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Fast Fiction: The Diarist

The diarist has a way with words, as Richard Mallinson's story reveals.

To read more of Richard's fast fiction please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/fast_fiction/

'I'm just going to open my diary for last year,' he said, 'and pick a page at random and try to recall - '

'Oh, god,' she said, 'how boring . . . Why did you bring the blasted thing? I mean, why do you need last year's diary? This is supposed to be a holiday, isn't it, not a history lesson?'

'Now, now, no need to be petulant.'

'Who's being petulant? Anyway, I'm going out for a walk on the beach . . . You can stay here and read your bloody old diary, if you like.'

'Bye, dear. . . Now,' he said to himself, 'here goes . . . flick through the pages and stop right here ... the date is July 2 ... so what were we doing on that day? Ah, visiting Chartres cathedral . . . and here's the write-up I gave it ... Hm, hm, wait a minute. Not a word about the statue of John the Baptist.'

He put the diary away and went out to look for his wife.

'Ah, there you are, dear,' he said. Tide turning, is it?'

'So you've come to make your peace, have you?'

'Yes, you know I hate being on bad terms.'

'Me, too,' she said. 'Let's stroll along for a while, shall we? . . . Sorry I was so snooty about your diary. I know you're very proud of it. Not that I know what's in it. I just hope there's nothing that might turn out to be, er - '

'Well, I'll let you into a little secret, shall I? In my entry for our visit to Chartres last year I didn't even mention the statue of John the Baptist. So I'm hardly in the big league as a diarist, am I?'

'Well,' she said, thinking of Pepys, 'that's quite a relief, dear.'

He was quick. 'Bas-relief,' he said and they both laughed.


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