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Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

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military

Mac’s Story – Part One

Join the Army they said

You’ll become a MAN

Little did “they” know

I became like a drop of water

In a pool of soldiers

Giving up identities

Losing our roots

Creating an everlasting bond

Running together

Thinking as one

We shipped out as a unit

To the jungles of Vietnam

Heavy survival packs

Weighted down with ammo

We followed orders

Though we didn’t believe

We ate little

We slept little

We had no baths

Why are we here

Go take the mountain

We moved as droplets

Seeing when the water falls

It doesn’t run clear. It runs RED

Mac’s Story – Part Two

I survived the mountain

And others after that

My comrades fell

Running red

I had the chance to love

Producing a beautiful son

Unaccepted by his grandfather

We were sent away

My survival was for him

Our own country turned on us

The caring lady Nan was not deterred

She loved us both

Shunning the scoffers

We opened our lives

Helping other veterans

Looking for no thanks

A vacation to Niagara Falls

One winter season

Went terribly wrong

Red lights shining on water

Sent my mind spinning

To horrible killing fields

I barely survived

I’m sorry. I hate waterfalls

Written in response to Charli Mills April 11, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, water falls. Where is the water coming from? How does it shape a story? Who does it involve? 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!

Tessa’s Invitation

At the wedding, Doctor Stelzenmuller said, “Tessa, do you know Michael refused to try the prosthetic legs until he learned about your divorce. Then he acted like a ’49er on his way to the gold rush, racing to become proficient so he could get back home.”

Tessa laughed, embarrassed by the truth. “I’ve heard it was your hounding that made him accept them.”

“My efforts were a small factor. Please come along next time I invite him to D.C. Let my soldiers see that they can accomplish normalcy.”

“I’d love to. It would help me understand his achievements better.”

Note: Doctor Claire Stelzenmuller was Michael’s physical therapist while healing at Walter Reed Hospital. Her patients called her Clarice Alphabet because she didn’t accept no for an answer.

Written in response to Charli Mills January 31, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the ’49ers.”

Michael’s Wedding Vows to Tessa

When you went off to college without me, I wished you hadn’t. Then you married and had children. I wished it were with me.

I traveled the world, serving with the United States Army, continuing to wish for you.

Our lives unexpectedly turned upside down. Within that year, we found ourselves back home. Wounded, frightened, mature.

I changed my wishes to prayers. I needed His help to heal, trust and feel useful.

Finally, here we are, standing with family, in front of friends, believing we are where we belong. I pledge to love you always, my beautiful, accepting friend.

Note: Michael is a fictional Army veteran who lost both legs in an IED explosion in Iraq. He wears two prosthetic legs, different types, for different occasions. Tessa is his high school sweetheart. The characters have been my focus for two years at the Ranch and the prompt, “I made a wish,” led me to believe I should continue writing their story.

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