Gosh, what a birthday surprise

I’m a bit long in the tooth to get too excited by anther notch on the scythe but today I was treated to a day out and, on the way home, I read an email. I’d won a writing competition.  I even won money, and that is certainly a first. Here’s the link and here’s the story.

The Refusenik

It starts with grit. An unwanted irritant, inveigling its way inside the shell. Within hours the host has tried to protect itself, by coating the guest. All it does is replace one foreign body with a bigger problem. The guest is adapted to its environment but the relationship is uncomfortable. The host tries to smooth, add an acceptable surface but it is a compromise, a coping mechanism. Gradually it seems less foreign but the accommodation is never comfortable; the defences are still at work, trying to make the grain more like the host, a reflection of it.

And just when the guest and host reach a kind of equilibrium, another, greater problem, a predator appears and the unwanted guest is the prize, the host discarded. The guest is not an irritant but precious, a commodity. But it is not free; just the subject of another unwanted relationship.

Raul turned the pearl in his fingers; he was that pearl. A piece of human grit, washed into Europe’s maw, ground by its machine. An irritant, clothed, fed, educated but always unwanted. A foreign object, gaining knowledge of systems, until one day his value was appreciated. An interpreter, a go-between. No longer grit but a pearl; the accumulation of layers.

But not free. As a pearl, stringed, set and polished but a commodity.

A pearl is beautiful but inert. Raul’s beauty is his animation. And that is his difference. He can stand and fight.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. 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.
This entry was posted in competition, flash fiction, short story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Gosh, what a birthday surprise

  1. Jools says:

    Congratulations, Geoffle, and…. Happy Birthday! It’s a lovely piece, and very much of-the- moment. Well done you! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Happy Birthday , Happy day and well done on the win!……. PS can you lend me a fiver?? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue Vincent says:

    Congratulations on both counts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, happy birthday and well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jan says:

    Wow – a super piece of writing – definitely worthy of a prize (and some money) Congrats and happy birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sacha Black says:

    Well done geoffle proper pleased for you as I said on Esther’s post. so glad it was someone I know that won it. AND a birthday win, you couldn’t get better.


  7. Anabel Marsh says:

    Even more congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m surprised you don’t have so many wins under your belt one more is just one more ….. This is a mighty fine piece of writing, one to make you think just a little too much really when it’s pondered over. Congrats on your 45th birthday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful piece. Congratulations and Happy Birthday! 🎉🎁

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mick Canning says:

    Happy birthday and well done, Geoff. I just have to echo all those who got here first!


  11. esthernewton says:

    I just loved this story and was ecstatic when the judge picked it out. Well done to the birthday boy!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yvonne says:

    Happy birthday and congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. noelleg44 says:

    Fantastic, Geof, and congratulations! Well done! The story wasn’t bad either… 😉


  14. noelleg44 says:

    A second try at leaving a big congratulations!! Well done! And the story wasn’t bad, either… 😉


  15. davidprosser says:

    a Belated Penblwydd Hapus Geoff and Congratulations of the prize.


  16. trifflepudling says:

    That is brilliant, well done!! Talent and dedication are a wonderful combo! Hope you had an even better birthday after that!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Helen Jones says:

    Well done Geoffle – it’s a great story! And how nice to win on your birthday as well 🙂 Also, congratulations on finishing your Nanthology. I have to go back and read a few more so I can pick my favourites – the one with the aliens watching us stands out at the moment, and the dead boy’s bicycle story as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Well done, Geoff. Always good to have your efforts recognised with hard cash!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Charli Mills says:

    That’s a great birthday gift! Ha, ha…another notch in the scythe! There’s yet lots of life and words left in you!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sherri says:

    Hope you had a great birthday Geoff and many congrats on the win, well deserved, powerful read…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Norah says:

    Happy belated birthday, Geoff. What a wonderful birthday surprise winning a flash fiction writing competition is. Well deserved though, for a great story. I love the analogy and the message. Raul’s difference is definitely in his animation and his contribution. It’s a very current theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Congratulations, Geoff. May it be the first of many wins. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. rogershipp says:

    Happy Birthday and Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

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