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Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

The No Thanks Needed’s Mission

At 3:00 am Thanksgiving morning, Mac, Thad, and Michael wiped the table where they had been sitting with the lady vets. They learned two of them were combat survivors. Mac sighed audibly and said, “Ladies in a war zone. I’m glad they’re not my monkeys and not my circus.”

Michael laughed. “They are your monkeys, and this is your circus, especially on Thanksgiving eve. And now they know it’s safe to congregate here and talk freely. We may see more of them.”

Mac smiled. “Providing a safe place to talk proudly about being a service member is our mission.”

Note: The No Thanks Needed is a bar owned by Vietnam Veteran Colm McCarthy. Thad is his son, and Michael leader of the house band. They, too are vets. On Thanksgiving eve, they hold a veterans-only turkey dinner with the food provided by the band members’ families.

Written in response to Charli Mills November 28, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the saying, “not my monkeys, not my circus”. What is the situation that would spawn that aphorism? Have fun with setting and characters! Go where the prompt leads!

The Ladies Come To Dinner

Mac was accustomed to having veterans he had never met show up for the night before Thanksgiving buffet, but he wasn’t used to having female veterans attend. Thad heard him say, “Oh my,” when a group of seven women came in.

Michael welcomed the new guests, told them to enjoy the meal and camaraderie, then went to Mac. “I verified they’re vets. Do we need to change anything?”

Mac replied, “No, you and I will sit with them so we can get to know them. I need to accept lady soldiers more than anyone.”

Thad said, “Count me in.”

Mac is a Vietnam vet who owns the “No Thanks” bar. Thad is his veteran son and Michael is a veteran friend. The bar hosts a veterans-only free dinner the evening before Thanksgiving every year.

Lies Are Allowed for Surprises

Tessa called her mother and invited her parents to dinner at their favorite Italian restaurant in the next town.

“Tessa, can’t you change the meal time to 7:00 PM, you know your father doesn’t like to eat early with the blue hair crowd.”

“Mom, the restaurant was already booked for prime time hours when I called, it’s the college’s Homecoming Weekend. You can eat a big late breakfast and an early dinner.”

“I suppose.”

***

Tessa called her sister, “I lied to Mom to get her to agree to the time. I’m sure she isn’t suspecting an anniversary party.”

Written in response to Charli Mills November 14, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a lie. What is the lie? It can be subtle or blatant. Who tells the lie and why? Is it an unreliable narrator? Go where the prompt leads!



Emma’s Got The Beat

After the Veterans’ Day luncheon at the No Thanks, the Band of Brothers found their favorite places,  behind their instruments. They played different genres of patriotic songs while the crowd sang along. Little Emma was dancing by herself until she noticed a register near the end of the bar. She soon figured out she could make it squeak by stepping on a specific corner. Just about the time Lexi was going to make her stop Michael grinned and pointed to the toddler then changed the words in the song. “Listen, my granddaughter is squeaking in time to the music.”

Written in response to Charli Mills’ November 7, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes something squeaky. What is squeaky and why? How does it move the story or disrupt a character? Listen, write, and go where the prompt leads!

Michael Plays the Age Card

Wearing  Army t-shirt and shorts, Michael sat in a wheelchair on stage, his leg stumps showing so all entering the Walter Reed activity room could see. He spoke. “We soldiers share the experience of missing skin and bones. At twice your age I lived the hopelessness and depression you may be feeling.” He turned sideways in the chair, swung himself to the floor, and put on the prosthetic legs lying there. Then using the chair for support, he stood up and walked around. “I’m proof you can heal and become friends with whatever prosthetic you need. You’ve got this.”

Written in response to Charli Mills October 24, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about bones. It can be any genre or tone. Is it spooky, irreverent, or poignant? Go where the prompt leads!

Let’s Go Kayaking

The promise of colorful leaves decorating the hillsides, soaring eagles, no waves from loud boats, and few other humans had the veteran friends loading kayaks, paddles, and life-preserver belts into pick-ups. They were looking forward to a relaxing day of natural beauty on Hemlock Lake in western New York State. The lake shores were undeveloped except for a small park at the north end with a gravel boat launch and another launch at the south end. The lack of dwellings was for the good of the water, as it was a protected reservoir for the residents of nearby Rochester.

Written in response to Charli Mills, October 10, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses the idea, “for the water.” You can find inspiration in water protection movements. Is it a celebration or a dark dystopian warning? Consider your place and the bodies of water that have shaped you. Go where the prompt leads!

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