Friday Fiction – Appearances Can Be Deceiving

This week’s FF picture comes from the adventures of Sandra Crook. You can read other responses to it, or join in with one of your own, at Rochelle’s FF HQ. No doubt there will be plenty of Gladiators and Christians to delight the palate this week.

My story is below, with a brief rider at the end. Feel free to leave your thoughts and feelings, and your suggestions for improvement.


Appearances Can Be Deceiving

“We should go to Greece sometime,” said John, looking up from his magazine. “It looks all ancient and cool.”

“Huh?” I was trying to concentrate on Jordan’s latest makeover. It looked very similar to her last one: big boobs, plastic face. Neither one something I’d had much luck copying.

“They’ve got a picture of the apocalypse here.”

I almost looked over. “What’re they naming the fourth one – Conquest or Pestilence?”


“Biblical interpretation or Modern?”

He was completely stumped. “The building?”

“Oh, you mean Acropolis,” I looked then. “Jesus, John. That’s the Coliseum.”


“In Italy. Remember our honeymoon, dear?”



I’m aware that this isn’t actually the Coliseum either. For the purposes of the story though, it was a picture of the Coliseum that John was looking at.

And no, this isn’t in any way autobiographical.

If you’re interested in the Conquest / Pestilence reference, Wikipedia touches on it here.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

31 responses to “Friday Fiction – Appearances Can Be Deceiving

  1. Dear Jennifer,

    I’m never going to be able to look at the Acropolis again without thinking the world’s coming to an end. Thanks.

    I love how you got to where you were going from the prompt. Your story is a great example of using the picture as a jumping off point on the journey to another place entirely.

    Apocalypse. Damn you.



  2. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    That was brilliant, darling! I loved the off-hand dialogue.

  3. This made me grin. Well done. Later I contemplated another punchline to include the wife in the bliss of ignorance… something along the lines of
    “In Portugal, remember our honeymoon, dear.” Maybe not… 😦

    • Haha! I wanted the whole deceptive appearances thing to work for the wife too – she reads and worries about Jordan but is actually very switched on. Otherwise, I’d definitely like the line about Portugal. Especially if they were actually looking at your picture, of neither the Coliseum nor Portugal!

  4. paulmclem

    Nice section of dialogue. Not sure I’ve ever seen “What’re” written down – almost threw me for a minute 🙂 Personally I don’t think you need the notes. I reckon most people will appreciate what he’s looking at.

  5. Oh, very good, Jen, something I can see (or hear) happening. Mr. Malaprop himself. The part about ancient Greece (rather than grease) reminds me of when our older daughter was little and told us she wanted to visit ancient Greece. Hard to explain that ancient Greece is called ancient for a reason.


  6. LOL! Ah what great dialogue! I think if John does decide to go to Italy (again) I hope somebody follows him around with a tape recorder.

  7. Oh… what was that!? Enjoyed reading. 🙂

  8. I took liberties with where the coliseum in my story took place…Rome? Greece? Ireland? I guess I just made it a generic one…

  9. This was clever- The play on the Acropolis. Your dialogue was spectacular especially in the end- Italy and the coliseum. Brilliant.

  10. Very funny and all too true to life. I would have that type of conversation with my wife.

  11. It can be the Coliseum if you want it to be, that’s why it’s fiction. 😉 This did read like non-fiction, though. The characters feel real, and the dialogue is very good. Nice work.

  12. Dear Jennifer,

    I’m still laughing at your reply to Doug. Four horsemen on the Acropolis. LOL. Loved the dialogue and the way the misinformation flows like Kool-Aid. It feels quite natural and made me smile….no, it made me laugh and smile. (guess You can’t laugh without smiling, eh?)



  13. I do like the Four Horsemen of the Acropolis. 🙂 Your have great misdirection dialogue.

  14. Hilarious .. especially the last sentence. Quite an intellectual jump from Jordan’s boobs to apocalypse at the Acropolis (being Colosseum)…

  15. Your story was hilarious, even if it was a cheesy pun. I especially liked your afterthoughts – especially, “oh, no, this isn’t in way autobiographical…”

  16. This made me laugh – great dialogue. And I liked how we assume the woman is stupid, but she is actually very knowledgeable – which makes a double play on the title. The only thing that tripped me up slightly was following on from the line ‘They’ve got a picture of the apocalypse here.’ Without mentioning the horse riders I think most people would think the picture was of the collapse of the world, so for me it was a bit of jump for the woman to make the leap to the horse riders.

  17. That was highly entertaining! I’m imagining John’s wife as somewhat long-suffering, constantly correcting him and reminding him of things. I can see his usual response being something along the lines of “Oh yeah, right” 🙂

  18. I like that. That’s what happens in real life. You have to laugh.

  19. Ii have a friend who always tries to put the Acropolis in Rome, too. Your dialogue rings true as a conversation between spouses when one is distracted. Good stuff!

  20. Dear Jen,
    I liked this take, an honest mistake any man could make, after all they are all old aren’t they?

  21. Dear Jen,
    of course it took me a least three times of reading 🙂 but I think I got it . Very funny and, unfortunately, quite realistic. It´s not only the Acropolis-thing, I also find that sad phenomenem in the story, that couples often talk at cross-purposes and don´t listen to each other anymore.
    Liebe Grüße

  22. Dee

    Very good Jen, I love the realistic dialogue – it’s too familiar, you weren’t the lady at the next table….

  23. pattisj

    Haha! Oh, you’re good! Apocalyse, Acropolis, Coliseum…fun!

  24. Pingback: Friday Fiction – Islandspeak | elmowrites

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