Making a virtue of it

Charli Mills prompts us to write about a vice

April 22, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a vice. It can be part of a character or a part of the story. The vice can be the focus or it can be subtle. Think of ways to use a vice (or multiples, if you are so daring) to create a compelling flash fiction.

Which is the easy part. She doesn’t ask us to disclose our own vices. And in that regard I think I’m pretty dull. Don’t drink anything stronger than water or smoke anything at all. I hate pills, like cake but understand the dangers of overdosing on sugars, salts, starches – pretty much everything. I have never felt the slightest inclination to gamble. Cars are a necessity if anything and it remains my philosophy that experiences, not things matter.

My vice is, I suppose, an inability to stop this blogging caper and spending too much time on my various electronic devices. And sport. Oh yes, sport is my vice. The only time I have not consulted the Textiliste on a purchase of any significance that wasn’t also a present for her was buying debentures. For those not in the know, these puppies gain you the right to either attend a sporting venue or to have priority in buying tickets. They last, usually, for between 8 and 10 years and  they are completely indulgent. I have them at four major sports venues in London. I am shamelessly prepared to put up with all manner of silences and hairy eyeballs to ensure that when England play cricket or rugby or football I will be there. Live. Screaming my head off or holding the self same head in despair.


geoff cricket

Me enjoying an exciting day at a test match at the Oval

I paid for the seat so why not…

And so to the flash. Mary has found some solace in the better behaviour of her half-brother but maybe she has other problems close to home?

Vice-like grip 

‘Paul? What are you watching?’

Mary’s husband closed his laptop. ‘I just clicked a link. It…’

‘Paul?’ Mary could hide her horror. Tears speckled her lashes. She watched his mouth open and close before she hurried away. She didn’t grab her coat or close the front door but kept walking. All she could think was ‘how could he?’

He found her in the shelter overlooking the beach. She wouldn’t look at him. ‘Was that porn?’ It was said to hurt and it did.

‘What do you think? Don’t you know me?’

Did she know anyone? Her father? Her husband?

The story so far is here.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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20 Responses to Making a virtue of it

  1. Ula says:

    Poor Mary and poor Paul. This points to so many things wrong in their relationship, obviously. I wish they’d just talk about it. She’s being a baby running off like that.
    Sport is probably one of the better vices to have. My husband loves basketball, so I know what your wife must feel. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where there are no basketball teams, so he watches them on the computer.
    I hadn’t thought about my vices.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    You are a paragon of Virtue!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sherri says:

    It’s amazing isn’t it that anything, even those things that we wouldn’t consider as vices, can become obsessions to the point of perhaps becoming vices in that they start to control us. But that isn’t the correct definition of vice I suppose. But here I do feel so bad for Mary. I hope that Paul has a good and valid explanation…

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I have a feeling Paul was bidding on some rugby world cup tickets on eBay. Rugby is his vice.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sacha Black says:

    Lol. I literally love Mary and her prudish nature! I can just feel Paul rolling his eyes in silent frustration after she runs off! Poor bloke! I can’t help but love Mary though! You have made one hell of a character through these flashes Geoff.

    God your like some sort of Saint or something. I don’t think I could count all my vices on my own hands and feet! Although alcohol is not one of them. Don’t mind the odd tipple but I would rather spend the calories on chocolate or cake! Sweet tooth me!

    You don’t drink anything stronger than water…. What???!! Not even coffee? Surely you drink tea? For the love of God tell me you have written God knows how many novels without the aid of caffeine? If u have I might as well just fucking shoot myself now! 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh, Geoff. What are you putting Mary through? Why?! Ugh. I don’t know what else she’d think. Maybe he’s corresponding with the hated half brother and wants to spare her feelings. Haven’t you put her through enough for now? I think you’re rather enjoying this now. Until next week…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Charli Mills says:

    That last line sums up what is really eating at Mary — she feels like she doesn’t know the men she was suppose to trust. Curious as to what Paul was doing…something he doesn’t want her to know about. The Hub is a firearms collector and a long-distance shootist so whenever he’s online he’s gawking at Mausers and ARs and perusing auctions with close-up photos of long, slinky barrels and curvaceous stocks of exotic wood. I call it gun-porn.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Norah says:

    I wonder how the Textiliste would describe your vices. Maybe she doesn’t see any either. That would be a good thing! 🙂 I do feel sorry for Mary. I understand that the betrayal of her father, the man with whom she should feel most protected and safe, would make it difficult for her to feel absolute trust with any other man. Paul’s question will not reassure her. It will be interesting to see how this one is resolved.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Haha. I agree blogging is a vice. I’ll add it to the chocolates.
    I think this is my favourite flash or they are just getting better and better. The characters are becoming well developed and I could just see Mary’s hurt. As Charli said it is also the fact all the men in her life have been a little unknown.


  10. Annecdotist says:

    Poor Mary! I’d like to set her up with a fictional therapist but there are so few that I genuinely trust. Perhaps she just needs to leave home and start again.


  11. Pingback: Pot-Smoking & Other Tales of Vice « Carrot Ranch Communications

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