Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesday’s, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a meme which she calls

“Words for Wednesday”.

She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.

I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. artichoke
2. artificial
3. arsenal
4. army
5. artwork
6. arterial 

We've also been favoured with six extra words this week and a picture.

1. freezeframe
2. vicious
3. streaming
4. flagrant
5. beginning
6. shallow

Here is my story:

The rivers of traffic streaming along the main arterial roads slowed to a near halt as they neared the city centre. A few blocks ahead, held in a freezeframe moment, a firetruck was blocking an intersection.  They'd been on a training run, the new recruits needed to learn the city grid, how to handle the trucks at speed, and how to get to specific locations in the shortest possible time. The newest driver had lost control on the wet road, slewing sideways around the corner and coming to a halt when the motor crashed into a traffic signal post. Now they were waiting on a tow truck  and lights in all directions were flashing red, creating a gridlock. 

Four blocks back, on the highway, 22 year old "Cut-throat" Jimmy, full name James Joseph Alexander Mackenzie, was sitting patiently, yet with excitement, in his car, fingers tapping against the steering wheel in rhythm with the song playing on his radio. 

In his eagerness to get to the Hospital, Jimmy had left the farm with more than two hours to spare, so he had no need now to be honking his horn with impatience, or making rude gestures out of his window as others were doing. He wondered briefly if this was how all city persons travelled to work each morning. Always in a hurry, flagrantly ignoring others rights to use the road, rudely honking horns if the traffic flow stopped for too long. Some of the language Jimmy was hearing was quite vicious, the driver behind him looked like he wanted to strangle someone!

Jimmy returned his attention to the artificial forest in the yard of a nearby Pre-School. The short, colourful trees had been made with low, spreading branches, spaced not too far apart, for small children to learn to climb safely, with teacher supervision. Jungle gyms in disguise they were, Jimmy thought it was a very clever idea, the yard looked like an interactive artwork. There was a shallow pond for water play too, properly fenced off to prevent accidents when not in use. 

Cars were beginning to move now and Jimmy looked back to the road. Traffic Police had arrived at the intersection and were directing cars around the inoperative fire truck, making room for the tow truck to back up to its rear bumper where the men would hitch a chain and tow the fire truck away from the traffic signal.  Over on a side street, a second fire truck crew

was waiting for an ambulance crew to finish checking the crew in the injured truck. No one appeared to be hurt, although the new young driver was very pale and quite visibly shaky. 

"Cut-throat" Jimmy waved cheerfully at all of them as he was waved past the intersection by the Traffic Officer. He was very happy this morning, on his way to see his wife Alice and their brand-new baby girl, Susannah, born just yesterday. 

Before entering the hospital, Jimmy washed his hands yet again, checking carefully around and under his fingernails for traces of blood. Jimmy was the best butcher on the farm, making the quickest, cleanest, most efficient cuts. 
When an animal was to be butchered for the table, the Boss always called for Jimmy to do the butchering. This was how he had earned his name, "Cut-throat" Jimmy. He was justifiably proud of this reputation and the Boss had allowed Jimmy to purchase his own set of specialised killing, skinning and slicing knives. There was a veritable arsenal of knives locked in a cabinet in the killing shed. 

Within fifteen years, Jimmy and Alice hoped to open their own Butcher Shop. 

Satisfied that his hands were properly clean, "Cut-throat" Jimmy entered the gift shop to buy flowers and chocolates for Alice, then selected a soft pink stuffed bunny for Susannah, who was the sweetest, prettiest baby ever born in his opinion. 
He made his way up to the Maternity Ward with a spring in his step.


  1. Oh my. Not a double, but a triple whammy. This is brilliant. And I loved seeing the soft side of Cut-throat. Thank you River.

  2. My jaw is on the combined ALL THREE!!!!!! And this is a fabulous little story. 'Great job' doesn't even begin to be a good enough comment.

  3. That was so good I wish I could write, I admire people who can.
    Here was I thinking he was a calm gangster not a butcher.

  4. Love it!

    The artificial artichokes were the arsenal in my arterial army :P

  5. Elephant's Child; Jimmy's just a big marshmallow. An excellent butcher though.

    Delores; thank you. I had fun with this one.

    mm; thank you.

    Merlesworld; I admire people who can write too. I thought the gangster image would be a nice twist.

    Jayne; thank you. I didn't manage to get artichokes or army into it. Maybe if I'd thought of another paragraph.....oooh....and now I have. Thank you for a little inspiration.

  6. Oh River, that's a splendid little narrative. Lots of description (I could feel myself sitting impatiently in that traffic) and then the clever twist at the end.

    I also wondered what Mr Cut Throat might be up to, so I was taken by surprise by seeing that he's a big softie, rather than a hitman for the mob.

  7. Marie; I knew a stationhand once who was also the butcher when meat was required for the table. When butchering day was on, he'd leave the breakfast table saying "time to get on with the throat cutting".

  8. My goodness, this is an amazing piece. How DO you capture such detail and nuance with so few words? It is a gift.

  9. Linda O'Connell; I'm trying to stretch that gift a little into a proper short story. I always seem to get stuck under 700 words. I may have to print them all out and read each one as if it were a book, then see where I want the story to go.