Kreative Kue 229 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
John W Howell is the author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, co-author of The Contract, and blogs at Fiction Favorites.
The Cab by John W. Howell © 2019
“I’m telling you Leroy, they’ll never make it.”
“Who’ll never make it?”
“That group in the wagon up there.”
“Why do you say that?”
“For all the years I have been a door man here at this hotel, I’ve never seen such a pack of greenhorns.”
“Greenhorns you say? How so?”
“Look at ’em. Top hats, black clothes. They just don’t look the part. Look more like undertakers.”
“What are you talking about. Every hansom cab driver I’ve see looks just like that group.”
“Yeah but the hansom drivers have a cab not some buckboard.”
“You have a point there. Where’d they get that rig anyway?”
“I hooked them up with the livery guy.”
“You hooked them up? You let the livery guy sell them that piece of junk?”
“They told him they didn’t have much to spend. That is the best they could do.”
“Did you tell them that that outfit would not do?”
“No. Why not?”
“Okay let’s hear them.”
“First I didn’t want to discourage them for trying to make a living as cab drivers.”
“Yeah I can see that. What’s the second reason?”
“I would lose my ten percent comission.”
“Do you go to church?”
“No. Should I?”
“You might consider it.”
Tien Skye, who blogs at From the Widow Seat offered this short tale. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
She was definitely not impressed by this show of royalty, yet she was obliged to honour the tradition. With her butler in the usual place behind her and the coachman clucking at the horses, the heir to the royal throne began her procession.
But the entire affair was met with solemn silence; the ceremony was merely a distraction from the recent catastrophic event which claimed an alarming number of death, both in armed forces and commoners alike. Instead of distracting everyone within the walled city, the naming of the heir only served to highlight the royal family’s desperation to keep up with the normalcy of their lives.
With every clip-clop of the horses’ hooves, everyone wondered how long their lives could continue.
After all, winter was coming and the rotting cloves of garlic could not keep the vampires out of their walls forever.
My effort was
“I say, Pater, this is a jolly good wheeze, what?”
“Learn well, boy. This is the life into which you were born.”
“I’m delighted to be accompanying you on this little jaunt, Pater. I do have one question, though.”
“What is it?”
“Must the peasants be allowed to watch us?”
“Remember, Primo, we are only where we are today because these people you dismiss as peasants give their labours, and sometimes their lives, to ensure we can live in the lap of luxury.”
“Shouldn’t they be doing that, then, and not standing there in squalor and filth gawping at us?”
“Shouldn’t they be doing what?”
“Working for us. What was it you said? Giving their labours and sometimes their lives?”
“Primogenitus Topdog, I am surprised at you. Surprised and disappointed. From where do such cruel and heartless thoughts spring, pray?”
“Nanny says we’re better than them. She says they’re not fit to untie my bootlaces. Nanny says that the lower classes can never aspire to the ranks of the upper-classes. And she should know.”
“Why should Nanny know about that?”
“Because she’s one of them. A low-born. She knows how fortunate she is to have the honour and privilege of being my Nanny. And she knows she has the job through my generosity and grace, not through any inherent value or quality of her own. Tell me I’m right, Pater.”
“We may have to agree to differ on that, Boy. All human beings have their own, intrinsic value.”
“Are you listening to yourself, Pater? Ewww. That horse has just defecated.”
“It happens. Get over it.”
“I appreciate and grant that every creature that eats must dispose of its waste. I’m not stupid, you know. What I don’t appreciate is the beast doing it right in front of my eyes. Who was supposed to have trained this animal? I’ll have him flogged. Teach him some manners then maybe he’ll teach the horse some.”
“Your training is going well, my boy. Before you know it, you’ll be reclining in the seat of power.”
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at email@example.com 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.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.