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Glossary:
Show – In this case, The Nairobi International Trade Fair. It used to be called the Nairobi Show.
Bodaboda – motorbikes that carry passengers usually short distances – up to maybe 6 kilometres


The chaos started just as the matatu (public service van) slowed down at the stop, even before it actually stopped. The motorbike guys, upon seeing me with a child, immediately started offering to take us to “Show ndani.” (into the Show) There were also some guys selling balloons.
No, No, I said making my way past them, but encountering many more motorbike guys.
“Do you have a helmet?” I asked.
“Yes. ”
“How many?”
“One.”
“No thanks.”
I looked at the many motorbikes there and did not see any with two helmets.
Just the same morning, my wife had told me how a colleague of hers encountered an accident. There was a motorbike rider and his passenger. The motorbike rider had been wearing a helmet, while his passenger had not. The motorbike was nursing a leg injury. The passenger was not nursing anything, chiefly because his head had split open.

One rider followed us and made his offer as well.
“Do you have a helmet?”
“Yes”
“How many?”
“One.”
Moja aje na tuko watatu?” (How do you have one and there’s three of us?)
“Helmet ni wewe ndio utavaa mtoi hatavaa na ni hapa tu.
(It’s you who will wear the helmet, not the child and we are going just here.)
Later, I wondered if that guy has a child.
I told him to bring his bike, since it seemed no one had more than one helmet.
When he arrived, I gave the helmet to Amor, told the rider to go slowly and off we went. We arrived without incident and the rider set us down at a place near a sign saying ‘No Bodabodas beyond this point.’

There were VERY MANY people around, a good number of whom were pupils in school uniform. It turned out we still had a bit of a walk to reach the gates.
Again, predictably, there were guys selling things for children – mainly balloons and shades.
“Buy this one that matches what she is wearing”
The balloons were those long ones that had been blown and twisted and had a loop. A number of the sellers placed the balloons on Amor’s head. I firmly refused to buy. I asked Amor if she wanted any of those things and she said no.
I bought two bottles of water, though.
At various points, we passed groups of the uniformed pupils forming lines and holding hands. I remembered what my wife had told me, that when they were young and used to go to the show, they would be told to hold hands or they would get lost.
I told Amor, “If you get lost, or if I get lost,” (I added this because it’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it?), “don’t start looking for me. Just stay where you are until I come find you. Do you hear?”
“Yes”
“What did I say?”
“If I get lost and you get lost, I don’t start looking for you. I just stay where I am until you come find me.”
“Good. Because if you start looking for me and I start looking for you, you may be going like this,” (I moved one hand in a semi-circle) “and I am going like that,” (I moved my other hand in a semi-circle away from the first hand) “and we don’t find each other.
I will go back to the places we have been until I find you.”

We queued for a security check and queued again for tickets, but both queues moved pretty quickly. Ticket prices were 300/- for adult and 250/- for a child. Then we were in.

ShowTicket
Almost immediately, Amor asked me “Wapi pahali pa kucheza?” (Where are the places for playing?)
I decided that since we were late (it was maybe a few minutes to 2:00 p.m.) we should start with the fun fair, so that if we run out of time, at least we will have done that.
So off we went to try and locate the places for playing.

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The weekly introduction:
This story is for Friday Fictioneers that is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

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! Anyone is welcome.

Below is the picture prompt for this week and below that is my story, and below that an earlier draft.
——-

“I thought these isolation disasters only happened in movies.”
Andrew regarded the empty refrigerator.
“Where people fish and hunt to eat.” Jake replied, standing at the window, gazing out at the snow.
“Yes. After the polar bear incident, fishing and hunting lost their appeal.”
Jake thought of the ice axe that had fallen behind the broken Communicator during the bear incident.
“I’m hungry.” Jake turned towards Andrew.
“Want to take your chances out there with the predators?”
Jake reached behind the Communicator.
“Not outside.” He grasped the ice axe. “In the movies the trapped people end up eating each other.”

——-Below is an earlier version ——-

“I thought these isolation disasters only happened in movies.”
Andrew regarded the empty refrigerator.
“And in movies the trapped people end up eating each other,” Jake replied, standing at the window, gazing out at the snow.
“So the thought occurred to you too.”
“Yes. After the polar bear incident, fishing and hunting lost their appeal.”
Jake thought of the ice axe he had hidden behind the Communicator while trying to repair it.
“I’m hungry.” Andrew turned towards Jake.
“Want to take your chances out there with the predators?”
“Not outside.” Andrew was eyeing Jake.
Jake stepped backwards towards the Communicator.
——-
Your comments are welcome and much appreciated, even if I take long to respond and even if I do not respond individually. I read all your comments.

Behind the scenes – you can skip this part if you do not like seeing ‘The Making of [insert movie name]‘:
I had promised my wife that for last week, I would write something non-violent. This week, I did not promise my wife any such thing. (Freedom!) In fact, I do not even think she has read the non-violent piece I wrote. Sigh! In her defence, she has been quite busy looking after family interests 🙂

The story I wrote last week left readers making all sorts of guesses. Many of these guesses were actually more interesting than the original story. (When I grow up, I want to be as imaginative as other Friday Fictioneers). However, I felt I had not communicated as well as I should have. So this week I promised to be clearer. Or at least to try.
Part of the problem was that I wrote the story on Friday morning, so I did not really have time to let it rest, then edit. (I think relocating one sentence would have cleared many things up). So this week I wrote earlier, but still ended up posting early :-).

Each story is 100 words long 🙂

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The weekly introduction:
This story is for 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 stories by the other Friday Fictioneers.
Feel free to join us! Anyone is welcome.

Below is my story for this week and below that is the picture.
—–
Amy and her mother went to the fair.
They met Amy’s best friend in the whole world, and her mother.
“May I walk with Kay and her mommy?” Amy asked.
“Sure!”

The girls went into a tent.
They played a game and won lots of chocolate.
“No chocolate for me without permission!” Amy whispered.
“I won’t tell” Kay giggled.
They ate.

“There is mummy, Amy.” Kay’s mother pointed. “Go to her now”
Kay and her mummy waved goodbye.
Amy hid to finish her chocolate.
Amy fell asleep.

Amy awoke.
There were people near her mommy.
“Help me find my daughter!”

Copyright-Ted Strutz

———
This week’s challenges:
I promised my wife last week that I would write something non-violent.
I wanted to write a story that simply moves forward (avoid saying things that had happened before).
Some dialogue would be nice, but not mandatory.
Cutting down to 100 words was rather hard this week, but it was interesting to see how many words are actually unnecessary. I was quite pleased to pull it off.
Yes, I could have done without the ‘in the whole world,’ but I rather liked it 🙂

Your comments are welcome and much appreciated.

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