Friday Fictioneers : City of a Thousand Scandals


PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria


‘Always something to see,’ sighed Signora Bianchi, sweeping open the muslin drapes. Her pillowy bust pressed against my arm. She smelled of garlic and bread dough and crushed lavender. ‘City of a Thousand Scandals,’ she said with a sly wink and sashayed from the room, slingbacks slapping her heels.

She was right, of course.

That summer the city unfurled beneath my window – the bargemen rising with the sun, setting with the midday heat, the thieves and shysters and gigolos slinking out with the midges as the sun wallowed.

And then there was you, the biggest scandal of all.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. Indubitably the best prompt on Word Press. See here to join in, to read and comment on others.

This week’s entry reads more like an opening to a 1940s/50s novel, a young man caught in a foreign city, alone, naive … in danger?

Who do you suppose he’s taking to and why is this person so scandalous?

53 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : City of a Thousand Scandals

      1. So often I forget to include all the senses in my short stories. In my longer pieces, my writing group tells me I have way too many. Ah, isn’t that the way of things?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. There’s a strong feeling of Graham Greene about this, although it’s by no means a pastiche, so my guess is that the scandal will involve espionage in some form or other! I love your description of Signora Bianchi’s smell. Three different smells, each agreeable in its own way at the right time, but the combination – less agreeable.
    And what a super sentence this is: “That summer the city unfurled beneath my window – the bargemen rising with the sun, setting with the midday heat, the thieves and shysters and gigolos slinking out with the midges as the sun wallowed.” That’s terrific!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment Penny. I’ll take Graham Greene, though assuredly an undeserved comparison 🙂 I’ve only read Brighton Rock of his and what a sinister little tale that is – Pinky might be a small time hood but he’s truly the most unsettling character. I’m glad you liked Signora Bianchi’s smell! I can see her in my mind’s eye, an older lady with curves who loves to flirt with her guests. Thank you again – so glad you enjoyed it


  2. Dear Lynn,

    As always, this is a feast for the senses, vivid sights and delicious aromas. The last line left me wanting to turn the page for more. Well done as always.




  3. This was beautifully written Lynn with such exquisite detail. It really made me want to be there and experience a day in Venice…just so long as I didn’t end up in that filthy canal like a number of other takes on the prompt.
    Best wishes,


  4. You never disappoint. Love the descriptions (and have to agree with Penny re: the scents).
    Everything comes alive under your “pen”… and way to leave us hanging!


    1. Thank you. I’ve never worn slingbacks but they look a little impractical to me and I suspect the Signora prizes the shape of her own ankles so wears the shoes to draw attention to them! Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I find myself bewildered by pretty much all fashion, but then I always was. I remember my dalliances with knickerbockers and pirate shirts in the 1980s – disastrous! After that fashion and I parted company and remain estranged to this day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Considering time was I designed and made all my own clothes, and was frequently ahead of the catwalks, I am now afashional (is that a word?) I wear what’s comfy. Since I walk a lot and climb over gates and styles, that mean trainer-type trousers and t-shirts. and fleeces. The casual look.


      3. Me too . I work in a flower shop which can be a cold place to be in the winter, so my trusty fleece is forever with me in the colder months. And we have a flight of stairs at work that I mus walk up and down a couple of dozen times a day, so trainers are a must!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful descriptions and your story conveys the fact that this was such an important time in his life e still recalls every tiny detail. I think he was a married royal person who met the real love of his life too late.


    1. Thank you Jilly and I love your idea – what a wonderful setting for court intrigue and heartbreak. A dissolute monarch in a mouldering city. Wonderful


  6. slingbacks slapping her heels ~ I’ve always disliked this sound, perhaps because my feet sweat even in flip-flops and I’m doomed to always wear socks. Once my father said, “You can thank me for that.” Heck, he could have given my his thick curly hair instead. At any rate, this is a super write. So many sights and sounds, and the comparison between the nightlife and what happens during the day. Yum!


    1. Ha! I’m a sock person too, but that’s to do with an inherited deformity on one foot – no one needs to see that thing in sandals! Thank you for the kind comment Lish


  7. Such concise imagery you conjure up in such a few words… and then you leave us with a delicious mystery. I veer towards corruption which involves a pattern of sex, money and death – in that order, hidden beneath a cloak of respectability. Maybe I’m too predictable…


  8. A scandal to remember I’m sure. One that remains so vivid in his mind. There’s a sensual romance to your tale, I loved the first paragraph with his memory of this woman. Pillow busts, garlic and bread and lavender – unique combination. Makes me think she is some baker’s wife or daughter.


  9. Sensuous, raunchy – scandalous – I felt I was there in the room with Signora Bianchi, taking in her particular scent – loved your story Lynne. So well crafted – you conjure up that salacious ambience from the first sentence.


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