Friday Fiction – Squabbles

Friday Fiction time again, thanks to our head prefect, Rochelle Wisoff Fields, and our school photographer, E A Wicklund. Have a read of my story this week, and click on the link to Rochelle’s site if you’d like to see others.

I’d love to see your feedback – good or bad!



Watching, it was hard to know what was mating ritual and what aggression. They wheeled around, sniping and snapping at each other. The males and females almost indistinguishable: gender no more guarantee of temperament than appearance.

“It was different in our day,” said Maggie to no one in particular. “Quieter. More sedate. And the girls had longer hair.”

Rob glanced out at the playground. He liked Maggie; she reminded him of his Gran. The children were lining up now, ready to return to their classes. Soon seagulls would descend and a new battle would commence among the leaves and litter.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

23 responses to “Friday Fiction – Squabbles

  1. paulmclem

    Elmo, think you’ve missed out a word here:

    “what was mating ritual and what aggression”

    i.e. what was aggression?

    I take it if Maggie reminded Rob of his gran the love isn’t in the air 🙂

    • Hi Paul!
      I think – although I might be wrong – that the existing construction also works as it’s a run-on sentence, so the two clauses share the verb by implication (similar to the implied repetition in the sentence “no more guarantee of…”) It feels right to me, but also old-fashioned, which was what I was going for with Maggie. She’s one of the old guard, Rob is much younger. And yes, no romance is intended!

  2. paulmclem

    ps Nice job of making us think you were talking about seagulls and not the kids in the opening para.

  3. Ah, the good old days. Back when everything made sense and I was too young to realize how truly screwed up the world was. I miss the playground. It was one of the few places I really felt like I belonged as a kid.

  4. Nice one. I like Maggie. Also, I think the construction of your first sentence is just fine. 🙂

  5. Great twist. I think the title gives it away slightly though. Well done.

    • I wondered about that, Sandra. It was originally just Squabbles and I’ve switched it back now. Hey, it’s your turn to pick up on the bit I’m questioning, this week! Thank you.

  6. Dear Jennifer,

    You painted a vivid picture. Fun that you compared the children to seagulls. Close enough to the prompt. Once more you’ve won my heart.



  7. Dear Jennifer,

    I thought your story beautifully written and thoughtful. One question though: To whom were the children returning their classes? (Feel free to edit both your story and this comment the minute you read it. ILY.)



    P.S. Your first sentence was fine and ran off the tongue just as it would in real life.

  8. I really like this post. I found myself wondering: bird or people, in that first paragraph, which was compelling, and held my interest. The interchange between Rob and Maggie is sweet and provides more nuance. Closing with the gulls, is really a tight way to close it, and pull it all together. I really enjoyed the flow. Nice job.

  9. Cute metaphor for puberty. I especially liked the part where girls had longer hair…

  10. To me, this was one of those nice little observances of everyday life. It’s all in our perception of the moment. I found this very enjoyable.

  11. I love how it could have been children or gulls as the piece starts. This really isn’t necessary but I wonder if right at the end the birds could be battling over something the children leave behind – crisps or sandwich crusts.

    • Interesting, Claire. I actually started off with crisp packets in the last line, but I couldn’t make it fit the flow, so I went with the litter and hoped it was implied. I think you’re right that a more close reference might have worked though. Thanks for your thoughts.

  12. Hah! I like the way you switched that up! If only we could teach seagulls to pick up trash and throw it away!

  13. Nice bait and switch with the subjects. Especially with younger children, aggressive and attraction often look similar (even in adults at times).

  14. As an English and creative writing teacher, I say your first sentence is perfect just the way you wrote it. Love the way you led us on and then hit us between the eyes with reality. Very nice job.

  15. pattisj

    Ha! Wasn’t expecting that, but it works.

  16. Pingback: We’d been sat in a booth and eaten | elmowrites

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