Tuesday, May 14, 2013


no smoking, by Togan Gökbakar


"See here, can't you read pictograms?  No cameras allowed."  The old man waved his cigarette at a sign on the wall.

The girl skidded to a stop and squinted up at the slashed red circles.  She looked at each in turn, lips moving soundlessly.  The old man chuckled, and his wife shook her head over the illiteracy of the young.

Then the girl pointed at the sign herself.  "That's not a camera.  It's suitcases that aren't allowed."  She glared and raised her camera again.  "Caught you red-handed."


The old woman pulled her sleeves down over her scarlet gloves. 

The old man was unperturbed.  "This is a transportation center, young whippersnapper.  Of course our bags are allowed.  But your roller skates are not."

"Roller skates are a perfectly good form of transportation.  Environmentally sound, you know?  Unlike train engines, with all their smoke.  Look at the sign.  That's no roller skate, it's a steam locomotive that's not allowed.  Nasty things."

The man laughed aloud.  "No locomotives?  In a train station?  That's absurd!  But you have no business bringing that dog here."

The girl snorted.  "My dog is a hardworking husky.  He has every right to be here.  The sign is about little sausage dogs, like your wife has in her prohibited suitcase."

The old woman pushed the torpid pooch further down into her purse.

"And you're smoking cigarettes," the girl said triumphantly.  "That's four for four, as you're waiting for a locomotive and all."

The old man growled, but his wife nudged him.  "She has a point, dear."

"That's not a cigarette on the sign," he sputtered.  "That--that--that's the plume on your ridiculous hat!  Not allowed.  Get out of here!"

The girl raised an eyebrow.  "I was just leaving when you interrupted me."

She took one last snapshot of the fuming old man and his uneasy wife.  Then she adjusted her feathered cap, took a firm grasp of the husky's reins, and shouted, "Mush!"  The big dog sprang into action, leaping down to the tracks and racing away.  The girl yodeled with glee as she rolled along, her feather streaming behind like a peacock in flight.


  1. Just yesterday I was reading the operating instructions for something--maybe my printer--and they comprised three drawings that I couldn't understand, accompanied by a text in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese. I'm not sure about the French, but the others all said "Please follow instructions carefully."

    But some pictures are worth ten thousand characters. I'm glad you're able to figure out what the equivalent words for odd photos are.

  2. Sprightly, nimble, quite entertaining...

  3. This is quite the fanciful story! My mother used the term 'verboten' when she wanted to make a point and my father used 'whippersnapper' as a term of endearment ... can you guess how much I enjoyed your Magpie Tale?

  4. I enjoyed this so much! Especially yodeling as she mushed away! Fabulous!

  5. The illusive snapping sausage dog.
    Carrier of unknown disease!

  6. Really fun and charming! A perfect match to my "grandparents"..they could teach yours how to relax!!

  7. I'm blowed if I can work out those cryptic signs - apart from no dogs and no smoking!

  8. Very entertaining and very charming =)

  9. This is delightful. You are one talented lady.


  10. This is so inventive. I am smiling ear-to-ear!