Not that I could ever return them, of course.

It’s like this: I have written a flash piece and cannot quite decide on the last word. So if I could bum 1 minute of your time to read the story [because it’s ‘flash’ fiction] and 3 minutes to think it over [because it’s serious fiction], could you tell me what you think: Should this story end with the word ‘fled’ or ‘came‘.

That’s it, really: does Jackie/Jonnie flee, or does he go to his quarry turned predator? 

Then with the final minute [because it’s ‘interactive’ fiction ;-)] just vote your choice and tell me why. Be careful though. This is an opportunity for me to psychoanalyse you all 😉 

I promise to be democratic here. The story will end in the word of the majority. No dictatorial ghost is going to haunt this decision, nor the leprous fingers of a poll rigger…

and now, the tale:  

 

Of Snakes and Slippers

 

Come here, she said sternly, but he was frozen to the spot. 

What was the world coming to? As she undressed, she had heard what sounded like a lizard in the eaves by the window but it was a dry December and there was always a chance it was a serpent snaking through the thatch. She had thrown open the door, dressed only with the slipper in the hand with which to scare away a snake, and caught the youth inches from the vent. The guilt was written all over his face but it was embarrassment that staked him to the spot. It was a cold harmattan night and her nipples were taut for a change. What, indeed, was the world coming to? She could still remember carrying him on that first day her neighbour brought him back from hospital – was it nineteen years ago – no, it was twenty that August! And a strappling youth he had turned into, too. Was it Jonnie or Jackie they called him? She wondered what was wrong with girls of nowadays that a youth of his height and stature was reduced to this… She shook her head. The world was going to hell on a Chinese okada. When she was young such a thing could not have happened, not in her vicinity anyway. This handsome young goat would not have been reduced to nibbling at yam peelings in the dustbin. She dropped the threatening slipper to her side and cleared her throat. She had to be careful… the lad was so nervous he could bolt at any moment. Jay-Jay, she smiled softly, come.

And he…  

 

45 Replies to “Readers, Writers, Lend Me 5 Minutes”

  1. Maren says:

    Hello Chuma, I think you are joking. Still I answer even I make myself a fool 😉 Of course the story would end that -he came-. Because of the story’s rhetoric. Maren

    Reply
  2. Chuma Nwokolo says:

    Ah, but I am on the level. And if by tomorrow yours is the only vote the story will end ‘AND HE CAME’.

    But what do you mean by the story’s rhetoric?

    Reply
    1. Maren says:

      maybe you’re right and the word AND makes the difference. but I still support -and he came-.
      it’s the rhythm.

      Jay-Jay, she smiled softly, come.

      and he fled…

      that’s not good music 🙂

      Reply
  3. Amanda Dee says:

    ‘…fled. ‘

    I would want him to flee. In fact I’ll urge the peeping Tom to flee for his ‘sanity’ and security of his heart. Since he is already a nervous wreck, and embarrassed at being caught, it would be disastrous if he foolishly obeys her seductive command to ‘come’. For he would become her slave, and she (being older) would be the one in control, the one who will dictate the pace things would go, and eventually she would kick him out or discard him as she would a used toy which she’s certainly overgrown and have no need for…

    He’ll eventually get the slippers (booted out) after she’s, you know… through with him. Moreover, since she couldn’t even tell if his name is Johnie or Jackie, it goes to show that she’ll never be interested in how he’ll feel after her passion has been slaked.

    Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      Hmmm.
      I make that a tie so far.
      Of course the young man might not balk at ‘slavery’ at that point… but that’s another story…
      Of course another reason to flee is that his mother is a shout away and the Inviter might simply be trying to get him closer to grab a ‘felon’ 😉

      Reply
  4. Ms Greene says:

    “…Came” jor! Yeah peeping toms aren’t lauded 4feats of bravery but c’mon! 20yr old dude in heat + totally nude older chick with an open invitation…. Like seriously? There’s a debate??? :O
    If he runs, the world is definitely going to hell on a chinese okada, LOL. Is it faster I wonder?

    Reply
  5. Ms Greene says:

    OR,
    And he… “pulled out a gun, and shot her thrice in quick succession. ”
    The guilt could be from being caught out before he was ready to break in, the embarrassment that kept him rooted could be shame from unexpectedly eyeballing an aging full frontal. He might have been walking the perimeter, waiting for an opportunity to pop the dame. She may have killed his ma, or dissed him in front of his chick…. We know nothing of Jay’s story so why can’t we make it another Pacesetter? U did speak of democracy earlier… 😀

    Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      Ms. Greene…
      sounds more like anarchy than democracy… you’re bringing a new candidate to the polls on voting day !
      But your scenarios have the heart of a thriller writer racing. You should get writing!
      This is the classic dilemma that determines whether you are writing a flash, a short tale or a novel: do you complicate your conflicts or resolve them…

      Reply
  6. Odogwudozilla says:

    “came” it is (has to be). Any other option will be unfortunate,and ultimately disappointing…

    Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      So far, your lobby is carrying the day…
      But when you say disappointing… is it not truer to life for the young man to flee? Won’t it be more consistent with the Avoidance gene that has him skulking at windows in the first place?

      Reply
    2. Youpele Ayagere says:

      ‘The unfortunate and disappointing’ is what will keep the story in mind for a long time… and it is what will attract the reader to a sequel to the story if it evolves. a writer should be able to keep his reader’s imagination in a vice hold or join the other side of the divide

      Reply
  7. Chuma Nwokolo says:

    The Current scores? I make it 3-2 in favour of a tryst… unless Ms. Greene’s alternative scenario mean a withdrawal of her vote for the ‘came’ ending.
    What say you? Ms. Greene?

    Reply
  8. Ms Greene says:

    Nah, in favour still. Definitely “came”.
    Disagree that this “expected” outcome would diminish the tale in the slightest. I trust our imaginations are equal to the task of creating a raunchy/aggressive or fumbling/timorous encounter btw madam and Jay.

    Reply
  9. Okuneye Peju says:

    He came. At nineteen, he needs someone to open his inner eyes. What kind or cowardice and shyness could make a guy that age shocked at seeing a naked being? He was actually amazed, so I want him to come and have an experience. Sex Education!

    Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      Well the Slipper Woman wasn’t that sure of his age, was she…?

      Re Sex Education: perhaps he was no neophyte… merely smitten by that particular neighbour?

      Reply
  10. Ngozichi says:

    hahaha Chuma, psychoannalyse me all you want.
    And he “came”.
    Having read most of your pieces on this blog, that is the most appropriate ending, besides makes for interesting read

    Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      ‘having read most of your pieces on this blog, that is the most appropriate ending…’

      Looks like YOU are already psychoanalying me, Ngozichi!

      Reply
  11. Somi says:

    Fled? Nahhhhh. Not a chance! Curiosity/intrigue turned him into a peeping tom and I think he should overcome his fear/nervousness with the softening of her stance! Come on boy!

    Definitely……and he came!

    Reply
  12. Melita says:

    “Fled”, cos i dont want it to remind me of the German novel “Der Vorleser”

    Reply
      1. Somi says:

        I’ve seen the movie and the scenario is quite similar……

        Reply
  13. Sandra C-W says:

    FLED… yet reading the above comments, I’m tempted to change my mind but I won’t. FLED it was, is and shall be lol

    Reply
  14. Kike says:

    Fled! ….with his entire musculature clenched like a fist!

    Reply
  15. Felix Abrahams Obi says:

    And the boy came…over and against…and the boy left. Kai e no sweet like rhythm and alter to my ear, despite the moral dilemma it portends! He’s no more a minor and seems to be like the simple boy in Prov 6…

    Reply
  16. Nana says:

    I like this guy for no reason so let’s make him a come, so CAME for me. And he came!

    Reply
  17. Chuma Nwokolo says:

    And the plot thickens…
    against the ‘Flee’ brigade…
    8-5 it is so far, if my invigilation is accurate… but there are a few hours still.

    Reply
  18. Nyambura Kiarie says:

    Fled…the story builds a woman in total control…If he flees he tilts it a bit, if he obeys, he is tamed already, emasculated beyond the embarrassment of being caught peeping…

    Reply
  19. Assia says:

    Came …. definitely.

    Let the kid grow up. Maybe he’ll quit peeping when he learns.

    Reply
  20. Chuma Nwokolo says:

    hmmm.

    closing the poll in another hour or so and so far it is…

    9-6 in favour of a tryst for Jay Jay!

    If you are trying to make a a comment on a mobile phone and the fiddly CAPTCHA is proving difficult, try a full browser on a laptop or other computer.

    Apologies!

    Reply
  21. John Anusie says:

    The guy was curious; he was peeping, yes. Naturally he is expected to acquiesce to the lady’s invitation. The reader expects that. The tragedy of using “came” instead of “fled” is that although the reader’s prediction instincts receives vetting, it robs the story, in many ways, of narrative muscularity and, well, greatness; it leaves the story in naff waters. If you give the reader what he expects, then hours holding a book become lapses in boredom.

    *thanks much for the invitation. I’m damn happy being in the midst of literary alchemists*

    *whistles like a newly-spawned billionaire*

    Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      Um…. John… I take it this is a FLED vote?
      😉
      It is a strong literary opinion, but if I was in a vote-rigging mood I’d read it as a spoilt ballot – since you didn’t quite put the X in the box!

      Not to worry, I’ll count it as a FLED vote.

      Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      Well, Emmanuel, even if I made FAINT a candidate at this late stage, it would still lose wretchedly. But I run a respectable electoral commission so I won’t register late candidates. 😉
      If you want you can still slot in a vote for either CAME or FLED… you have a few more minutes before my noon…

      Reply
  22. Chuma Nwokolo says:

    And that makes it 9-8 in favour of the tryst, Yvonne, not quite neck-to-neck, but close.

    Who ever thought it was going to be a nail-biting, photo finish.

    Which European Cup?

    😉

    Reply
  23. Chuma Nwokolo says:

    And that’s it… Job done, thanks folks for taking part in this spot of fun. We’ll have to do it again soon.

    Do continue to post your opinions, but of course our tale is told now. I’ll put a link to the real McCoy soon.

    Reply
  24. Uche Aniagu says:

    Chuma,
    This a pretty serious stuff. You have already hinted at the
    fact that the kid is nervous and was ready to bolt. let It be FLED,
    please. Some of us don’t want to believe we live in a world that bad.
    This is a sort of child molestation considering the age difference.
    But if the story is set in the real world, this lad will come to his
    ‘death.

    Reply
  25. Ginger says:

    Fled! He fled!! oh. I’m sorry I’m coming in so late. Fled. He Fled. I think he would flee despite his peeping tomish tendencies. The reality of being seduced by the Woman should initially scare/surprise him and thus the fleeing.

    Reply
    1. Chuma Nwokolo says:

      The ‘Came’ lobby won by just one vote, Ginger. So your vote could have made a difference! You should sign up for an email notification so you don’t arrive after the closing of the next poll 😉

      Reply
      1. Ginger says:

        I do have email notification but time and my cranky laptop are not very supportive 🙁

        Reply

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