The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

En Garde

Runaways from a political rally, two helium balloons clap together. They are entangled above an intersection, caught in a wire on the side of an apartment. A man in a cardigan leans out of his third story window to glare at these balloons. He reaches his arm out to release them, to no avail, and disappears back inside.

Soon he returns. With a fireplace poker.

He sets to work, holding himself against the window frame with one arm as he fences his adversaries with the other. It’s unclear if he is dismayed by the political leanings of the balloons or bothered their trespassing. With a great stretch, he catches one and it pops–the sound of success drowned out by a departing bus.

A beautiful woman with a grocery bag of vegetables stands below the scene. She notices a few her fellow pedestrians staring at something above her. She looks up slowly, trying to make her curiosity appear like the typical upward stretch of a slightly tired, still beautiful woman. But then she gasps and tears off in startled jaywalking. Clearly, she doesn’t trust the man’s grip on his potentially deadly fireplace implement.

With one last jab, he finally bursts the second balloon. He makes a small noise of joy. A crowd of schoolchildren on the sidewalk give him a round of brief, sarcastic applause. He gazes down upon them, victorious nonetheless, and continues to smile to himself as he closes his window.

-Vienna, Austria.


Vienna graffiti,

12 comments on “En Garde

  1. M. R.
    March 10, 2014

    Such a perspicacious little story … and such an amazingly beautiful graffiti !

    • Hi M.R.,
      This happened not long after my first move to Vienna and I was on the watch for as much as I could see. Still, if the balloons hadn’t been applauding, I may not have seen the big event!

      • M. R.
        March 12, 2014

        Rubbish. Your writer’s eye sees everything it needs to. I have spoken. [grin]

  2. joannerambling
    March 10, 2014

    Liked this story

  3. hughcurtler
    March 11, 2014

    Very well done!

  4. Robert M. Weiss
    March 11, 2014

    Well told! I could picture the scene easily.

  5. Pingback: Sunshine award | Nia Simone, Author

  6. drmaryharrell
    August 7, 2014

    What a joy to read. Your writing flows, containing an animated quality.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 10, 2014

      Thank you so much, Dr. Harrell! I appreciate the comment. It’s a good encouragement to me today, as I am working on a novel and losing some faith! 🙂

  7. drmaryharrell
    August 11, 2014

    Oh no, you are too good a writer to lose faith. Keep going. I’ll keep you in my thoughts!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 12, 2014

      Thank you, Dr. Harrell. I keep at it, since I find that when I stop writing, I love some of my faith and joy. The blog helps me also to look for the good in others, which is likely best for my overall health. 🙂

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This entry was posted on March 10, 2014 by in Blogging, Europe, Happiness, Mischief, Travel and tagged , , , , , .

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