July Story Chat: “Not a Proper Job” by Philip Cumberland

Marsha Ingrao - Always Write

If you love to read short stories, you will enjoy Story Chat. For links to all of the stories bookmark the Story Chat Y2 Page. Comments are closed after 30 days because of scammers. If you have comments on other stories, you can make them on this current post.

Something to Think About

  • What theme or themes did “Not a Proper Job” have?
  • What might Sheila’s Grandma say if she understood Sheila’s line of work?
  • What famous story or character does Sheila remind you of?
  • Who do you imagine Sheila’s employer is?

Photo © Philip Cumberland

“Not a Proper Job” by Philip Cumberland

The guided bus was an unusual getaway vehicle, but it had served Sheila well in the past.

It’s their vanity that makes them vulnerable, she thought. What dignitary full of their importance could refuse an honorary doctorate from one of the World’s leading universities?

”More wine…

View original post 802 more words

9 responses to this post.

  1. Well shortened, Phil, from the version that will appear in the Wordsmiths’ next anthology


  2. I’m looking forward to reading the longer version. That is really a great idea for writing a Story Chat story. When you boiled it down like that, did the focus get clearer to you? When I boil the stories down to 99 words in the summary, I find that I am able to capture the real essence of the story.


    • That was the original version as so often happens when I share a story with my fellow Wordsmiths, they say what happens next. The result is often a longer version, the most recent one I can think off is a story called Barry and Gill, only my second children’s story. I was persuaded to add a story within a story, ‘Polly and the Clock that Didn’t Know the Time’.
      The Not a proper job prompt was Little Red Riding Hood.


      • So this was intended as a children’s story? Of course, Little Red Riding Hood had a fairly dark side as did most of the original fairy tales.

      • Most months our writing group has a prompt, sometimes it is a word or a book title. On one occasion the prompt was a book, song or film title with one word changed, this resulted in Gone with the Wine, written by one of our members, Star Truk by another, mine was A Study in Green a Sherlock Holmes spoof. The story “Not a Proper Job” was a result of the prompt Little Red Riding Hood, we could use characters the plot or setting for the story, of course as writers we used artistic licence. There was probably ten or twelve different takes on the idea, I just used the names of the characters in the longer version.
        Mine is very far from a children’s story most of the others were too but they are all good.

        The Barry and Gill story I referred to had several prompts, Characters Grandparents: Setting School and so on. With those criteria it had to be a children’s story.

      • Your writing group sounds like such a fun group. You are the fourth person I’ve met so far, and I’m so jealous!

      • Pure luck Marsha, we are nearing completion of our fifth anthology, we decided on a cover design today and are just waiting for the last few submissions. We hope to be in print and published by October.

      • Very cool!

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