Friday Fictioneer 100 Word Story: Safari


Simba, what lies over this ridge?” asked Sir Randolph of his safari head. “Might it be Where the Elephant Goes to Die?”

Simba’s eyes crinkled a smile. “Yes sir, this could be the place.” For seventeen months Sir Randolph had searched; success was now in his grasp.

He plunged excitedly ahead into a strange vista: sky suddenly black, clouds forming a tunnel to a distant star. Randolph saw no elephants as he felt himself inexorably sucked upward. In horror, he heard the fleeing Simba call from below:

Sorry sir, this is Where People Go to Die.”



  1. Dear Carlos,

    Ever heard the joke that ends, “Death by mambo!”? Your story reminded me of that old standby. I had a feeling he was doomed from the start. Very well done, especially the way you wove the picture into the end of Sir Randolph’s quest.

    • Thanks, Doug. I’ve never heard that joke; I only remember #37, # 262, # 93 and, of course, # 11. It was a joke-story, wasn’t it? Yet it was another death story from moi, something I seem not able to avoid but can only divert into humour. Is mambo the snake or the dance?

      • Three explorers are caught by a tribe of jungle dwelling primitives and are trussed up and brought before the head man for punishment for having dared to enter their territory without permission. A translator is brought forth (he travelled a lot as a child) and the explorers are told they have a choice of death or Mambo. When they asked what Mabo was the translator just shook his head and looked sadly at the ground. Despite this, as Mambo seemed preferrable to the alternative the first explorer asked what his decision would be chose Mambo. All the native gathered around screamed, “Mambo, mambo, Mambo” and dancing around them in a freny. The first explored was bent over a large tree stump, tied down and every adult male in the tribe proceeded to have anal intercourse with him. By the time this was over the first explored was a quivering shell of a man. When the second explorer was asked what his decision would be he remarked to the translator, “Can’t say as I like my options, old chap, but given the circumstances I take Mambo. Upon hearing this reply the tribe redoubled their screaming and dancing and threw the hapless man down on the stump, tied him up and had their way with him. In their enthusiasm the tribe left the second man near dead and neaarly disembowelled. He was dragged away and thrown under a tall tree nearby. The third explored had seen quite enough and when asked what his choice would be he stood tall and resolute and said, “I choose death.” The translator relayed the decision to the chief who raised his hands for quiet and spoke to his tribe. “The last foreigner has chosen death, and I therefore pronounce sentence in accordance with our laws. It will be death—Death by Mambo!” The crowd went wild, the translator whispered his fate into the ear of the last explorer who promptly fainted.

        (So that’s the ‘Death by Mambo’ story.

        This is simply turnabout because of the cryptic reply you recently left on my comment section re Doctor Hoffman. (I promise you I haven’t Googled him yet.) His descriptions have all the earmarks of LSD, one of the best recreational drugs ever invented, though I daresay they didn’t think so at the time. If that is how you experienced the first moon landing I envy you. Epic. Simply epic.

        Well, that was fun. Off to Goggle Dr. Hoffman now.

        Aloha Carlos and A hui hou.



      • Hi Doug, Now I understand Death by Mambo neither the snake (well, not that one), nor the dance. You surmised correctly about the Dr Hoffman quote, which I just came across coincidentally when wondering whether and how to answer you. I will be more forthright now: I, my then-girlfriend, now wife, her brother and a friend had spent the day in Marin County’s Muir Woods experiencing the revelations Dr Hoffman speaks of. We returned to our little mother-in-law apartment in SF, still in the latter stages of “inebriation,” switched on the old TV, and there was this blurry image of a figure in a space suit climbing out of a door, accompanied by indecipherable crackling speech-like sounds. Like the characters in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, we were asking “What’s he saying? What’s he saying?” None of us had any idea this was taking place on this day. We sat on our bed watching it for the rest of the day while our “inebriation” faded. In retrospect, I’m not sure which was more memorable for us, the day in Muir Woods or the man landing on the moon. In regard to your comment on LSD, Keith Richards, my nearly life-long hero, once said “What’s this about recreational drugs? They never shoulda let ’em out of the dressing room. For us, they were creational drugs.” It’s all been a very long time ago… Cheers, Carlos

  2. Thanks, Doug. I’ve never heard that joke; I only remember #37, # 262, # 93 and, of course, # 11. It was a joke-story, wasn’t it? Yet it was another death story from moi, something I seem not able to avoid but can only divert into humour. Is mambo the snake or the dance?

    • Thanks, Rochelle. I have a friend, a poet, who maintains that unless literature is about death, love or God, it is consigned to Grade B status – where he would put Dickens and Orwell. He has a point, but then he is a Catholic, not known for their social writing. But death comes to us all; pretty universal unlike, say, fascism, which only comes to most of us.

    • Lion King? Oops, I’ve never seen that. All I know about it is that there was a dreadful, dreadful song nominated for an oscar. One of the gaps in my education, I suppose, along with Winnie the Pooh stories (never even heard of them until I was well into my 20s) and that guy that just died, Maurice Sendak (still don’t know if he wrote or drew pictures, or both). Yours in ignorance, Carlos.

      • Simba was the name of the main lion character who has to regain his thone, blah, blah…and badness goes down in an elephant graveyard. 😀

      • Really, Quill? I wondered if anyone would know the elephants’ graveyard myth that I used to hear when I was a child, that there was an unknown place where all the elephants went to die. I should have gotten out more.

    • I just always heard, when I was a child, that there was a mysterious place that elephants went to die. I wondered if other people had heard that same myth, but was surprised to find it is in The Lion King, which I’ve never seen. I think the African porters and guides suffered most of the misery; Sir Randolph was on a mission for glory. Thanks.

  3. Victorian aristocrats deserve to be sucked into the vortex. Ha! It took me a while to get around to looking at this week’s photo and writing a story (involved in a massive fence-building project and just informed that the summer job I counted on having isn’t being offered, after all), but I finally did it: Hope the complications are manageable … and you would like the darkness of Maurice Sendak. His favorite book was Higglety Pigglety Pop (hard to find) … about an ineffectual little dog that runs away and just can’t quite live up to her own expectations in almost every situation she finds herself, until she dies, resigned to being what she is. Don’t tell me, tho, that you haven’t found Chris Van Allsburg

    • Never heard of him – who is Chris Van Allsburg? I assume he is a children’s book author… I never read children’s books, just Zane Grey, Albert Payson Terhune, Conan Doyle and science fiction. I read some to my daughter – Madeline L’Engle, Edith Nisbet, CS Lewis – but she started reading on her own pretty quickly, so I don’t really have an attachment or grounding in that kind of writing.

    • Thanks, Brian. Yes, I’ve gotten a lot of Lion King references, though I have never seen it. I guess I have some shared reading experiences with whoever wrote The Lion King. I knew Simba is a name commonly given to lions in stories, but I decided to give it to the safari head.

  4. Enjoyed the surprise twist. You mentioned Madeline L’Engle…I was privileged to take part in many of her exclusive writing workshops, Once in a while, she would take time to discuss her personal writing journey…which, of course, thrilled us all. RIP Madeline. Here’s mine;

  5. Well, since my comment seems to have gone off with Sir Randolph, I just want to say that his is an old joke, but you told it fabulously. Little language choices/touches, like “the fleeing Simba” show what a clever monkey you really are.
    Another perfect humorous take on the prompt.
    Your fan,

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