Friday, July 13, 2012

A Rain Gutter?...What?

Casa Encantada-Haunted House

It's Wednesday's Weekly Writing Prompt (a few days late...). This week's little story was inspired by the above picture and these five words:


500 word maximum (once again I think I wrote 499...), a week to complete the story, and the stories need to be submitted to Nicole's website: HERE. I've had a lot of fun with these. If you're wondering if you can do it or if it would be fun, why not give it a try? Here's what I wrote for this week.

A Gutter?...What?

            “Excuse me,” Herald Johnson said to the perspiring bus driver as he stepped from the bus where he spent the last nine hours. “What town is this?”
            “No comprendo,” the driver said as he waved an annoyed hand at the American student.
            “But I have no idea where I am!” Herald screamed as the dusted glass door closed with a squeak and the bus began to drive away followed by a plume of pollution and dirt. Herald scanned his surroundings and he knew one thing for certain, this wasn’t the Texas Tech University Center and this small hamlet carved into the Pyrenees Mountains was definitely not Seville.
            He should have just stayed on the bus, Harold thought. Why did he trust that old woman who woke him up after a two-hour nap, the woman who told him in Spanish that this was his stop. At least, he was pretty sure that’s what she said. And now the non-Spanish speaking 20-year old was lost in what looked like a sleepy town of less than 5,000 people, none of which, Herald thought, probably spoke English.
            “Pardon,” Harold said to the first person within earshot. “Can you tell me where I am, por favor?”
            “Qué?” the hunched spectacled elderly man said to the American’s baby face.
            “Do you understand English?”
            “No,” the man said shaking his head.
            Harold looked up hoping some celestial object could help him. He noted the sun’s location in the morning sky then checked his watch. He quickly formed a rudimentary compass in his mind.
            “North? Ah…norte?” Harold pointed to where he thought north was. The old man smiled and nodded. “Norte,” he said, his voice light, carefree.
            That’s great, Harold thought. Knowing where north was didn’t really help him at all. If he only had his cell phone, but he left it back in Lubbock knowing it wouldn’t work in Europe.
            “Do you have a cell phone?” Harold said to the older man a little louder than was necessary. “Cell phone?” Harold tried to pantomime him holding a phone to his right ear.
            “Eh?” the man said.
            “Cell phone…cell-i-phono?”
            “Canalón?” the man said with a quizzical tone. Maybe this man understood him after all.
            “Si,” Harold said. “Si, si… canalón.” “Where can I find a canalón?”
            The man gave Harold a confused look and then shrugged his shoulders. He turned and pointed to the roof of what looked like a Spanish church at the corner of the town square.
            “Gracias,” Harold said and ran to the building. He reached the door only to find a large padlock sealing the door closed.
            “Canalón?” Harold asked a younger woman passing by. She stopped, gave him the same confused look the old man had given him and pointed up to the corner of the building’s roof. “Canalón,” she said.
            Harold looked up. “A rain gutter?...What?”
            “I don’t know why you are looking for that,” the woman said as she left Harold to try and figure out what to do next.


  1. I wonder how long it will take him to realize she spoke English. :P I like how compact and concise this feels. (Can I ask) How many words? I could count, but ... it's just easier if you tell me. ;)

    1. The first draft had 540 so I did a little cutting. When I copied it over from WORD, the number count (without the title...) was 499. Thanks for the nice words!

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