You Can’t Be Too Careful #carrotranch #morganandlogan

This week, hot from the Ranch we have an abandoned suitcase

July 26, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what happens next to a stranded suitcase. Go where the prompt leads you, but consider the different perspectives you can take to tell the tale.

‘What’s that?’

‘A suitcase.’

‘I know what it is…’

‘Why’d you ask?’

‘What are you doing with it.’

‘She asked me to watch it.’


‘The woman who asked me.’

‘Are you nuts. It might be a bomb.’

‘She looked nice.’

‘Or a body…’

‘Green eyes…’

‘Or laundered money…’

‘Home-knitted cardigan…’

‘Or drugs…’

‘Though her shoes seemed ill-fitting…’


‘You know, like she got them cheap…’


‘And wouldn’t admit she’d made a mistake…’

‘A mobile crystal meth lab…’

‘And it was too late to take them back…’

‘Blood diamonds… ill-fitting shoes?’


‘My mother?’

‘She’ll have a latte.’

These days we are constantly reminded about the risk of abandoned luggage, bags left on seats or propped against walls. Potential terrorists are everywhere. Back in the 1980’s the terrorists weren’t suicide bombers but Irish Republicans. Their early receptacles of choice for their bombs were waste bins so these were removed and stayed removed until long after the threat had receded to nothing. It can still be a challenge on a  station to find a bin, unless it is for recycling – on the sound premise that terrorists are instinctively green so wouldn’t want to disrupt recycling. After all, what’s the point in undermining democracy if there’s no planet left to inhabit?

I can cope with the paucity of bins, however. What drives me slightly bonkers are the messages that are broadcast, all emanating from the Mad-Eye Moody school of bloody irritating ‘Constant Vigilance’. The latest ubiquitous teeth-grater is on London Transport’s many stations and depots, admonishing us to watch out for unattended bags and packages, recommend we note said dubious suitcase, tell someone and go about our business. It’s either that or turn into an emotional jelloid and run screaming from wherever we’ve been standing, advising one and all that we are ‘All Doooomed’.

This helpful suggestion ends with a catch phrase to rival Beanz Meanz Heinz for cheesy bum-clenchery and the power to render the listener impotent with fury. It goes:

See It, Say It, Sorted.

Who comes up with this alliterative dodos doodoos? Initially I thought it was 

See It, Say It, Sort It

Because that seemed to flow better. But then I considered how strange it was that, having been told to tell someone in authority, I was now to sort out the problem myself. Like listening to a badly articulated lyric in an ear-wormy pop song, I strained to work out what the last line was. It was oddly satisfying when (a) I realised my mistake, but (b) even more irritating that the cretinous ignoramus who wrote it should end with something as glib as ‘sorted’. 

But that is as nothing to the middle part. ‘Say it’. It is such an inapt expression. You tell someone to ‘say it’ if you want them to spit it out which, in context, is daft. If someone is coming to you with a message that there is a rogue parcel on your station, you’ll really help them if you demand they speak. Or maybe they fear people will turn up and begin to mine a bomb. 

Of course it should be

See it, Tell Someone, Thank you

But that’s not so jingly, is it? 

And you know what? As this rant shows, it’s now as much part of my DNA as my ability to fart on cue and a congenital loathing of grapefruit. I can no more unknow this than I can forget the sequence of stations that is recited on my way home when departing of Victoria station (Brixton, Herne Hill, West Dulwich, Sydenham Hill, Penge East…). Or the Shipping Forecast (Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth, Biscay…). Or the Top Cat theme song (Top Cat, the most effectual Top Cat whose intellectual close friends get to call him TC Providing it’s with dignity…). These have seeped into my consciousness without any deliberation on my part. Cut me open and vinyl will fall out. Just Mind The Gap…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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34 Responses to You Can’t Be Too Careful #carrotranch #morganandlogan

  1. Allie P. says:

    The story is hilarious. Ugh, I know what you mean about the constant vigilance reminders. I one time thought I might do a little writing as I waited by an airport gate. Silly me. Every two minutes it was another announcement as to what I should do if I spotted someone acting odd. I realized as I became more and more frustrated that my scowling face and sporadically mad key strokes (not to mention the fist of fury I waved at the intercom system) might have gotten me on a few people’s radars.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Love your flash, and your rant.
    I have to say Bluewater’s take on terrorist safety kinda geared. There are now no bins around the centre in case someone drops a bomb in.. so, where d’ya put your litter???

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I know…. we should take it all home of course but, really, how likely is it…


      • Ritu says:

        Never… The little piles of rubbish in silly places hopefully will prompt them to set up a few bins! (And I don’t mean I am being bin vigilante and setting up trash traps!!! You just see rubbish in stupid places because no one wants to cart it around!)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very funny, Geoff. I’m much more concerned about the ill-fitting shoes. How is she going to romp through the airport from one gate to another with those shoes? And could it be an indication of other inappropriate clothing she has stuffed in her bag? Where is the fashion police when you need them?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, a flash and a rant! Funny stuff.
    Maybe the last word was sordid.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We had a suspect package in the bank and were evacuated as The Plod came and examined it. Turned out to be some guys fish and chips.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Actually – I was half expecting: “See it. Say it – sordid.” But perhaps you rejected it for cause.

    And then you follow that up with the retro-reference back to our childhood – The Top Cat theme. Now that’s going to be stuck in my head for the day. I believe TC came from our side of the pond. Apologies for that. It was meant in fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Erika Kind says:

    That development is sad because the people are those who get limited because of a possible threat and fear is always knocking on a door in your head.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. JT Twissel says:

    So easy to go overboard, isn’t it? Henny Penny, the sky is falling.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great rant! Personally I believe it is all part of a global conspiracy to keep everyone in a state of cancer inducing fear, spawned of course by the pharmacological congress. That’s my contribution to the world of Conspiracy Theories. 🙂 I was around various London and Canterbury stations at the time of the bombings and can remember wading through all the litter on the ground when all the rubbish bins had been removed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. willowdot21 says:

    Mind the Gap …. I used to think the gap was a wild and ferocious creature that line in the tube tunnels! Until the day my poor mum fell down the gap at Acton Town! 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mick Canning says:

    It is indeed a bloody irritating phrase, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ellenbest24 says:

    Dear Geoffles, as usual you pen a good flash. But I belly laughed at your rant. I called, ‘mind the gap’ as the husband stepped off the decking onto the lawn. I caught myself several times this-morning singing 1960 and 70’s advert jingles and cartoon songs.🎵🎶 ‘Hehe,hehe, that’s all folks!’ 🎶🎵🎶 keep keeping on Geoffles with fortitude and valour. 🙃🤑😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Norah says:

    Love your story and your rant, Geoff. It seems crazy. I don’t know how many of us still don’t know to not leave our bags unattended or they’ll be blown to smithereens. The dialogue rings true. I’m not sure how ‘he’ worked out it was his mother. Clever anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Charli Mills says:

    Snappy dialog and then the dawning — ill-fitting shoes. And I didn’t know about the trash bins (which is where that piece of marketing drivel belongs). The slogan makes no sense. If alliteration is necessary (which it isn’t) the slogan could be: See it, Speak up, Save the effin’ Day!

    Liked by 1 person

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