The love of lies

L’amour du mensonge

Raymond Duplessis, no relation,
smelled of Brylcreem and Black Label.
That’s all that Sylvie remembers.

Alexandre, her brother,
remembers little more,
but he’ll never forget the first time he heard the word tapette
on the playground;
Ton mère est amoureuse d’une tapette,”
the older kids said.

When he asked her what it meant,
his mother’s shame and fury burned more
than the taste of soap
in the back of his throat.

“You will not say such a thing
of a man as kind as Raymond,”
she said.

That’s what Alexandre remembers of Raymond —
that and holding his strong, rough hand while his mother stood behind the camera,
making monkey sounds, singing, anything to get them to crack a smile
for the picture that Mme. Duplessis,
450 miles away in Restigouche,
would show her friends.

A departure from my usual “my kid said something hilarious!” and “hey lookee mah talkin’ box makes picture stories!” content, the post above was written in response to this week’s writing challenge: tell a story based on this photo.

If you decide to rise/write to the challenge, please include a link in the comments — I’d love to read it.


    • As soon as I had finished this, I went back to the challenge page to read all the posts (I had avoided doing so ahead of time). So many interesting takes on the same image, yours included!

  1. Very creative! I had to go translate the French as my high school abilities have rusted into oblivion. Thank you Google translate. I always enjoy your posts!

  2. I like your take on the challenge. Nicely written!

    • Thanks! I’ve read nearly all the entries — so noir. I am desperate for the “real story” to be all sunshine and puppies.

  3. Rochelle Karina says:

    I love this! “Ton mère est amoureuse d’une tapette,” … wow, hadn’t heard that term in a while.

    • It was tricky coming up with something that was anachronistic … and I still think it’s more than kids would actually say … but my understanding of kidslang is about as au courant as my working knowledge of French these days …

  4. JustaCaliGirl says:

    Love it!

  5. I love the rhythm of your poem!

    I wrote a story for this one.

  6. Brilliantly dark! Love it! Thanks for liking mine, too.

  7. You did a good job. i wrote something for this one and then reconsidered as I felt it might be libelous if the real folk read it… Might still use the piece with other photos. :-)

    • Thanks! My people were 100% fictional, which made publishing it much easier, even if I bounced around on the title. I really wanted to go with “Mrs. Duplessis’ Fairy Tale” but that was a) a little too obvious and b) kind of flirting with non-ironic homophobia.

      And … I’d love to read your take on it!

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

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