I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…SLAVERY.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
by John Yeo
The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about slavery, is the horror of the period between 1600 when legal mass slavery was reputed to have begun in the UK and 1863 when slavery was officially abolished in the USA.
Although slavery in one form or another actually began much earlier, in the form of war captives, and the domination of one tribe by another.
However, slavery comes in many forms; human slavery is just the tip of a hidden iceberg. Almost every one of us is a slave to addiction in one form or another. Whether it be one of the obvious big four, Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, or Gambling or another enslaving addiction such as the habitual rejection of food as in questionable diets and slimming fads that could lead to the horrors of Anorexia or Bulimia.
A miser’s enslaving addiction is the storing up of wealth and hatred of expenditure.
Addiction can take many forms, in fact, people can become addicted slaves to almost anything, from eating too much ice cream to viewing obscenity.
By far the newest trap, with the potential to become the biggest modern path into enslavement comes in the form of Internet addiction. Particularly the new, so-called, Social Media, it starts as a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends but it can slowly and insidiously become a time-consuming, enslaving addiction. ‘Just one little look!’ becomes hours and hours of pointless time-wasting.
The dangers of internet enslavement to the younger generation have been recognized and well-recorded. This has the potential of becoming the biggest threat to the unwary in recorded history. With the added side effects of leading the young astray along a maze of unforeseen addictive paths. Children, of all ages and many adults, are becoming bombarded with images and alluring, time-consuming pathways embedded in the World-Wide-Web.
This is not to downplay the obvious advantages of the web for education and instant communication.
One of the biggest challenges in the near future will certainly be a coming to terms with the effects of this widespread, self-inflicted, modern form of enslavement of the unwary; who become ensnared by this highly addictive web.
©️John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
THIS IS A CONTINUATION BEYOND THE RESTRICTED 150 WORDS OF THE ORIGINAL PROMPT
Welcome to What Pegman Saw, a 150-word weekly writing prompt inspired by the photos found on Google Maps. Yep, that’s really a picture of Manhattan. Inwood Park, at the very tip of the island, is one of the few places on the island that looks as it did three hundred years ago.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
by John Yeo
Gerald stood at the top of the hill transfixed and just stood drinking in the absolute beauty that seemed to reach out and draw him on. Georgina breathlessly caught up, then gasped with surprised wonder.
Suddenly there was a chuckle as a rough looking stranger emerged from the depths of a nearby copse. A middle-aged, rather overweight, bearded man stood before them, he had long greasy black hair, with grey streaks, held in position with a battered trilby hat. His bushy black eyebrows met in the middle, atop a large crooked nose. He suddenly opened his mouth to reveal a blackened set of uneven, crooked, gap-filled teeth.
‘I see both of you young people are overwhelmed with this place. I’m Captain Ted, a hungry man and I’ll thank you to turn out your pockets and give me everything you find in them. Oh! And I’ll take that smartphone you’re clutching young man.’
Georgina loudly screamed! ‘Go away you horrible man, I’ll scream the place down and you will be locked up by the Police.’ Screaming loud enough to split her lungs apart.
The stranger suddenly raised his gnarled walking stick in a threatening manner. ‘Stop that ruddy noise of I’ll break your curly head open.’
Startled, Georgina stopped screaming and stood with tears streaming down her face.
Gerald stepped forward and emptied his pockets and handed everything he had over to the stranger.
‘You coward!’ shouted Georgina sobbing loudly.
The stranger chuckled and held the club threateningly above her head.
‘That’s a good lad, now hand me that smartphone. I’ve always wanted one of those! Give it here! Quickly lad.’
As Gerald held out his smartphone to the stranger he demonstrably pressed a button twice and held the screen up towards the man.
‘You see these two nines on this screen!’ said Gerald.
The man suspiciously nodded and gruffly said.
‘Just hand over the phone without any monkey-business or I’ll break her pretty little head open with my stick, then I’ll hurt you too.’
Gerald took a deep breath and said, ‘Listen here you crook! If I press another nine on this smartphone, It will dial 999 and summon the Police. There will be a helicopter overhead instantly.’
‘Don’t lie to me you little monkey! How will they know where we are?’ said the stranger visibly unsure of this turn of events.
‘Why do you think they call them smartphones you ignoramus?’
Gerald then demonstrably pressed the nine button.
With a curse, the unkempt villain took to his heels and ran for his life.
Georgina looked at Gerald with new respect.
‘Sorry I called you a coward. How did you know he would believe your story?’
Gerald laughed and said, ‘I guessed he hadn’t a clue about smartphones and I just took a chance.’
© John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
FLASH FICTION (WRITING PROMPT)
by John Yeo
It was just a year ago I first came into contact with Jessie, a forty-five years old divorcee. Jessie had long, blonde hair that obviously came with the aid of a bottle. She had a pair of sultry bright green eyes with long black eyelashes. A cute, full pair of kissable lips, rested under a tiny turned up nose. She wore a pair of designer glasses when she was shopping or at home, however she preferred to use contact lenses socially, in the interest of her vanity. All-in-all, she was the complete woman of my dreams.
My name is Norman Jones. I’m an eighteen years old student at the local Polytechnic College. At six feet two, I was tall for my age and a good all-round athlete. My grades in college had been excellent and it looked as if I was on my way to a glittering career in Science.
My best friend Matt, a fellow student, was lucky enough to live at home while I resided in student digs. Matt was a kind, cheerful sort of a bloke, who was a bit on the short side, at roughly 5 foot 5 inches tall, he was extremely sensitive about his height. He had a shock of red hair that prompted our cruel fellow students to call him Ginger. Matt hated this nickname for various reasons not the least being the extension to Ginger Beer.
Nevertheless there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his friends.
Then one fateful day I met Matt in town.
‘Hi Norm! How’s it going?’
‘Fine thanks Matt, I’m just off back to the digs to open a can of beans and feast on these takeaway chips.’ I replied.
‘No mate, really! Why don’t you come back to mine? My Mum won’t mind and you’ll get some decent grub.’
I was taken aback by this generous offer.
‘Thanks Matt! You sure your Mum won’t mind? It’ll certainly beat beans and cold chips.’
’Sure thing mate: Come along with me now.’
We made our way to the bus station and caught a bus to the city suburbs back to Matt’s place.
Little did I realise this was going to be a life changing experience for me. My life was about to take a totally unforeseen and unexpected turn. Nothing could have prepared me for my meeting with Matt’s Mum.
As we entered the house he called out, ‘Hi Mum!’
There was a muffled response from upstairs as we entered the house together.
Then I stopped and couldn’t help myself from staring, as a mature, glamorous blonde lady appeared from the hallway.
‘Mum,’ said Matt, ‘Meet Norman, my best friend from college. Is it OK if he stays and has some dinner with us?’
‘Of course he can darling, come inside and make yourself at home Norman. My, what a tall handsome lad you are!’
I blushed and stuttered, ‘Thththank yyyou’
Matt laughed as she said to me, ‘Don’t be shy, I’m only joking.’
Matt then said, ‘Take your shoes off Norm, as Mum’s just had a new carpet laid.’
I kicked off my trainers and followed Matt into the lounge where he picked up a remote and switched on the TV; flicking through the channels until he found a football match in full swing.
Matt’s Mum, bustled in smiling as she asked, ‘You two guys want a drink? Juice or a cold beer?’
I nodded and replied, ‘Thanks Mrs Peterson, I’ll have a beer.’
‘Please call me Jessie, Norman.’ My insides were churning up with some strange sensations as she sweetly said this. I had heard of the effect some women have on a man but this was puzzling to me.
‘Do you like your steak well done or rare?’
‘Well done please Jessie’ I replied. as I savoured the sound of her name.
‘OK!’ She said as she headed towards the kitchen.
I badly needed to use the toilet as I said to Matt. ‘Which ways your bathroom mate?’
‘Just through the kitchen.’ he replied.
I entered the kitchen and noticed Jessie preparing the meal. I suddenly felt strangely light headed. In that moment, I felt my knees give way from under me and I just fell to the ground.
©️John Yeo~ All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: Anurag Bakhshi
by John Yeo
Old Alexander always took the new recruits to the top of the high hill overlooking the small coastal town. This was part of their initiation and orientation into the elite fighting force that protected the townspeople from sudden attack.
Old Alexander would always begin by relating the story of the vicious war that broke out in the area 30 years previously. The enemy had sited their guns at the top of this hill and continuously blasted the valley until the town below was reduced to rubble; heaps and piles of accumulated concrete everywhere. There was a loss of many lives but by far the greatest number of people escaped by climbing aboard the many fishing boats and assorted vessels moored in the bay.
Our people returned in force and drove the invaders out. Every building you see before you are brand new; some have never been occupied. After the reconstruction was almost complete, our enemies returned and showered the area with devastating lethal chemical weapons. There was an immediate exodus over the sea and most of the townspeople escaped, many leaving everything behind.
The war that followed was devastating. Our people can never re-occupy their homes.
© John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit..
Photo Credit: Anurag Bakhshi
Welcome to Sunday Photo Fiction! Each week I will post a new photograph, taken either by myself or donated by a member of the community. The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based, on the prompt. When you are done, post your story and the photo prompt on your blog. Please make sure you give proper credit to the photographer. Use the InLinkz froggy icon below to add your story to the SPF collection. While you are there, take time to read and comment on some of the other stories. I know you will not be disappointed.
Photo Credit Susan Spaulding
by John Yeo
Billy and Mary were lovers. From the moment they met, it was a flash of lightning that lit up the fires of longing.
Billy was at a crossroads when he first met Mary. He’d just left school without any qualifications and without any chance of a job. Dyslexia was the funny word his English teacher had used. Billy hadn’t a clue what that meant. A stocky lad, with a shock of shoulder-length red hair, that hung loosely on his shoulders. Again his English teacher, Mr. Sykes, had a theory that red-haired people were renowned for being short-tempered and irritable, easily distracted without the means to apply themselves to the task in hand. Billy had his own opinions on bitter, bigoted, world-weary, self-opinionated English teachers who were swayed by popular prejudices against anyone who appeared slightly different.
Billy had a business in full swing with his Uncles who were fishermen.
He managed to change the colour of the harbour coast lights by inserting cellophane paper to warn the boats not to approach shore whenever there was danger. Smuggling was helping Billy get the funds to marry Mary and take her away. Billy was a genius.
© John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
I wrote the following piece of flash fiction for our church magazine in response to the theme of Electricity. Sadly there is a lot of truth embedded in this little tale Somewhere there has to be a solution to our need to power new homes for our ever increasing population. At what cost?
ELECTRICITY AT WHAT COST
by John Yeo
The electricity of inter-species tolerance and communication in action.
The sun was shining and although it was quite cold, we decided to go for a stroll around the lake. Sweet chestnuts and empty husks lay in great profusion under the trees. Autumn leaves underfoot scrunched as we strolled along a well-worn path. There was a distinctly autumnal feel to our walk, as we strolled along treading the crunchy leaves underfoot. Many sweet chestnuts and husks were piled under the trees, left behind by the ever-busy grey squirrels as they secreted sweet chestnut kernels in hidden larders as a store of food for the long winter months ahead. Many of these playful squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees as we strolled along. A good number of Moorhens and Mallard Ducks were swimming on the surface of the lake and in tiny inlets under the trees. The ever-present avaricious Gulls were swooping around over the lake and floating on the water squabbling with each other. We passed a pair of Egyptian Geese sleeping on the banks of the lake, who obligingly awoke and posed for a photograph as we walked by. Many Wood Pigeons were pecking around in the grass, it’s a wonder there is food enough here to support this large community of different species of birdlife, together with the Squirrels and the ever increasing number of Rabbits.
Then, nailed to a tree was a notice. We had heard rumours on the communal grapevine about the fate of this beautiful spot, and here it was plain for all to see. The owners of this lovely beauty spot had sold out to big business. This beautiful area was to be destroyed and replaced with two giant wind turbines and a mast for telephone and broadband reception. The bases of these three monstrosities would be concreted over for stability and ease of maintenance. These two turbines would generate enough electricity to power up to 6000 homes.
Sadly, we continued along our way, thoughts were racing through my mind. Ripples in the lake betrayed the presence of many large fish, the lake is situated within a few hundred yards of the coast. Freshwater fish obviously thrive here, kept under control by the attention of the local family of Herons. Another pair of Mallard Ducks swam lazily on the surface of the water and a Moorhen raced for cover as we walked noisily by on the multi-coloured leaves. Suddenly there was a movement at a small pool on the banks of the lake as a large Toad with a distinctive yellow stripe along his back came into view. He didn’t hop along he almost walked out of the reeds alongside the pool.
‘My God!’ I thought, ‘I don’t believe it; that is certainly a Natterjack Toad. A member of a protected species. This development will never go ahead’
Our mood suddenly became euphoric as the implications of this discovery became clear.
I quickly pulled out my iPhone and began taking many photographs of this saviour of the natural environment.
The rest is history, the turbines were relocated, providing the much-needed electricity for the planned new homes and in the following Spring many baby Mallard ducks and Egyptian Geese will be born here and there should be strings of Natterjack Toads eggs in the pools surrounding our beautiful protected lake.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
This is a resurrected and revised piece of work I wrote some years ago. I am submitting it now for publication in our church magazine in answer to the theme of music.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
The Piper’s Legacy
by John Yeo
The two brothers, Donny and Flip were out playing in the fields, wandering around at the bottom of Piper’s Hill. This steep local hill was suffused with local legend and magical tales were told about many mysterious occurrences throughout the ages. The two brothers were as alike as chalk and cheese as the old saying goes. Donny was tall and thin with a shock of black hair and piercing blue eyes; he was the oldest of the two by eighteen months.
Flip was shorter, much to his chagrin, with brown straight hair and brown eyes to match. A daredevil, always game for anything.
The one thing the brothers had in common was their quick wits and friendly demeanor.
Flip was acting as a hunter and racing along ahead of Donny.
‘Slow down Flip, we don’t want to lose track of each other, it’s getting late and we don’t want to get lost.’ shouted Donny.
‘It’s OK, I know exactly where we are. That’s old man Grieves farm over there.’ replied Flip. A startled Blackbird flew up as he continued to run, making the familiar squawking sound that is the Blackbirds cry of alarm.
Then he suddenly shouted, ‘Hey Donny, come quick.’
Donny pushed his way through some bushes at the bottom of the hill and suddenly saw Flip standing in front of the strangest wizened wrinkled old man he had ever seen. This man was wrapped up in an incredible multi-green coat, covered with streaks of brown that looked suspiciously like mud. The old man had a twinkle in his green eyes that were almost dazzling when he looked directly at Flip and Donny.
‘Hello,’ he said, What do I see here? Two young escapees from humdrum, looking for adventure? Sit on this handy log here and I will tell you a story.’
Donny sat down straight away and signaled to Flip to join him. Both of the boys were captivated by this strange old man with his merry grin.
The old man picked up an intricately carved wooden tube that was lying at his feet and waved it in front of the boys.
‘You see this? This is an ancient tube, in the right hands, it makes the sweetest sounds you have ever heard. I inherited this from its mysterious owner many years ago. When I was your age, our town was plagued with vermin. The town council hired the man who owned this magical tube to get rid of them. A price was agreed and the fun began.’
The man then suddenly picked up the tube, put it to his mouth and blew once. Soon every tree and bush in the vicinity was covered with hundreds of birds of all shapes, sizes, and varieties.’
The strange old man continued.
‘This musical man dressed in a strange multi-coloured costume was leading the thousands of assorted troublesome vermin from the town. My Mother and Father watched with glee, as the Piper worked his magic. Just as he had predicted, his music was hypnotic to the ears of the vermin and his assignment to clear the town was an instant success. I was 7 years old at the time, and the sight of these vermin leaving the town produced loud cheers and much happiness from the townspeople.’
The old man continued, laughing loudly. ‘What do you think happened next?’
Both boys were dumbstruck and simply shrugged their shoulders.
Flip piped up and said, ‘Can I have a blow on that whistle?’
Donny kicked him in the shins and said,
‘Shut up Flip! Please carry on with the story.’
The old man smiled. ‘Well, the mayor decided not to pay the agreed fee and tried to cheat the piper.
The piper was angry at this and blew a strange tune on his whistle. A tune that got into the ears of every child in the town. I remember beginning to dance along with hundreds of my friends. The urge to dance was overwhelming. We followed the piper, dancing to the merriest tune you have ever heard. We danced to this very hill and suddenly two huge cave doors appeared and we all danced inside, to find a Wonderland. A place where dreams come true in the blink of an eye.’
The boys were overwhelmed with curiosity.
‘Why have you come back?’ Asked Donny.
Then Flip interjected. ‘Can we come with you to see this place?’
With a shake of his head and a wave of his hand, the ancient traveler suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Then Flip bent down and picked something up, something long, tubular, intricately carved, with holes in. ‘Look, Donny, he’s left the pipe behind.’
Donny grabbed the pipe and put it to his lips but nothing happened. Flip tried to get a sound from the flute without success.
Both boys then returned home with their treasure. They tried many times over the years to get a sound from this pipe, without any success.
The boys didn’t let on to anyone about their magical meeting with the little old man on Pipers Hill.
However magic certainly came from the meeting as Donny became a talented well paid Flautist and Flip made a name for himself by playing the Saxophone in a famous orchestra.
The brothers later became renowned as a duo that rocked the jazz world.
Written by John Yeo, (With apologies to ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’)
© ~ All rights reserved.
A prompt response for Inspiration Monday: Quiet Light
by John Yeo
I always relish the night shift at the hospital. The administration has all gone home, that leaves the professionals to fully take over and we can do our jobs without too much interference from the budget boys. Too many fingers in the pie if you ask me!
I remember once when a patient was in pain and there was some argument over whether we should use the latest methods to ease the pain. The poor patient was pumped full of morphine, while three admin men discussed whether the hospital could afford the very latest miracle light rays that have just been introduced.
This is a brilliant, bright new starlight, that mimics the rays of starlight that have streamed unused and ignored by scientists until a very powerful computer picked up the almost silent sound of the starlight rays bouncing off the Earth’s surface. Professor Modesty then hooked the starlight to a machine that generates a beam of fantastic intensity, that has proved to be the most powerful painkiller ever known. One gentle bathe in the purifying quiet starlight and pain is instantly a memory that allows time for medical specialists to identify and cure the causes.
This wonderful new technique is very expensive to use as it is difficult to generate starlight in the daylight hours.
Now on the night-shift, we are able to freely use this painkiller, without any interference or repercussions from these admin ignoramuses. The quiet light eases the pain of the patients and ensures a drug-free, pain-free night.
What these budget conscious, penny-pinching idiots don’t seem to realize is that the stars come out at night and the quiet starlight is free to use without the necessity of expensive machines.
I do love the night shift.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved