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100WC – The Replacement Conductor


Image © David Stewart

He’d arrived that morning in a blue Hyundai and skipped up the steps to the bandstand with breezy nonchalance.

“Jerry’s not well,” he’d said, “I’ll be conducting today.”

They played three songs straight through, and when they stopped he told them to keep going. When Earl raised a hand and said that they usually broke for coffee, the replacement conductor pulled open his shirt to reveal a vest of explosives.

“Keep playing,” he said.

And so they played. Bonnie Blue Flag, Marching Through Georgia, lungs wheezing, knuckles throbbing. Morning into afternoon into evening.

“When can we go home?” asked Martha as the sun bled across the horizon.

“Keep playing,” he said.

# # #

This is a 100-word flash fiction story, prompted by the picture you can see up there, as part of Friday Fictioneers.

Click here if you’d like to take part, and click here to read other pieces.

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13 thoughts on “100WC – The Replacement Conductor”

  1. Didn't expect that twist ….Almost feels like the conductor with explosives is an allegory for the forces that drive us beyond exhaustion sometimes…under the threat of our own fears. Good one!

  2. Wow! I did not expect that. I have a feeling Jerry won't be coming back. So this replacement “conductor” is a suicide bomber/Dixie music lover? ;) Interesting character.

  3. I realise with hindsight that the tone of it is quite straight, but when I was writing it I was thinking how ridiculous the scenario is. It's more or less the lamest version of Speed you can possibly imagine.

  4. Haha – I read the title and thought this was going to be a grown-up 'substitute teacher' story. That made me almost glad the conductor was the one in control, but as you say “wow, where did that come from?!”

  5. I just watched Gone With The Wind so the Bonnie Blue Flag hit a note. David's picture really has brought out such wonderful imagery. Really enjoyed this. Susannah Bianchi

  6. Dear Simon, WOW – Psycho conductor replacement! Great story – you have such a clever twist in this story – awesome job! Nan

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