Rattler’s Tale #3

by Anthony North
Friday Fictioneers
Poets & Storytellers United
The Sunday Muse
in association with

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

TIP TAP TAPPING – a typewriter possessed

Grandad was dead.
But sleeping in the old house, that tip tap tapping.
All night long.
How prolific a writer did he intend to be?
Gets into your head, that tip tap tapping.
It was an old typewriter – very old.
Grandad found it many years ago at…
…he’d never say. But it inspired him to be a novelist.
He had many bestsellers before his suicide at 61.
I sat.
Tip tap tapped.
I was hooked!
Then I found it – the last note Grandad wrote.
And I write …
…for 40 years 4 months.
It was signed Hemingway.


She loved him.
Was his mother. Yet …
Warned of danger.
She didn’t understand, of course; even though she hated the soldiers.
Was unable to grasp what he was; yet she grasped her staff tightly.
Given, he was, as if an undeniable miracle from heaven  … but …
An incomprehensible death.
Explanation? Pointless, yet she was …
Never the less for it. Except …
She picked up her staff to strike the soldier, but his thoughts …
Persisted. Not with A CROss STICk.


Viruses have a habit of multiplying.
At first biological, they soon have their eye on the economy.
And once the economy is quarantined, politicians fall.
Revolutions go viral.
But luckily we left the tanks in stores; pointy things in silos.
But who would have thought.
When granny was quarantined she had to find something to do.
Add a weather beaten wall and a can of paint …
Granny was on a mission.
Yet granny soon went exponential.
And now that the biological, economical and political were over …
They looked at graffitied cities all over the world …
… the look of despair of the disenfranchised youth …
And banned aerosol paints for the over seventies.

Book 28 of 68, A Family Loss: A Crime cum Horror Novel, out 27 April

92 comments on “Rattler’s Tale #3

    1. Hi Dale, I’m afraid I failed big time with this story – 100 words was simply not enough to convey the fact that the typewriter was possessed, and thus the implication at the end didn’t work. I’ve now added to the title to make it clear. Sorry to you, and the above, for this.

  1. I like the idea of a haunted typewriter – especially one haunted by the ghost of Hemingway. A ghostwriter perhaps? The repetition of ‘tip tap tapping’ is very effective, Anthony.

  2. Liked this very, very much, the ending of course, but on another level it took me back to my childhood tictactactic tip tap tap too. My biological father who I saw last when I was 6 left this old writing machine, I remember him writing on it, lost to world. But I also remember later when unattended I got to make my first marks on paper with it too. Maybe i got hooked then already, the magic symbols. I also, as it was so noisy, played it like a kind of an instrument. 🙂

  3. A fascinating write, and I myself was possessed with the typewriter and the story behind it! A final couplet would’ve been the crown jewel of the piece.

  4. I enjoyed your take on the Muse Anthony! I think the youth need to learn from the wisdom and passion that their grandparents have to bestow. I also love your typewriter story as well. Have a safe and wonderful weekend Anthony, and as always thank you for joining us at the Muse!

  5. I love “granny went exponential.” LOL. And I really enjoyed the post about the typewriter. I started writing at age eleven on my grandpa’s old Underwood, beat away on it for decades till I was dragged kicking and screaming into the electronic age. So I really enjoyed your post!

  6. The writing bug seems to run in families. LOL, more than once I or my son have said something out loud to each other to both declare “that’d be great in a story”.

    1. Yes, it certainly seems to do so in mine, with three of my kids interested in writing. Although before me, there’s no evidence of any previous writers in my family.

  7. Love the typewriter story–eerie and atmospheric, it coils close before springing. And I am left wondering…what was the revolution proposed by the grandmothers and were the two last poems related?

    1. Thanks for that, Chrissa. Your question got me thinking. Not intentionally, but I’ve noticed unconscious threads can creep into one’s writings when written close together. I must practice literary distancing 🙂

  8. with a typewriter of such history, you have no choice but to follow in the shoes.
    Anyway, during this period arm all old grannies with colour spray cans. 🙂

  9. Hemming was very prolific, you have developed a very reason foundation for that. Do you write Historical Fiction. I have one in mind but not a drop of ink or electronic bytes expended yet. Probably won’t.

    1. Hi Jim, yes I’ve written the occasional period piece. As for what’s in your mind, I’m reminded of reading the only advice required for writers by Brian Clemens, a Brit TV screenwriter in the 1960s & 70s: Place bum on chair; pick up pen.

  10. No spray paint for the #olds! I think the cohort of children coming of age in the pandemic are should be called #Baby Zoomers, since their schools have shut down and everything remote — teachers, doctors, parents…

    1. Thank you Rosemary. Yes, I do have a habit of doing twisty tales. As I say: get rid of the wickedness in your writing and there’s none in your life.

  11. So it was the typewriter all along. Hmmm – that very suspicious and a tale for itself perhaps?

    In open defiance I would see a gathering of geriatric spray painters creating “happy little trees” on the brick walls of the shopping malls after watching old Bob Ross videos. All the while screaming, “Give me Krylon or give me death!”
    Sorry, Anthony. I get this way sometimes.

  12. Love both, Anthony. So imaginative. Give me spray paint or give me death. Oh, wait, someone said something similar, didn’t they.

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