57 plus 28: despair and mariachi

Posted: 14 September 2021 in 57 plus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , ,

It’s Tuesday, so as usual you get a couple of more ‘fiction from the vaults’ posts, another two from 2010 this week. I know I’ve done more than a few from the 2010 run, so this will be the last for a bit.

The 2010 run was the last time I did a lonnnnnng run of fast fiction tales; 150 written in 150 days. One story written every day, none in reserve; one posted every day, even if that meant writing one or two very late at night so I could just scrape in before midnight.

As always, they varied between the horrendously dark – what one friend described as the ‘your mind scares me at times’ stories, some very weird tales and some, rarely I’ll admit, nicer ones.

These are definitely two of the nicer stories. See, I told you I can write nicer tales.

But I like these two, a lot. I hope you will.

A decade and a half ago, I threw out a challenge. and then repeated it thereafter whenever I felt like it. The challenge was the same in each case:

Give me a title of up to four words in length, together with a single word you want me to include in the tale, and I will write a story of exactly 200 words.

That’s it. The stories that resulted always included the word, they always fitted the title, but usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

I hope you enjoy them…

Title: Train Of Desire
Word: despair
Challenger: [Livejournal: IckleBlackBird]
Length: 200 words exactly

As the announcement faded, I could sense mild discontent in the air. I knew how they felt.

The train was twenty minutes late, and not expected for another five. People were glancing at their timepieces, and I joined them, looking at the heavy watch she’d bought me. This was the first time I’d worn it and I wasn’t used to either the additional weight on my wrist or the analogue fascia.

I looked at it again, for the second time in as many minutes, not yet anxious but concerned nonetheless.

I looked to my side and confirmed I wasn’t the only one waiting for the train’s arrival, but the familiar company didn’t lessen the possibility of future despair.

I’d been late often enough in the recent past that for a brief moment, I wondered if the fates were playing games with me. He may not have played dice, according to Einstein, but sometimes I suspected He played with humanity’s sense of timekeeping just to amuse Himself.

Where the hell was the train?

And then I heard the organ start, and my heart filled with love as I saw the train and the dress and my beautiful bride who wore both.

© Lee Barnett, 2010

Title: Why I Chose Insanity
Word: mariachi
Challenger: [Livejournal: LiQweet]
Length: 200 words exactly

I was going to hurt her, I knew. She’d forgive me, but for a while, there would be no love in her eyes, merely anger and disappointment.

Moments earlier she had lifted her face and had smiled.

I knew she was thinking the same as me: that last night in Mexico City, the mariachi band, when we’d danced the night through. First time we’d actually enjoyed dancing together, when her natural self-consciousness and my clumsiness had both seemed to evaporate in the mood of the night.

We stared at each other for a long moment, then a car backfiring down the street broke the mood, and we smiled before she lowered her head again.

She lifted her hand to brush back a stray lock of hair, and tucked it behind her right ear, while her tongue was endearingly stuck in the corner of her mouth.

I wasn’t sure how quite to play it.


Or Saint?

I had no choice, not if I wanted to retain her respect.

I sighed, checked the board again, looked down at my tray, picked up my seven tiles and began to place the letters, and to claim my 132 points:

I, N, S, A…

© Lee Barnett, 2010


See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Fifty-seven more days. Fifty-seven more posts. One fifty-seventh birthday just had.

Just dropping this in here, as I was asked by message the other day: the best places to contact me outside the blog are via email at budgie@hypotheticals.co.uk and @budgie on Twitter.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting up from my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here. (And you can see the posts in the run counting down to the birthday here.)

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