When You Really Need a Break – Friday Fictioneers, April 2021

Copyright Brenda Cox


The alleyway reeks of goat, patchouli and tobacco.

She’s broken from the others, who are straggling towards the square to self-consciously order their Camomile, Russian or Lapsang  Souchong teas, and she’s lingering in the doorway of a carpet-trader.

The coach tour was a dreadful mistake; yet another hellish week to go.

A face peers round a roll of flat-weave Kilim at her – the ferrety little man who sits two rows behind. 

But probably not for much longer, judging from his expression.

Can it get any worse?

“Be still my beating heart,” he crows nasally.

The answer, plainly, is yes.

Thanks to Rochelle, for another week guiding the Friday Fictioneers through the maze of 100 word stories in response to a photo prompt. 



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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50 Responses to When You Really Need a Break – Friday Fictioneers, April 2021

  1. michael1148humphris says:

    Today I have learned about Patchouli, the oil much favoured by those who like flower power.


  2. ceayr says:

    We’ve all been here, some of us as ‘the ferrety little man’!
    About coach tours, never have, never will…


  3. neilmacdon says:

    A holiday from hell. Bognor next year


  4. Dear Sandra,

    I’m trying to imagine those three smells mingling. Eeew (although I’m still a Patchouli fan…holdover from my hippie dippy days 😉 ) It does sound like the vacation from hell. Well written as always.




  5. Iain Kelly says:

    Wow, I’m desperate for a holiday, but maybe not this kind of holiday!!


  6. AshleyDannie says:

    That poor woman! Great story!


  7. a creepy little story. Well done.


  8. Dale says:

    Ugh! You have very clearly reminded me why I am zero attracted to bus tours!


  9. elmowrites says:

    Holidays to places so different from home can be a dream or a nightmare, sounds like your MC is in the latter. Great wordsmithing as ever, Sandra!


  10. That’s the trouble with coach tours – too confined!


  11. msjadeli says:

    Wonderful character study of a traveler who has made up her mind she won’t have a good time.


  12. pennygadd51 says:

    Super story, Sandra! You capture so many nuances in your characterisations. Not a holiday anyone would enjoy – even ferrety little men!


  13. Bear says:

    hehe… great scene here. I can imagine the whole scenario… even little “ferret face” man. heheh.


  14. Dora says:

    Out of the frying pan, into the fire! Oh dear. But she ought to be glad it’s not a world tour.


  15. GHLearner says:

    Yikes. The coach tour from hell. Soetimes, travelling alone has its benefits. Great writing as always.


  16. granonine says:

    Oh, you made me laugh so hard! The ferrety little man was the cherry on the sundae :). Coach tours? Nope. I always seem to get stuck with a nonstop talker. Maybe it’s the sign on my forehead that says “therapist.”


  17. Tannille says:

    Oh no! There is one on every trip.


  18. I’ve been humming and hawing about a coach tour, for ages and your story and the comments have brought me to a decision! No!


  19. jenne49 says:

    You make her frustration so real. Poor woman. What on earth possessed her? Such a vivid snapshot of a moment in time.


  20. ahtdoucette says:

    She could bestill his beating heart you know. People go away on holiday, get lost, never return. It happens all the time. 😉 Fun story. And a reminder why when I travel, I prefer to travel alone. Even if it’s a smidge more expensive in time and money, so worth it!


  21. Nobbinmaug says:

    My dad smelled of tobacco and patchouli. Fortunately, he was a goat shy of the trifecta.


  22. Vivid description. Ugh… a terrible turn at the end.


  23. earthskyair says:

    This is great, a real sensory experience!


  24. James McEwan says:

    My goodness, was it the sight of her that stopped his heart or was he too old to travel in the coach.
    Not much holiday fun for her.


  25. plaridel says:

    i can relate. not every tour is perfect. 😦


  26. Very interesting description. But, coach tours can make interesting places a nightmare. I’d rather not travel I think. I felt her angst. Nicely done!


  27. I laughed. This is so funny and clever. You led us right to the slaughter. One of your best (and that’s saying a lot).


  28. Well this is an experience…not to be repeated, I’m sure! Yikes!


  29. draliman says:

    Oh boy, poor woman!


  30. Lots of colour and atmosphere here, cracking read, nicely done.


  31. I love the witty ending, it made me smile, and how you describe the hell that is a bad holiday. Very well done Sandra.


  32. subroto says:

    Maybe that’s his sales pitch and she will be happy to escape with an overpriced Kilim….


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