Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Entry #115

Moussa’s Stop
by Dottie Camptown


They spread through the metro car, a black river filling into spaces between the Barcelona tourists. Moussa was the last to get on the train. He dropped to the floor opening his tarp sack. The hawker boss, Oumar, decided what everyone would sell for the day.

Today Moussa was selling wallets. Wallets were good, small and light and not bad to carry all day. Moussa saw that Mamdou had gotten the big heavy load of purses. He smiled because Mamdou was an asshole. Every day he had sex with a Thai massage girl in one of the public changing rooms in Barceloneta, never telling her his Senegalese wife had died of AIDS.

The train stopped between stations. Closing his eyes, Moussa wished the train to reverse back to the station where he got on, back to the apartment he shared with 14 others, back to his arrival at Port Miral, back to the stale air in the shipping container, back to his bed in his mother’s house. Back to the fear he would gladly now take, the fear he was nothing.

Moussa’s sister worked at a hotel restaurant in Dakar. She cleared tables and washed dishes in the kitchen. She would transfer discarded wine from crystal glasses into a big plastic cup and bring it home. She and Moussa used to climb to the roof to reach the cool winds of Cape Verde. Passing the cup back and forth, they would silently drink, indistinguishable from the West African night.

25 comments:

Hoodie said...

Everyone else's chances drop a notch every time you enter, Dottie.

This was rich with emotion and imagery. Very, very nice. Your language is exquisite.

laughingwolf said...

wow... a totally different take, love it!

Laurel said...

This elegant and poignant. A portrait of homesickness. Nice characters.

I really, really like this piece. A lot.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Even those far from home and with little money can scrounge-up enough wine. I like how you've captured Moussa's social status and showed how he must peddle his wares to survive.

The Preacherman said...

Even the poor can obtain wine and live in a fantastically written short story.


Four Dinners

Catvibe said...

Really great story. I could see it and feel it.

Precie said...

Wow. A whole different world, a whole different life, made concrete in so few words. So wonderful and so sad.

Dottie said...

Thank you for the kind comments.

Aniket said...

Excellent piece of writing. A whole new world out there with great characters and strong emotions.

Ditto to Preacherman too.

Loved the piece. A unique take.

Karen said...

Dottie - You nailed it! This one is so right. What talent!

Aerin said...

I wish I'd said exactly what Hoodie said. Pretend I did, because I mean it.

Terri said...

Wonderful writing; your words set the scenes so clearly and even made me homesick for that rooftop!

BernardL said...

It's easy to count our blessings after that. Piercing detail.

pjd said...

I love the title when you put it together with the fact that the train stopped between stations and he wishes he could reverse time, reverse his decisions. For me, this is very sad because he went from fearing that he was nothing to having it confirmed (in his mind). Very well written.

Sarah Laurenson said...

This is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'm just re-reading my favorites, examining the writing style, and trying to find the "truth in wine." Absolutely terrific writing and theme here. I'm starting to wonder whether having dialogue, or too much of it, takes away from a flash story.

Dottie said...

JR, I've wondered the same thing. Good dialogue is so much about pacing and in such a short format it's hard to do, too hard for me anyway.

Chris Eldin said...

Beautifully told. There seems to be real life experience -or close personal knowledge-embedded in this one. Sad in some parts. But in many places, rings very true.
Well written!

JaneyV said...

Dottie - a truly wonderful piece of writing. Gorgeous.

JR's Thumbprints said...

You were my Number #1.

September said...

Great imagery and you pulled at heartstrings with me - too true of a story. So sad but so beautifully written. This is one of my favorites.

Dottie Camptown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dottie Camptown said...

Thanks to everyone who took a moment to comment on my story. I value the support and encouragement so much. Great stories this time.

jason evans said...

The ground-away dream. The grass not being greener. Very poignant. He can't go back. Very original take on the picture!

Welcome to The Forties Club!

Jaye Wells said...

This was a high scorer for me. Your descriptions are beautiful and your voice is very clear. I also appreciate the original take on the prompt. Great job!