As part of the Doha Writers forum, our challenge from the last meeting was to write a story with the theme ‘Give them a hand’.
This was my far from finished attempt at a first draft. I had the idea of a sci-fi short set in a parody Cyberpunk Doha and took the theme of hands quite literally, as you’ll see from the character’s predicament.
Any feedback on what should come next or on the story in general is always welcome. If you’re interested in trying to complete the challenge yourself, I’d love to see your story ideas on the same theme, the instructions are below:
-In 500 words, write a scene about a conversation or another interaction, and include a focus specifically on the characters’ hands. Include the appearance of the hands, as well as the way they move and gesture. What do the hands say about the personalities involved?-
Give them a Hand
Ali zig-zagged across the puddles, soaked through and shivering already, silently cursing the shops of New Doha for not making a one handed umbrella. He had been circling the Msheireb free zone for an hour now, stuck at a dead end. A Toyota Hover Cruiser slowly passed by him, half blinding him with its neon fog lights. The last thing he needed was to add to his ever growing list of disabilities. Once he re-adjusted himself, he noticed something on the wall across the street. He squelched over and saw a crimson coloured hand print with an arrow pointing above it. He saw a number panel with only the numbers 6,7 and 8 remaining. He tried a few different combinations before he let out a small smile, probably his first in months, 7….8….6. He heard a click and a gap in the wall suddenly appeared, turning the wall into a giant door. He looked around his shoulder to see if anyone had noticed him. There was only a Karwabot circling the street for a fare. With some difficulty, he prised the gap open and ventured inside.
He walked through a dimly lit hallway that seemed to last forever. Finally at the end of it, he spotted a shabby looking reception desk with a disinterested human behind it. The young man behind the reception was staring into space, his eyes sparkling in a way that suggested he was in some kind of VR trance. Ali coughed to get his attention.
‘Is the handyman here?’
The receptionist sighed in irritation, rudely awakened from his VR fantasy. ‘ID first. Standard procedure. Put your left thumb print on the reader.’
Ali stared at him blankly and the receptionist’s eyes turned over to the stump on Ali’s left side.
‘Err…right. Sorry bro! Tell you what, its fine, just go on out back and take a seat. He’s gone for lunch, should be back soon.’
Ali heard the receptionist slinking back into his chair as he walked over to the back room. Rows and rows of half broken metal fingers and wires were piled high on the shelves. A glass cabinet in the middle of the room held a dozen different hands.The one closest to him was intricately carved from wood, one was shaped and hairily textured like a gorilla’s paw and another was in hot pink with a henna tattoo and bright red fingernails.
‘So you like the hot pink model eh?’ Ali half jumped, startled as he heard the old fart’s voice.
‘Hey, I’m not one to judge!’, the old fart said, opening out his metallic palms in a shrugging gesture.
‘No…I…uh…-’, stammered Ali.
‘I’m just messing with you. What’s your budget?’
Ali handed him all of his cash, the old fart held up the 1 million Riyal credit note and inspected it closely.
‘Hmmm, that ain’t gonna get you much but you might be interested in this bad boy, whatcha think friend?’….