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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
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Re: Short story competition by Loretto on 3 September 2012 1:01pm
Thank you both for those responses guys. The winner is Tousconmike's wife E.
Thanks again.
Re: Short story competition by Wheelrim on 3 September 2012 1:41pm
Well Done Mike!
Re: Short story competition by johnnyBgood! on 3 September 2012 2:32pm
Well done Elaine but I think it's a bit unfair. Elaine is a published author and not on this site.

I will break my word and give my vote to John (Wheelnut). He got involved in the spirit of things and although he's a big daft ex-cop, he managed to hold my short attention span.

Well done to all of you.
Re: Short story competition by suzulu on 5 September 2012 1:41pm
All the stories were very good. Well done to you all!
Re: Short story competition by tucsonmike on 6 September 2012 1:55am
Thank you for the compliments, John whatever. Loretto asked @ the outset if there were any objections to Elaine participating. We could have written pure shite. (Always wanted to use that in a sentence). Just because we are both writers, doesn't mean we will dominate every time.
Re: Short story competition by johnnyBgood! on 6 September 2012 2:44am
Lol Mike. Americans normally say shit and us Scots say shite. One letter but so much difference.
Re: Short story competition by Ken Dunn on 3 November 2012 10:57am
This appeared in our 'Diary'. As far as I can see it isn't copyright.

A Short Story from Forthwrite Writers Group.

"The Element of Surprise"

Peter Templiton-Smith looked across his desk and into the warmest pair of eyes he could ever remember seeing. His heart was beating just a little bit faster. Tiny droplets of perspiration formed under his arm and then slipped sensuously down to the waistband of his trousers; this reaction was more than a little disconcerting, for the owner of those disturbingly peepers was not some sexy supermodel but a Nun. Dressed not in curve hugging silk, but in the straight edged Gothic pragmatism of black and white serge.

With supreme effort of will, Peter Templeton-Smith maintained eye contact and said, "Shouli Icall you Sister Angelica or simply. Sister?"

She smiled and shrugged her shoulders.

There was something so familiar about the shrug but he couldn't quite place it.

Returning the smile, he said, "We'll go for Sister then, shall we?" He paused, and then went on... "Would I be right in saying you belong to the Order of 'The Sisters of Mercy', just around the corner from Lincoln Road?"

She nodded.

He looked down at the open file on his desk.

"You say, Sister that you are being stalked, and that this has been going on for quite some time."

She nodded again, but this time a little more vigorously.

He pursed his lips and wondered if his clienthad lost the power of speech. "Any idea why this person should continue to pursue you round the streets of London?"

This time her smile was almost a grin. "I have no idea, but then again he doesn't really exist, he's what you might call a silent friend; it just seemen like the only way to get five minutes alone with my elusive hard working husband."

Light dawned upon the cerebral areas of Peter Templeton-Smith. He laughed, leaned across the desk, and pulled the delectable 'Sister Angelica' into his arms and said, "Marcia, what a resourceful little witch you are."

Lips met in succulent embrace, and then Peter Templeton-Smith walked to the office door and turned the key in the lock.

After all, it surely wouldn't do if another member of chambers found him in flagrante delicto with a Nun.
Re: Short story competition by Loretto on 3 November 2012 1:40pm
I was educated by the sisters of mercy, we didn't call them that though ....

That was a nice story. Thanks Ken.
Re: Short story competition by Loretto on 3 November 2012 1:44pm
Here's a piece we were asked to do for a writing class that I am doing now. We were told to write something from a perspective that we disagreed with. So I chose the Kalash people whom I first learned about in I think what has become my favorite of MPs series, Himalaya.


Her eyes, green, with a greyish circle around the outer iris, dilate in the sun now sinking low behind the hills of the valley. Though she is only seven, she is certain that she is correct, and it is my job, as her missionary teacher, to educate and improve her.

“Dezau is my creator god,” she says, shaking her head, disagreeing with what I have just said.

“To disagree with an adult in my country is disrespectful,” I warn her. “Dezau is not a god. He is made up, pretend. There is only one God.”

“My mother and father tell me this about Dezau, you are wrong.” She pulls her bottom lip up and it swallows the trembling top lip, stubborn to the very last, she even fights back the tears. The other children shrink back in fear as I stand directly in front of the defiant child. This lesson they all must learn, and Saifulla will be a very good example.

Whack! My hand comes across her cheek, leaving an imprint of four fingers; red, glowing, and rising on her dirty face.

“If you disagree with me again Saifulla, I will forbid you from attending your Joshi festival, and it could be your last Kalash festival here.”

She stands before me, defiant and disobedient. The lip trembles, but still no tears. I will make them come. My hand rests on her shoulder. The other hand strikes her cheek again. She pulls away and grabs her face between her hands.

“We are the Kalash, you are wrong,” she says, and runs back to her mother, now being cleansed of birth in the stone, wood and mud hut.

I follow Saifulla, my strides long and hasty, and my arms following them, swinging by my sides. I wish I were anywhere else but here on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Chitral Valley.

These people are ignorant, filthy, and pagan. Their children have runny noses, red, burning eyes from the smoke that fills their huts, and dirty faces. The women adorn their unwashed and filthy bodies with decorated cowrie shells and beads, and braid their hair into long ropes; still nothing can detract from the stench. They are not beautiful; they are un-Christian and soiled.

Despite being 1971 everywhere else on the planet, these indigenous people have deliberately remained untouched by progress. Their dead are buried in open graves; the rotting bodies filling the air at the top of the steep hill with an unbearable stench. The souls of their dead, they believe, are excited to leave the body and join the ancestors and Dezau on the white mountain; ignorant and obsolete beliefs that threaten the mind as well as the health of all who live here. This is no way to live; they need conversion.

I see Saifulla, in the distance, her colorful dress disappearing into one of the huts on the mountain side; this is her home. Her mother squats on the floor, holding a newborn, the medicine man waves a burning juniper bush, sizzling and sparking, above her head. He waves it around her and the child, to ward off the evil spirits and cleanse her of the birth. Saifulla, fully aware of the significance of this custom, stands behind her mother, silently,  her back pressed against the hut wall, and eyes me from the shadows, measuring me and despising me for trying to teach her what is right.

The medicine man throws the burning juniper branch onto the open flame. Other women assembled to welcome Saifulla’s mother back from the menstrual house offer her flat breads as gifts. The smoke inside the hut is choking and heavy; it spirals slowly toward the hole in the roof of the hut clinging perilously onto the side of the hill.

When Saifulla knows she may come forward, she emerges from the shadows, and appears by her mother’s side. In her own tongue, she speaks to her mother swiftly; her eyes darting from her mother to me.

The woman rises, hands the newborn to a woman close by. They are all dressed in black and decorated with colorful cowrie shells and beads; their head dresses flowing down their backs. They move slowly, their costumes heavy with the ornate embroidery, beading, and shells.

“Dezau does exist,” she says moving towards me and slitting her eyes to become intimidating.

“I have been sent here by your government to educate your children,” I remind her. “This is what your leaders want.”

“Our leaders are here, they live among us, not in the big cities. Here with us,” she says.

Saifulla is by her side and touching her own face, the finger marks still visible on both her cheeks. More words in their language are shared privately.

“Our creator god is Dezau,” she tells Saifulla, and strokes the child’s face. “She is wrong, you are right.”

This woman, adorned in all colors, moves towards me; imposing and foul, frightening.

“Do not hit my child again,” she says in a low, deep rooted guttural voice. I step backward, she is wild eyed and capable of anything, a crude wooden stool behind me, sends me sprawling to the filthy, un-swept floor.

Outside the hut, two boys playing with rocks, watch me fall. They laugh at the white woman, weak and wounded. No one corrects them for their laughing.

It will be two more days before the jeep crosses the wooden suspension bridge comes to take me away. Then I am free, no one can convert a heathen group such as these. God should forget these people.
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