Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge 22nd April: Stories including vices

99-Word Flash Fiction Challenge

April 22, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a vice. It can be part of a character or a part of the story. The vice can be the focus or it can be subtle. Think of ways to use a vice (or multiples, if you are so daring) to create a compelling flash fiction.

Respond by April 28, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. All writers are welcome! Check out the other stories here.

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Not Quite an Affair

‘Where’s lunch?’

‘In the fridge.’

‘Again, dad?’

Afraid so.’

‘Don’t you care?’

‘Of course I care, but what can I do?’

‘Talk to mum.’

‘I’ve tried.’

‘We’re not a family any more, just three people who live in the same house.’

‘It’s hard to reach her.’

‘Doesn’t she love us anymore?’

‘Not like she used to.’

‘Why doesn’t she want to talk to us?’

‘She’s busy.’

‘It’s worse than an affair.’

‘God, no! That would be much worse.’

‘Not for me! I swear I’m going to throw her kindle out the window.’

‘She’ll kill you if you do that.’

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You all know how much I love reading, even more than writing, even more than speaking, or walking, or talking…

Is it a vice? It might be…

Is this autobiographical? It might be…

Why live with only the people around you when you can live with so many more…

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Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge 15th April and #1000Speak Nature or Nurture

This 99-word Flash Fiction was written in response to this week’s prompt: Nurturing a neighborly relationship and also #1000Speak on the topic of Nature or Nurture.

#1000Speak

The Adult Education Centre where I work is in a low income neighbourhood with rampant unemployment and social problems. There are many families living in tiny dwellings in ugly blocks of flats trying hard to make ends meet. Social security is often not enough to cover their needs, and those closest to them, their neighbours, frequently decide to help out, as well as, or instead of, their families. The Red Cross, and many other charities and religious and volunteer organisations are also offering some relief. My schools regularly collects food for a food bank in the neighbourhood, which gives it to families in need.

I believe it is in human nature to be compassionate and help others, even though you may be struggling yourself. It’s easy to look the other way, but it’s also easy to ‘chip in’ however you can, and lend a hand to someone who needs it. The events narrated in my flash are not uncommon, in fact it was inspired by an event a colleague of mine told me about which had happened recently, and I know it is not an isolated case, there are many more generous people altruistically helping each other.

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Chipping in

‘Where are you taking that roast chicken and the cake you baked?’

‘Down to Dolores.’

‘Stop meddling. It’s none of your business.’

‘But he’s done it again.’

‘He’ll be back.’

‘Not this time. It’s been over two months.’

‘She’ll sort it out.’

‘How? She’s got three children under eight, and she’s unemployed.’

‘She can claim social security.’

‘She has. She gets 400 Euros a month and she has four mouths to feed.’

‘Do you really think we can feed four more people?’

‘Just once every two weeks. It’s our turn today. The neighbours have all decided to chip in.’

****

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Have a look at some of this weeks other stories on the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge

Look at some of the other #1000Speak stories, too by following the blog  and twitter hashtag  and facebook Page

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge 8th April

This 99-word Flash Fiction was written in response to this week’s Prompt: Life’s Semicolons

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The Letter

‘It’s arrived.” He said grimly.

My unsteady fingers ripped the envelope. I held the folded letter in my hands and looked up at his furrowed brow, ‘I want to stay with you.’

He nodded and forced a smile, ‘It’s your decision, but your mother wants you to know the truth. He may be your father.’

‘The truth is that you will always be my father, whatever it says.’

‘Aren’t you going to read it?’

‘She chose to leave us for him, but I want to stay with you, dad.’

‘We’ll have to move away, new school, friends…’

‘We’ll manage.’

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Families break up for different reasons, and often this leads to a change of home, school, friends, and the incorporation of new members into the family. This is often a traumatic situation, especially for the children who are innocent bystanders. Children, after a certain age, can choose which parent they want to live with. In my flash, the child wants to stay with his father, which will mean starting a new life far away from his mother, biological father, friends and family. It’s never an easy decision, but after the family has broken up, there is no going back, they must all move forward and start a new life.

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April 8, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a renewal story that proclaims, “This isn’t the end; I will go on.” Think of the mythical phoenix that rises up from the ashes; of Cinderella after midnight on the night of the ball; of a hero that faces certain death; of love after tragedy; of renewing life’s lemonade transitions. Go where the prompt leads and own your story; the ones you’ve lived and the ones you imagine for fiction. Stand in solidarity with others to find the semicolons in life that chooses to nurture and not succumb.

Respond by April 14, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Please read some of the other entries.

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: The Day the Earth Turned Brown

I’ve just returned from a family holiday, and by family I mean three generations: Grandparents, my husband and I, our three children, and three grandchildren. It’s amazing how our children and later our grandchildren change our lives.

My outlook on life first changed when I had my children, in my twenties. At that time, I stopped thinking of myself, and started thinking of other people who needed me. I wanted to build a comfortable and secure home for my children. Looking back, I suppose I was a stressed working mum, trying hard to make ends meet and find time for my children.

Now my outlook has changed again after having my grandchildren, in my fifties. I don’t want to get too sentimental, but suffice it to say that when I look into my grandchildren’s eyes, I feel fortunate, stress-free, and safe, because the future is in their hands, and they are surrounded by love and optimism. I feel as if I have a foot in the future, their future, a future I can only imagine.

I also find it easier to make ends meet and make time for my children and grandchildren; one of the advantages of getting older…

Greeny-brown eyed grandson

My greeny-brown eyed grandson

My honey-brown eyed grandchildren

 

I’m in a romantic and sentimental mood, as you can appreciate, so I’m afraid my 99-word flash is a bit mushy. I hope you enjoy it!

 

Brown

I used to think blue was the most beautiful colour in the world.

When Tim’s intense blue eyes first looked into mine, I soon realised I wanted to gaze at them forever, and he always said my clear blue eyes were like pools he wanted to sink into eternally.

I assumed our son would have blue eyes, so I was surprised when they were brown; a soft, honey brown. Tim says our son will be tall, dark, and handsome, like his father. Now every time I look into our toddler’s eyes, I remember the day my world turned brown.

 

This was written in response Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge.

April 1, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about the day the earth turned brown. How did it happen? What else might be going on? It can be dramatic or even humorous. It can be the greater globe or a localized occurrence. It can be an aftermath or a revival. Follow where the prompt leads you.

Respond by April 6, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome! http://carrotranch.com/flash-fiction/

How have your grandchildren changed your lives?

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge: Ways to Unplug a Bully’s Power

There’s often no easy way of stopping bullies, unless they decide to stop themselves.

Bullies have the advantage over those who are bullied. They usually exert their tyranny because they are in a situation of power over others, or they inspire fear in those around them.

We’ve all come across some of them at some point in our lives, usually at school, or at work. In fact bullies themselves have often come across other bullies who taught them how to play the macabre game.

There is no trouble-free solution, so sometimes action is needed. I’m not suggesting this action has to be violent, but sometimes we need to stand up to the bullies and say, ‘No’, or teach them a quiet, but clear lesson with actions they may not like.

Although I never recommend provoking bullies, sometimes standing up for ourselves is a feasible alternative, as the following extract from The Help illustrates.

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I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, some years ago, but it is a book that is not easily forgotten.

It is the moving story of three women speaking out against racial discrimination in the Us in the 1960s.

Aibileen is a dutiful albeit bitter black maid. Her friend Minny is her outspoken friend. Skeeter is a well off white girl who is socially conscious and has just graduated college. The three of them write a book about what it was like to be a black maid in a small town in the South, at that time. It is alternately sad, and funny, and shocking, and cruel, and full of hope, too.

There is an unforgettable extract in which Minny tells Miss Celia, her current employer, about the secret ingredient in the chocolate cake she used to cook for her previous employer, Miss Walter’s daughter, the cruel and spiteful, Miss Hilly.

“And that’s how come I did it.”
Miss Celia blinks at me. “What, Minny?”
“I tell her to eat my shit.”
Miss Celia sits there, still looking dazed.
“Then I go home. I mix up that chocolate custard pie. I puts sugar in it and Baker’s chocolate and the real vanilla my cousin bring me from Mexico.
“I tote it over to Miss Walters’s house, where I know Miss Hilly be setting round, waiting for the home to come and get her mama, so she can sell that house. Go through her silver. Collect her due.
“Soon as I put that pie down on the countertop, Miss Hilly smiles, thinking it’s a peace-offering, like that’s my way a showing her I’m real sorry bout what I said. And then I watch her. I watch her eat it myself. Two big pieces. She stuff it in her mouth like she ain’t ever eaten nothing so good. Then she say, ‘I knew you’d change your mind, Minny. I knew I’d get my way in the end.’ And she laugh, kind a prissy, like it was all real funny to her.
“That’s when Miss Walters, she say she getting a mite hungry too and ask for a piece a that pie. I tell her, ‘No ma’am. That one’s special for Miss Hilly.’
“Miss Hilly say, ‘Mama can have some if she wants. Just a little piece, though. What do you put in here, Minny, that makes it taste so good?’
“I say ‘That good vanilla from Mexico’ and then I go head. I tell her what else I put in that pie for her.”
Miss Celia’s still as a stone staring at me, but I can’t meet her eyes now.
“Miss Walters, her mouth fall open. Nobody in that kitchen said anything for so long, I could a made it out the door fore they knew I’s gone. But then Miss Walters start laughing. Laugh so hard she almost fall out the chair. Say, ‘Well, Hilly, that’s what you get, I guess. And I wouldn’t go tattling on Minny either or you’ll be known all over town as the lady who ate two slices of Minny’s shit.’ ”

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Here’s my take on stopping bullies in their tracks which I wrote for Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge!

“What’s this?”
“It’s apple pie. Don’t you like it?”
“I like the chocolate cake your mum makes,” she shouted gobbling it up. “Bring some tomorrow, or I’ll kick you again till your legs turn purple.”
“She’s working double shifts this week, so she hasn’t got any time to cook.”
“Make it yourself.”
“I’m not allowed to cook when mum’s not at home.”
“Find a way if you know what’s good for you,” she warned.
The following day, I watched her swallow greedily and whispered, “I won’t tell anyone whose shit you just ate if you stop bullying me. Deal?”

I do apologise if I’ve offended anyone, but I couldn’t resist writing this 99-word flash, shamelessly inspired by the previous scene in The Help.

 

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If you’d like to read some of the other entries for this week’s carrot ranch stories on showing the bully mentality countered with a different, unexpected or kind action. We’ve all thought of ways to unplug a bully’s power, and show characters with strength and dignity and even humor, here are our stories.

If you’d like to take part in the next upcoming #1000Speak for compassion blog events — “Building from Bullies.” After a successful launch of compassionate blogging on February 20, bloggers are asked to write about the anti-bullying theme on March 20.
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