Friday Fictioneers : Mr Quail’s misplaced beak



Mr Quail would strut down the local alleyways, along the garden paths, peacock feathers nodding from his pork pie hat, an early warning to those who valued their privacy.

His lapel badge read ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, the letters written in blue marker pen on a circle of grubby card, a safety pin taped to the back.

‘Always sticking his beak in,’ Gramma would say, sucking her bubble gum pink chops.

One day, the pork pie hat vanished along with its oil slick feathers and its owner.

‘Reckon he stuck that beak in the wrong place,’ said Gramma, smile shining pinkly.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers, the grandest prompt around. See here to join in and to read other stories.

More apologies necessary as I’m late again. Work is crazy with no respite on the horizon, so apologies if I don’t get around to reading your story.

  • NB For those unacquainted with UK English –

Badge – this is a pin in US English.

Beak – a slang word for nose, so the phrase to ‘stick your beak in’ just means to be nosy.


24 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : Mr Quail’s misplaced beak

  1. So much said in so few words. Yes, I’ve known a few who stick their beak in. Not so common now I live in town, but terrible in a small village. I liked the note to non-UK users of English. Yes, some of our words skim over their heads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Never quite sure which idioms and slang words translate – I’m always surprised by what American readers know and what they have no clue about! I think we’re better versed in American English than Americans are in English English, merely because we’ve absorbed their culture more than they have ours. Living in a big settlement has an anonymity that suits many of us which means we have our privacy but also means we lack connections that come from smaller communities – and means we can be left dead for weeks before being found! Thank you Crispina for reading

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, clever! I like how you use the bird imagery and symbols to illustrate the people — reminiscent of an Aesop’s fable. Great detail about the handmade badge: that says so much about him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Lynn,

    Your stories are always a treat whenever they arrive. 😉

    Beak for nose was sort of easy to gather, even for my American head. Very fitting for Mr. Quail. And one certainly can poke their beak where it’s not wanted once too often. Well done.




  4. Lovely story! You always manage to tell us so much about your characters. Mr Quail is beautifully delineated; I can see him, (and hear him) vividly!


  5. This was grand, Lynn… You never disappoint (late or not!) As a Canadian, most expressions – ok… a good many of them – have been adopted here. Or rather, remained, despite our “separation”…
    Loved this. Know a good many who’ve stuck their beak in where it doesn’t belong!


    1. Glad you got a lot of the references, Dale – makes the read flow more easily I think. And you’re right, many of us have known or know a nosy Parker – I worked with one until recently. They leave you feeling unsettled, angry at being spied upon. No wonder Mr Quail pushed someone too far. Thanks so much for the encouraging comment

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I wondered that myself Susan. Perhaps she did – she seems awfully pleased he’s gone missing … Thank you for reading and your kind comment


  6. I wish I had only a fraction of your talent to create movies with words alone. This, again, is brilliant. I can see the guy strutting around, and the description of Gramma is priceless. That one knows more than she tells, I bet. BTW, I look up stuff I don’t understand in the dictionary and I enjoy looking at the different versions of English by now even if I still confuse them. I did have my struggles with it in the past though..


    1. Your comment gave me a happy little jolt in my chest when I read it – what a very lovely thing to say, thank you Gabi, I’m honoured you think that, though you do yourself a huge injustice. English is impossibly hard – even for English people sometimes! I suppose it all comes from our mongrel mix of Latin, Norman, Norse, Indian, a smattering of Arabic. I love that our past is captured and carried in the language, but it makes it a tough one to learn. Your English is impeccable, BTW!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Lynn. I got better with writing, but you should hear me talk… I need an inbuilt dictionary and thesaurus. 😀


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