It Doesn’t Happen To Me

They assure you that these things are safe. All that weight hanging off a cable, moving pulleys, friction, wear and tear, but they assure you. And when they assure you with such confidence, you just have to believe them. Yet, I watch the gondolas creak and sway, and the cable trembles ever so slightly, and there is a little part of my brain that tells me ‘Don’t believe everything that they tell you.’

I stare up. Focused. Unblinking. Until everything starts going out of focus and fuzzy. Until there is a loud snap, like thunder, like the sky has been rent asunder. I watch as the first gondola starts falling to the ground. The next gondola balances precariously for a moment, teetering, and then like the great curtain has fallen and the crowd is rising up one by one in applause, they all start falling. The only applause, the screaming of its hapless victims and helpless onlookers.

I stare until I’m rudely shaken. I’m startled awake. The gondolas are still moving like ants on a cloud scouting mission. Nothing snapped. Nothing fell.

Had to be. Nothing really exciting ever happens to me.

I shrug and turn away.


Written for Sunday Photo Fiction: April 15, 2018

The under world

Deep down below the surface, all the way down in the sewers, a party is about to start.
Red eyes keep watch through the sewer grate. “The baker has gone to the back room.”

Suddenly the hole in the pavement comes alive, as they start popping out, like the undead clambering out of the ground.


Image courtesy: Channel 4 News

By the time the baker comes out, his shop is infested with them.
Sunken red eyes stare out of bony face, some snorting out of bags at their mouth, pumping slowly like a black heart. The smell and rashes are unmistakably. Sickening.
Sewer people.

He backs away. They pick up what they want and return to their living graves.

Down below the music continues thumping. Syringes are passed around. The candle is blown and the cakes reached for.

Some start vomiting. Some break into seizures. Some fall to never rise.

Above ground the baker waits. Sickness was taking too long. The cyanide should expedite matters. Just some long overdue pest control.



In response to The Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of 12th November 2017


In 2014, Channel 4 News reported that “Deep under the streets of Bucharest – in Europe, in the 21st century – there is a network of tunnels and sewers that is home to hundreds of men, women and children stricken by drug abuse HIV and TB.”
Due to Ceausescu strict policy against birth control, there were tens of thousands of orphans and children in state care. After his fall, and the ensuing chaos, some moved into the tunnels underneath Bucharest. Drug addiction is rife, some have had children of their own.
The entrance to this underworld are holes in the pavements or sides.


Image courtesy: Don’t Panic Online Magazine – The lost boys of Bucharest

Another morning

The smell of effluent and refuse waft up making me crinkle my nose. At least I don’t gag any more. The house is awake as evidenced by the clanking of pots and rumble of the flush. Discordant strains of guitar blend with the brawl of a little child. Well, sleeping was definitely out of the picture now. Might as well get up before the hot water runs out.

I go wait by the toilet. Miguel steps out. “Hey man! I hear they are hiring at Randy’s. I’m heading there. You coming?”

“Sure man,” I reply. “Just give me five.”

Randy’s was hard work, but the pay was fair, and he usually threw in lunch. Better get there before word spreads. I relieve myself, wash off last evening’s grime, and hop into my only pair of not-torn jeans.

The baby is still crying. “What’s up Sal? Did you take her to the clinic?” I ask.

“They gives me a refill for her inhaler. They asking me to move to dry housing. Where I go with no money?”

I nod my head. There is nothing that I can do for her. No words of comfort that I can offer. And I got to get to Randy’s.


In response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of 10th September based on a photo by A Mixed Bag 2013

Waiting for a call

Friday wound up amidst sighs of relief. The nondescript system administrator walked out quietly, clutching her tote and staring at her nondescript shoes. No one waved goodbye. No one invited her for drinks. No one ever did.

Monday shocked the entire office. None of the logins worked, the systems were infected with virus, the entire week’s backup had been deleted, and the system administrator was missing.

In the café across the square, she waited phone in hand.

The enquiry took almost a month.

When they asked her why she did it, her deadpan reply was ‘because nobody ever calls me’.

 


In Response to: Friday Fictioneers of 5th May 2017
Photo Prompt by Sandra Crook

Waiting

A lonely waffle, flaunting itself to everybody who walks through the café like a cheap whore, hoping someone will consider it worthwhile to pick it up and take a bit of it, savour it and maybe want more.

She hated Valentine’s day, hated the memory that it had been a different guy every year.

“I’ll take the waffle,” she said, waiting for her next blind date, “Let’s not leave it alone long enough to get soggy and bitter.”

 


Written for Sonya’s Three Line Tales, based on photo by Roman Kraft

Façade

The woman who stood by the door could have graced the cover of Vogue, with her porcelain skin and high cheekbones finely dusted in understated gold, full lips the colour of ripe berries even in the diffused light of the chandeliers above, and obsidian hair cascaded down her slender back. Yet there was something shy about the eyelashes fluttering like the wings of a butterfly dancing to the Waltz of The Flowers playing in the background.
He glanced around, taking in the hall which reflected her elegant classic taste. The bespoke sofas of hardwood and creamy velvet were interspersed with sleek mahogany coffee tables bearing now empty bone china cups with antique silver spoons. In one corner stood the grand piano, her most prized possession, where she had captivated the guests just a while back. He recalled the applause and compliments that had been showered upon her. By God, she could host a party. Everything had been perfect.
The door shut and as the locks fell into place he was pulled out of his reverie. He looked back at her, never ceasing to be astonished at the ease with which she could put up and drop down the façade. Cold grey eyes bore down at him, reminding him that it was time to keep up his end of the deal.
He nodded briefly. Then he walked towards the study to sign the divorce papers.


Facade