Friday Fictioneers — Imprisoned

Many thanks to Rochelle for using my husband’s spiderweb picture as this week’s photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers. Some of my blog followers and visitors will already have seen this picture, which accompanied my New Year’s Day Monday Morning #Haiku 181 — Spider, thus to avoid spiderweb overkill, I’ll just post a downsized reminder of the original to go with my 100-word story for today.

My apologies for not having participated in Friday Fictioneers since last October. Throughout November I took time off from blogging to concentrate on penning the first 50K words of my latest tome for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and succeeded in reaching the necessary target to qualify as a winner. December was all about catching up with jobs and squeezing in a bit of writing when time allowed. January was a slow starter, but I’m now on the homeward stretch of the first draft of my novel, with about 15-20K words to go.

So here you have it, a trimmed snippet from my work-in-progress Twicers, which is a satire set in the not-too-distant future. My main character, Japeth, is loosely based on  my MC in The Parable Teller, a short story of mine published in the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual, 2011.

Please be warned that the excerpt contains a profanity but, under the circumstances, I’m sure you’ll agree my MC is being most restrained! Also, note that I use the singular of the word “heel”, as Japeth only has one leg.



By now, his eyes had adapted to the false twilight afforded by a row of high-up windows at the rear of the workshop, each one opaque with grime and laced over with spiderwebs.

With the dogs at his heel, he conducted a search of the workshop and nearly tripped over a tin bucket. Toilet rolls were stacked on the shelf above, with a piece of corrugated cardboard propped up against them. The cardboard had painted on it in white the words “COURTESY OF THE MANAGEMENT”.

“Shit!” said Japeth, which seemed apt. Nobody needed nine toilet rolls for a short stay.


To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories for this week, or to add a 100-word story of your own, please click on the blue frog below.

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. When stuck for words, she sketches or paints instead. She's into nature conservation, sustainability, gardening, dogs, natural health, and reading. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

70 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers — Imprisoned”

  1. Your sense of humor is probably the first thing I think of when I think of you….that British droll that I love so much. Well done! I think you just talked me into buying your book. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you appreciated the humour and want to buy my book, Bill 🙂 You’ll have a bit of a wait, what with me being only three-quarters of the way through the first draft and there probably being two more to go, but I greatly value your encouragement!
      I hope you’re having a good and creative week, too, my dear friend.


    1. If he did climb that high, he would never squeeze through them. Each of the windows is 10-inch square, but I had to edit that bit of info out of the excerpt to make it 100 words in length!


  2. I love this little snippet. And shall wait patiently for you to finish the other quarter 😉
    Great photo your hubby allowed us to use! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dale 🙂 And I know you’re most terribly patient, of course 😉 Hubby was delighted to have his photo used! I’m hoping he will look at some of the stories it has prompted, if I can tear him away from all of his important “work” activities on his computer and mobile phone 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh yes… their important work… 😉
        I know I would like to know where my photo took people (and not all went the human-eating route, thankfully… )

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Neil 🙂 I may still be a slightly irregular participant in FF until I have finished the first draft of my book, as I have to remain focused (which isn’t always easy for me). On good weeks, when I have done enough work, then you will see me on FF!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, my character is in big trouble. Thanks for your good luck wishes, Dawn 🙂 I feel busy, but I think that I just can’t fit as much into the allotted time as I did in the old days., so time appears to have shrunk. But I have decided it’s better to stay calm and pace myself. Ultimately, I achieve more that way!


      1. I hope you actually got to speak to someone at the insurance company and they didn’t keep you on hold forever, while playing a load of tinny music (killing off Vivaldi and suchlike!). That is enough to test the calmest of people’s calm. I’ve taken to switching onto speakphone when that happens, and putting the phone in my desk drawer or right across the room until someone answers!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Andrea 🙂 I’m very fond of Japeth. He’s a bit complex, to say the least. I think he has left “me” with lots of questions, too, as I never know what he’s going to do next, including how he’s going to get out of the workshop, but he has some equally complex friends, one of whom is incredibly innovative, so hopefully all will be well!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Sarah,

    The theft of Victor’s photo was worth it if only to lure you back to Friday Fictioneers for a week. 😉 I loved this piece and your descriptions put me there. At least his captor left Japeth toilet rolls rather than corn cobs. 😉

    As for the profanity…sometimes a well-placed epithet is necessary to the piece and character. I wrestled with that in PSKFM . I wanted to be considerate of my projected audience and not offend, however, what else could Ulrich have said after the massacre than “You bloody bastards…”?

    Good story. I’m looking forward to reading the rest.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Rochelle,

      I’m so glad that you loved the exerpt. I was a bit nervous about posting anything from a work-in-progress, as it’s my latest literary baby, but I’m pleased that those FF’s who have commented on it, have been very positive and encouraging.

      I’m sure I’ll have other photos for you to steal from time-to-time! I did send you some others before, but I’m not sure if you have them still.

      Too right about corn cobs 😉 As for profanities, if they fit the situation and the authenticity of the character, I have no problem with them. It still surprises me how few authors do swear in novels, considering how much swearing happens in real life. I’m guessing that some traditional publishers object and think that it might impact on sales. Obviously Delrey, part of the Penguin Random House group, doesn’t have a problem, considering how much swearing there was in “The Last Dog On Earth” by Adrian J Walker. I thought it was hilarious, but there was one very stuffy review on Amazon by a customer who was really put out by the profanities. Each to their own, I suppose.

      I don’t know how long my new novel is going to take to write, but I’m pleased that you’re looking forward to reading it 🙂

      All best wishes,


  4. ha – nice play on words!
    and your photo has been a nice prompt – I am enjoying the stories going around for it.
    oh and hope your novel is coming out as you like it – and good for you for making time for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Prior. I always enjoy playing on words in my writing, and often do so in real life, too! My novel is full of surprises, as I’m a real pantser and prefer my characters to write the story. I’m enjoying what “they’ve” written so far, although I’ve had to verify with a bit of research some of their activities, just to be sure such things are possible!
      I’m pleased you liked the photo prompt 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. how cool to have the writers write the story – and it sounds like a lot to mentally keep track of (the novel writer does have a special mind for sure – up there with math guys – lol)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m terrible at maths, or at least I’m good at mental arithmetic and times tables, but algebra and goemetry totally baffle me. In other words, I was top of the maths class up to the age of 10 and then it was all downhill from there, with one exception: I’m very visual so am quite good at Raven’s matrices. As for keeping track of a novel when writing it, usually I have a slight panic halfway through and have to stop to make some notes and check that I’ve got my timeline right 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. that is so interesting about your math background – and sometimes I think it does have to do with the teacher you have for various math courses – and if they cannot teach it well – students just miss out and it sticks with them – however, other times it is a person’s wiring and brain and not all maths are the same. Don’t want to ramble – but I used to teach art and for some of my emerging 4th and 5th graders I once tried to intro two point perspective earely (it is usually only after 6th grade due to a certain brain maturity that is needed to see abstract and depth) and well – it backfired – I had so many tears in those handful of lessons and so I learned more about brain readiness and children. and I heard it is true with algebra – takes a mental maturity and the right teaching – and too early loses the child.
        anyhoo – I bet the timeline helps a lot….

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think children can become so dispirited if something is taught to them at the wrong time and they can’t grasp it. I even had private tuition for my maths, but the damage had already been done by then. That being said, when my son was doing his GSCEs, he got stuck with complex equations, so I disappeared off with his revision book, which had wonderful colourful illustrations in it, instead of the dry old text book presentation used in my school days, and I taught myself in half-an-hour how to do them, so I could teach him — not that I can remember how to do them now. As for the brain’s wiring, I used to use that as an excuse for not memorising words to music, until a singing teacher a few years ago said “I want you to learn this song off-by-heart by the next lesson”, to which I protested, “I can’t. My brain isn’t wired up that way,” to which she replied, “Then wire it up.” So I did, and ended up learning 17 difficult songs by heart (some of them in Italian) and did a recital from memory. This is the same person who couldn’t memorise even a verse of poetry at school, despite always being ahead with English! The brain is interesting. As for Art and perspective, I could never grasp it taking a scientific approach, but had an instinctive eye for it. That being said, I would never have risked following in my father’s footsteps and studying Architecture, as my buildings would have ended up very lopsided if I’d designed them by instinct alone!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. hi – laughing at the possible lopsided buildings – was that the case with the tower in pisa? kidding
        and thx for the nice reply.
        I had had to teach myself some math too –
        and I ache for the many students I know who could have done more math (and enjoyed it more) but they had sucky teachers (sorry – cannot think of a better word) and well, they have a stained view of math – and worse- they have that self-fulfilling prophecy that limits what they even try to do.
        as you have demonstrated in your example – and how cool of your music teacher to pull that out of you.
        side note – but my spouse works with musicians and it is his pet peeve when singers use stands for their music – he tells them to memorize – and the one girl who refused to even try – he scheduled her less and then when asked why – he explained – well – um – she started memorizing and she found her motivation.
        but you are so right about the amazing brain .

        have you ever heard of unraveling bolero?
        you have to check this out – cos your comment reminded me of it – as you noted the music and the brain:

        Some paintings are meant to be appreciated in silence – but not this one. It is called Unravelling Boléro, by Canadian artist Anne Adams, and is a bar-by-bar representation of the popular classical piece Boléro by Maurice Ravel.

        The painting also provides a scientific window into the creative mind.

        When Adams completed Unravelling Boléro in 1994, her brain was starting to be affected by a neurodegenerative condition called primary progressive aphasia. It later robbed Adams of speech, and eventually took her life.

        In its early stages, however, the condition seemed to unleash a flowering of neural development in a brain area that integrated information from different senses. In part, Unravelling Boléro may be a beautiful symptom of a terrible disease.
        it was on “radio lab”

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I love that piece of music by Ravel, the way it grows and grows from a simple melody and rhythm into something more and more complex and energised — well, I suppose you could say that it flowers. This is fascinating about Anne Adams. Thanks for the podcast. I will listen to it later.


    1. Yes, the image does seem to have prompted a wide variety of stories. I have to finish my novel first, before I start editing, but am getting there. I’m resisting the urge to edit as I go, apart from very superficial stuff. Must keep up the forward momentum. Perhaps I should set a marker, such as finishing the first draft before my household has got through 9 rolls!


    1. I just read your story, which I thought was so well written, but I couldn’t find anywhere to comment over at your blog and tell you so! Your choice of words is so good, and a wonderful example of “showing” rather than “telling”.


  5. Hello my dearest Sarah, at last, I am back to your wonderful blog! I am determined if nothing else. So sorry I didn’t get here yesterday as I promised – and I do not like to break any promise, not one bit – but the day’s events took over, as they so often do, and you would think I would have learned by now. But…all that to say, I enjoyed your flash very much. Well done for the great progress you’re making on your novel too. As for Japeth, I do hope, for his sake, he doesn’t need all those toilet rolls. And for the sake of whoever might be cleaning out the bucket. Or perhaps that might be sweet justice? I am intrigued. Love the spider web photo too 🙂 xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello my dearest friend. Sherri, You needn’t tell me about the day’s events taking over. It happens to me often. I’m sure that people think I’m most neglectful of them at times as a consequence! So all is understood, and I’m always glad to have you visit my blog, just as I must visit yours, having noticed that you’ve written a new post. I got carried away with writing today, so have run out of time, but your post is in my inbox waiting for me to read it. Now if I was to tell if Japeth needed all those toilet rolls, that would be giving the game away. I’m just writing a chapter that’s a series of major shocker flashbacks to his childhood. Hah! as for emptying that bucket, I haven’t gone into that yet. Maybe I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination, unless I find something funny or gross, or both, to say about it! I’m glad you loved Mister’s spider web photo 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always such a pleasure to read your wonderful blog dearest Sarah, I have missed your posts very much, as they alway delight. Great to hear you’re pressing on with your writing, and we both know only too well how that time gobbling monster never seems to get enough, ha!. Now I am even more intrigued about Japeth with mention of ‘major shocker flashbacks to his childhood’. Keep writing dearest friend, you have a ready and waiting audience! 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

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