Kreative Kue 377

Kreative Kue 376 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

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John W Howell is a multiple nominated and award-winning author who blogs at Fiction Favorites. Details of John’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

Yes Dear by John W. Howell © 2022

Here comes the wife. I’ve got this snake right where I want him. If I stop playing, he will strike, and I am a dead man.

“Good morning Ravi.”

“Mum hum.”

“Is that all you can say on a glorious day like today?”

“Mum hum.”

“We have some things that you and I need to discuss.”

“Um?”

“Could you put down that silly punji and talk to me?”

“Muff a luffla.”

“I can’t understand you. I think you are playing off key too.”

“Mamfp.”

“Okay if you  are not going to stop, here’s what I have to say. First of all you seem to spend a lot of time here in the marketplace yet I don’t see any mony coming home.”

“Ruggerle rap.”

“That’s not all. We have the need to fix the roof. Where are we going to get the money?”

“Merp?”

“My shoes have holes and I can’t even affored the newspaper to fill them.”

“Uk?”

“Those paans make my mouth water yet we can’t affored even one.”

“Upt.”

“I give up. Either stop this stupid nonsense with the basket and snake or I’ll have to ask my mother to come live with us to help.”

“Eeek. Alright my dear. I’ve stopped playing and soon your troubles will be over.

“You going to get a job?”

“Better. My snake and insurance policy will be all you need.”

“I don’t want that ugly snake.”

“Yes dear.”


Raymond Walker offered this intriguing tale. Raymond is a prolific author whose main web site is at http://raytwalker.com/. Details of Raymond’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

Nenenutet © 2022 Raymond Walker 

The door banged behind me. Mehmet’s wife looked terrified as I shouted his name again and again until he came scurrying into the room pulling his boots on. “You have to come now, I found something, at the site and you need to see, you need to come now”.

We scurried and pushed our way towards the centre of town, spreading dust, dirt and buzzing flies in our wake. We ignore the stench. Earlier that day we had stopped construction on a new block of lacklustre flats. The digger had lifted pottery sherds and opened a hole that we had not dug. Mehmet and I entered the darkness cursing our luck. Egypt was peppered with burial sites, and you had to report them to the ministry of antiquities which could hold the project up for weeks if someone thought the find of any importance. I knew the regulations all too well as Mehmet had worked with the ministry for years before joining my crew for more money. He was a strange but likeable old fellow, smart and he liked western music. It was strange to watch him at a company function drinking whisky and disco dancing. We needed someone with knowledge, with a bit of savvy and that could translate between the workers and me. He knew every dialect and language needed and was so easy to get on with.

Luckily there was nothing there of any note, it was just a dusty hole. No brick works, no treasure, just a little bit of painted pottery and that was everywhere, in every hole even as you dug, it would sift out with the sand. I stuck it in my pocket, a souvenir, as we climbed out and told the driver to continue.

Mehmet, the last to leave that afternoon apart from me, I sent home as the sun reached its height and everything started baking. It was then I felt my pocket twitch and move. I expected it to be a scarab or worse a scorpion, the things got everywhere. I removed my many pocketed fisherman’s waistcoat carefully, I did not want to be stung or bitten by anything and threw it to the ground a little way from me, ready to stamp on it or anything that emerged. I was wearing my heavy, steel reinforced, work boots which would crush anything short of a tiger and I did not think I had a big cat in there.

The waistcoat moved and from the pocket emerged a small cobra. I prepared myself to crush its head but stopped when it started singing. It was not singing in the true sense of the word but rather it emitted a high-pitched sibilance that sounded like music. I stopped and then froze as it started talking. I ran.

Mehmet approached the waistcoat cautiously. “It does not do to be confident of a cobra” he said in heavily accented English. He stepped back as it appeared from beneath the waistcoat and upon seeing us started singing. “Is this normal” I asked Mehmet. He simply shook his head. When it started speaking, he stepped back in horror.

“Are those words or are they just strange sounds” I looked at him and he looked back at me “they sound like words to me” Mehmet almost fell, his legs folding beneath him until he sat cross legged. “They are words but, in a language, long dead in these parts, I know them only because I worked with many of the scholars at the ministry”.

“But you understand them? I asked, he nodded positively “I think so” and he reached into his shirt and took out a flute, a “Ney” which he began to play.

 The flute looked and sounded a little like a Scot’s “Chanter” a minimalist bagpipe without the bag but here it was called a “Ney”. As he played the cobra swayed and stared intently at Mehmet. Then after a few minutes it receded under the waistcoat and stopped moving. Mehmet slowly stood moved to the waistcoat and lifted it, under it lay the little bit of pottery I had lifted earlier from the foundations. He handed the waistcoat to me though I hesitated to take it in case something crawled from a pocket. “There is nothing in it to hurt you” he said, “Take it”.

I did, gingerly shaking and checking it for infestation of some sort or another. I did not put it back on.

“Be humble” he said, “for you have met one of the old gods”. The ancient gods of Egypt. “Renenutet”.

“But how is that possible” I asked. Mehmet, with his old sad eyes weeping said. “It is not possible but yet it has happened, she spoke to me and said that though she was now sleeping the long sleep, when you found the pottery sherd portraying her, the heat and thought, had allowed her to gain a little semblance of life for a short while and for the short time she was here she wished to hear some music for it was what she missed most in the afterlife”.

“Were you not frightened; I certainly was”

“But you did not know Renenutet, she was a kind goddess, you should not have been worried” he said with a small smile. “She has gone back to the long sleep”

“The tune you played on the Ney? What was it, it sounded familiar, is it an old Egyptian love song?

Mehmet looked slightly hurt and then smiled “Did you not recognize “Le Freak by Chic?


My effort was:

Charming!

In the grounds of one of New Delhi’s many Gurdwaras, I saw an elderly man sitting cross-legged, playing on his pungi a melody that he told me he had learnt from his grandfather before leaving Rajasthan. The melody was said to be one preferred by the ancient charmers, well before the practise of charming the cobras was officially banned.

The man claimed to be in his sixty-third year, but local people suggest that to be a year he has inhabited for more than a decade. The spectacled cobra that he ‘charms’, he said has been with him for some years, doing the same dance hour after hour, day after day.

I asked him if he has ever been bitten by this snake.

“No, I haven’t,” he replied. His eyes became distant. “Solanga is a good cobra. The one I had before… it was probably my fault; I was too close to the basket… but he bit me, and I needed treatment. Cost me all I’d made in a week to pay for it. I won’t let that happen again.”

“But how can you prevent it?” I asked, “Is your music so hypnotic?”

He smiled at me; a toothless smile, pointed to his open mouth and said, “He’s like me.”

“No teeth?”

“Yes. No teeth.”

“You removed his fangs?”

“Not I, but the man I bought him from. Many people think it cruel to remove the fangs from a snake but don’t care about removing the tail from a dog or even leaving people to starve in the streets.”

I was deeply concerned by this revelation and replaced in my pocket the cash I had been about the toss into his open pouch. “I’m sorry,” I told him, “I hate to see abject poverty and it breaks my heart to see people suffer, but as an animal lover, I have to agree with those who are unhappy about this cruel practise,” and I turned to walk away.

“You are rich,” he said as I turned, “you can afford to take care of the welfare of wild animals because you have a comfortable life yourself. Without Solanga, I shall have to join the beggars in the streets or steal what I need to live. I must carry on doing what I do and rely on the kindness of strangers to enjoy my show and provide money for food for me, and for him.”

I looked back at him, muttered, “I’m sorry,” and walked away.

But did I do the right thing?


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Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put your offering (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before Sunday evening UK time. 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 time.

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