SNAKE ON A SHIP

Standing on the room balcony, Archie took a long puff on his pipe.

It was a quiet place of solitude after three weeks at sea with Agnes. She couldn’t stand the smell of his pipe.

He had gone through a lot of tobacco.

Another fine morning. Somewhere off the starboard side were the Indonesian islands.

‘Archie!’ Agnes screeched. He could make out the top of her head sticking out, down and to the right, where the restaurant was located. ‘Bring down my reading glasses, will you?’

He didn’t acknowledge her. He would say he didn’t hear her.

A moment later, he heard her scream. What now, he thought.

By the time he had ambled down, Agnes was cowering in the corner, wafting a pole about, fending off an angry-looking snake. A small crowd had gathered.

‘Where have you been?!’ Agnes glowered at him. ‘This snake dropped out the sky onto my plate. They say it’s a taipan. Deadly poisonous.’

Above the restaurant the small tender boat used to transport passengers to shore was suspended. It had picked up an unwanted guest while in port.

‘Sorry dear,’ Archie called, as the snake reared up. ‘I was looking for your reading glasses.’


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Copyright A Mixed Bag

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

More adventures featuring Agnes and Archie can be found here: THE AGNES AND ARCHIE STORIES.

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MISTAKEN IDENTITY

James stood against the railing, feeling refreshed in his tuxedo.

It had been an arduous fortnight.

Tomorrow, disembark at Alexandria, then a plane ride back home to London.

A woman approached, dressed in an elegant ballgown.

‘Join me?’ she asked, offering a flute of champagne.

A boy ran between them and vomited over the side of the boat.

‘Too much buffet, Dad.’

James looked at his son. Some of the sick had landed on James’ trousers.

‘Sorry,’ James shrugged at the woman.

On the deck above, Phillips stood in a tuxedo, checked a roll of film was safe in his pocket, and sipped champagne.


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Copyright Ted Strutz

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

You can read more short stories about the spy Phillips here: THE PHILLIPS SPY STORIES.

FARMER BARRY

When he was a small boy, Barry loved playing with the toy farm his father made for him. He tended to the small cows, sheep and pigs, drove the tractor, mucked out the stables and fed the horses.

Sometimes his father would join him, but after his parents divorce he sat playing on his own.

Being from a working class family, Barry knew he would never be able to have a real farm. He was also put off by the hard work.

It had taken him a few years, but now he had the farm he dreamed of.

He worked in the abandoned warehouse as Farmer Barry,  tending to his collection of stuffed animals. The college course in taxidermy and a knack for livestock rustling had given him the means to create his life-size playset.

Lifting the stuffed fox outside the fence to protect the sheep, Barry sighed. The end of another busy day. He tapped his father on the head. His dad’s glazed, still eyes didn’t respond, just like when he used to play with Barry and his toy farm.

‘Goodnight, Dad,’ said Barry. ‘See you in the morning.’

He flicked the light off.


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Copyright A Mixed Bag

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

AUTUMN LEAVES

Archie looked at the overhanging branches from the neighbours overgrown sycamore tree. Every Autumn the leaves fell into his garden, burying the flowerbeds and lawn. Every Autumn he had to clear them.

It had taken him all morning to sweep the leaves up. Now they sat in one big pile in the middle of the garden.

Agnes tapped the kitchen window. ‘Lunch.’

Inside, Archie removed his hat and gloves. ‘You can see your breath out there,’ he remarked. He stretched his back, stiff from stooped exertion.

‘They really should cut back those branches.’ Agnes said. ‘And you should let your son-in-law sweep them up. You’re not getting any younger.’

Archie rolled his eyes. ‘Are Julia and the boys still coming round this afternoon?’ he asked.

‘Don’t worry, they’re still coming.’

An hour later Agnes and Julia stood at the window watching Archie and the children in the garden. Leaves flew everywhere accompanied by squeals of delight.

‘I’ll send Gary round tomorrow to clear the leaves.’ Julia said.

‘Don’t bother,’ Agnes sighed. ‘You’d only spoil his fun.’


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Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE

You can read more short stories featuring Agnes and Archie here: THE AGNES AND ARCHIE STORIES

THE NEW NORMAL

Elaine looked at the water lapping against the side of the house. She could see the small white line she had made yesterday.

‘Level is the same as yesterday,’ she said.

Albert nodded. That meant the dam had held. Another storm had passed and their town was secure. ‘Anything you need from the store?’

‘Just see if they have any gin. Supposed to be delivered this week.’

Albert stepped out the window onto the rowing boat that was tethered next to it. He began rowing down the street.

The neighbourhood was quiet. It always was these days, with no petrol left for the outboard motors.

He tied his boat at the town centre marina and walked along the floating gangway to the store. Picking up his weekly newspaper and milk, he saw the shelves looking empty.

‘Supply boat didn’t make it through?’ he asked Bob.

”Fraid not, waiting for a gap in the hurricanes. Likely be another month until the calm season starts,’ Bob said. ‘Heading to watch the big match this evening?’

‘You know I can’t stand water polo. Not a real sport.’

Albert rowed back to the house. Another quiet Sunday by the fire beckoned.

C’est la vie.


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Copyright A Mixed Bag

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.