Friday Fictioneers: Magda’s Triumph


PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

We’d hear the phut-phut of the old Triumph motor bike minutes before seeing it. As it drew nearer, other sounds – the twin rattles of the sidecar’s loose wheel and the cage strapped to the pillion with cable ties.

The din snaked along cobbled lanes, in through open windows, drowned out the excited yabber of playing kids, of old time tunes on the radio.

Then Magda would appear in scratched goggles and a flying helmet, squint-eyed cat pressed to the floor of the cage, claws locked round the wires.

Magda chose to be alone, mum said, but I never learned why.

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Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale and don’t forget to read and comment on others, found here.

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Three Line Tales: Artist unknown

three line tales, week 153: a lot of paintings

photo by Beata Ratuszniak via Unsplash

All day he crouched, limbs folded tight as a disused easel, eyes on the cobbles, on scuffed work boots and tightly tied Oxfords with leather slick and shiny as glass.

I never saw him look up, never saw him sell a painting or the configuration of brightly coloured canvases change.

He’s gone but the canvases remain, peeled and paled, the gallery of an unknown, unknowable artist.

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Written for Three Line Tales. See the pic and write a tale. See here to join in.

All fur coat and no knickers : The Daily Prompt : Facade

Glamorous female model smoking

Image: Pixabay

 

Your facade reminds me of a country house – grand but stony. I wonder if there are other similarities.

Does your beautiful exterior hide decrepitude, hidden portions of yourself you’d rather others did not peek at? No doubting you are presentable when you’ve had fair warning of visitors, but if we look a little deeper, are there places – hidden behind a red silk rope – unavailable to the public? With an air of dusty neglect and just a whiff of rodent?

If I pulled aside the curtain of your respectablilty, would I find rotting waste, a thousand dirty, hidden little secrets swept out of sight of prying eyes?

Just tell me – are you all fur coat and no knickers?

 


Written for The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt – FACADE. Write a post to accompany the word and why not pop along here to read the other posts.

A man always walking in shadow

Scruffy tie and shirt

Image : Pixabay

Does he look in the mirror before he leaves the house?

At the shirt, discoloured from over washing, dimpled fabric that never sees an iron. A sheen of sweat coats him even on the coolest days and dirt driven into pores makes his skin grey – a man always walking in shadow. A broad, flat smile – mouth stretched wide – is his permanent expression, revealing chipped teeth stained ivory by early morning nicotine and late night coffee. A furred tongue licks feathered lips.

He tries hard to be someone, but he can’t hide the truth. It’s there in his eyes.

He’s afraid. Of failure. Of being seen to fail. He works hard achieving nothing and knows one day the facade of competence he’s built to fool himself and the world will be shattered by a misplaced word or a slip on a keyboard, taking job and money, family – his sense of self – with it.

That day will come but not today. Today, he survives.

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Honeysuckle Cottage

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Her name is Dina but we call her ‘Miss Honeysuckle Cottage’ between ourselves as that’s the name of her house- crumbling, golden stone and a gate that needs oiling. There’s no honeysuckle in the garden, but bedding plants so neatly spaced they could have been measure by a ruler.

I see her coming along the street before she sees me. Her back’s bowed, her neck fixed at an angle as if she’s constantly fascinated by something just in front of her feet. Her gait is determined, her stick whacks the ground with each step as if to show she’s not ready to slip beneath it yet.

Her basket- the weave baggy, stitching coming loose on the handle- hangs from knotted knuckles and when she enters the shop, she bangs it on the counter. The bottom of the basket’s lined with newspaper, ready to receive the day’s plants.

‘Hello, Lynn, dear. I wonder if you have any more of the polyanthus? I have a gap.’

Her voice is pure Celia Johnson- clipped, rather formal. The skin on her forearms is lightly tanned and papery, but her muscles are still taut with not an ounce of spare flesh. I imagine her as a girl, playing in the hockey team, whispered conversations in the dorm after lights out. Her speech is peppered with ‘awfully kind’, ‘terribly good’. She never lets you call her ‘Miss’, only ever Dina.

I try to ask how she’s been, if she recovered from her fall, but she doesn’t hear a word. She tells me she’s deaf, but I know that- I’ve been shouting at her since he walked through the door.

She shuffles out to look over the plants, hand curling around the doorframe for support, each step carefully placed as she crosses the threshold.

‘No, no, yellow won’t do. And I can’t have white- never have white.’ She chooses three pink polys and I put them carefully in the basket for her.

‘Don’t get old, dear, never get old,’ she says.

I know her eyes water constantly and she has a paper hanky tucked up her sleeve so she can wipe them. Her opalescent cataracts reflect light like grey mirrors.

‘It’s hard work being old.’

She was a singer. An alto. She toured the region, filling concert halls. I imagine her taller, back straight, wrinkle-free, chin tilted high.

‘No microphones back then, dear.’

I imagine her wearing a satin gown, sheer fabric falling slick over her boyish frame, hair in pin curls or coiled into a bun at the nape of her neck. What did she sing- arias or something more current? But my question falls away unheard, unanswered.

She holds out her open purse and I take a neatly folded fiver. I make a point of holding up the note for her to see, counting the change back in. She gets anxious if she loses track of her money.

‘I must go. I need to mow the lawn before the girl comes to do my hair.’

I smile and nod and she waves her stick in farewell.


Day Six of Writing 101- write a character study of the most interesting person you’ve met this year.

Here she is. Possibly one of the most interesting people I’ve met in my life. Still determined, still winning the war, though the daily battles grind her down sometimes.