Picture Prompt #55

Photo courtesy of The Blog Propellant

Gonzo had been tailing the woman all morning.

Discrete, undetected, a shadow, He hadn’t seen her make the drop. Not yet. Her tradecraft was good, but not as good as his. When she turned into the shop at number 74 he knew there would be a wait. There’s always a wait when a woman goes into a shoe store.

He took a table in the window at a small bistro across the avenue and ordered coffee from the slovenly waiter, an old man wearing a stained apron, “Un café s’il vous plaît.”

“Tout d’ suite, monsieur.” The old waiter muttered through his mustache as he wandered back to the bar.

Gonzo turned his attention back to the woman, back to the shoe store at number 74. He could see her through the window as she prowled the displays and chatted with the smiling young shop assistant. He watched as she picked up and admired a pair of suede ankle boots. She said something to the clerk who nodded and disappeared into the back just as the waiter set Gonzo’s coffee on the table. He said something but Gonzo paid him no attention, merely waved him away.

He watched the woman reach deep into her bag and pull out something small. He watched her drop it into the toe of the boot she held. He watched her set the boot back down and scurry from the shop, down the street in the direction from which she had come.

This was it. It had all come down to this moment.

Speaking into his transmitter he told Claude it was on. “Pick up the woman.” He said.  He scattered a handful of coins and bills on the table, next to his untouched coffee. Leaving the bistro he crossed the avenue to number 74 and pushed through the door just as the shop girl came back to the front, still smiling and carrying a red coloured shoe box.

“How much for these?” he asked the girl in English indicating the boots that the woman had handled.

“Two hundred Euros, plus VAT” she replied.

“I’ll take them,” he crumpled €250 into her hand and scooped up the footwear.

No one heard the shot. Only Gonzo and the shop girl heard the window crack when the bullet pierced through. Gonzo had no time to react. The girl, however, screamed when he collapsed to the floor with a small hole in his forehead and a larger hole at the base of his neck. She was still screaming and crying when the gendarme arrived.


Picture Prompt #8



“I reckon we’re gonna have to send her back to orientation. She might be a bit dim.”

“What? She just got out of orientation. She oughta have a pretty good grasp of the basics, anyway.”

“Come on then, I’ll show ya but keep in mind we give ‘em easy shit to do when they first get here.”

“Yeah, I know. Pushin’ the fog in, waking the sun up in the morning, tossin’ snowflakes – just keep ‘em away from the punters till they learn the lay o’ the land.”

“Well yesterday I asked her to turn on the fan and raise a gentle breeze. Ya know what she asked me?”


“She said, ‘Where do I stand?’ I says whaddya mean? She says, ‘I never know where to stand with a fan. If I stand behind it – it sucks. If I stand in front of it – it blows. If I stand next to it – it doesn’t do a damn thing for me.’ I told her I didn’t care where she stood just don’t turn it on too high.”

“No, ya didn’t!”

“’Fraid so. Indirectly that hurricane on the gulf yesterday? Yeah, that was my fault. I shoulda been more specific.”

“So what’s wrong now?”

“I asked her to hang the stars.”






The New Girl
The New Girl – Image courtesy of The Daily Prompt Alternative


Picture Prompt #4



Toshiyuki Yamada had worked the entire fifteen years of his young life for this and now he found himself in an exchange student program living for a year with a host family on the banks of the Licking River, in the town of Pataskala, Ohio. To get here Toshi had excelled in school – top of his class at Shimosuwa Secondary School, high in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture. He had studied English since the age of seven and had tutored other students for the last six years. Now he was living the dream.

The trip had been extraordinary; his parents had driven him to the station in Nagano. He caught the Shinkansen from there to Tokyo Station, by himself, and transferred by conventional rail to Narita where he met up with others in the exchange program. The next morning they all took Japan Air Lines non-stop from Narita to Chicago; then he and his escort, Ayumi, took another flight to Akron-Canton where they were met by the Nelsons, his host family. He enjoyed traveling with Ayumi, she had been an exchange student in Ohio when she was his age and gave him a lot of advice about the gaijin who lived there. She was scheduled to stay with him for two days and make sure he settled in alright.

Pataskala is about half the size of Shimosuwa and most of the residents had never seen or spoken to anyone from Japan before so, he was quite the celebrity as soon as he arrived. The small Pataskala Press sent a reporter to interview him, she was also the editor and press operator, and she was waiting in the driveway when Mr. Nelson wheeled the Suburban in with him and Ayumi. She asked him questions about what he was looking forward to and how he had been chosen for this trip. He answered her questions as best he could and then she spent some time quizzing the Nelsons.

The Nelson family was wonderful. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson had two children: Andy, who preferred to be called Andrew, and Linda, who liked to go by Lindy. Andrew was two months older than Toshi and could only talk about how cool it was going to be when he got his driver’s license. Lindy was twelve; she was curious, kind, and resourceful. Toshi liked her right away even if she did ask endless questions about Japan. He thought it might help him to talk about home and his family. It might keep him from getting homesick.

The next day he enrolled in school, and checked in with the program, headquartered in Chicago, letting them know that he had arrived and needed nothing. He wrote down names and phone numbers for his case workers who would come to visit him monthly. Soon enough Ayumi left and Toshi found himself on his own with the Nelsons.

Lindy wanted to know about Japanese foods. He told her about rice, sushi, sashimi, yakitori, tempura, and teppan cooking. She was amazed that he ate raw fish and wanted to know if it made him throw up. “No, no, it’s really good,” he told her, “and fresh.” She told him that she wanted to try it and asked him to prepare her a Japanese meal.

“I can’t do that, Lindy,” he explained. “A sushi chef must first be an apprentice and train for years before properly preparing food.” She was adamant and after at least two weeks of pestering she had convinced him that perhaps, indeed, he could.

He went shopping for fresh fish.

The problem getting fresh fish was that he was living in a small town in rural Ohio. Certainly they had river fish but he had no idea what to do with them. They were unfamiliar ingredients. And frozen fish simply wouldn’t do. Finally he found fresh Tako and bought it. When he got it home and unwrapped it he realized that he did not have the faintest idea how to go about preparing it for Lindy.

He served it anyway.

Image courtesy of “The Daily Prompt Alternative”