Friday Fiction – Nothing Before Everything

My story for this week came in an unusual way and I can’t decide how I feel about. Please do be honest in your comments, I appreciate it even if it stings! And if you like it, that’s great too!

Rochelle hosts, long-term Fictioneer, Sandra Crook, whose writings I recommend highly to you, provides this week’s picture.


Nothing Before Everything

“If you could time-travel, where would you go?”

“Or when?”

He laughed, sending tingles through me. “I guess.”

“Seventeenth century,” I said. “All those romantic Shakespeare scenes, being acted out for real, men wearing tights, and…”

“Less pollution too,” he said, kicking an old milk bottle.

“Maybe not,” I said, thinking a lack of rubbish collections might outweigh even our plastic culture. “Just different kinds.”

“What’s so great about men in tights, anyway?” he said.

My legs itched under uniform grey wool. “Nothing, but if I have to wear them, everyone should suffer along too.”

That’s when he kissed me.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

36 responses to “Friday Fiction – Nothing Before Everything

  1. Sam

    I like it. A little confusion about who’s talking in a few of the lines, but I like the progression and ending with the kiss.

    • Thanks, Sam. And nice to see you here too! Those first lines did feel a bit spare in comparison to the rest. Perhaps a tough edit is in order to give them attribution without losing too much elsewhere.

  2. Sometimes I think like her too, a little revenge can be good!

  3. Dear Jennifer,

    She’s definitely a realist. When you think about all the plagues and disease at that time from waste no properly taken care of…

    I love the little twist of the stocking at the end. 😉 Yes, let men wear tights, too. I’m picturing a few men I know in them. 🙂



  4. I enjoyed your story except I stumbled over the line:
    He laughed, sending tingles through me. “I guess.”
    But I like the way you reminded us that our pollution is not new its just different.

  5. He laughed, sending tingles through me. “I guess.”A bit of a “trip-up” here. The idea of time travel is grand. I think each century has its own type of pollution.

  6. The strength of the story for me was the relationship between these two. I loved the banter. Good one, Jennifer.

  7. The ‘I guess’ line didn’t seem to fit in there, for me. I like the way her mind is working behind the banter, also noting the physical manifestations. An interesting piece, Jen.

    • Thanks Sandra, and especially for joining the throng against that line. If I fix it, will the piece be fixed, I wonder? Probably not but I’ll have a go at an edit anyway if I get the chance.

  8. I agree that the seventeenth century would NOT have been litter-free. Far from it!

    I love the way the story twists from ecological commentary, to the question of men in tights, and ultimately ends sweetly with a kiss. Well done!!!

  9. To me this sounds like a very real conversation.. I had no problem following.. and I like the end.. anyone who appreciate to be humored like that is the right man…

  10. AnElephant may be too slow to be confused, but he found it smooth and easy to read.
    And, as he is an old romantic, he loves the end!

  11. Perfect flow. Great dialogue. Surprise ending. You’ve got it all working for you here 🙂 After a lengthy hiatus I may be hooked on FF again lol

  12. Dear Jennifer,

    I enjoyed this story through and through, especially the title, which made me realize what others haven’t sorted yet, though the line everyone has questioned contains the clue to help answer the riddle. The line in question didn’t give me pause and i hope you don’t edit it. The magic of this story is not the time travel riff or the trash discussion…it is the love story that is taking place underneath the cover of the words….and I loved it.

    If I’m way off base here please don’t tell me, because I think you and it are both brilliant.



    • I wouldn’t dream of disabusing you, Doug. The title is indeed the clues to which lines I (and the narrator) consider important, and which are really just the Nothing before Everything begins.
      I’m wondering if the best thing to do with that line would be to just cut “I guess” and leave his response as the spine-tingling laughter. Then maybe I could use those two words as an attribution for the first line to make it clear who’s speaking when. I certainly don’t want to cut the spine-tingling element. Talking of which, isn’t it strange how close spine shivers can be either creepy or delightful? I definitely meant these ones to be the good kind.

  13. Dear Jen,
    I like the story quite well. Had to read those first three lines a couple of times to sort out who was speaking. Also, I think the story would be more powerful if ‘he’ had a name. The bit about the tights–I completely agree!!!

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • Cheers, MG! Tights are indeed evil things, especially the thick woolly ones.
      Fair play to name him, I’ll have to think of something sufficiently normal-but-swoon-worthy!!!

  14. LOL. I love the ending.

    You could tighten the dialogue. It feels like you are trying to take on too many concepts for the available words.

  15. Jennifer, Good and well-written story. Any type of clothing that binds and irritates is awful. I wouldn’t want to live that far in the past. I’ve read about the problems. — Susan

  16. What an intriguing chain of thought – from rubbish to itchy stockings. You sure do capture how conversations can go off in all directions. Your title succeeds in setting it all up clearly, and I love how it ends with a kiss. That’ll get her mind off her itchy legs.

  17. I’m seeing this as a couple of people who know each other a little, and at last they decide to kiss and see where it goes.

    You asked for comments on the writing – once I got half way through I had to read backwards to work out who was saying what, but dialogue is tricky like that – getting the balance between endless “he said, she said” and implying the speaker is always difficult.

    I enjoyed it though – I wish this couple every success! And I wouldn’t like to live in the 17th Century. Sounds far too dirty and diseasey 🙂

    • Agreed about dialogue – I think in a longer story, you wouldn’t even notice two lines without attribution, but in something this short, it stands out.
      Otherwise, I’m glad it mostly worked for you; and I don’t think she wants to live in those times, just visit.

  18. I’d love to learn more about the characters. I wish there was more.

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