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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

Family Shenanigans

Who said a forty-something shouldn’t feel like an excited young bride? The ladies in Tessa’s family invited her friends for a personal wedding shower. Michael’s and her sister oohed and aahed as she opened each special gift, but they held one box in reserve to be the last presented. Finally, the most elaborate paper and bow lay on the floor. Tessa held up a life-size felted pink piglet with curly tail and sparkly silver wings for all to see. She didn’t understand the present.

The sisters exclaimed, “Michael swore he wouldn’t get married till pigs could fly!”

Everyone laughed. 

Written in response to Charli Mills August 26, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a flight of pigs. It can be farm or fantasy-related. The idea can be a tale, poem or memory. You can use the phrase as an expression. Go where the prompt leads!

Stars in the Sand

Sand and rocks, all the same color. Windy. The sand didn’t care whose clothing it sifted into; US troops in full battle gear, residents they were training, or the enemy they had trouble identifying.

Then came the explosion. Michael’s legs in a million pieces, splattered in every direction. His driver’s body torn apart. The identifiable parts gathered reverently to return home in a flag-covered casket.

The General visited the compound. His soldiers knew he would come. He had their respect. He cared about their well-being. His stars shone in the sun, the same color as the unforgiving relentless sand.

Written in response to Charli Mills August 19, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “stars in the sand.” Your story can be any genre (or poem) and can use realism or fantasy. It’s a dreamy prompt. Go where the it leads!

Laying in a Hospital Bed

An inward sucking noise

An outward swooshing

Over and Over

The ventilator keeps perfect time

The incessant beeping

When the IV bag is empty

“Someone” please turn it off

Where is everyone

Now a fall-alarm is blaring

My adrenalin rushes but

I hear no one running in response

Don’t they care

Too busy to answer call buttons

But I can hear them talking

How many people are working

Where is my friendly nurse

The meal-cart wheels squeak

Compartment doors slam

The tube prevents eating

My mind says I’m hungry

My God, it’s finally quiet

It’s peaceful

Am I dead

Written in response to Charli Mills August 13, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story, using cacophony. You can use the word or show discordant sound inaction. How can you create literary cacophony with your words? This one might be of interest to poets as a literary device. Go where the prompt leads!

Michael’s Motivational Speech at Walter Reed

Had I not been in a bomb blast, I would probably still be on active duty, stationed who knows where. Instead, I’m directing the teen choir in my hometown church, I’m singing lead in a veterans only band, I’m taking the healing power of music to multiple veterans’ facilities in a gifted van , I’m marrying for the first time, and I’ve immersed myself in family life. It took me a while to realize losing most of my legs had opened doors for me. The secret is to believe there is a specific, exciting purpose for the new you.

Written in response to Charli Mills August 5, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about an open door. It can be literal or metaphorical. What is behind the door? Who is seeking and why? As the writer, how will you manage the discovery? Go where the prompt leads!

Same Place, Different People

Tessa and her father talked about memorable family events while planting geraniums by his parents’ headstone.

Walking back to the car, Tessa said, “I thought I would know everyone in town when I moved back, but I don’t. Sadly I see many familiar names here.”

“You were gone over twenty-five years. Folks passed on, and lots of your generation moved away.”

“Funny, my life was always changing, and yet I expected my hometown not to. Sort’a naive.”

Her father nodded. “What’s that saying, children don’t age if you don’t witness it happening.”

“I guess that applies to hometowns too.”

Written in response to Charli Mills July 22, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a hometown. It can be your hometown or a fictional one. Who is there? When is it set? What is happening? Go where the prompt leads!

My Son the Sports Reporter

Off to graduate school

For sports journalism

Syracuse University duffel bag

Bright television lights

Require face make-up

Toiletry bag a must

Not just shaving gear

Also foundation cream and aloe cleansing cloths

Hair products and toothbrush

Prescription eye drops

Bag on the vanity

Means he’s visiting

Duffel has three sets of station call letters

Bigger city each move

Emmys multiply

Written in response to Colleen Chesebro Double Ennead poem challenge at Carrot Ranch Literary

https://carrotranch.com/2021/07/19/saddle-up-saloon-colleens-double-ennead-challenge-no-6/?c=83888#comment-83888

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

A Family Meltdown

Katie didn’t try to hide her anger or tears. “Does she think she can swoop in here and be welcomed? I don’t care if she is my blood grandmother. She’s never sent me so much as a hello.”

Thad empathized with his daughter. “I’m not any more comfortable with meeting her than you are, but your grandfather and Nan say it will benefit us to reconnect.”

“How can Grandma be so positive?”

“She says you’ll understand better after you’ve had children.”

“I’m also worried about this woman’s reappearance upsetting Grandpa?”

“I’m sure his loyalty to Nan will prevent problems.”

Written in response to Charli Mills July 15, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word meltdown. You can use it to describe an event or emotional reaction. You can create a new meaning or explore the word origin. You can Go where the prompt leads!

Ruffled Feathers

Tessa stomped into the house and slammed the door behind her. “Mom makes me so mad.”

“I guess she ruffled your feathers again. About what now?” Michael asked.

“I explained to her that the base and medical benefits I lost when I got divorced, I would get back when we get married. Instead of looking at it as a positive, she reminded me I wouldn’t be able to take her to the Officer’s Club for dinner.”

“Her and her status hang up. I’ll tell her that the NCO Club food is better because there are more NCOs than Officers.”

Written in response to Charli Mills July 8, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features feathers. It can be a single feather or more. Where did the feather come from? Does it hold meaning to the character or story? Go where the prompt leads!

Rainbow Gets a New Home

Michael wheeled through the library talking to a fellow meeting attendee. The resident cat, Rainbow, on hearing Michael’s voice appeared from behind the counter and jumped into his lap.

The woman working chuckled. “I guess he’s going to your meeting too.”

Michael grinned. “We’ve made friends since I’ve been coming in regularly. In fact, I haven’t seen him with any children lately. “

“No. He’s getting older and not as tolerant. Want to adopt him?”

“Really? Tessa would be thrilled, but the dog might not be.”

“They’ll adjust.”

Michael cuddled him. “Rainbow, you want to go home with me?”

Written in response to Charli Mills June 24, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a cat named Rainbow on an outdoor adventure. Rainbow is any cat of any identification. What would draw a cat outside? Go where the prompt leads!

Summer Dream

Michael was telling Dr. John about a recurring nightmare. “The important ladies in my life are dancing around a fire like you’d see on the summer solstice, but my wheelchair’s in the fire.”

“Are they celebrating its destruction? Perhaps suggesting you give it up?”

“I hate the prosthetic legs.”

“Why?”

“When I’m in the chair, people look me in the eye and notice my upper body physic. When I wear the prosthetics, that’s all they see. I’m more than a pair of metal legs; and, I’m band mascot.

“So it’s not about comfort. It’s about recognition?”

“I don’t know.”

Written in response to Charli Mills June 18, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features a solstice. What is the era and setting? Use the solstice as a celebration, metaphor, or talking point. Go where the prompt leads!

The Respected Counselor

Michael rolled into the No Thanks, went straight to Mac, and said, “I heard Dr. John is going to open an antique shop next door. That true?”

“Tis.”

“I didn’t know he was an antique guy.”

“When he asked to rent the building he said he wasn’t, but his wife is. He’s retiring from the VA but wants to stay available. They plan to turn the big back room into a kitchen so folks can drop in for a cup of coffee and a chat. A new way to office, he called it.”

Michael nodded approval. “Sounds like him.”

Written in response to Charli Mills June 10, 2021, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a new way to office. Has the office changed? Can we return to normal after big changes or time away? Go where the prompt leads!

Not an Ordinary Day

Katie got bad vibes, but she carded and served the group. One female pointed to the picture of Mac’s friend wearing his Medal of Honor and said, “Look, the highest grade dog collar a person can earn in this stupid country.”

Katie stammered. “Wha…t?”

“I see military folks as dogs on leashes, totally controlled.”

Mac appeared from nowhere. “I see you as ignorant, immature, and lacking common sense considering all the dogs in here, except me, served by choice and are off-leash. I suggest you drink up and get out!”

Experiencing palpable raised hackles, they gulped drinks and skedaddled.

Written in response to Charli Mills June 3, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story being leashed. Is it literal or metaphorical? Who or what is leashed. How does it set the tone? Go where the prompt leads!

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