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Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

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#CarrotRanchLiterary

“Jumping”

The conversation at the No Thanks was about parachute jumping. One veteran said he couldn’t wait to get the chance because he loved bungee jumping and wasn’t disappointed by the adrenaline rush of stepping into thin air. Another admitted it wasn’t his favorite thing to do but had learned to accept it as part of his job. Mac was quiet until asked directly. He collected his thoughts before speaking. “Parachuting into a safe landing zone is beautiful and reverent. But, floating through a hail of bullets or hopping off a hovering helicopter in a hot zone was absolute hell.”

Note: Mac is a Vietnam veteran that owns the No Thanks Needed bar and grill.

Written in response to June 13, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a danger zone. It can be an exciting plot-driven story (think “story spine”) or a situation a character must confront. Play with different genres, and use craft elements like tension, tone, and pacing. Go where the prompt leads!

Teaching by Example

Michael sat at a strategically placed table, stacking and restacking seven stones until they all stood one on top of another. Then he turned to the female soldier in a wheelchair by the parallel bars watching his every move. “Walking with prosthetics is all about balance.”

Ignoring his comment, she pointed at the stones. “That looks like a useless monument.”

“It is, to our legs.”

“And dancing. And being whole,” she whined.

“Your mind’s whole. Embrace being different and flaunt it.”

“How long did that take you?”

Michael’s eyes twinkled. “Everyone’s different. Success depends on practice. Shall I demonstrate?”

Author’s note: Michael is a double amputee having lost his legs in an IED explosion in Iraq.

Written in response to Charli Mills June 6, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features stone-stacking. How does the activity fit into a story? Who is involved? What is the tone? Do the stones have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

Homage to Dr. Clair Stelzenmuller

James listened as Michael and Ben talked about being in Walter Reed. Michael said, “You ran my well of ideas dry trying to convince you it would be worth learning to walk again.”

Ben nodded. “Those were some dark days. I appreciate you and Clarice not giving up on me.”

“I took some convincing too. That’s why I offered to help.”

James asked. “Who’s Clarice?”

After Michael and Ben explained about their doctor, James said, “I’m hearing the names Clarice, Doc, Chance, and Feisty in the first set of dogs we train.”

Michael laughed. “She’s be good with that.”

Written in response to Charli Mills May 23, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “well’s gone dry.” Is it a real well or a metaphorical well? Why is it dry? What is the consequence and to whom? Go where the prompt leads!

An Exciting Invitation

“Tessa, remember Ben, the double amputee I worked with?” Michael asked. “He’s doing great now he’s paired with a yellow lab named Buttercup who was trained in a prison by a guy named James.”

“I didn’t know they released trainers’ names.”

“They don’t. The guys had a chance meeting after James got out when he recognized Buttercup. Ben and friends are building tiny houses for homeless vets in Kansas City and want to start a dog training school. Ben asked James to train more trainers. They want me to come talk about second chances.”

“I’m going too.”

“Excellent idea!”

Written in response to Charli Mills May 16, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about when a newly released prisoner meets the disabled veteran who adopted the puppy the prisoner trained behind bars. The prompt is based on the short story I wrote for Marsha Ingrao’s Story Chat. Yes, rewrite my story in your words, 99, no more, no less. Go where the prompt leads!

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