Onions – Sunday Photo Fiction

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge presented by my old friend Al Forbes.
The idea is to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by what you see in his picture (below).
This week’s great photo takes me back to when I was just a wee laddie, early mornings on a bike in freezing weather (was it really always winter?), doing my paper round.
Click on this link to enter your tale, and see what others have written.

Copyright Al Forbes

Copyright Al Forbes


She smiles when she sees him come into the garden, carefully closing the gate behind him.
To her southern English eyes he is almost the caricature of a Frenchman.
He sports a beret and a droopy moustache, and has a string of onions around his neck.
He speaks English with a heavy Breton accent, but the ancient eyes are kindly.
The road is narrow, he indicates the toys on the lawn, we must take care of the children.
She buys his onions, of course, more than she needs, and gives him a cool drink.
She is still smiling as she waves him goodbye on his ramshackle old bike with its packed trailer.
These country lanes are very narrow, she thinks later as she drives into the village, and people drive too fast.
The onions on the road catch her eye, causing her to slow sufficiently to see the wrecked bicycle and broken body in the ditch.

Pierre by Phil Burns

Pierre by Phil Burns

About ceayr

A Scot who has discovered Paradise in a small town he calls Medville on the Côte d'Azur, C.E. Ayr has spent a large part of his life in the West of Scotland and a large part elsewhere. His first job was selling programmes at his local football club and he has since tried 73 other career paths, the longest being in IT, with varying degrees of success. He is somewhat nomadic, fairly irresponsible and, according to his darling daughter, a bit random.
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38 Responses to Onions – Sunday Photo Fiction

  1. Madeeha says:

    Reading it made me curious to know more about “onion Johnnies”.
    Maybe excellent or brilliant won’t do justice to this extraordinary piece of writing.
    Reading it makes me smile and at the end I found myself crying.
    Beautiful tale!


    • ceayr says:

      Well, Madeeha, I think I enjoyed your comment as much as you enjoyed my story.
      It is difficult to respond to such fulsome praise, so let me just say, most sincerely, thank you.
      I will be smiling happily for the rest of today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is delightful! I was a Southern English girl living in a little Northern french village for a couple of years and I always wanted to see a Frenchman with a beret and an onion necklace, but I never did. Thanks for making my day!
    Check out my Photo Fiction!


  3. justmaria says:

    Such sad a ending for a well-written piece. Brilliant. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. luckyjc007 says:

    Nice flash fiction. So much meaning in just a few words, and ending sadly, but life is like that sometimes. Seeing the onions on the road was a dead give-a-way..no pun intended. 🙂


  5. Corina says:

    A nice job on this bit of flash fiction. I was afraid you would take it to that end and you proved me right. Sad ending.


  6. Graham Lawrence says:

    Oh dear! Smashed onions. I love the french references and it’s easy to imagine and visualise the characters from reading the story.


  7. misskzebra says:

    A great story. Just like the protagonist, we see the onion, and slowly realise what has happened


  8. Dale says:

    What a well-written tale. I knew you wouldn’t let the kind gentleman live… 😦
    Phil’s gif is fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. k rawson says:

    Vividly captured and wrenching. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good stuff. Evocative.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Steve Lakey says:

    You are able to draw us in to the characters with so few words. A genuinely sad ending – and not what I was expecting.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. emmylgant says:

    A long long time ago, my ancesters crossed the Chanel to sell their onions….
    to the commercial enterprise, you brought the human dimension, its motivation and sometimes cost.” We must take care of the children”…
    That’s why this Sound Bite is so good in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ceayr says:

      Thank you, Emmy, I am sorry I killed off ton grand-père.
      There has to be a human dimension in a Sound Bite, I believe, for it to have any impact, or even meaning.

      Liked by 2 people

      • emmylgant says:

        True. It’s all about people in SBF, but this one is about ordinary folks, not heroes or killers, not–shall we say–the seedier caracters we read about but would rather not meet!
        I don’t think you killed mon pépé. He didn’t have a bike 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Poor guy. Dangerous lanes indeed.


  14. Reblogged this on anelephantcant and commented:
    AnElephantCant ride a bicycle
    He is not a candidate for next year’s tough Tour de France
    He is quite unwaveringly unaerodynamic
    He gets in a pitiful panic
    Going downhill his brave brakes clearly don’t stand the ghost of a chance


  15. Dear C. E.,

    Your intro has me trying to imagine a wee laddie on his bike. 😉

    You’ve packed a longer story into few words. You made me love the Frenchman and then broke my heart.

    Speaking of the Frenchman, I think he’s winking at me…at least raising his eyebrow.
    Well done.



    Liked by 1 person

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