A Spent Force – Friday Fictioneers, April 2016


Copyright Marie-Gail Stratford


The elevator takes three minutes to reach the 183rd floor.

Long enough for eyes to meet, and lips to smile.

“Monday,” he sighs.

“Soon comes round,” she says.

“Have a nice day!” they chorus.

By Tuesday they’ve exchanged names, and by Wednesday they’re lunching.

Thursday night they leave together, and Friday morning they enter the lift flushed, wearing the same outfits as the day before.  Intimacy hangs like a steamy shower curtain within the confines of the whispering elevator.

Monday, she swerves abruptly towards an adjacent elevator.

He rolls his eyes.

“Needy,” he says.

“Aren’t they all?” agrees his colleague.

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter. The highlight of mine was finding out I’d been awarded second place in the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2015/16 with my story Finn.  Aside from that, it was a cold, but sunny Easter with occasional heavy showers.  Thanks to Rochelle for all her work on Friday Fictioneers.  This week she’s reminding us about the courtesy of keeping our stories as close to 100 words as possible, so I’ve been sure to hit the wordcount squarely, even adding an adverb to do so.  🙂

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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59 Responses to A Spent Force – Friday Fictioneers, April 2016

  1. Lata Sunil says:

    Congrats! I liked this story too.. whole lot of things left unsaid but implied.


  2. draliman says:

    Ha, another short-lived office romance. I like the way you progressed it through the week. I’m imagining these guys as brash young “suits”.
    Congratulations on your second place!


  3. Dear Sandra,

    Subtly layered with a stinging ending. You show us all how it’s done. Congratulations again on Finn. Stellar story.




  4. Congratulations, Sandra on winning 2nd Prize in the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2015/16. You’re just winning these prizes right and left. That’s great! This was a good story, very realistic. Dating is certainly different than when I was doing it. I guess in a large city people feel more of a need to connect and stay connected. I loved the body language you used. Well done as always. 🙂 — Suzanne


  5. What a superbly crafted story! Loved it. Congrats on your 2nd Prize, going over there to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. asarpota says:

    Loved the hidden “steaminess” and the unsaid “need”.. Loved it..


  7. neilmacdon says:

    Congratulations, and also on this steamy little piece


  8. Men are pigs. Well done.


  9. Dale says:

    First off: Congrats!
    Second: What a great story… He got what he wanted; just took him a few days….definitely a playa!


  10. Mike says:

    Love to hear her thoughts on him. Lovely take on the prompt


  11. Oh this is very written.
    Loved the descriptions.


  12. wmqcolby says:

    You go right ahead and add those adverbs, I don’t think writers don’t like adverbs, per se, I think it’s because they are so overused and used wrongly. 😉

    Congratulations on the award, Sandra! Well-deserved, I’m very sure. And what a wonderful story for this week as well. I like the rhythm of it, the comedic feel and the conclusion satisfies. I give it five staircases.


  13. Jude says:

    Love your writings!


  14. storydivamg says:

    Another great story, Sandra! One could write books and books about the things that go on in skyscrapers.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  15. Graham Lawrence says:

    A very enjoyable story to read. So many things implied it stimulates me to add words for an even wordier story. Very crafty for a 100 word or so piece!


  16. Love this short story, Sandra. Congrats on your award. Very exciting for you indeed. 🙂


  17. mickwynn2013 says:

    That really is a whole story in few words. Excellently done.


  18. Geez..imagine spending every day now avoiding a certain elevator. You’ve set this up so I can do just that, imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. IfeomaO says:

    A lot of wit and biting realism in this one. Well played madam 🙂


  20. Great snapshot of office life Sandra. I particularly liked the line ‘Intimacy hangs like a steamy shower curtain within the confines of the whispering elevator.’


  21. gahlearner says:

    She’ll sure realize that he’s no loss. This is another fantastic story, and I laughed about the added adverb. Congrats on the award, I’ll go reading right away,


  22. Jan Brown says:

    Congratulations on Finn! I just read it, and it’s fascinating. I like the hopeful ending, too.

    As for these office lovers, they must be very young. Once you’ve achieved a certain age, you’ve seen (or had) enough affairs to know how most of them end….

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Jim Kane says:

    Wonderful story and congratulations on your award!


  24. That title really sets the tone, doesn’t it? Anatomy of a relationship in one week. In a very, very tall building.


  25. oldentimes says:

    Inside the spaces and secter places. Well done!


  26. k rawson says:

    Wow! Such a skillfully assembled a collage of gestures and dialogue. So much more than 100 words accomplished in that. Plus, I’m blushing.


  27. liz young says:

    Sounds to me as if he’s the needy one – needing constantly to assert his macho self.


  28. d3athlily says:

    Another great story for the prompt from you! Perfect word choices and such a complete story as well. Well done!


  29. ansumani says:

    Wit and wisdom in so little words. Another excellent piece Sandra!


  30. ceayr says:

    Another master class in short story writing.


  31. athling2001 says:

    Ah, the modern relationship:) Great story.


  32. hafong says:

    Flash affair? 🙂



  33. plaridel says:

    easy come, easy go….


  34. Amy Reese says:

    I like the use of the week format here as if it’s just another week in the office. Here we go again. Well done, Sandra. Congrats on your award!! Excellent. You’re really cooking now.


  35. madamewriter says:

    Congratulations on the award! You are a wonderful story-crafter. Good job this week!


  36. Tish Farrell says:

    The incisive zip-zip of every word puts me in mind of the House of Flying Daggers film. Such economy. Such a vivid slice of life – and in several senses 🙂


  37. Helena Fox Dunan says:

    Oh, this is wonderful. What an ending! I actually said, “Oh, come on!” out loud to my screen when it finished, because honestly, that guy! And his colleague! I wanted to find your woman and give her a big hug. The movement in time through the week was beautifully done—so spare, yet it conveys an entire (albeit short) relationship. I loved the moment in the elevator, the steamy shower curtain, the whispering elevator—that whole moment is sensual, palpable. Lovely.

    And congratulations on your short story success!


  38. Nicely written Sandra: “Intimacy hangs like a steamy shower curtain” was an excellent line


  39. A fast-paced story that lets us read between the lines–well done!


  40. i b arora says:

    everything is turning out to be ‘two minutes noodles’


  41. Margaret says:

    Oh the poor girl. Where’s the man who’ll meet her needs instead of taking advantage? Wonderfully drawn characters and scene – I’m always amazed by how thoroughly you build these stories.


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