40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Compass – Miguel Trindade (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: The words ‘always smiling’, an object (a compass) and the song ‘Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald.’

Compass – Miguel Trindade

The dog seemed like always smiling.

It was rather curious, no one knew exactly why. The dog appeared many times by the door of the bar for food and company.

As far as I knew Tuna, named for no special reason other than preferring that fish over anything else, didn’t belong to anyone.

The owner of the bar a friend of mine, began to call him that two weeks after the beginning of summer.

It was hot as hell. And everything seemed to move slower.

Even the few cars that arrived at the village. They were followed by a twist of head from Tuna and immediately return to rest, with his head between his paws.

I looked at the time. The train was leaving tomorrow.

I felt with no energy, but I knew it was what I ought to do, Tuna was going with me, I had a tent, 2 grand in my pocket, one litter of water and a compass. With Plus the rest and my notebook it would not total for more than 8 pounds at my back.

I was as ready as I would be, to change my world, go swim at the lakes, and maybe, who knows, come back from the other side. From the West a few years later.

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

The Stopped Watch – Debbie Liebenberg (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: The words ‘blind in one eye’, an object (a stopped watch) and the song ‘Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald.’

The Stopped Watch by Debbie Liebenberg

An old man gazes out of a window as his grandson searches for a connection.

“Grandpa, your watch stopped working, here let me…”

“I know it stopped,” the old man barked as he snapped his wrist out of his grandson’s compassion.

“Oh, I, I thought you didn’t realize because…”

“BECAUSE I’M BLIND IN ONE EYE! Don’t be daft boy. I was born with this blindness.”

“Then why the stopped watch grandpa?”

“It’s a reminder Johnny, a reminder of when my life stopped.”

The young man sensed sorrow but he couldn’t let the opportunity to connect go by, “what happened?” he asked.

The old man interrupted his daydream with a sigh. As he closed his eyes he turned his face towards his grandson and began.

“It was 1945, summertime, and the living was easy. I was back home after months in the trenches. Our squad had been sent home for supplies and secrets. The war had been excruciating and it wasn’t over. I knew I would have to go back into battle soon and I didn’t expect to return. So many had died son. So much blood. The children…”

The old man seemed to crumple as he recalled the memories but then his spine shot up as he remembered…

“I decided to go out one night, enjoy the music as if it would be the last time I could. I went to the jazz club down at the docks and Ella was singing that night. My god was she beautiful. Her ebony hair mimicked her waving body as her voice bellowed beyond the borders. Her eyes glistened with enough hope and happiness for the both of us. Every man in that room wanted to be with her, and every woman wanted to be her. As she swayed and swooned her way through the crowd, the spotlight guarded her personal space, until suddenly, I was in the spotlight too. Ella put her feather boa around my neck as she sang the final words, “hush, little baby…don’t you cry.”

Good thing the spotlight turned away at that moment, because all of everything overwhelmed me at once and cry is exactly what I began to do. No one but the most noticeable girl in the room noticed. And she understood. She wiped my tears away, kissed my forehead and told me to wait for her at the back entrance at 9:00.

That was the last time I looked at my watch:8:25

As the moment passed I imagined our life together. I would run away from the war and we could soak up the summertime in love, in happiness…but then, “Sergeant Wilson!” the commander’s voice shattered my dream instantly. “They’ve launched a surprise attack. We need to leave at once.”

And just like that grandson, my life stopped, just as my little stopped watch and became nothing more than emptiness in a hard shell.


40 minutes stories · Short Stories

The White Dove Museum – Jakub Dohnal (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in one of our writing sessions based on writing prompts. The prompts for this story were the words ‘drug dealer’, ‘fish’ and ‘museum’. 

The White Dove Museum by Jakub Dohnal

Frank has never heard of the White Dove Museum. Not until he needed it the most. He had no idea such place can even exist. And at this very moment, he still doesn’t have any idea what to expect from it.

He was born four years ago to one of the most renowned households in the country. And the very same person that brought him to this world, was about to take him off it. But the person has decided to give Frank one last chance. And so, he was sent here.

As he got through the main entrance, having no idea what to expect, he immediately got dizzy. Miserable looking creatures everywhere around him. Broken wings, dirty feet, missing eyeballs…he didn’t know where to turn in order to escape the misery surrounding him. And so he flew into an adjacent room, only to get stopped in his track right in the doorway. Beautiful white statues everywhere. Some looked new, some a bit older, but all of them were completely untouched. Frank began to shake and feel the urge coming back.

But then, he felt someone lightly touching his tail feathers from behind. Frank frightfully jumped up and turned to see who approached him.

“Welcome to the White Dove Museum.” A confident, wise voice ringed from behind the man’s white feathery chest. “I’m Mr. White.”

“Who are you? What is this? I…didn’t expect this.” The words seemed to fall out of Frank’s beak and just shatter on the floor.

“I’m Mr. White. I am the director of this institution. And this is our ‘Temptation room’ for little birds like you. If you want to stop doing what you’re doing, you gotta learn how to say NO to your drug dealer.”

“Hold on…” Frank interrupted him “why is everybody so miserable out there? This place is beautiful!”

“Well, I’m glad you say that”, Mr. White responded calmly “but not everybody was sent here in their own will. And everyone you saw in the main lobby has a heartbreaking story in their lives. I think you’ll get to hear them all.”

Mr. White grabbed Frank by his wing and dragged him to a big hall with about two hundred chairs and a stage. “It’s time you share your story, Frank”, Mr. White said encouragingly.

The lights dimmed and Frank reluctantly stepped on the stage. In the crowd, you could hear nervous cooing, excited peeping and the occasional rude chirp.

„Hi, I’m Frank.“

„Hi, Frank!“, everybody replied.

„I have never been so ashamed of myself as I am today.”, he started to speak with a shaky voice. “I tried to keep clean so many times, but every day at work is just so tempting. I end up slacking, I end up destroying art and I end up pissing off people that are supposed to love and appreciate me.”

He stopped for a very long moment and looked around. It was difficult to make eye contact with anyone in the crowd, because all their eyes were facing sideways.

He took a deep breath and said more comfortably: “This was a line that I was told to deliver today. And I don’t know why. Can anybody tell me what is this place?”

A very fat albatross with a stick of smoked fish sticking out the corner of his beak stood up:
“Frank, thank you for your story. This is the White Dove Museum. A mental hospital for birds and other avians. It’s good to say what your owner told you to say, but perhaps you could tell who you are and what do YOU actually want.”

He straightened his chest and spoke up with confidence.
„I’m Frank. I am a homing pigeon. I shit on valuable art on my job. It’s makes me happy and I can’t help myself, but my owner thinks it’s disgraceful and wants to put me down. But I am a homing pigeon. And I want to go back home.”

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Hippie Farms – Roderick Mitchell Jr. (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in one of our writing sessions based on writing prompts. The prompts for this story were the words ‘radio’, ‘hippie’, ‘farms’

Hippie Farms by Roderick Mitchell Jr.

Sean looked at the barren patch of land he inherited from his recently deceased dad and let out a long sigh of exasperation. Acres and acres of dirt with only the barest glimmer of possibility were laid out before him. The land wasn’t unmanageable, soil quality and yield had never been a problem, but the work involved to make a decent living off of whatever was produced was a counter-encouragement to starting the entire process.

So naturally, the question became: what should he grow?

Sean walked across the old wooden planks of the farmstead porch, the ancient timber creaked underneath even his marginal weight, and turned on an old AM radio. As he tweaked the dial, the somber voice of a woman cut in and out of the static before it resolved into something much closer to clear.

“34598278,” she said, and then five heart beats later, “9902485.”

Sean closed his eyes and took in the sound of her voice as he breathed in the crisp nighttime air of the country side. As far as he could tell, and he expended a lot of energy thinking about the subject during his youth, the numbers were absolute nonsense. Theories abounded regarding their ties to soviet spies or american black ops operations, but he never subscribed to any of that. The entire purpose of the station was to have a laugh at people who constantly sought a deeper meaning into things.

Instead, he used her voice as a tool to meditate.


He pulled out a joint he had rolled earlier and lit it, drew in the smoke until his lungs felt ready to burst, and then exhaled at a steady pace.


The numbers were always 8 digits long. His dad’s cancer ate away at him for eight years. Calling it a coincidence was a stretch. There was no significance to the information, just an idle thought that he took in with a drag and exhaled with a long sigh.

But eight was a good number.


He looked out at the field again, his eyes transforming the barren expanse into eight distinct plots for each crop he planned to grow. It was plausible. The trick would be to find crops that were always producing a yield each season. Speciality organic crops that could be sold at a premium. He didn’t need much money personally, but the cost of maintaining the land would be high. A lot of farmers went into debt just paying taxes on land they already “owned.”


Another puff, another sigh. What about one crop that was grown cyclically? He could plant one crop in one plot, wait for it resolve, and then grown another, and another, until every 2-3 months he was pulling in the dough. He shook his head. The wait would be too long and he’d run the risk of not having enough yield soon enough to turn a profit. How had his dad done it? Growing corn every year and watching as his livelihood got trademarked, patented, and then sold back to him for more than the profit he’d gain in the first place.


Sean turned up the volume on the radio and stepped off the porch while kicking his shoes off of his feet. The cool feeling of grass met his soles before gradually turning into dirt as he walked onto the farmland. The somber voice of the woman still reached his ears, even from much farther away. He took another drag. His dad always hated his habit. Then he got cancer. Sean could still remember the day his dad gave him the news. He had to drive in from the city and was bitter about it. The internet was around exactly for situations like that.


It was sunny outside and his dad was sitting on the porch looking at his crop with a haggard expression. Sean had walked up and sat down next to him, wary of the silence. Finally, his dad looked at him and asked without any trace of irony, “Got a joint? I hear it’s good for cancer.” Sean rolled one up, lit it, and took a drag before passing it to him. And that was all they ever said about the subject. For the next eight years, Sean would drive down every month and give his dad enough to get through the worst of it, and before soon, the worst was so bad not even that was enough.


What was he trying to accomplish? Did he really want the responsibility of a farm? The crushing weight of debt and unease at what the future would bring? Did he really want to live life away from the city he knew and loved for dirt and squalor? If being close to his dad was the only reason, in all honesty, he couldn’t even feel his dad’s presence here. Whatever the answer was, if he didn’t try, he would probably never find it. One year. Two Years. Three years. Even eight. Until he tried everything he could, he’d never really know what he wanted out of life.


Sean took in one last drag and threw the remains of his joint to the ground. As it fell, the seed of an idea took root in his mind and sprouted into full bloom.

He knew what’d he farm.

Competitions · Short Stories

Czech Tweet Competition: Tweets and Results

Brief: Share a “Czech experience” in tweet form (I.e. 140 characters).


Tweet 1 by Jakub Kovar

Fell on my ass. Got up and fell again. Worst of all – crowd of stupid teenagers laughed at me. #IHateSnow #IHateCobblestones #IHateThisCity

Tweet 2 by Roderick Mitchell Jr. 

Shoutout from #Jesenik! #amateurmushroomhunting #delicious

UPDATE: Should have brought a guide #tripping-balls #meltingsky #ohgodwhy

Tweet 3 by Carlos Alderete

The entire Moravian population amounts to nothing more than half a million inbred savages bristling for complexity & distinction. #czechness

Tweet 4 by Maria Karamanoglou

I don’t need glory.I’m happy doing my job.I’m an everyday person, a driver,I’ll placidly shut the door at your face when you enter the tram.

Tweet 5 by Polly Story-Lebl

Cobbles, Pokemon, and iphones equal scraped knees and twisted ankles #GottaCatchEmAll

Tweet 6 by Allie Ferguson

Hey @Zeman are you going to #MakePragueGreatAgain?


Judges: Seven judges were asked to choose their top three and points were given accordingly (1st – 3 points, 2nd – 2 points, 3rd – 1 point). The contestants will also receive feedback from all of the judges.

Results: Congratulations to RODERICK MITCHELL JR. !!!! 





Competitions · Meetings · Writing resources

NaNoWriMo – The ultimate creative writing challenge


Fancy yourself a writer? Dreamed of writing that book…one day…well why wait!

It’s time for the ultimate creative writing challenge during National Novel Writing Month.

Are you ready for this?!

On 1 November people from all around the world will start with the goal of writing a 50000 word novel by midnight on 30 November.

That’s right! You get to be part of an international movement to get writers all around the world to do what they do best… write! Sounds like a lot of pressure but get this…you aren’t competing with anyone but yourself. You can make use of support groups and motivational resources as much as you want  and you don’t even have to show anyone your work. All you have to do is write!

Keen?! Well sign up on the Nanowrimo website by clicking here. What’s more…it’s FREE!

I will also be starting a Scribbles & Giggles NaNoWriMo support group where we can:

  • Share our ideas and get feedback
  • Organize fun writing sessions and explore the cafes of Prague
  • Share resources
  • Give and gain support

Anyone interested? Please sign up to the Scribbles & Giggles NaNoWriMo group in our Facebook group.






40 minutes stories

40 minute story: ‘Cat’astrophic Events – Polly Story-Lebl

Note: This story was created in one of our writing sessions based on writing prompts.


Its hard to imagine the world before everything disappeared from all of the computers, phones, and internet. It was insane actually. One day people got up and there was nothing on the computer.  It didn’t even turn on. There was nothing on the phone, no numbers, no pictures. It was if it all just vanished into outer space.


How could this ever happen?  Who was responsible for this catastrophie? She knew. She had seen it coming for quite awhile. The internet had literally exploded all of the information on itself. She knew one day people would be so traumatized by the news that they would all log on to one cat video and it was just enough to trigger the shut down.


She wasn’t sure when she stumbled on to the feature.  Perhaps it was when she was stoned and had been watching hours of cat videos that she became aware that she was able to read the cats thoughts. Every cat video was telling her something. It was telling her that she should warn the people that ‘they’ didn’t like being made fun of. ‘They’ have finally masterminded a way to stop the insanity of people trying to find new ways to tease them just for the sake of filming.


The problem was, however, that every time she tried to warn someone about the cats, they would just laugh and show her another video. She also knew that a day would come soon that no one could stand to deal with life’s real issues and the only way they could feel better was to watch a cat video. She realized that this was the new addiction to calm people’s anxieties.


The days before the event that changed the world forever, she smoked a lot of pot. She didn’t want to watch them, but she had to figure out if there was something she could do to communicate with them. She even put on some cat ears and whiskers and filmed herself and posted it to you tube. She had a few views, but of course they were her friends and family. No cats.


One night, she thought maybe after getting high, that she could try to watch dog videos and see if they could help turn this impending doom around. Unfortunately, nothing came through. People just didn’t care that much about cute doggie videos enough to crash the internet.


The night before the world went crazy, she came across the cat video of the baby kitten sneezing and its arms would raise up above its head. It was so damn cute. She watched it a few more times and then she saw it. It was the number of views. It was not just increasing a few views at a time, but literally millions at a time. All at once, she realized it was the end of the world as she knew it. Her computer went blank. She picked up her ipad and it showed only an apple. Nothing more. Same with the phone.  She wasn’t sure how she would live. She wasn’t sure how anyone would live.


She felt sleepy, but at the same time couldn’t process reality. She didn’t even know how she would get up each day. She stared at the ceiling for hours. Trying to replay that cute kitty, but it was gone from her mind. Only emptiness remained.


When she began to wake up and make sense of her thoughts, she realized her kitten had been sleeping on her face. The sun made her sneeze and the kitten’s arms quickly went up.


Short Stories

This is Prague – Lucy Hadfield

It wasn’t long before I fell in love with Prague. It was fate that had brought me to this enigmatic city and like many others, I had stumbled upon this beautiful place unexpectedly and over time was finding myself becoming continuously attached to its slow paced, relaxed and in some ways, more backwards way of lifestyle that gives it that alluring, authentic and honest aura. Maybe it’s because of the history of this country, that its people are more compelled to lead a life that follows the mentality that ‘shit happens’ whereby ‘what you see is what you get’ and people don’t cut corners or find the time to be so judgemental in your style or way about life. Prague’s easy going and spontaneous rhythm of life style is one of its greatest characteristics that it effortlessly bestows, which had me captivated and has kept me fascinated.

Its aesthetic beauty gives it a dream-like and sentimental feel. The rich maroon red and orange rooftops clustered together against its mint green spires and turrets that stand disordered against the skyline, are constantly unveiled to the eye in the distance of every wide, hill-top road for which you stand. Dark outlines of its silhouettes stand out prominently, as if someone were to have withdrawn a black ink pen and traced a perfect line around the outlines of these gothic and baroque styled buildings against the blazing pink and orange sunset, that never fails to emerge at the end of a summers afternoon.

Its pastel colours of purple to pinks, to blues, greens and yellows spread themselves over the city, yet you always come to discover a difference between each building from the intricate hand painted décor, sculpture or statues, or its balconies occupied by its diverse inhabitants, each balcony exposing a trace of one of the intriguing characters lives that walks the cobbled streets below.

I see road workers, their hands as withered and as dry as a sanded desert head to toe in red work ovals; their long, wiry grey hair tied up behind their backs laying out cement on the newly made area of roads. They are pausing to have a break and seek shade, sitting along a wall next to one another, chatting, laughing sheltered by the trees, smoking cigarettes and drinking cans of beer.

I see elderly woman, sitting on street benches dressed in matching patterned skirts and blouses of vibrant patterns and colours, that look as if they were originally worn in the sixties. Clutching trollies of food shopping in one hand and sitting back watching the chaotic streets of rush hour that lie before them. There decrepit old faces are filled with nostalgia and resentment, looking confused and lost by the changing ways of life that surrounds them. You can see the frustration in those stubborn, beady eyes that dart across the array of passers by. Sometimes I would be on a tram returning from the centre of town and the same elderly characters would be found stationery in the exact same spot and two hours will have already passed.

I see the homeless hoarders, wondering the endless streets like lost souls. Pausing at every corner with their large, blue plastic bags, diving hungrily into bin after bin to dig out waste food, newspapers, clothes, books, blankets, kitchen appliances and later, I would spot these characters grazing in the blazing hot sun of Karlova Namesti Park. Lying beneath the patches of shade, their bodies curled up on their sides, clutching at their blue bags that behold all the possessions they own, guarding their life with their life whilst resting in the peaceful tranquillity of this space.

I see parks in every district I walk, beautifully preserved and looked after, with outstanding view points. Another effortless element this city adds to its charm.

I see groups of the youth, others that have just finished a long day’s work, runners, guitarists, ex-pats, groups of athletes and acrobat enthusiasts all gathered to take a beer, smoke a joint and watch the sun set against the viewpoint of the old city. Diverse crowds of people coming together to appreciate the beauty of this place as much as I.

And it is often happening, that I will find myself forgetting that Prague is a capital city which for me, is one of the most distinct and unique rareities it beholds.

Unlike any other capital city I have walked through, I don’t feel stressed by its people compared to other places where locals would barge past and hundreds of crowds of people will continue from morning to night to take up all the space upon the majority of the streets. One thing I observed that occurred to me during the first few months of my time here, was that the majority of the city was at its most emptiest and quietist on the weekends. This is because many shop owners and their families or partners will go spend their free time in their holiday houses elsewhere within the Czech Republic. As I have found myself walking through Zizkov or Vinohrady on a Saturday or Sunday, I was always curious as to why it was noticeably so much more quieter and subdued compared to weekdays, but after having asked a few locals, I soon understood why. This really put into perspective for me, how small this country of ten million is. Where would you find in any other capital city such a weekend as quiet as in Prague? The answer being, you wouldn’t.

The fact that this countries so undiscovered and low key and being in the very center of Europe fascinates me even more. It is still a hidden treasure for which I hope it shall remain to be. As locals inform me that Prague is continuing to expand in size, I am curious to see how or if it will change dramatically in years to come.

From its obscure, eccentric open minded people, to its well reserved outstandingly beautiful buildings both in the suburbs and inner city, to all the natural beauty in all of its parks and by the riverside, and to the creativity its inspired within me and that constantly surrounds me,

This is Prague.

Short Stories

The Eggs – Sandhira Chetty

I knew the first day of summer camp would be a success before it even started. I smiled as I wrote down the last few materials needed, picturing their elated faces when I announced that we would be constructing gingerbread houses, envisioning their hungry grins widening as they scrounged through the rainbow of sweets to adorn their biscuit-houses, my lip curling smugly as I foresaw them devouring their finished houses. I couldn’t wait.


The night before, I walked to a small supermarket to get the ingredients: M&Ms, chocolate-coated nuts, jelly worms, biscuits, marshmallows and miniscule edible stars and dinosaurs. As I picked each item, the delighted faces of my Korean middle-schoolers popped into my head. I would be a hero. The greatest thing since Psy. I walked like a champion to the till with my basket of goods.

On the way, I passed a hunched-over ajumma* who stopped in the middle of lowering a packet of sugar from the shelf to peer inquisitively into the foreigner’s basket. Her lingering eyes travelled from my basket up to my face. Her curiosity not satisfied, she then hobbled over, stopped inches from my face and raised her left hand slowly (her right hand still clutched at the packet of sugar). For one bizarre second I thought she was about to slap me. But she didn’t. She rested the back of her weathered hand on my face and gently stroked it. Her face creased into a warm smile as she did so and without saying a single word, she turned and continued with her shopping.

I gave myself a few seconds to let whatever just happened to me sink in and then proceeded to the till to pay. I left my browning-green 10 000 Won* note on the counter while the old cashier scanned all my items. Just then another ajumma appeared at my side and placed her goods and a 10 000 Won note on the counter just next to mine, completely ignoring the queue behind me.

Infuriated by the queue-jumping ajumma, I hastily shoved my items towards the cashier before the ajumma could, and somehow, by not-so-divine intervention, I mistakenly pushed the ajumma’s 10 000 Won note to the cashier instead of mine.

Not even my mother shouted at me like that ajumma did. She beat the air with her arms. She pointed fingers. She banged her fists on the counter. Neither of us listened to the other; she screamed at me in Korean while I apologised in English and Korean over and over again. I felt my face growing hot as the eyes of the old cashier and the other customers bounced between us. I didn’t know what was worse –

  1. Being scolded by a tiny ajumma
  2. Being accused of stealing 10 000 Won
  3. Being scolded for stealing 10 000 Won (a mistake), which could have been avoided had she not jumped the queue (not a mistake)


After about ten minutes of Charades in an attempt to explain my mistake, followed by more apologies, she finally gave up and left me alone. I paid (with my money) and left.


As I imagined, my kids’ eyes lit up when I walked into class the next day. They made a bee-line for the bulging packets clutched in my hands and in frenzied excitement spilt the contents on the table. But then their faces crumpled in confusion.

“Sam-Sam, where is eggs?”

My heart dropped to somewhere in the depths of my stomach. The eggs were still in the shop. I forgot the most important ingredient for their edible constructions; without the eggs the houses would fall apart.

My school was located in the sleepy Korean countryside. A one-way trip to the closest shop took 20 minutes. Their lesson was only 90 minutes long – I had no choice but to run. It was 32 degrees outside; sweat dripped from you when you stood in the shade. But I ran. And I ran. I didn’t stop running until I reached the small grocery shop.

I barged through the door clumsily as a result of my urgent running, making the sleepy shop keeper, who was literally busy killing flies, freeze and cast a terrified glance in my direction. Sweat streaming down my forehead and back like mini waterfalls, my hair sticking up at odd ends and my heavy panting filling the small, dark shop, I ignored his alarmed stare and frozen fly-swatter, and scanned the shop. I spotted an orange sack containing three eggs hanging by the counter and grabbed it. I could tell the shop keeper was terribly confused: the running, the barging through the door, the sweating and panting, only to grab a sack of three eggs?

“1000 Won,” he mumbled hesitantly as I laid the lonely sack of eggs on the counter.
One dollar. I opened my wallet and instantly felt my blood turn cold. I didn’t have the dollar. I hurriedly unzipped the coin section of my wallet and counted (and prayed):

100 Won, 200 Won, 300 Won, 400 Won, 500 Won…almost there, 600 Won, 700 Won…please God, 800 Won, 900 Won – bloody hell.

100 Won short. I looked at the shop keeper. He looked back.

Just then I felt the slightest tap on my shoulder. I turned my head, but no one was there. I looked down and saw a shrivelled man seated in a wheel chair that was far too big for him. He must have been at least 90-years-old, and it looked as if someone had soaked him in a bath for four hours. He had about five strands of white hair which were neatly combed to the side and his eyes were barely open as he stared at me. He was dressed in hospital clothes and he had a drip connected to his arm. I didn’t even hear him entering.

His tiny arm was outstretched towards me. I noticed it trembled slightly. Something was clenched in his fist. I held out my hand and he dropped it on my palm.

It was a 100 Won coin. I really didn’t want to take the ancient man’s coin. But I really needed those eggs. So I said “kamsamnida*” about five times and took it. And I got my eggs. Anyway, it would all be worth it when the kids made their gingerbread houses.

I ran back to school.

“I’ve got the eggs!” I yelled as I practically fell into the classroom.

I left the eggs on the table and flopped down in the nearest chair to catch my breath.

“Sam-Sam…this egg,” came the hesitant voice of one of my middle-schoolers.

“Yes, I got the eggs, now let’s START!”

“Ah, no, Sam-Sam, this egg…I don’t know English word.”

She took out her phone and typed the Korean word into a translating application. She handed me the phone.

“Boiled egg”.
*ajumma: old Korean lady

*10 000Won: roughly $10

*kamsamnida: thank you