Carrot Ranch · writing

Angel on the Bridge

I wrote this for the May 30th Flash Fiction Challenge

I met Lavinia in early July
at The Angel on the Bridge
in Henley,
where I came to see the regatta.

I was smitten

I sought to impress
To ply her with food
Strawberries, cream, and a sprig of mint

She turned up her nose

I strove to impress
by quoting the Bard,
Demetrius in Titus Andronicus,
“She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved”

She laughed as I obviously knew not the story

I hoped to impress with my wealth
Alas, I had no wealth, but
She sat with me on the riverbank
She took my hand
She smiled

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes strawberries and mint. The combination evokes color contrast, scents, and taste. Where will the combination take you? Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG · writing

OLWG#104- Roller Coaster

 Written for OLWG#104

Maddie was a nice girl. She studied hard in school and volunteered as a ‘Candy Striper’ at Mercy. She was a cheerleader, who planned to go to State when she finished High School. She was going steady with Brad. She liked putting on a Richard Nixon mask and robbing ice cream trucks with a butcher knife; then making her escape on foot. She would take only the coins

Brad always said that being with Maddie was like riding a roller coaster. Up and down or side to side – always shaking things up – always entertaining and never boring. He loved her dearly. Maddie didn’t love anyone, she loved things. She loved things like, the adrenaline that coursed through her body during a robbery. She loved the weight of all the money she carried as she listed to one side and made her escape. She loved getting away with it.

She would go to Brad’s, when his parents weren’t home, with her pockets full of coins and spill all the money onto his mother’s brown and orange shag carpet. They would lie together on the money, on the carpet and watch after-school TV until Brad’s mom would come home and invite her for dinner, but she would never stay. Instead, she would head home for dinner with her Dad and her little sister. She’d drop all her coins into the Sparklett’s bottle that she kept in her closet. She was saving up for something; she just didn’t know what yet.

Time passed and the bottle was eventually filled. A problem arose that Maddie hadn’t anticipated. She called Brad

“The bottle’s full. We should celebrate, but I need your help to carry it. It’s too heavy for me.”

The spent the night eating Cheetos and drinking root beer as they counted and rolled the coins. When they were done she had well over seven hundred dollars.

“What’re ya going to do with this money, Maddie?”

“I’m thinking about buying Donny Lawson’s Harley Sportster.”

“Donny won’t sell you his bike. He loves that bike.”

“Donny’s dead.”

“No way, what happened to Donny?”

“Vietnam happened; Donny’s mom got a telegram from the Army last Monday. He’s not coming home.”

“How do you know that?”

Mrs Lawson called her pastor when she got the wire. My dad’s her pastor. I can probably pick up the bike for three or four hundred dollars. She won’t want it around. It’d be too painful and besides, she doesn’t ride. I’ll use the rest of the money to buy books for school. I’m going to take a few classes this Summer.”

Brad looked down and studied his toes, saying nothing.

“What?” Maddie asked him.

“Nothing,” he said.

“No, What?” she repeated.

“Well,” he started, “what about me?”

“What about you?”

“I was hoping you’d share some with me.”

“Tell you what,” she said, “I’ll give you twenty-five bucks and you can buy me a meat cleaver from the Sears Catalog. I think I might look scarier if I was carrying a cleaver instead of a butcher knife when I work. The one I like is only about sixteen dollars and you can keep the difference,” she smiled at him. He continued to pout. “And, I’ll take you out to dinner somewhere nice; maybe the cafeteria at the mall.”

Brad perked up immediately.

Maddie reached over and grabbed his chin, then she planted a kiss right on his lips before pushing him back so she could look at him, “You can get your own damn meat cleaver, though.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. can we trust them?
  2. Maddie was a nice girl
  3. just another one

Carrot Ranch · writing

Titanic, The Maiden Voyage

I wrote this for the May 23rd Flash Fiction Challenge

Birdie stood at the top deck railing smiling and waving; holding her hat in the breeze. Edward stood stoically nearby, as he imagined a new husband should do.

While the crew cast off lines and got underway Birdie turned to Edward, “I’m terrified. What if the weather takes a turn and the ship flounders?”

“Rest assured, darling,” he replied, “We’re aboard the pride of the White Star Line, she’s unsinkable.” They retired to their stateroom, where Birdie remained, panicked, for the duration of the voyage.”

Eight days later the newlyweds disembarked in New York and began their life together.

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story without ice. It can be a world without ice or a summer camp that runs out of cubes for lemonade. What does the lack mean to the story? Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG · writing

OLWG#103- Dutch Girls, Statistically Speaking

 Written for OLWG#103

When I went to college I had to take a couple of classes on statistics. I didn’t like the course of study very much, but I was able to have fun with it. I had to buy a big old book that was about this thick (see my hands – see how far they are spread apart – yeah, like that). I wrote across the front of the book in heavy block letters, ‘IN CASE OF FIRE THROW THIS IN FIRST’.

One of my classmates, a Dutch girl named Wilhelmina Muis, thought that the wish I had written on the cover of that book was the funniest thing she had ever seen and it prompted her to ask me out. Now Wilhelmina was a slight girl. She had platinum hair and was thin, a wisp of a girl. She wore cat-eye glasses that made her eyes look bigger than they actually were and she fancied tee shirts featuring retro rock-n-rollers. Among others, she had ‘The Doors’, ‘Rolling Stones’, ‘Boston’, and ‘REO Speedwagon’. On the day that she asked me out, she was wearing a faded purple ‘King Crimson’ shirt with the sleeves cut off. It looked good on her. From time to time her black bra strap would slip off her shoulder, and hang loosely on her arm. For some reason I found it fascinating to watch her push it back up in place; then I would wait for it to slide back down.

I jumped at the chance to go out with her and she told me that she’d pick me up outside my dorm at ten thirty that night. She wanted to go to the drive-in and watch the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We sat in the back seat and drank root beers, ate popcorn, and chocolate while we went through the script with the film, “Hi, my name is Brad Majors…” (Asshole!) “…this is my fiancee, Janet Weiss.” (Slut!).

It was the start of a torrid affair. We saw each other all through school. I even proposed during our senior year and offered to take her back to Ohio with me but she refused. I can’t say I blame her. I mean given a choice between Eindhoven and Akron… which would you choose? When she returned to the Netherlands after school she didn’t ask me if I wanted to come.

I still miss her, but I’ve got this cool ‘38 Special’ shirt that she gave me.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. treat him like a sister
  2. In case of fire
  3. getting out of hand

Carrot Ranch · writing

Planning a Poem

I wrote this for the May 16th Flash Fiction Challenge

The hour is early – predawn.

The clouds – vanished,

the storm – over,

the moon – full.

I shiver by the back window, listening to some nameless chanteuse croon and confess from the confines of the FM dial.

Warming my hands on a cup of tea, I watch the last two leafs in the tree.

They dance in the moonlight. Embracing, spinning, reaching – enjoying one another.

Caressing like lovers until one falls away; surrendering to the pressure of the wind and the weight of the clinging raindrops.

The fallen leaf touches down. I pore over archaic words and phrases, planning a poem.

The prompt:  In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes in search of trees. It can be one particular tree, a grove, woods, or forest. What makes the tree worth seeking? Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG · writing

OLWG#102- Family Reunion

 Written for OLWG#102

Matilda woke to the sound of breaking glass. She bolted up in bed and saw the curtains billowing inwards. The window was shattered and a large rock lay on the floor. Leaving the lights off she slid into her slippers and crept across the room, staying below the window sill and slowly raised her head to peek clear. She needed to determine what had happened.

It was dark out, there was a new moon and she couldn’t discern much, but as the cobwebs of sleep slowly swept out of the corners of her mind she thought she could see a figure crouching beneath the Mulberry tree.

“I’ve got a bead on you,” she shouted, “and I’ve called 911. Move a muscle and I’ll blow you away.”

“Mattie, is that you?” The dark figure straightened up. “I wasn’t sure I had the right house.”

“I told you not to move, sucker. Freeze… NOW.”

“Matilda, it’s me. Dad… You don’t have a gun. You don’t like guns.”

“Dad? Is that really you?” she asked. It sorta sounded like her father but she had to be sure. “Step to the porch, Dad. I need to see you.”

The dark figure, who was claiming to be her dad, raised his hands and began crab walking towards the front porch. His left leg wasn’t working quite right, but it didn’t seem to slow him down any. When he got close to the steps the motion activated lights blinked on. The man turned his head and raised his hand to shield his eyes from the sudden glare. Mattie could see his long grey hair and whiskers. He wore tattered clothes but she knew it was him. The peg leg gave him away.

“I’ll be right there, Dad.” She said as she turned away from the busted window and headed to the front door.

As she opened it he muttered, “Christ, Mattie turn out the light.”

She did as he asked, pushed open the aluminium framed screen door, to run out into his open arms. They embraced for a while and then he pushed her back, “Lemme get a look at you, girl. It’s been a long time.”

She smiled and led him inside and back to the kitchen, at the rear of the house.

“You want some coffee,” she asked, “or, I’ve got whisky if you’d rather.”

“I’d rather,” he said; so she opened the cupboard and pulled out a fifth, about half full, and a couple of double ‘old fashion’ glasses. She poured two fingers into each one and slid one to her Dad.

They both took a drink and Matilda narrowed her eyes to stare at her father, “Where have you been for so long, Dad?” she started, “Do the cops know where you are? Do they know you’re here?”

“They don’t, girl and I cain’t be here fer long neither. I’m on m’ way to Kansas City to meet up with Razor Ray ‘n Dickie. Ray says there’s a fat bank there – a fat bank that’s just beggin’ to get knocked over.” He picked up the bottle and poured himself another bracer; downed it. “Whatcha doin’ these days, Mattie?”

“Working a long con with a new crew.” she grinned, “It’s just starting to get interesting. You want in?”

“Thanks, but I can’t, girl. I could use a little seed money though? Can ye spare a little fer yer old man?”

“What do you need, Dad?”

“What I need is five large, if ya got it. What I’d like is for you to come to Kansas City with me. Whadda ya say, Mattie? I’d be just like old times.”

“I can’t go with you, Dad, I’ve got work to do here and besides… you’re on the lam. If you get caught on this job with Ray and Dickie they’ll never let you out of jail. What good is a fat bankroll if the only place you can spend it is the prison commissary?”

“I’m not gonna get caught darlin’ so don’t worry yer pretty little head about that. After this job, I’m thinking about retiring. Go somewhere where no one knows me. Wanna come along? The mountains or the beach, huh, which ye prefer?”

Matilda pushed her chair back, stood and walked out of the kitchen. She was gone for about five minutes and when she returned she had a handful of hundred dollar bills. She sat back down and poured another shot for them both. She laid the hundreds out on the table in stacks of ten till there were five stacks. Then she took two of the bills and tucked them under her glass.

“There’s your five grand, Dad, I’m keeping two hundred back, to pay for the window you broke.” She held up her drink, “Cheers,” she said.

“Ching Ching,” her dad said and they clicked the rims of their glasses together. He stood and took one step back.

“Thanks, Mattie. I’m good fer it. You know I am. I should be back through this way in a month or so. I’ll stop in. Take you to dinner.” He turned and headed towards the front door, his peg leg tapping on the hardwood floor.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. Do the authorities know you’re here?
  2. as you slept
  3. what became of forever?

OLWG · writing

OLWG#101- Feliz Cumpleaños

 This one’s a little late but it’s written for OLWG#101

Guadalupe was preparing a special birthday breakfast for her son, Javier. Una Desayuno especial de cumpleaños. That was what she had gotten him for his birthday. It wasn’t wrapped very well because she didn’t know how to wrap breakfast, but it would be her gift to him. The plan was to wake him when breakfast was almost done so she was surprised to hear him coming down the hallway, but pretended not to notice.

“Mamá?” she heard him whisper from the kitchen door. She turned around.

Javier stood, looking at her, he wore his pyjamas and held his left arm. He dropped it on the kitchen floor.

“What happened, Mi Hijo?” she asked him as she scooped the small arm up off the floor.

“I think I must have slept on it wrong. It fell off.”

“Pobrecito, what are we going to do?” she asked him.

“I don’t know, Mamá. Can you fix it?”

“I’m not sure Hijo,” she said, “let’s have breakfast and see if we can figure it out. Mira, hice Chilaquiles, y Feliz cumpleaños. ”

She handed him back his arm, “Here, take this to the table while I finish. What would you like to drink with this?”

Over breakfast, the mother and son discussed ways to fix his arm.

“I could tape it, or staple it back on.”

“Do you think that would be strong enough, Mamá?”

“Maybe it would be if I used duct tape; but probably not. I could borrow a hammer and some nails from Señor Ramirez, next door.”

They discussed using glue, or some screws or putting on buttons, snaps or even a zipper; but nothing seemed right.

“Can’t you sew it on Mamá?”

“Well, that might work if I use a really tight stitch and if I have some thread that will match your skin. I don’t think you’d want me to sew it on with pink thread, would you? Maybe green?”

“No thank you Mamá.”

Guadalupe checked her sewing basket and found a spool of thread that was almost an exact match and she spent the rest of the morning with Javier sitting on her lap while she sewed his arm back on. It was a wonderful way for Lupe to celebrate his birthday, all that cuddling with her boy, but Javier didn’t have as much fun.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. los pobrecitos
  2. the present was poorly wrapped
  3. bottle of emotions

Carrot Ranch · writing

More Strength Than Meets the Eye

I wrote this for the May 2nd Flash Fiction Challenge

It is born from bitter winter cold
Not a nip or chill, but a biting, vicious cold
A cold that comes with long, nights, and
Northern lights
It has nothing to do with gain
It’s about diving into the water
Simply for the sake of it
It’s about laughing in the face of tragedy
It’s about mocking and defeating whatever adversity is thrown your way
Always getting up
Something akin to, yet more than,
Dogged perseverance
Intensity that thrives in the long days of summer

You are stronger than any one of us, or even you, could ever imagine

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about sisu. It’s a Finnish concept of enduring strength, the ability to consistently overcome. Think long-term. Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG · writing

OLWG#100- One Hundred

 Written for OLWG#100

After hours with no respite, the sound died.

The silence weighed heavily.


Jimmy looked wide-eyed at Marney and swallowed.

She watched his Adam’s apple move up and down.

He licked his lips and turned his attention back outward.

“You know what’s going to happen now,” Marney, matter of factly.

“No, they’re not going to do it. I won’t let them.”

“You can’t stop it.”

“I can try.”

Jimmy picked up a stone, tested its weight in his right hand. He picked up a heavy piece of tree branch that he could use as a club or a bat and swung it with his left.

“I’ll try and distract them,” he said as he looked down the slope, “you try and get around them. If you can make it back to the river, you’ll be golden.”

Marney chose that moment to act. She stood up and waved her arms.

“HEY, ASSHOLES – I’M OVER HERE,” she yelled. Turning she started to run laterally across the slope, away from Jimmy. Under her breath, she said, “Let me get started and then run, Jimmy. You got this.” In an instant, she was gone. The noise picked up again. There was a frenzy from below. They were after her.

Jimmy watched her go and cautiously began moving from rock to rock, making his way back downhill. Soon he could smell the river.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. I won’t let them
  2. the sound died
  3. the crack of noon