Microfiction: Narciso

Painting by Giovanni Fattori


Narciso stomps into the pharmacy and thumps his walking stick on the floor.
We know Narciso. The Republican relic. The pharmacist puts on a smile that doesn’t touch her eyes and finds something to do in the reserve. Narciso takes up position in the chair facing the street to watch the girls go by. We try not to listen to his old man’s mutterings of appreciation.
Old ladies come in to collect their prescriptions and cluck in disapproval. They know Narciso too. He narrows his small, watery eyes, and barks at them in a tangle of Spanish and French, running his eyes up and down the bare summer legs passing outside, licking his lips.
He shouts his partisan anecdotes. His grasp on the language is slippery, facts slither from his grip, and incomprehension falls upon him as easily as deafness. But we all know Narciso and his story. The real one behind the heroic escape over the Pyrenees with Franco on his tail. We know why he has never gone back to Cataluña, and we look away. We know about the wife and baby he abandoned behind the crumbling Republican lines. And we know what happened to them.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

19 thoughts on “Microfiction: Narciso”

  1. Wow! Such an amazingly powerful and descriptive piece… So many things I love about it! Why aren’t you a famous celebrity author??? You should be!

      1. Its the truth as I see it Jane! Although its gteat to see Indie writing become successful in the mainstream, it drives me insane that 50 shades does so well, yet real talent goes unrewarded.

      2. You have to write to fit the mould. I can understand that publishers are picky about what they put on their lists, and even something they think it’s good, if it doesn’t fit in they’re not going to want it. Agents though should be able to judge a good story and then fit the story with the right publisher. But they don’t. They just want more of the same of whatever’s selling so they have no trouble shifting it. I wouldn’t trust many of them to judge the merits of a tube of Smarties never mind a novel!

      3. And I’m crying! I was pinning all (a few anyway) of my hopes on getting an agent. Most of them seem too bemused by the sample chapters to even bother replying.

      4. I know they’re busy, but so is everyone! To not bother to reply is just downright rude and arrogant!

      5. But of course! While they’re pissing about sending you an form rejection the next Harry Potter could be taking his trade elsewhere. Or something.

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