Thank God for Carelessness

“Now” — trembling finger pushing — send. “30 seconds to havoc and destruction”

Fertilizers, chemicals, pre-paid calling cards. Youtube testimonial pre-recorded, purpose all explained. Mission done.

The curly head of a girl, lollipop-smiling getting way too close.

“Infidels and traitors”

Whispering; doubt came crawling.

“It’s not right”

Tick-tock-tick-tock – counting seconds, it should have happened now.
A minute passed, he thanked his God. Prepared to leave.

Suddenly in blasts of shock-grenades; unconsciousness.


Later. Light burning. Much sharper than the sun.
Voices very close.

“Kiddo’ – you didn’t charge the batteries”

He just smiled and thanked his God for carelessness.

Copyright Ted Strutz

Copyright Ted Strutz

The first thing that struck me with the image was a timing device, and hence the theme. I also wanted to experiment with fragmented prose, Sometimes I think that works well with narratives like this, but you can be the judge of that. On a sidenote, I have gotten myself involved in a collective writing project that will result in a book. Any good tips are welcome.

Friday Fictioneers is run by Rochelle Wissoff-Fields and you can go to her blog to get involved. The rules are simple. 100 words (more or less, I always try to be strict) to the same picture. Then read and reflect. Best learning process you will ever have.

January 28, 2015

78 responses to “Thank God for Carelessness

  1. Whilst I think the fragmented prose is very effective, and particularly for this theme, I must admit I’m not sure what’s going on here. I know he’s a terrorist and all that, but what’s the ‘curly headed girl’ reference? And if the batteries weren’t charged, why was there an explosion? I’ll pop back later to see if others have cast any light on it. But you’re right, authors do need to be more daring, and this is daring. Well done.

    • I will see how I can clear up the narrative.. The curly head girl is approaching the bomb, and the terrorist start to regret his deed. But then the bomb don’t explode and he is caught. He had forgot the batteries in his timing device.. Thank you for your feedback.

  2. Like the ambition in this piece. Good to experiment, push boundaries. Almost felt like a ‘rap’ to me. Being honest, not my normal type of thing to read, but no poorer for that.

  3. I love the rhythmic beat of your prose – perfect for this scenario, but I did need your explanation to Sandra to “get” what happened. Perhaps if the “Curly head” line came after “Doubt came crawling…” Nice brain-stretch. Kudos for coloring outside the lines.

    • Yes.. I think that a little bit rearrangement of sentences might make it clearer. on the other hand the sequence inside the head of the terrorist has to follow the sequence of first seeing the girl… but i do see the point.

  4. Dear Bjorn, I have no prayer for the terrorists. We live in such a sad time. Wish they would have a leader that would point out the true meaning of their religion. They have so much hatred inside. Too bad – what a perfectly wasted religion! Nan 🙂

  5. Would like if batteries and other gadgets are not in the hands of terrorists.
    Our World can do without blasts…
    Nicely expressed!

  6. Given the subject matter of your tale, this does have its comic aspects.I like this tragi-comic mixture as each makes the other more vivid, as do complementary colours placed next to each other. It’s in your vocabulary: ‘lollipop’ placed next to ‘infidels and traitors’. You even state that ‘lollipop’ is getting ‘way too close’, which it is – both in black type on the page – and in the story. There’s a lot to be mined (if you’ll pardon the pun) from your story. Clearly, your batteries were fully charged when you penned this. 🙂

  7. Perhaps seeing the little girl brought him to his senses and, luckily, not too late. I like how one of his capturers calls him ‘kiddo’.
    The style works with the moment quite well. It’s exciting to step away and experiment with different styles. That’s what keeps being creative from becoming boring to us.

  8. Dear Björn,

    I like the style of this and felt the tension but like Sandra I was and still am a bit lost. I’m grateful for your explanations and apologize for my denseness.



  9. Dear Bjorn,

    I like your terrorist with a conscience. The explosion was the cops stun grenades as he is caught, right? I enjoyed this and wish you luck with your collective writing project. Keep us posted.



  10. I’ll admit this took me a few reads to get, and I appreciated your clarification (it confirmed pretty much what I thought)… But I do think it was worth the re-read, as the ‘second-thoughts’ of the terrorist were very human, and showing the existence of doubt is not a common approach to this type of character.

    Very interesting.

  11. I think this works really well. ‘The curly head of a girl, lollipop-smiling getting way too close.’ and the terrorist’s worry for her makes him human. Even so, I found it odd that he smiled at being caught and careless. He really wasn’t cut out for the role.

  12. The fragmented prose works really well. It definitely requires a second (or third) read to fully understand, but I kind of like that! The story is very chilling – I’m glad he didn’t succeed!

  13. A terrorist with second thoughts. In many ways, it would be easier to die than to have to live with such a destructive act, which is why they are all cowards. Great take, Bjorn. I enjoyed this fragmented approach to the event described. It works well. Kudos on taking chances, too!

  14. I think the broken narrative is still a little rough in this, but that you are on the right track. It helps to convey his twisted state of mind. I think the curly haired girl threw me.

  15. Your style is good here for capturing the fragmented thoughts of the bomber as his possibly last moment alive approaches. I like that you show his humanness, too. Well told.

  16. Well done Bjorn a difficult style to pull off, but you managed to do so. I had to read through a couple of times but my first take was right.

  17. I really like this fragmented prose idea Bjorn. It isn’t something I’ve tried myself yet, but you’ve certainly made a good job of it. I had to read it a few times to really get how events played out, and now all I can say is that I’m very impressed! It was good to see a terrorist having doubts about his actions, too. The last line is great.

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