Carrot Ranch · writing

Somewhere In the South China Sea

-for the November 11: Flash Fiction Challenge



Weekly ops,
somewhere in the South China Sea.
Out on Sunday,
in Saturday around 1000.
Repeat…

Somebody fucked up. I’m not one
to point fingers, but
my normal watch rotation was
six hours on / twelve hours off.
It morphed into seven days on…

It was Thursday night, maybe 2200 GMT
Our depth – four hundred feet
the Captain slid the pocket door open
found me leaning in the inboard forward corner.
asleep…

“How long you been on watch Dad?”
“Five days,” I answered.
“Carry on,” he said, then backed out
back into the passageway
sliding the door shut.


In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “carry on.” It can be an expression of perseverance or behaving in a particular way. It can even be luggage you take when traveling. Go where the prompt leads!

writing

Awakening

Written for: the fun of it


Chayton Tokula left Stillwell, bound for California almost six months ago. He hadn’t been in a hurry. A man could always find work. On this trip, he earned travelling money by sweeping up at Greyhound stations, cooking in roadside coffee shops, or pumping gas at Texaco stations. A butcher by trade, he’d taken more than one job at a small meat processing outfit. He did whatever he had to, to earn a bit of cash, something he could eat off of, and help him make it a few miles further down the road.

The land changed as he hitched and hiked west, the differences more apparent and rapid as he got nearer to the coast. He had come a long way. There were still mountains; he liked mountains. The grasses were greener, the trees more plentiful. The air smelled different.

One morning, north of Salinas, Chayton stood at the edge of an empty artichoke field and puzzled as he breathed in the salt air. He had never smelled anything like this in his life. He inhaled deeply and smiled. Tomorrow, he would look for work. Today was for smelling, soaking it all in.    

 





Carrot Ranch · writing

R&R on Lockhart Street

-for the July 1: Flash Fiction Challenge



He finished his drink and beckoned to Meihui.
“You want another, Danny?” she smiled.
“No, baby, I’m gonna go home. I’ll see you later.”
She rose up on her toes and leaned over the counter
to give him a quick kiss on the lips.
He dropped
a handful of coloured bills on the bar.
She pushed them back and quickly moved away.
Outside, standing on the pavement in the light rain
Dan snapped a quick shot of a fire engine
Lights flashing.
Now, fifty years later,
it was the closest thing to a photo of her that he had.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the old photograph.” What is captivating about it? Where did it come from? How does it incite a story? Go where the prompt leads!

writing

Time for a Change

Written for this challenge – Thank you Peter



Connie looked over her shoulder as Rick eased in through the front door. If looks could kill, he’d be dead now and he knew it, but he still had to try.

She growled at him, “You got a lotta damn gall, showing up here, showing up now.”

“Yeah, I’m really sorry, Connie…” Rick kinda let his apology run out of steam. He stuffed his hands into his trouser pockets and shrugged his shoulders. Tried to look pathetic. Tried a sheepish grin.

On her part, Connie started flinging everything she could lay her hands on at him. “Are you trying to piss me off?” she screamed, “Is that what you want? Just get out. Get the fuck out.”

Rick took a step forward.

She threw a big book. It mighta been a cooking book, or it mighta been Tolstoy; she didn’t bother to check which. It did the trick though.

Rick retreated back the way he had come. He went out the front door.

Connie leaned back. She needed to get the locks changed, and as long as she was changing things, maybe she’d she should go downtown tomorrow. Change her hair.


Carrot Ranch · writing

Backstage Lady- 99

It’s complicated, but I made this one for the December 19th Flash Fiction Challenge



The backstage lady said I’d go on right after Marvin Joplin. She told me to wait on the stairs, and when I heard them intro Marvin; be ready to go on.

When they announced him, I moved into the wings. He performed a Johnny Cash number I’d heard on the radio hundreds of times. I found the backstage lady and complained.

“You said we were to perform an original song.”

“That’s right.”

“I heard Johnny Cash play this song.”

“Yeah,” she smiled.

I asked her if I could go on later, not right now, not right after Marvin Joplin.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features an open mic night. Take a character backstage, on stage or into the deep woods. Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch · writing

Not a Good Day to Become an Outlaw

I dusted off some old words and reworked them – pared them down for the November 21st Flash Fiction Challenge



Kid Kevin rode into town ‘bout high noon. He tied Ole Paint to the rail at the bank, drew his pearl-handled revolvers, and kicked open the door. The new schoolmarm, Hermione Perkins, was inside.

“Oh Kevin,” she swooned, “Thank God you’re here, Grizzly Hank just emptied the vault.” She gathered her skirts and ran to the door. “He went thataway,” she pointed. “If you hurry you can most likely still catch him.”

Thinking quickly Kevin decided not to become an outlaw today. He mounted up and took off in hot pursuit of the robber.

Miss Perkins might be grateful.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a romance. Focus on the relationship between two people. Build tension and end on a happy(ish) note. Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch · writing

Lluvias Monzónicas

I wrote this for the November 7th Flash Fiction Challenge



Just up country from the old church, a redbud tree stood alone on a rock strewn hillock, a vigilant sentinel minding the landscape, watching. At least thrice a week Miriam would walk there with a yoke and two large buckets filled with sweet water drawn from the creek.  She’d sing and offer water to the tree.

When the lluvias monzónicas came and swept away Miriam’s adobe she went to plead with the redbud tree. She went to ask for shelter. Redbud shuddered with the storm and cooed, “Of course niña. Come close, take refuge, and sleep beneath my branches.”


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes Water Walkers. It does not have to be in the Anishinaabe tradition; in fact, it would be more interesting to see interpretations from across all nations and walks. It can be a title or used as a phrase. Go where the prompt leads!

Carrot Ranch · writing

Una Visita Con Los Muertos

I wrote this for the October 31st Flash Fiction Challenge



It was dark as I clutched the hand of mi Abuelita and we picked our way over the lichen covered grave markers in the cementerio viejo, where our ancestors lay buried. Abuelita was fearless.

“Stand with your own dead,” she told me, “look death in the eye when it comes for you. Be strong and be brave. Celebrate life. It is the only way to defeat death. We all die anyway, but it is not the end. It is just something different.”

My grandmother had passed when I was ten. We had taken this walk together every year since.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the Day of the Dead. It can be the Mexican holiday, a modern adaptation of it, a similar remembrance, or something entirely new. Go where the prompt leads!

writing

Never Play Cards With a Man Called Doc

I wrote this for the Tuesday Writing Challenge at Go Dog Go Café



I pushed through the swinging doors of The Nugget Saloon looking for a card game but sidled up to the bar to get a read on the establishment first.
“What’ll it be?” the barman asked.
“Whiskey and a beer.”
Before we could continue our discussion there was a ruckus at one of the tables. A cowboy stood quickly, knocking his chair down as he pulled a gun, apparently because he had lost a big hand. He was quickly dispatched by a gambler with a fast draw on the other side of the table. The barman excused himself and went to drag the dead ranch hand out the back door. He told one of the girls to go fetch the doc and then busied himself cleaning up the remaining blood on the floor. There wasn’t much mess on the chair or the table so a mop erased the scene relatively quick.
I went to take the seat that had just been vacated and signaled the barman to send my drink over to the table.
The five remaining players nodded their assent as I pulled out the chair with a questioning look on my face as if asking, “Mind if I sit in?” I introduced myself, “I just came in on the two o’clock stage. Name’s Chance,” I said, “Doc Chance.”
Three of the men sitting at the table pushed their chairs back, scooped up their cash, stood and left. The other two remained sitting, but shaking their heads.
The guy to my left finally pushed away from the table too. “Sorry, Doc,” he said as he stuffed his winnings into his pockets and stood, “I just can’t do it.” He walked to the door.
Last guy leaned back. He was the one who had shot the cowboy, “not much of a game with only two players,” he said. He picked up my beer and downed it, “I’m willing to wait if you are, Doc.”


Write anything around the theme or words: Trapped in my ancient fear

Carrot Ranch · writing

Who, Exactly was Yvette Bouchard?

I wrote this for the September 26th Flash Fiction Challenge



Yvette accepted the post-coital Cohiba offered by the bearded writer from La Plaza Vieja. He was writing his memoir. She tucked the bed linens around her waist, leaned back against the worn headboard, and told him about France, her life before la Habana. Before coming to Cuba.

He listened carefully as she smoked and wove her tale, “… But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone unremembered. Is it a momentary lapse or a loss in time? Play with the tone — make it funny, moving, or eerie. Go where the prompt leads you!