Erosion – Friday Fictioneers, November 2015



Tom places one glass of wine on the table.

I look up, catching Sal’s expression.

“Not drinking, Sal?”

“Apparently not.”

The waiter arrives.

“A 6 ounce steak for my wife, hold the sauce. And a green salad.”

We eat in silence; Sal eyes my steak-and-ale pie with fries.

“Holiday plans?” she says, finishing up.

“Divorce lawyers don’t take vacations,” I say.

“We’re going sailing this year,” says Tom. “Sal’s really excited.”

“I thought Sal hated boats?”

“Just needs to apply a bit of self-control,” he says, going for our coats.

Sal meets my gaze.

I open my diary.

“Tomorrow at ten?”

November is always a bad month for me, and this month was sizing up to be even worse than usual. But my mood has been lightened by three pieces of good news in the space of a week: a competition win, a photo being published in a waterways calendar, and winning a year’s subscription to a writing magazine for submitting a ‘prize’ letter on unfair competition conditions. This doesn’t quite match the occasion when, as a hard-up student, I bought five tickets in a raffle and won first, second and third cash prizes, but it felt pretty good nonetheless. Onwards and inwards to winter…

My photo was taken at West Bay, Dorset, and it’s the very beach where the TV serial Broadchurch was filmed.  Thanks to Rochelle for choosing it, and for her support and unfailing patience as she steers the Friday Fictioneers boat through the wintry waters.  Looking forward to her new book Silt and Ashes coming out next month. 

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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83 Responses to Erosion – Friday Fictioneers, November 2015

  1. Hehe, funny! I was thinking that maybe it was time Sal made an appointment. Nice story and awesome photo this week Sandra!! Where was it taken?


  2. Dear Sandra,

    I read this twice before it fully sank in. Beautifully subtle. Congratulations on your triple crown this week. Your first place win was certainly deserved. I’ll have to go check out the photo. Thanks for the plug for my book. 😉




  3. ceayr says:

    I think this is brilliant, as good as any piece of dialogue I have read.
    And the title is wonderful too.
    Oh, and the photo is great, another hat trick!


  4. Very clever. Photo is beautiful – Broadchurch was such a great series, I loved the twists. Congratulations on your win.


  5. Thanks for the lovely picture which I’m sure will lead to many interesting stories this week. Humorous story and well written. Congratulations on winning the calendar photo competition and the free magazine subscription. Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne


  6. What an amazing story, carefully constructed and executed. I just love how you effortlessly managed to portrait all three characters.


  7. Great photo. I like the story.


  8. Ugh..yes -please divorce lawyer. Help!
    Nice picture Sandra, very inspirational 🙂


  9. He certainly can’t see the soil slowing shifting away beneath his feet.
    Good story and picture.


  10. ottilliah says:

    Dear Sandra,
    You really do it so nicely, the ending is brilliant😄
    Best wishes,


  11. Great story, Sandra. Superb photo too. I loved the Broadchurch series. 🙂


  12. micklively says:

    I just love the undercurrents in that conversation.


  13. Jan Brown says:

    Love the ending! Tom’s a real ass. Hopefully a type that will die out over the next couple of generations….

    Congrats on your story in Writers’ Forum–very enjoyable!


  14. gahlearner says:

    Erosion, indeed. Very skilful and subtle story, but also very clear when read carefully. Congrats on your prizes and thanks for the picture.


  15. ansumani says:

    Can I have an earlier appointment? Good ending!


  16. I had to re-read as well, Sandra. Maybe my brain’s been dulled by the joy of days off and a short road trip in the offing today. Congrats on all your good news and I enjoyed your photo here as well.



  17. paulmclem says:

    Enjoyed the story and the photo is a cracker. I thought it was probably Broadchurch country but wasn’t sure.


  18. Too good. Great voices, sometimes unspoken.
    My favourite so far.


  19. I really love it… your Tom got i slightly better destiny than my Tom. The ending was perfect, and I can see it coming…


  20. Dale says:

    I actually had to read it thrice! Once it sunk in, however, I saw it was brilliant.
    Oh, hell yes… get to the appointment, Sal! I dated a control-freak like that… *shudder*


  21. So well-crafted; took me a couple of readings to get it. The artistry is perfect.


  22. Congratulations on your well deserved accolades. The short story and the photo were grand. I really liked this story and thanks for the photo prompt.


  23. draliman says:

    Hah, great story! Tom seems to be both very controlling and utterly oblivious. Time for Sal to fly free!


  24. Liz Young says:

    Ouch. I’ve heard too many similar conversations. Well written.


  25. plaridel says:

    i don’t think tom has any idea he maybe sailing into the sunset alone. anyway, if november is bad for you, i wonder what a good month will be. congrats on the winning that competition and on the other goodies, too. 🙂


  26. Sightsnbytes says:

    Great job. Nice photo as well.


  27. Pingback: The Dorset Giant | MJL Stories

  28. Bravo Sal! Great story, made me smile.


  29. a hearty laugh…thats what this gave me. Loved the last line…loved reading it.


  30. rgayer55 says:

    What’s going to happen to poor Sal if Tom falls overboard? Who will do her thinking, speaking, and ordering of meals? Those are big shoes to fill.

    Congrats on another trifecta. You are indeed a Superstar on my eyes. Well done.


  31. Perfectly crafted, Sandra. The tension is palpable and anyone who has ever met a “Tom,” knew this could only go in two directions. I’m glad see it go in the right one. 😉 Giant Mazel Tov on these wonderful accolades. Your writing is always so tight and compelling; it’s no surprise that it’s been rewarded (though, I imagine it was the best of surprises to you)!


  32. Love it, Sandra. That guy doesn’t need to go sailing. He needs to be put out to sea in a leaking dingy.


  33. Laura Thiessen says:

    Like others, I had to read it twice to catch it, but once I got it I enjoyed it thoroughly. Well done.


  34. Pingback: Shark Crime Investigations – Friday Fictioneers | The Bumble Files

  35. Amy Reese says:

    It took me a few times. A ha! Nice one, Sandra. Things will be changing real soon. Congrats on your awards. Well deserved. I’m thrilled for you!


  36. yarnspinnerr says:

    Wonderfully crafted piece and thanks for the great pic.


  37. I did get it first read, but I read it again because I enjoyed it so much. I live a bit further along the south coast and I changed the location to my local cliff, Beachy Head!
    Visit Keith’s Ramblings!


  38. hafong says:

    Congrats on your wins! And thanks for the photo. I gathered there’s an upcoming divorce in the making.



  39. erinleary says:

    Well done on all levels, Sandra! Your picture, your story and your wins are all wonderful and well deserved. You are making November shape up nicely.


  40. Thank you for providing the wonderful photo prompt this weeks challenge. 😊
    Your stories always create a feeling of excitement for me. I want to read every word and gather every thought you’re asking us to see when I read them. It’s no doubt that your winning the writers competition was brought about by the brilliant way you write. Congratulations on all 3 recognitions.
    Isadora 😎


  41. It took me a couple of reads to be sure who was who – possibly because i took Sal as being a male name at first – but once I had it straight this was a nice story. Well done Sal for making the appointment!


  42. Margaret says:

    Oh, this is good. Quick Sal, run away, before he starts trying to control you in more violent ways. Loved it.


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