Designer Freedom

October 6, 2013 § 3 Comments

 I wrote this piece of flash fiction very quickly – it is really a first draft. It is

a) an exercise in characterisation;

b) designed to imply much more about the character than is said.

Not altogether sure it worked… What do you think?Image

            Tamsin had three Montblancs – one red, one pink and one blue – every one containing a cartridge that matched the barrel of each pen exactly. She kept them lined up side by side – not quite touching – on the third shelf down next to her Ian McEwan’s.

            She used the red pen when she felt the need to assert herself. The pink she reserved for the occasions she wanted to bring out her feminine side. The blue was for calming her nerves. Hidden at the back of her desk drawer was a cheap black plastic Parker she’d found on the seat of a London cab, and a bottle of Quink Permanent Black. She used this pen the most, liking the feel of it between the thumb and first finger of her left hand, but also because it made her feel normal and less burdened by the unpleasant memories that often sprang into her consciousness without warning.

            She opened her Moleskine notebook, selected the blue pen, and began to write. For five minutes she scribbled furiously across the paper, then abruptly stopped, reached for her Mulberry satchel, and emptied the contents roughly onto the Bokhara rug.

She removed the receipts from her leather purse and threw them in the wastepaper basket along with a passport-sized photograph of a man with a beard. She cut his balding head into four neat pieces. Into the basket went the miniature Steiff teddy with matted yellow hair, and last year’s diary. Flicking through, she noticed she had written most of the entries in red.

            The scarlet lipstick, as yet unused, together with the hairbrush, nail file and bottle of Aspirin, she returned to the Mulberry along with the Moleskine. She reached into the desk drawer and withdrew a small packet. She opened it and put the contents into her pocket.

            The grandfather clock at the top of the elegant staircase struck six fifteen, and punctual as ever, the front door slammed three stories down.

            She fixed a small, closed-lipped smile upon her face, checked the Gerber fixed blade was save in her pocket, and descended the stairs.

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§ 3 Responses to Designer Freedom

  • JessicaHof says:

    That sounds menacing at the end – at the moment I have someone I’d quite like a Gerber fixed blade for – but to answer your questions, yes, I think it works – though I don’t like her; perhaps I am meant not to? It surely implies more about her.

  • Rachael Charmley says:

    Thanks Jessica. Useful comments. I think it probably didn’t work very well because I didn’t manage to evoke any empathy in you. I didn’t like her either I’ve just realised- thanks!- and so I wrote her as deeply flawed and about to commit an imperfect crime. C’est la vie.
    Ps. I heard about your need for a weapon over the Camembert at lunch. Surely your words would be more effective… 😉

    • JessicaHof says:

      Someone close to you seems to think that a bludgeon would be best – he may be right, but hey ho, it’s cold here, though sunny, and I’m fired up – as well as being a tad obsessive. Maybe that’s why I could identify with your protagonist 🙂

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