Tag Archives: fiction

Lonely Road

I have a Saturday morning writing group that I attend most weekends. It is a pretty simple setup: rounds of 1 to 6 minutes of writing to a prompt, then passing a microphone and reading. I usually just write something to each prompt individually, but I’ve been wanting to challenge myself to write to a theme throughout the day, telling a single story of a person or place. Other people do that at the group, and it can be fun to see them work everything together.

This is my attempt. I really didn’t expect it to turn out so ‘Hotel California’, but I am pretty proud of it.

Down along Lonely Road

Down along Lonely Road are a surprisingly large number of bright lights. You’d think a road named Lonely would be dark and depressing, but in fact it’s quite lively. Street clowns perform tricks and make balloon animals, as windows invite pedestrians into shops selling food or clothes, arcades full of games, and dance clubs from hip-hop to Charleston.

There are lots of stories about why it was called Lonely Road. Named after some forgotten tycoon, or a mispronunciation of some foreign word. No one really knew, and the stories became part of each shop’s mystique.

On Lonely Road, one is always surrounded by people, lights and noise. It’s a difficult place to be lonely, but some people still try.

North Face

One of the biggest shops on Lonely Road is the North Face Hat, Mask and Sunglasses Shop. There, one can buy any sort of headwear one wants. Sunny day, buy some sunglasses. Need a tribal mask, there is a floor for that, too.

The owner, Timothy North, says Lonely Road came from one tree that used to stand in the middle of the field. The road came by, and as it was the only landmark, it became Lonely Tree Road, eventually shortened to just Lonely Road.

The tree was cut down oe died, but he saved some of the wood to make masks. He sold hundreds of authentic, lonely tree masks, not at all made in China. Someday he’ll run out, but somehow he’s always managed to find one more when needed.

The train was coming into the station, and . . .

At the end of Lonely Road, the train was coming into the station, and once again, no crowds waited to get on. A hundred people got off, welcomes by clowns and announcers, shuffling on the sidewalks of Lonely Road, awed by the lights. But no crowds boarded before the train took off.

Endless Blue Sky

From the tallest point on Lonely Road, on the top of the North Face Building, one could see the endless blue of sky. No mountains, no cities, no landmarks of any kind. Just unbroken horizon.

The road, beginning at the train station, stretched off at the other side. At the edge of town sits a sign post, boasting several dozen cities. All the arrows point down the road, with a question mark for each distance.

No clouds, no contrails, no birds. Endless blue sky.

Raptor’s Noise

There are odd shops along Lonely Road.

A raptor’s noise sounds off when you enter Dino Dave’s Zoon, with all sorts of mythological and extinct animals roaming the floors. No cages keep the crows from enjoying the animals up close.

Then there is Papa Paddington’s Puppet Palace, where Old Man Paddington makes thousands of dolls. Many look like pedestrians that once walked along Lonely Road, but have long since moved on. The details are exquisite, even the eyes that follow patrons through the store.

Multiple People Later

Parties raged all along Lonely Road. At every venue, multiple people would dance and drink, and agree to meetup at another club just down the road. But by that club, new groups formed, old friends forgotten.

‘One more! One More, then back to the hotel!’ was a common cry. No one asked how a three-story hotel held so many people, and few even remembered their room number. When they did, it was always 2B.

We can edit that out.

Photographers prowled the road, taking pictures with archaic flashbulbs. ‘No, they are digital cameras,’ they claimed, ‘we just made them look old. Worried about a picture? We can edit it out. We are professionals.’

One pedestrian requests an obnoxious looking man with an ice cream cone be taken out of the picture. The photographer uses a pencil and erases the man from the photo. The pedestrian smiles, while down the road an ice cream cone suddenly falls to the pavement.

Chocolatier of the Moon Part 1

Memoirs of Pierre du Coco, Chocolatier of the Moon

Part 1: The Embassy

It was October of 1896 when I returned to Paris.  I had been in London for the celebrations in honor of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.  I was there at the invitation of the Greater Scottish Dessert Club, which was holding a challenge amongst the skilled artisans to see who might create the greatest dessert to compliment that most Scottish of dishes, the haggis.

It was quite the competition, I tell you.  Sir Willard Bakesworth, that Englishman who foiled me at the 1892 Boston Bakeoff, put together a good Cranachan dish, but I made a clootie dumpling with mixed fruits and a rum dressing that was so good, the Scottish judges were dancing on the table, an act that made every patron run for their sanity, Scottish dress being what it is.

But I digress.

I returned to my apartment with a heavy purse, and found a heavy stack of correspondence.  Some of it was of a personal nature, some from friends and former patrons, but of course there were the bills.  Creditors are a persistent bunch, and I tightened my grip on my purse, knowing that all too soon it would be lighter.

At the bottom of the pile, I noticed a silver envelope.  It was of a much different style than all the others, and I immediately opened it.  Inside was a fine invitation, also in silver.  Eagerly, I read it.

M. du Coco

I represent Queen Selene III, Monarch of the Moon.  At her request, I am interviewing Earthlings for potential positions.  Your name has come up.  Please respond to our embassy with a calendar of when you are available for an interview.

Sincerely,

Ambassador Lene

Well, I must admit, I was quite astonished.  True, no one could be unaware of the opening of diplomatic relations between the countries of the Earth and its natural satellite, but I was unaware that there was a full embassy here in Paris.  Just one of those things a chocolatier will fail to notice.

I responded and the next morning took a cab over to the Lunar Embassy.  I was at first disappointed in the building, as it was no different than any other embassy, but it occurred to me that the building was rented, and therefor has stood for some time before the diplomacy began.  It was the people inside that were unique.

Now, I must pause to ask you if you, my reader, have ever seen a Moonling?  If you have, then by all means skip ahead, but for those who have not, try to understand that they are simultaneously calmingly familiar and hauntingly strange.  By the first, I mean that they are human in overall appearance, with two arms, two hands, a single head with two ears and two eyes.  One mouth, ten fingers.  As varied in height and weight as we are.  By strange, I mean that their limbs are always scrawny, regardless of the thickness of their torso.  Their noses are flat and wide, to the point of almost being indecent.  And their skin, though always some hue of gray, may glow, depending on the phase of the moon currently in the sky above Earth.  As we were in a full moon, the Moonlings proved to be very bright that day.

But I digress.

The guards at the front gate were Earthmen, of some local regiment.  The guards at the doorway were Moolings, in black uniforms with gems sewn as to resemble a star field.   Their crescent spears blocked my path until I presented the invitation, and I was lead inside.

As the building was originally constructed for Earthlings, the interior was of a usual design.  The artwork that adorned the walls was fascinating.  The Moonlings, it appeared, had their own constellations worked out in the night’s sky.  On the walls hung artwork representing those constellations, with the stars emphasized so that one might find them in the sky.  I looked at one such painting, of a three armed Moonling fighting off a large jade rabbit, and wondered a moment on the story.  But then I was ushered in to see the Ambassador, and had to put such thoughts on hold.

Ambassador Lene was a nice man, a Moonling of course, but one who spoke without much of an accent.  I had heard, and here confirmed, that Moonlings are quite the capable linguists, and most are capable of speaking dozens of languages as readily as most men learn songs.

‘I will come to the point,’ Lene said after several minutes of pleasantries.  ‘Queen Selene has entrusted me to find for her court a Chocolatier, someone who can bring such art to her table.  After some inquiries, I believe you are the best choice for such a position.

I will admit, I was shocked.  I had not expected such an offer.  I was both excited and nervous.

I was excited, of course, for any royal position to be offered to me.  Chocolatiers make much effort to obtain Royal positions by use of samples, to such an extent that most royal courts never lack for exquisite chocolate.  At most, I could have realistically hoped for a patron.  But an actual Royal position, on the Moon!  Of all the chocolatiers of Earth!  I admit,  I was quite ready to brag about that to Sir Bakesworth.

But I was also nervous.  Transit to the Moon from Earth was accomplished by use of a large, elastic sheet suspended between a number of mountains in the Swiss alps.  One jumped, higher and higher, until the body reached sufficient height for the gravity of the Moon to take over and pull one into a rough and often undignified landing.

The nervousness must have shown more strongly on my face, for Ambassador Lene smiled.  ‘Oh, do not worry, Monsieur du Coco.  After the incident with the Prince of Lichtenstein, we were forced to consider new alternatives.’

If the reader is unaware, the Prince of Lichtenstein, on a visit to the Moon, faltered on what should have been his final jump and, instead of rising up and falling to the Moon, instead became stuck in the equilibrium between bodies.  He was there for several hours before a properly padded Swede bounced into him and forced him to his destination.

But I digress.

I smiled at the Ambassador, knowing now that I would not have to jump, but then I frowned.  ‘I do hope you are not referring to the American cannon,’ I said cautiously.

Ambassador Lene laughed.  ‘No, I do not.  We considered many alternatives, and though the cannon was quite interesting – and how American to think of a giant cannon for transport – we went with another alternative.’

‘European, at least?’ I asked hopefully.

‘German, in fact.’

‘Oh,’ I said.  ‘I guess that counts.’

We discussed the particulars, and I left quite satisfied.  My bills would soon be all paid, and I packed my belongings and chocolates, ready for an adventure.  I took a final walk along the river, drank at my favorite café, and sent off one final telegram at Sir Bakesworth, bragging about my station.  I was quite happy, I admit.

And the next day, I boarded the train.

Forgotten – A very short story

A very short story I wrote during a writing group exercise.  Not my normal type of writing, but it was well received.


‘Hi, honey!  Welcome home.’

What did I forget? I thought.  She’s smiling.  She hasn’t smiled in years.  I’ve forgotten something, and she KNOWS it!

Hi, dear.’ I hung up my jacket, meticulously putting everything back in its place the way she liked it.  It’s not February, so it can’t be Valentine’s Day.  Anniversary?  No, that’s in…shit, when WAS it?

‘Did you have a good day at work?’

A kid’s game.  I forgot to take time off for our kids…wait, we don’t have kids.  What did I forget?

‘Good enough. Yourself?’

‘Oh, I can’t complain.  I did make plans with my parents for dinner.’

I missed an email or text about dinner! I checked my phone.  ‘That’s good,’ I said, not seeing anything I hadn’t seen before.

‘It should be fun,’ she said.

I finally stopped and shrugged.  ‘Okay, I give up.  I know I forgot something.  Was it milk?  Dry cleaning?  Did I send flowers to the wrong somebody?  What did I forget?’

‘Well,’ she said, ‘you forgot that we got divorced.’