Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts



Mud and Laughter

Any mud puddle was a golden find when I was a boy. Pictures prove it.

I ended my best high school football game, covered in mud, gleefully holding the winning ball.

I ran miles in Army basic training. Good memories flowed while cleaning mud off my boots.

My Army duties took away time for mud and then my legs.

I rebelled against the prosthetics, preferring a wheelchair.

Waterproof metal legs got my attention. I had to admit they would increase my mobility.

When Jester and I purposely run through sloppy mud puddles, my inner child comes alive with laughter.

Written in response to Charli Mills October 14, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that embraces the mud. What is the mud, real or metaphor? How does it transform a character or place? What happens? Go where the prompt leads!

A Dog’s Power – flash fiction

Tessa suggested to Michael they get a puppy. He argued at first, not wanting people to think he needed a therapy dog but in the spring they got a floppy eared, goofy acting big mutt.

Weeks later Tessa, looking out an upstairs window, called her sister Alley. “You should see the two of them. Michael’s wearing his legs whenever he takes Jester out. Right now I’m watching them search for a ball in the field out back. The daisies are in bloom and it’s a marvelous sight. Michael’s even laughing more and that’s a bonus. Thanks for the idea.”


Written in response to  Charli Mills February 6, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme “a dog in the daisies.” It can be any dog, real or imagined. Push into the setting and as always, go where the prompt leads!

Note: A veteran who has trouble being in public, or in crowds, or other trauma problems can be a person who benefits greatly from having a personal therapy dog that goes with them everywhere. Michael doesn’t see himself as needing that kind of help thus he balks at a service dog.

It’s the Dogs Fault – flash fiction

“Damn it! I knew your dog didn’t like my moving in. My clothes from vacation are now scraps on the laundry room floor.”

“I warned you to keep that door closed.”

 “Well I forgot.”

He handed her the bills from his wallet. “Go shopping. I don’t want to lose you or the dog.”

She gave half the money back then kissed him. “Partly my fault.”

He stuffed the pieces into a garbage bag.

At Christmas he gave her a quilt his mother had made from the scraps. Its origin was told to family members with much adoration and laughter.


In response to Charli Mills November 15, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that uses scraps. It can be scraps of dried flowers, paper, metal, fabric, food — any kind of scraps you can think of. Then write a story about those scraps and why they matter or what they make. Go where the prompt leads you.

Becoming a Pet – 297 word flash

I’m a washed up show dog; a Papillon by breed and until recently I was a male, now I’m an it. They said taking away my manhood will make me a better house pet. I’m not yet sure what that is. I have lived in crates and have been hauled from one place to another to be made a spectacle of in front of a lot of people. I’ve been washed and combed so many times I lost count and now my owner says I need a forever home because even though the judges liked me I never won a big show. My owner has put me in the visiting room in our kennel barn a few times with strangers but they left and I stayed. I heard my owner say the chemistry wasn’t right. Today the stranger was different. He’s a tall skinny man and he picked me up the right way, supporting my legs against his chest. I licked his chin hello. He tasted a little funny but when I heard the pfsst of a can being opened on the long drive home I found out why. The liquid had a strong bitter smell instead of a sweet syrupy one. After a few of those he got silly. I was glad we were in the back seat. When we arrived at the place he called my new home there were two other Papillons for me to play with. They were allowed to bark so I did too. It had rained so we ran through the puddles and didn’t get scolded. I guess this is what being a pet is all about. I ran over to the man, stood up against his leg and barked my thanks for bringing me home and turning me into pet.

Written in response to Charli Mills prompt – long ride home

A Boy and His Dog – Flash Fiction

“Didn’t I tell you to keep that dog out of the creek?”

“I did Mama.”

“Then why are you both soaked?”

“Well, he rolled in the mud.”


“I knew you would get mad, so I washed him and he shook all over me. It kinda felt good.”

“Wash him how?”

“I scooped water from the horse trough with my boots.”

“And where are they?”

“I put ’em upside down on the fence posts to dry.”

She stifled a smile. “Do you think that’s the way boots should be treated?”

“No ma’am, but they’s only rubber, not real ones.”


In repsonse to Charli’s prompt where she asks:

January 18, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes boots. Whose boots are they, where do they go and what is their significance? Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by January 23, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published January 24). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

A Popcorn Repeat

A repeat from last year, as my sentiments have not changed.
 I love popcorn. Whenever my husband isn’t home for supper, that is what I usually have. I watch a movie I know he wouldn’t care for, and eat a big bowl of popcorn. It makes the evening all my own. The cat even has to have a piece to lick the salt off of.

Continue reading “A Popcorn Repeat”

It’s National Love Your Pet Day. According to the calendar, this day is set aside to do something special for your pet, or pay it some extra attention. I think most people show their pet they love it on a daily basis, but we all know that one dog or cat that gets left out in the cold with little shelter and not enough attention.

Our cat is one of those cats that owns us, we don’t own him. If Useless wants attention, he will rub on my legs, get in the way, and meow until I give-in and go sit to hold him. When he is in my lap I can scratch his chin and face all I want, but I better not touch him if he is on the floor. Like I said, he owns me! When he wants to go out, he leads us from door to door to show him the weather is the same on either side of the house. He expects us to stand with the door open as long as he wants to sniff regardless of the temperature. I know this is all typical stuff for a cat. What isn’t typical about him is his name; Useless. He’s a good mouser and keeps me company near my computer or sewing machine so he really isn’t Useless. My husband happens to think all pets are useless, hence the name. Isn’t he pretty?


One of my favorite pets over the years was my son’s ferret, named Casper, because he was almost white. On any given day, Casper could make me laugh with his antics. He loved to steal anything shiny and hide it/them in the couch cushions, usually my son’s truck keys. He could walk/hop down the hall with the front of his body facing you and the back of his body propelling him forward. He could open cupboard doors, to get into mischief, curl up in a boot (so you couldn’t find him), or slither into your sleeve to sleep for an hour. The chattering noise he made got quicker and higher pitched the more excited he got. He was always a lot of fun to be around.

When I was a kid, there was usually a canary in the kitchen. My father liked the yellow ones best. Dad would whistle while he did dishes and the bird would sing its heart out. I can picture it and hear them to this day.

Whatever your pet of choice is, today is set aside to show them some special love. If you don’t have a pet of your own, maybe you could make a donation to your local shelter to help care for those animals while they wait to become someone’s special pet.

National Mutt Day


This mutt definitely has a face only a mother could love, or any young boy or girl who has been begging for a dog.

My father always said a mutt would be less likely to be high-strung than a specific breed of dog and a female is often less aggressive than a male, with fewer bad habits.  He also advocated the smallest female in the litter was the best choice because to survive it had to be smarter, making it easier to train.

When I was growing up there were lots of dogs in my little hometown.  Most of them were mutts.  The neighbor across the street had a dog named Heinz because the owners said it had at least 57 varieties of breed in it.  My mother thought that was a really good name.  There weren’t leash laws then and I don’t remember people picking up piles in their yards either, we always watched so we didn’t step in them and complained loudly when we did.

I don’t think mutts are as common today.  Maybe I am wrong, but most of the people I know have full-breed dogs.  I probably shouldn’t admit this in print, but I’m not a dog person.  The fact your schedule is contolled because you own one is not somethng I want to adhere to.  I know, they are loving, loyal and always glad to see you, but so is my husband and I don’t have to make sure I get home at a specific time to let him out.  Dogs also take a lot of your time to teach them how you want them to act.  Personally, I’ll keep my cat.  I can leave for a few days whenever I want, and he has no problem training me.



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