Thursday, September 8, 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters #fridayflash...Lunch Date.

Romantic Friday Writers is a blogfest every Friday co-ordinated by myself and Francine Howarth. It is a fun event, showcasing the work of many fine writers who write romantic flash fiction or poetry under 400 words. Click on the icon in my sidebar or the link at the end of my post to check out others participating today or join the blogfest yourself. You will be most welcome. We are also found on twitter. We are @RFWER A winner is awarded the recognition of being the week's Featured Writer.

#Fridayflash is a group of writers who write flash fiction under 1,000 words every Friday to no particular theme. Click on the #Fridayflash icon in my sidebar if you want to access more stories.  

Lunch Date

The coffee shop was wall to wall with regular customers. Hallie surveyed her domain from behind the counter. She was amazed at the business her little coffee shop drew – locals and foreigners, all meeting together like there was no war happening outside the walls. There was a buzz throughout the room. How did she end up running her business in the middle of a war zone? All she had between her shop and the dangerous streets of Kabul was a flimsy wall. She’d already had her front windows shattered when a bomb went off outside the market. Too close for comfort that one. But I love it here.
He walked in.
She noticed him right away. Being on high alert could be a life saver. He was tall and dark, dressed in black, with eyes hiding behind Ray Bans. A machine gun hung casually over his shoulder, while a sidearm hung from each his hip like he was some Wild West cowboy. Trouble? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe he was just after lunch. Ha! A plate of Qabli Pulao that Shari made so well, perhaps a plate of qorma, a cup of coffee, a platter of melons from Mazar-e-Sharif, or oranges from Jalalabad? Maybe grapes and pomegranates from Kandahar. A girl can dream.
She stepped across the room. “Hey there cowboy! Guns for lunch?”
He eyeballed her through his dark shades, shrugged his shoulders, scanned the room, then handed his armoury to Asmaan. His eyes never left Asmaan as his guns were toted behind the counter. He didn’t move until the lock clicked.
“Now, what’ll it be? Lunch?” she asked, as they sat at the last empty table, the one facing the entrance.
“I’m not so much hungry for food Hallie.” She knew it.
“Why not? We sell the best food you’ll eat in Kabul,” she teased.
He reached across the table and took her hand. She felt the fire.
“The food you can offer me is not to be taken here in a public place.” He brushed her cheek with fingers hardened in battle.
“Is that right cowboy?” Damn her voice for shaking.
Hallie kicked her chair away from the table. He knocked his to the floor. She ignored Asmaan’s smirk as on trembling legs she led her cowboy up the rickety stairs to her room where indeed a feast of a different kind waited.

395 words. FCA

To read more #RFWer and #fridayflash stories, click on the images in my right sidebar.




Sarah Pearson said...

I love this, the contrast between war and romance works well, and the way you set him up to look like a stranger was very effective.

Anna said...

Dear Denise,
I agree with Sarah Pearson's observations. The contrast between war and romance electrify the atmosphere in this story. And you cleverly make the reader think that he is a stranger. The descriptions feel so real. You put us there.

How do you do your research? My guess is that you read a lot of nonfiction books about different subjects and use this factual information as a backdrop for stories about your fictional characters.

Anyway, it's a lovely text and a good working-method, if I have guessed correctly.

Thank you for visiting my double-post for 'Lunch Date'. I agree with you. I like the second text 'B', better. I was so sad after writing Text 'A' that I decided to give Sanna a happier solution even if it meant cheating a little by using black magic.

(Problem is that black magic wears off. What is Sanna going to do when Tomas wakes up from his spell?)

Kind regards,

For the benefit of other readers:
Anna's RFW No. 18 'Lunch Date'

Madeleine said...

Oh this lady likes her men tough!
I liked the way the reader gradually realises that the hero is a regular to the restaurant and then we are led, up the stairs with the lover, the heroine...

I'm afraid I shall not be posting a story this week, though I do very much like the theme.:O)

Heaven said...

Love the flavours of the food from the country, and the relationship between the two characters. The tough guy but skilled familiar lover is a very interesting character.

Don't know if I will edit my work to participate. But I will be reading ~

Francine Howarth said...


Hee hee, neat piece: a real trickster read! I was pondering the romantic element half expecting a shoo-out scenario then whoa, they're off to bed! ;)


L'Aussie said...

Sarah: Thanks for reading as always. Glad you like it.

Anna: Research is my favourite part of writing, lol. I read a lot, period. Both fiction and non fiction. To practise flash fiction I often find a stunning sentence then write a story from there. I'm fascinated about what's happening in Afghanistan. I've written another story, The Child, about a female soldier, which is a few posts below this one.

Anyway, Anna, I thank you for your interest.

Madeleine: Thanks for the comment. I went for the slow reveal and seems you all like it. Sorry you won't be getting a story up.

Francine: I thought about a bomb going off but then I thought let's go with a better sort of a bomb! Romantic element indeed.


Beverly Diehl said...

I know you're cutting to fit the word count, but you might want to expand this gem for other markets/uses. F'rinstance, he's "dressed in black," - you could let us know if it's American style dress, and what she thinks - dramatic? too hot? "All he was missing was the black hat and horse." I think you could easily add another third to this piece, stretching out the tension.

How many counters are there? She's standing behind the counter, at the beginning, then she walks across the room and joins him - at another counter, behind which his weapons get stowed. Which is fine, if you intend to have two, but if that's not a normal layout, start her at a bussing station or checking on something in the kitchen or elsewhere. Also, the table wouldn't be facing the entrance - the chairs at it might be, or it might be the nearest to the entrance (least desirable in case of explosion).

'k, enough nit-picking. Love the story, love the chemistry between these two, love the description of the food. And the phrase "Guns for lunch?" is fantastic.

L'Aussie said...

Hey Beverly I'm hearing you. I guess I knew where they all were but may not have conveyed it well in a short piece. If I was going to do anything with the story I'd definitely take your suggestions into consideration. That's why we need CPs - we know what we mean, we see the whole story in our heads, but others don't.


J.L. Campbell said...

I like the fact that at first it seems she doesn't know him, only to find out that he's someone she's deep into.

L'Aussie said...

Joy, yes I went for the slow reveal here. D

Kiru Taye said...

This is so nice. I wouldn't mind some of that lunch. Nice piece, Denise.

Kiru Taye said...

I should also say that I got carried away. You described the scene so well. And all the yummy exotic food too. :)

Madeleine said...

I've posted mine up belatedly :O)

L'Aussie said...

Kiru: Glad you liked it. Yes, I'm hungry just thinking about it.

Madeleine: Have put you on thelist.


Adura Ojo (Naijalines) said...

Really enjoyed reading this. I agree with all the other commenters. Romance set against a backdrop of war in the way you've done it really works. Thanks for sharing. I would like to see how the story progresses...Hope it's a book in the making(WIP)?

L'Aussie said...

Adura: No, actually, but I might extend it. It just popped into my head as I have a fascination for real people living in Afghanistan.


Harry said...

When did Miss Kitty open a Longbranch in Kabul? More importantly, wait until Matthew finds out!

Ms. Queenly said...

A hot read L'Aussie. The setting does indeed add to the allure of the whole situation. ~MsQ

L'Aussie said...

Harry: I'm trying to work out what you mean. I must be thick...

MsQueenly: Glad you liked it.


L'Aussie said...

Harry: I'm a bit slow. I channelled my westerns and Miss Kitty came to me - Gunsmoke! (I think!) Been a long time...D

Harry said...

Yep, I was hoping ol' Marshall Dillon was famous enough to be known down under. I know your character is Hallie, but somehow she reminded me of Miss Kittie, and it's kind of the old west there anyway isn't it?

L'Aussie said...

You'd be right there Harry. Wild East! Poor folk. D