Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts



Michael Plays the Age Card

Wearing  Army t-shirt and shorts, Michael sat in a wheelchair on stage, his leg stumps showing so all entering the Walter Reed activity room could see. He spoke. “We soldiers share the experience of missing skin and bones. At twice your age I lived the hopelessness and depression you may be feeling.” He turned sideways in the chair, swung himself to the floor, and put on the prosthetic legs lying there. Then using the chair for support, he stood up and walked around. “I’m proof you can heal and become friends with whatever prosthetic you need. You’ve got this.”

Written in response to Charli Mills October 24, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about bones. It can be any genre or tone. Is it spooky, irreverent, or poignant? Go where the prompt leads!

Music on the Water

When Michael heard the band had been invited to play on a pontoon boat he wasn’t happy. “I’m not going unless I can use my wheelchair.”

Thad gave him a look. “My aren’t we cooperative today.”

“These metal legs were made for terra firma. Balancing on a rocking boat is not something I’m used to. I can relax in my chair.”

Thad replied, “Fine. Whatever floats your boat.”

“Exactly. We’ll all be able to sway with the waves.”

Tyrell rolled his eyes. “Pontoon boats don’t sway, they glide along smooth and quiet.”

“I’ll pretend you didn’t tell me that.”

Written in response to Charli Mills prompt of the week, “Float my boat.”

Teaching by Example

Michael sat at a strategically placed table, stacking and restacking seven stones until they all stood one on top of another. Then he turned to the female soldier in a wheelchair by the parallel bars watching his every move. “Walking with prosthetics is all about balance.”

Ignoring his comment, she pointed at the stones. “That looks like a useless monument.”

“It is, to our legs.”

“And dancing. And being whole,” she whined.

“Your mind’s whole. Embrace being different and flaunt it.”

“How long did that take you?”

Michael’s eyes twinkled. “Everyone’s different. Success depends on practice. Shall I demonstrate?”

Author’s note: Michael is a double amputee having lost his legs in an IED explosion in Iraq.

Written in response to Charli Mills June 6, 2022, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features stone-stacking. How does the activity fit into a story? Who is involved? What is the tone? Do the stones have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

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