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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

Water Is Life – flash fiction

Ezra sat waiting for his wife to come home from the field hospital. He had fed their children, bacon, biscuits slathered with butter and wild berry jam, and fresh cow’s milk for supper. The garden wasn’t yet producing vegetables, but it would in a few weeks. Keeping it weed free was something he could manage even with his wounds. When Louise finally arrived on horseback, he offered her dinner.

“No,” she said. “Just water. Cold, fresh and clear water.”

Their eldest ran to fetch a bucket of water from the stream, careful not to muddy it while doing so.

In response to Charli Mills March 21, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a bucket of water. What is the condition of the water and what is the bucket for? Drop deep into the well and draw from where the prompt leads!

 

Those Beaks Are Made For Eating

Outside my window suet feeders for woodpeckers hang on the crabapple tree. They are chained because climbing critters like to steel them. The little Downy Woodpecker feeds with the tiniest beak, the size of a push pin, but it’s the fiercest of the bunch. The Hairy is next in size and its beak resembles a small nail. The Red-bellied sports a picture hanging nail and the Flicker’s beak is long and sleek, like a sharp needle. The extra large Pileated Woodpecker has a huge beak in comparison. It looks like two chisels on a hinge. He takes big bites. pileated2

 

In response to Charli Mills March 14, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a chisel. Use chisel as a noun or a verb. Think about what might be chiseled, who is chiseling. Be the chisel. Go where the prompt leads!

Meanings Change

“My mouse isn’t here,” my son lamented

“He better not be running loose.”

“I’m talking about my computer mouse, not Whiskers.”

“That’s a relief. Where could it be?”

“Probably at school. I used my laptop to work on an assignment about archaic words. I had a lot of windows open looking for examples.”

“Windows used to let air in, not information. Come to think of it, RAM, byte, virus, web, boot, spam, and cookies have all taken on new meanings in this techie age.”

“You’re a genius. I’ll write my report on those words and easily get an A.”

 In response to Charli Mills March 7, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or whiskered. Go where the prompt leads!

Back – Ups – flash fiction

Mom says, “Honey, before you go back upstairs, don’t forget to back-up your work. Oh, I think hear a back-up alarm. I hope that’s not an ambulance coming for Mr. Backus next door.”

Dad asks, “Has he been sick?”

“His wife told me his innards get backed up and he has trouble going.”

“That’s a crappy subject. All this talk about back-up reminds me I need to call and have the septic tank emptied.”

Son groans, “One more mention of back-up, my lunch might come back up.”

Mom grins. “I’ll back up if you need to get past me.”

 

In response to Charli Mills February 28, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the term backup. You can back up or have a backup, just go where the prompt leads!

The Ultimate Gift

When I started my new job the end of January, I asked, “Will we have a Valentine’s Day party?”

My boss gave me an incredulous look. “We have open house every Valentine’s Day, but please, don’t call it a party. Our donor families are rarely in a party mood.”

“Oh. Right.”

When I opened the top drawer of my desk, a note waited;

Be mindful that in the heart transplant unit a donor just had the worst day of their life and the lucky recipient is having the best and sometimes we get to meet both sets of families.

 

In response to Charli Mills February 14, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about valentines. It can be Valentine’s Day, the exchange, love for another, romance, or friendship. Have a heart and go where the prompt leads!

Not a Brag – A Reality — flash fiction

          On the Riverside Hotel lobby wall there was a big, bold sign; Our bartender Carlton is the best in the US. We took our luggage to the room, freshened up and went to the lounge; curious. With our first order Carlton asked our names and hometown and didn’t forget. He asked other guests the same then introduced everyone to everyone else. We had a fun evening with what felt like old friends. We left an exorbitant tip, sad we couldn’t stay another night. We still talk about Carlton, wonder how much money he makes, and if he’s still there.

In response to Charli Mills February 7, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a sign. It can be a posted sign, a universal sign, a wonder. Go where the prompt leads.

The Price of Enjoying Live Music

Last Wednesday, 1/30/2019, schools were closed in Western New York State because the Polar Vortex came calling. The temperature hovered around zero and the wind blew gales. We had pre-purchased tickets to hear The Canadian Brass perform at our world famous Kodak Hall Eastman Theater. I half wanted my husband to say we weren’t going. Instead we put on our fleece lined jeans, a couple of layers of shirts and wore our warmest winter coats. So did everyone else. In our glamorous theater there was not a suit or dress in sight, except on stage. The music did not disappoint. In fact it was fantastic, catchy, even awe inspiring. The performers were also entertainers and we went home with happiness in our hearts and a new knowledge of an instrument we found out was a contrabassoon. Neither my husband nor I had ever seen one. The lady next to me showed me one on her phone, during intermission. The Fox model 900 costs $28,995.00. That’s more than my present car. I digress. Continue reading “The Price of Enjoying Live Music”

He Never Left Us

We called the seaside motel to book a room.

They said we’re closed for a private function.

Yes, we said, the funeral of the owner.

You know that? You may have a free room.

In a local diner dressed in our best we were asked,

Are you here for Dick’s funeral?

Our friend was very well liked.

His companies employed half the town.

A church so full, people stood.

Back at the motel well after dark.

The sea mist rose.

The fog horn sounded.

We knew Dick was still with us.

The horn will always be his loving voice.

 

Written in response to Charli Mills January 31, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about sea mist. How does it create an environment for a story? It can set the stage or take the stage. Go where the prompt leads.

Broken – flash fiction

The vinyl discs were from his high school and college days. When he left her for another woman she smashed them against the edge of their marble counter. Shards flew. She eyed the mess with a childish glee, feeling she had destroyed something of him as he had destroyed their life together. She slept well that night. The next day she purchased a shiny new bucket and filled it with every shard she could locate then left it by the turntable with a note; “Here is your record collection, in the condition you have left my heart and life.”

In response to Charli Mills January 24, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about shards. You can write about the pieces, the item they once were, or who picks them up and why. Go where the prompt leads.

Standing In Respect – flash fiction

The funeral home parking lot was full of cars which hid the numerous motorcycles stashed in the back corner, but their large American flags flapping in the wind gave them away. I had to go look; The Patriot Guard was in presence. To enter the building I had to pass between the colonnade of men, standing at attention, on duty protecting a fellow veteran, a fellow biker and a friend. The haunted look in their eyes wasn’t for the current grief, it was from a long ago senseless war. I know, they were my friends too. Damn Viet Nam.

In response to Charli Mills January 17, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes colonnades. It can be natural, architectural, or a metaphor. Take a stroll and go where the prompt leads.

A Positive Outlook – flash fiction

“Grandma, when I bring in each box it sounds like you are saying ‘mint.’ Do you need a throat lozenge?”

“No. I’m saying enrichment over and over to convince myself this move is a good thing.”

“Mom said it was your idea to give up your house. I don’t understand.”

“I have found an unexpected enrichment whenever I have done something new. I know some pleasure or fulfillment will come from living here, but right now the newness is frightening so I am repeating a positive mantra. It keeps me looking ahead.”

“Sounds like it would help me too.”

In response to Charli Mills January 10, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the idea of enrichment. Use many of its different manifestations or explore reasons why it matters to the character. Go where the prompt leads.

Now She Could Move On

Dr. Stephanie Davidson, still limping slightly, came out of the courthouse feeling free and relaxed. Her happiness radiated onto the people she passed. Her divorce from the man who had hired a killer to make her disappear was finalized and both men were serving long jail terms. Thankfully there were no news cameras or questions as a divorce hearing was nothing compared to the attempted murder trials the year before. The police officer that had saved her life when the attempt had been made waited for her. He gazed at her with adoration and said, “No looking back sweetheart.”

In response to Charli Mills January 3, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who looks back. It can be a metaphorical reflection or a glance in the rear-view mirror. Who is looking back, and why? Go where the prompt leads.

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