Thursday, August 27, 2009


For those of you who scoff at fiction, or who are interested in blurring the lines between fiction and fact.

Vignette 2: Swashbuckler

A woman walks into a bar to meet a man. She is, predictably, late. He is, predictably, peeved. She slots in beside him as he leans against the counter, squeezes in tightly next to him amidst the boozy Friday crowd.

'Hi,' she says, looking at him from under her eyelashes. He cuts a fine figure against the wall of glistening glassware, the dark wool of his suit so dense she wants to feel it.He looks at her.

‘Where the fuck have you been?’ he says. As usual the deep baritones of his voice thud against her ribcage and she is rendered momentarily shy.

‘You know where I’ve been,’ she says. ‘Don’t be angry with me.’

‘You've been eating garlic,' he says.

She blushes and turns away. The bar inflicts close talking as a necessity.

‘I have not.’

‘Yeah. Yeah, you have been. Was that especially for me?’

She laughs.

‘Yeah, it was, wasn’t it? Was it to stop yourself from kissing me? I know, I’m irresistible. That’s why you won’t brief me, right, you’re scared we’ll get it on in a meeting room outside court?’

‘Oh, is that what those meeting rooms are for?’ she says, and leans across the bar to order a drink.

He takes the opportunity to resume his appreciation of the young buxom blonde sitting at a nearby table, and when he looks back again at his companion she has a glass of wine in her hand and is batting away the advances of a drunk.

‘Hey mate, why don’t you leave the lady alone? I’ve been watching you and your friend over there chat up every girl in the place – it’s not working so well, tonight, is it?’

The drunk glowers at him and she worries he might start a fight, but he is unsteady on his feet and clearly outclassed. He grunts and turns away.

‘Oh Alfonso!’ she exclaims, setting her wine down and turning towards him, hands clasped and eyes shining gratefully.

He ruffles his thick dark hair disinterestedly.

‘It was nothing. What are friends for?’

She pauses and re-evaluates. She glances in his direction, but he is turned away from her, eyes once again on the blonde.

In her mind, they were perfect for each other, but she had it all wrong. His kiss on her cheek at the end of the night is perfunctory like the powdery stale kiss of a distant great-aunt.


  1. FWIW, I wouldn't use the word buxom, especially in conjunction with 'blonde'. Too common. From the male point of view, someone who grabs the attention like that has something very special about her. She might be glowing, magnetic, fabulous, magnificent, striking, stunningly well-endowed, provocatively attired, or gobsmackingly beautiful. From the female point of view she is a threat, underdressed, attention seeking, shallow, cheap, tawdry, trashy, and her tight dress discloses more than a hint of silicone.

    Also, “When she turns back from picking up her wineglass again” doesn’t flow as well as the rest of it. I’m not quite sure what would be better, maybe just deleting “again” or maybe “When she raises her eyes from her glass”.

  2. I like your comments about the male / female point of view. The Buxom Blonde description is deliberately cliched, though, in order to highlight the fact that from the woman's perspective his glances towards the BB are boring as they are characteristic of ordinary male behaviour and nothing more.

  3. GN, I suspect if men weren't so 'shallow', if they weren't so easily attracted to women, the women of the world would be the first to complain.