Friday Fictioneers – Well off out of it

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!


Well off out of it

Magdalena watched as Jose vomited. His limbs shook. His eyes wandered. It was the second time he’d been poisoned by insecticide. Magdalena prayed he wouldn’t die.

At last the spasms eased. Jose lay down. He slept.

Magdalena slipped out of their hut and walked to the plantation office.

“You want your pay now, in cash?” The overseer’s face was ill-tempered.

“My husband’s pay, too. We must leave tomorrow; it’s an emergency.”

“You’ll have to make it worth my while…”

Magdalena scrutinised his leering face.

“Cash first,” she said.

Next day, she and Jose were on the bus back to Nicaragua.

InLinkz – click here to join the fun!

39 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Well off out of it

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reading of my story. You’re right that this is happening, principally in Costa Rica with Nicaraguan workers. It looks to be mostly driven by our supermarkets. Many workers are poisoned, some of them fatally.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Your story sounds much closer to truth than fiction. Exploiting workers has been going on for a very long time. Nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it as long as they have their perfect produce in their perfect stores.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Lisa. I’m afraid you’re right; this story is based on fact. Unless we become very politically active, it’s hard to know how to make a difference. I try to shop ethically, but retailers don’t provide details of the provenance of their goods so what do you do?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Keith. Although this story is entirely fictional, I could believe that it’s true even in small details. This sort of exploitation occurs in vast numbers across the world.


    • Thank you for commenting, Oneta. Maybe you’re right that they wouldn’t have suffered this particular horror, but human exploitation is everywhere. Nicaragua is an extremely poor country, with very few opportunities. Indeed, it would have been an Nicaraguan supplier of workers who arranged the work for Jose and Magdalena. And at first view, it looks as though they should have been alright. The wages seem to be decent. But they’re expected to work 80 hours a week. If they use more protective clothing than the overseer deems necessary, the cost is deducted from their wages. They are obliged to work nightshifts. In the dark, you can’t see and avoid the snakes; 3 people died in one year through such snake bites.
      Poverty like Jose and Magdalena’s is baked into the global model of trade, and it’s next to impossible for them to escape.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Penny, I recognize the truth in what you say and I see the temptation to escape the bad conditions. But the able bodied citizens of some of those countries need to rebel against the tyrants in their own lands. I know talk is cheap, especially if the guns have been confiscated. America fought a war of rebellion. Where would we be if she had not. Of course, she had guns. As I said, talk is cheap. But there has to be an answer beyond the confines of America.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peace ~ or may you find yourself starving, shelterless and hopeless, as our own American big money concerns have left whole populations all over the world.

        Let your child be wasting away for lack of food and medicine, while someone tells you it’s your fault for seeking out a little hope.

        Shame on you.


      • Dear Ana
        I think it’s obvious that my story deplores the conditions under which Jose and Magdalena worked. I agree with you that it is multi-national corporations who are responsible – which makes all of us who benefit complicit in these crimes.
        Nevertheless, I doubt whether the violent solution suggested by Oneta would work.
        Remember, too, that this is a site for writing short stories; I have no wish to start a war of words with anyone.
        I will, therefore, wish you peace, Ana
        Penny xx


  2. An extremely story so very well written. Desperate people seeking to survive, or make their lives better, are the most vulnerable to abuses. Thank you for your story and bringing to light this specific issue. If we know, we can act accordingly.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The tragedy of their situation and Magdalena’s determination to overcome it are brought to life in this. So powerfully portrayed – the dialogue, the overseer’s ‘leering face’ – brilliant.

    Liked by 2 people

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