Tracey Riehl and
Barbara Lynne Black

Tracey Riehl

The Plot
By Barbara Lynne Black
Inspiration piece

On a May day full of the thrum of bees, when a corpse might sit up from its grave to smell the late spring air, a man disguised as an undertaker entered The Wild Onion café and, brushing off the plastic bench with his hanky before sitting, ordered in an authoritative yet kindly voice (practised) a plate of liver and onions with a side of peas. Traces of road dust clung to his ill-fitting suit, though he had been careful to shake most of it off before entering. He didn’t care for the song playing on the jukebox, some nonsense about being young forever. He turned his attention instead to a plump, gaudy woman with a laugh like a horn blast and wondered what box size she might be and whether lilies were right for someone with so loud a voice and an appetite for jarring colours. Gladiolas better. Her mother would not attend. These bombastic types who flared out in a final burst of ill-timed exuberance always had distant mothers, scrawny and bitter, who outlived all their children and loved only a tattered budgie or a garden plot full of warty pickling cucumbers. A secret suitor would step out from the wings and pay for everything. Chicken hearts in gravy might have been a better choice, he thought, as the distracted waitress near-dropped his plate of liver on the Formica table and a greasy, lifeless onion hung like a noose over his size-too-large trousers. But overall, the town looked good.

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  1. Posted March 8, 2016 at 3:30 pm | #

    Barbara – this is a delightful piece of writing. Evocative, slightly twisted to make it interesting, with a somewhat surprising ending. Perfect!

  2. Posted July 8, 2016 at 11:31 am | #

    Thank you, Jay! These deadlined collaborations bring out surprising things!