Rattler’s Tale #8

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

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

stay home

Dick bought the holiday hat but it didn’t work.
‘I remembered I was still in isolation.’
The virtual reality salesman sighed. ‘I warned you,’ he said.
Silence followed. Then, changing his hat, the salesman said:
‘Go for the full download – guaranteed to escape Covid.’
‘What? You download something into me?’
The salesman showed his new computer.
‘No. We download you into IT!’
‘Anything to escape isolation,’ said Dick.
Moments later, there was a ping and Dick disappeared.
He enjoyed his holiday for a while, then…
The salesman put on his undertakers hat.
A virus had got him.


The theatre was very old and had consumed many a performance.
The actors stood on the stage, taking in the atmosphere.
It was their final rehearsal, yet they knew they’d be interrupted.
Maybe it was the acoustics, but constantly the voices.
And the apparitions.
It was a busy stage.
They tried to concentrate, on their own lines, but …
… was that from West Side Story … and then Wilde …
… and …
‘All the world’s a stage.’
In this world, and the next.
Outside, the passers-by heard it, too.
‘Can you hear it?’ asked one.
‘Yes,’ the other replied. ‘Theatre – storytelling – outs our soul.’
‘It gets into our heads,’ said a third. ‘Makes us what we are, forever.’
‘There used to be a theatre here, you know.’
And the rubble began to sing.

107 comments on “Rattler’s Tale #8

    1. Unless you abide by the title and forget holidays this year, which is one of the central messages the govt is trying to hammer home in the UK.

  1. Skipping a holiday this year is going to be tough for many people. I want me one of thsoe hats, though 🙂

  2. Dear Tony,

    Would that we had holodeck programs. I would insert myself into a virtual swimming pool. If the virus got me, I’d die happy. Sounds like that proprietor knew what he was doing. Imaginative.



  3. Great story. My husband works in IT for a university, and today they got hit with a big cyber virus attack, which was considered a possibly national security issue. Quite frankly, I thought we had enough going on with the coronavirus.
    Virtual reality sounds like a wonderful idea. I could happily embrace VT forever!

  4. Good stuff, Im camping in the garden for the summer, much to the irritation of the kids, but until it’s gone we have to stay at home.

  5. I like the way you use the hats to give a unity to the story- especially the undertaker’s hat!

  6. From evidence around the world it seems people want to fight the virus rather that hide away safe from it. There has always been this strange reluctance to do as we are advised!

  7. There is a lot to take in here, first is there no escape from a virus, external and internal mayhem? Oh, the songs the rubble would sing so all the world would know it was once a house of song.

  8. Very cool. I was a stage director for many years, and always listened to the stage–there is no truly empty space. (Visiting from Sunday Muse.)

  9. I’m so glad we’re not holiday hat people and that, being shielded, I can’t be tempted by a virtual reality salesman! Creepy!
    I enjoyed ‘All the World’s a Stage, Anthony. I have a thing about old and/or haunted theatres. Some of the oldest theatres are said to have ghosts and, having been to a few of them, you can definitely feel them. They seem to soak up everything into their very fabric, which is why I like the lines: ‘The theatre was very old and had consumed many a performance’ and ‘Theatre – storytelling – outs our soul.’ I love the rubble singing at the end!

  10. As for “Stay Home,” you have a touch of Rod Serling and with “All the World’s a Stage,” I like the idea of the spirits of the performers echoing from the rubble of a fallen theatre. The play must go on, eh?

  11. Love the twists and turns in your first poem. Your second scenario was so vivid, I could see and hear it.

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