Friday Fiction – Liberties

Well the painters have gone and I’m finally beginning to feel like Canadian timings are natural again, so that’s another couple of adventures under the belt. Just in time, because it’s Friday Fiction day. Today’s photo brought two ideas (OK, tell it like it is – two puns) to mind. I hope you enjoy them, and the more serious thoughts behind today’s story. I welcome your comments and critique.

Today’s photo comes from David Stewart; as ever, Rochelle leads the way over at FF HQ. Please note this story comes with a Mature Content (language) warning.



She heard their whispers as she passed – she was meant to, she thought. “Have you seen the new girl? Belle? I’d sure like to ring that.”

It was hardly a new joke, or a particularly inspired one, but Belle smiled to herself. Alice, alongside her, was affronted. “Assholes,” she muttered.

“Why? Because they complimented me?”

Alice scoffed. “You’re a victim of their objectification of your sexuality.”

“Or they think I’m hot,” Belle said.

“People died for your freedom, Belle. You should be free to wear whatever you like without being…”

“Admired?” Belle interrupted. “I’d prefer to die for free speech.”


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

35 responses to “Friday Fiction – Liberties

  1. Love the dialogue, and whether I was meant to or not, I pictured Belle (of Beauty and the Beast) and Alice in Wonderland set in a modern high school. Very nice.

  2. I really like the way you juxtaposed the two sides and two attitudes. Your dialogue, as always, is spot on, that of the boys in particular.


  3. I can see both sides here but if go to the facebook page of Belle and see her profile pic is a bathroom selfie with lots of cleavage, I am taking Alice’s side on this one.

    • Maybe. But maybe not. I definitely don’t have any selfies on my facebook page, but on the (rare) occasions I’ve been wolfwhistled or catcalled, I choose to take it as a reason to smile, not to be unhappy. I find it a more positive way to live.

  4. Ah,its a matter of perspective and attitude:-)Great take!

  5. Being admired is of course nice.. but at the end… for what.. and I can definetely see Belle being eaten by that admiration… good play on words.

    • Thanks Bjorn. I hope she isn’t – I hope she has the strength to appreciate the compliments but not be changed by them. Unlikely, given she’s in high school, but I can hope.

  6. I am completely in awe of the dialogue here…it tells a full and complete story in so few words…yet it didn’t feel like few words as I was reading. I was shocked to look back and see that I hadn’t just read a multi-page story. From your characters’ words alone, my mind constructed a setting, their appearances, and back-stories for each of them. A masterful job!

  7. This is one of my favs so far. The dialogue is spectacular. But I have to say I like a young lady not afraid to admit she enjoys being admired even if done poorly. Hopefully those boys will grow into their freedom of speech a little better with age.

  8. The best stories make the reader question their own response to the issue raised. Good one.

  9. Dear Jennifer,

    I’ll chime in with Belle. She seems to know who she is. In a world of political correctness I see people getting their panties in a knot over the silliest turns of a phrase. And too often I see people taking up an offense for someone else who didn’t take offense. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Ooh…you struck a nerve. The mark of a well written story. Love the dialogue and the subject matter. You never disappoint.



    • Exactly, Rochelle. I don’t condone prejudice and abuse, but I think in our attempts to stamp them out, we risk oppressing in a different way. And the boys’ words may be crude but -to me – they aren’t abusive.

  10. Helena Hann-Basquiat

    I, too, thought you were riffing on Alice (of Lewis Carroll) and Belle (of Charles Perrault) — or at least their Disney counterparts. I love your examination of the flipsides of freedom, and which side is more valuable.

  11. Hmmm. Interesting take this week, Jen. High metaphors (which I’m ALWAYS enjoying) took the lead here. Very good!

  12. Awesome setup and delivery! I’ll just echo the other comments as well excellent dialogue and play on words.

  13. Good story, food for thought, and unfotunately all too realistic.

    I happen to agree with both of your female characters. The boys DO have a right to free speech when they are out in public. But schools have rules that are a little more stringent than the constitution. One cannot denigrate a student based on race or orientation. So why is it acceptable for boys to denigrate a girl? She thinks they are admiring her…nothing could be further from the truth.

  14. Good story with great dialogue. Well done.

  15. I know when I come here I’ll find a good story, well-written; and I’m not disappointed today 🙂

  16. Nice portrayal of that type of person who is constantly offended on another’s behalf. I guess if Belle doesn’t mind, it’s all good.

  17. Cleaver her pursuit of liberty, freedom and justice.

  18. I love this. One of the most wonderful, freeing moments of my life came the first time that I realized I was being appreciated for my beauty by some friends who would never touch without permission. I love the question that remains as to whether Belle’s friend is merely jealous or truly upset by what she perceives as objectification.

    Your writing is tight, the pun works, and the finish . . . Well, I’d call it a “photo finish.”

    Marie Gail

    • Thank you, Marie Gail. I’m glad you had that moment – girls receive such mixed messages about beauty, modesty and sex that it’s hard to find a comfortable path through it all. When we do – even for a moment – it’s a great thing

  19. I remember a girl looking at me once. Turns out I was just between her and some handsome guy she was gawking at, so I guess it was really more of a drive-by look. Perry says the same thing happens to him all the time.

  20. Great way to show perspective here! I’m kinda still waiting for Belle to say something dirtier back to he boys… just a little jab for fun 😉

  21. camgal

    Very nice, as I read it I hoped it was disney’s Belle and Alice in wonderland that you had indeed drawn inspiration from. Well written, loving the sass from Belle 🙂

  22. Pingback: Reading Between The Lines … and the letters | elmowrites

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