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Sue Spitulnik

Creative Lady

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PTSD

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!

Stories from the Author’s Chair

I went out of curiosity, to hear what the veterans wrote about their experiences.

Each author sat in the special chair to read a piece of his writing. An Army officer recounted delivering coffee in the dead of night to frightened young rookies in look-out towers. An Air Force pilot related seeing a plane crash, then having to walk around the wreckage to go fly his own mission. The Marine lowered his gaze, described the sounds, smells, and angst of the front line, and carrying his wounded buddy to the medical tent.

I wondered who had the worst nightmares.

Written in response to Charli Mills September 23, 2021, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about an author’s chair. It can belong to any author. Where is it located and why? Does it have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

Tessa’s Lament

My ex didn’t need me

He made that perfectly clear

Home I came to help the folks

But in reality, they help me

My children are grown

The oldest chose to move here

Closeness she desires

And a grandmother for Emma

But they would be fine without me

I thought Michael needed a helpmate

But he’s so damn self-sufficient

He helps others in need

The Homefront Warriors welcomed me

But I’m just another voice

And set of understanding ears

PTSD? for a military wife

Nah. Someone please help me

Rejoice in being wanted

Compared to being needed

Written in response to Charli Mills March 11, 2021, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about deep wishes. Where is the deep — in the sky, the ground, or outer space? What kind of wishes reside there for whom and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Muddy Water Memories – flash fiction

The band was packing their instruments when a young man approached Mac. He stuck an old photo of two men, one supporting the other, in a muddy rice paddy apparently in Vietnam in front of him. “I’m wondering if that’s you on the left?”

Mac stared at the photo…”Billy Metott.”

“My grandfather. He says you saved his life that day. I wanted to tell you he’s doin’ well and say thank you.”

“How did you find me?”

“I’m attending college near here. He saw the bar’s name  when he passed by and thought it must be you.”

“I’ll be.”

(Part two)

Mac handed the picture back, wiped the tears from his eyes, and finally looked at the young man. “The truth about that day is nobody lived without the help of a buddy. Why didn’t Billy stop in?”

“Fear he was wrong. Memories.”

“That I understand. Your name?”

“Colm, after my father.”

When the band members heard the name, their curiosity peaked. They heard Mac say, “Sorry about the name. I’d like to get together with your grandfather. Maybe we can save each other from some future bad dreams.”

“He’ll agree to that. I’ll let him know.”

“Thank you, Colm.”

Written in response to Charli Mills October 30, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life savers on any body of water. It can be a formal Coast Guard, historical or contemporary. It could be an individual who unexpectedly takes on the role. Go where the prompt leads!

Emma Won’t Tell

Tessa and Lexi were sitting on the far side of the bonfire so could see Michael cuddling Emma Blossom through the bay window. He laid his forehead against hers and his lips were moving. Had they been able to hear him…”My sweet baby girl who wants to hear a spooky story, I live one. I can feel feet I don’t have. My driver’s ghost keeps me company way too often and the tea kettle whistling or light flashes can cause me to drench my clothes with sweat in seconds. Your Grandma knows, and I don’t think you’ll tell anyone.”

Note: Michael is a 100 % disabled vet who lost his legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan. Tessa is his significant other and Lexi is her daughter.

Written in response to Charli Mills October 22, 2020, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a spooky tale told around a campfire. It doesn’t have to include the campfire; it can be the tale. Go where the prompt leads!

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