The Queue – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by the wonderful Rochelle, the undisputed master of what I call Sound Bite Fiction.
She sets the weekly challenge, and the standard.
This week’s thirst-quenching photo prompt comes courtesy of Priorhouse.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on this picture, below.

© Priorhouse

Click here to hear the writer read his words:

The Queue

There is always a queue.
What seems like a never-ending line of people, patiently waiting their turn.
There are old folk and children, men and women in their prime, some couples and some family groups.
I pour tea or coffee, milk or juice, for each of them.
They are unfailingly pleasant.
Most of them smile, with a friendly word which I barely acknowledge.
What do I have to smile about?
I scowl at their happy faces.
They are getting their just rewards.
They know where they are going.
I will be here forever.
One man’s heaven is another man’s hell.

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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76 Responses to The Queue – Friday Fictioneers

  1. This is very clever, and raised a grin here. I thought it was just a.n.other hotel till that all-revealing final line. Who knew there was a fancy pants ante room up there?
    Very nicely told.

    Like

  2. I’m reminded of the symphony conductor who went to hell and spent eternity locked in a room full of banjo players. Well played, C.E.

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  3. An interesting perspective! Nice! Na’ama
    My entry, if interested: https://naamayehuda.com/2018/09/28/the-service/

    Like

  4. Quite interesting. That setting always occurs to me too. I often think of ways to depict someone’s personal judgment in a mundane setting.

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  5. StuHN says:

    Peter doing beverage service. I agree with Neil. Or Camus. I wonder if anyone reading a lot of the stories will give up coffee.

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      Mentions of Kafka and Camus! I am over the parrot here!
      And there are ladies out there that I don’t want to give up coffee, they are terrifying until that first cup!

      Like

  6. mandibelle16 says:

    Fascinating piece C.E. I can’t tell if he’s like a cult leader with evil intentions of making his followers suffer for some evil reason or malice. Or if this is like the reaper or death. taking people to where they deserve. Like the ferry boat ride to Hades. Well written as always my friend. And big hugs I haven’t given them in a long while 🙂

    Like

  7. lisarey1990 says:

    I loved the way you weaved the piece together telling the story of someone years in their job. That feeling of being a ‘lifer’. Really good.

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  8. Shiny happy faces have a way of making service all the more difficult. Seems it is either hell on earth or hell in the hereafter. Zero sum game.

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  9. Oh, hell indeed. On the other hand, what do they serve at the entry to hell? Probably nothing. It is hell after all.

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  10. A very creative take on the prompt. Watching others, even those who died young, enter heaven while he serves the coffee would be like hell. So close yet so far, forever left outside.

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  11. Ellie Scott says:

    Brilliant take on the prompt! What a miserable existence indeed. Maybe he should spike the coffee with something stronger and liven his job up a little. Does heaven accept drunks?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ceayr says:

      Laughing. You are a bad lady! But I don’t think that he can wander around with a bottle of Scotch, he is kinda restricted to his duties, that is his hell. As for your question, you are asking the wrong person, I just pour the coffee!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. jillyfunnell says:

    What did he do to deserve such a punishment, stuck halfway between here and there. Great writing.

    Like

  13. subroto says:

    Nothing stronger than tea or coffee? No wonder St. Peter is so cranky. Welcoming people for an eternity does sound like hell.

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  14. Mandie Hines says:

    I can’t believe that both you and Björn managed to weave such miserable tales for your characters with something so happy and innocent as coffee as a starting point. I rather like how you both managed to break my expectation.

    Like

  15. Rowena says:

    What about the road less travelled? The queue without a queue? Would that be heading to heaven or hell? I just had to ask. Great piece, CE.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Like

  16. I’ve always thought, if the devil is a smart creature, that my personal hell would be a constant loop of rom-com movies and/or country music. To other nice people, that would be absolute heaven.

    To each his/her own!

    Great story

    -Rachel

    Like

  17. So, I may finally get to meet you one day – milk and two sugars by the way!

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  18. So when they say- There’s a special place in hell for so-and-so, do they mean this place?

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  19. Abhijit Ray says:

    Why is he so unhappy? He is serving people!

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  20. Probably something to do with the poison (or such), he slipped in someone’s tea. 🙂 Very well done. The last line slipped in so subtly.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. 4963andypop says:

    I got the impression this was in a funeral home. A never-ending queue, indeed.

    Like

  22. As a tea waiter for ever, imagine that!! I can’t stand serving the general public, he’s got an eternity doing so, poor bloke!

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  23. Stuck for ever seeing new happy faces…. yes that could be hell or at least Limbo… Dante’s descriptions of that part could fit.

    Like

  24. michael1148humphris says:

    Mines a tea with just a touch of milk and no sugar, please. Mind you not to strong…😉

    Like

  25. granonine says:

    Yes, I guess that would be hell, for all of eternity. I wonder what he did in his earthly life, to be sentenced to eternal servitude.

    Like

  26. pennygadd51 says:

    First of all, that’s a great take on the prompt. It’s an intriguing story, too. Heaven as a luxury hotel. Hmmm. Nice work, CE!

    Like

  27. Reena Saxena says:

    Is that a gadget’s autobiography?

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  28. Iain Kelly says:

    Just wondering if there’s anything stronger on offer? After the whole death ordeal, a little tipple might be in order.

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  29. Anita says:

    Last line is so true! Cool ‘other side of the fence’ story.
    They serve great tea in heaven. That’s an incentive to be good & do good everywhere 🙂
    Long queues for heaven means there are many good people in line! 🙂

    Like

  30. Dear CE,

    Wondering if this is literally heaven. Could this be St. Peter complaining of his lot? I agree with Neil…it is Kafka-esque. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  31. Sandra says:

    I’m wondering just where they are going. Knowing you, there’s a sting in the tale/tail here.

    Like

  32. neilmacdon says:

    There’s something Kafka-esque about this

    Like

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