Eight Ladies Writing Posts

26 Jun

Story Snippet: Daphne’s Last Dance

A Regency-themed short story, originally written for the weekly flash fiction challenge on my group blog, Eight Ladies Writing

Lady Mayfair’s masquerade was the last significant party of the Season, and Daphne’s papa had been distressingly clear about the family’s finances, or lack thereof. Unfortunately she had failed to Take her Opportunity, and so this soiree would be her last hurrah in the Beau Monde.

A long night in the library with a bottle of papa’s best port had done wonders for her resolution. The alternatives were clear. Get herself thoroughly compromised, or go home and marry the vicar. And since he was approaching sixty, had lost most of his teeth, and believed personal cleanliness was injurious to health, there wasn’t really a decision to make.

Viscount Wandering-Hands, irreverently known as Lord Pianoforte, was a terrible rake, but he was a stylish one. The matched bays harnessed to his curricle smelled sweeter than Reverend Whiffy, and his way with a freshly-starched cravat was a thing of beauty. No wonder he was all the crack, despite his propensity to take outrageous liberties.

Fortunately the orchestra had been playing an unexceptionable suite of classical dances when they arrived. Daphne had migrated to her usual wallflower position behind the potted palms and despatched her chaperone to play whist with the other tabbies. Aunt Evelina knew the end was in sight, and the opportunity to invest papa’s miserly allowance in an evening’s gambling was too great to resist.

A judicious dousing of water in the Ladies’ Retiring Room had rendered Daphne’s gown practically diaphanous. Exactly on cue, the band struck up a waltz. She pulled her bodice down until her décolletage was the epitome of scandalous, tripped strategically on an outstretched satin slipper, and landed, as she had intended, in the arms of Lord Pianoforte.

He looked down at her magnificent, barely covered bosom and took a firmer grasp around her hand-span waist.

“My dance, I believe?”

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18 Jun

Story Snippet: Copacetic Cop-Out

A sixties-themed short story, originally written for the weekly flash fiction challenge on my group blog 8 Ladies Writing.

“Copacetic Corner? A Counterculture Commune for Retired Revolutionaries? What the hell is this?”

Commander Mann pushed the brochure back across the desk with a snarl. Hand-printed with vegetable inks on recycled paper, the cover was an eclectic mix of paisley-patterned swirls and fluffy clouds emblazoned with hippie buzzwords: “Peace”; “Love”; “Freedom.”

“You didn’t read the good bits yet, Commander.” Rainbow pushed it back again. “I think ‘Can You Dig It?’ is an inspired name for an organic vegetable garden, don’t you?”

“I don’t see what this has to do with me.” His eyes met hers briefly and slid away.

“My mother is looking for investors,” Rainbow explained brightly. “She’s not getting any younger and wants to create a sanctuary for herself and her friends, but she’s having some difficulty raising the finance.”

Commander Mann was seized by a sudden fit of coughing. Rainbow straightened her mini skirt, crossed her ankles and waited politely until he subsided before continuing with her pitch.

“Apparently she has some kind of mystery blot on her copybook dating back to the sixties. We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of the problem. It’s very odd. She was in a couple of protest groups, nothing very radical, but afterwards there was a crazy rumour they’d been infiltrated by some kind of super-secret police task force.”

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.” Commander Mann’s face was a sixties shade of puce.

“Exactly what I said, sir.” Rainbow reached into her macramé bag, took out a photograph and laid it on top of the brochure. “The flower child in the tie-dye kaftan is my mother. I’m not sure I recognize the groovy dude sharing her psychedelic mushrooms, though he does look vaguely familiar.”

Mann stared long and hard at the photograph. Then he opened his desk drawer and took out his cheque book.

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