Monthly Archives: March 2014

100 Word Flash Fiction…

My good friend, Eric Alagan, at Written Words Never Die, has posted a wonderful opening to a story, one filled with intrigue and suspense…all in 100 words.

His flash fiction is called, ‘By Chance‘, and you can access it here. Please do go there first and read his story before reading further along.

I was so fascinated by it that I decided to add the next chapter to his superb story line. And then I added some more.

Below are a few scenarios I concocted, all hatched from Eric’s excellent idea.

Without further ado, here are my own vignettes, every one coming in at 100 words:

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“Everything ok, honey?”

Madrilene paused before answering.

“Yes, Michael. Everything is…perfect.”

Michael stared at her for a moment and then settled back into The New Yorker.

Madrilene held the cup in her hands, and felt the warmth of the coffee through the porcelain. She remembered  how warm Ben’s hands were, after he cradled her in his arms when she stepped back and stumbled at the fair.

Could it really have been two years ago?

Now here he was, his trademark Galoises perched between his lovely lips, that faint constant stubble above his mouth…

“Next stop is ours, Sweetie!” Michael said.

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Ben watched the train pull slowly out of the station, belching great gobs of steam into the cold November air.

She looked as beautiful as ever, he thought.

He yearned to touch her face once more.

Standing on the platform, he waited until the train was but a dot on the horizon, the only tell-tale sign of its passage the plume of smoke that lingered briefly in the sky.

Ben gazed in the distance, his eyes fixed on the smoke, as though it was a tether keeping Madrilene close to his side.

Two years had passed.

And now she’s back.

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The article failed to hold Michael’s interest. His thoughts were elsewhere.

He had noticed the man on the platform staring at Madrilene. He knew that look.  The man was smitten with her.

He knew that look because it was the same gaze he possessed when he first glimpsed Madrilene’s extraordinary beauty. How could the man not be enchanted?

Michael chanced a sideways glance at Madrilene. She was staring out the window, watching the fields roll by, thinking about…what?

Him? That man on the platform? The man with the dangling cigarette.

Michael looked down. He noticed her coffee remained untouched.

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His magnificent eyes!

Madrilene watched the landscape roll on by, a gray blur to the crowded thoughts coursing through her mind.

Imagine that. Two years had passed, and he remembered.

He remembered.

That simple nod from the platform. Was it of regret? Understanding? Of forlornness?

His eyes seemed so sad.

The memory of them crinkled in laughter, as they shared a bottle of crisp chardonnay in the field, a scene stolen out of a canvas by Millet.

The warm, summer sun, the fresh scent of sunflowers…

She turned.

“Michael, my dear, would you mind getting me a glass of wine?”

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And so the scenarios go. And I do have to thank my good friend Eric once again for posting this wonderful prompt.

Feel free to add your own story to this delightful little exercise.

I’d love to read your words.

©Paul Grignon, 2014-All Rights Reserved.

Man Barn…

The ridiculously named ‘man cave’ is rather ubiquitous in today’s society. You know that place;  the private, inner sanctum of men, where they can—alone—do whatever they damn well please.

But what exactly transpires in this troglodytic chamber of testosterone? Why is there a need for this grotto strictly for guys? What do they do in there?

I am a man. But I find the term rather hilarious and unnecessary. Is there an equivalent ‘woman cave’? No, of course not. Women are too smart. After all, they have the rest of the entire house.

“Sure, honey. Whatever. You want a little room where you can hang out with a bunch of other guys? You got it.”

Women don’t need such things. It remains in the realm of the under-developed Y chromosome kind of thing.

“I need my space.”

“Uh… I need somewhere to unwind.”

“I need a place where I can hang with my bros!”

Jesus. Nauseating, to say the least.

Which brings me to the ‘man barn.’ I suppose, though, in a way, it is a man cave.

In a way.

But it doubles—no, triples—in function. It is my weight room, my studio, and a place to write during the summer months, where I can slide the heavy barn door wide open and let shafts of sunlight penetrate the dark interior. There I can paint, write, lift weights while Boo, our 20 pound cat, rolls around on the dusty cement entrance.

The ‘man barn’ has none of the amenities of a ‘proper’ man cave. There is no Gerard pool table in sight, no kegerator, wine bar, nor foosball or video games, and no 80” plasma TV to be seen.

It’s a barn.

And as such, it remains that way.

But it does provide a sense of calm, a place where I can retreat and indulge in my various pursuits. The amenities remain spare, and I prefer it that way.

Standing before my easel, I welcome a spring breeze that freshens the musty interior. Sometimes, I simply sit on one of the numerous chairs or stools and marvel at the beams of ancient dust that filter through a sunbeam. Other times I nurse a beer and allow the full brunt of a summer sun to embrace me.

It’s during the brutal winter months that remain a challenge. Donning arctic apparel, I swing wide the heavy door off the laundry room and enter the penetrating gloomy, ice cold interior.

Streaks of frozen breaths lead me on. I sit on a rickety, old weight bench, and pause before picking up frigid dumbbells. (Dumb man in his numbing man barn?)

After a few sets I sit, and stare, at the intricate ice patterns on the 200 year-old windows. They are quite fascinating, the ice formations, etched  like intricate wallpaper designs by Morris.

Before hypothermia sets in, I deign to ‘pick things up and put them down.’

Despite the constant chill, the barn does provide a sense of respite; from our assorted menagerie, from the hum and hubbub of the TV, from the oft times strange and last minute requests of our 12 year-old son.

Okay, so my man barn is—slightly—the equivalent of a man cave. Slightly, mind you.

No one but me enters this dark and ancient interior. It remains my domain.

And my Beloved, my XY compatriot, has no qualms whatsoever.

“You need to vent in private, honey? You need to work out? Go ahead. I’ll stay here, where it’s warm, cozy—and normal.”

Such does the Australopithecus mindset reside.

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2014 – All Rights Reserved.