Copyright: Jennifer Pendergast

Here we are for another week, gathered today in a virtual train station. We’re here as the Friday Fictioneers to discuss our original stories for this week. Our hostess for this gathering is the gracious and talented author and artist, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The challenge for this group is to write a story with no more than 100 words. It’s supposed to have a beginning, middle, end, and follow the picture prompt for the week. This week’s prompt was supplied by Jennifer Pendergast. Thanks Jennifer.

To read the other stories from group members, just click on the little blue frog in the blue box after clicking on the link.

The link for the other stories is as follows:

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 100 Words


I’ve been a hobo since 1990. It’s a hard and dangerous life. My friend, Dan, and I travel together. I used to go it alone, but that’s lonely and even more dangerous. We ride the rails on boxcars.

We’re not “tramps” who work only when they have to, or “bums” who don’t work at all. We hobos are traveling workers. We look for the hobo sign of the two shovels that means there’s work available.

I’ll probably be a hobo until the day I “catch the Westbound.” That means in hobo lingo, “death.” Dan says he probably will be too.




Written  Act of Kindness Award

52 thoughts on “THE HOBO’S STORY

    • Thanks, David. I looked up information about hobos and have a list of their “signs” they leave for one another. It’s very interesting, a whole different culture you might say. I’m so glad you liked the story. Huge Hugs to you also. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne


    • Thanks, Ali. I think it’s probably addictive for some, but it’s never secure. It can also be dangerous hopping todays fast-moving freights. In some places they’re arrested on sight. They have to constantly look for the signs left by other hobos. I’m glad you liked the story. — Suzanne


  1. Lovely (and I don’t know why I think so) to know there are still hobos in this world and that they leave signs for one another. Way cool! Thanks for sharing that information in a well told tale.


    • Thanks, Alicia. I’m so pleased you liked the story. It seems to be a culture within a culture doesn’t it. My mother used to give food to hobos at our kitchen door. They were always polite. We must have had some sign near our house. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne


    • Thanks, Diana. I looked up hobos on Google. Also, on my Miscellanous Information board on Pinterest I have a pin on hobo signs. It’s really interesting. I’m really glad you liked the story. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Mother used to sing an old song about Hobo Bill taking his last ride. A very sad ballad, probably written around the turn of the last century. Your story brought back that memory.


  3. Pride and dignity shine through in this tale. It’s interesting to learn about Hobos. Is their lifestyle a choice, or bad luck? We have many seasonal workers where I live, but that’s different.


    • Thanks, Gahlearner. I’m really glad you liked the story as I told it. I suppose they’re becoming hobos is for a mixture of reasons. The job market may discourage some of them. In the late 1940,s, my mother used to give them food at our kitchen door. They were always polite. Some of them at that time might have been former service men. — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Suzanne,

    I really enjoyed this. You gave the hobo personality and purpose. One word of crit…opinion, really. I think it would be stronger without the explanation of ‘the Westbound.’ I got it from the context. A good story nonetheless.




  5. Suzanne, this is a really well done piece. I enjoyed the first person narrative and pacing. I think you could leave out the explanation of “the Westbound;” I think the reader will instinctively know what it is, and it would give the story extra punch.
    Really well done!


  6. A really good story Suzanne and I agree with Dawn you didn’t need the explanation of the ‘Westbound’ I think all readers would know what it meant. I love the matter-of-fact way you told this, well done.


  7. Sometimes, I get bored when lots of the FF contribuions tell a similar story, but what struck me about this was although it’s similar to a few others I’ve read in terms of subject, the voices have been completely different and that makes each one special. I enjoyed this, because of the simplicity. Like others, I think you could have left out the explanation of the Westbound, but actually by leaving it in, you give us a hint at the character telling this story – he straightforward and perhaps feels the need to explain himself – hence the details about tramps and vagabonds as well as the explanation of the Westbound. Good stuff


    • Thanks, Jennifer. I’m so pleased you liked the story. Your remarks were very encouraging. I guess the voice of the hobo is kind of my voice. Some of those men used to come to our house for food, and Mom would give them a sanwich. They were always polite. One of them might have left a “sign” near the house for others to follow.Thanks for the great picuture that made these stories possible. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne


  8. It sounds as though the hobo lifestyle suits your two characters well. It must be a hard, uncertain way of life, though, and wouldn’t suit too many people. That they’ll be hobos until they catch the Westbound sums things up nicely.


    • Thanks, Millie. Yes, it is a hard, uncertain life. They’re basically day laborers, i.e., ditch diggers, basic construction workers, etc. There’s no security, and it’s become more dangerous because of the faster trains.. For some reason, they prefer the freedom. I’m glad you liked the story. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marg. There’s no security, and it can be dangerous, but for some reason these men and women prefer the freedom of that lifestyle. I’m so glad you liked the story. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne


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