The Ambassador – Friday Fictioneers, September 2019


Copyright C E Ayr

I was despatched to bring him home – a spiritless task rankling even more than the unconvincingly louche nonchalance of his newly-acquired Gallic associates.

Did they try harder to detain him, I wondered.  Or were some seeking to extend their embrace to ensnare me also?

Whatever, the prospect of returning home, either with or without him, soon held significantly less appeal until ultimately I found myself coercing the prodigal into delaying both his, and consequently my departure from Paris.

And as autumn revealed the stark branches of the trees bordering the Champs-Elysées, so it would uncover each of our motives.


Only Words – retread from June, 2015

Your words are scattered like ice-shards on our bed.

People change… no-one’s fault…

They fall to the floor as I smooth the sheets, and I nudge the fragments beneath the bed.

I pluck my words from the pillow slipping them into my apron pocket.

Please don’t do this… please…

In the kitchen I shake your words from the tablecloth, as the dog snuffles amongst them, foraging for truths and toast-crumbs.

No-one else… well, no-one special anyway…

And on the dusty garage floor, I kneel to gather the words frozen to your lips.

Please don’t do this… please …

They’ll stay with me,  forever maybe.


There will be little ‘visit-value’ for Friday Fictioneers in my first attempt above, if they’re not familiar with ‘The Ambassadors’ by Henry James (which I believe is the book in the prompt this week), so I’ve included the retread I was intending to submit when the muse couldn’t easily be roused from its reverie.  Thanks again to Rochelle for leading our happy band of writers.

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.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to The Ambassador – Friday Fictioneers, September 2019

  1. neilmacdon says:

    Actually I haven’t read The Ambassadors and this still worked for me. I still aspire to use the word “louche” one day. The second story is a marvel. Just my kind iof thing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ceayr says:

    Your precis of The Ambassadors is masterful, if only Mr James had such economy of words!
    Your second piece is pure genius, writing that only you can do.
    ‘ truths and toast-crumbs’ made me weep with envy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Aww that’s very kind of you. And thank you for a photo that offers many possibilities, not the least of which was to offer up the ‘truths and toast-crumbs’ phrase again. 😉


  3. I wondered about the first story, til I read your comments. The second story had me on my knees.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


  4. Colline says:

    There is definitely more to this story. I finished reading wanting to know more …


  5. Dear Sandra,

    While I’m not familiar with “The Ambassador” the story still worked for me. I enjoyed the two-fer this week. Brilliant writing as always.




  6. Iain Kelly says:

    I haven’t tackled The Ambassadors yet, but it seems fairly obvious to me that one would find it hard to leave Paris once one had found love there.


  7. Rowena says:

    Absolutely loved the second story, Sandra. Incredible. I meet with a friend weekly for coffee. An older man the same age as my parents, his wife announced their marriage was over when their kids were teenagers. He was telling me today how he suggested they split up the house and live in separate halves for the sake of the kids but she wasn’t interested. I could see your story applying well to his situation.
    Best wishes,


  8. An intriguing teaser, Sanda. Well done.


  9. granonine says:

    Wow, Sandra. I agree that the book in the photo is James’ “The Ambassadors,” a book I have not read but that I did google for a precis. What you’ve done here is amazing, outstanding writing.


  10. M K Zebra says:

    I was intrigued as to what the book itself was and whether it had any relationship to the bookmark, and now I know.

    Your second story is also fantastic – toast crumbs and truth. I think I’d sometimes rather have the former.


  11. I enjoyed both stories… and I know from reading this that yet a book has to be added to my “to read” list. The second story was really masterful in the way every little piece of found word revealed a little bit more of gruesome story… (is the concrete still wet?)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. michael1148humphris says:

    I really enjoyed both offerings. I would be proud to have penned either one let alone both,


  13. Seems you have hit it out of the park once again.


  14. Nan Falkner says:

    You do know how to place words in the right order to impress everyone! Really, really nice.


  15. Dale says:

    What a submission this week! I am not familiar with The Ambassadors (you figured that out just by the words on the book? I am impressed!)

    The second story had me in tears – and I seem to recall reading it back when… Just as powerful today. Boy oh boy can you write!


  16. Liz Young says:

    Both worked in their own way, so well done twice.


  17. I’ve only read pages 44 and 45 of The Ambassadors (thanks CEA!) but I enjoyed the tale nonetheless, as I did the second.


  18. draliman says:

    I’ve not read The Ambassadors but your story was almost poetic in the language you used.


  19. plaridel says:

    two-fer for this week. outstanding. 🙂


  20. James McEwan says:

    Fantastic – that’ll teach him.


  21. subroto says:

    Both the stories are brilliant. Having tackled Henry James maybe you should do one for James Joyce’s Ulysses too. A condensed version will help 😉

    “foraging for truths and toast-crumbs” loved this!


  22. Both stories were well-written, Sandra. There is a great deal of loneliness and pain in the world. You did a marvelous job of expressing it. —- Suzanne


  23. Nobbinmaug says:

    Ooh, a double dipper. I feel like I got more than my money’s worth, especially since the admission was free.

    Both were enjoyable, but that second one stole the spotlight. It was vivid and intense.


  24. I’m impressed you could make out the text in the image! I enjoyed both stories. Why do I feel there was some sinister end to the spouse in the second story? And I loved the dog ‘foraging for truths’. Mirrored her anxiety well. And now I will add The Ambassador to my reading list.


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