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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

Author

susansleggs

I am a retired grandmother that grew up in western New York state, left for 25 years and am now back in the area. I happily live with my husband and two cats. I am pro -military, food, family, and quilting. I am con-exercise, insulting commercials, and lack of common sense. My hope is to have the pile of paper on my desk become a book store novel that will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps, inspire you to make some changes in how you think.

Many Hands – flash

Many hands

   thank God they don’t all have a brain

A small group of people

   all with the same interest form a club

They have officers and by-laws

   they don’t follow them

They bicker and take stands on what’s good for the group

   common sense stays at home

They gather in their cliques

   with misplaced loyalties

Change is the enemy

   when someone new is asked to lead

Maintain the status quo

   whether it’s a good idea or not

   because their hands can’t see

So many hands

   showing a microcosm of government

   bogged down by half the number of opinions

 

Not my usual post, but I needed to vent. In response to Charli Mills June 13, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the work of many hands. Is it a cooperative effort or something else? Go where the prompt leads!

The Dirty Apron — flash fiction

My adult son came up beside me and dipped a spoon into the spaghetti sauce I was stirring. “Be careful, the boiling bubbles can pop and splash.”

“I know Mom. I learned that when I was about seven.” He looked at the front of my apron. “Don’t you think you should wash that thing?”

“No.” I pointed to different splashes. “This is gravy from Thanksgiving. This is fudge from Christmas and this is the last time I made sauce.”

“It needs a bath.”

My grandson hugged my legs. “No Daddy, it won’t smell like Grandma if she washes it.”

In response to Charli Mills June 6, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that makes a big splash. It can be fluid, or you can play with the idiom (to make a big splash is to do or say something that becomes unforgettable). Go where the prompt leads!

Stream of Conscious – flash fiction

    This will probably be the last year I come to pick strawberries. It isn’t the same doing it alone. I remember the fun we had when I brought my kids here and then their children. Now, no one is interested in coming along. I wonder if I would hear about it if I didn’t make preserves for each of them anymore. Good thing I still have my mint bed, they do show up the day before they have a party to raid that so they have fresh mint for making mojitoes. Maybe I could make mint jelly next year.

In response to Charli Mills May 30, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes strawberries and mint. The combination evokes color contrast, scents, and taste. Where will the combination take you? Go where the prompt leads!

Melting Ice

When we go to bed at home it’s silent. Not so in a hotel. That little refrigerator always makes distressing noises. I turn it off and prop open the door. Feeling I’ve overcome the demon, my husband and I lounge and read. CRASH! A few expletives fly and we are both standing, looking around. What was that? Nothing appears broken or moved. Peeking out from the fridge door is a half inch slab of ice. I have unwittingly defrosted the freezer. Ice falling on plastic is noisy. We laugh away our adrenaline. Husband remarks, “There’s no ice build-up now.”

 

In response to Charli Mills May 23, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story without ice. It can be a world without ice or a summer camp that runs out of cubes for lemonade. What does the lack mean to the story? Go where the prompt leads!

 

 

Through the Woods

        Me and my dog walk down the hill through the woods to the river most days, usually to bring the cows back up to the barn. In the springtime we pick leeks that grow under the black walnut trees. Rascal rolls in them and Mama gets mad because he stinks. In the fall we collect the nuts. They’re bitter but add a good flavor to cookies. If we sit quiet under the willow in the summer we see beaver swimming and deer drinking. I wish the house had been built down by the river. It’d save lots of walking 

 

In response to Charli Mills May 16, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes in search of trees. It can be one particular tree, a grove, woods, or forest. What makes the tree worth seeking? Go where the prompt leads!

On Aging – flash fiction

When I dream I am younger, energetic, and always thinner. There is excitement, intrigue, people I don’t recognize and fascinating cartoonlike experiences. There are animals, unlikely pets, a tiger on my bed, horses waiting at the window for an apple. I travel to exotic places, by sailboat, with a dark haired sexy partner. I go back to laughing about life’s entanglements and mistakes don’t happen. There is no pain, no memory loss, no pills to take, no hurt feelings, and no guilt for bad decisions. Then I awake. I am old and infirm, but still happy to be alive.

It Takes Grit – flash fiction

“Remember when we were teenagers, we thought we had the world by the tail,” Lillian mused.

“Those were the days,” Maude answered.

“Guess we learned life wasn’t easy didn’t we?”

“Yeah, about my 40th birthday I figured out I didn’t know sh*t back then.”

“Now you’re 90, what do ya think?”

“The truth; there are only tiny snippets of peace in any one’s life. Responsibilities, hardships, and illness are ever present and only thing means anything is how a person handles all the crap.”

“That’s grit my friend.”

“Good thing we both got it. It’s what’s kept us goin’.”

                                                                                                           

 Written in response to Charli Mills May 2, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about sisu. It’s a Finnish concept of enduring strength, the ability to consistently overcome. Think long-term. Go where the prompt leads!

Prosopagnosia or The Value of a Name Tag

Have you ever gone to a class, of any kind, and been asked to wear a name tag? What was your reaction? Did you think it was silly because you were never going to see those people again, or you didn’t like being treated like a child. I hate to admit I’ve had those same thoughts. Now think about how good it makes you feel when you walk into a meeting, or restaurant, and someone calls you by name. It makes you feel good, like you are valuable and you have something to offer or gain by being there. Continue reading “Prosopagnosia or The Value of a Name Tag”

Bonding Over Fabric – flash fiction

Lillian leaned on her cane and perused the only two shelves of fabric she had left. She needed four complimentary ones to make the project she had in mind. After trying many combinations she exhausted her options so limped to her chair and eased herself into the worn seat. After a little nap, she called her granddaughter. “Would you have time to take me shopping.”

“I can on Friday.”

When they returned from their excursion, Sally said, “My youngest starts school in September. Could we schedule time to sew together?”

Lillian’s misty eyed response was, “Of course my dear.”

 

In response to Charli Mills April 25, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes exhaustion. Who is exhausted and why? Can you make art of exhaustion? Go where the prompt leads!

Gender-proof Names – flash fiction

The proud parents of toddler twins, a boy and a girl, couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to see which child picked which “rocking horse.” Without hesitation, Taylor went to the black and white motorcycle shaped one and Devin went to the golden pony. The parents smiled.

Years later the gender argument arose when the twins got their driver permits. Taylor asked, “Dad, in this day and age do we really have to mark the Female or Male box on this application?”

He answered, “It’s only good for statistics these days, each of you pick one, but make them different.”

In response to Charli Mills April 18, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about gender. It can be fixed or fluid. Explore the topic on your own terms and open your mind to possibilities and understanding. Go where the prompt leads!

Safer To Eat At Home – flash fiction

 Eight year old Becky came home from school to see her mother had liver and onions ready to prepare for supper. She sought permission to go play with best friend Arlene and bolted out the door. Together the two girls hatched a plan then went to Arlene’s mother to ask if Becky could eat dinner with them. They were triumphant until they sat down to lima beans and fried Spam. Arlene’s mother, seeing Becky’s face said, “Beggars can’t be choosers. Eat up.”

Later, outside, Becky said, “Lima beans are yuckier than liver. Do you think they called each other?”

 

Written in response to Charli Mills April 11, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “beggars can’t be choosers.” You can play with the words, alter them or interpret them without using the phrase. Give it any slant you want — show what it means or add to its  meaning. Go where the prompt leads!

Making Notification

The Army officer stopped the fleet car in front of the brick house at 217 Maple Avenue. As they looked at the house, he said to the Chaplain sitting with him, “I hate doing these notifications. All the family has to do is see us walking up the sidewalk and they know what they’re going to hear.”

“True, but these days they can hold on to the fact their child volunteered and had wanted to serve their country.”

“Doesn’t make losing one any easier, especially when I have to admit friendly fire  was the cause. And they always ask.”

 

In response to Charli Mills April 4, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about fire. It can be a flame that burns or a light that inspires. Follow the flames and go where the prompt leads!

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