Statue with Mask

Mrs. Watson and Hemoglobin


The following story was written for the Furious Fiction contest for April 2020.


The guidelines were as follows:

'My my… it seems the combination of people being stuck at home and perhaps starved for creativity has led to this month’s Furious Fiction competition smashing previous records as 1700 entries came flooding in! These were the criteria:

    • Each story had to begin on the side of a road.

    • Each story must include the words APRON, PIGMENT, RIBBON, ICON, LEMON (notice A-P-R-I-L anyone?).

    • Each story had to include a splash.

Opening by the side of the road sure did result in a lot of flat tyres, hitchhikers, fruit stalls and lemonade stands!'


Image by Cristian Newman

Mrs. Watson and Hemoglobin

By S. W. Stribling

Here I am, on the side of the road, looking at my luggage with a pink ribbon tied to it so I know it is mine. The Uber drives off and I can’t help but think the exciting part is over.

My one-month travel vacation was cut short due to this silly pandemic. Of course, it had to happen in the middle of my trip. The one I saved up for two years.

Boring home. 

Even the weather is depressing, dreary and damp.


‘Cheers…’ I thought as a car bounced into a pothole full of water right in front of me.

There are still people out though, despite the quarantine. One lady, I think its old Mrs. Watson, is wearing a beekeeper hood, an apron, and rubber gloves to walk her dog to the cornershop. What a sight.

The window behind me is open and I can hear a young couple talking.

‘I mean, how does something so tiny have the ability and know-how to carry oxygen around through your body?’ The girl said. ‘It’s amazing.’

‘Yeah,’ the boy responded, ‘but chlorophyll literally turns light into energy in a way that pisses on solar panels. We don’t even know how that shit works.’

Are they talking about pigments? That’s a conversation I can’t say I’ve had.

I guess, if I look around, even the trees on this beat-up sidewalk are pretty amazing.


The cornershop door opens up and there’s Mrs. Watson in her homemade HazMat suit carrying a bag full of lemons. Her big yellow lab is always patient with her. It’s a good thing considering he probably weighs more than her. ‘Good boy.’ I thought to myself.

‘Oh, Will,’ she saw me this time, ‘How was your trip?’

‘It was good. But I had to cut it a bit short.’

‘Yes, yes, of course.’ She said. ‘Well, it is good to have you home nonetheless.

I smiled and waved good-bye.

I watched her waddle across the street in her funny outfit and I thought that maybe it was good to be home.

I know so many people have stories of jungles and deserts and icebergs. Yet, what have they truly witnessed. What magic have they gained that I can’t find myself here, on the side of this street?

Perhaps I didn’t need a different hemisphere to travel, to explore the world.


My phone vibrated and I looked down at the screen.

It was a message with the WHO icon attached to it. ‘30 more days of quarantine have just been added to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19.’

‘Yep,’ I thought, ‘I think my little neighborhood will do just fine for now.’