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Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

“Free Pie”

The Irish Dancers and their families arrived early at the No Thanks for their usual Saturday practice. Each person entered the bar carrying a pie. Mac and the three generations of his family were already at work in the kitchen. The house band members and families soon arrived with more pies. While the adults cut and plated pie pieces, the dancers made signs that said, FREE PIE ON PI DAY. In small letters, donations accepted, was added.

By the end of the unusual public practice, the pies were gone and donation buckets full. The dancers were off to competition.

Note: Mac, the owner of the No Thanks Needed bar and grill is a first-generation Irish-American. He and his house band are noted for Irish music and holding Irish dancing lessons at the bar on Saturdays. They have an annual fundraiser to offset the costs of the dancers going to a competition.

Written in response to Charli Mills March 14, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about free pie. What kind of pie and freedom? Who is involved with pies? How is it free? Go where the prompt leads!

Scott Reaches Out

Scott asked Michael, “Have you had any dealings with the new psych Doc at the VA Clinic?”

“I haven’t, but I’ve heard things. What’s your take?”

“I swear the guy is a robot. Talks in an irritating monotone, shows zero emotion, and it’s hard to connect with him. He sure doesn’t get PTSD.”

“That’s tough. Dr. John is next door at the antique shop, and Mac, Thad, or I are often here if you need a human touch.”

“I’m stuck with the Doc to get my prescriptions, but knowing I can talk to you guys is helpful. Thanks. “

Written in response to Charli Mills March 7, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a robotic writer. Is it an analogy or a battery-operated i-writer? Is it possible? What will happen if robots write? Go where the prompt leads!

Farm Chores

The topic of the day at the No Thanks was the farm accident that took the life of Old Ted, a well-liked regular.

“What’s his wife gonna do?”

“There’s a couple hired hands.”

Mac listened to more comments then said, “You fellas could help out. Anybody can feed chickens, clean stalls, and mow the grass.”

The three young vets looked at each other. Scott answered. “Why not? Better than sittin’ here.”

Mac kept his smile to himself, remembering the reality of farm chores. “I’ll take you out tomorrow and introduce you.”

“You think we’ll need boots?” Scott asked, clueless.

Written in response to Charli Mills February 28, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write about the farm life. Where is the farm and who are the farmers? What are they farming and why? How is the farm life? Go where the prompt leads!

Michael’s Happy Ending

Michael sat in the living room, the cat and dog laying close by. Tessa was away, babysitting. Silence was no longer his enemy. He had come to enjoy having private time to think and pray. “Father, I’d rather be a married man with my own legs instead of metal ones, but I probably wouldn’t have left the service if that were the case. So, thank you. I feel I am right where I belong at this stage of my life. Married to my best friend, a step-dad and grandfather, still singing and happy to be of help to others.”  

Note; Due to the new format at Carrot Ranch Literary, this is the end of Michael’s Circle, the serial I have been writing for the past two years. He has come full circle attaining his long desire to be married to his soul mate.

Written in response to Charli Mills February 21, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “I’d rather be…” You fill in what comes next. What would a character(s) rather be doing and why? How can you use the phrase as a literary device? Go where the prompt leads!

The White Dress

When Michael and guests got their first glimpse of Tessa in her flattering wedding gown, there were gasps of recognition. Becca had worked a miracle transforming the old white prom dress.

Michael took Tessa’s hand when her father offered it, then leaned over and whispered, “I’ve dreamt about you in that dress for years.”

Tessa whispered back, “You’ll have to help me with the zipper later.”

Michael’s eyes went wide. She squeezed his hand hard, and they both laughed out loud as if all alone.

When they settled, the minister said, “Obviously a private joke. Can we begin now?”

Note: Becca is Michael’s sister.

Written in response to Charli Mills February 14, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about zippers. What are the zippers for? What challenges do they present to the story? Go where the prompt leads!

Wedding Guests

Tessa’s daughter, Vicki, was still her Daddy’s girl and up until her mother’s remarriage day had refused to come for a visit or meet Michael. When she finally walked into the No Thanks, Lexi pounced, “Mom’s been fretting all morning that you weren’t going to show.”

“I’m not late. Dad and I flew in together. We had to wait for the rental car.”

Lexi’s face turned beet red. “WHY, is he here?”

“He wants to meet Emma and see you and Brent. Tomorrow will do.”

“You’re unbelievable. This is about celebrating Mom and Michael, not catering to our father.”

**

Tessa’s father saw the heated exchange between his granddaughters and went to investigate. “Hi, Vickie. Glad you could make it.”

Lexi snarled, “She brought Dad.”

“Excuse me,” Don replied.

Vickie whined. “He deserves to have a Thanksgiving with all of us too.”

Don shook his head in disbelief and sadness.

“I don’t mean today,” Vickie added. “He went to our hotel.”

Don spoke evenly. “You text him and say I said to stay there. And don’t tell your mother he’s here.”

“Yes, Grandpa.” Vickie pulled out her cell phone.

Lexi waited, then took her sister to see their mother.

**

After dinner, the photographer called Michael and Tessa to the cake table. Katie went to open the back door of the No Thanks for Gaylan’s group. “It’s time.”

“I can’t. “

“Come on. We’re all expecting this!”

“Except the happy couple.”

“You cleared it with Tessa’s Dad and Michael’s Mom. Hurry up!”

“What if Michael gets upset?”

“He won’t.”

Gaylan gulped, looked back at the group, blew the pitch pipe, and motioned, onward.

The church youth choir encircled the room as the invited guests backed away from the cake table. The rendition of “Unchained Melody” took everyone’s breath away.

Note: The wedding is taking place at the No Thanks Needed bar and grill on the Saturday after Thanksgiving when Michael’s, Tessa’s, and house band members gather for Thanksgiving dinner. Gaylan is the (baritone) teen leader of the youth choir at the church the families attend. We have met Tessa’s son, Brent, before, but only once. And if you remember, Tessa’s ex did not attend his granddaughter Emma’s baptism when he was invited.

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