Slice of Life Story Day 10 In the Marketplace

It’s midweek market day in my home town of Mornington. Stall holders are spread along the entire length of the town’s main street. The market is held every week. It’s seems like its always been there. Prams and pedestrians jostle for space on the pavement in front of the shops. The stallholders have taken over much of the available space, so negotiating through the human tide is a struggle.

I am walking In the midst of the crowd as a small boy maybe six years old makes a spontaneous, and somewhat inappropriate decision.

Before anyone can say ‘No!’ he places both hands on the ground and launches into his best imitation of a handstand. Momentarily he pauses, shoes pointed towards the heavens, before his legs commence a slow and inevitable downward arc to reconnect with the pavement. As he returns to his previous upright position and valiantly tries regaining composure, his slicing feet barely miss a fellow market goer who is forced to avert her head to avoid being pole-axed.  Head successfully averted, she moves on without speaking. She doesn’t even bother to look back at the boy.  Does she realize how close she came to a wipe-out?

At this point, the boy’s mother moves quickly alongside the misguided gymnast and offers timely words of wisdom. ‘It is probably not the time nor place to be doing handstands. Think about where you are. You’re very lucky you didn’t wipe out that lady with your flying feet. Please walk like everyone else.’

 The child is now very aware of his place. He conforms, -adjusting his behaviour to imitate those around him. He walks on, just like the rest of us.  He’s probably feeling a little bored by his mother wish for him to be normal.  Kids rarely think about potential consequences. They feel an urge to do something –and then it happens!

I suddenly shiver. Hmm, I think I just travelled back through time. I’ve still got the scars to prove it.


  1. Acting before thinking...who has not done this in their lifetime? It is not just children who do this, I see adults commit the crime, daily. Great description of the market. It makes me long for summer so I can attend the farmer's market here on our mall.

  2. Your word choice is so perfect at creating the images in my mind. Love mother's comment, especially "flying feet." What an effective ending, you left me wondering what you did. Maybe a future slice?

  3. Quite a snapshot in time. I could see this as an introduction to a story. I liked "flying feet" and how you set up the scene. Enjoyed your writing.

  4. Time and motion stood out for me in this story. Your word choice and organization on the page had me both strolling and flinching reflexively -"I am walking in the midst.." "he launches.." "downward arc.." "pole-axed"

  5. Alan --
    I enjoyed the way you connected today's Slice with your past. Perfect.

  6. Clever man, bringing forth a past event of your own and dragging the true identity to the very last sentence. Some of the most interesting and breath taking writing occurs this way. So simply described, you allowed us readers to admire and gush about the idea of a market place and the atmosphere attached. Well done!

  7. Ah, I love little boys. So free. So in the moment. So spontaneous. Sometimes I wish I had my crew of three back around me like small hovering satellites, flying out into space on their little missions. But they are all grown and gone now, with children of their own. Luckily I now have small grandsons and I revel in their spontaneity!

    Elizabeth E.

  8. I was feeling that little shiver, too, Alan! I really liked this slice. I could see that boy and his wonderfully spontaneous (and dangerous) handstand. Thanks!


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