“Just keep running for god’s sake.”
“I’m not sure I can go any further.”
“You’d better. Want the cops to get you.”
“N-no but my lungs are going to burst.”
“Stop whining. You’re the one who screwed up the getaway car.”
“So I forgot to check the gas.”
“So I forgot to check the gas? You are an idiot you know that?”
“Aw come on. It could happen to anyone.”
“Okay let me ask. Who was responsible for the getaway car?”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah it was me. I’ll never live this down I can see that now.”
“Shut up will you and give me a chance to think. This money is getting pretty heavy, and you’re right it is getting harder to keep running.”
“Look over there. Do you see what I see?”
“Yes, carriages. We can grab one of those.”
“I can hear the all points bulletin now. ‘BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR TWO DUMB SHITS IN A STOLEN CARRIAGE ‘ Are you out of your mind?”
“No, listen. We hire one and give him a bunch of dough. He keeps his mouth shut. We look like a couple of tourists, and nobody will be the wiser.”
“I guess it does beat dying of a stroke. Okay, let’s do it.”
“You gentleman look like you are in a hurry.”
“Is this carriage for hire?”
“Well normally it is, but it is booked on an exclusive tour today.”
“Could a little incentive talk you out of skipping the trip.”
“What kind of incentive?”
“A thousand bucks.”
“Whoa. You could talk me out of anything for a thousand bucks. Hop in.”
“Here’s your money. Want to count it?”
“Ten hundred’s is pretty easy to count.”
“So what was the tour was booked?”
“Get up boy. Oh, nothing important.”
Come on. You have my curiosity aroused.”
“Well, the police chief wanted to take his wife for a ride and lunch.”
“The p-police chief?”
“Yeah. You see he’s a nut about romance, carriages, and horses.”
“He is huh.”
“He also likes to drive them himself.”
“I would sit back and enjoy the ride, boys. It might be your last for a while.”
My effort was The Dreamer:
Bernice Reed wasn’t at all disturbed by the weird situation in which she found herself. This was a dream, so anything goes! It didn’t concern her that, though she was looking at nineteenth century carriages, she felt the wind of what she soon learned to be an electric car sweep silently behind her. She fully expected to be flying next, then find out that she was naked from the waist down, eliciting the familiar cry of ‘not again!’
But she didn’t. Fly, that is. But she was, as feared, naked – not just from the waist, but totally.
And she had a penis.
And it was white! As was the rest of her.
“Am I ever going to like this dream,” she thought. “I hit the jackpot – a white guy. All I need now is to be in the right religion and I’ve made it.”
At this stage, she normally found herself fully dressed again, and in a different place.
She was still in the same place, and judging from the people she could see, time was moving in the usual direction, and at its normal pace.
She looked down; past the pale appendage that she found so fascinating, and saw a small coin by her foot. She bent to pick it up. It cut her finger, which started to bleed.
And it hurt.
Things aren’t supposed to hurt in dreams; not to give the physical sensation of pain.
“Hell,” she thought, “maybe this ain’t no dream. What’s happening?”
She felt a touch on her shoulder, and turned to see who had made it.
It was a police officer.
A black police officer.
A black female police officer.
A black female police officer who, from external appearances, had successfully undergone surgical removal of her sense of humour.
“What’s up, sister?”
“Care to explain why you’re buck naked in the middle of the street, Sir?” the officer asked.
“Why, Sugar, this ain’t me. This is just a dream.”
“Of course it is,” she said, pulling Bernice’s hands behind her back and clipping handcuffs on her. Looking down, she noticed her prisoner’s condition, and said, “Find this exciting, do you? Oh, you are in so much trouble.”
She dragged Bernice into the back of her patrol car while reciting her rights, then drove to the police house, where she presented her to the booking desk.
“Found this guy naked on the Parkway. Claims this is all just a dream. I’ve read him his rights.”
“Did you frisk him for weapons?”
“No Sir, I didn’t see any point,” she replied with a grin.
“Okay. See if you can find something for him to wear.” Turning to Bernice, he asked, “Name?”
He raised an eyebrow.
“2977 Burnside Court, Phoenix, Arizona 85034.”
“What’s your reason for being in Canada today?”
“I’m in Canada?”
“Yessir. Niagara-on-the-Lake. But you knew that, didn’t you?”
“Last I knew, I was in Arizona.”
“Of course, Sir. Date of birth?”
“15 July 1983.”
The desk officer smiled. “D’you want to try that one again?”
“No. I was born on 15 July 1983.”
“So you’re telling me you’re more than 200 years old.”
The desk officer picked up a newspaper and handed it to Bernice, pointing to the date on the top of it. Bernice saw the date – 11 March 2219.
“Is this for real?”
The desk officer swivelled the monitor of his computer and pointed to the date in the bottom right corner. 11 March 2219. He turned his screen back again.
“Still telling me you were born in 1983?”
“It’s true; I was! Can’t you just check with the Arizona State authorities?”
“I can submit an application, but the procedure for getting data from the USA takes months. They guard their data more jealously than a mama bear guards her cubs. It’d be easier for you if you just come clean.”
Bernice started to cry. The sight of a grown man crying disturbed the desk offices, who had no idea quite how to respond.
“All I can tell you,” Bernice said, “is that I am Bernice Reed, an African-American woman born in Arizona in 1983. I found myself in your community: naked, male and white. I have no idea how this happened. This has to be a dream. I’m just waiting to wake up in my own bed, in my own country and in my own time.”
The desk officer shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “Bernice Reed,” he said, “you are charged with public indecency. In the absence of a verifiable address, I have to hold you in the cells until I can present you to the Provincial Court. It is noted that you have no property to record.”
And so Bernice found herself alone in a police cell, wearing nothing but a thin orange tee-shirt and matching trousers, wondering what would befall her next.
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; and either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here – pingbacks don’t often work.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries, with links to your own blog or web site, next Monday.