Crocodile Row: Random Generator Short Story Challenge
Another Stab at Writing
It's been so long since I've written a short story...or at least it feels like it! I thought I would take another crack at one of my very own prompts from my book 45 Writing Prompts for Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Writers. Since I completed an Advance prompt for my last story, Benson Beach, I thought I would make it a bit easier this time with an intermediate prompt.
Words: proposal, safari, occasion
Phrase: What am I, chopped liver?
Character: Nigel McKnight
Word Count: 1600-1700
Do you know what kind of story you would create with the prompt above?
He wrapped his arms around her whispering in her ear. She turned; her brilliant smile bright against the hazy dry land laid out before them. She gazed into his eyes the smile slowly fading as she pressed her lips to his mouth grabbing him in a long embrace.
Nigel, disgusted by what he was witnessing, spit a large chunk of tobacco juice into the wind. The couple, a few hundred yards from the Jeep didn't seem to mind if they were putting on a show for him. Having seen enough, Nigel diverted his attention to the surroundings with his hand gripping the rifle resting on the hood of the vehicle. Not a single morsel of rain had touched the safari in months. Desperate wildlife would soon be flocking to the area for the little water that was left at the bottom of the cliff the couple now watched over. Besides some brave souls during the rainy season most animals avoided this part of the land. It wasn’t called Crocodile Row for nothing. If it wasn’t for the sweeping river, which in itself could kill anyone or anything that took a wrong step, the hundreds if not thousands of crocodiles waiting below the water’s surface would get ya.
That’s what Nigel's website said anyways, and one of the reasons his guiding services specializing in honeymoons, proposals, and other romantic occasions was sold out at least 2 years in advance. It wasn’t how he had planned to spend his life, but it paid the bills for the last 12 years. In fact, he was once happy like the couple who were now peering over the edge witnessing the crocodiles whose large bodies were becoming more visible with the lowering water levels.
Fourteen years back and freshly off the plane, he bought a beat-up old Jeep with the last bit of crumbled bills in his pocket. Nigel, only having one real dream in life, was determined to live out his childhood fantasies of exploring the safari and experiencing the fascinating wildlife living within it. As a boy, it was the only thing he cared about. And so, him and his new living arrangements bounced down the dirt road excited about his newfound future.
It had only been few weeks when he stumbled upon a quaint village where a generous family was kind enough to let him work their fields for a free meal or two. As he was coming back, exhausted from the heat of the day, Nigel spotted her. There, standing in the village center stood the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Her smile contagious to those walking by.
“Nigel McKnight,” he stuck out his hand not taking his eyes off her face.
“Jenny Ford,” she mirrored. It was the only words they spoke as they stood in silence for what felt like eternity, hands still intertwined. With a little dart of the eyes towards the Jeep it was all Nigel needed for Jenny to follow. Her quickly jumping in the passenger seat while he ignited the engine was the beginning of wonderful night romping in the sheets together. Come morning, Nigel knew he could never let this girl go. She was his.
Sipping their morning coffee, Jenny revealed She had only landed a few days prior and had a very similar dream of traveling across all of Africa.
And so, they did.
Their days were spent adventuring from one new site to another while the nights were spent entangled. It was all anyone could ever dream but after a year and a half, bickering slowly began creeping in. Then, the bickering became full on arguments. Never once had Nigel laid a hand on a woman but there were times he wished he could knock some sense into her.
“It’s always about money you know,” in the early morning light, Jenny sat on the edge of a cliff they discovered and liked to called Crocodile Row. Nigel sitting beside her thought back to the night before. The argument was the worst by far and she was right, the arguing was always about money. The nostalgia of traveling the continent of Africa was wearing off. The constant heat, unknown of when they would get their next meal or shower, and being cramped in the jeep all day was taking a toll. Even though he loved Jenny, love was not enough to survive.
They sat in silence for some time watching the sun rise further into the sky and every once in a while hear clashing of two crocodiles going at each other down below.
Deep in thought, Nigel recoiled when Jenny suddenly gasped jumping to her feet, “I got it!” She charged to the vehicle tossing to the side any unwanted items. Producing a pen and notepad she scribbled furiously. Not having seen Jenny act in such a manner, Nigel walked behind her looking over her shoulder in curiously. At the top of the page, written in all caps, Nigel read LOVE IN AFRICA with a list following.
She whirled around surprised to see Nigel so close. “I got it!” She held the notepad to his face, chest heaving and grinning like no other.
“That’s what you said,” he smirked taking in her excitement and grabbing the list from her hand. Quickly scanning it, he realized the list consisted of every off the map site they had stumbled upon during their time together. The best one in fact, Crocodile Row being placed at the top of the page.
“It’s all our favorite spots.”
Nigel listened intently as Jenny went on to explain her idea. They would start a guiding company around Africa specializing in romantic getaways with never-before-seen sites. The raw and real Africa. For the operation, she would manage the behind the scenes, and he would handle the actual guiding and knowledge of the land. They could actually make money doing exactly what they do every day.
After her spiel, Nigel stood in silence looking back at Crocodile Row. It was one of their favorite spots because no one else had known about it. They had spent may countless, romantic nights at the edge of that cliff, but if he wanted to keep having nights like that with Jenny, he knew they needed to make a change.
“Okay. I'm in.”
It wasn’t long before their business Love in Africa hit it big. The money was rolling in and both of them were happy. Every week they had a new couple to whisk away on the same romantic adventure they had experienced in the first year and a half of their relationship. But like that first year and a half, the problems began to arise. Unlike before where they were constantly together, Nigel was spending more time away with the high paying clients than from the gorgeous home they were finally able to afford. When he was home, Jenny was off promoting the business in Europe where most of their targeted audience lived. They no longer had time to adventure out on their own and their most cherished spots were now stained with the memory of clients or newcomers as word got around of these special spots.
The problems had been set aside until about 7 months back when they saw a dip in interest. The business had taken over their lives and their relationship. Bigger and better guiding packages throughout Africa were popping up stealing their potential clients and the money they were living off of was fading fast. Once again, they needed a change. It was time to leave Africa.
Their end goal, give a final big push with potential clients, save enough money to move, and begin fresh in Europe where both of their families resided.
After the conversation, Jenny left for Europe to promote Love of Africa for the last time. Nigel hadn’t seen her in over 6 months while he took care of everything back at home. This couple, being the last clients they would have to deal guide for, was their way out of Africa.
Nigel glanced at his watch. It was about time. When he looked back up he saw the women began tickling the man. They giggled and laughed but scooted ever so slightly closer to the edge with every teasing poke. Nigel stood up straight heart beginning to race. Without hesitating Nigel sprinted for them as he saw the women loose her balance teetering backwards grabbing for the man who reached out for her. Catching his arm, she propelled herself forwards twisting her body past his and with the other arm shoved with all her might. The man screams echoed down the cliff as he fell into the watery depths below.
Nigel skidded to a halt as he reached the women. Peering down the man who had just been there seconds ago was nowhere in sight. Nigel’s chest heaved processing what had just happened.
“Whooooopie!” He let out in excitement. “You did it! You did it!” He paced back and forth laughing hysterically. "You really had me you know. I thought you were really in love with him for a second there."
As Nigel leaned in for a kiss, he realized tears are forming in Jenny’s eyes.
"What am I chopped liver?" Nigel stepped back spiting another chunk of tobacco. When she didn’t say anything, he knew. Quickly grabbing her by the upper arms he leaned her over the cliff’s edge. Jenny struggled, fear coming to her eyes as she looked into his. “I told you all those years ago I would never let you go, and I meant it. So don’t get any bright ideas, sweetheart.”
Jenny nodded her head in agreement. Nigel pulled her in pushing her towards the car, “Now let’s go get that insurance money.” It was the last time they would see Crocodile Row.
I can tell I'm a little rusty since it's been some time, but I did enjoy this writing process and the overall story. This is one I could see becoming a short film if fleshed out a bit more. What do you think?
If you are wanting a writing challenge, go check out 45 Writing Prompts for Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Writers for only $8.99 on Amazon!