Wednesday, 20 July 2011

F3 - Cycle 40 - "The Observer"

This week's F3 prompt was in the form of this picture - what would it inspire?

Well here's one scenario, please feel free to comment! (Oh, and if you hop over to F3 you'll be able to catch the stories other members of this writing community have produced - give them a look-see, eh?)


Every day’s the same. After breakfast I get dressed, although it takes a while to select my apparel for the day. Then I ride the trains.

All life is here. I’m a keen observer of life, you see. That’s why I like to ride the trains because there’s no landscape to distract me; I can just feast my eyes on all those faces around me.

The whole world comes here; I hear so many different accents that I can almost imagine I’m in any city on the planet.

So, I keep watching and listening. I miss nothing; I can even lip-read, taught myself. Also perfected the art of the glazed look for when someone stares back. They usually turn away pretty quickly, especially if I start mumbling to myself.

Sometimes it’s hard seeing other people like me. Well, not really like me, they just look that way. I’d love to help them, get them a square meal, spare clothes, you know the sort of thing.

Still, I know my ‘regulars’ – old guy, gets on three stops from me, always carrying a battered old leather suitcase. I’ve fanaticised about what he carries in there but he’ll never tell me because we’ve never spoken.

Then there’s the Mom with the kids – never seen a wedding band; probably does three jobs just to keep them clothed and fed. Nice kids though, polite and all.

But you, now, you’re a newcomer. Just moved into the city? Busy, isn’t it? People running here there and everywhere, scurrying about like ants. I see it all. I file it all away. It’s my job, see. Oh, this is your stop? Well, see you later, maybe. I’ll be here, riding the trains.

Of course, when it’s quitting time I ride to the end of the line and Jefferson picks me up. Jefferson? Oh, he’s my chauffeur. Means I can get home unseen and no-one knows my true identity. I’ll shower and change into something comfortable – I love the feel of pure linen and cashmere against my skin.

Then I’ll grab a scotch and head for the den and spend a couple of hours writing up my day. The novel’s going well, but I do enjoy my research – meeting new ‘characters’ as I ride the trains. Like I say, all life is there!


  1. Now this is a character I can identify with. An observer of life. I've been one far back as I can remember. Unfortunately no Chauffered limo at the end of the line. Good story Sue.

  2. Ha! Nice one... and one we all have something in common with, if not the driver.

  3. I do the observing thing myself, its fascinating to watch people as they go about their lives.

    Great story!

  4. who watches the watcher? nice take.

  5. An observer of life. Okay. Wonder what kind of book he's writing. I like this, Sue.

  6. Yes! I totally identify with your old man - I am a people watcher, myself. Good job:)

  7. Oh, Oh, Oh! I love it! Fantastic ending.

  8. "...I like to ride the trains because there’s no landscape to distract me; I can just feast my eyes on all those faces around me." I love that line! I ride MAX and the buses for the same reason.

    This is a very interesting take on the prompt. I love how you took what one would presuppose as a person nearing the end of their journey, and at a fairly low station in their life and transform him into a person of means and intellect.

    The ending really sold this story, for me. The "watched" as "watcher"... excellent read!

    Thank you, Sue.

  9. Love the twist at the end. Great story!