The Commission – Flash Fiction for 1/11/13

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Photo copyright Roger Cohen

Photo copyright Roger Cohen

I found Ludwig at the inn eating lungs and potatoes. Contempt gleamed in his small bloodshot eyes when he saw me. He knew what I wanted.

I sat across from him. He ignored me, a disgusting sight, gravy on his doublet, filthy, smelling like old piss.

The food shoveled home, he dragged a sleeve across his greasy mouth and belched loudly. He glared and flung a sheaf of papers at me. They fluttered to the floor. I re-assembled them excitedly.

Concerto in D Major for Double Bass. I followed the scrawl of notes and beautiful music played in my head.

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42 responses to “The Commission – Flash Fiction for 1/11/13

  1. Nice, very nice. I like the way you casually mention “lungs and potatoes” at the beginning – that’s certainly nothing anybody would eat nowadays, so we know at once this is a historical piece. And I think I’ve read that THE Ludwig tended to be a grumpy slob. But what really makes your story sing (sorry) is the last sentence!

  2. You brought out the contrast between the two very different men so nicely. I like the way you get into the details of that filthy man. Literally could imagine him..

  3. Definitely got an Amadeus theme going there, Ron, despite the name of Ludwig Van. And makes the point beautifully that genius and “beauty” or even mere presentability may be mutually exclusive. Looking back at the prompt, even the instruments look slovenly! Of course, I’ve lost my appetite now ….

  4. Incredibly vivid story-telling using all the senses. The only point that drew me up and made me read again was this line: ‘He ignored me, a disgusting sight, gravy on his doublet, filthy, smelling like old piss.’ At first read, because the description follows the word ‘me’, I thought the narrator was a disgusting sight etc. However, I can’t see that anyone else made this comment, so it was probably just me! Lovely writing.

  5. Superb, Ron. I think this one of your best. It really jumped off the page for me. Your character is so vivid. Artists can be so temperamental. You capture that well here. I love the throwing of the fluttering papers that he reassembled excitedly. Perfect.

  6. I liked this. Zeroes in on that unique dichotomy that can be found with genius — in almost any field. I’ve known a few creative geniuses who fit this description, but, thank God, I’ve also known many who do not. I also liked the fact that the performer was a TRUE musician: appreciated the music for its own power and beauty — irrespective of the grossness of its source.

  7. This was really interesting, never envisioned Beethoven eating lungs and potatoes. So vivid, especially

    The food shoveled home, he dragged a sleeve across his greasy mouth and belched loudly. He glared and flung a sheaf of papers at me. They fluttered to the floor. I re-assembled them excitedly.

    Tells you so much about the character. Great job!

  8. Dear Ron,
    Not sure how I missed you. Sharp contrast between the composer’s persona and his soul. You captured it beautifully and caused me to lose my appetite at the same time. Good job.
    Shalom,
    Rochelle

  9. Dear Ron,

    Was hoping to end my reading tonight on a high note and you dod not disappoing. ‘Lungs and potatoes”?
    Brilliaint story. Out of the box. Reeking of period. And a paean to the power of music.

    Aloha,

    Doug

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