Friday Fiction – Cooling Off

Another Friday, another fiction. This time the photo is courtesy of Jan Morrill, the other stories as always can be found on Madison’s site. And I, as so often happens, heard a voice in my head when I saw the picture and had to write her down!

A friend of mine was telling me last night about a situation where he was given the elbow by a girl and years later, bumped into her. She was mad at him for how things ended – it’s not the first time I’ve heard that sort of story, and for some reason this character reminded me of that type of situation. We (women? people in general?) have a knack for blaming other people, not for their faults, but for not being what and who we want them to be.

Have you ever had that sort of situation? Do you see the similarity in the story below? Feedback, fans and flames always welcome.

Cooling off

Jan felt the sun’s heat dissipate as they ducked into a narrow street.

“It’s hot,” she whined, slowing to a crawl although the ground sloped gently downhill. She recognised a blue door, standing out against the whitewash of the rest of the town. They weren’t far from the villa now.

“Almost there,” Steve coaxed. “Then we can cool off in the pool.”

Her teeth clenched at his patience. “We’re lost!” she scowled.

“I don’t think so.” He was so damned hard to annoy. He couldn’t even disagree with her when she was blatantly wrong. “There, look – phew. We found it.”

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36 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

36 responses to “Friday Fiction – Cooling Off

  1. A great scenario and very realistic dialogue. In your exploration upfront I think you mean bumped into her, rather than dumped into her! A Freudian slip?

  2. Your post and it’s introduction ask very uncomfortable questions. But I agree. Unfortunately we do blame people for not being what we want them to be, and sometimes we disagree just because agreeing at a fundamental level seems like a revolt with the inner machinery. Good or bad, that’s how we are – women or people in general… can’t say.
    Also no one is consistently cross with everyone. Some people in some circumstances just can’t click I guess

    • Hope you weren’t too uncomfortable, Parul. I think we all put a lot onto other people, but it’s hard not to have both assumptions and expectations. At the same time, sometimes we just pick fights for no reason. I don’t know if Jan is really going off Steve or whether she’s just having a bad day!

      • Nah not so uncomfortable. But I have seen both sides of the coin. Heard out people like Jan and Steve(when they finally snap out on their Jans).. It’s all so very subjective.. and I am no agony aunt to offer solutions to anyone. So I end up baffled even more than my dear friends can fathom! 🙂

  3. Oh my, I don’t like Jan at all! The way she waits to complain about the heat until she gets into the shade, the way she waits to complain about being lost until she recognizes where she is…yes, he really is hard to annoy (maybe she’s very sexily pretty?) Maybe she feels guilty and wants to prod him to react in a childish way too? I don’t know, but I’ve had to cope with too many “Jans” to have much patience with this one!

    • haha, she’s definitely not one of my most likeable characters. I’m glad though that Jan seemed real to you.
      I feel I should apologise to Jan Morrill for taking her name in vain!

  4. Some days a girl just feels plain ‘ornery. He sounds like he’s used to her and is coping well though. Nice reflection.

    • Thanks Sandra. I don’t know whether she’s going off him long-term, but I definitely agree that sometimes we just pick a fight because we’re in that sort of mood. I’m glad her contrariness came through here.

  5. I like her insistence that they are lost even when she knows they aren’t. I think you could place them further away from the villa, so that the journey is really stretched out and she gets to be annoying the whole way until he snaps. Maybe the story could end on him finally snapping? I’m not sure how. Or she could snap, she’s more on edge. x

    • Fascinating suggestions, becca. I think they would make for a good longer version of the story – although then I’d have to decide whether she’s genuinely trying to get rid of him or just feeling bite-y!

      • beccaaudra

        That’s the thing with one hundred words, it so contained you don’t have to decide the fate as such. I’m glad you found them interesting! Maybe she doesn’t know herself which it is, and her escalating behaviour is slightly out of her control….

  6. Nothing quite like spoiling for a fight and being met with the resistance of a jello mold. 😉 I have been known to become a mite cranky in the heat, myself, so I totally get this.

  7. Very realistic and reminds me of someone I traveled with for a spell in the 70’s during my European trip. 😦 I particularly liked your use of “whined”, “coaxed” and “blatantly”. They’re very descriptive words.

    • Thanks, tea. I’m glad you liked those words – and the characters felt so real to you too. Funny how this one seems to have clicked so well with the girls especially.

  8. Hi Jennifer,
    Good interaction here, nice character development in few words. Only one letter difference between Jan and Jen. I wonder . . . Ron

  9. Haha, I actually recognized myself in the Steve character, which made this especially funny for me. Nice flow to the story too, with descriptions that put you there but aren’t “in your face” so to speak. Nice

    • Thanks Brian – Steve’s a nice guy, so you are too. But what Steve will never see is that Jan *wants* a fight – her bitchiness would probably dissipate much faster if he stopped agreeing and started shouting!

  10. Don’t care for Jan. She sounds like a whiny, spoiled brat. Seems he’s learned to put up with her.but beware, men don’t like whiny, spoiled brats for too long…One day, a sweet, sexy, dimpled smile will pass by and catch his fancy. Then Jan may wake up too late.

  11. I’m afraid I saw myself in Jan. I don’t do heat well and am particularly cranky on hot, humid days. Mr. Cheerful would put me on edge then, too. Not justifying her whining.
    I definitely think we put expectations on people and look to them for validation. When we don’t get it, they have failed. Certainly not me.
    Good story in few words. I felt the heat. I felt the frustration. And I felt like giving Jan a good swift kick in the …
    shalom,
    Rochelle

  12. sometimes it’s great to be wrong. not usually, but sometimes, and his stance to remain positive is more helpful than panic. well done.

  13. Oh dear. This hit awfully close to home. After all, I AM Jan, and I’m married to Steve. 🙂 Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed your take on the photo! 🙂

    • Oh dear! I’m glad you haven’t stopped speaking to me as a consequence – I promise I didn’t know your husband’s name beforehand! Hopefully you’re Steve is just as patient as this one, and I’m sure you’re much nicer to him the fictionalJan.

  14. Scary.. How even his calm kindness can be annoying. Hope the swimming pool cools of her attitude, otherwise the end is near Im afraid.

  15. Nice work! You gave me some insight into the male psyche. I was thinking it might be a one-off thing, but if Steve is the typical male, call me Jan (although I like to think I’m not quite that bad!).

  16. This one resonates with all of us. Some people are just hard to pick a fight with. A very well written piece.

  17. He sounds like a sweetie, but it’s so annoying when the man is patient while the woman sounds like a cranky person. Sometimes, I think that we all just take on opposite roles, no matter what the situation. And maybe, that’s for the best!
    Great dialogue and story, Jennifer!

  18. I have been there. The patience is a cover but it’s better than the alternative.

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