CR Flash Fiction Challenge: Toilet Training Gone Awry

TWO WEEK DEADLINE: due to the holiday in the US, Carrot Ranch is taking an extended week break. Stories are due December 1.

November 19, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that glorifies a toilet. Capture the marvel and status and love for a contraption we’d rather not mention. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by December 1, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Toilet Training Gone Awry

When her kids started toddling, Sarah Clay guarded minutes of alone time like a jeweled crown. With few places to hide, Sarah treasured the toilet time. She clicked the lock. 

Pounding started.

“One sec!” 

The two year old twins wailed.

“Lance hit.”

“Quiet, morons.”

“Lance!” she said, pulling him inside. The twins tumbled in waving books.

No more locks.

As her ducklings aged, they invited friends in too.

“Sorry,” George said.

George wasn’t sorry. 

“We can’t reach the milk,” Lance followed George in.

Sarah peered over the paper on her lap.


How did toilet training go so wrong?

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. For thirty-five years, I lived in the most beautiful area in Central Valley of California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains minutes from the Sequoia National Park. As a child I moved from Indiana to Oregon. With my first husband I moved from Oregon to Colorado to California. Every time we moved, it hurt so much to leave friends. I never wanted to move again. After Mark passed, I married again. I told Vince that I could never budge from my roots in California. He said he loved the high desert. I don't think he ever thought he would realize his dream. In November, 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

23 thoughts on “CR Flash Fiction Challenge: Toilet Training Gone Awry”

    1. Thanks Yvette. It’s from my novel, and it took a lot of twisting and tweaking to turn a 180 word vignette into 99 words. I think it sounds so much better than the original, though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah – pretty awesome when we funnel it down and get it so succinct
        It doesn’t always work out because maybe some authors have a style of “more” – ya know ?
        But this was so good
        And how far along in your novel are you?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I finished that one. When I sent it to a developmental editor, she had me do some rewrites. Then I sent it back for the final editing and she asked me to rewrite the entire first half of the book, 50,000 words. Every time I sit down with it, I change so much it gets overwhelming. That’s why I decided to try writing challenges for a while. I got super discouraged, not blaming her because I see her point, but like I said, I felt overwhelmed and incapable. Maybe now that we are moved, but I’m just not ready to tackle it again. Besides, editing is super expensive if you’re aiming for a best-seller. She referred me to Leanne Moriarty’s books. and I just loved them. Thanks for the super comment, Yvette.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi Marsha – thanks for sharing your current experience
            And whew – we all have our different battle stories with our writing – wether books or pamphlets and other projects –
            So trust me that I (and others) can relate to what you are saying/
            I think the important thing is that we just pace it and take it one week at a time – let accomplishments happen but not be defined by them and not let it impact our affect too much

            My latest szample is a book project I started in June has just been canned. It was with other writers and the idea was good – but when it made it to the editor – feedback was disheartening – a second set of eyes confirmed their opinion – and in my gut I know it was off and pulled the plug.
            And Marsha – I felt free on one hand and in the other hand I felt the loss – and still see hours of time lost ((even tho we know writing projects are never a loss because it hones us and all projects have value no matter the outcome)).
            And back in 2012 I pulled the plug on another book that I sank time and some money in – it was called sunshine & shadows and the darn project was never really my idea from the start – okay – enough of that – but even though I feel like I have had three successful books so far 📚- there is so much more to my portfolio that has those dead ends, Duds, and ideas that just never took flight. And that is part of the life process and journey eh? Trying this or that and accepting detours, delays, and duds!
            And so best wishes with the next phase of your book- keep on keeping on!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Wow! You do have battle scars. You said exactly how I felt-relief and sorrow. So if I can pick out the good stories and rewrite them, maybe. And if not, something else. Thank you for sharing and huge congrats on your successes!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Well author Liz G had a recent post that really edifies and encouraged and I think you will enjoy it – let me see if I can find it and share it
            But she talks about this exact thing you mentioned – she had a book that didn’t become the book she expected and went in another direction with it – I will see if I can find it


    1. Thanks, Norah. It came out of Girls on Fire. I trimmed down Sarah’s article to a parent’s magazine. It’s amazing how much it helps to have a word limit. If I do ever publish the book, I’m inserting this snippet in its trimmed down version!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s still simmering. I used that small part of it in this post, and I want to get the Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge going strong along with Story Chat. Then maybe I’ll give it another go. I’m learning a lot more about fiction writing through these challenges. Plus Charli is going to start an educational platform based on Carrot Ranch philosophy. I’m going to be involved in that starting in March. She’s going to do a trainer of trainer’s program first. We could do it together. That would be super fun!!!:)

            Liked by 1 person

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