Can’t you tell from my accent? (flash fiction part 1)

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#CCS1WeekWorkout  – The Center for Cartoon Studies one week online challenge day one

It was a tempest this time. Dane and Ysolde had been seeing each other for two years. It had not been an easy courtship. They were in the middle (they thought) of their worst fight ever.
“You haven’t given me a ring yet, but if you had I’d be giving it back”, said Ysolde.
“Oh no”, thought Dane. What he said was: “Well you needn’t .”
“What does that mean?” Ysolde was now furious.
“Give it back, if…”
“You’re impossible. Please leave.”
Bye Outtahere such as a Cowboy would be wont to say. Dane left Ysolde’s apartment and was on the road.
Dane walked the streets of London. It was a time when the air was thick with smoke and dirty mist. People already knew to call it smoke and fog: smog. He breathed in what almost felt like a cold version of a coal furnace. Cold like revenge should feel.
Dirty like revenge could feel.
Dane shook it off. He didn’t want that feeling. He felt like making a break, changing the scene, surroundings. He would still be the same. No he wouldn’t! Everyone said that a trip aboad was good for all kinds of heart conditions. Dane had one.
What’s the quickest? A flight to France.
And so he did. He had the cash, because he had planned on a expensive weekend for them both. He flew as far away from England that was not French Algeria or Tunisia. Marseille.
His Upper Five B French stood him in good stead. He got a cheap room. He could hear the gentle waves. He did not sleep.
He had brought his sketchbook with him and he drew Ysolde from memory. Her face got angrier with each hurried sketch and soon he was lacerating black scrapes across them. Well that was instructive, he thought.
The next day he sent a telegram to the ‘paper to see what he could write for them from Marseille. He could write reviews anywhere the paper would accept them from. It was worth a try.
While he waited for a return telegram he wrote:
What’s past is
Imagined, just a vision.

Albeit in that past, they wore clothes
Ate, drank and were merry.
Solemn or derision.
If you have to have dreams,
You’ll want those dreams to be familiar
Not fairy stuff – there’s enough of those
On children’s bookshelves
Not a shop blur but precision.

What’s past is  faded.
What’s future is a swipe of the hands.
Replacing each last guess
With a new one.
Safety unknown (don’t), labeled, paradisian.
There. That’s not about Ysolde is it?
He decided to try his hand at reviews on spec. He started by finding a listing of galleries. Hmmm, Antigona, Galerie Evrard Audet, Doa-Mamede (Portuguese?), Galerie Louis CinqMars, Galerie Bellemare ,Gradiva. On name alone, Dane picked Gradiva.
There were watercolor landscapes. The English knew landscapes. Few artists in England were tempted by abstraction at this time. This woman Abrielle Marcheterre was competent, she had the local light as an inspiration – the south of France – drawing a little weak. As he was turning back for a second look at the works, there she was. Bohemian didn’t begin to describe her. Pre-Raphaelite hair! Dane recognized it before her registered her face. And what a face it was.
She saw he had been writing in a notebook.
“Are you a critic?” she asked in French.
“For the papers?”
“Which ones?”
“The illustrated London news.”
“You are English”
“Can’t you tell from my accent?”
“And mine?” she spoke in English.
“Charmant. May I ask you a few questions?”
“For the review?”
“Bien sur.”
They had a glass of wine at the bistro next door. They walked into and out of the gallery a few times to clarify some of what Dane was looking for to write the article. Abrielle came with him to the telegraph office to see if he had gotten a reply. He paper’s reply was cautious and did not promise they would run any of his reviews. At least they would take them into consideration, but he would pay for the wire. He could mail them, but that increased the chance they wouldn’t run and he wouldn’t be paid.
Two people at loose ends. One of the most romantic countrysides in the world. A picnic. A dalliance.
As time went on Ysolde was also at loose ends, but not in a pleasurable way. She soon missed Dane. She changed her mind. She called the ‘paper and they told her he was on assignment in Marseille.
She booked a berth on a liner. She packed. In Marseille she went to the British consulate and found out where Dane was staying.
Dane answered the door. She was surprised, but realized she shouldn’t be. The French were promiscuous. Artists even more so. She looked like one.
He was abrupt.
“You had your chance”, was all he said.
“Who is this bitch?” thought Abrielle.
To be continued.

This entry was posted in flash fiction, prose.

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