April’s Guest Storyteller, Gary Bonn

Gary 2 290x290Gary Bonn, me … a bio. Shouldn’t be hard. Men like talking about themselves, don’t they?

I live in Scotland, write books, short stories, edit other people’s books and … oh, wot? … this is harder than I thought.

I’m delighted to have had two books published, and there’re more on the way. I like to write in as many genres as I can. This is more or less down to my friends at WriterLot, who challenge me with, “Gary, you haven’t written from the point of view of a frog”, write a story named “The Girl, The Kite, And The Broken Gate” and, “How about a sweet little vampire story too?”.

I baulked at the last and wrote the book, “Expect Civilian Casualties” instead. Why write about vampires? It’s been done.

Actually, WriterLot is a laugh. The members ensure that a new piece of writing goes up every day. We’re always happy to include guest-writers’ pieces, so feel free to contact me through garybonn.com.

If any of you are short of reading material, do visit writerlot.net and garybonn.com. It’s all free.

A big thanks to Sarah for inviting me to this blog!


Sarah says: You’re most welcome, Gary. It’s always a pleasure having you visit my blog and grace the place with your originality and wit. As for your story below — that wry take on the inefficiency of road maintenance in the UK (both North and South of the border) — all I can say is LOL! And so, a warning to fellow bloggers, do not read what follows while holding a beverage anywhere near your computer keyboard for fear of spillage.



Bill Wild is acting a little odd today. The lashing sleet rattles his hi-vis jacket, but utterly fails to wipe the smug grin from his face.

With the ease of many years’ experience, he winches the generator from the glistening road and secures it on the back of his lorry.

A passing car slows and the driver’s window slides down. The driver shouts to Bill, ‘Thank the bloody gods. How long have these roadworks been here?’

Bill, given more to economical truth than downright lies, shrugs and says, ‘It’s been a while, hasn’t it?’

The driver goes on, ‘But what did you actually do? I didn’t see anybody working all these months.’

Bill shrugs again. ‘Dunno. I’m just the bloke that puts up the traffic lights and sets the cones out.’

The driver, under pressure from traffic behind, moves off into a flurry of wet snow, tyres hissing and squelching in slush.

Bill collects the last of the cones, stashes them lovingly, even patting them and muttering his thanks, and climbs into the cab.

He shrugs off his jacket and takes a moment to enjoy the way the warning lights on his lorry sweep swathes of yellow light, gilding the dripping trees and banks of bracken.

He’s looking forward to the headline news tomorrow. All it needs is one anonymous call and some photos plastered over the internet.

As Bill revs the motor; the lorry trembles and shakes like a wet dog.

A woman, half-hidden behind the wind-whipped foliage at the side of the road, lowers her camera; a mute witness of Bill’s triumph.

He says to his phone, ‘Call the headquarters of “For No Good Reason”.’

As he pulls away for the last time, a woman’s voice comes through the speakers. ‘Mr Wild, we are honoured to receive you into the ranks of the élite. A year and a day. Well, well, who’d have thought no one would question why roadworks sat there so long without anyone actually working? You are our first official Year And A Day member.’

Bill replies, ‘Thank you, Mary. But there’s more to this day, for me, than my becoming an élite. No way will Mac be able to top this. It’s a double victory for me. We had a bet on.’

‘You had a bet with Mac? That’s courageous.’

‘The loser gives all his traffic equipment to the winner. He can’t afford new stuff. He’s a goner.’ He smirks, cuts the connection, and turns the radio on.

After the booms of Big Ben, come the headlines.

‘The Queen’s Flight, carrying members of the Royal Family on their way to Balmoral, has been forced to divert to the only other open airport in the British Isles, Dublin. Prestwick Airport has been closed due to the inexplicable, overnight appearance of roadworks on the main runway.’







March’s Guest Storyteller — Benjamin F Jones

Writer Benjamin 9835-2Benjamin F Jones is a writer from South Wales in the UK. He has worked in over twenty different jobs from wedding photographer to aerospace engineer but is currently studying to be a humanistic therapist.

His first novel, 400 years between stars, is coming out in March 2014 and he is currently working on a collection of prose poetry entitled, Which can fly higher, dragons or aeroplanes?

He has a passion for prose poetry and short and rather quirky science fiction but has a background in poetry which adds a colour to everything he writes. Some of his short prose fragments can be found at GraphiteBunny.

Wattstown 0394-2

Freedom Climbs on Logs Rooted

Freedom climbs on logs rooted in bricks worn smooth as oranges. The blue is cluttered with battleship clouds that muster to confuse the sun. Girls in summer dresses and bobble hats throw stones at the waves – a cacophony of pebbles thrashed by the sea as we poke a dead gull into the water. Silver rain conceals land across the estuary. We’re drumming on flotsam and steel chimes as engineers build a barbeque from bomb factory shrapnel – the explosion shattered the hotel windows over a mile away. A boot filled with shells. Driftwood stokes the flames that snatch at dinner. We open crown tops with scrap metal and eat sausages with sand and missing ketchup. When the meal is over we find pieces of crystallised sky have fallen like thumbnail glass. Tracking footprints you sing as we follow the tide. The sun is on mute. My shirt smells of wood-smoke and charred marshmallows. I wring out the memories and put them into my mouth.


Sarah says: Thank you so much Benjamin for guest storytelling on my blog with this superb piece of prose poetry. For those of you who missed Benjamin’s earlier contribution to my blog, you might like to take a look at his amazing photographic contribution to the Wordless Wednesday slot back in October last year.

You can link to previous guest storytellers’ prose via this page.

Guest Storyteller, I. J. Sarfeh

I. J. S.I. J. Sarfeh was born in Tehran, Iran, to a Persian father and Russian mother. When he was nine years old, his parents sent him off to an English boarding school — he believes they thought the British system would correct his unruliness. After spending the formative years there, he and his family moved to America, where he studied medicine, became a board-certified surgeon, and ended up on the faculty of the University of California. In 2000, he retired as Professor Emeritus to pursue his original passion before being lured into medicine: creative writing. So far, he has written eight novels, most of which are in the medical mystery/suspense genre. He changed genre for his latest novel, Beyond the Third Garden, which draws on his experiences during the childhood and formative years, which were far from ordinary.



I was fourth-assistant at an operation to remove a patient’s cancerous stomach.

In awe, I watched the surgeons operating with grace, speed, efficiency. The music of Mantovani’s violins wafted from a portable radio, while the procedure flowed along as smoothly and effortlessly as the cascading strings. Without wasted movements, each action blended into the next like the harmony of the orchestra.

After removing the stomach, the surgeons fashioned a new one using a length of intestine cut down the middle, doubled on itself, and sewn together. The result was a pouch that could hold a modest amount of food, which they attached in continuity with the rest of the digestive tract. Then, using thick nylon sutures strong enough to hold the sinews together, they started closing the abdomen.

Halfway through the closure, I glimpsed a flash of metal.

Instrument or illusion?

Now began my struggle to inform the surgeons—during major operations, medical students were bound by the not-even-a-squeak rule.

Two more stitches, and my mouth was bursting to squeak.

I looked at the chief surgeon, a big man with an attitude. “Dr. Krabowski, m-may I s-speak?” I stammered in a near whisper.

He glared at me over his mask and half-lenses perched on the tip of his nose. “What?”

“I-I saw this shiny object.”

“Congratulations. The O.R. is full of shiny objects, so now we know you can see as well as speak.”


Struggling through the overdose of intimidation, I pressed on. “I hope the object inside the abdomen won’t harm your patient, sir.”

His eyes bulged. “Inside the abdomen? You think we left an instrument behind?”

“I don’t know what it is, sir.”

“Are you certain it’s there?”

“Well, I…”


“Speak up!”

“It’s in the right upper quadrant, sir. Hidden from view.”

“Do you realize we must reopen the whole abdomen to explore that area?”

A hesitant nod.

He cut out six stitches, groped around inside, and pulled out his hand. It brandished a shiny forceps.

“Well done!” he yelled. “You just saved the patient from serious post-op troubles, and us from a gazillion-dollar malpractice suit.”


He leaned into me. “Name?”

“Wheat, sir.”

“What is surgery, Wheat?”

Blank stare.

“Give me the definition of surgery, man!”

I cleared my throat. “It is the art and science of—”

“Bullshit! Surgery is courage. In your case, the courage of persisting despite fear.”

At last, my courage was out of hiding.


Sarah says: Thank you, so much, Iraj, for visiting my blog as a guest storyteller. Your short medical tale is certainly an example of writing about what you know. I won’t ask if this incident is based on a true life experience! 

Click on either of the Amazon links below and it will take you to a page of novels by I. J. Sarfeh for you check out: Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com


To read January’s guest storyteller post by Naomi Baltuck click here

Welcoming Guest Storyteller, Naomi Baltuck

Each month, I plan to invite a guest storyteller to my blog. And to my absolute delight, Naomi, who is a professional storyteller, has agreed to kick things off.

So first, here’s a short bio about Naomi, which is followed by one of her lovely tales told in traditional style…

naomiphoto1-300ppiNAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller at The Bardo Group, an international collective fostering peace, proximity, and healing through the love of arts and humanities. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and storyteller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her photo-stories at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POVShe also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), and programs of Tandem Tales with the Baltuck/Garrard Family Storytellers. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

The Most Noble Story
(c)1995 Naomi Baltuck

There was once a widow who had three sons, Alberto, Eduardo, an Ernesto. She had spent a lifetime trying to teach them the meaning of charity and compassion. The day came when she knew she was dying, and would no longer be there to guide them. She called her sons to her bedside.

My sons, the only thing of value I have to leave you is my diamond ring. It was given to me by my mother, who had it from her mother, whose mother handed it down to her. It cannot be divided and it must not be sold, for one day, it shall go to one of your daughters. Now I must decide which of you is most worthy of this treasure. Go, my sons, and do good in the world. Come back in one week’s time and tell me your stories. The one who has performed the most noble deed shall inherit the diamond.”

By the time the three young men gathered again at her bedside, their poor mother was near death. She said to her firstborn, “Alberto, tell me your story.”

Well, Mother,” said the eldest, “after much thought, I gave half of everything I owned to the poor.”

My son,” said the old woman, “no one can tell you that you haven’t performed a good deed. But it is not a noble deed, for have I not taught you that it is everyone’s responsibility to care for the needy?”

She said to her secondborn son, “Eduardo, tell me your story.”

He said, “Mama, I was passing the river when I saw a small child swept away in the current. I can hardly swim, but I jumped into the water and pulled the child out to safety. It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t drown myself.”

My son, you too have performed a good deed, but not a noble deed. Have I not taught you that everyone should be willing to lay down his life for that of a helpless child?”

The old woman said to her youngest son, “Eduardo, come tell me your story.”

Ernesto hesitated before taking her hand. “Mamacito,” he confessed, “I haven’t much to tell. As you know, I’ve no earthly goods, and I cannot swim a stroke. But I’ll tell you something that happened to me this week. Very early one morning I was walking in the mountains. I came upon a man sleeping at the edge of a cliff. If he were to stir in his sleep, he would surely fall to his death on the rocks below. I determined to prevent this tragedy. I crept over, so as not to startle him awake. Then I saw that it was my bitter enemy, Juan Miguel. At first, I thought to leave him there, for the last time we met, Juan Miguel threatened to kill me if he ever got the chance. But deep down I knew what I had to do.

As I put my arms around him, Juan awoke and I could see the fear in his eyes as he recognized me.

“’Don’t be afraid,’ I told him. I quickly rolled him away from the precipice to safety, and helped him to his feet. When Juan Miguel came toward me, I was sure he meant to kill me. But then he threw open his arms to embrace me.

Juan said, ‘Last night darkness fell before I could get home. Rather than chance a misstep in the dark, I decided to spend the night where I was. I had no idea I was so close to the cliff edge. You saved my life, Ernesto, and after I treated you so poorly!’

To make a long story short, Mamacita, Juan and I are no longer enemies, but have sworn to be friends forever.”

The old woman shed tears of joy. “My son, I have taught you well. That was truly a noble deed, and you are a noble man, for you risked your life to save a man sworn to kill you. With one act of kindness, you have transformed hatred into love and made the world a better place.” With her dying breath she told her sons, “The diamond shall go to Ernesto, but you must all remember that with each noble deed you perform, you shall add to the treasure that awaits you in Heaven.”

All three sons married and had children of their own. They, like their mother, taught their children the meaning of charity and compassion. When the time came, Ernesto left his mother’s diamond to one of his daughters. But Alberto and Eduardo left their children a gem worth as much as any diamond, for their children held in their hearts their grandmother’s precious legacy, the story of the most noble story.

  All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck, All rights reserved

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