Sunday Photo Fiction: The Creep #fiction #amwriting


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting the February 11th, 2018 Edition of SPF. This is a bit of a longer piece. Written for a writer’s course, around 500 Words as opposed to 200 Words or less. I cleaned it up and changed the original a bit.


Credit: J. Carol Hardy


Charlene twists her hair. The potent drink on the bar is her fifth tequila shot in an hour. The hazy, dreamlike atmosphere in the crowded town bar confuses her. Most of the crowd puff away, smoke lingering in the air, twisting above her, a toxic dragon of cigarette stench.

An attractive singer who isn’t local, belts out tunes while strumming his guitar. His catchy music has Charlene humming, her fingers tapping to the rhythm.

When he plays a soft song, the crowd boos. Some men throw beer bottles that smash and scatter glass against the small stage’s back wall. The singer peers around the room, his eyes darting back and forth. A bouncer drags away one of the offenders and the singer resumes his music, belting out cheerful tunes once more.

Charlene chuckles. As per usual, the town bar echoes with boisterous laughter and harmless drunks telling tale tales. Then, the creep beside her, pokes her arm. “Drink it, drink the shot.”

She peers up at him and his putrid breath makes her sick. “I don’t want it. Go away.” He leers and Charlene shivers.

She turns, stumbles towards the cracked vinyl booth where her coat and purse lay. Grabbing them she fumbles, zipping up her coat. The creep follows her and pinches her chin, trying to pour the shot into her mouth.

Warm tequila dribbles from her lips, acrid as she chokes. “No more, I don’t want anymore.” She cuts off his words, the poison of the creep’s lizard-tongue. “I’m going home — alone.”

Charlene teeters, leaning against the worn bar. She presses her hands against the humid backs of people waiting to buy more drinks. In open places, she leans on the bar, tracing it’s antique carvings, the dents on its worn surface. Jerry, one of the bartenders, slides her a glass of water. She nods at him, and swallows, her throat aching.

Past the bar, Charlene leans against a lone stool at a table. The stool wobbles on splintering legs. She grits her teeth, than sucks out a sliver of wood from her thumb. A gift from the table top.

Head spinning, Charlene lands in the quiet of the shuffleboard area, dizzy against the table. She presses her phone, fingers clumsy as she sends for an Uber. She downs more water from her purse. With some clarity, she wanders through sweat-soaked bodies towards the main door.

In the chill of the night, the creep is somehow beside her, waiting to follow her into her Uber. She ignores him, hobbling to a bouncer. “He’s following me, make him go away. He put something in my drink.”

The lie slips out; she doesn’t care. The creep who bought her five shots scares her. The bouncer’s blue eyes bulge. “No problem, Miss. I’ll ensure you get into the Uber alone.”

The bouncer offers the creep free beer to go back inside, and Charlene shivers, the wind biting at her face as flurries fly. She falls asleep inside the Uber, and the driver helps her into her apartment on the third floor. He takes the key from her hand and unlocks her door as she offers him a scrunched five-dollar bill.

“It’s fine. I don’t need help.”

The driver shakes his head. “That man you were running from, he’s bad. He has a different woman drunk each weekend night; he drugs many of them. The bouncer’s my friend, and he made sure you got into my Uber. We’re trying to catch him, but this a**holes too experienced to leave much evidence.”

The fact that the creep could’ve drugged her for ‘real’ makes Charlene ill. She rushes to the kitchen sink, throwing up multiple times.

The Uber driver ‘Ahems’ behind her. “I’m going now. Will you be okay?’

She nods. “Thank God, you’re a good man.”

“Stop accepting drinks from weird strangers. Don’t lead guys like him on. You have to think before you accept more than one drink; especially, in a small town like ours.”

Charlene nods, collapsing on the floor. She knows she’s asleep, but a sharp tempo beats against her temples. She’s half-awake, restless, afraid of the nightmares seeping in; the creep’s leering grin and eyes of a predator.


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

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Writing 101: Day 17 – Cab Drivers and Maps. 


Prompt: Write using a map.

I take a cab to several places. At times, the noise and constant stopping and starting of the bus is tiring; it wears me out just taking it. I have met many cab drivers and most of them are nice people. Although, some of them (like in all jobs) are weird. 

I don’t mind if a cab driver is driving you and they talk to you. It’s nice most of the time to make conversation and it’s a way to make social connections and learn about people who are different from you. But certain drivers are so creepy I can’t wait to get out of the vehicle. But the majority of cab drivers are good at knowing when you don’t want to talk and they put the radio on to fill the silence. 

The most unfortunate aspect about a great many cab drivers is the fact that a number of them are very educated in the country they’re from. They have Master Degrees and PhD’s; they were the heads of companies. But somehow there education does not translate to Canadian standards. Or in an entirely different scenario, one cab driver I know, a lovely elderly gentlemen, has his PH.D. from the University of Alberta and he couldn’t get a job in his field (mathematics) so he drives his cab. 

I think are judgement of other places education systems is a bit harsh, we need to look closer at the institutions and places immigrants are schooled at so they can have jobs worthy of their degrees. I know Canada wants to ensure jobs for people who are already Canadians, but I think we owe better to people who are trying to become citizens such as our Great Grandparents or even parents did. Some of these cab drivers like their job and that’s great but I think some of them could use a university program to help them cross over to their occupation in Canada. 

 Another kind of driver I come across, are cab drivers who have lived and travelled everywhere. They have been all over the world and back again. They speak many languages and have chosen finally, to settle in Canada. These cab drivers have excellent stories to tell. They are some of my favourite because you can let them talk and don’t have to say a thing, just nod occasionally. They may not educated in the university sense, but their knowledge of the real world is astounding. They are well read and have seen great art pieces and have been where history is taking place. 

But there is a another type of cab driver I do not like at all. They are a shady type of cab driver. I have learned to tell when a cab driver is trying to rip you off. They will try to take the longest route to where you are going. They won’t ask you which way you want to go. And if you say, they may pretend not to understand you. But that is why you must say go here and here etc. I don’t quite understand why these cab drivers have trouble finding their way. They all have Google Maps on their smart phones and GPS’s in their car. Sometimes you have to say, use your GPS. The best cab drivers know the city, every nook and cranny and even with a GPS, know a faster way to go. Some cab drivers don’t know your neighbourhood well or where you are going and it is okay when they don’t know except that that is what their GPS is for. 

The worst drivers are trying to make it appear as if they are lost. They know their way well but they are trying to make more money off you. The best thing to do is to know how to get where you want to go and direct them; maybe take a look at Google maps on your phone. If they charge you too much, don’t tip. And if they got you terribly lost on purpose and over charged you a lot, call the cab company. Alternatively, you can always refuse to pay the amount they want you to pay if you for certain know how much the trip should cost. That’s what I like about paying upon arrival instead of having your credit card charged whatever the amount the driver drove. 

Another problem with certain cab drivers is they will tell you that their POS system is not working or having problems, when it is working fine. Sometimes they aren’t working, and you have to pay cash or go to a bank first, to pick up cash. But if you are like me and don’t carry much cash on you and you think a driver might be lying,  you can tell him to try your card and often it will ‘magically work.’ Most cab drivers I have met are honest in this respect but I know of a few who always try to avoid credit card and debit fees associated with a POS. 

I have mostly good things to say about the cab company I use. They are called CO-OP. They have an excellent mobile application too which is so helpful when you don’t know a locations address. Yellow Cab in Edmonton is hit and miss. I have had drivers refuse to drive me because I won’t pay cash. I have been sworn at by some Yellow Cab drivers too. But mostly, they seem like a reliable company. UBER is good at peek hours but I find the drivers at least in Edmonton, don’t know the entire city well. They also cost more then CO-OP almost every time I’ve used them (and I was always told their cheaper). The bottom line, I just don’t use them. I like to pay when I get to a place and I don’t like that their drivers don’t have the right insurance if you are in an accident. I also find that their drivers are not as knowledgable. If I was drunk at night, I’d take them, but not in the day. 

This is what came to my mind when I thought about maps. I use cabs to go all over the city as long as the destination isn’t too far. I wish I had the concentration to drive often; it would be so nice to be able to drive to a location, especially ones that are close.