#WEP/IWSG April Challenge – Freedom Morning

Crime never sleeps.

Post II in this year’s WEP/IWSG challenge and on the theme, the Year of the Art. As before, this theme ties in to my novella for last year’s challenges, the six-part story called Custody Chain’.

Although this year’s posts are not another ongoing case for Sparkle Anwyl and Kama Pillai of the North Wales Police, I’ve attempted something else involving them.

Another Snowdon Shadows novella was too daunting – and a commitment too far. Although I managed to eke out the end of ‘Custody Chain’ sentence by sentence, I wasn’t in the right space to do that again.

So, once more I’m going down the stand-alone path with my dynamic Welsh duo.

Apologies, the word count was over the limit – but then I over-edited it…………………. or something. With the deadline imminent, I’m resisting the urge to put the details back. Sorry.

If you wish, please comment, or suggest what could be missing.

Many thanks for reading. Please note, my writing situation is in a poorly state – more details here: https://rolandclarke.com/2021/04/07/iwsg-co-author-search/

As always, apologies if I’m slow to respond or slow to visit your posts.

Plus, ensure you visit all the other writers in this challenge via: 

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com

STIRRED EMBERS

2015

Saturday, March 21st

Kama slips a hand across the table, candlelight glinting on her teasing eyes.

She squeezes my fingers. “The other diners are too engrossed in enjoying the food. That’s why this is the best place to celebrate your 21st.”

“With promised enjoyments to come.” I kiss her hand.

“You deserve a weekend of pleasure, before returning to Detective Training. Not that you need any—”

I grin as she knows there were few setbacks.

Raised voices break our focus. Two couples are arguing from separate tables.

Amser ichi adael Cymru,” shouts a grey-haired man as his partner gesticulates.

A tweed-suited customer retorts, “Speak English – not your foreign gibberish.”

“You’re the damn foreigner. I said, ‘Time for you to leave Wales’- in Welsh.”

“This is our home. We’re staying. What can you do? Torch our house as you did thirty years ago? Hopefully, this time they’ll lock you up for good.”

The Welshman raises his fists. “Or I can—”

A colourfully dressed man intervenes. “If you can’t be civil to each other, I must request you leave my restaurant. Or I’ll call the police.”

“He started this,” shout both men. The owner holds them apart.

As they continue to quarrel, turning their abuse on the coloured owner, Kama and I cross over.

We show our warrant cards.

Kama tries to calm the situation. “If everything stops now, we can continue to enjoy what should be a relaxing evening.”

“You can’t understand. You’re like this darkie,” says the Welshman, “Another outsider.”

She laughs, replying in our mother tongue. “Cefais fy ngeni ym Mhontypridd – I was born in Pontypridd.”

“And my family have farmed here for centuries. We don’t condone arson, but this man has served his time—”

“—and you have a right to live here. Let’s all get on then”.

“Like you two dikes?” The English woman jabs a finger at us. “The police shouldn’t take people like you – slobbering across the table at each other.”

I suppress my frustration. “Shame you don’t respect the law – or the arresting officers. Incitement to violence is—”

The woman glances around the staring restaurant. She grabs her belongings and slips out, leaving her husband to pay.

One gesture from Kama, and the Welsh couple go as well.

“Thank you. I can do without customers like that. I thought I’d left prejudice behind in Trinidad. Having mixed race parents prepared me for the worst.”

“From the food, I’d say a fusion of African, Chinese, and Indian.” Kama points at the reproduction painting near our table. “And that.”

“Claude Clark’s Freedom Morning has guided my approach to life. Indirectly the reason I named this refuge Nalaikku—”

Tomorrow in Tamil,” we reply.

453 words FCA

For more on the theme of art, check out the amazing WEP/IWSG Challenges Calendar for 2021 with designs by Olga Godim:

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2020/12/announcing-wep-2021-calendar.html

For more on Claude Clark see:

https://www.claudeclark.com/

And for other April entries visit:

https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com

42 thoughts on “#WEP/IWSG April Challenge – Freedom Morning

  1. I am thrilled to see your fascinating couple return. And, as I step back from writing myself, (the beast and a mysterious ailment) I understand some of what it cost you – and applaud. Loudly. Longing for the day when prejudice is a historical footnote and no more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right, Olga, prejudice is pervasive everywhere. The fight has been going on for centuries in many instances – e.g. the English oppressing the Welsh ever since the 13th century occupation.

      Like

  2. Hi Roland. Yet another frightening look at prejudice in another setting. Loved seeing your police in this setting. When will prejudice end? Never, I suspect. There is a sad history of oppression between England, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish. Very ingrained attitudes are hard to overcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trying to find another setting for a painting sparked this, Denise – and the nationalist stances across the UK. Although my family is primarily English, we have enough drops of ‘other’ blood to avoid some attitudes – but not all.

      Like

  3. Very nicely done. I’m not sure what is missing, but I might like to see the less-cropped version. Congrats on pulling it off. I’m taking a pass this month, since I was on the Colorado River and out of touch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Sanhita. In this century, few are as ‘pure-blood’ as they like to believe/claim. Even then, we have no genuine reason to be prejudiced – and yet too often are…for stupid reasons. Anyway, mongrels are best 😉

      Like

  4. Hi Roland,
    The conflict among your characters is very appropriate for today’s world. Regardless, of which country one lives in, one will encounter the non-acceptance of human beings that may not look like them but we all have the same thing in common, and that is that we all bleed. Within our interior, our blood, heart, liver, etc are made the same way and if there is a need for a transplant, all one has to do is find the right donor, if one needs such an operation. It is sad but arrogance and pride have taken the forefront. Instead of loving our neighbors as ourselves, we are thinking of ourselves only.
    An engaging piece of writing.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well said, Pat – we all bleed. The UK, like many countries, is multi-ethnic and has been for centuries; even the so-called English are mixed-race – Angles, Saxons, Vikings, Normans, etc., all blended together. Yet nationalism in its nastiest forms is rife.

      Like

  5. Quite an unusual setting for the couple Roland. But I liked how you brought out a pertinent point of discussion in such few words and in an ordinary setting. No running after goons, for we are all guilty of these (what we presume) harmless prejudices but which run so, so deep. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, they eat Tamil food at home and Trinidad food has Indian influences, so a Caribbean restaurant seemed right for a celebration meal, Sonia. (We had a fantastic Jamaican restaurant where we lived in Wales – round the bay from Sparkle & Kama.) And an ideal setting for prejudice to run wild. I guess racists still eat ethnic.

      Like

  6. Hi Roland – certainly bringing the divisions that so easily occur, with people who cannot see beyond themselves. Well done – I enjoyed the tale and the setting … prejudice and overcoming it in a public situation is never easy. Great take on Claude Clark’s artistic work … thank you – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I will never understand the hate that exists. Cliques, tribes, races, hell, neighbors? What is it that makes us dislike so easily the person we don’t even know? Ingrained since time began and the strongest killed off the weakest to ensure survival? It will never make sense to me, it’s even invaded the holidays. If you don’t respond with the right phrase, lookout… Why, for heaven’s sake, WHY?
    Sorry, I guess your piece really raised my hackles! 🙂
    Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry for raising your hackles, Yolanda. But thanks for the comment. Hate seems to arise in so many ridiculous situations – like the holidays, as you say. I guess we are still surviving in our caves…or something…not evolving peacefully.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This was an enjoyable read and portrays the prejudice that exists in the world all too accurately. I wish people weren’t so hateful towards each other, but it’s an unfortunate reality. I can only hope we will, as a species, move past it one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The reality is a tragic aspect of our species, LG, although maybe we aren’t the only ‘tribally biased’ animal. Grey v red squirrels? But that may be more territorial?

      Like

  9. Wonderful entry, so many layers to it. So glad to see Kama and Sparkle again; this time taking on multiple forms of prejudices. I love the way they handled the situation. Perhaps one day, differences will be appreciated and or accepted, instead of despised and hated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kama and Sparkle had to return, Toi, as I need to keep developing their world, even if the novel is stalled. Writing this I realised how divisive the differences can get – nationalism, racism, sexism…and there are more. Ageism?

      Like

  10. “the coloured owner” – There’s an expression one doesn’t encounter as much anymore.
    The mango chow looks tasty.
    Fusion restaurants are where food tries to erase racism, but alas people aren’t ready for that yet. More about our differences than our similarities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was wary of using that expression, J., especially in the current climate. However, my sister’s husband is from a Caribbean family living in London and he identifies as ‘black’ and ‘coloured’. Diversity issues are delicate – as my research has shown. For instance, some lesbians call themselves ‘gay’, but others say ‘lesbian’. My character Kama is a ‘coloured lesbian’ – lol – although many Tamils could be called ‘black’.
      Finding tasty food is one of my quirks – one my mains share. I wonder what ‘fused’ Tamil-Welsh cooking is?

      Like

  11. Apologies if this is a duplicate comment.
    At least things ended on a pleasant note. One surely can do without such belligerent customers. They ruin the appetite with their odious ways!
    ~Cie from Naughty Netherworld Press~

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Well done, in a teeny word count. Too much prejudice is bad for digestion, glad the nasties left. I’d have liked to see the long version, I enjoy Kama and Sparkle’s company. They’re like old friends now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re not missing anything, Nilanjana. The longer version as cut/edited was extra phrases to add description or extra details. For instance, where Sparkle’s Detective Training was being held – Bangor – and when – six weeks. However, my research on that is ongoing as DT moved from Coventry to Bangor sometime in last five years.

      Like

    • Thanks Steph. It’s disturbing when such an argument erupts in real life. Apologies if the length meant I didn’t expand on the issues. Although some of the background is across my other Snowdon Shadows pieces, the burning of holiday homes in Wales during the 1970s is obscure…unless one was in the UK then.

      Like

  13. Pingback: #IWSG – Expectations Dashed | Writing Wings

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