I’m a fiction writer, so I thought “Why not post a bit of fiction on this blog?” Here’s a ficlet I wrote using the following prompt words: penguins, rain, flash, corset, slippery, riding crop, lantern, apostrophe, tricycle, spaghetti and deosil
Any word prompts for further free ficlets will be happily accepted!
Carleton always blamed the penguins.
He had a good defence for the story, whenever anyone challenged him on this explanation. He had gone to New York with the specific intention of visiting the same-sex penguin couple which had made such a stir on the news a while back, and it had been on this trip that he’d met Zorran. The penguins, alas, had apparently broken up – as Carleton discovered as he braved the pouring rain to look for them. However, although he might not have found gay penguins, he discovered (riding a tricycle of all ridiculous things!) a gay man. A gay man who was, in fact, much to his liking.
Zorran, making an elegant deosil curve in order to prevent himself crashing into Carleton, had been misled by the slippery conditions, and he and his tricycle came to an unhappy conclusion by Carleton’s feet. Not, perhaps, the most romantic of meetings – but in Carleton’s experience, thrilling beginnings (such as snogging a gorgeous guy in a corset in a flash club in London, to name but one unfortunate past encounter) tended to lead to entirely unromantic ends (such as, to continue the same example, finding your partner, a couple of months later, in your bedroom, being whipped with a riding crop by a gorgeous blond bloke with an erection rather larger than your own). If that was romance, Carleton would prefer to stick to less thrilling first meetings, thank you very much.
Instead, after Carleton had picked Zorran up and dusted him down (or rather, spread the wetness rather more evenly amongst his clothes), Zorran invited him back to “my place”. Carleton still hadn’t been certain that Zorran was gay, let alone interested in him, but the invitation caught his fancy (especially as the penguins were off and the rain was still teeming down), so he agreed. Zorran’s place, however, turned out not to be a fancy New York apartment but a cheap and friendly cafe whose title – Pizza’s and Pasta – held an entirely misplaced apostrophe. When Carleton ventured to mention this, Zorran grinned.
“Isn’t it great?” he demanded. “I’m sure we get half our trade from people who come in wanting to correct it. I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
Carleton had been sure, at that point, that his new acquaintance was completely mad: a tricycle-riding cafe owner who deliberately mis-spelt the name of his establishment in order to encourage the public in. He liked it. Sense was altogether too much valued in this world, he decided, settling down to a large bowl of spaghetti (“The House Source” – with sauce, again, intentionally incorrect). Clearly this was where he had been going wrong all this time – looking for a man who was honest, faithful… and not totally round the twist. When Zorran suggested he took a bed there for the night – his bed, in fact, with him in it as well – Carleton had said ‘yes’ even before the question had been finished. And even though he had had to undress by lantern light (“why have electricity on up here when we can have candle-light?” Zorran had asked, rhetorically), he had never regretted it.
Never, even though now he was a builder-turned-waiter, spending his days explaining – or at any rate, attempting to explain – the creative spelling of his boyfriend’s cafe; even though Zorran, hearing his previous relationship woes, had offered to wear a corset whilst beating him with a riding crop – “Hey, you could destroy two demons in one go!” – not even when Zorran’s friends took to calling them “the penguin couple”.
After all, it had been the penguins who started all of this…