Friday Fictioneers: On The Perils Of Train Rides

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo. Click here to play along or just read more stories.


PHOTO PROMPT – © Jennifer Pendergast

I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid referencing Coronavirus/COVID-19 in my stories. We get far too much of that in real life. I got an idea for a story from a conversation with my friend over the weekend. The train gave me the setting. I submitted, in both senses. What good is a mass-murdering pandemic if we can’t have some fun with it?

On The Perils Of Train Rides

“This seems like the worst possible time for a train ride. What about the virus?”

“It probably is, but the cars will be at half-capacity, and everybody will be wearing a mask.”

“With everybody wearing masks, how will they know if there’s a train robber.”

“He’ll be the guy with the gun.”

“GUNS???”

“Train robberies aren’t as common as they were 100 years ago or so.”

“What if they make a comeback like those chest-high pants from the 80s? You know, the pants-bra.”

“That’s not too likely, especially with fewer passengers.”

“This mask smells like farts.”

“That’s your breath.”

58 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: On The Perils Of Train Rides

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    1. I’ve read a lot of stories starring COVID. It’s relatable. It’s heavy on everybody’s mind fro the past few months. I want my stories to be different, so I try to avoid the obvious.

      Yeah, spending any time in a small area with recycled air seems like a horrible idea right now.

      Like

  1. I’m glad I wasnt the only one wondering what a pants bra was! You’ve done well to not feature the virus until now, it’s hard to avoid and touches every part of life. Train travel may never be the same, best get used to those masks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now every time you see someone with high pants, you’ll think, “Pants bra!” Try not to laugh where they can see you.

      I only acquiesced to the virus story because I thought I could make it funny. I hope others get a laugh out of it, too. If not, at least I did.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why I don’t mess with fashion.

      The impetus of that is a true story. My friend/roommate and I were shopping last weekend. We had pizza for lunch. I asked if she wanted a mint before with put on masks and went in the store. “No.” “All right. I’m poppin’ two.” As we were leaving the store, “It smells like farts out here.” “That’s your breath.” It was too good. I had to use it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s when you don’t blow. Only breathe through your nose. My first thought, before I even put on a mask, was this will make people rethink their oral hygiene. It’s the real reason those protesters don’t want to wear masks.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I knew exactly what the bra pants haha. I watch 80s stuff. They look uncomfortable.
    Never thought about the breath thing and masks, ewww.
    Great dialogue. I know what you mean about the pandemic. I avoid it. There are so many stories and they become depressing (yes I’m guilty). Loved how you turned this one to be funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the only reason I gave in. It had to be funny if I were going to do it. I had another joke I was going to use and forgot it. Save that one for later. I’m glad somebody got the bra pants joke. It doesn’t look good. What are they going for with that?

      Thanks, T.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Damn you, ’80s! Damn you! The ’80s are the reason aliens don’t visit. They only see our planet as a place to wipe clean and repopulate.

        I have to admit, I do owe the ’80s. I created a faux superhero named Mullet Man. He was a repair man by day. His tool belt was his utility belt, and he just got his ass kicked all the time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I beg to differ, the 80s happened because of the aliens. Hyper coloured tee-shirts says it all.

        Haha Mullet Man. Love it. Sounds classic. I imagine a Lycra wearing girlfriend.

        That YouTube clip is tragic. Mullets are now burnt into my brain. I might have to go sniff bleach….

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah! I always thought it was fallout from all the drugs of the 60s & 70s. I saw somebody today on my hike wearing a neon pink shirt and neon green shorts. I’m glad I was wearing sunglasses.

        Mullet Man was a minor character in something. I planned to spin him off into his own adventures. I might be inspired to revisit him now. I had to look up Lycra, and my YouTube recommendations are forever tarnished, but that’s a good idea. She has to be overweight, drive a rascal, and have her own mullet.

        Not a good idea. The bleach will further burn your brain. You’ll be seeing crazy shit, bright colors, you’ll probably see colours, and… Well, you’ll probably see the 80s.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Too funny. That’s a sign. Hope the sun glasses were dark tinted.

        That explains the 80s, everyone was high on bleach! Move over 60s.

        Yay Mullet Man makes a comeback. We call it Lycra here, it might be called spandex else where?

        Like

      5. A sign of the apocalypse? They are now. I had to get Stevie Wonder glasses to protect my burned retina.

        My research said Lycra is a brand name.

        Uh-oh! Further encouragement. Now, I have to revisit Mullet Man. He’s was originally a tertiary character on an adult cartoon I wrote. It was something between Family Guy and BoJack Horseman. He came back after my goddaughter and I created a “superhero” named Captain Fantastic Butt, which is possibly the worst thing I’ve ever written. I had an idea to make a squad of Super Zeroes with Captain Fantastic Butt, Mullet Man, and Captain Combover or the Combover Queen. Think Mystery Men. I have some notes, but it never went anywhere.

        Captain Fantastic Butt:

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oooo a one of those projects that sit with cob webs. I have a fair few of those. Finding a lot of the cobweb stuff is getting revamped into the series I am working on.

        Sounds like a rediculously odd group of superheroes. Could be a awesomely funny. I’m guessing Captain Fantastic Butt is not a porn star?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. We hate to let our creations die, don’t we. I love when I can slap a layer of paint on an old character or story and give them new life. Is the series you’re working on related to Greek Mythology? Or is that a separate interest?

        Porn star? 🤣 I see where your mind is, buff heroes in the buff, porn stars. Not so much. My goddaughter’s interpretation of Captain Fantastic Butt was a guy with a butt face. Maybe I should have used him in my fart breath mask story. He kind of looks like E.T. in her drawing. My challenge was to figure out why he has a butt face and how he’s a superhero.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. The Greek Mythology series is an good question. It started as a flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers, but these gods could merge into my novel world with ease (that place keeps on growing). In short, I’m toying with the idea. A lot of my old ideas are turning up in this world. It’s like I’ve always played in this world on some level.

        Hmm my mind takes things to a dirty place at times. 😀. I love that you’re working with your goddaughter. Best creative ideas come from the most random tasks. I can see children (and big kids) loving butt face. Kind of reminds me of The Garbage Pal Kids.
        PS. Would explain the breath.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. What is this novel about? It sounds big. It’s awesome that you’re able to resurrect those old ideas. I have so many ideas, notes, starts that never went anywhere. Everything I write references something else I’ve written, Stephen King style. Sometimes it’s subtle. Other times, not so much.

        Dirty can be a good place. It’s more fun.

        My goddaughter has been a huge influence on my writing. I used to take her to school and pick her up, so we spent a lot of time together. “The L Squad” and “Norman Normalson & The Normals” were inspired by and written for her. In my adult writing, any time I need a kid, it’s based on her. I’ve created kid character as a way to work in some of the funny stuff we came up with. Captain Fantastic Butt was me just being a dork and saying, “Butt” after everything she said. I only did it because it made her laugh.

        I loved Garbage Pail Kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. “The Novel” morphed into a story world. As I write more characters nag me to write their story. I wrote book 1 but so much has changed it’s scrapped (metaphorically speaking, never delete anything). Drafted another book, but it’s a prequel and not where the reader starts. I have a number of stories down in notes. The challenge is creating something from the mess and finding an intro story. In short;
        In a world that mirrors ours, immortal races carry eons of hate and resentment. Waring factions with their own agenda, shape the globe, unbeknown to humans.

        Each tale follows the love, life and trials of a featured immortal as they navigate the ravenous sphere. Only the fittest survive. There are worse things in life than death. Fate hinges on a gamble. The past and present collide with a bang.

        So, yes the Greek Gods flash series, fits into the world. I’ve already had Hecate pop-up in novel scenes.😀. Current project I’m plotting at a scene level is about pirates, spirits, treasure and of course immortals. It might be a stand alone novel set in the world rather than book 1 but I’m happy with that.

        Sounds like the goddaughter is your muse! Kids have an amusing way at looking at the world. Nothing like laughing at farts and other body functions. 😀 It’s fantastic you take these silly fun games and write them down. It’s gold because it’s real. Plus you can embarrass her when she turns 18 haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Wow! It looks like you’ve wandering into an epic. What stirred up this story in your famous muse?

        She had definitely been one of my main sources of inspiration. She is so funny. I’m jealous of some of her jokes. Once she said, “Fudge dang it you!” “What?” “I don’t know. It just came out.” I’ve used that in almost everything I’ve written since.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. This time around the series is a living world. I’ve created other projects over the years and grew out of the stories. This world became a dumping ground of nearly all my urban fantasy ideas from childhood til now. I found an old novel outline from when I was 16 and was stunned, it fits into the world. Plot is terrible but the main character is saved. The muse has been brewing.

        Haha fudge dang! Fudge is my code word for another F word. She’s nailed it! Can you record her? Her words are gold.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. That’s wicked awesome that you can bring the best element of old projects into your new world. I love to resurrect old characters. (Mullet Man. I even have a Mullet Man theme song.) My main antagonist for The L Squad is something I made up as a joke, and I had been trying to find something to do with him for years. The Nobbinmaug persona has become its own universe that keeps expanding. How far do you have your series planned out? Do you have a specific number of books? Or are you just going to ride the muse till the wheels fall off?

        She is one of my favorite people. I used to take a lot of video, so I have a lot of recordings of her. She moved, so I don’t see her nearly as often as I would like. We had so much fun together. We would feed off each other and get in trouble. One of my favorite stories, we used to joke about, and she started this, she would hide and say, “Tell _______ I went to Mexico to make a better life.” We would joke about running away somewhere and making a better life. I drove past a shack. It had three walls. I said, “Maybe Santa will give you that for Christmas, and we can live there and make a better life.” Dead cold, she said, and I am so jealous of this punch line, “Santa, you suck at Christmas.”

        Now, you have me going off on two of my favorite topics, writing and my goddaughter.

        I’m still waiting for that character from you. Henry Oddbody has a plethora of used underwear and no one to sell to. You could be a porn star/superhero, Labia Majora. She needs new underwear for her superhero costume. I might have to use that one in my SuperZeroes. Tell me before I get too weird for you, so I can reel that back in.

        Like

      14. Every project/story is different. This is the first time I’ve worked with a story world that feels alive with pieces here and there, it keeps growing and feels like an entity. No beginning or ending. Infinite. The muse loves it. It sounds like your blog name sake might be like this? He just took over?
        It’s facinating how story ideas are revived. A bit like coming full circle and falling inlove again.
        The project before ImmorTales, started, as a 13 part tv series. I wrote several episodes for university. I was my answer to Twin Peaks (surprise, surprise). I received fantastic feedback. I wrote 3 or 4 episodes as novellas and plotted out the entire thing. Then my interest snow dived, bit more than I can chew. TV story telling does not equate to novels… My weird island is still there if I want to return.

        Haha I think I would love that kid. She sounds like a blast. Shame your little muse moved away. Can you steal her? No, wait, that is illegal in most civilised countries. 😀. Hmm she might have a career in comedy?

        Ok character… would you settle for a crotch eating zombie? Captain Butt might have a nemesis or love interest… As rude or clean as needed 😀. The Crotch Muncher? Butt Muncher? Or, Henry has someone who wants his underwear…- I might be enjoying this a bit too much.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. I love that. That’s how you know you’re on to something, when the world, the characters take over. That is exactly where Nobbinmaug is. I let go and let Nobbi. I write a lot of character-driven stories. I let them talk. Somewhere I made Nobbinmaug his own character, so writing as Nobbinmaug leads to a lot of tangents. He insterts himself as a character, as well. I read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast Of Champions,” and it ruined me. At one point, he goes off on this meta tangent about sitting in a café creating this character and this character has his dad’s feet… My mouth dropped and my eyes got really big. “You can do that?” I haven’t been the same since. It was one of those “It changed my life” moments. It as least changed my approach to writing.

        You wrote a TV series, too. It is way different. I think too often I try to take my scriptwriting asthetic to literature. I wrote a book that is very light on detail and dialogue-heavy. I wrote the pilot for mine for a class. I had a teacher call me Mr. Genius. I never lost interest in mine. It’s just that the world got obscenely PC (Cancel Culture), and my world is not. Like yours, it’s still there and if humor is ever allowed to be funny again, and we’re allowed to do accents again (I have an Indian character for whom I did a way over-the-top accent. People used to love it. Now, it’s offensive. It wasn’t meant to mock anyone. It was just so much fun to do.), I can revisit it.

        You would love her. I hate kids (Not at all true.) and I love her. Next time I’m in Perth, (Scotland or Australia?) I’ll bring her, and we’ll hang out. Every time I see her, she reminds me that I really need to have kids. If only I weren’t so shy and awkward… We have talked about running away together, but yeah… Illegal. Not that America’s all that civilized anymore. She was actually stolen once. I’ll tell you that story later because this is long, and I am hungry. She is going to be an artist. She’s come a long way since Captain Fantastic Butt. But she may further my career in comedic writing.

        You had me at crotch-eating. (Hmmm….) Lost me at zombie. (Uh-uh). I love zombies just nowhere near my crotch. How would you feel about consolidating these discussions and moving them to a less public forum? Say email? I don’t mind crotch gobbling… Ooh, the Crotch Goblin… on my blog, but I do refer potential agents who I want to help publish my kids’ stuff here. I am enjoying this, too, and we’ve far outgrown these little comment boxes.

        Like

      16. Fudge Dang! Up til now, I’d been so good with blogs; no swearing, no political talk, no smut lol. – EPIC FAIL. You’re right about the marketing side of things (like you I’m jugling an image). Please feel free to edit/delete, I blame the muse. I wanted to put “sniffer” she said “eater” and all these weird funny images entered my head. 😀

        PC culture = kill joy.

        Anyway I would enjoy hearing more. I’ll respond properly in email. Ravenousworld@gmail.com

        Liked by 1 person

      17. It’s all right. I have that affect on women. 😁 I’m honored to be the one to break through the proper blog façade and bring out the real Tannille. I’m glad you feel comfortable in and enjoy our conversations. I want the real, raw, UNCENSORED Tannille. I don’t believe in censorship or supressing who you are. Your muse’s instincts were right. It’s way funnier that way. I just think email would be better all the way around.

        I completely agree about PC Culture. It’s funny, I just entered two scripts into a flimfestival. 35 from each category are going to be pitched to Amazon, AppleTV, and Netflix. I read through and polished two old scripts, including the pilot for my cartoon, and there are heavy overtones about how much PC/Cancel Culture SUCKS!!!!!!

        I’ll hit you on the email later. It’s already 14:20 here, and I haven’t had lunch, and I’m way behind on all this blog stuff. You’ll know it’s me by the subject. Muahahahahahaaha!

        Liked by 1 person

      18. Question Answers:
        ImmorTales is an ever growing world. Many stories play in my head, new ones always emerge. It’s a mess. I’m not as anal about planning as I use to be. Before I write I like to know the overall plot and change as needed. The book I am about to write is plotted at a scene level because I hope to bang it out. Just going to ride the muse with this series.

        Are you a plotter or a pantser? How many projects do you have (or is that a loaded question?)?

        Liked by 1 person

      19. I go both ways. Rewording: I’ll do either. It depends on my muse. Sometimes I get an idea that will lead to other ideas. I’ll make notes and plan out from there. The L Squad (cliché!) came to me in a dream. I woke up laughing. I wrote all day. Later, I did some planning and scene plotting. A lot of time, dialogue will hit me. Like I said in the other comment, I let the characters take over. For me, dialogue will flow. The characters will tell the story for me.

        I have a lot of projects. I’ve written two L Squad books and have plans for two more. I’ve written one Norman Normalson & The Normals and started a sequel. I have one adult novel, So It Goes, and a start for another unrelated novel. I have the adult cartoon series. I’ve written multiple movie scripts. Before the COVID shutdown, I was working on a webseries. I was only a staff writer, so most of my ideas were ignored. That’s been an interesting experience. Writing as a team sport was a hard adjustment for me. I’ve done collaborative projects. I enjoy that. It keeps me motivated. Team writing where someone else has the final say is hard. “My idea’s good.” “It doesn’t work.” “Make it work.” “No. It doesn’t work.” “AaaAAAHHAAHAHAHA!!!!!!”

        I haven’t been inspired lately, so I’ve been rewriting/editing. I need to find that project that becomes an obsession, that won’t let me not write, like yours seems to have. I’m trying to find an agent, so I’m doing the synopsis, query letter thing. I hate it so much. It’s not creative writing. It’s pandering. It’s begging. It’s frustrating.

        Do you have a publishing strategy?

        Liked by 1 person

      20. Haha haha I can relate!!! My “Twin Peaks” island series I wrote for University as an independent project, was so good my mentors told me to take it to the US. However, during the course I was a scriptwriter and my class made a number of movies and things. It mocked the industry. I learnt writers are shit kickers. My scripts got butchered to the point they made no sense at times. There was no come back. And the audience blames the writer for plot issues. I decided the film and television industry wasn’t for me. I started converting the story into novel format.

        I don’t want to lose control of passion projects. That being said, I think I’ll indy publish. There is so much to learn. I’ve started educating myself, get in early. Either way, traditional or Indy publishing, self promoting looks like a nightmare. Pandering and begging – oh the cringe.

        I don’t have many ideas that keep the muse interested (so I envy you). Laziest muse ever 😀. But I’ve found my playground finally (after a number of failed attempts). I just need to focus on words. Hoping stories start flying out.

        Good luck with the butt kissing! Gotta do what you gotta do…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Nobbin,

    I don’t remember the pants bra…thankfully. Although the 80’s were fraught with some interesting fashions. 😉 I keep a supply of breath mints with me to save myself from my own mouth farts. Good one.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That made me laugh out loud. I just read it again and laughed out loud again. “Mouth farts” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 That is the best laugh I’ve had in a while. I’m wiping tears.

      Thank you, Rochelle. I hope your trip is going well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Somebody said, “I never thought I’d get in trouble for not wearing a mask into the bank.” I don’t remember if that was a conversation or something I read or what, but that’s it.

      That’s a good way to put it. It’s omnipresent but so depressing. Making a joke out it seemed to be a loophole.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great use of story and situation. I hope to go to the bank soon. I’ve always wanted to walk in wearing a mask.
    I’ve learned that if chew aromatic spearmint gum, my mask smells great until I wash it.

    Liked by 2 people

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