Fall back on breeding…


Rita’s dinner-parties were the stuff of legend – a heady mix of rich conversation and frugal ingenuity. With crepe-paper chandeliers and coat-hanger candelabra she carried off an air of flamboyant spectacle.

Rita herself was grace-personified – a slight, elegant frame of dignity and decorum that desperate poverty had failed to mollify. She sported plastic earrings as though they were diamonds and wore rags as though they were modelling her.

At any given gathering attention inevitably turned to the oil painting that dominated the far wall of her pokey basement flat.

‘Ah yes, my ancestor – the countess,’ she began, as though the words were not well-rehearsed, ‘regaling the revolutionaries who’d arrived to cart her away to the gulag. If the stories are to be believed she made them wait while the portrait was painted and disarmed them with etiquette.’

Guests never failed to take the bait. ‘So, you descend from aristocracy?’

‘Yes,’ Rita always replied wistfully, ‘but alas nothing now remains of that decadent time…well…’

With subtle self-intimation her body language concluded the tale…

…Perhaps one thing.


(175 words)

Written for: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers


Filed under Flash fiction

12 responses to “Fall back on breeding…

  1. Poor Rita, feel kind of sorry for her. It does remind me of some people who claim to have descended from royalty.

  2. Very well structured. What a wonderful piece of writing

  3. Sad tale of a family that lost their fortune and titles! Well written! Great story!

  4. Reminds me of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, particularly the one where Danny Dyer, the cockney actor discover he was descended from royalty. His face was priceless when he found out.

  5. Well done. I like how you took the old fashioned picture and brought it into the present.

  6. So well done, had me very interested….

  7. What aplomb! This is great.

  8. Very well written story, Martin. i was wondering how you were going to tie in the painting and I liked your aristocratic-descendant-plotline 🙂

  9. crepe-paper chandeliers and coat-hanger candelabra- what beautiful adjectivial nopuns are these. I like the vivid portrait that you drew of a family still living on long glory.

  10. A great story here. Vivid and engrossing. Enjoyed it. You have quite the talent to imbue so few words with a lot of life.

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