Losses and Gains

working-template-for-ff-challenges34.png  This week the flash fiction prompt from Charli is in response to a flash flood that devastated a friend’s home but not her outlook. We are reminded that “not all is lost when we fall”. We all, like Cynthia Drake , like Charli, have been witness to “amazing acts of perseverance” in our many communities.  Carrot Ranch  June 21, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about “not all is lost.” It can include recovery from disaster, an unexpected insight after a fall, or however the phrase moves you. Go where the prompt leads.

I was led back to Marge Small, who has developed a friendship with Ilene Higginbottom. This is an extended version of the requisite 99 word story. For the 99 word version and to read other folks’ flash responses, click over to Carrot Ranch. .  

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Losses and Gains

Ilene Higginbottom was first to the lawn chairs, Marge huffing behind.

“You are glowing, Girlfriend.”

Marge smiled. Before her friendship with Ilene Higginbottom she would have been sweaty. Now she glowed.

“I gotta sit down. Phew. Do your feet hurt?”

“Not even one of them. Marge, you have to stop walking in your work boots. I happen to have extra left footed sneakers if you want to start there.”

“Ilene, you’re something, the way you’re always joking about your leg.”

“I lost a leg, Marge, not my humor.” Ilene fell silent, scuffing the dirt with her stiff  footless left shoe. “I’m lucky I didn’t lose my life.”

“Thank God. Let’s have a beer to celebrate. And I think I must have lost another five pounds on that walk.”

Ilene watched her friend strain her Dickies as she bent to open the cooler. “All is not lost, Marge, all is not lost.”

Wild Blooms

 “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” (Henry David Thoreau)


A bouquet is more than a bunch of flowers stuffed in a jar. The bouquet pictured is comprised largely of what many see as weeds, plucked from neglected margins. Others see wildflowers, beautiful with varied colors and textures.

A bouquet is a purposeful arrangement of individual and diverse flowers picked and placed mindfully and with intent. A bouquet is vibrant and beautiful because of the structures and elements combined in the whole. It is a composition, not a single utterance.

A bouquet is a Gift to be given.


wild blooms, household jarred

bear witness at the table

everyone belongs



rwr-1.pngCharli Mills, of Carrot Ranch, has prompted her wranglers this week to look at bouquets. June 14, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a bouquet. You can explore the meaning of the word or gather a bunch of flowers. Go where the prompt leads.”  I have been led to a haibun.  

Glisten Up, Men

  working-template-for-ff-challenges30.png Pride

William, reaching for his tuxedo, wondered why, of all the birds in the world, men emulate penguins when they dress up. His eyes hungrily took in the myriad colors and his hands explored the many textures of his wife’s clothes. The teal feathered boa from the masquerade ball complemented her sequin shawl that he had draped over his shoulders. He marveled at how both sparkled, the colors shimmering. Emerging proud as a peacock from the walk-in closet, William joined his wife, still pruning and preening at her vanity mirror. Her eyes glistened as he reached for her eyeliner.



Both were tall, strong, good looking. Both had good prospects. Both were getting frustrated over her reluctance to choose.

Wade finally confronted Emerson, demanding they fight each other like men. He demanded this despite her protests for him to stop.

“It’s the only way!” he insisted. “Best man wins!” A crowd gathered around what was sure to be a close and brutal match.

But Emerson refused to fight, said he wouldn’t treat her like a prize purse. He turned and walked away. She caught up. When his eyes glistened with happiness she knew she had chosen the right man.


From Women Warriors to men who glisten with the promise of their better, truer selves, you never know what the prompt will be or where it will lead. This prompt led to two unrelated responses for Carrot Ranch June 7, 2018: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about ‘man glisten’. It was a fun term coined by two men with glitter in their beards. What more could it embrace? Look to the unexpected and embrace a playful approach.” 

Head to the ranch to read others’ responses or write your own take on glistening manhood.  


six sentence story.jpgThe Six Sentence Stories cue word this week is “shed”. For my return to the Six Sentence challenge I have provided the next scene from a December 28 story entitled Disbelief. You might want to check that out.

Be sure to check out the other Sixes at GirlieontheEdge and add a story of your own. 


After Jimmy’s dive ended at the bottom of the quarry, that awful silence echoed forever, washed right up and over the walls of granite, a massive wave of soundlessness that enveloped me where I knelt at the edge looking down to the quarry floor to see with my eyes that last thing I had heard.

As if viewing a movie I saw myself back away from the edge, still on hands and knees, saw myself crawl away and heave violently in the bushes, all without sound.

Then I was back in my body, picking my way back down the steep trail that Jimmy and I had climbed to the quarry ledge, all the while the silence a bubble around me so that I couldn’t hear the insects that shrilled in the rising heat, couldn’t hear my own breath hot and heavy in my burning throat.

When I got to our bikes I had to untangle them, hating Jimmy for just dropping his bike, not caring that his handlebar gets jammed in my spokes, but there was no sound as I twisted and tugged and then in anger threw his bike down before I finally pedaled furiously down the hill, the trees peeling away in my wake, my eyes intent on the trail, my ears ringing with the sound of nothing, just that awful silence.

When I skidded to a breathless stop at my dad’s shop, when he rushed to me with a worried face, then the silence thinned and I heard myself as if from a distance, telling about the cartoon, about how Jimmy had slipped on the pebbles like marbles and treaded air before diving headfirst into the granite ground.

My dad called 911 then held me tight to him, and at last I shed some tears; it was then that the bubble of silence burst so I clearly heard the sirens making their way up the old quarry road, clearly heard the soothing lie in my dad’s voice telling me it was going to be all right.


Click HERE for the next installment.

Wounded Warrior

working-template-for-ff-challenges28.png The Carrot Ranch May 31, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about warrior women. It can be myth or everyday mothers and wives. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by June 5, 2018.                      This is what I responded with, but I have a feeling I may be back. This is a wonderful prompt. I know many strong Warrior Women, but feel for the girl children who yet have so many cultural and societal barriers to growing into their full selves and power.


Wounded Warrior

Not best friends, but reliable friends; neighbors, they had been playmates since forever, from sandbox to bikes, many shared adventures.

Together they had explored the haunted house, both emerging as warriors, both with bragging rights.

Together they’d built a secret fort.

That’s where they started exploring each other. The fort was theirs, this exploring was theirs, fun and friendly, another rite of passage shared.

He bragged. Somehow he knew he could. Somehow she knew she couldn’t admit even that she’d done it, let alone liked it.

Somehow the game had changed.

She wondered if he also missed their friendship.


wk-57-symmetry.jpgKid, you know

I was once a kid

like you.

You like, kid?

A once was.

I know you, kid.


See what I did there for Sammi’s prompt? Okay, it’s twenty words but really the same ten reversed. Below is the original poem that I distilled that from, written for “Poem In Your Pocket Day” at my school.  There are also more fast takes on the idea of symmetry. Go to sammiscribbles to link your own ten word response.


Hi kid
You know
I was too
Once a kid
Like you?

I’m so glad you asked
For a poem today
Now we’re both unmasked
two kids both with something to say
You might, might you
as well be bold
for you
will too
Once be old.

You like, kid?
A once too
Was I.
Know you?
Did, kid.



Zero, ultimate symmetry,

portal of infinity.

Neutral, neutralizing.

Nothing. Realizing.


I’ve made it to middle-age;

Now going forwards brings reversals.


Mirror, mirror, imaging me

What you reflect I don’t see.