Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts



Emma is Walking

Lexi hadn’t brought Emma to Irish dance class lately, so it was a treat when they arrived at the end of rehearsal. Lexi carried her around to say hello. When they reached Michael, she said, “Follow us onto the dance floor.” He didn’t understand why but did as requested. Lexi set Emma down, and the group watched as she took a few unsteady steps to her Grandpa. Everyone clapped their approval, and Scott, now working at the bar, went to the piano and started playing “Up, Up and Away.” Michael changed the words to, “There’s no stopping her now!”

Written in response to Charli Mills April 25, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “up and away.” You can imagine a story from the photo of hot air balloons, a flying superhero, a natural wonder, or any other direction your inspiration goes. Go where the prompt leads!

A Central Park Caper

Michael and Tessa stopped in a bakery and bought two huge croissants. They then went out into the sunshine and hailed a carriage to take them to Central Park, where they got dropped off. Finding an empty bench near the turtle pond, they sat to people watch. Michael set the bakery bag on the ground. They became so engrossed enjoying the noisy children making a fuss over the turtles and ducks they didn’t notice a Mama duck steal their bag. Tessa heard paper tearing, turned to look, and exclaimed, “I guess the ducklings are going to eat our lunch.”

Written in response to Charli Mills April 4, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to explain “baby ducks ate my lunch.” How did that happen? Who is the protagonist? Where did the baby ducks come from? Go where the prompt leads!

Learning to be Married

When Tessa got home, Michael said, “I thought you’d be here when I got back.”

Tessa replied, “I never know how long you’ll be when you go someplace. I went to Lexi’s.”

Michael took her in his arms. “I guess I don’t know how to be married, but I’m ready to change that with your help.”

Tessa melted. “Invite me to go with you, where ever.”

“How about two nights in New York City next week on our way to D.C.”

“Absolutely! Broadway beckons.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t include you before.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t offer to tag along.”

Written in response to Charli Mills March 21, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to reflect the theme, “ready for a change.” Who is ready and why? How does the change unfold? What happened to initiate the change? Go where the prompt leads!

Michael’s Happy Ending

Michael sat in the living room, the cat and dog laying close by. Tessa was away, babysitting. Silence was no longer his enemy. He had come to enjoy having private time to think and pray. “Father, I’d rather be a married man with my own legs instead of metal ones, but I probably wouldn’t have left the service if that were the case. So, thank you. I feel I am right where I belong at this stage of my life. Married to my best friend, a step-dad and grandfather, still singing and happy to be of help to others.”  

Note; Due to the new format at Carrot Ranch Literary, this is the end of Michael’s Circle, the serial I have been writing for the past two years. He has come full circle attaining his long desire to be married to his soul mate.

Written in response to Charli Mills February 21, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “I’d rather be…” You fill in what comes next. What would a character(s) rather be doing and why? How can you use the phrase as a literary device? Go where the prompt leads!

The White Dress

When Michael and guests got their first glimpse of Tessa in her flattering wedding gown, there were gasps of recognition. Becca had worked a miracle transforming the old white prom dress.

Michael took Tessa’s hand when her father offered it, then leaned over and whispered, “I’ve dreamt about you in that dress for years.”

Tessa whispered back, “You’ll have to help me with the zipper later.”

Michael’s eyes went wide. She squeezed his hand hard, and they both laughed out loud as if all alone.

When they settled, the minister said, “Obviously a private joke. Can we begin now?”

Note: Becca is Michael’s sister.

Written in response to Charli Mills February 14, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about zippers. What are the zippers for? What challenges do they present to the story? Go where the prompt leads!

Wedding Guests

Tessa’s daughter, Vicki, was still her Daddy’s girl and up until her mother’s remarriage day had refused to come for a visit or meet Michael. When she finally walked into the No Thanks, Lexi pounced, “Mom’s been fretting all morning that you weren’t going to show.”

“I’m not late. Dad and I flew in together. We had to wait for the rental car.”

Lexi’s face turned beet red. “WHY, is he here?”

“He wants to meet Emma and see you and Brent. Tomorrow will do.”

“You’re unbelievable. This is about celebrating Mom and Michael, not catering to our father.”


Tessa’s father saw the heated exchange between his granddaughters and went to investigate. “Hi, Vickie. Glad you could make it.”

Lexi snarled, “She brought Dad.”

“Excuse me,” Don replied.

Vickie whined. “He deserves to have a Thanksgiving with all of us too.”

Don shook his head in disbelief and sadness.

“I don’t mean today,” Vickie added. “He went to our hotel.”

Don spoke evenly. “You text him and say I said to stay there. And don’t tell your mother he’s here.”

“Yes, Grandpa.” Vickie pulled out her cell phone.

Lexi waited, then took her sister to see their mother.


After dinner, the photographer called Michael and Tessa to the cake table. Katie went to open the back door of the No Thanks for Gaylan’s group. “It’s time.”

“I can’t. “

“Come on. We’re all expecting this!”

“Except the happy couple.”

“You cleared it with Tessa’s Dad and Michael’s Mom. Hurry up!”

“What if Michael gets upset?”

“He won’t.”

Gaylan gulped, looked back at the group, blew the pitch pipe, and motioned, onward.

The church youth choir encircled the room as the invited guests backed away from the cake table. The rendition of “Unchained Melody” took everyone’s breath away.

Note: The wedding is taking place at the No Thanks Needed bar and grill on the Saturday after Thanksgiving when Michael’s, Tessa’s, and house band members gather for Thanksgiving dinner. Gaylan is the (baritone) teen leader of the youth choir at the church the families attend. We have met Tessa’s son, Brent, before, but only once. And if you remember, Tessa’s ex did not attend his granddaughter Emma’s baptism when he was invited.

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