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Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

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music

Same Words, Different Thoughts

It’s interesting how song lyrics can elicit different thoughts in different people.

 Thad played the melody to “Hit the Road Jack” on the piano and sang the words as if trying to perfect the phrasing.

 Mac remembered being ushered out of his pregnant Vietnamese girlfriend’s house by her unrelenting angry father and said, “Son, the band will NOT be singing that song.”

Michael added, “I don’t care to sing that either. It brings up painful memories.”

Tessa kept her good memory to herself. She had enjoyed a look of shock from her ex when she said it to him.   

Written in response to Charli Mills April 29, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the road, Jack.” You can interpret the phrase any way you like — road trip, goodbye, or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Music For All Occasions

When Katie arrived at the No Thanks to stock before opening, she was surprised to see all the band member’s cars except Mac’s. When she stepped onto the macadam she could feel the thump of a bass and hear muffled sounds of a heavy metal band. Strange! She went inside, and recognized Tyrell’s cousins playing the extra guitars. Michael was pounding on the piano like it was an enemy. When the song ended she looked their way. “What gives?”

Her father grinned. “Just an escape. Playing out our anger at how the VA can screw things up so easily.”

Written in response to Charli Mills March 25 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write an escape. It can be daring or subtle. Who is escaping from what and why? Go where the prompt leads! 

Tapping Fingers – flash fiction

“Tap, tap, tap, tap. Michael’s fingers do it all day, sometimes in rhythm and sometimes not. It can get on my nerves.”

Michael’s mother nodded in understanding. “Have you ever seen the Dear Abbey response to the woman complaining about her snoring husband? It was something like, be happy he’s alive, be happy he’s home where you want him to be, and thankful he’s not out with another woman. And in Michaels’ case, it keeps him hearing music, not the sounds of war.”

Tessa thought. “Next time it gets to me I’ll ask him to sing what he’s hearing.”

Rainbow’s Adventure

In high spirits, the veterans loaded the van after finishing their inaugural concert at the library. No one noticed Rainbow, the resident library cat, scoot out the door, jump into the van and hide under equipment.

After stopping for a leisurely meal, when opening the van door, Rainbow leaped into a surprised Tessa’s arms. “You little sneak! We’ll have to take you home.”

Rainbow sat like a queen on Michael’s lap looking out the window on the return drive.

The staff was relieved to see her. “Odd, she’s never done that before. She must have liked your patriotic music.”

Written in response to Charli Mills February 20, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this e=situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!

 

The Gift of Music

     The wheelchair-bound veterans weren’t surprised when asked to join Gil Brandt near his bus. The musician learned names then turned to Michael, “I’ve heard of your talent and that you live near multiple VA medical centers so I’m giving you this to share.”

     A vehicle whose sides were painted with music murals and the words “Veterans’ Music Van” pulled up. Doors were opened to reveal many instruments and other band equipment.  

     “I can’t accept such a gift,” Michael said.

     “No protesting. I hope you’ll develop or add to a music program at each center because music has healing power.”

 

Written in response to Charli Mills January 16, 2019, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Note: There is a young country music star named Brantley Gilbert that is pro veterans and recognizes them whenever he can. I don’t know if he has given a gift of this magnitude, but he was the inspiration.

Many Reasons – flash fiction

At breakfast, Tessa said to Michael, “Last night’s Home-front Warriors discussion was about how few “lifers” return to their home towns. What brought you back?”

“That was by design. I knew my mother had chronicled my injuries and recuperation on Facebook so hometown friends wouldn’t need to ask me for the details. I wanted to feel useful and our church music program beckoned. Being involved with it helps keep the self-pity at bay.” He paused. “And if I were to get news about you, it would be here.”

Her eyes and smile proved his answer was a pleasant surprise.

 

Definition – lifers – those who make a career of serving in the military, at least 20 years. It’s true they often don’t return home perhaps because their life experiences and viewpoints have changed them enough they don’t feel they fit in among old friends anymore.

 

Written in response to Charli Mills December 26, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the phrase by design. It can be used in any manner — a label, a mantra, a story. Go where the prompt leads!

 

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