Friday Fiction – What goes on tour…

It’s a sad day for the Fictioneers. Our great leader, Madison Woods, is going to pastures new and retiring from her post as leader of the group. She’s been a great inspiration and I hope we’ll be hearing lots more from her in other realms, but for now Three Cheers from me.

Madison has passed the baton to Rochelle, so those who like to follow the leader will find prompts on her page from next week. I’m sure she’ll be a great figurehead and I look forward to seeing her prompts.

And as a last link for you, thanks to Ron Pruitt, who provided today’s photo inspiration. So many of the FF prompts are pastoral, that I’m always taken aback to see people in the photo. It provides a different kind of challenge though, and I like the variety. This week, the different challenge was met with a different response in my head. I’m not sure it really counts as a story, but I could hear him talking plain as day when I looked at the picture, so this character had to be recorded.

I’m hoping that this snippet gives you a taste for him and his character, but I don’t know whether I’m overlaying the words with my own impressions. Do please let me know what you think!

“All aboard again!

“No sitting in the luggage racks! We once toured a circus [edited from v1: Lance once took a circus] Found the contortionist in his trunk when we arrived. Smelt a bit after fourteen hours in the Arizona heat.

“No, entirely alive.

“So, on your left, folks, you can see the Oklahoma State line. I say see. You can’t, but it’s there. Behind that barn. Don’t cross that ‘less you want to get blown away.

“No, tornadoes. Not much gun crime in OK; keep that here in Texas. When we reach Dallas, you’ll be seeing where JFK was shot – kinda proud of their heritage, the Texans.”


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

35 responses to “Friday Fiction – What goes on tour…

  1. The concept of a one-side dialogue (quite different from a monologue) was very thought-provoking. Enjoyed this Jennifer.

    • Thank you, Sandra. I didn’t have enough words for the passengers, but also I was imagining hearing this on the microphone as somebody at the back of the bus, who probably doesn’t hear the other side of the dialogue. I’m glad you think it worked

      • Your real name is Jennifer? Hmmm, you’ll always be Elmo to me. Loved this character. Had a slight problem with Lance till I read the comments. I think I want to try a one-sided conversation soon.

      • Haha, Elmo is fine too, Paul – provided you remember my real name when ordering all my published works, obviously! Definitely give the one-sided conversation a try and let me know if you put it online.

  2. He’s a great character, and it would be a real shame to have missed meeting him! Thank you.

  3. Hi Jennifer,
    I, too, hear voices in my head. I think that means you’re a writer. Loved the comments your characters made, quirky, funny, and topical. And it’s great that you can read between the lines and tell what the comments are in response to. Good job! Ron

  4. NO need to hear the other ones talking, you get the idea of what’s being said and a better understanding of the bus driver. He seems like a real character. Nice work.

    Here is mine…..

  5. “smelt” it’s not spelled right, but i’m thinking you did that for the character to mispronounce it, which is a good touch. “Lance once took a Circus.” i need to know what that means. is that more characterization? for example, we might say “joined” a circus, but then it’s capitalized, so i guess it’s a kind of bus. i like that i have to think and figure things out. well done.

    • I’m confused. Smelt is the past tense / past participle of “to smell” – the idea is that a guy stuck in a trunk for 14 hours in the heat might not come out fresh as daisies.
      As for Lance, I wondered about that; I think I should just change it to “We” as in “we once drove a circus group on our bus”. Hmm… I think I’ll change it to “We once toured a circus”, maybe that’d be clearer. And the “we” is the tour guide and the driver (whose name was Lance, but you lost that in the cutting process).

      • oh, i missed that it was the tour guide people talking. as for smelt – i’ve only seen that spelling for the process of working with metal. so i was thinking she wanted to say “smelled” but had a certain mispronunciation.

      • i don’t think “smelt” is a proper past tense or participle of smell. i think it should be smelled. but it has probably been used often enough that enough people have accepted it. i checked four online dictionaries, and one had it, the other three did not.

      • I fear you may be trying to Americanise me again, rich. It’ll never work!Smelt is absolutely a valid past tense in British English, although not in the US. Arguably, since this character is in the US, he should use the American version, but there’s nothing to say he’s not British-born or educated. And since it was our language first and blogging is an international forum , I’m going to stand by my British English usage!

        • camgal

          I was going to tell him the exact same thing 🙂 just yesterday I had said, “smelt” and only my British friend backed it up 🙂 no worries, write and speak both nowadays- diversity I suppose 🙂

  6. Great character. I love how you communicate so much through the monologue, none of which is about himself. Starting with a reference to a circus (and then that great picture of the contortionist in a trunk) cues the reader to get ready for a wild ride. It might not be a story exactly, but it’s good stuff!

  7. I would have liked that tour guide. I liked your story.

  8. Oh snap! “…where JFK was shot…kinda proud of their heritage, the Texans.” That slapped me in the face, Jen. Nice job.

  9. Nice take from the Tour Guide’s POV. Regarding Texans being…kinda proud of their heritage. I know some who believe strongly that they don’t belong in the USA and would like their own country. That would be interesting.

  10. Dear Jen,

    Some fine dialog in there. I think ‘smelt’ works simply from the point of view of the Oklahoman or some such native son and prone to talkin’ like that. Good job with this story, especially the JFK line.



    • Thanks Doug – the JFK line seems to have gone down even better than I’d hoped. I was just looking at the map and trying to work out where they were going if they could see the OK state line and there was Dallas. What’s a girl to do?!

  11. I like a nontraditional story – and you’re right, his voice was pretty distinct. I loved the commentary in those last two lines, too

  12. Pingback: FF – What Goes On Tour (rerun) | elmowrites

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