Birthday – 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, the standard, and the prompt photo.
The idea, as always, is to write a story of around 100 words based on the picture below, which this week is supplied by Ted Strutz.

© Ted Strutz

Click here to hear the author read his words:

Birthday

It’s my birthday.
I stroll into town, reflecting on my life.
Children walking in hand-holding pairs take me back to my own childhood.
I went to school in three different countries, but not France, where I now live.
The winters are wonderful, so mild compared to Scotland.
I am anonymous here, just an old guy who sits outside a café, reading in the sunshine.
Everyone talks to me, no-one knows me.
I like that.
I am a very private individual.
The kiddies remind me it’s time to decide on my birthday treat.
The dark-haired one with big brown eyes, perhaps…

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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56 Responses to Birthday – Friday Fictioneers

  1. OH I love how you end with a ZINGER!
    Ronda

    Like

  2. Happy Birthday! 😉

    Like

  3. Liz Young says:

    Right up to the end you had me liking the guy, then Wham! Excellent.

    Like

  4. Wow, what a sting in the tale, after quietly painting a picture of the quiet man. Like the story.

    Like

  5. James McEwan says:

    Yes, I suspect their little bones get stuck in your teeth these days.

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  6. Oy, you are the master of a chilling twist!

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  7. Russell says:

    Great twist on the end!

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  8. draliman says:

    Well, that went dark very suddenly!

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  9. Sandra says:

    Interesting debate you had going with Penny there, CE. There are many sides to that debate. Another macabre masterpiece offering just the slightest glimmer that it won’t end badly and then dashing it at the end.

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      Indeed, Sandra, censorship is an ongoing and perhaps insoluble debate, sometimes due to national cultural differences. The US ‘gun good, nipple bad’ approach is baffling to, I suspect, the vast majority of Europeans.
      On this challenge, lacking your unparalleled ability to describe entire dynasties in 100 words, I tend to go for the short sharp shock for impact.
      Thank you for ‘macabre masterpiece’, much appreciated.

      Like

  10. trishsplace says:

    OMG so dark! Unexpected, so very cool. Those sort of stories where you’re thinking ‘benign’ and then the twist are excellent.

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  11. tedstrutz says:

    Whoa… that is some story! A friend took this photo and I liked it knowing some good stories would come. This was more than good. You can see her work here… https://instaology.com/

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      Thanks for the photo and for the link, Ted.
      I love her stuff, especially the b&w, scattered a few ‘Likes’ around.
      Here in France young schoolchildren, less than 10 or so, when out on a school trip, always walk in pairs, holding hands.
      I love to see this, it warms my heart, so I have no idea where such a bleak story came from.
      Glad it worked for you.
      Cheers

      Like

  12. Mike says:

    I wondered how you would handle this prompt, I was not disappointed

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  13. Iain Kelly says:

    I feel dirty just reading that last line.

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  14. I think I’ll send the paparazzi to find you in that cafe, just for the heck of it … 😉
    I like the picture you painted with words! 🙂

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  15. Nobbinmaug says:

    I would be shocked if there weren’t something sinister lying in wait. I still recognize your gift for the macabre twist.

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  16. …so it was you, and now we all know!

    Like

  17. pennygadd51 says:

    Mostly I chuckle at your murder and mayhem, knowing the victims are actors, the blood fake and the intention – and usually the result – to provoke laughter.
    This story is different. If it gave some insight into why some people are like this it might be justifiable, but it doesn’t. It deals frivolously with a horror that far too many children endure; you could easily have such a person in your regular readership – and how would they feel?

    Like

    • ceayr says:

      Do you think we should censor what we write in case our words upset a reader, Penny?

      Liked by 1 person

      • pennygadd51 says:

        In a word, yes.
        I don’t necessarily think we should censor what we write, but certainly I feel we should self-censor what we publish. And, before you ask, I have done so myself.
        Upsetting a reader isn’t the sole criterion I would use. Sometimes it can be good to upset someone, if it draws attention to an important issue, or if it brings some useful insight.

        Like

        • ceayr says:

          As I said to Sandra, above, I doubt that there can or will be overall agreement on censorship.
          I know of several people who have stopped visiting my blog because they don’t like or approve of the content, and I have no problem with that.
          I hope, however, that you will continue to visit and voice your opinion.

          Liked by 1 person

          • pennygadd51 says:

            Dear CE
            Thank you for your courtesy and fairmindedness. I agree that censorship is a tricky area. For the record, I feel self-censorship is a little different from imposed censorship (which I view with great scepticism).
            I shall certainly visit your blog again for your FF stories. Mostly I find them very entertaining!
            Shalom
            Penny

            Like

  18. granonine says:

    I wasn’t prepared for this kindly old gent to take off his mask and reveal a predator. Shivery.

    Like

  19. Dear C.E.

    I recognized this very private man. Makes me cringe. The last line, I mean.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  20. Colline says:

    Always a twist! This is the perfect start to a good thriller.

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  21. Well it is no wonder he prefers his anonymity.

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  22. kittysverses says:

    Scary! Nicely narrated. 🙂

    Like

  23. Tannille says:

    Whoa did this story turn sinister at the end or is my mind warped? Great twist from my thinking!

    Like

  24. neilmacdon says:

    Such a nice old geyser. Until that last line

    Like

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