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.
Written for: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers