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Tout

Hello readers! I have not been a good blogger. I know I say things like that from time to time, when I realise how long it has been since I blogged. It’s not that I don’t have things to blog about, especially since this is a more-or-less anything goes kind of blog, it’s just that I don’t get round to typing it out while the stories are fresh in my mind.

Anyway, now that I’m here, here is a story I wrote months ago:

Tout

He should have left an hour earlier. He never seemed to learn. He was annoyed with himself. He had dilly-dallied in the house until past noon. Now he was going to be late and he may have to push some of the things he had planned to do to his next visit to town. Oh well. Nothing much to be done about that now.

He sat in the matatu- the small Nissan van that was authorised to seat fifteen, including the driver and the tout who called for passengers and collected fare, in five rows of seats. The Nissan may actually have been a Toyota, but for some reason people called them all Nissans. Peculiar Kenyan habit.

The arrangement of seats was the same in most of the matatus: the driver had two pasengers to his left. Behind him, was usually a partition of some sort. Some matatus had speakers installed there, some just had metal rods. This matatu had some sort of board behind the driver’s row. There may have been speakers within that board, but if so, they were not on. The row immediately behind the driver usually sat three passengers – sometimes four when demand for matatus exceeded supply. The tout’s traditional seat was on the third row right next to the vehicle’s sliding door. This seat was separated from the other two seats on its row by a gap that allowed passengers to pass to and from the last two rows. The fourth row was similar to the third.

He sat on the fourth row, moved his fare from his wallet to the more easily accessible shirt pocket, then settled to continue reading the Ruth Rendell mystery he was currently on.

The matatu set off. There were the usual activities – the tout collecting fare from the passengers, row by row, issuing change where necessary, tapping the vehicle to signal the driver to stop to drop or pick passengers and so on. He was engrossed in the novel and was not paying too much attention to the goings-on around him.

Usually, the conductor asks one of the passengers on the second row to collect fare from those at the front. Actually he does not really ask – he simply taps the passenger’s shoulder then points at the front-row passengers. The selected passenger in turn taps the shoulders of the two and they pass the money backwards to him or her. In this case, The board behind the driver’s row made this ritual impossible. The conductor therefore had to lean out of his window and reach towards the front passenger window to ask for fare.

From his seat on the row behind the conductor, G saw the conductor lift his right leg. This curious sight drew him from the mystery world to the real one he was in. Before he fully took in what was happening, he wondered what the conductor was doing – trying to step on a passenger? Oh, he’s just collecting fare. But why has he lifted his leg so high? He first recoiled as he realised what was happening, even as it unfolded, then lunged forward to try and save the tout.

The tout’s left foot that was on the floor of the vehicle lost balance for some reason (a discarded polythene bag, it later turned out). The left foot slid towards the right, making the tout lose balance. The tout’s body was mostly out of the window and this offset made his upper body now lean downwards. In panic, he tried to better grip the area above the door, but his hand was holding money and was therefore not fully available.

G tried to grip the tout’s leg, but gravity won and the tout fell out of the window and onto the tarmac. Inertia carried him forward, which was both a good and a bad thing. It was good because it saved his arm from being run over by the back wheel of the matatu, but it was bad to have one’s face and body scraping on the tarmac.

The driver stopped the vehicle almost immediately. The shouts and screams from the passengers reduced as they got out of the vehicle and cautiously looked at the tout, who was still lying on the road.

G didn’t look much, not wanting to see grisly scenes that would stick in his mind for long. In fact, he stood there for a few moments, looking at the backs of the small crowd that was standing around the injured man and debating what to do, just so that he would not seem callous if he just walked away immediately. After what he considered a respectable time, he walked back to the nearest bus stop to wait for another matatu.

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This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.
Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for last week and below that is my story.
Picture copyright Sandra Crook

Picture copyright Sandra Crook

Picture copyright Sandra Crook

Like A Lamb
“I think we should go back.”
“Why?”
“There is something wrong up ahead.”
“And you know this how?”
“The sheep, of course.”
“Sheep always walk in herds.”
“Yes, I know but these sheep are all running away from their homes.”
“Oh, so you recognise the sheep now, eh?”
“Yes. No. I mean no sheep live on the farms behind us.”
“Hah! I’m not following sheep like, well, a lamb.”
“I’m serious. There is something bad ahead. Animals sense such things.”
“Maybe. But we humans have developed technology to detect danger. We are superior to – Turn back! Turn back!
—-
99 words

You can read pieces by other participants here.
I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as

follows:
Every week a picture is put up at the Rochelle’s blog.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (excellent) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.
Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for last week and below that is my story.
Picture copyright Danny Bowman

Greener

2014-03-07lengai_summit_from_crater-danny-bowman

Picture copyright Danny Bowman

“Hey look! There’s green grass on that hill!” he said.
“Grass is greener on the other side, eh?” she replied.
“Yes! We can finally graze our animals properly.”
“When the grass is greener, it’s because someone’s watering it.”
His smile faded. “You mean there could be people living there?”
“Yes, and I don’t think they’d welcome our tribe, especially when they find out we’ve finished the grass on our hills.”
“Well, I’m going to find out” he said, starting down the ridge.
“No, wait!” she said. “It could be dangerous.”

The arrow that flew into his chest proved her right.
—-
100 words

You can read pieces by other participants here:

I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:
Every week you get a picture.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (awesome) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

This work of fiction, inspired by actual events, is my submission for Friday Fictioneers that is ably hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.

Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.

Picture copyright Janet Webb

Priorities

2013-10-18-photo-88

Peter and his daughter Janice queued patiently at the supermarket till, finally buying the toy that Janice had long agitated for.

“Daddy,” Janice said “I want to go for the cooking event upstairs.”

“I’m sorry, not today. We’re going visiting. We’ll plan and go another day.”

Janice kept silent.

Just as they left the till, there were some loud sounds. It seemed everyone froze, then realisation hit.

Gunshots.

Reactions were varied but all dramatic. Some people screamed, some dropped to the floor.

More gunshots.

Peter grabbed Janice and made a crouching run for the exit.

Their purchase no longer mattered.

—-

100 words

You can read pieces by other participants here:

I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

Comments

This story is inspired by actual events here in Nairobi. I am yet to write a longer blog post about that, but for now, here are a few links.

(If I don’t get lazy, I may write a longer fictional piece on that terrorist attack).

http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/oct/04/westgate-mall-attacks-kenya-terror

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westgate_shopping_mall_attack

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/kenya/10337908/Revealed-American-family-rescued-by-hero-of-attack-on-Nairobis-Westgate-mall.html

2013-10-18-photo

Photo credit: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

About Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:

Every week you get a picture.

Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).

You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (awesome) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers for 19th April. Friday Fictioneers is ably hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.
Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.

Picture copyright Janet Webb

Outlast

Picture copyright Janet Webb

Picture copyright Janet Webb

“Honey, I’m home!” said the man, getting into the large hut.
“D’you have a good day, Colin?” said his wife, hugging him.
“Tiring, but good. The new classroom’s coming up well. The villagers are pleased. How’s the health centre?”
“Good! It’s always a delight to see the gratitude on the mothers’ faces.”
“I’m glad you enjoy working here. I was nervous about having us relocate.”
“This is more fulfilling than the high-flying city life we left.”
“I wanted us to build something that would outlast us.”
“Wafula’s wife gave birth today.”
“Wonderful! Boy or girl?”
“Boy. They named him Colin.”
—-
100 words

You can read interesting stories by other participants here.

Comments
The relation of this story to the picture may be obscure. I saw a honeycomb among rocks. I was trying to show that there can be good things amidst hardship.
In parts of my country, children are sometimes named after great or famous people. For example, I (think I) have a nephew named Bill Clinton and another named Winston Churchill. I have four names, myself, two of which are from a family friend.
I have missed a few episodes of Friday Fictioneers.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:
Every week you get a picture.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the varied and awesome stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

This is my submission for this week’s Friday Fictioneers that is ably hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.
Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.

Picture copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

Interminable
Genre: Paranormal(?)

Picture copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

Picture copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy

“Sir, father says you want to leave us.”
“Yes John.”
“Why? Don’t you like it here?”
“I do like it, son. No offence, but our work seems less and less …noble.
We used to wage war, carry great men, ferry important luggage, move the ailing.
Now we only work to amuse, fight mock enemies, run for the entertainment of idle men and gamblers”
“You mean you think horses no longer do important work?”
The man stroked the horse’s mane.
“No, son. I mean Speed and I need to find an antidote for the waters of immortality we drank centuries ago.”
—-
100 words

Enjoy the stories by other participants here:

I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

Comments
I struggled with the prompt this week, especially knowing that there would be several very good stories posted, as happens every week. I wanted to write something about a unicorn. I hope someone did 🙂

I was happy to see Kenya in our Great Leader’s list 🙂

I noticed that a word was missing from my post last week. No one pointed it out. Maybe we all did not notice.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:
Every week you get a picture.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the varied and awesome stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

This is my submissions for Friday Fictioneers that is ably hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.
Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.
You can see this a sequel to last week’s story.

Picture copyright David Stewart

Clingy

Picture copyright David Stewart

Picture copyright David Stewart

“This can’t be happening!” said Ted.
But it was.
His new life was possibly ending before it even began.
Ted followed the safety procedures that had been hastily repeated by the stewardess.
He was amazed that the plane remained in one piece, even if they had crashed onto water.
“I c..c..can’t swim!” said Sarah, terror in her eyes.
‘You’re on your own, lady.’ Ted thought.
He shoved his way to the plane’s exit.
He felt Sarah’s tight grip on his ankle.
‘This damn woman will get me drowned.’
“I did not get myself this far to die for you, woman!”
—-
100 words

You can read pieces by other participants here:


I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

Comments
I have been very late in posting the past few weeks. This week I was determined to make the top ten 🙂

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:
Every week you get a picture.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (awesome) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

This is my submission for Friday Fictioneers that is ably hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.
Join us.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.
Picture copyright Rich Voza

Reboot

Picture copyright Rich Voza

Picture copyright Rich Voza

Seated in the plane, Ted was now less nervous and no longer thought everyone was eyeing him curiously.
It had taken considerable effort to get here: finding a look-alike, finding out his travel plans and catching him in transit.

“My name is Sarah,” said the lady seated next to Ted.

Henry would be regaining consciousness around now. Ted felt a bit sad for the trouble Henry would go through, but he was excited about what lay ahead for him. When the plane landed, Ted would be in a new country with a new life.

“My name is Henry,” he said.
—-
100 words

You can read pieces by other participants here:


I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

Comments
Some word-saving edits in this piece were from advice given in I think my second ever Friday Fictioneers submission many weeks ago. 🙂 I eventually do learn, it would seem.

I wanted to write about a stowaway but that would have required researching the names of sections of the plane and somehow getting the character past security. Maybe I can try that for a longer piece.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group that works as follows:
Every week you get a picture.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (awesome) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

This is my submission for this week’s Friday Fictioneers that is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post. Then join us.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.
Picture copyright Roger Cohen
—–
Instruments
Genre: Crime Fiction

Picture copyright Roger Cohen

Picture copyright Roger Cohen

Tim was in charge now. The old man had been taken out of the picture.
Tim parked the convertible outside the old man’s house and let himself in.
“Take care of my instruments when I’m gone,” the old man had said.
“Certainly.” Tim now said to himself.
He walked into the study and opened the closet where the old man had always kept the cellos after playing his beloved pieces.
Tim reached for the larger cello, held it by its neck and smashed it on the floor.
Packets of white powder were inside, just as the old man had said.

100 words

I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

You can read pieces by other participants here.

Behind the Scenes/Comments
As happens many times, I saw the prompt and contemplated not posting. Too difficult, I thought. And as happens all the time, I ended up posting. So I should just skip the part where I think that I am not going to post.

This story was inspired by Tessa’s story here and Ron’s here. I hope my saying that does not bring their good names into disrepute 🙂

I had to ask Google what those instruments and their parts were (are?) called. Then I saw the comments on the Great Leader’s post…

It seems many Fictioneers were facing the same challenges as I was identifying the genres of their stories. The new rule to indicate the genre of  the stories was removed, but I think I will try to follow it.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group or arrangement that works as follows:
Every week you get a picture.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (awesome) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

Happy New Year!

This story is for Friday Fictioneers that is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
You can read about Friday Fictioneers at the end of this post.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story.
Picture copyright Lora Mitchell
—–
Late Start
Genre: Literary Fiction

Picture copyright Lora Mitchell

Picture copyright Lora Mitchell

Dear Steve,
Happy New Year. I hope this address still works. I also hope you read this to the end. You may wonder why I decided to write. Well, it’s just that this new year, I decided to make a fresh start with things that are out of place in my life. The many times you tried to fix things between us, I was still stubborn and proud. Please forgive me. I hope you’re still willing to try.
Crystal asks about you sometimes. I usually don’t know what to answer. Will she finally meet her daddy before her fifth birthday?


100 words

I read all your comments and I appreciate them, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond to each comment individually.

You can read pieces by other participants here.

Behind the Scenes/Comments
Our Great Leader this week introduced a rule: indicate the genre of your story, with regard to content. I could foresee occasional problems for myself there. So I asked my friend Google about genres and Google, along with my other friend Wikipedia, gave me some guidance. I hope I got it right. [Update: Our Great Leader gave some guidance as well 🙂 ]

I did not post last week, and I did not read most of the stories the week before that (my loss, certainly), simply because I do not have convenient Internet access outside the office, and I was on leave. That also means I did not have good opportunity to respond to all your comments in a timely manner, but I appreciate them. Thank you all.

However, on Wednesday this week, I wrote something quick for last week’s prompt and you can read it here.

About Friday Fictioneers
Friday Fictioneers is a group or arrangement that works as follows:
Every week you get a picture.
Prompted by that picture, you write a piece of fiction that is 100 words long (or as close as you can get).
You add a link to your story on the Fictioneers page, and read the (awesome) stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.

Feel free to join us! Everyone is welcome.

Read Full Post »

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