It terribly hurts to know that the music director I work with plans to marry my wife’s mother. So, it is not me, but someone else…
Tap Dancing by Doug Jacquier
He started with a shuffle on the kitchen table, skillfully avoiding the remnant spaghetti bolognaise, wine glasses and tootsie rolls. (Some time ago, ‘she’ became ‘he’ with a ball change when she was single in Buffalo.) Confident of his Shirley Temple rhythm now, he performed a twirling arabesque to the draining board, hoping for a riffle effect but the leftover goose fat cooked his plans. Less than deftly, he shim-shammed across the Hot and Cold, where, alas, he lost his footing and lay sprawled in the sink with a broken ankle, one of the many drawbacks of tap dancing.
A Spring Alliance Forms by Charli Mills
Using the blunt end of an ax, Viv tapped the last steel spile into an old sugar maple thick with lichen. She stood on squishy snow in borrowed snowshoes, hanging the last bucket. Sap pinged the steel. From a distance, Clarice yodeled, the sound echoing across the thawing expanse of Misery Bay. Snow clouds generated by the vast water flowed toward land like thick fog. Viv gave a shrill whistle in return. Safe as she was with her cross-dressing chicken-herding friend, mapling weather could turn treacherous. Viv plodded toward the cabin to sew Clarice a new skirt.
Tap or Nap by Dave Madden
It was difficult to determine which aspect of Theodore Jameson better resembled a mule—his kicks or stubbornness.
If there were dandelions to pick on the mat during Jiu-Jitsu practice, TJ would have uprooted all of them.
“Are you listening?” Coach snapped, though he knew the answer.
TJ had a fight scheduled against a seasoned black belt, but he assumed he’d keep it on the feet.
Seconds after the bell, TJ was pulled to the canvas where he floundered like a fish gasping for breath.
Coach’s head was haloed by the spotlight above and said, “You didn’t tap.”
Boogeyman by Gloria McBreen
It was a wet stormy night when Anna’s husband went to work his night shift.
Later, her lover will come to her.
A fallen tree blocked the road, forcing her husband to return home. He slid into the bed beside her, cold and tired.
Soon after, she heard her lover tapping on the window. Anna reached into the cot beside her, and woke the baby with a nip. She lifted the crying tot, walked to the window, and sang these words out loud.
‘For the wind and the rain brought your daddy back again. Get away from the window, Boogeyman.’
Tapping by Hugh W. Roberts
Doug watched as Clarice tapped her long fingernails onto the cover of a hardback book she carried. He could tell she grew impatient with him while waiting for his response.
Two floors below, Mike froze to the spot. He’d not heard the name Clarice mentioned for years. The faint sound of tapping broke his concentration.
While Sophie wondered who Clarice was, a tapping noise behind her forced her to spin around. Her eyes met the rear view of a woman who tapped her fingers on a book while standing over the body of a man Sophie thought she recognised.
Something Behind by Lisa A. Listwa
Jules sensed the tap before she heard it.
Tap – a short and uncertain sound behind.
I won’t look, she thought. It’s nothing.
Tap tap – unmistakable this time.
I won’t hurry.
There was no reason to fear anything here on ground made so familiar by her feet night after night, year after year on so many evening walks.
Tap tap tap – more insistent now.
Jules quickened her step, less comforted by the well-known surroundings than she wanted to be.
Tap tap tap tap – keeping pace every step.
Jules whirled around, the sight behind her confirming her assertion.
Sophie Dreams by Joanne Fisher
Sophie lay in bed. She could hear a tapping at the window made by a tree branch in the breeze. She fell into a deep sleep and dreamed that outside her window was a hideous ghoul with sallow skin, sharp teeth, and long nails. As it clawed at the window trying to get to her, it’s nails made a tapping sound against the glass.
Sophie awoke with a start in the darkness. She could still hear the branch tapping against the window, but then realised there was no longer any breeze. Turning her head, she saw long sharp teeth.
PART II (10-minute read)
Truth Tapping by Cara Stefano
Tap tap tap
I must find my own way through
Tap tap tap
What is the correct direction?
Shades of meaning
Press and stretch those muscles, far too long unused
Tap tap tap
Brush aside the obstacles and barriers standing strong and tall and firm before me
Tap tap tap
Empty the mind of all its endless hoarded clutter
Focus on the task at hand
Tap tap tap
No distractions and no other responsibilities
Flex my fingers, roll my shoulders, sit down and breathe
Tap tap tap
It’s just me and my computer now.
Tapping by Christine Bialczak
From inside the closet I could hear the tap-tap-tapping. I wasn’t going to open that door, at least not while home by myself. It’s Buckler. All he does is hang on the belt hanger, swinging slowly, in the dark. He thinks his leather is better than my cotton.
There it is again. He thinks tapping against the door is going to get him out faster. Buckler is nothing but trouble. Once He gets home and puts me on, He’ll go in the closet and shut Buckler up. Lucky for me I get shown off, not hidden under the gut.
Different Drum by D. Avery
Robert pitched the last of the hay up into the hayloft. “Just in time,” he smiled at Thomas. “Hear that?”
“Rain!” The much-needed rain began as an intermittent tapping then gathered strength, drumming the barn roof overhead.
“No, that’s not rain, Thomas. Listen.” He grabbed up a bucket and a couple wooden pegs. Thomas, shouldering a hayfork, marched to the drumbeat Robert tapped out, around and around the hay wagon until finally they stopped, exhilarated.
“A call to arms!”
Robert took the hayfork from his little brother, said gently, “No, Thomas. No. Listen. It’s the call to cease firing.”
Taps by tracey
I lay in bed, drowsy, waiting for my cue to sleep. It had been a good day, one that I thought of as well balanced. I worked hard all day diagnosing and fixing a rudder issue on my F-16 and then beat the boss’s team in a volleyball match. The chow hall had my favorite version of mystery meat for dinner. I spent the evening cleaning my boots and watching the latest episode of “Breaking Bad”.
Now the moon shown down and cool air rippled through the window.
And then I heard it, taps, the signal for lights out.
Dinner by D. Avery
Robert and Thomas sat on overturned buckets, watching the rain.
“One of our drummer boys often worked with me in the field hospital.”
The beginning of a story made Thomas forget his disappointment with the ceasefire.
“This boy only ever talked about his mama’s chicken dumplings. One day he’s scarce, I figured maybe he run off even. But then I hear him drumming. Soft, taptaptap. ‘What’s that call?’ I asked him. Taptaptap. When I turn he’s not even holding his sticks and still taptaptap. ‘Call for dinner’ he grins, and shows me a big old hen inside his drum.”
Mommy Time by Jo Hawk
Steam rose from Audrey’s 1950s “First Lady Pink” bathtub as she shut the door and locked out her hectic 21st Century life. Past midnight, she was long overdue to relax, unwind and unplug. She twisted the knobs, stopping the flow of water from the faucet and tested the temperature with her toe. Just right.
She sank into the tub and sensed stress leaching from her tense muscles. The second she closed her eyes, she heard a soft tapping. Wide-eyed, her body stiffened.
“Mommy, I can’t sleep,” a muffled voice called.
Audrey’s shoulder slumped, and she regretfully pulled the plug.
Isabella of the Woods by Saifun Hassam
Isabella paused at the edge of the woodlands. As the early morning skies lit up, the tapping and drumming of woodpeckers reverberated, echoing the beat and roll of other woodpeckers from the forests. The trills and chatter of warblers and nuthatches filled the air.
Her heart was pounding. She walked up the flag stones to the silent and dark cottage. She tapped lightly on the kitchen window, a slow rhythmic repeating code. The kitchen door opened quietly. Genevieve slipped out. Soundlessly the two women disappeared down a barely visible path into the woodlands. To freedom, away from the plantations.
She Tapped Thrice by Padmini Krishnan
She tapped on his door every day when they were kids. “Shall we do our homework together?” “I have already completed mine”, he snapped, slamming the door. She continued tapping over the years. At college, she tapped after his basketball practice, “Some hot chocolate?” “I don’t eat or drink chocolate.” he smiled, turning her away. One day, she stopped tapping. He waited in his room, crying and praying, as she lay in the hospital. Drained of all arrogance, he hoped she would tap again. He would follow her this time, either to her room or to the other world.
In Flux by JulesPaige
welkin lambent dusk
waning gibbous moon schooling
the classroom was a zoo with
helter skelter panicked acts
waiting tapping strength
in line for supplies; and yet
woodpeckers code spring
Just what will all the students do without their classrooms? As imposed closures touch each and everyone of us? We will have to continue to learn to adapt to whatever the new normals are. Just as our ancient ancestors survived the ice age that came before… What is that coding in our DNA, the one that persists and insists on survival? Remember to help your neighbors in need…
The Key by Norah Colvin
Peter removed his headphones.
He returned to his game. ZING! KAPOW! BOOM!
There it was again. Incessant.
What was It? Where was it?
He placed his tablet and headphones on the couch and crept towards the sound — the bookcase!
With every step, the tapping intensified. The dusty glass obscured the interior, but the key was in the lock. Should he, or shouldn’t he?
Into his lap tumbled a rainbow cat, a girl in a hood, a herd of dinosaurs, an Egyptian Pharaoh and all the wonders of the world. Magic!
Thunder and Lightning by Liz Husebye Hartmann
“You sure this is gonna work, Jonas?”
“Have I ever steered you wrong before, Boy?”
Peter muttered, “Only for a higher purpose. Or so you say.”
Jonas grinned, his double row of needle-sharp teeth glinting in the cavern’s incandescence. His hearing was quite acute, even for a centuries-old creature as himself.
Peter raised the gnome-forged hammer and tapped again at the second’s sliver of lightning. It sparked with each careful blow, but made its way into the crevice within the waterfall.
The hammer slipped.
“Careful!” Jonas’ brow lifted. “Too hard and the cure within the waters will be lost.”
Esurient Mine by Kerry E.B. Black
“We’re lost!” Tears bubbled into Layla’s trembling words.
Craig studied his chalkmark. They’d passed it twice already. Lost, indeed.
“Why’d we come here? There’s no treasure.” She slid to the hard ground. Stone snagged her long hair as though hungry for her touch. “Nobody even knows we’re here.”
“Shh, what’s that?”
She sniffed to silence and heard it. Tapping, alluring as the Pied Piper’s song.
She whispered, “Is it a miner?”
He shrugged. “Maybe.”
They followed. Better to accept their punishment for trespassing than die lost in the mine.
Knock, tap, tap. They followed deeper into the longing darkness.
Stranded by clfalcone *
It started with the tapping.
Three days now they were snowbound, no water or food, scarce firewood. The avalanche had completely covered the shack – only the chimney was exposed.
The four were on a work retreat gone awry and barely tolerated each other. Annoying habits abounded: pacing, snoring, coughing, farting – but the worst was the tapping. It drove the others crazy.
Tap-teh-tap-tap…. there it was again.
“I said stop it!” Grabbing the drummer’s collar.
“But I’m not,” timidly, “I think it’s the door.”
Tap-teh-tap went the door.
Pause, then loud cheering as they clamored to be rescued.
Tapped Out by D. Avery
“Here comes Kid’s weekly whine, kin jist tell, the way yer tappin’ an’ huffin’.”
“Cain’t stand it, Pal. ‘D. Avery entertains Carrot Ranchers’?! Really? D’ya see D. Avery aroun’ here?”
“Done told ya, Kid, thet’s jist the way it is. Yer. A. Fiction. All. Character.”
“But I identify as real, Pal.”
“Why’re ya so het up on bein’ real Kid? Seems overrated ta me. Them folks got some real problems. Wrestle with yer ego by yersef, ya sap. I’m tappin’ out.”
“Where ya goin’?”
“Don’t really matter.”
“Gonna tap the Poet Tree, try’n drum out some words.”
Passing by D. Avery
“Pal! Didn’t expect ta see you at the Poet Tree.”
“Had ta git outta the bunkhouse Shorty.”
“Kid gittin’ to ya?”
“Yep, an’ as I was goin’ out, LeGume was goin’ in. Thet’s two good reasons ta come out here.”
“Bunkhouse windows are fogged up. Those two boilin’ sap?”
“Wish thet were the case, Shorty. It’s LeGume a course. In there jist a’tappin’ out his tunes. I ain’t never got what ya see in thet Pepe LeGume.”
“Pal, Pepe’s a fine travelin’ companion.
“Whut Pepe passes lingers, Shorty.”
“But it’ll pass. Ever’thin’ does.”
Out of the confines, the open road calls. A winding ribbon of mapless tar or a straight path with a determined destination. It’s a journey, a diversion, a means to the end. Whether enjoying or escaping, the open road has stories at ever mile marker.
And who better to craft such stories than those on the writer’s road? This week, writers packed light and traveled where the prompt took them.
The following is based on the February 27, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the open road.
PART I (10-minute read)
Wide Open by clfalcone *
The open road stretched like a contrasting asphalt ribbon plying the desolate range. Iridescent hues painted the darkening sunset as stars began their evening dance.
Night soon, then frost, bitter cold.
He slouched next to his luggage, amazed, shocked. The pickup pulled away, tailpipe smoking, stranding him. He was in the Wilderness now, mountainous prairie where harsh winds blew at night, five miles from civilization.
He hadn’t wanted to be let off here but some people get touchy about religion, politics, economics.
Slinging his backpack, laptop bag, he began the trek west, dragging his suitcase towards the sun.
Looking for Love by Norah Colvin
Rainbow Cat clawed through the rubble. One by one she pulled out the survivors — Little Red Riding Hood, Little Miss Muffet, The Gingerbread Man; even Wolf who promised to behave.
“Where are we going?” squealed the Three Little Pigs as they piled onto the bus.
“Where children will love us, like before.”
For many, this was their first time beyond the covers of a book. As the bus roared down the open road, they peered through the windscreen and out the windows, dreaming up new adventures yet untold.
Spontaneously, they burst into a chorus of On the Road Again.
An Australian on the Road in Tenby, Wales by Doug Jacquier
At the Buccaneer Pub, inside the walls of the old town, I’m drinking with ancients like myself, pretending to be interested in rugby, while they pretend to be interested in cricket, but neither of us fakes their distrust of the Royals. Although it must be said that the man in the top hat and overalls, feeding his bar-stool-perched water spaniel some crisps and Guinness, is a little less harsh than his mates. He would allow them to take their own lives come the revolution. ‘Your round, convict lad,’ smiles Top Hat, ‘and mine next if the dog thinks you’re funny.”
The Road To Where? by Hugh Roberts
Thank goodness nobody else was in the room, thought Mike. Putting the gun away, the sound of meowing from the other side of his hotel room door startled him. He hesitated before moving towards it.
Having decided to follow the meowing cat, Sophie was shocked by what she saw as she turned the corner of the hotel corridor. In front of her, an open road with a cat running towards the horizon. Should she follow it?
Two floors above, Doug’s dream continued. Rainbow, the cat, reappeared, only this time somebody was following the feline. “Don’t follow,” he murmured.
Changes by Sascha Darlington
A visit to Vegas, the Grand Canyon; I’d had enough of you. We still had Yellowstone ahead of us. The good thing was that I didn’t have an easy weapon at hand.
At the Day’s Inn, you made me waffles. A good start.
We drove for hundreds of miles listening to Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, David Bowie.
My mood eased.
My first site in Yellowstone was a Golden Eagle. Magnificent.
I laughed, amazed.
At the lodge, you gave me wine, my favorite red blend. The sun set in artist’s colors.
Chill, happy, I heard a wolf howl.
Where it Leads by Bill Engleson
Once a month, usually a Friday or a Saturday, Barrington jumped into his SUV and hit the road.
He allowed himself forty-eight hours for a return trip to wherever the road led.
He maintained this schedule for seventeen years, ever since the year Clarice, his one and only true love, had packed her bags and disappeared.
Friends observed; “You won’t find her, Bar. She’s long gone.”
Barrington would neither confirm nor deny that his monthly pilgrimage was in search of Clarice.
All he would publicly allow is that, “driving comforts my restless spirit”.
Privately, he enjoyed his dark secret.
Road Trip by Sarah Brentyn
“This isn’t going to end well, is it.”
He glanced in the rearview mirror. “That a question, little lady?”
“Not really,” she sighed. They’d just passed the exit to Jimmy’s Ice Cream, where he’d promised to bring her. Why the hell had she hitchhiked? Whatever happened now would be her own damn fault. Idiot. Her dead cell phone may soon have some company.
“Well,” he cleared his throat. “This ain’t no fun.”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, well, join the club.”
“You ain’t scared?”
He slid a gun from his waistband. “Now?”
“Cool. Can I see that?”
Hitchhiker by Joanne Fisher
Zoe rode down the open road. These days it was all open road since the cataclysm. She was happy to have a motorbike that worked and enough fuel to get over the other side of the desert.
She was surprised to see a lone figure standing by the road. A woman covered in dust.
“You’re the first person I’ve seen in a while.” Zoe told her.
“Where you heading?”
“Nowhere.” Zoe replied.
“Weird! I’m headed there too!” she smiled. “Can I catch a lift?”
“Sure.” The woman got on and put her arms around Zoe’s waist. They drove off.
The Open Road by Liz Husebye Hartmann
The Chevy accelerates and tops the hill’s summit, before twisting and plunging into the ravine. A duffle bag and body detach, and arc onto the dirt shoulder. They disappear into the dust cloud created by the truck’s struggle with the gravel road.
A crackling of glass and steel, the whoosh of explosion, and there is silence.
Crickets resume, wheat fields undulating like a cat avoiding, yet relishing a caress.
Amy sits up, pulls her duffle over and on to her shoulder. The dust cloud dissipates. The way is now clear.
She rises, slapping her knees. She loves new beginnings.
Manipulative Machinery or Convoluted Computing by JulesPaige
Before GPS it was all maps, numbers and charts. And even with teasing; it was no go for the children to drive. All we could do was stare out the windows. On the long trip south to visit grandparents.
Now we don’t even use the do-dad that had to be uploaded with maps. Since one of us has a smartphone (not me). While most of the time just plugging in the address works. Sometimes one has to be aware of alternate routes.
We laugh heartily at ‘The Voice’ when we make a pit stop. And ‘she’ haughtily says; recalculating.
Sunday Drive (Part 1) by Susan Zutautas
What do you want to do today?
It’s beautiful out, let’s go up to Mount Rainier, we can stop in at The Paradise Inn for lunch.
Okay, sounds good, let’s go!
Along the way the weather started to get bad but on they trudged through the blizzard.
I wasn’t expecting this kind of weather in March, do you think we should head back?
Not really, let’s keep going, it might clear up. I want that lunch you promised me.
Ha, ha, always thinking of your stomach.
When they finally arrived, they walked up to the restaurant. Closed till May.
Sunday Drive (Part 2) by Susan Zutautas
Oh great, I thought they were open all year round. Sorry, we’ll just have to stop somewhere on the drive back.
I’m famished but I guess I’ll have to wait. Let’s go for a little hike while we’re here though. You didn’t happen to bring our snowshoes, did you?
No, I really wasn’t expecting we’d need them today. It is beautiful back in Seattle, and I just assumed it would be the same up here.
Perhaps we should have checked the forecast.
Let’s just drive back, but I’m expecting that lunch.
Okay, okay, we’ll get that lunch.
Sunday Drive (Part 3) by Susan Zutautas
Hey, I know a place that we’ve been wanting to try if you can hold on to your appetite for a bit. That Italian restaurant in Issaquah. What was it called?
Oh, I know the place you mean, Montalcino. That would be nice. I’ll look them up on my phone to make sure that they’re open on Sundays. YEAH! They’re open.
Okay good, now we have a destination.
After stuffing themselves on Italian Cuisine the couple headed back to Seattle.
What started out as a drive up to the mountain turned into a lovely day, like most Sunday drives.
Travel Times by Susan Sleggs
Michael told his buddy, “Tessa’s daughter invited us to visit. It’s a seven hour drive, but Tessa wants to plan on nine, for meal and bathroom stops. I’m not used to making a long road trip with a woman. Is that normal?”
Tony rolled out a belly laugh, “Welcome to the land of traveling with a happy companion. Be glad she isn’t adding stops at quilt shops too. Your days of driving from home to destination without stopping are done. I call it a fair price.”
“Man, I’m having to learn a whole new way of thinking.”
Open Road to Nowhere by by Lisa R. Howeler
They would leave together.
Hand in hand.
Alone, yet together on this journey. She was leaving behind all she’d ever known.
Her mother, sweet and tender.
Her father, hard and stubborn, yet she knew he loved her.
The man with her, Augustus, a Roman by birth, married her in secret in the home of Tehal, who’d been healed of her affliction by the touch of a garment.
Could she trust her future to this man with kind eyes and a caring heart?
She felt that she could, knowing they were both called to the open road.
Evaluating Oblivion by Getaway Brick
“We are traversing on cracked pavement at a suboptimal speed.” Suki was always the pragmatist. I could mention that it was poetic, but that would be futile. “Seriously are you saying they still drive?” Signs flickered by methodically. “Every study of humanity’s culture leads to roads.” Suki shrugged. “Yeah that is why they are about to be extinct.” Probably. Projection charts tell a story of almost assured annihilation. But I had a feeling, Suki would call it a stupid feeling, that somewhere on this road was a story of redemption.
Ancient Roads by Saifun Hassam
Early morning sunlight lit up the high plateau open road. Pierre was on his way to the Diamante Archeological Center.
He loved driving along this high open road. Over the centuries it had been transformed from a stony shepherd’s trail to a vital much traveled road linking the mountain and coastal communities.
Pierre thought of his own journey. He was a marine archeologist. Then travel along the Silk Road had sparked a growing interest in the history of ancient roads and communities. Now he was exploring the Trissente Sea, with its unusual shores, and its enigmatic inland Diamante Mountains.
The Open Road by Waylynn
The open road. Hold that thought, that imagined vista of empty space. Roads have been around since the dawn of life itself. Animals follow the same migratory patterns across the seasons.
Northern European barbarians used wooden walkways while Romans left straight lines. Some highways are named after Roman routes. Others traversed mountaintops.
Today, there is a network of roads and highways that criss-cross the beautiful planet we inhabit, ranging from densely clustered city streets to the isolated back roads.
We pay the for the cost of solitude the open road offers by having to travel further to reach it.
My Favourite Journey by Anita Dawes
The road to Tintagel
My favourite journey
The small towns and villages
we pass along the way
we stop as often as we can
check things out
learn a thing or two
along the way.
the long leafy lanes
where you can only see
blue skies, birds.
when the hedgerows lower
fields of green, yellow
sheep happily grazing
the world laid out
like a patchwork quilt
that goes on forever.
we pass Stonehenge
give a salute to the old stones
as much as I want to reach
I wish it would go on forever please…
Open Road by Donna Matthews
Sharon stares out the window. The garden needs tending, the grass mowing, and the tree trimming. But if she were honest with herself, she’d rather go to the dentist than face the Saturday chores. Sipping her hot coffee, she returns her attention to her current book titled, “The Open Road.” Reading chapter 11, the protagonist, a beautiful young girl in her 20s, is off on another one of her cross country adventures. Sharon can’t help but to feel wonderment for this make-believe gypsy…as if she were real. As if Sharon could somehow almost grasp her hand and join her.
PART II (10-minute read)
Journey or Sole Journey by Deepa
can walk it
My life is a beautiful train journey. I met many passengers, few who I became close, made new friends and relationships with few and fought with few. While this journey has twists and falls, I enjoyed every uphill and downhill moment. As the passengers got down at every station, I was unable to bear to see them getting down. Towards the end, I realize I am the only soul in the open road in search of the soul journey!
Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout by Sherri Matthews
What could be hotter than a pepper sprout? And where was that place anyway…Jackson? I belted it out as a kid, but I’d be nineteen before I knew that kind of heat…hotter than hell, me and Jimmy, tearing up the highway in his Plymouth Dodge. But it isn’t Johnny Cash crooning from the 8-track; it’s Eddie Van Halen. And we’re not going to Jackson…still don’t know where it is. Half-way through the Mojave Desert, drinking beer and flying past the sign to Death Valley, we got the fever and we’re getting married as soon as we thunder into Vegas.
Eyes Forward by Annette Rochelle Aben
Nine years packed into a few boxes and an old steamer trunk. Was there nothing else to show for all the ups and downs of a marriage? In perspective, that which was her past was miniscule compared to the opportunities which comprised her future.
Getting behind the wheel of her car, she felt gratitude for the hard work she and her therapist did to get her to even consider filing for divorce.
She was figuring it out. Turn the key. Fasten the seatbelt and adjust the rearview mirror. Wow, check out the view through the windshield. The open road.
Less Traveled by D. Avery
It was something, the same old something, but no point in arguing now. She’d be lucky if he wasn’t snoring in the car before they got home. No, he’d make it, because he was still complaining about the evening.
“Boring old fools, going on and on about their RV trip. Who cares? Open road adventures my ass. Who needs it?”
Almost there. She noted he’d filled the tank earlier.
“Just going to have a nightcap with the news lady.”
His snores were louder than the click of the door. With one light bag she hit the road.
Viv’s Open Road Hair-Do by Charli Mills
Viv tossed the letter to where her long ginger locks scattered across the kitchen floor. “Goodbye, Hal. Fix your own damned dinner,” she wrote. She left the broken plate he’d flung at her when she served his scrambled eggs too dry. After he went to the copper mine, she bundled her clothes and sheared her curls without benefit of a mirror. Her scalped stung less without the weight of hair he could yank to get her attention. Irish whore no more. She was hitting the open road and taking his 1956 Ford Victoria, the only thing he ever loved.
The Road by Allison Maruska
I pass under the last green light, sighing. Behind me is the city, the place I called home, and the person who made it impossible to stay: you.
I squeeze the wheel and glance in the rear view mirror.
My decision comes without explanation or apology, because you aren’t here to demand that I explain and apologize. I’ve shed the wet fur coat that is you. Funny how the one decision that may warrant an explanation won’t get one.
Ahead, the road stretches far, meeting the horizon. Somewhere along it is my future—one where I can simply live.
Leaving by Lisa A. Listwa
Carla didn’t know what drove her decision. She only knew she needed to go.
She flew through the house, stuffing items into her duffel. From the bedroom, her favorite sweatshirt. His, really. Too bad. From the dining room she grabbed her current reading pile and a half-drunk Diet Coke.
She stamped down the three steps to the front door, paused by the kitchen. Crockpot on. Good.
She locked the front door and flung her bag into the back seat as she jumped into the convertible. She only looked in the rearview mirror once as she hit the open road.
Open Road by FloridaBorne
I grew up in the house my parents still inhabit. I’d look up at the night sky to watch planes flying across the setting sun and wished for the thrill of soaring toward an unknown destination.
Mom would yell, “Janie, dinner!”
I’d grumble, “Pork ‘n beans? Again?”
There’s poor, and then there’s the “eating the same crap every night,” level of poor. That was us.
I entered college and never looked back.
A master’s degree in business, traveling to different places as an auditor, I look down from the plane and long for the comfort of my family home.
Monday Morning by tracey
As I pulled out of the school parking lot I wondered what would happen if I turned left at the light instead of right? If I hopped on the interstate and just kept going north? How far away would I be before anyone realized I was gone? Would my family really miss me? Where would I go? Who would I be if I started my life over? What could I do if I lived my life only for myself? As I approached the light I dithered, right lane…or left lane? I smiled to myself as I made the turn.
Highs and Lows by T. Marie Bertineau
She clutched a tattered bunny, her security in the highs and lows. “But where will we sleep?” she asked. He had woken her in the dusky pink morning, broken her dream of the spelling bee.
“Don’ much matter,” he said, and tousled her hair.
“But what about school?”
“You’ll get what you need.” He raised his chin, his arms outstretched. A northeasterly breeze siphoned a tear from his eye.
“Out there’s what matters. That there’s the real school.”
She traced the direction of his gaze, saw the melon sun lapping the horizon, luring him again, lighting the open road.
Saturday by Pete Fanning
The Blue Ridge mountains sat against the electric blue sky as we barreled down Route 29. Dad rested his left arm on the door—we always laughed about his mismatched tan—talking about some car he’d found in the classified section.
I think he just liked to drive. I did. Saturday mornings were the only time I had him to myself. And now, as the wind flew through our hair, drowning out the radio as we faced the wide-open Saturday that lay before us, I set my own arm out the window, hoping the sun would do the rest.
Rediscovering Freedom by Jo Hawk
In our family cubicle, Grandfather told stories of his time before The Glitch.
Hushed whispers painted an unbelievable alien world. He spoke of blue skies, green grass, tall trees, and wild animals who roamed across continents. He said nature’s wind caressed his skin like a lover’s exhaled breath. When he closed his eyes, my favorite recitations began. His calmness and joy infected us, and his hypnotic voice recounted tales of the open road.
They labeled his accounts as mere rantings from a senile old man, but I believed.
In his name, we escaped and became the Open Road Warriors.
Just. Keep. Walking. by Anne Goodwin
Planed wood. Woven fabric. Sheeted glass. Makes? Not her place. Not her clothes. Not her smell.
So she walks. She walks and she walks. Away from this nowhere. To a? To find.
A white painted line guides her. A white line smack in the middle of the road ahead. It centres her. Keeps her straight. Until.
It swings. The lovely road swings away. Curves. If she follows she’ll topple. Off the edge of the earth.
She walks. Straight. Wall-grazed knees. Bush-scratched arms. Pool-wet feet.
Through his kitchen window, Mike spots her in his fishpond. Calls the care home. Again.
Let’s Go! by Cara Stefano
The open road…It calls to me – let’s go!
There are times, so many times, that all I wish is to feel the wind in my hair.
Play that radio up loud and speed away – never to return!
Reinvent myself somewhere far away and start anew – who will I be tomorrow
When the sun rises on me once again?
Watch the silver ribbon river flashing by; Glimpse the songbirds in the verdant green along my path.
Change the channel and a new song plays.
I want to turn off here – let’s go this way now!
Bearin’s by D. Avery
“Ever feel like hittin’ the road Pal?”
“Heck no, Kid. Look’t thet road in the picture. Hmmff. Looks as if it leads straight ta nowhere.”
“It’s straight like that so ya cain’t go ‘round the bend. I’m worried ‘bout Shorty. ‘Fraid she’s losin’ her bearin’s.”
“Jist her wheel bearin’s Kid. She’s on the road ta her North Star. Shorty’s picked the right path. She’ll find her way through storms a distraction.”
“S’pose so, Pal. Was about this time a year I got cabin fever so bad I took ta the road. Ended up here.”
“Still findin’ yer way, Kid.”
In WWI, letters from girlfriends and wives back home were called sugar reports. Messages might sustain soldiers on their quests, giving them something sweet to look forward to. It’s not certain if this phrase was used in other wars, but the idea is ageless.
Writers were asked to imagine (or reimagine) what could be contained in a sugar report. Letters and ideas expanded across the battlefield to include new uses for the word, or clever twists.
The following are based on the
PART I (10-minute read)
The Female Pilot by Joanne Fisher
Mary was at the controls of the B-29 bomber. She was helping ferry the new aircraft to a military base. Mary was part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots program, or WASP for short. That was all she could do for the war effort, since she wasn’t allowed to fly combat missions, that certainly wasn’t part of the program. Only in Russia could women be combat pilots…
In her jacket pocket was a letter from her “friend” Lucy. She would wait until she got to the base, and then she would find somewhere quiet to read her “sugar report”.
Right Direction by Reena Saxena
It was a tough choice, but she had always done things differently.
Rosy decided to join the army after her husband Herbert became a martyr to the country’s cause. She was welcomed, and her decision glorified to start with. Gradually, the grim reality of the situation set in.
Tears rolled down her eyes as she opened her sugar report – mails from her two lovely children. Isn’t this what Herbert referred to her letters as – sugar report?
“Mom, we are proud of you. Don’t worry about us. We have joined the NCC- it is a stepping stone in the right direction.
1917 Sugar Report by Jules Dixon
I inhale deep. She’s here. It’s one of the only times of quiet among the men. Names on white rectangles called out into the cold air. Words that keep us going when we don’t want to. Some of the guys call them sugar reports; sweet, concerned words melting chests and eyes. I save mine. I don’t let anyone see me reading what will show my weakness. It might be the last words I ever hear my sweet Madeline whisper and I always imagine she’s right there beside me. The letter smells like her. I inhale deep. She’s not here.
Dear, Sweet Sugar Report by Chelsea Owens
“Looks like t’mail’s come,” Private O’Boyle said. He leaned over the M-2’s exposed, greasy innards and smiled at his friend.
Pfc. Flanagan grinned back. The two watched a soldier unloading a canvas bag.
“Betcha got one from Mary,” O’Boyle teased. He dodged Flanagan’s kick.
“Oh; aye? And what of *you*, Joseph O’Boyle?”
O’Boyle pretended sudden concentration in securing a bolt. A smudge of grease almost worked to hide his half-smile.
“Aha!” Flanagan said, “I knew it.”
“You’re not foolin’ anyone! You’ve had more Sugar Reports from Miss Josephine Callahan that the rest of the unit put together!”
Mail Drop by D. Avery
“She didn’t forget you this week, Dougie.”
The lieutenant handed out the mail, watched as the steamy jungle faded and the men disappeared into familiar kitchens, old neighborhoods, into embraces remembered or imagined.
Then his radio man was at his side. He didn’t need to tell his men; they were folding their letters, tucking them into their breast pockets, some kissing them before putting them in the band of their helmets. The jungle was back in full focus.
“Time to draw straws.”
“Don’t bother Lieu. I’ll go.” Dougie took point, his crumpled letter left behind in an MRE can.
Sugar Sugar by Kerry E.B. Black
The wind hung heavy with dust and destruction, but his pocket shielded a secret. Encased in Army-issued green, a letter from home bore the sweetest message. His girl expected their baby’s arrival before spring bloomed. Although it was hard to imagine anything as delicate as a flower or a baby, such images sustained him through dark nights and hellish days. Shells broke bones. Under fire, skin shriveled. Yet his spirit clung to a need to meet and love his little family. He’d collect the honey of their innocence and craft from it a balm to heal his wounded soul.
Mail for You by Padmini Krishnan
“Was this the mail you were reading?” the young lieutenant passed a letter to Henry.
“Thank you,” Henry took it and wondered if he was expected to salute the lieutenant
The lieutenant hesitated, “I found this under the wires. It probably fell from your pocket.” Henry looked at the bruises in the lieutenant’s hands where the barbed wires had cut him. He took the crumpled photo of his girlfriend. “Thank you,” he said, quietly.
The lieutenant saluted him and walked away. Henry stared at his back, then walked back to his tent to join the other prisoners of war.
Sweet Words of Home by D. Avery
Since at least the second World War
And all wars after and all before
Now Iraq, or Afghanistan
It’s sweet words of home sustains a man
That you send comfort shows your strength
You’re the one deserves parades of thanks
You speak to me of a life at home
Thinking me the man you’ve known
And I know you say you love me still
But I began to die with my first kill
Your letters delivered to my hell
And I reply but cannot tell
I want to die, yet Death I refuse
Because of you, my Living muse
Sugar Report by Jacquie Biggar
Unashamed tears roll down my face, words on scented paper imprinted on my mind.
I think about you every day, but never more than now.
He’s beautiful, my darling. A full head of hair, nut-brown like yours. Ten perfect fingers and toes, and a smile that fills my heart.
The nurse says gas, but we know better. He’s thinking of the day you’ll come home and take us into your loving arms.
I pray it’s soon.
Love you always and all ways,
Three long months ago, my baby wrote me a love letter- I’m a father.
Found Letters by Susan Zutautas
Jenny was cleaning out her mom’s house after she’d died and came across a stack of letters tied together. She was curious to find out who they were from, so she settled into a big comfy chair and was shocked as soon as she started to read them. They were from a man in the army and from the written words she could tell that he was in love with her mother and planned to marry. After putting two and two together Jenny found out that this man was her father who never returned from the war. Tears flowed.
1917 Sugar Report by Charli Mills
In 1916 it wasn’t clear if America would send troops overseas, but if they did, John Kellerman was enlisted and ready. His mother refused to say goodbye the day he left their Midwest farm. She was a widow against the war. His kid sister ran after his bus, waving proudly. She sent him letters scented with pink roses from her victory garden. Kellerman let his squad believe he had a sugar report from home, enjoying the minor deception. When he was killed on the frontline, they buried him and his sister’s letters beneath a white cross. Nothing sweet remained.
Sweet Roses by Saifun Hassam
Sitting on the park bench, Ginny was lost in her memories of Grandpa. Among his personal photos and letters were Grandma’s sugar reports when Grandpa served in Vietnam.
Her reverie was suddenly interrupted by the young guy who had been walking impatiently up and down the path, a beautiful bouquet of roses in his hand. With a smile and a gallant bow, he offered her the roses. Before she could thank him, he strode off.
Ginny returned to the old First Avenue Cemetery. Lovingly she placed the roses near the potted peonies and daisies, for her Grandma and Grandpa.
Future Days by Sascha Darlington
It was getting harder, preparing care packages, mementos, conjuring sweet sayings, keeping her hand steady to write. Sitting even became a struggle.
“Please, Casey, please write this one,” Bea implored.
“You must tell him.”
“We’ve been through this. I want him home safe.”
Casey penned Bea’s words, her own hand trembling.
“The blooming daffodils smell of spring, remind me of you,” Bea dictated.
Casey’s heart clenched. Bea hadn’t been outside in days.
“I imagine future days we’ll walk, hands clasped.”
Weeks later, Casey gazed across the meadow, where a trick of light revealed a couple, hand-in-hand, picking poppies.
Send ‘Em a Letter by Susan Sleggs
At the Home-front Warriors meeting, Tessa’s father asked, “How do you communicate with your service member?” He was surprised all the answers involved electronics. “Doesn’t anyone write letters anymore? In my father’s era, they were called sugar reports. Do you realize if your loved one pulls out a phone in a war zone, the enemy can track the GPS coordinates.”
There were murmurs of surprise and dismay.
“I challenge you all to write a happy, newsy letter. One that can be carried in a pocket and reread in silence reminding them they have a reason to get back home.”
PART II (10-minute read)
Sweet Lamb by Sherri Matthews
My dearest Harry,
How I miss you! It’s raining here, the puddles by the barn are knee-deep. Father’s out there now with Lucy, remember her, the old, fat sheep we didn’t think would lamb? Well, she did, a boy. Father let me name him Harry, after you, the most handsome lamb I’ve ever seen. If only you were here, we could sneak into the barn like we used to. Come home soon, my dearest love, so we can marry. I think we’ve got our own little Harry on the way and Father is getting suspicious. Your darling, Daisy.
Alex’s Sugar Report by Lisa R. Howeler
The sergeant tossed the letter at him on his way by. Alex snatched it from where it had fallen on his bunk. He smelled the perfume before he even saw the return address.
A smile tugged at his mouth. He closed his eyes, pictured her smile, her green eyes, remembered her lips warm and soft under his.
“What’s that, Alex? A sugar letter?”
Alex let out a long sigh. “Indeed.”
“What’s it say?”
Alex read the words. The smile faded.
“Bad news?” Matthew asked.
Alex laughed. “No. The best news ever. I’m going to be a dad.”
Sugar Report by FloridaBorne
He remembered his high school sweetheart’s kiss the day Private Smith vowed to marry her once the war was over.
That day, he’d felt like a hero. After a year of fear, exhaustion, death… killing, he wasn’t the same man.
“Sugar report!” His sergeant chuckled, giving him two letters.
Same thing from his girlfriend: gossip.
He’d met a librarian in London, someone with a brain, marrying her on leave 3 months ago.
He tore open her letter. He was going to be a father?
He began a letter to his girlfriend, long overdue, “Dear Millie, I’m not returning home…”
Sugar Report: Code Red by Lisa Listwa
Kiddo was unusually wound up when Mom picked her up at school.
“How was school today?”
“Great!” she said. Kiddo, backpack, lunchbox, and Valentine’s box all tumbled into the car. “The Valentine party was SOOOO much fun!”
“Hmm…” said Mom. “What did you eat today?”
“I only had my lunch that you packed. It was good.”
“Is that all?” Mom was skeptical. “Did they have treats at the party?”
“Oh yeah!” said the Kid. “I forgot!”
Please say water, apples, and air-popped popcorn…
“Red candy hearts, lollipops, cupcakes with pink and red sprinkles…”
Great, thought Mom. Code Red Dye.
Valentine’s Day at School by tracey robinson
“So, how was school today?” I ask as my son bounces around in the back seat. “Good,” he says, which is his typical response.
“Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day?” “Well, in advisory we got Hershey Kisses and in Latin Mr. C gave us donuts. Oh and Mrs. P handed out Smarties.” “Oh, really? “What about lunch, anything special?” “We got ice cream sandwiches, the Neapolitan kind.” “Great,” I replied with a sigh, regretting the chocolate cake I had baked for dessert.
“So what’s for snack?” my son asked, oblivious to the impact of his sugar report.
My Sugar Report by Colleen M. Chesebro
It’s been a difficult month. I’ve fought temptation the best I could, to no avail. My sugar report for this month is a bust. I couldn’t fight the temptations. I gave in to my demons.
My weight loss journey has been fraught with many ups and downs. One day, I meet my goal without breaking a sweat. The next day after a three-mile ramble, I’m starving and willing to eat every carb in the house. And, I do.
Some battles just aren’t worth the fight. My mom said for special occasions, just go ahead and just eat the cake!
Sugar Report by Anita Dawes
A letter I found inside a second hand book
From a nine-year-old called Charlotte
Addressed to Santa dated 1976
Dear Santa, I don’t need any toys
Or new clothes this year
I need help to make my daddy better
He’s been sick a long time
And mummy is very worried
Doctor said we have to wait
For daddy to get better
because she does not think he can.
She said I should pray
I try hard, please help, love Charlotte
With Santa’s magical delivery in one night
I hoped that Charlotte’s request for help
was answered somehow…
Sugar Letter by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
The report was no sugar letter. Its message was clear; devoid of any chocolate coating. The shadowy shape on the sonar was a tumour. It was wrapped around the main artery in William’s stomach making effective surgical removal difficult.
“I’ll remove as much of it as possible,” Dr McDonald said, “the piece left behind should shrivel up and disappear.”
He looked at the parents sitting across from him, their faces white and troubled. “The piece I remove will be biopsied.”
“I’ll donate my blood if it’s ever needed. We are a match.” It was all he had to offer.
Clewiston, 1973 by magpie477
Rosario, I miss you and the children so much. Our camp is crowded and filthy: nine other men in this shack, no toilet or running water. Every morning we are driven to the cane fields where we cut until our backs ache and the machete blisters our hands. For lunch, rice, sometimes a little pork. (Oh, for a cassava!) I can cut eight tons a day but am lucky to get two dollars. Boss treats us like pigs. If we complain, says, “Why don’t you go home?”
I wish I could. But there is no job for me there.
Sugar Report by M J Mallon
I’m missing you so much; the days are endless without you. Yesterday, I placed some flowers on Richard’s grave. The cold and I stood shivering by his gravestone. No one was around so I confessed everything. By the time I’d finished, it was getting dark and the tombstones were getting darker.
I feel so guilty with you in prison. Passion drove us to his mess. I wish I’d stuck with Richard’s humdrum, instead of going for your sugar kisses. But, I’d murder again for one sweet kiss.
Back Before Email and Text by Anne Goodwin
She basked in the cultural difference. She dodged the landmines of Give-me-pen and What-is-your-name? She swapped travellers’ tales over masala dosa. She pulled the dupata over her head and slinked away. She wandered blissfully through cities where no-one knew her. She felt so lonely she cried.
She re-read the letters on blue onion-skin airmail paper. The sugar reports from home. Relived the joy of leaving the Poste Restante with a stack of reminders she was more than Anonymous Westerner. Some days she’d queue at the office knowing there’d be nothing for her. In towns she’d never planned to be.
Letter of Intent by JulesPaige
from what I could tell
Valentine was up all night
go on grab hold – love
such a brief message, he sent;
healed, my faith – sentenced to death
who could judge my heart
such a sugar report those
lines restoring faith
While reading about Valentine, Lee imagined the blind girls’ thoughts. Did Ife, her guardian spirit whose name meant woman of love; was Ife also helping to restore the faith of those who had lost so much? The Judge who sentenced Valentine to death, could he have imagined his role in the modern holiday.
Ife’s rose scent wafted gently through…
Torn by Hugh Roberts
The first words that entered Mike’s head when looking at the picture were ‘I love you.’ He wished he’d kept the sugar letter he’d received while on duty in Iraq.
Torn by love and lust, Sophie suddenly remembered the reply she’d got from a sugar letter she’d sent. Had he meant what he had said? Was now the right time to find out?
Two floors above, Doug dreamt about a tall stranger dressed in military uniform stood in a field of daisies, and who held an unopened letter towards him. ‘Not everything is as it seems,’ whispered the stranger.
Dispatch From my Third Floor Cubicle by Bill Engleson
Darling, what a lovely surprize. I’d expected nothing more this Valentines Day than my usual excruciating hour commute, often as not sitting next to that irritating millennial, Dulcie Ditherspoon, the new HR manager from the fifth floor, who just happens to board at the next station to ours and never fails to find a seat inches from me.
Today, she was clutching a dozen roses and a box of chocolate, and saying, “My sweet Riley, he’s so woke. I’m so quiche. He’s so goat.”
I almost tossed my cookies.
Your valentine-shaped peanut butter cookies.
Work is such dense warfare.
The Sweet Price of Freedom by Curious Archaeologist
“Those damn women.” He slapped the paper down.
His colleague looked up, surprised.
“This report, sales of West India sugar have slumped. This campaign not to use our sugar, just because of slavery – ‘Am I not a woman and a sister’ indeed.”
“What can we do? We’ve tried everything, it’s not working.”
She sipped her tea, the sugar bowl labelled ‘Not made by slaves’. The report was wonderful news, the campaign was working.
In the newly reformed parliament, the MP’s had been told how to vote, across the tea tables of Britain the battle for freedom was fought – and won.
Frankie Rides. Again by D. Avery
“Thanks agin fer the sugar cubes Kid. It’s got Burt eatin’ right outta my hand.”
“Reckon it’s another busy week fer you an’ Burt, ‘ey Frankie?”
“What d’ya mean, Kid?”
“Deliverin’ mail. Last week all them condolence cards, this week Valentines an’ love letters— sugar reports as she says.”
“Kid, I reckon those condolence cards and notes was letters a love too. Funny thing about mail. It’s all jest somethin’ in a envelope, ya jest don’t know; could be sugar, could be salt, looks the same. An’ some a this week’s sugar reports are sure ta be bittersweet.”
A protest can be small as the silence of a single person or big as a clamoring crowd. Social injustice, human rights, better conditions for workers can add to suppressed voices. Yet, objections can come from even the protested.
Writers gave much thought to the prompt and explored who and why what was the object of protests.
The following is based on the January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story.
PART I (10-minute read)
Remember the Revolution by Doug Jacquier
and affectations of effect on war
in cities now gone five-star?
Remember social action
sitting in smoke-filled rooms with Nescafe activists
and battered women with no teeth and less hope?
when it belonged to rock stars
and people your mother your mother knew?
and how it wasn’t going to concern you
until you learnt the golden rule and its defensible limits?
And do you remember when the penny dropped
that the personal was the political
and you found out you had to change?
And you decided to forget the revolution?
Standing by D. Avery
“Staff members shouldn’t join student anti’s, Ms. Higginbottom.”
“Anti’s. My dad, a member of the NRA, called protesters that, Mr. Mathy.”
Mr. Massey the math teacher looked at Ilene, unsure of her lisp and her tone.
“But this is not my father’s NRA. Not by a long shot.”
“You give up one constitutional right, the rest are vulnerable.”
Incredulous, Ilene finally spoke. “Look at the reciprocals; not what they’re against but what they are for; that’s what pro-test means, testifying for a cause.”
“And what are these children standing for Ms. Higginbottom?”
“Life, Mr. Massey. They want to live.”
My Way or Protest by Sam “Goldie” Kirk
Riley stared at the plate in front of her in disbelief. It wasn’t what she ordered.
She watched the waitress slowly approach the table.
“I wanted mac ’n’ cheese” – Riley spat out.
“This IS mac ‘n’ cheese” – the waitress calmly replied.
Riley folded her arms, pouted, and frowned at the broccoli. She was not going to eat anything until she got exactly what she ordered. Or chocolate, which was the one thing that would always magically fixed things.
“You will eat whatever I give you, young lady” – Riley’s mother said, sitting down next to her at the kitchen table.
A Child’s Protest by Ritu Bhathal
“No more slop! No more slop!”
The sound of the butts of knives and forks being bashed against the tabletops echoed through the dining room.
“Children, please!” Mrs Garrett, flapped her arms up and down, trying to calm the situation, to no avail.
“We ain’t eating that rubbish anymore, Miss! It’s rank!” Tommy, the protest ringleader, piped up.
A chorus of voices echoed his sentiments.
Mrs Garrett looked at the greying mass of potato, with an unidentifiable beige stew, and cabbage that had long since lost any goodness, and sympathised.
I think it’s time to talk to the cooks…
Protested Internally, Murtle’s Story by Tammy L. Toj Gajewski
She pointed at her leg making a stabbing motion. I shook my head and said, “What?” even though she couldn’t hear. Murrow took my hand and made me touch her pudgy belly, then took my finger to stab her upper thigh repeatedly. Oh oh… I see . “You don’t like the insulin shots?” I sign into her palm. That was it she went crazy signing and jibbering so fast I couldn’t keep up so I just hugged her and said yes I know over and over. She raised her shoulders finally in triumph that I knew her pain and internal protest.
A Small Protest by Chelsea Owens
“Won’t!” The small face scrunches.
Father sighs. “I’d let you go like this, Arnie, but-”
“No no no!”
“Arrrnie,” Father begins, his tone less calm, “Daddy‘s wearing-”
“Daddy’s fart face!” A small tongue protrudes from the small mouth.
Father straightens. He takes a small arm in a big hand and marches small legs up big stairs. “That’s enough, young man! We do not stick our tongues out or call names.”
“Fart. face. Fart. face,” Arnie gasps at each stair.
“Now,” Father concludes, setting him at the top. “You’ll sit in Timeout, then you WILL put your pants on!”
A Little Classroom Protest by Ellen Best
“Quiet!” shouted Miss Brooks, “Okay Girls, hands up if you think you’re the weaker sex.” Shouts, and stomping shoes echo. Her voice raised, her palm hit the desk. A puddle formed in her eye, she grabbed her hands rubbing vigorously, as a drip plopped against her lip. Her tongue, snatched it away unseen, while she counted raised hands.
“Please miss,” eyes swivel, and I colour. “I think it depends if they smack the desk harder than you.” The noise level climbed. “It isn’t gender or braun that predicts strength, but Emotional intelligence Miss, females win that every time.”
Protest Proposal by Caroline Scott
He was going to do it.
She could see it in his eyes. There was a strange, liquid gleam in them, and a kind of manic terror.
She should speak. She needed to stop this before he did something either of them regretted. A protest rose on her lips but he was already on his knees.
She’d never seen a man so afraid.
“Will you marry me?”
It was his question, but she said it. If the point was at all worth arguing, he didn’t say so. When her arms went around his neck, all he said was,
A Parent’s Nightmare by Jacquie Biggar
“There’s no easy way to say this—” Matt met the growing horror in Mrs. Carter’s eyes, his heart hurting, “your daughter was murdered last night on the Galloping Goose Trail. We believe she was on her way home at the time.”
The poised woman who’d met them at the door disappeared in a swelling tide of despair. She vigorously shook her head. “No, you’ve made a mistake. Emily was home last night. I brought her home from school myself. It’s not possible.”
“How do you know it’s our child?” Carter asked, his voice gruff. “It could be anyone.”
Methinks We Doth Protest Too Much by Cara Stefano
I have often wondered what I should protest: world hunger, needless war, homeless children right here in my home town? There are so many reasons to be angry, to wish for a soap box to stand upon, exhorting the masses to action; there are so many reasons to “get all up in arms” about this or that pressing issue. We are so often preaching to the choir – our tiny group of friends and family, acquaintances whom we know agree. Perhaps I simply want to protest the very idea of protesting. Let’s all just try to get along, shall we?
The Gift of Music by Susan Sleggs
The wheelchair-bound veterans weren’t surprised when asked to join Gil Brandt near his bus. The musician learned names then turned to Michael, “I’ve heard of your talent and that you live near multiple VA medical centers so I’m giving you this to share.”
A vehicle whose sides were painted with music murals and the words “Veterans’ Music Van” pulled up. Doors were opened to reveal many instruments and other band equipment.
“I can’t accept such a gift,” Michael said.
“No protesting. I hope you’ll develop or add to a music program at each center because music has healing power.”
Rebel Released by Ann Edall-Robson
“What’s going here?” Hanna pointed at the picture.
“The whisper went through the halls of the school.
‘We’re walking out as soon as first period starts after lunch.’
Rumours had been swirling for weeks. Finally, the day arrived to protest having to wear skirts and dresses at school, especially in -40F weather. All we wanted was to be able to wear slacks.
There I was, a junior, scared to death I’d be expelled, making my way down the halls, out onto the lawn with the others.”
Liz closed the Yearbook with a laugh.
“My inner rebel had been released.”
Student Protest by Nancy Brady
Julia wanted to be inducted into her school’s National Honor Society.
Each year she saw outstanding upperclassmen selected for the honor. As a junior, she watched her classmates and the seniors get chosen one by one.
The school administration and teachers were shocked when one senior refused in protest over a blatant prejudice against another student. Apparently, the seniors knew that the student was treated unfairly, making a pact to reject the honor; however, only Jerry had the strength of character to protest this injustice.
How they found out was never revealed, but it forever changed the school’s policy.
Protest by Joanne Fisher
An angry crowd had gathered outside protesting the sweeping new laws passed by the Government.
“How can I create art if there’s no more human misery and suffering?” shouted the artist.
“Now I can afford to feed, clothe, and house all my kids without having to work three jobs. HOW DARE YOU!” screamed a woman.
“But I wanted all my money to be sucked up by the global billionaires!” another man complained.
“Now I can have decent healthcare. What made you think I wanted that?”
“The environment cleaned up? Who said we wanted a utopia?” a woman cried out.
Not Mad, but Angry by Anne Goodwin
Although medication dulls my senses, that headline hurts. An assault on language. An assault on me.
When I first acquired the label, I feared it would swallow me whole. Would I still be a person? Or turn into an axe-wielding lunatic overnight?
I upload a screenshot to Facebook. An emoticon scowl. SCHIZOPHRENIC ATTACKS DIABETIC would be more balanced. UNEMPLOYED ACCOUNTANT ATTACKS SHOP ASSISTANT more polite.
The LIKES accumulate. The expressions of rage. We’re more than our diagnoses. More often the target than the perpetrator of abuse.
While social media can be mentally toxic, it’s a place of protest too.
Silent Protest by Lisa Listwa
Harold felt someone touch him.
Or did he?
It was hard to tell from behind the curtain of darkness shrouding his eyes. Every inch of his leaden body resisted all appeals for movement. His mind was too clouded for inquiry.
He could probably rally himself, but the only thing he wanted was to let go, to sink deeper into the noiseless black pawing at his consciousness.
Something – or someone – moved nearby. Harold sensed a change in the area immediately surrounding him.
No. He was rising.
“C’mon, cat,” said his human. “Time to get up. Get off the bed.”
#81 Discharge? by JulesPaige
my mind protests, sighs
you’re not what I expected;
Hoping that I’m not still blushing when Sam arrives; I am still in wonderment about how my body protests… But I smell Ife’s rose scent – I calm down. Just what can I tell him? That some myths are prophecy, like history is doomed to repeat itself if we don’t learn from it? Quite a bit of the Underground Railroad, just like the Pony Express has been amplified, romanticized. Yet there were kernels of truth.
Maybe I’ll open with; “Have you ever used a psychic to help solve cases?” …
I Must Protest by H.R.R. Gorman
The man in the top hat knocked the soapbox with his gold-tipped cane. “I must protest this… this sin! How dare you peddle this Godless brew?”
The squirmy man with thin mustache bent down from atop his box. “Godless brew? No, it’s a true cure for everything from apoplexy to zinc deficiency, from premature birth to heart failure! Care to take a sip and put some pep in your step?”
The man with the top hat smashed the bottles at the foot of the soap box. “Even worse! If you cure mother, how else will I get her money?”
Protest to God by Pedro Padilla
He felt broken. Heart striving. Body moving in nuanced physical patterns. Depending on what action the work requires. Sweat, clenched fists, spider like hand movements. All include use of the back.
Outside the mine his 4 children, motherless, wait. When he comes out to check on them he spies a snake near by. Family says that’s when he broke. Hair went white at 30. His protest to God. No man, or woman, as proxy. Straight to the source.
“We work. I work hard. She died. I’m broken. How? What to do? You are too hard. Too unfair. Please help us.”
Legacy Survived by Charli Mills
Three sisters opened a yarn shop in Houghton 19 miles from where their children died in a stairwell. They stood stiff as marble in the back corner, the waists of their dresses pinched as tight as the grief in their eyes. Round skeins of yarn soft as a baby’s head inspired sales to knitters whose wealth they had once protested. Next door, another displaced Italian family opened a confectionary with fireproof ceiling tiles. In business, they dispensed softness and sweets, set codes for stairs, and prospered. Their surviving children’s grandchildren expanded family enterprises long after the copper mines closed.
PART II (10-minute read)
Be The Change by Nobbinmaug
“Here’s another depressing news story. We should do something.”
“I don’t know. Pollution. Corporate tax cuts. Guns. Puppy mills.”
“What? You’re mocking me.”
“I am. What about actors who play roles inconsistent with their ethnicity? Innocuous lyrics to Christmas songs from the ’40s?”
“I’m serious. We live in a world where a xenophobic, rapist, megalomaniac, demagogue was elected president over a qualified woman amid cries of ‘Lock her up’ because she sent emails from the wrong account.”
“That’s why I’m protesting elections. You’re not gonna change anything.”
“Maybe we should protest apathy.”
Protest by Floridaborne
My name is Ambivalence. I know not of the ways those around me live. I am a ghost condemned to this globe called Earth, searching for my daughter, Kindness.
My world died in the fires of protest, a civilization created by Peace and Prosperity. My crime? I believed our golden era could never end and failed to see Greed stop at nothing to prevail. Greed created disease, and then Greed survived the death of our world, giving birth to Psychopath and Victim.
Five thousand years later, I watch the birth of twins; Obliteration and Apocalypse.
When can I rest?
Wait to Speak by Jules Dixon
A ghostly hand silenced my heart. Wait to speak it whispered, to hold my truth until I heard their decree of masked respect. But I wouldn’t be told when to scream from the mountains and when to cry from the valleys. My spirit straightened and I bellowed into the night that their ruse of order wasn’t going to work. My triumphant heart sang the words I’d longed to release. Their reaction an unwanted ghost to be banished forever. Now I stand on the podium, my voice strong, my heart wild, my emotion true. My time is now, and ever.
A Pregnant Protest by Colleen M. Chesebro
Susan squeezed her husband’s hand, turning his knuckles white.
“I’ll never let you into my bed again,” she protested.
Tim nodded his head. “I’m so sorry love,” he whispered.
The contractions began again as Susan shrieked out a primal wail. She panted through the waves of torment.
“You’re almost there,” the doctor murmured, intent on his ministrations. “One more push, Susan, and that should do it.”
Susan closed her eyes in concentration. With one long scream she pushed out the reason for her pain.
The infant resembled his father. A long-tail protruded from the base of his spine.
Protest by Simon
Fight between two monkeys inside a forest. Both were fighting rigorously and accidentally discovered a chest under the grass. Both monkeys stared at the chest in unison. One of them opened it. Two hands from inside holds both monkeys hand and they both scream and saw vision of a great hero past, died in a protest, fighting the secret enemies disguised as protestors cornered this Hero and pushed to death. But before he died, none of the enemies left protest alive. His rage was incredibly strong, even after he dies his soul now turned dark demon “Coming for you!”
The Protest by Teresa Grabs
Shouting roared outside as Davey and I huddled in the bathtub. Breaking glass sent shivers up my spine. My fingers ached from gripping the baseball bat as hard as I was, but I promised Mom I would keep him safe. I had to. Sure, he was my little brother and I loved him, but he was so much more than that.
Mom screamed and Dad started shouting vulgarities as a door somewhere in the house burst open. I don’t understand why the humans are protesting. Davey wouldn’t hurt anyone. He wouldn’t.
Unless I tell him to.
“Go ahead, Davey.”
Confusion’s Blunt Knife by M J Mallon
‘I didn’t do it,’ he howled.
‘Stop your protesting, we saw you!’
‘It wasn’t me, it was them.’
‘Excuses, excuses. Them don’t do that, only this does.’
Confusion handed the boy the knife. It was blunt.
‘Why you always blunt?’ he asked.
‘To see if you will sharpen your mind, you idiot!’
The boy looked lost. He pulled his jacket tight around him searching for the right words.
‘My mind is tired, too wired to remember this: who, did what to whom.’
‘Who, or what are you, boy?’
‘I’m tight wound like this jacket.’
‘Strait, that’s what you are.’
Protest by Dave Madden
Hundreds stood before the venue’s mouth, pumping signs in the air, screaming for an end to MMA—human cockfighting.
The manner in which these social justice warriors rallied online and postured at anyone trying to cross their fence of fiery flesh, it was unclear whether they were attempting to cancel California’s biggest MMA promotion or start up a new fight league of their own.
A long weekend defending territory, skipping meals in hopes of tipping the scales in their favor, and celebrating victory after effecting attendance.
Too bad the band of misguided protestors never noticed their similarities with MMA.
Attention/Protest by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Snowmageddon! Stay home if you don’t have to go out! Feels like double-digit negative temps! Treacherous conditions! Freezing drizzle! Mega-storm sweeping the continent, laying waste to everything in its path!
She switched off the t.v., powered down her computer, snapped off background radio reports. She believed the footage:crashes; spinouts; canceled flights; people braving the cold for ice hockey; solo skiing (her, today); folks bundled like pineapples, walking their dogs.
What about those living rough? Surely these people, and the relief efforts, are newsworthy? She grabbed her keys, groceries and blankets loaded into the SUV, and hit the streets.
The Gorge’s Protest by Nicole Osmond
The Gorge is breathtaking – a natural wonder carved in a mountain. A chiselled masterpiece a million years in the making.
When the rains come the Gorge shouts its fury in protest.
I am forced to look away.
Its rage terrifies me.
When the clouds are vacant and the sun does it wonderous job with full commitment, the Gorge speaks in whispers.
The rage now replaced with a soothing lullaby at times accompanied with a choir of mist that joins in harmony and sings its melody in vibrant colors.
Each soothing note of color stretching to arch its maker.
In Protest of the Planet by DGKaye
What remains of the trees, struggle to stand tall, casting thin shadows across the water with reflection in their retaliation. Birds make swift exit when the weather turns ominous. Where do humans flee when there’s no longer a safe place to exist?
What remains is nature’s leftovers from man’s thoughtless lashings. Angels band together, looking down from above in God’s sanctuary as God’s planet drowns and burns in salty tears. When will the natives wake? Action is needed now. Let us stand up in defense of the planet against the wrongs of man and start to repair with change.
At Home in the Land of the Privileged by Bill Engleson
We were stoned that night. I’ll admit that much. Me, anyways. Sitting behind them I was, slumped on our ratty old davenport.
Gangster-like they were, huddled at the-steal-at-five-bucks, pink arborite table Rose scored at the Sally Ann. She was the key insurgent in our ménage à pick-a-number. She’d transferred up from Berkeley, following the crimson flame of revolution into Canada.
Tommy was a prairie kid, swooning over Rose, brain-fried by hormones.
Larson. He was something else again.
Angry as a twister.
Larson’s the one who proposed, “one well-placed bullet, comrades. If we’re serious, we need to draw blood.”
The Protest by Lisa R. Howeler
Fern watched her father gathering his winter clothes together.
“Dad, you’re not going to that protest are you?”
“It’s not a protest, it’s a rally,” he said with a sigh, pulling his woolen har down on his head over his ears.
“But it’s 21 degrees out and you’re — ”
“I know, I’m 76 but age shouldn’t stop me from standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.”
Fern sighed, shaking her head. “Okay, Dad, but I better not get a call from the police that you and Nancy have chained yourselves to the courthouse steps again.”
Protest by Anita Dawes
Wave your hands in the air
Like you just don’t care!
They do care very much
About the conditions they work in
Too often the loos don’t flush
Water is turned off
Which takes too long
Poor management in winter
Means working in the cold
This in turn, slows down production
Which means working late
No extra pay
Too many break times cancelled
People become sick
Our floor manager asked
For hot drinks to be made
Every four hours
This went down with management
like a lead balloon
it’s no wonder we’re shouting
and waving our arms…
World Peace and Beetles by Donna Matthews
My daughter is past curfew. I’m pacing the room, obsessively checking her location on my phone. This new boyfriend of hers is an earth science major. Loves to talk about the planet, climate change, and world peace. He reminds me a little of her father, but I’d never tell her that.
Finally, “I’m home!” she yells from the entryway. My mouth drops open. She’s in bell-bottoms and tie-dye. Her long hair straightened and reeking of patchouli.
“Where the hell have you been?”
“Mom! Stay trippy, little hippie!”
On her arm, a little beetle tattoo.
OMG, wrong kind of Beatles.
Stewardship by Saifun Hassam
Elena was an environmentalist. In her journal she wrote of her exploration of the Ancient Sea. She was fascinated by its history of thriving ports, an abundant sea, ice-capped mountains.
A time came, imperceptible but certain when sea life was less abundant. The ice caps melted. The immense glaciers along the farthest northern shores turned into giant icebergs.
Elena was killed in a protest of the drilling of the ancient seabed for minerals. Her journal was incomplete. Her granddaughter Jessamine found in it the seeds of her own journey as an environmentalist on a planet beyond the Solar System.
Prompted Protest by D. Avery
“Jeez, Pal. Tellin’ ya, Shorty’s all over the map with her prompts. Now a protest story? I cain’t write a protest story.”
“Thinkin’ ya protest too much, Kid. Ever dang week yer protestin’, or is thet jist whinin’? This here could be serious ya know. Stop yer whinin’ an’ complainin’ an consider the plight a them’s thet really git the short end a the rope.”
“Reckin I kin try, Pal, but I ain’t got Shorty’s machinations.”
“Do ya mean ‘magination? It’s a difference ‘tween seemin’ and schemin’.”
“Guess as long as she does the write thing it’s all good.”
Snowshoe Princess by D. Avery
*Once upon a time Princess Buckaroo lived on a enchanted snow-globe peninsula.*
“Writin’ after all Kid?”
*One day all the Yooper Scoopers quit shov’lin an’ plowin’. They marched on snowshoes, holdin’ their their shovels up like signs, protestin’ ‘gainst low wages an’ high accumulations a snow.
Princess Buckaroo retreated ta another story.*
“Lit out fer another tale?”
“No, she went upstairs when the first story got snowed over.”
*Snow kep fallin’. The Buckaroo Princess got out on snowshoes as ever’thin’ got buried over.*
*The Buckaroo Princess was at new heights; snowshoed right ta her north star.*
Over the threshold, a mud puddle, or in a wife-carrying race, it’s a wonder to consider that wives are carried. But on a deeper dive, consider that partners carry each other in other ways, too — emotionally, in times of troubling circumstances, or with playfulness. What will the writers make of such ideas?
This week, writers explored the various reasons and situations wives could be carried.
The following is based on the January 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife.
PART I (10-minute read)
A Dream Home by Sally Cronin
As a girl she didn’t dream of fairy tale weddings or fancy white dresses. She was an orphan, in and out of foster homes, and all she wanted was a house of her own. They met at the local community centre; a carpenter, his hands worn and callused. He asked her what her dream was and she shared her vision. He said nothing, just smiled and nodded. Today, in her simple blue dress, carrying a posy of wild flowers, he swept her into his arms and through the door of the home he had built to show his love.
True Love by Dave Madden
Emily smiled from ear to ear as Brady carried her across the threshold.
Brady’s conditioning was nearing its peak at the time of the wedding, so he could have cradled his beautiful, blushing bride all the way to Aspen, Colorado, the destination of their brief honeymoon.
Sacrifice was nothing new for the young couple to cope with—Emily bringing home the bacon, and Brady jumping into any cage he could find, fighting for peanuts.
Emily would continue carrying the financial burden of Brady’s dream chasing, for his upcoming bout and every round moving forward—true love could conquer all.
Carried Wife by Sascha Darlington
There was a fight.
Something stupid. Aren’t all newlywed fights stupid?
Sara tossed down the dishcloth and ran. Moments later the clouds unleashed a torrent of rain, enough to fill the empty gulches, which Sara wouldn’t know. City-born, Sara didn’t understand that the dry riverbeds could fill instantly and sweep everything away.
He could lose her in the breadth of a moment.
Heart clenching, he jostled into his Mac. Scout ran ahead, tracking, despite the rain.
They heard her before they saw her. Her anguished cry rising above the rushing water.
Gratefully, he cradled her before carrying her home.
Keeper of the Stories by Ann Edall-Robson
Stopping at the bottom of the stairs, he grinned thinking about all of the stories the old steps could tell.
Each time he passed the majestic staircase, he remembered the look of surprise etched on her face.
It had started with an innocent discussion about chores, and then it just happened. Gathering her into his arms he’d carried her upstairs. He knew right then and there, she was the one, and so did she.
That wouldn’t be the last time the love of his life would go up the stairs in his arms.
Whistling, he walked towards the kitchen.
Skiing Mishap by Jacquie Biggar
Jeff juggled to keep his balance on the ice without dropping his wife.
“I told you to stick to the bunny hill,” he chastised.
She giggled and held her arms out like a bird in flight. “But it was so much fun- until I fell.”
“Well, let’s see if you still think it’s fun when you’re wearing a cast for the next six weeks.”
“Aw, Jeff, don’t spoil my high. Did you see me? I hit those moguls like a pro.”
“Yes, honey you did,” he said, tenderness running strong in his veins for his brave, incredible, beautiful wife.
Carried by Lisa A. Listwa
She always felt like the one who needed to be carried. He was the calm to her bluster, the reason to her emotion. When she fretted and worried, he said, “just keep going” and “I believe.”
She found his lack of excitability infuriating.
Through all the changes, the struggles, the fears, he worked and simply kept on. He said he felt stronger with her by his side, better able to do it all because they did it together.
It was in one of those rare moments of expression she realized that in the everyday moments, she also carried him.
The Carried Wife–Working Hogs by Faith A. Colburn
Moving hogs across a small open space. She feinted right. I followed. She ran left around me. My husband, already distraught, started screaming at me. For once. I stood my ground, stared at him. He took the few steps that divided us, picked me up, and started carrying me somewhere. I had no idea what he intended. Startled and scared, I bit his ear. He put me down, as I’d hoped, took a couple of steps back, wound up, and punched me in the face, a glancing blow since I was turning away. We never worked hogs together again.
Carrying On by D. Avery
Those first springs the bony fish were welcome food and they ate them gratefully. At first they used them to feed the hills of corn as I showed them to do. They saw how it was, and early on these ones that came to Patuxet did not allow blocking the river as some English would do. Back then we all went to the river in the spring, carried full baskets of alewives to our families, our fields.
More ships came, with seeds and pigs and cattle. It did not take them long to forget how the alewives carried them.
The Carried Wife by Padre
The river wasn’t incredibly deep, but it was wide and the current brisk. Inga and Charles stood staring at the detritus which seemed to permeate the flow.
“Charles, we can’t wait here all day, the pageant is right after lunch, and the town is still over a mile away.”
Inga had spent most of the last week sorting the ribbons, and finishing the embroidery of her native dress. It was the one hundredth anniversary of their nation’s independence from the Empire, and Inga was supposed to lead the dance.
Without a word, Charles lifted her end entered the water.
Visions of the Past by Colleen M. Chesebro
“Charles? Where are you?”
“Right here, dear. I’m reminiscing over some of our past adventures.”
Helen chuckled. “We did have some great times. Do you remember our trip to Europe after graduation?”
Charles sighed. “I most certainly do. Do you remember that starry night in the field near the standing rocks?”
Helen blushed. “That was our first night together. How could I forget? We promised our love for all eternity.”
“Yes, that’s right. I picked you up and spun you around the field. I called you my carried wife.”
Helen’s electric wheelchair turned. “And, you’ve carried me ever since.”
The Wolf in My Body by Deborah A. Bowman
I struggle to rise today,
Each day a little more difficult.
Not long ago I skipped upon my way!
And yet, it’s no one’s fault.
The Wolf has invaded my soul,
His markings across my face.
Lupus, they call him; truth be told.
French word, but found every place.
It taints women, makes our hearts go faint.
But even though the widow can no longer be carried,
The loving husband gone, she feels blessed.
“Yes, last night I could rest!”
My crutches carry me away!
Help my Lupus sisters who die today.
No cure; please help them all… www.lupus.org
Venus Falls by Kerry E.B. Black
Her legs gave way, and she crumbled.
He scrambled to catch her before she landed. Mud hampered his progress, greedy for attention when all he desired – His love, his best friend, his wife – suspended in what seemed like a slow motion descent.
Mud squelched around her head, befouling her midnight curls. The rigid motion of her seizure etched canals around her, a filthy adulteration of snow angels. He scooped her up and pressed her to him. She convulsed.
One minute. Two. Time grew as greedy as the mud.
The seizure passed.
He waited for her to return to awareness.
Pushing by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Her challenges were not visible. She had no wheelchair, guide dog, prosthesis or hearing aid. It would have been easier if they were visible.
She carried herself with aplomb. Engaging well with her colleagues and clients. Sometimes she was aggressive, but it wasn’t noticeable to people who did not know her well.
It was inside her brilliant mind that the cracks lurked. Gaps in her mental processes that stopped some of the usual though connections from happening.
Her husband plastered over the cracks and built bridges to breech the gaps. He carried her; pushing her in a mental wheelchair.
Misconceptions of What Is a Good Wife by Ellen Best
We worked hard, determined I was, not to be ‘A Carried Wife.’ More worried about other’s perceptions, I got it wrong. Because he was a lawyer, earning big, didn’t mean people would expect me to slack. Engrossed in that thought, I took my eye off of the ‘us.’
Not seeing his palor, hearing that cough. I failed as his wife. Each night I fell into bed shattered, not fit for the part. Worked, unaware of his appointments. I didn’t hold his hand, wipe his head. Here I am now, clutching a cold yellowed hand, wishing … it wasn’t his deathbed.
That Morning by Michael Fishman
Roger watched Ellen, feeling the same love he’d felt for 53 years.
What did she ever see in me?
He never rushed these feelings and this morning was no different. He watched her feeling love.
Roger became Ellen’s caregiver when Alzheimer’s left her unable to care for herself. “Please promise me,” she begged shortly after the diagnosis. “No nursing homes.”
Roger would forever question Ellen’s reason for being out of bed alone. He lifted his wife and carried her to the bed. Setting her lifeless body down he kissed her forehead and lay down next to her.
Homecoming by Dana Wand
Swept up, she wrapped her arms around his neck while he reached down clumsily to open the door. They entered as one.
“Our first home,” he proudly proclaimed.
The years of a loving life soared. Here he is, carrying her frail body from the bedroom to the couch, tenderly wrapped in the warm comforter, hoping today will bring good news from the docs.
“It’s been a long day, Sweetheart, but now we are home.” He gently kisses her photo as he carries the urn to the nightstand next to their antique bed of fifty-four years.
You Carried Me by H.R.R. Gorman
You carried me.
I didn’t ask,
But then again,
I couldn’t speak.
You settled me
On soft, silken,
Kissed me tender.
My eyes were shut,
But I still saw
You adored me.
I cherished you.
I wanted to
Clean the sad pile
Of tissues at
Your well shod feet.
Could my action
Sadness and grief?
I allowed tears.
Upon your exit
Through sanctum’s door,
Someone shut my
Coffin’s wood lid.
When you returned,
You carried me
In my casket
To earthen home.
But my spirit
Carries you now
Until you come
To rest by me.
The Carried Wife by Deborah Lee
Becca reads the “Lifestyles” article about wife-carrying contests in Minnesota, then clicks out with a snort. That’s exactly the kind of thing Richard would have liked, manly and competitive and funny.
She’s walking past the plate glass window when the vastness outside it, the view itself, seems to knock her sideways. Not now, agoraphobia, she thinks, I have to go to work, but it’s too late. The room dips and spins and she drops to her knees.
The laughing wife in the article photo flashes. Yes, she could use a wife-carrier right about now. But Richard’s not coming back.
Carry Me by Debs
Karen’s bridesmaid, Louise conjured the perfect wedding game. Karen had to guess from five men, who her husband-to-be’s hand was, while blindfolded. Whoever she decided would have to carry her.
Five men stood, side to side. All held out their right hands. Karen, blindfolded, sidestepped in front of each, slowly, holding each hand briefly. She reached the fifth man. Paused. Louise and young lady guests stifled a giggle. He was Karen’s ex. The hall went quiet.
Karen’s hand quivered as she took his hand. He let go and motioned with his head to the fourth man, the groom. Applause!
A Carried Jezebel by M J Mallon
Annie glanced at her scrawny husband. A glance was all it took. He couldn’t lift her, no carried wife could she ever be. No threshold over which she could be taken. Adam was different. His different scared her. She couldn’t help but imagine Adam lifting her onto his shoulders and running to the ocean, his bare skin wet with the salty water, his hard, taut muscles flexing. What would happen thereafter? Would he leave her to the fishes, or scoop her up with dreamy kisses? She knew what she would become: a carried Jezebel; perhaps she’d like that more.
Why Tessa is Divorced by Susan Sleggs
Tessa loaded the last of her personal items into the car then went back inside the house they had shared at Ft. Riley, Kansas, for the last six years. She did a walk-through remembering the good times with her children and how lonely she had been with her husband gone so much. When she locked the front door for the last time she could hear his words, “I’m done carrying you.” She felt she had carried the family without his help and knew she couldn’t stay after finding out his last three deployments had been at his own request.
PART II (10-minute read)
Big Boned by Anne Goodwin
Her mother called her big-boned. Her father called her fat. In fact, she was muscled, a world-champion weightlifter, or would be when certain legalities were fixed.
When the Religious Right were elected, she’d been too busy training to vote. Now she cursed the Compulsory Marriage Act: only a Mrs could represent Britain abroad.
A secretary arranged for the groom, along with cake, dress and flowers. An affable chap, if rather weedy, but no-one had read the small print. She had to be carried indoors for it to pass muster. They ordered an ambulance in case her new husband collapsed.
Chicken Fights by clfalcone *
Competition was brutal this year: badass wives piggybacking muscled hubbies, trying to knock opponents into the water. He trusted his wife…she was the baddest ass of all.
They had been coming to the Annual 12-Step retreat for four years, winning the Chicken Fights three times. Five years earlier he was holed up in a trap house, smoking meth, drinking whiskey, losing his wife, destroying his life.
Four years sober meant his brain, job, wife, life, all somewhat returned to order.
Then Melissa from the Rooms got his wife off-balance. They both tumbled into the pool, laughing, enjoying the loss.
Return to the Farm by Joanne Fisher
After their wedding, Jess and Cindy returned to the farm. They stood at the doorway.
“Since you’re my wife now, I guess I should carry you over the threshold.” Jess suggested. Cindy put her hands on her hips.
“Excuse me? You’re my wife too. Maybe I should be the one who carries you?” Cindy objected. Jess laughed.
“With those slender arms? You’d be lucky to pick me up.” Jess countered.
“We’ll see about that!” Cindy replied defiantly. To Jess’s surprise Cindy strongly picked her up and carried her over threshold.
“I love it when you act butch.” Jess laughed.
Over The Threshold by Ritu Bhathal
Nina giggled as Rakesh swept her up into his arms.
“Come on, Wifey, let’s get you inside.”
“Stop it!” She jumped down as soon as they stepped over the threshold and turned towards him. “Why did you carry me over? We’re not English, you know!”
“Oh, I thought that’s what people do when they get married.”
“Have you never been to an Indian wedding before? Come on. I know you were born in the US, but surely you know some of the traditions,” she took his hand. “I know. If your parents were alive, it would have been different…”
Blizzard Warriors by Caroline Scott
It was a cold, hard wind blowing in from the north but Casey kept her horse steady. She could barely see, keeping her hat low over her forehead and her scarf over her mouth.
Four hours ago, Sam had gone out to bring in their cattle. He should have been back by now, but the corral was empty.
Clucking her tongue, Casey urged her horse forward. The chestnut was sure-footed, carrying her over the familiar ground easily even in the rough weather. The horse had an instinct and Casey was certain that together, they would bring her husband home.
Together by Donna Matthews
Linda looked up from her feet – she’d been struggling all morning, stumbling over sharp rocks and ruts in the path. Her eyes traveled from the base of the mountain to the top. The steep switchbacks took her breath away.
“There’s no way in hell I’ll get to the top,” she laments.
“Honey?” she yells to her husband up in front.
“What’s up, beautiful?”
“I need your help,” she whines, “I’ll never make it up there. My feet are tired, and my back hurts!!”
Winking, he grabs her up on his back, and up the mountain together they go.
He’d declared himself with passion. His passions were modest befitting our customs. “It is our way, Lily. From your father’s home to our new home. I will carry you the distance.”
I looked at my betrothed. Yes, he was a stocky, corn fed youth. Strong as a rock, as serious as the soil he tended. Still, our home would be six miles away. A healthy distance to walk even without a burden.”
“Why would you weary yourself out, Emil? Of what use will you be to me on our wedding night?”
The seed was planted.
My point was made.
The Devil’s Elbow by Doug Jacquier
Mick picked his way carefully along the narrow track. As he reached Devil’s Elbow Cave, he planned to lay his heavy load down and take a rest. But before he could do that a man and a woman emerged from the cave. The man said “We’ll just relieve you of that burden, Mick.” He heard the click of the switchblade and saw the knife in the woman’s hand.
Seemingly acquiescent, Mick rolled the pack off his back, tore the top flap open and out stepped a woman holding a shotgun.
“You call that a wife? This is a wife.”
All Are Welcome Here by Liz Husebye Hartmann
It’d never occurred to them that their participation might not be welcome. Celebrating the fortitude and stamina required to go the distance in marriage–what better way to do this than with a test of physical endurance?
There was some confusion at the starting line as to which was the wife, but the buffalo-plaid-flanneled officiant had held up his gun, told all couples to get ready, set…
Pat hopped on Toni’s back, and they giggled their way through the course’s hedges and water traps. Everyone applauded when they were awarded first prize. This was, after all, the 21st century!
Wife Carrying by Pete Fanning
Every spring my parents entered our town’s Wife Carrying event. They usually nabbed first or second place, even as Mom wasn’t crazy about it. But she was a good sport, especially when Dad showed up in a dress. And won.
Then he got sick. Real sick. He lost fifty pounds of muscle. Winter came and the doctors were talking months, not years.
One night I heard some banging downstairs. I found my mother struggling, my father folded over her shoulders.
“What…” A lump in my throat. “Are you doing?”
Mom turned so I could see my dad beaming. “Training.”
Collapse by Nobbinmaug
It hit in the wee hours while Ricardo and Selema were asleep. The rumble thrust them into consciousness. The ceiling sent Selema reeling into unconsciousness.
Living in the Bay Area, Ricardo knew the dangers of aftershocks. The fallen beam would lead to further collapse.
Ricardo cleared the debris off Selema. He hoisted her, thankful for her time at the gym, wishing he made time for the gym. He struggled with the locks as the first aftershock shook. He heard a crash in the bedroom. The earth steadied, and Ricardo opened the door.
From outside, the sagging roof was visible.
He Carries Me by Cara Stefano
No one tells you what “in sickness and in health” means at the wedding, do they? Dutifully we repeat it anyway. He carried me over the threshold after our wedding.
I never realized how much I wanted motherhood until I was told I couldn’t be one. He carried me by not telling me that that day was also one of the worst days of his life.
Going back into surgery after your miracle has finally arrived. Alone, holding our newborn in his arms, I don’t know who carried him that day.
He has always carried me.
Caretaker by Nancy Brady
The woman was elderly, but he took great care of her. He stayed by her side throughout the day, only to return the following day.
Between her dementia and the cancer that was eating at her body, she was wasting away. Her mind wandered, with thoughts of long ago, memories of her childhood and that of a young wife and mother of a boy. She was barely lucid especially when he gave her the morphine to ease her pain.
Once, she carried him in her body, but now he was the one who carried her through her last days.
Ile de Fuego by Saifun Hassam
Carlos was inconsolable. Francine’s sailboat was found near Ile de Fuego. Francine, his beloved wife, his partner in marine exploration in the Black Bart Archipelago.
Her body was tangled in seaweeds among the lava tidal pools. She had been killed. Fang marks on her arms and legs, like those on a fisherman killed last winter. Island lore spoke of shadowy creatures haunting the undersea volcanoes.
Carlos gently lifted Francine’s shrouded body from the casket. With a silent prayer, he bid her farewell. He would not leave the Archipelago. It was their home. He was determined to find her killer.
I Will Always Carry You by Sam “Goldie” Kirk
David stood in front of his closet, trying to figure out what to wear. He never thought this day would come. He put on black dress pants, a white shirt, and a black tie. An image of him carrying Sally over the threshold of a hotel room on their wedding day popped into his head, and a tear rolled down his cheek. Now, he was never going to be able to do it.
After the service, when it was time, he lifted the casket onto his shoulder and carried her to the cemetery where she was laid to rest.
Hold by JulesPaige
bottle of emotion then,
an awkward present
the man carried his sick wife;
children follow in darkness
safe haven; farmhouse
mixed languages; but all the
faces smiled kindly
Another scribe in a different hand from the hidden hutch records; “The tall thin man carried his wife with such tenderness. It was unfortunate that there was little we could do but make them as comfortable as we could. In the end she passed. And he reluctantly took his two children with him to the next stop.” Smelling her roses again… I thought ‘my’ gentle spirit Ife right away…
One of Many by Floridaborne
Bartholomew held a secret he’d kept for 40 years. On her deathbed, his mother swore she had served as a chamber maid to George II in Hanover until May 1714, succumbing to the king’s unwanted advances while changing linens in Caroline’s bedchamber.
A month later, she married the first man willing to carry her away from servitude. Born Christmas day, 1714, his three sisters were birthed a year apart before their father passed in 1717, and none looked like him.
People snickered when they remarked on his resemblance to the king, but it seemed he was one of many bastards.
Carrying His Wife Out by Lisa R. Howeler
They had to carry her out when they found him lying there on the floor by the hutch covered in blood.
How could he have done it? Why would he have done it? He had all a man could want, all she could give him. Hadn’t the money been enough all these years?
They called it a miracle that she’d walked in when she had; startling him and causing him to drop the gun and shoot himself in the foot instead of the head liked he had intended. She’d collapsed when the gun went off, falling against the hutch.
Unnamed by Reena Saxena
He turned back for the last time to look at the pretty, but forlorn face.
This is the girl he had gagged and carried inside the threshold of this dingy room. She stayed behind, because she identified with his cause. She looked after him, and protected him from the police as long as she could.
It is not the police who have come for him today, but remnants from his past – his wife and two lovely kids.
It is time to say good-bye, and it breaks his heart to think that he was the kidnapper, and she the kidnapped.
The Matter of Loggatha LeGume by D. Avery
“*My Beanie lies over the mountain, my Beanie lies over the plains…*”
“Pepe Legume. Why ya singin’ sech a sad song?”
“‘Ello Pal, ‘Ello Keed. I am apart from my wife.”
“You have a wife?”
“Oui. Mon cher, mon petite Beanie. But her given name is Loggatha.”
“Well, where is Loggatha, why ain’t ya tagether?”
“Dere ees many times, many places when she cannot go where I can. Often she ees detained. Sigh. She ees warm and soft, dat one, but a solid partner, my better half. She carries me! But you know, dere’s a leetle Loggatha in everyone.”
Seeing the Finish Line by D. Avery
“Kid, you bin kinda scarce.”
“What diff’rence it make Pal? Ain’t much we kin do with this prompt. We won’t be carryin’ on with this challenge.”
“Why not? I kin carry ya. Or you kin carry me. Jist so’s we git the job done.”
“This roundup is purty specific— wife carryin’. Ain’t neither one of us no kinda a spouse ta no one.”
“Kid, ain’tcha never heard a “work spouses”? Thet one person ya kin rely on an’ confide in at yer job?”
“The one who’s got yer back an’ you got theirs?”
“We kin take turns Pal.”
A hutch can be a simple outdoor container for chickens on a ranch, or a simple chest to store saddles. Hutches can also be crafted into fine furniture that holds a person’s treasured dishes. Like a wardrobe, a hutch has many possibilities in storytelling.
Writers were asked to look inside. As you would expect, a wide variety of items were found.
The following is based on the January 2, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something found in a hutch.
PART I (10-minute read)
Heirlooms by D. Avery
She used to keep the better china in it. Then pretty knickknacks and collectibles. Things she thought one of her children, or grandchildren, even great-grandchildren might want to have. One day.
Now framed photographs lined the shelves of the hutch, all in order— children, grandchildren, great grandchildren; first-born to last-born.
She sighed. There were more great-grandchildren than living grandchildren. These young children, some addicts at birth, now lived with their grandparents— her own aging children.
The hutch predated the Civil War. Would her family survive these present day battles? Who will keep the hutch? Who will curate its treasures?
Inside the Hutch: Mary Hansen Saga VI by Artie & Stu
Mary Hansen’s grandmother Margaret lived in the first settlers’ home on Lake Winataka. Her great-grandfather built it out of local oak. While it still stands and the old log houses are all rotting remains, he wouldn’t recognize much other than the kitchen hutch. Over the years, the home was remodeled and upgraded seemingly around that hutch. Mary spent many happy hours playing with the pots and pans stored below and then staring with curiosity at the mason jars and spices bottles inside the hutch. When her friends visited and asked what was in that cabinet, Mary always said, “love”.
Unpacking by Susan Sleggs
Michael took another oblong bundle of paper out of a box labeled Hutch and unrolled the mound until the prize inside laid in his hand. He held a wood box with a hinged lid that had been tied securely with string. He handed it to Tessa.
With a look of wonderment, she undid the string, opened it and lifted out an Altoid box labeled with her son’s name. She shook it to hear the familiar rattle before opening it to show Michael the contents. “Brent’s baby teeth.”
“Parents save those?”
“Of course. I’ll bet your Mom has yours.”
Memories Within the Old Hutch by Chelsea Owens
“What’s this, Grammy?” Pearla’s granddaughter, Ella, squatted on the old hutch, something wooden in her hand.
“Ah. That’s the lovespoon Grampy brought back from Wales.”
Ella retrieved another piece. “An’ this one?”
“A model plane your Daddy-”
“An’ this one?”
“Aunt Michelle’s locket from-”
“An’ this one?”
Pearla laughed and kissed the curly-haired forehead. “Slow down, Ella, dear.”
“Sorry, Grammy.” Ella pulled something from the shadows. “An’ this one?”
“That’s-” Pearla choked; whispered, “Those were your Aunt Ella’s.” Taking and returning the tiny baby shoes, Pearla took the living Ella’s hands, instead. “What do you think about making cookies?”
Great-grandma Carpenter’s Sherbet Dishes by Faith A. Colburn
Grandma Hazel and her younger sister, Edna, used to have knock-down drag-out fights. One night it centered on who would wash the dishes. After a bunch of yelling and snarling, it degenerated into hair pulling. To keep from falling, Grandma grabbed her mother’s hutch where Great-grandma Frank displayed her fancy sherbet dishes. The hutch went down, breaking all but two of the dishes.
“That’s the only time I ever saw my mother cry,” Hazel said.
Grandma Frank made the girls dig a hole in the back yard and bury the broken glassware.
Sis and I have the two survivors.
Maybe Next Year by Anne Goodwin
Every Christmas, he gifted her a pretty notebook and a pen fit for an arthritic hand. Every year, he took the grandkids to the pantomime, left her at the kitchen table, to fill the first page. Every autumn, he looked for it amongst the litter of the rabbit hutch, a crumpled sheet of unmet targets and dashed hopes.
He never mentioned it. Simply smoothed out the wrinkles and filed her disappointment among his gardening magazines. His resolution spanned a decade but he swore he’d get there. One day he’d bring them out and show her how far she’d come.
When the Wealth Didn’t Matter by Lisa R. Howeler
He kept the gun in the hutch behind the Tiffany Sybil Claret Wine glasses that had belonged to his grandmother.
There were 20 of those ridiculous glasses, worth $100 each. Wealth, wealth and more wealth.
It was all around him but none of it mattered.
His fingertips grazed the cool metal of the gun, a Remington RM380, traced the shape of it, and slipped down to the handle where his fingers firmly grasped it.
He tipped his head back and laughed loudly.
So rich yet so poor.
They had their money to keep them warm.
They wouldn’t miss him.
Lagomorphs by clfalcone *
“Why’d you quit the agency, Laurel?” His stern look matched his suit: rough, angry, out of place in this Alaskan wilderness.
Unblinking, she reached into the hutch, gently removing a rabbit.
“You know what this is?” Hugging the bunny.
He just stared, cold wind flapping his trenchcoat.
“This is a snowshoe hare …. lepus americanus…” She closed the hutch. “I like studying their migratory patterns, not those of Islamic military targets in Iran for Big Oil.”
“But there’s a war on…we need you, Laurel.” he huffed.
“Your war…. not mine.” She turned and walked away, waving. “Good day, Mr. Mills.”
Mother: “He’s not a curious child.”
Father: “A little slow, maybe?”
Mother: “He needs schooling, Sterling.”
Father: “Needs a kick in the…”
Mother: “No he doesn’t. He needs a private school. He’d be five and in grade one.”
Father: “Pay for his learning?”
Mother: “For a year. It’d be hard, but we could do it.”
Father: “What’s this place called?”
Mother: “The Bunny Hutch.”
Mother: “And you’d have to drive him.”
Father: “I work shifts at the mill.”
Mother: “We’d have to drive him.”
Father: “You don’t drive.”
Mother: “I’ll have to learn.”
Father: “Guess you will.”
The Culprit by Caroline Scott
“Pa, can I keep it? Please?”
Sam scratched his head at the furry culprit in his son’s arms. How that little brown pup had gotten into the rabbit hutch he had no idea, but he wasn’t happy about it, no sir, not at all.
“Those were good rabbits,” he said.
“But Pa! We’ll get more! This little feller’s a hunting dog, I can tell.”
The hope in his boy’s eyes was pleading. Sam’s eyes went to the little wriggling mongrel who caused so much trouble, and his gaze softened.
“Alright. But you’re cleaning up after him and that’s final.”
The Hutch by Ritu Bhathal
Milly peaked inside the room again, hoping the scene had changed since she checked a few minutes ago.
So, everyone really had forgotten.
She looked again a few moments later to find her family stood there.
“What’s happening?” Confused, Milly’s eyes darted from person to person.
“Get your coat, Midge,” her brother ruffled her hair and smiled, and beckoned her to follow them into the garden.
A hutch stood in the corner.
“Go on, Milly. Look inside!”
Her eyes lit up as she saw a tiny rabbit.
“Happy birthday, Milly. Did you think we forgot?”
Rabbit Hutch by Nobbinmaug
Jen’s dad made the rabbit hutch for her when she was 8. She cherished it. He wasn’t around much when she was a kid.
When she was 12, he left on a business trip and never came home. He left no word, and the police found no clues.
When she got her own house, she decided to set up the hutch in her yard. Maybe someday her kids would breed and show rabbits.
When she and her friends were disassembling the hutch, she found a secret compartment. She forced open the rusty hinges revealing a large bag of diamonds.
A Shared Project by Stevie Turner.
His son smiled at him as he bent over the little hutch and banged in the last nail. Now the boy was eight, he’d found working with the lad in their shared project rather more satisfying than hours spent frequenting the pub. Okay, a few of the screws had gone in somewhat crooked, but what the hell. He smiled in return. By making the shelter for Sheldon he had managed to please not only the tortoise, but just in time had also achieved the thing that had been so elusive to him in past years; that all-important father-son bond.
The Rabbit Hutch by Sally Cronin
Her kids wanted new things for their children and Milly decided to have a garage sale for toys she had hoarded. Neighbors came and went, but one little boy stood in front of the rabbit hutch all morning. She had put 20 dollars on the ticket as they were expensive to buy new. He clasped a dollar bill in his hand. “My dad says I can have a rabbit when I can buy the hutch”. A tear rolled down his cheek. He raced down the street waving the sold ticket in his hand and she smiled at his joy.
The Hutch by Margaret G. Hanna
The hutch stands in the far corner of the shed. The glass is broken out of the upper doors, allowing a sparrow to build a nest. The lower doors hang askew, revealing paint cans and oil filters. A crudely carved heart stands out amongst the gouges and scars on the counter. Within it, I read the initials: DL + BR.
Were they high school sweethearts who married? Or was it only a summer fling? I trace my finger around the heart, hoping to feel the passion that inspired them to leave an everlasting declaration of love on this old hutch.
Regal by DG Kaye
They stood tall and proud. None wished to be snatched away, or worse, – broken!
For decades these worthy icons remained admired and sought after, not only for beauty, but, their ever-increasing monetary value. The older, the more valuable. A grand mix of ethnic backgrounds co-existing in silence.
Such greats as: Lalique, Capodimonte, Royal Doulton, and Russian nesting eggs sat perched on a shelf protected behind the beautifully scallop-edged fine glass doors housing the regal cabinet where they all lived in harmony in all their diversity.
Time’s treasures of hidden wealth and ancient lore communing in one dining room hutch.
Those Eyes! by Ruchira Khanna
“Whatever happens, don’t open this?” Mom commanded as if the colonel of the army, and
marched out of the room.
I obeyed with a soft nod but confused eyes.
I stared at it and saw a pair of eyes on the brass knobs of the brown polished wood.
Peeked outside the room.
“Should I open it?” I grinned like a witch, “But maybe it had something forbidden for me, just
like Adam’s apple?” I contemplated.
Stared back at the hutch, but darn those eyes reflected at me!
Is it my consciousness or just the reflection of my own eyes?
Eye of Luxor by clfalcone *
“You said you’d give it back if I brought you the letter.” He handed her a tattered, soiled paper.
She looked it over with scrutiny, examining the writing, squinting. Finally, folding it, she placed it in a box on the hutch. She took the pendant hanging from the finial.
“The Eye of Luxor.” She winked. “There’s a lot of power in that jewel, you know. Be careful.”
“Much as you should be careful with scrolls of Moloch.” He said, snatching the gem with a return wink, walking to the door
“Give the prince my regards, sister.” And he left.
PART II (10-minute read)
The Hutch by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
When Mosiko arrives for work shortly, she will ask him to help her carry the cages from the barn, and assist her in setting them up, one at a time, in front of the chicken coop door. A bit of food sprinkled on the ground would be enough to attract the stupid birds out of their chicken coop and into the cage when she released them from captivity by opening the door. Once safely inside, Mosiko would then help her carry the occupied cages back to the barn, ready to be hung under the wagon before the family trekked.
Memories of the Past by Colleen M. Chesebro
Julia packed the last of the doilies into the bottom drawer of the hutch. She lovingly stroked the top of the sturdy pine chest. This heirloom had been in her family for more generations than she could count. She hated saying goodbye.
She opened a cupboard door and touched great grandmother’s bone china wrapped in cloth for protection. A great feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, and she gulped back her tears.
With one last look at the remains of a life she had to leave behind, Julia stepped from the covered wagon into the heat of a prairie dawn.
That One Day (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Sun beat down on the oxidized hood of the Willies Jeep. It was Danni’s ninth birthday and her dad said they’d explore the old wagon road of the 40-Mile Desert. So far, all Danni had seen were oxen bones and rusty horseshoes. Her dad stopped to check out a dried-out pile of wood.
“An old hutch once,” he said.
Danni climbed out and saw a glint of something in what had been a cupboard door. A marble. Not just any marble but a large globe with an elephant inside. That was the day Danni decided to become an archeologist.
Yield? by JulesPaige
secrets too long kept
India Ink script fading
on brittle parchment
I took one of Marisol’s boxes and placed it on the built in hutch. A bit too hard, trying to avoid Lucky weaving underfoot, “You kitty are early for lunch! You and Dawg are always on the run – why don’t you take a nap I like the way you sleep!”
A loose backboard popped open. There was a thick oil cloth bound by butcher’s twine. Marisol’s box got moved to the back burner.
I cut the twine and carefully unwrapped the cloth. The first page was dated 1835…
Cheese Keeper by Ann Edall-Robson
It was a rare occasion when Hanna had time to look through the box her grandmother had left her. Today was her day off, yet she had offered to help Liz in the kitchen and had been shooed away. Now, with the pictures spread across her bed, she looked at each one. Reading the fading words on the back for the hundredth time. Her favourite was one of her grandmother at someone’s birthday. Surrounded by people Hanna was yet to identify. On the table was a cheese keeper.
“That looks like the one Liz has in her china hutch.”
One Afternoon by Michael Fishman
She laid two bony hands on the table, leaned forward, and with a moan of effort, stood up. She grabbed her cane and shuffled away.
“Where you going, grandma?” I said, hoping I hid the hope in my voice.
She didn’t answer, but she didn’t have to because when I saw her walk to the hutch I knew exactly where she was going. Third drawer, left side. That’s where she kept them.
“It’s been a while, love, so today we’re going to play a game.”
Third drawer, left side, that’s where my grandmother kept her deck of magic cards.
Blackie (BOTS) by Nancy Brady
My son found an abandoned Easter bunny near the woods behind our home. We found a cage to house the little rabbit. Because of our cats, though, a disaster could strike, and Blackie would be gone.
Frankly, my husband didn’t want it; he convinced an employee, who raised rabbits, to take the bunny. They even had a rabbit hutch in their backyard. Now, to convince my son as he was attached to Blackie, he promised, “We’ll visit him.” With that, the rabbit had a new home. Devastated, tears trickled down Michael’s cheeks, and he never saw the rabbit again.
What’s Hidden in Your Hutch by Susan Sleggs
After exercising on stationary rings and showering, Michael sat staring at the hutch his sister had insisted he needed. The upper shelves displayed happy memories: pictures of him with Army buddies at reunions, his parents, and his sister’s family. The lower cupboards held a good stock of liquor. The center big drawer was like a safe deposit box, hiding tangible PTSD triggers: two purple hearts, medical records, dog tags, pictures of lost buddies and of himself with legs. He thought of baby teeth and hoped Tessa would have a grandchild to help him understand why such things were keepsakes.
The Inhuman Hutch by tracey
The four foot square box made of metal had a thick wavy pane of glass on one side. The POWs called it the hutch. The Major broiled inside for twenty-seven days and shivered through twenty-seven nights.
The enemy was sure a man of his rank knew plenty about troop movements or upcoming military operations. But he didn’t know anything, though he often wished he did so he could misdirect the enemy.
He was just a payroll officer caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. A mere mortal given the opportunity to demonstrate his inordinate strength of mind.
The Silla by clfalcone *
She was at the rabbit cages when Nanuq came to the gate.
He cleared his throat. Chills crept her spine like the icy winds off Marmot Bay.
“Sis…they can’t find the boat…. the eight went down…I’m so sorry, Jissika.”
She had feared the worse when Maritime lost track of the Silla off Sitkinak Island nineteen hours ago.
Now it was so.
She let the bunny drop back into the hutch, rubbed her distended belly, welling up. The fishermen would have to wait for their boots and hats this season.
She had to raise the baby without her Ujar now.
Freedom! by Joanne Fisher
I squeezed through the small gap in the wire, and then I was free. I had finally escaped my prison. I ran down the path towards the forest and freedom. After a short time I could hear the footsteps of my captors behind me. They knew I had escaped, and were giving chase. I vowed I would get away this time. It was to no avail however: a large hand suddenly scooped me up.
“Aw! The little fella tried to escape the hutch again. We’ll just have to make sure there are no more gaps in the wire netting.”
Plans for Supper by Liz Husebye Hartmann
The four children huddled in the corner of the rabbit hutch. Cock-sure that the trolls would be sleeping off their hangover, they’d broken into the cellar for a bit of potato…maybe some ham! They’d not counted on LilleMjol catching them.
LilleMjol’d expected a reward of rabbit stew in brown gravy for dinner. What he’d gotten was a cuff on the ear.
“Stupid boy! These are humans, not rabbits. Our Peace Accord says we can’t eat them!” his mother glared down her long nose at him.
LilleMjol was furious, vowing to kill them anyway.
But the four had other plans.
Hutch by Dave Madden
Ben and Diego entered Death Kiss MMA as soft high school seniors out of curiosity; two years later, each had hardened into highly touted amateur prospects within the local circuit.
The road along the way was paved with several hardships—losses, injuries, problems with coaches or other teammates, and personal issues outside of training—but they always had each other’s back, like MMA’s hard-hitting rendition of Starsky and Hutch.
Much like the two detectives would chase “their guy,” the two continued their journey into the professional ranks, pursuing glory in cages across every continent.
For Luck by Anita Dawes
My mother’s welsh dresser needed filling
I remembered the six crates in the attic
Not sure about most of the china
So old fashioned
I managed to find a few bits
I was about to carry the pieces down bit by bit
When I noticed a small crate
Over by the window
Taking a quick look, I found
A blue and gold Aladdin’s lamp
It felt warm to the touch
Unlike the other pieces
I felt instantly fascinated with it
Carrying it down like a precious new-born
Placing it on the dresser
Most days, someone rubs it for luck…
Hutch of Treasures by Kerry E.B. Black
Grandma asked my cousins and me, “What inside this hutch is my dearest possession?” She creaked as she settled into an armchair to watch our debate.
My eldest cousin took the lead. “The goblets. They’re gold, aren’t they?”
Grandma inclined her head. “Indeed, but they aren’t my treasure.”
Each chose something. Crystal, silver, china, linens. I noticed a stack of ribbon-bound letters in the top right drawer. When my turn came, I pointed to them. “Are these from Grandpa?”
“Yes, when he fought in the war.”
“Then these are your treasured possession.”
Tears dribbled from her white lashes. “Yes.”
A Hutch by Floridaborne
What is a hutch?
A dust magnet.
Unless you hire a cleaning crew each week, it’s nothing but a time waster. I have better things to do than clean the knick knacks, shelves, and plates.
Binge-watching a series has more meaning. Cleaning is drudgery that never ends — a series does, and you were entertained along the way.
Yes, a hutch once owned me, a darkly wooded monstrosity with toe-catching legs that sent me to urgent care more than once.
Hutches, like mansions, are for the rich. I’ll take light wood cabinets and a wall full of counter space instead.
The Traveler by Saifun Hassam
Grandma’s favorite room was her den. The center piece was a beautiful chestnut hutch she found in a yard sale.
She enjoyed her days gardening and reading. And ah yes, helping with the upkeep of the gnome and hobbit homes in her hometown of Charlevoix. A motley collection of miniature stone hobbits and gnomes had found its way onto the top shelf.
The hutch was home to novels like Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Kon Tiki, Don Quixote, Lord of the Rings, and Lord Jim. On the lowest shelf an exquisite carving of a sailing boat rode the high waves.
TempOWary by D. Avery
“Pal, ya ever git skeered we could git replaced?”
“Us? Heck no, Kid, we’re iconic. Stock character Ranch hands, dang good at what we do.”
“Yeah, but, seems like there ain’t a position these days ain’t dispensible. I know Pepe’s worried ‘bout automation at Buckaroo Nation.”
“You know he slips inta Headquarters now and agin. He found out Shorty’s frien’s got a fartin’ machine. Kin ya believe it?”
“Cain’t believe it could keep up with Pepe.”
“One time they was talkin’ spreadsheets, ‘member?”
“An’ you kept shovelin’ an’ spreadin’ an’ scatterin’ shift like farfennugens. Kid, jist hutch up.”
Gardens, homes, and saunas need gnomes. In Finnish, they are joulutonttu — Christmas elves that bring happiness and protection to a home. Whether mischievous or diligent, they are kind creatures who bring out the playfulness in writers. Unlike unicorns that have a dark side, gnomes cause writers to get punny.
Never before has Carrot Ranch seen the likes of gnome sweet gnome with such widespread lightheartedness. Gnomes also brought out serious stories from a small character. This will indeed go down as a special collection in history.
The following fun is based on the December 12, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a gnome.
PART I (10-minute read)
Oh, There’s No Place Like … by Roger Shipp
“Oh, there’s no place like …” carolers were approaching my door.
I’d gotten a call from my elderly neighbor just seconds ago. “They’re all over.” She whispered. “All over the street.” She was frantic. Should she call 911… she thought she should… but she was sure the police wouldn’t believe her.
Before I could decide how I could be of assistance, there was a knocking on my door.
Parting the curtains, I peeped.
Gnomes… and gnomes… and gnomes. As far as the eye could see.
“… For the holidays you can’t beat gnome sweet gnome!”
And then they left.
Dear Santa by tracey
My name is Terrence and I am a gnome working as a guard in a diamond mine. While I know this work is important it is not my true passion. What I really love to do is make toys and ornaments. I love glitter!
I have heard there are gnomes who make sleigh bells and I would be happy to do that if there was an opening available.
I believe I can be an asset to your North Pole operation and will be ready for pickup on Christmas Eve if you will have me.
The New Farm Hand by Joanne Fisher
Cindy went to the south field wanting to get the land ready for sowing crops. To her surprise, she found the land had been tilled. She looked for Jess and found her fixing the tractor.
“I thought you were going to leave the south field to me?” Cindy complained. Jess looked at her in surprise.
“What are you talking about? I haven’t been there.” Jess replied wiping the grease of her hands.
Cindy went back and looked around. She saw a gnome standing by the fence smoking his pipe.
“Thanks.” Cindy said to the gnome. He smiled at her.
The Fairy Garden by Nicole Horlings
Velvet GlimmerDust peeked out of the hole in the tree stump to make sure that the humans were not around. She wanted to go gather dandelion petals for her garden salad.
She tread lightly between the flowers, and noticed something new nestled between the petunias. It was a bench, and Midnight Riversplash was already snoozing on it. She shook her head at him, and waved to Ivy WillowBrook, who was knitting in the gazebo. Ooh, there was a new patio table set by the hydrangeas, perfect for a tea party.
She went out for something… Oh right, dandelion petals.
Gnomes, Inc. by clfalcone *
“At Gnomes, Incorporated, we’re serious about gnome-ness.”
The worker shuttered.
The director slammed photos on the desk, pointing at Leprechaun pissing a toppled gnome’s face.
“You got drunk, fell asleep, let Leprechaun steal your gold…he even pissed on you…!”
“Disgraceful!” He stood up, pointing to the exit. “You’re fired… banished from Gnomes, Incorporated forever!”
“What’ll I do now?”
“Go downtown to unemployment… become a pole dancer…I don’t know… just leave!”
Off scurried the worker.
Weeks later, the director got a postcard of a pole dancing gnome, with the caption: ‘Fuck you….making more money here than at Gnomes!’
Gnome in a Bucket by Ann Edall-Robson
The old chicken coop had become the catch all for everything that ‘might be needed’. Why Mac had picked Hanna to clean it out was something the dust covered young woman didn’t understand.
His one request, “Keep an eye out for anything Liz can use for flowerpots.”
Setting aside some dented, handleless buckets, Hanna spotted a garden gnome in one of them. It wasn’t a normal garden store variety, this one had a look about it that was oddly familiar. She hadn’t seen the little statue before, or had she? Hanna shivered.
“Maybe Liz will know something about this.”
Guilty as Chewed by Di @pensitivity101
‘Who did it?’
The tail slunk between the back legs, the head hung low almost touching the floor.
The chewed plastic gnome glared down from the pelmet where it had been placed out of reach.
The original owner had come charging across the road to complain that our family pet had destroyed her favourite gnome, insisting on a replacement.
The swinging Big Ears now held court by the ornamental pond in her front garden but the dog knew that he was in the dog house if the gnome was drawn to his attention, and would retreat to his bed.
The Neighbor Boy Noticed by Susan Sleggs
Mrs. Borden looked at the clock. Nine-thirty. She used to get out to her garden at seven-thirty. She opened the back door and held the jam and knob to steady her way down the two steps then tottered to her small garden that she couldn’t convince herself to give up just yet. A very large ceramic gnome with a mischievous grin waited. The sign hanging around his neck said, “Weeding done.” Her mouth fell open and one tear slid down her cheek. Who would do such a thing?
The local scout troop made a game of not getting caught.
Polio and Politics by Faith A. Colburn
I had a friend—a gnome-like fellow who said he’d thought, when he was a child, that every six-year-old spent a year in an iron lung. He was a canny bulldog in local politics, supporting rights for people with disabilities. There’s the time he argued for wheelchair ramps at the courthouse.
“We’ll help them up the stairs,” said the councilmen.
“Look,” said Roger, “someday you may have an accident. Maybe you’ll need a wheelchair. Then, how would you like to sit at the bottom of those stairs out there waiting for someone to notice you?”
The courthouse has ramps.
Gone Fishin’ by Anne Goodwin
He was hard on the outside, hollow within. Lacquered against the elements, he squatted, with his fishing rod, beside the pond.
People threw in coins, made a wish: for a lottery win, a baby, a cruise. Fixed smile above his beard, his belted tunic, above his boots, he looked the part they needed him to play.
They’d got him wrong. He could’ve told them how to cure the climate crisis, to hold back the tides of fascism, to create a more equal world.
Their hearts were hard, their skulls were hollow. Why would they listen to a garden gnome?
House Protector by Charli Mills
The Russian soldier came on baking day. The Finnish women kept their kerchiefed heads bowed. He dismounted, kicked the oafish-looking gnome statue, and grabbed the youngest girl by the waist.
“You smell pretty today.” He smiled coldly.
Macy tried to withdraw and relaxed when she saw Joulutonttu upright himself. “It’s the bread,” she said, distracting him.
She led the soldier to the communal kitchen where the massive beehive hearth burned. She showed him loaves, opened the large oven door —
They later told their men that Joulutonttu protected them. But it was Macy who shoved the Russian in the oven.
Nonbinary Gnome by clfalcone *
He was next…he had to tell the group. His short legs couldn’t dangle so he wiggled his boots instead, removed his red conical hat, saying: “I’m Manus McGnomus and I’m not a gnome…. inside, I’m a fairy….flying on dragonfly wings, spreading fairy dust goidnees to all… not hoarding gold or guarding paths…I don’t even like gardens, and the only gold I like is fairy dust….” He fluttered on.
Utter silence, then uproarious laughter, taunts of, ‘Gnomes can’t fly!’
He clammed up, looked about, jumped off the seat, muttered: “…. can’t tell you jive turkeys shit!…”, pattering quickly down the hallway.
Gnome by Anita Dawes
My son brought home this grey gnome
Telling me he hoped it would bring me good luck
Of course, it never did
So he brought home a larger one
Maybe this on could do it
Got to give it to him, he tries!
So they ended up in the garden
Personally, I believe the gnomes
keep their magic for the Gods
as legend has it,
they forged golden rings for them
when they come together
any objective is achieved
would that I could get my hands on just one
that would be like sucking on Devils candy…
gNoMeZ by clfalcone *
The Pixies and Brownies cowered, the Fairies bolted, but the Sprytes lingered, watching. Conical shadows grew larger than life, collecting at the intersection: gNoMeZ were in da house…two feet tall, twenty gnomes wide.
Fifteen black bowlers converged at the opposite end, L3pr3ch4nZ leader squeaking, “Give us McSeamus, or else!”
“Or else what? Give us back the gold…. or not else!” Retorted the gNoMeZ. Hammers threatened sheleighlies, cudgels menaced axes.
Suddenly, a fairy-dusting gnome floated overhead, singing, “…who says gnomes can’t fly… this is what I think of your silly war…!” And he farted more dust on the dueling hoodlums.
Hero by Nancy Brady
Instead of a horse, the little bearded man named Harry rode a wildebeest he had recently purchased. He had been granted an audience with the ruling monarch, who raised a sword to each of his shoulders. It was unusual to have an American granted such an honor, but his bravery warranted it. He was armed with only a utensil that sliced through the toughest meat.
The newspaper article said it the best:
Harry, a hairy gnome from Nome riding his new gnu, kneeled, and then was knighted by the king. It was said his weapon was a steak knife.
Gnome Alone by Pete Fanning
I’d spent ten and a half years with my head in the mulch when Annie found me. Mrs. Dulvey had set me in her garden in the late seventies—right near the gardenia that somehow survived all those snows.
Over the years we were like soilmates. Mrs. Dulvey had a lot to say, not that her family cared to hear it. After she died, some neighborhood kids kicked my head clean off its spring. Years later Annie came along and gave me a new perspective on life.
Annie has much to say, not that her parents care to listen.
PART II (10-minute read)
Go Big or Go Gnome by Donna Matthews
Mama Gnome is wiped out. It’s been a busy shopping for presents, decorating trees, and planning meals kind of day. And she’s had enough.
“Siri, call Sister Gnome.”
“Hey, Yourself! What’s the word?”
“Make me laugh…whatcha got?”
“I’ll be gnome for the holidays!”
“Country roads take me gnome…”
Both giggling. Mama Gnome catches her breath and says, “I love you, sister…gnome matter what!”
A final bout of laughter as they say their good-byes. Still chuckling, Mama Gnome pulls into her driveway, considering dinner, imagining a big ol’ pot of chili…go big or go gnome!
GnomeChat by clfalcone *
On the Gnome Dating Site…
You know….gnome things… hoarding gold….guarding precious stones… clearing garden pathways…
Listen: I’ll give you some extra-gnome loving if you help me out, lover…
Sure… what do you need?
Oh, just you wait, honey… it’ll be great! First, a valid credit card…
Sweetie, I’m a gnome …I hoard gold…. I don’t have a credit card….
Wait…. you’re not one of those Nigerian pixie scammers tryna get my gold, are you? Coz some Russian leprechauns already tried this …. I reported them….
(… three weeks later, no response….)
[Damn! I Really liked her….]
Late Again by Nobbinmaug
Eldysa watched the clock as the seconds turned to minutes. The minutes stayed minutes, but there were a lot of them. Dinner was on the table cooling with each passing second.
The door slowly creaked open. Salrick entered, whistling.
“You’re late again. That’s three times this week.”
“I was talking with Sheila.”
“My boss, yes.”
“You’re a lawn gnome. How much work talk could you have?”
“The weather for one. Rain’s coming.”
“Is something going on between you two?”
“Seriously? Human women are not attractive. They don’t even have beards.”
“They don’t? Yuck.”
Gnome More by Annette Rochelle Aben
The top shelf of the bookcase was where Claudius took his naps. Lorraine always left it clear, so he could stretch out whenever the mode struck.
This Christmas, however, was different. She was decorating the bookcase. Now, there was garland hanging everywhere and wee figurines scattered on the shelves.
With a swipe of a mighty clawed paw, the garland was merely tinsel. One by one, each of the wee figurines were sent crashing to the floor. Sorry, not sorry.
As Claudius looked down from his perch he thought, be it ever so humble, this is no place for gnomes!
Merton by Saifun Hassam
Merton’s stone cottage stood among lupines and delphiniums at the forest’s edge. He was a garden gnome, helping in the village gardens.
Children gathered around Merton near the lily pond entranced by stories of forest gnomes, and his journeys over hill and dale. In the evenings he sat on the low stone wall that ran along the forest’s edge. His lamp glowed brighter under the glittering evening stars.
It was dawn on a summer morning. A waning moon hung above the giant spruce and fir. Merton bid the children farewell. They were heartbroken. Merton was going home to Charlevoix.
The Last Gnome – A True Tale by Gordon Le Pard
“I hate gnomes.”
She raised her gun, aimed at a small figure, and shot. The gnome fell back.
“I agree,” said her sister, dispatching two more in quick succession.
They walked round the mound that had been, in their words, ‘infested with the little beasts’.
“I think that’s all.”
“It is now, as a shot took off a hiding gnomes head.”
Cowering in the undergrowth Lampy tried not to show himself, the sisters walked off, happy at what they had achieved.
Years later, Lampy was finally rediscovered and celebrated, the last of his kind, the Oldest Gnome in England.
Author’s Note: Google ‘oldest gnome’ to learn the truth.
Missing by Sally Cronin
Eunice loved her garden gnomes and each birthday her husband would buy her another for the collection. Then one July, her favourite, a right Jack the lad, with a red jacket and green trousers was stolen. She was heartbroken and even put up missing posters to no avail. Then the postcards started arriving from all over Europe. ‘Having great time, see you soon. Love Jack.’ Sure enough one morning in October, Eunice looked out the window to see him back in his usual place. Her husband smirked. ‘I see the students are back after their summer holidays my love!’
The Domovoi by Colleen Chesebro
Danica felt the presence of the domovoi in the kitchen. Flour covered the floor and the table.
“Did you make this mess?”
“Da,” a small voice answered.
“Don’t you want to celebrate the winter solstice?
Dusa was her home’s guardian, and he often helped her with household chores.
“I was afraid you forgot me.”
“I never forget you. Come, have some honey cakes. That will sweeten your mood.”
Dusa gobbled up the treats. With a snap of his fingers, the mess disappeared.
Always remember to take care of your house fairy and not neglect them. Especially during the holidays.
Take a Chance, Change Your Life by Liz Husebye Hartmann
We’d answered the ad thumb-tacked to the corkboard at the neighborhood bar.
“Caretakers wanted, unoccupied mansion, rent dirt-cheap, duties minimal. Help us keep the riff-raff out! RSVP P.O. 9999NO 55101”
We were desperate, floundering through graduate school, and flat broke.
“Heaven sent,” noted Evan, so we took a chance.
We weren’t the sole tenants. Enter Lillehans, Gerta, and Nikko, who safeguard the grounds for a bowl of piping-hot Rømmegrøt with cream, a spoonful of lingonberries, and the occasional craft beer. Nisse make good partners, as long as you keep your promises.
It was the best job we’ve ever had.
A Gnome of My Own by Doug Jacquier
“Smithers, l’ve just had a call from the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, himself.”
“Cor blimey, sir.”
“He’s ordered 100,000 miniature gnomes, with Union Jack waistcoats, to be placed in the backpacks of every British soldier fighting in Europe. Imagine every Tommy going into battle with the quintessential symbol of everything that’s British nestled in his kit. God, King and garden at their backs, our brave fighting men will be invincible. They will stop at nothing to prevent the icon of this sceptered isle falling into enemy hands.”
“You can rely on me, sir, to keep the gnome fires burning!”
Gnome by JulesPaige
uff dah or okay!
this was not a mistake; me
finding this treasure
A sunflower original watercolor painting by Marisol – I’d have to get that hanging on the wall soon. Luck it seems is all just a matter of which way the wind blows. I’d always believed that thirteen was a lucky number. Dawg had found me on such a Friday.
Byrd and Lucky looked at Dawg as if to say; “The dog did it” – The open box had been knocked over. Bubble wrap surrounded an odd shape. There was a fabric gnome holding a sunflower! Uff dah! …
Hide and Seek by Kelley Farrell
“I thought you got rid of it.” Jana hissed into Kaylie’s ear.
“Obviously not. It’s right there.”
Kaylie peered through the cracked open closet door.
The little man in a scarlet tunic and green hood faced away from them. He paced a few steps then began to glow.
“Maybe it’s over.”
“Come out, come out …” His wispy voice shook the walls. Boxes rained from the shelves forcing the girls through the door in a pile of discarded things. “There you are.”
The little man with unblinking eyes stood over them.
“Ready or not, here I come.”
No One Gnome by Bill Engleson
What a footfall flouncer, I am.
Mouth full of mud and December grass.
Is this my yard?
Whadda ya know!
Gawd, were we looped last Labor Day.
“What I’m thinking, man.”
“Who?” I asked.
“The Gnome,” he pointed. “Chumpski.”
“You’re nuts. He’s made of clay.”
“Clay! Crud! Whatever. He’s got my number.”
Crapola, eh. And now I’m belly flopped, gazing up into Chumpski’s terracotta eyes.
Something nasty is in the works.
“Bugger off, creep,” I yell.
Chumpski keeps staring away like a crazy anarchist.
Just Right by Norah Colvin
Longing for height, Gnomie joined Santa’s queue in the mall. Unfortunately, the queue hardly moved, and people grumbled when the air became hot and still. Elves demanded everyone disperse. Gnomie didn’t want to disperse. He wanted to be tall. Elves spotted him approaching Santa. “Hey! You there!” He froze. Santa glared, then said, “He looks about right.” The elves quickly explained — in the heat, Santa’s ring had slipped off and into the air conditioner, jamming the controls. No one could reach it. “I can!” said Gnomie, and he did. Elves cheered; Santa smiled, and Gnomie contemplated a new request.
Gnome Help by Joanne Fisher
I knew I wouldn’t be getting out of bed today since I still had a temperature. The gnome appeared holding onto a tray with a bowl of thick vegetable soup. I sat up.
“I brought you some soup, since you’ve eaten little today.” The gnome put the tray on my lap, and also placed a hot cup of tea by my bed.
“Thanks you’re a great help.” I replied.
“No problem. You need to rest and get that fever down!”
The gnome sat down beside me and began reading aloud. Life was so much better with my gnome helper.
Gnome On the Range by D. Avery
“Gee, Pal, why’s Shorty havin’ folks write about biology, you know, genetics an’ such? Or is genes the genre this time aroun’?”
“What?! Kid, ya might wanna check yer own pool. What crazy notions ya on about now?”
“Genes Pal. Genetics? Shorty wants us ta write about genomes this week.”
“Kid, it’s gnomes. Those little folk that live underground and guard the Earth’s treasures.”
“Oh. Huh. Pal, is Shorty a gnome? ‘Cause carrots are underground treasures. An’ while World Headquarters ain’t unnerground, it’s gonna be unnerneath all thet snow.”
“Shorty ain’t a gnome.”
“Mebbe Shorty’s her gnom de plume.”
It’s a taste sensation and a vibrant color — key lime pie. Composed of a graham cracker crust and creamy filling, key lime pie brightens any meal. Small citrus from groves in Florida, key limes are a regional fruit grown in the Florida Keys. Citrus lovers (and those who make key lime pies) claim they are the sweetest of the limes. While it’s not familiar internationally, it is a color you can almost taste it.
Writers took to the prompt brightly going where pies lead.
The following stories are based on the December 5, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a key lime pie.
PART I (10-minute read)
Key Lime Pie.0 by christopher lee falcone
In the Beginning, the Earth was without crust or filling.
Then God said: “Let there be Pie.”
And there was Pie.
And the Lord said: “Let there be a division of Pies, between Cream Pies and Pies of Fruit; between Meat Pies, and Pies of Cheese.”
And there became many Pies. And He saw that the Pies were good.
Then, the Devil approached the Throne of Heaven, saying: “Lord, why do you trouble over Pies? For what good is it?”
To where the Lord pitched a key lime pie into the Devil’s eye, saying: “That!”
And the Heavens laughed.
Tropical Revolution by Faith A. Colburn
Key lime pie tastes of freedom in tropical paradise.
The lime, a citrus hybrid, grows in places like the Florid Keys and the islands of the Caribbean, reminding me of Ernest Hemingway, tucked away in the Keys, writing of the Spanish Civil War, Fidel and Raul Castro, and Che Guevara overthrowing the Batista regime in Cuba. Farther back in time—probably before agronomists developed key limes—the blacks in Haiti rose up in a slave rebellion that freed Haiti from French colonial rule and abolished slavery there.
Do you suppose any of those revolutionaries celebrated with key lime pie?
Evergreen by Anita Dawes
Beautiful Florida Keys, a string of pearls on warm blue water
So named from the Spanish Cayo, meaning little island
Small sweet key limes said to be the best
Now grown in back gardens, never leaving the islands
As for myself, I know nothing of this famous pie
I have never tasted it, maybe I should give myself a treat
Thing is, I am not known for my cooking
But I know someone who is
I will ask Jaye to cook the family a Key Lime Pie
And having done so, I have to report
Let life be evergreen!
Just Breathe by Paula Grace
She sat quietly at the window. The heaviness of the news consumed her. All at once, she was both replaying the past and worrying about the future.
“Remember to breathe, Maude.” she heard a voice say from the other room.
Remember to breathe. Just breathe. Inhale. Exhale.
She turned her head to see her friend walking towards her. Key lime pie.
“Here,” she said, “eat something.”
She took the pie and held the delicate china carefully on her lap. It did look good. “Maybe I am hungry?” she thought. She looked at her friend.
Key Lime Pie.4 by christopher lee falcone
The professor turned from the board and addressed the class.
“Like so many things in our language, certain sounds can have different meanings, to even encapsulate whole concepts, to the point it defines how you think.” He wrote pi on the board and pointed to the first student, “What’s this mean to you?”
“Ah….a mathematician…” Then to the next.
“A sweet delicacy with tea… like key lime pie.”
“Exactly.” Reaching back, he produced a cream pie that he slammed into the student’s face.
“You’ve been served!” He chuckled, wiping his hands.
Pie R Square by Nancy Brady
Laura was a math teacher; math consumed her life. She always calculated each ingredient in her recipe down to the lowest common denominator.
Her husband’s birthday was tomorrow, March fourteenth, and instead of cake, Daniel wanted pie. Whether blackberry, pumpkin, or lemon meringue, it didn’t matter. He just loved pie.
Laura went to the store to get the fixings. Returning home, she made the crust before assembling the pie filling. She couldn’t calculate the volume of the key limes which frustrated her because they weren’t strictly cylinders, but with the help of her favorite pi, his pie was delicious.
Key Lime Pie by Sally Cronin
My mother-in-law is coming to dinner tonight with the rest of the family. I am staring at a piece of paper she gave me on her last visit, which provides a step-by-step guide to making the perfect key lime pie. Apparently hers are legendary, and have become a tradition on my husband’s birthday since he was five. Even though we have only been married a few months; I know that his mother will be looking for flaws. Which is why I have made a sherry trifle, a dessert I know my husband loves; a new tradition of our own.
Key Lime Pie.5 by christopher lee falcone
TV Screen: The bubbly cooking show host raised a pie to chin level, licking her lips. “Oogolie, boogolie….. that’s how we make a key lime pie.” She smiled plastically. He cringed at ‘oogolie boogolie,’ reaching under the pie for support.
‘What if….’ he thought. ‘Naw….’
But his hands didn’t listen: he ground it into her shocked mug, storming off. She wiped herself into a green ghost, flinging pie guts onto the floor.
In the Bar: “… thus ended my Network News career…. now I drive for the pie comp….”
He couldn’t finish: he got hit with a flying cream pie.
Who Baked? by Ann Edall-Robson
There was nothing modern about the Apple Pie recipes that had been in Liz’s family for generations.
Hanna had said, “No problem.”
Standing in the kitchen shaking her head, Liz could see going to town with Mac had been a big mistake.
No apple pies, no Hanna, only Tal covered in flour, cleaning up, and three large cake dishes filled with…what?
“Barn. Farrier came. ”
“What are these?”
“Key lime pie squares.”
“Where did they come from?”
“I made them.”
Mac started to laugh.
“Looks like you picked the wrong hand for the job this time, Liz.”
Key Lime Pie by Joanne Fisher
“Making a Key Lime Pie.”
“I thought I’d try to make something different.”
“That certainly is different. You never make dessert.”
“Well I do now.”
“I hope it tastes good.”
“Same here. I don’t think they sell key limes here, so I got regular ones.”
“What is a key lime anyway?”
“I really have no idea. I hope these limes will be okay.”
“Well limes are limes.”
“Never was a truer word spoken.”
“There can’t be much difference between a key lime and a regular lime surely?”
“That’s what I’m hoping. And don’t call me Shirley!”
Sour Puss by Annette Rochelle Aben
“Key limes, schmee limes! I didn’t know there was a difference and now I have to go back to the store!”
Allison was not happy. Her mother asked for 30 key limes for the pie and she bought 30 limes, but they were not key limes. Now she had to not only go back to the store to buy MORE limes, but she also had to take back the ones she lugged home.
Plopping the bag of limes into the basket on her bike, Allison grumbled, “Key limes, schmee limes! Why not just make Grandma a chocolate cake?”
Sweet and Savory Dessert by Ruchira Khanna
“Could I please have a big slice of key lime pie without whipped cream?”
I skewed my nose, “It would be so tangy without it. How about some vanilla ice-cream on the side, instead?”
“No!” Natalie was loud and clear.
I could still not digest the fact, and snickered at her, “I hope you’re aware that it’s a dessert, not an entree.”
“Mom, why can’t we consider a dessert to be sweet and savory, just like how Life offers us. Happy and not so happy moments in our lives.” my 18-year-old inquired in a severe tone, leaving me speechless.
Just One Yes by Tracey
“Can I go to Johnney’s house?” “No, I don’t have time to take you.”
“Can I have computer time?” “No, you have math homework.”
“Can I have a snack?” “No, dinner is in less than an hour.”
“Can we have key lime pie on Christmas Eve?” “What? No, we always have pecan pie. It’s tradition.”
All the nos of the day echoed in my head.
“Wait! Yes. Yes we can have key lime pie on Christmas Eve. I love that idea.”
I looked at my son’s beaming smile and just like that my heart didn’t feel quite so tight.
Makes a Pleasant Change from Christmas Pudding by Anne Goodwin
Every year she gamely tackled Christmas pudding: weeks before in the kitchen; at the table, stomach stuffed, on the day.
She’d do it differently this year.
“It’s green!” whined Grandson.
“There’s no flaming brandy!” groaned his dad.
Spoons clinking on plates, they hardly heard Daughter-in-law cough. Eyes bulging, hands crossed at her throat, her chair fell to the floor as she staggered to her feet. Fortunately, Maiden Aunt was a first aider. She soon Heimliched out a tiny key.
“What the …?”
Such fun hunting for the plum pudding silver sixpence. She’d updated the tradition with key lime pie.
Key Lime Pie.1 by christopher lee falcone
Me : My next Carrot Ranch story is about key lime pie….I was thinking clowns….
Sis: No clowns ….fangul i clown
Me: Ok… how about this…1890s…Boardroom of Borden Foods, interviewing, “Aunt Sally”, creator of the latest dessert fad…a delicious lime pie with whipped cream…. from the Curry Mansion of Key West, Florida….
Guess where this goes….
Sis: No fucking clowns…
Me: “We’ll call it Key Lime Pie, because no one outside of India is going to want Curry Pie”
A pie flies and hits the chairman, who yells: “Curry, not cherry pie, you buffoon! ”
Sis: i knew it! Fucking clowns…
Key Lime Pie.6 by christopher lee falcone
The pies were almost gone. Every clown was laughing, covered with whipped cream, filling, pie crusts sticking out of wigs.
The Italian troup manager stormed in, yelling, “Hey! Whatsa matta you? Thosa piesza fora da show! Now theys alla gona!”
“Not this one…” honked Bibo, face crushing the manager with a key lime pie, pan falling to reveal a slimy green ectomonster.
“Whatta you do? You ruina my besta suita!”
Silence, then howling laughter as pies from every direction pelted the flustered showman.
“Now they’re all gone…” piped in Bozo as the manager stormed off, swearing: “…stronzi pagliacci cazzo!”
Do We Take Her for Granted by Susan Sleggs
“Doesn’t your sister-in-law usually bring you a key-lime pie on your birthday?”
“Yes. She must’ve forgotten.”
“After doing it for more than ten years, probably not. Should we call and ask if everything is all right?”
“She’s always doing something for us and your family. I hate to admit, I don’t even remember her kids’ names. That’s awful.”
“Then you call her.”
“She did forget because her kids have been having medical problems. She was so happy I inquired and said she was sorry. Maybe we’re the ones who are wrong for not paying more attention.”
Keepsake by D. Avery
“Ilene, here’s a recipe card pinned inside the cupboard. Is this something special? Keep or toss?”
lene examined the yellowed index card. “It’s just my mother’s key lime pie recipe.”
“Key lime pie?”
“My mother said key lime pie made every occasion special. The funny thing is, none of us really liked it. But she seemed to love making it for us, so we always just ate it and smiled. Bleck. I hope to never eat key lime pie again.”
“Here, I’ll toss it in the trash.”
“No Marge, this is a good recipe. I want to keep this.”
Memories by Colleen M. Chesebro
“I hate lemon pie.”
Susie pouted; her arms folded across her chest.
“You love Key Lime pie,” her mother reasoned. “It was gran’s favorite. Remember, we decided to celebrate the Winter Solstice as if she was still with us?”
“Not me. If I eat that pie it means gran is really gone.” Tears leaked down the child’s face mimicking the raindrops sliding down the window.
Her mother pulled Susie into her arms in a tight hug.
“Eating Gran’s favorite dessert is our way of honoring her memory.”
Susie sniffed. “I miss her.”
“Me, too. She’s always in our heart.”
PART II (10-minute read)
New Baby Born Dessert by Kirti Sehgal
“Hi Mr. Milk”
“I’m so bored, because Larissa used me only in cakes.”
“Oh! I can suggest you to be used in other dish.”
“Please change into your condensed form.”
“Abra ka Dabra shoooo! See I have changed myself.”
“Now, call the key ingredient from the refrigerator”
Milk misunderstood and calls an ingredient named with ‘Key’
“Come Mr. Milk and Miss Key ingredient. Jump into this bowl.”
The egg also jumps into it. Then a spoon puts all the stuff on a crust.
“Hide, Larissa is coming” All Said
Larissa- Oh! what’s that, a KEY LIME PIE
The Pie Contest by Norah Colvin
The instructions demanding no sampling until after judging challenged Jack as he proceeded along the tables. With hands clasped behind his back, he read the labels: key lime, desert cherry, lemon myrtle … He paused at his favourite — Christmas pie. A splinter of crust on the cloth spoiled the sumptuous display, he reasoned. Though using the utmost discretion, he was caught and banished to the corner. The harshest possible punishment already dispensed, he grabbed the pie and shoved it into his mouth. Once seated, he thumbed his nose at the other judges who succumbed and followed him into temptation.
Key Lime Pie.3 by christopher lee falcone
Pies were flying everywhere: cream, fruit, pumpkin, even meat and fish pies. Chuckles got hit square in nose with a banana creme, Zippy on the head with an apple. They got Giggles with a double earshot of cherry and coconut cream, Jangles with a butt shot of chocolate pudding. Lemon merengue was the fate of Schnicklefritz, while Kookoo met his match with meat pies to the mug. Pennywise stopped before he threw….
“Mmm…Key lime pie… my favorite! ”
Then, Buffo the Dwarf snuck underneath and walloped the Dancing Clown with a chin shot, bright green ooze dripping down like blood.
Sampling by Kerry E.B. Black
Kiesha’s mouth dropped. “Were you hungry, honey?”
Barney shrugged. “It benefited a good cause, and the pies’re from my favorite shop.”
“Yes, but what’re we going to do with all these?”
Barney swallowed a piece of peach and shrugged. “Eat them.”
Kiesha glared, dwarfed by a stack of boxes. “They’ll grow stale before we can eat them all.” She squinted at the boxes. “Why don’t we take some to the shelter?”
Barney plated a piece of lime pie. He spoke around a bite. “Sure.”
“Barney, how’re we taking these to the shelter now? You’ve taken a piece from each!”
Key Lime Pie by Donna Matthews
“You got cherry pie?” the customer next to me asks the waitress.
“Afraid not hon,” she replies.
“What about apple pie?”
“Sorry hon, how about some key lime pie instead?”
“Key lime pie!? I don’t like key limes! I don’t even know what a key lime is.”
Leaning forward, she whispers, “Have you tried this key lime pie?”
No, and I get so mad when people ask if I’ve tried something. Just cause I don’t know something doesn’t mean I can’t have an opinion about it.”
Eyebrows raised, she tries, “Pecan pie?”
“No, I don’t like those pe-cans either.”
Key Lime Pie.7 by christopher lee falcone
The foragers weren’t doing well: two got bit, had to be offed. One went crazy, jumped off a roof, then had to be re-offed after turning.
Two remained, fighting hard to raid the bakery.
They found only a single key lime pie.
“What the hell is this, Amos? I hate key lime pie!” Handing it to his partner. “All that fighting over nothing.”
“Wanna see closer, Jake?” He then pie-slammed Jake’s face, deep zombie bites seething on his forearm.
Amos turned zombie, eating face before Jake could off him. Amos wanted Jake’s yummy pink brains, not green pie filling.
Sisters (from “Lynn Valley”) by Saifun Hassam
It was Saturday morning at the Lynn Valley Farmers Market. The tantalizing aroma of key lime filled Hannah’s restaurant kitchen. Aunt Sarah was baking pies for the Children’s Library fund drive for books.
Sarah remembered wistfully the heady fragrance of lime, lemon, and orange groves in the early mornings in Keyside Quays. She had left Lynn Valley many years ago, to teach at the Keyside Junior College. She met Don, and Keyside became her home.
When Don passed away, Sarah returned to Lynn Valley, to be closer to her sister Bev, and her two favorite nieces, Hannah and Carol.
The King by H.R.R. Gorman
Aunt Shoo put the final dollop of meringue atop the key lime pie. She placed it back in the oven to bake the meringue top.
I watched through the glass window – small back in those days – at the caramelizing sugar. “Aunt Shoo,” I asked, “What’s a key lime?”
“Well,” Aunt Shoo replied, bending closer to my tender height, “It’s the kind of lime Elvis liked, and it makes the kind of pie Elvis liked, so it has to be the best.”
“Who’s this ‘Elvis’?”
Her face blanched. “Come with me,” she said before leading me upstairs to her shrine.
Curious Shoes by Charli Mills
Jena Warbeck found new shoes in the cupboard under the sink with her cleaning supplies – organic sage scents and purple dust-cloths. The shoes sat in a wreath of woven willow, soft brown leather and handstitched. She stood up and saw the beings with smeared features watching her from underneath the leaf-barren maple. They wavered like a wet mirage. Jena felt no fear. Only peace like when she relaxed with a cup of peppermint tea. Had they left the curious gift in exchange for nabbing her key lime pie? When they evaporated, a raven flew off with the pie tin.
Pie Noir by Kelley Farrell
It was a dark and stormy night. He was disheveled and slammed my door, something I hated.
I couldn’t stay mad. He was cool, real cool.
“I need your help. My pie’s been stolen. I’m told you’re the one for the job.”
I nodded and scribbled over my notepad like I was taking notes. “Pie. Got it.”
“It was key lime.”
My mouth watered at the mention of key lime pie. I’d found one earlier that afternoon abandoned on a table outside my favorite coffee shop.
“Will you help me?”
“Of course. But first, do you want some pie?”
#55 Key Rate Duration by Ruchira Khanna
There was a calm to the evening. Until I remembered I needed to call my Mom back…
“Hi Mom, …No I didn’t have to go to the emergency room. Clara came by. …Yes the traveling vet. …Do you know how hard it is going to be to walk Dawg on a leash for a week or longer? …From his perspective it may seem like I’m punishing him for all the wonderful things he’s helping me to find. ….The latest – a set of old skeleton keys. …What you’re indulging in Key Lime pie? Please describe each trace morsel you’re eating…”
That Dessert Will Be the Death of Me by Geoff Le Pard
‘What we got, Rog?’
‘Suspicious death. Victim was suffocated. No sign of the perp.’
‘Strangled? Gas? Drowning.’
‘Looks like the last one only…’
‘Not the usual sort, you know in water?’
‘The forensics guys say his airways were blocked…’
‘Rog, what are you saying…’
‘You can’t drown in biscuits. That’s complete…’
‘Biscuit crumbs, you know like a cheese cake base.’
‘Not another New York…?’
‘Different topping. They’ve having it tested, but the smell… oh heck, it has to be the Pie Killer.’
‘Ah ha. So the lime is the key this time?’
Key Lime Pie.9 by christopher lee falcone
The Outworlders were getting frustrated.
“Take us to the makers of this energy source….” electro-droned the translator. They handed the farmer a key lime pie, admonishing, “Please! Our people suffer.”
“What? Y’all don’t like Auntie May’s famous Key Lime Pie?” He scowled at the skinny aliens. “It’s tart… but it might could put some meat on y’all’s bones.” He chuckled, taking the pie.
“This energy source is composed of our spawn.” Squawked the box. “Cease or we destroy your planet!”
“Cease this, green man!” He jammed the pie square into the alien’s face.
And that’s how Pie Wars started…
Key Lime Pie.2 by christopher lee falcone
The control room was tense: zero hour was now….
Technicians coordinated, tacticians triangulated, coordinators communicated, while the scowling general paced impatiently.
The Code Word: Key Largo Port.
The general barked, “Get me the commander…”, to a chorus of ‘roger’.
“On my mark, … three… two… one… commence Operation Key Lime Pie!”
“What? “, crackled the comm.
‘What?’, shrugged the staff.
“Are you deaf? I said, commence Operation Key Lime Pie, dammit!”
“Roger.” Sang the personnel.
An arm reached out and shoved a pie into the general’s face, uniform splattered bright green.
“Damn you, colonel Pennywise! That was for the Officers Banquet!”
Key Lime Pie by FloridaBorne
“You can’t live in Florida without making key lime pie, Sheila!”
“Scrape off one teaspoon of the rind, then squeeze out half a cup of key lime juice, throw it into the blender with 2 eggs and a can of sweetened condensed milk, pour that into a Dollar General graham cracker crust, put it into a toaster oven for 15 minutes, and then refrigerate.”
“I prefer hot apple pie,” Sheila said. “Up north, mom heated our house
making pies and roasted chestnuts on the coldest days.”
“Bet you tried to plant a chestnut tree, too,” I mumbled.
The Key Lime Pie Blues by Bill Engleson
Went to old Key West
Many years ago.
Lovin’ was the best
That I’d ever know.
No matter what I do,
How hard I try,
I can’t shake her
Or her key lime pie.
She took me in
And she fed me well.
Took me to her bed
For quite a spell.
She glowed in the sun,
Sparkled in the sea.
When she was done
There was less of me.
No matter what I do
Or how hard I try,
I can’t shake her
Or her key lime pie.
No, I can’t shake her
Or her key lime pie.
Outlawed Pies by D. Avery’s Kid
“Kid, we’re not gittin’ writ this time aroun’. D.Avery’s done painted hersef inta a corner procrastinatin’ work deadlines.”
“She’s busy workin’ jist now?”
“Huh. I’ll have ta step up, though I prefer shovelin’ cow pies ta key lime.
Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night. The evil king had outlawed pies, except for apple pie made with Northern Spy apples and white flour.
Meanwhile, deep in the forest and far from the swamp, the Key Lime Princess practiced civil disobedience, producing her green pies as peaceful as you please. And carrot cake. The end.