Losing His Religion #writephoto

This week’s #writephoto prompt is

Godfrey Dankgutter hadn’t ever regretted his decision to become a Buddhist, even when his third plane of existence had turned out to be a dung beetle. He was one of the fortunate ones who’d avoided a sense of smell. Now, three planes on and here he was, a swan, gracefully swanning about on the River colostomy with barely a care. He tried whistling – last time he’d been a whistling cockroach and had been pleased to master his second octave before an untimely death under a size eleven – but swans appeared to want to hoot. Perhaps, next time he’d acquire lips. Now…

‘Hello, who are you?’

Godfrey looked about. It took him a moment to spot the source of the question. A rather asymmetric man wearing a knitted vest, woollen socks and a pair of ludicrously wide shorts. He also appeared to be pushing a bicycle, laden with four panniers. Godfrey ignored him and allowed the current to take him under the bridge. He had to be talking to someone…

Godfrey started and paddled backwards as the man’s face, necessarily upside down, not that it seemed to make a lot of difference to the positioning of his features, appeared from the apex of the bridge. ‘Yes, you. Mr. swan. I’m talking to you.’

Godfrey held his position, halfway through the bridge despite the rapacious current doing its best to drag him into the man’s face. He seemed to be wearing a pair of dense glasses and on his head he had knotted the four corners of a white handkerchief. Momentarily Godfrey marvelled at the cotton’s adhesion; why didn’t it fall into the river?

‘Strategic bogeys.’ The man smirked. ‘I can hear your thoughts.’

No, you can’t, thought Godfrey.

‘Oh yes, I can. Think something and I’ll tell you what it is.’

You’re a complete pillock.

‘Possibly but I prefer the appellation ‘prannock’ if you don’t mind. Now we’ve established my mind sensing proclivities, perhaps you’d tell me your name.’


‘Sorry. What with the echo and the water and being a little deaf, I’d prefer it if you’d think you answer.’

Godfrey stopped paddling and ducked under the man’s head. What a waste of…

Everything went black. It took Godfrey a moment to realise the adhesion of the man’s handkerchief wasn’t all it was cracked up to be as it enveloped Godfrey’s head… and a second moment to contemplate how proximate Godfrey must now be to the glutinous bogeys… In an understandable panic, Godfrey flapped and flummoxed and crashed into the brickwork on the edge of the bridge.

He was vaguely aware of a searing pain, two hands lifting him from the water and a strange bobbling motion.

When the fog cleared, his situation became apparent. He was seated across the man’s front panniers and they were freewheeling down a short hill. His left wing drooped rather lamely.

Where are we, he thought?

‘Specifically you are south south west of Newton Abbott. More generally you are on a bicycling tour of Cornwall, taking in Bude and Looe. Isn’t this fun?’

It’s an effing disaster.

‘Oh, now I think that’s perhaps a tad ungenerous. We Buddhists need to support each other.’

You’re a Buddhist?

‘Oh indeed. That’s why I can read your thoughts. I’m on a higher plane of existence.’ The man whistled, much like an old fashioned kettle with borderline personality disorder might whistle.

Godfrey winced.

‘In fact,’ the man continued, ‘I believe I have attained the highest plane.’ He adjusted his spectacles, which made his eyes seem to be permanently expanding like two demented universes and patted his handkerchief now back on his head.

Godfrey held the man’s hypnotic gaze, before shaking it away. I’m rethinking my religious choices.

‘Really? And where might that take you?’ The man began to breathe more heavily as the road began to climb.


‘Oh and any reason?’

Godfrey stretched his one good wing and toppled off the bike, down a bank and into the water. They’re not big in Cornwall…

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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31 Responses to Losing His Religion #writephoto

  1. Brilliant flow of fantasy from a warped mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KL Caley says:

    How do you remember all these words Geoff, you must have such an impressive vocabulary, I bet you are a hoot! I had to google Zoroastrianism but it sounds really intriguing – ‘the first ecological religion’. A brilliant story as always. You have such a brilliant way with dialogue. Thank you so much for another brilliant #writephoto entry. KL ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. elegancesicy says:

    Hilarious! Thanks for the Sunday morning read 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sadje says:

    Hilarious story Geoff

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m worried about Godfrey. That droopy wing could drag him under!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. tootlepedal says:

    More interesting than the church service which I attended this morning

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How often the word incorrigible comes into my mind when I read your pieces, Geoff. I live your humour.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. willowdot21 says:

    Brilliant as always the wonderings of a madman!! …but I have no room to talk 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: #WRITEPHOTO – Swan by Geoff Le Pard – New2Writing

  10. willowdot21 says:

    See Swans do talk in the other universe, but he should not be here in ours….and I could of sworn his name was Geoff!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: #Writephoto Round-Up – Swan – New2Writing

  12. Jemima Pett says:

    Love it. Now, if you could write a book called ‘The Zoroastrian Swan’ I could read it and add it to my alphabet reading challenge. That would help make it a hit, anyway 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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