What on earth...?

It was an exact replay of that fateful day I arrived in Gensdouce. The same train, the same early morning wait. The same secretary... but this time I didn't sit and wait. I didn't even ask to see Meeeeezieur Demille as I had pronounced it in those days. I slammed my way through the antechamber leaving the poor woman no time to react and burst into the Mayor's office half forgetting to open the door. The one difference was that this time it was myself who had the pleasure of watching an adversary bounce his way to the bottom of the town hall stairs.

My job done, I made my way out of the town hall, across the bridge and ran as quick as I could to John's pub, but once again the village tellaphone had beaten me to it. And within minutes of my arrival people began to pour in to find out what had possessed me to commit such a daring act of folly. And it was only now that I asked myself the question. What had driven me to do such an incredible thing?

A few years back when it had been me on that same slide, I'd sworn to get my revenge for that humiliation. But that wasn't it. That revenge was cold and was still being spun out. Was it a sense of loss or betrayal? But how could I have expected anything different from him? Once again I saw his face and heard his kind words at the village meeting:

"... In addition, I am recommending Mr. Simon Brighting for the job of administrator of this centre. It's true, we have not always seen eye to eye in the past, and I'm not sure that we always will in the future. But my future daughter-in-law has convinced me of this young man's abilities and his motivation has been quite discernible in all he has said and done this evening and throughout the past weeks and months."

Now that I'd paid him back for his betrayal, I began to think over what I'd actually done. The thought of having caused him any actual physical harm didn't concern me in the least. But, one thing disturbed me profoundly. My act had almost certainly ruined any chances I still had of taking over the centre. The moment this thought entered my head, a hundred others followed it; all of them reminding me how stupid I'd been. I needed a drink and quick. Fortunately, John was there and he refused to give me one. But he did put on some good, hot coffee. When Thérèse came in, I succeeded in separating myself from the mostly admiring crowds and went into a corner to talk things over with her. Shortly after, we were joined by Guillaume with the news that the Mayor was no worse for his experience.

"Indeed, he might even have learnt something from it," he stated with a cheery voice. But we'd better start hoping he doesn't pull you up in court. What on earth drove you to do such a stupid act?"

I gave them the whole story and they were more than sympathetic. But they were still worried about the future. Apart from my attacking him I'd turned my back on the training program which was not only my gateway to a brighter future but the main hope of keeping the espace loisirs going. What were we going to do now?

"Where is he? I've got to see him at once."

The cry from somewhere behind me took me by surprise. I looked up to see Gérard pushing his large, sturdy body towards me. "Simon, what on earth have you done. Father's at home turning the place upside down and swearing to get his revenge. You've got to get out of here, now. He's just phoned up Inspector Lefevre in Besançon; he's sworn he'll see you in prison by nightfall.

"Don't worry about the Mayor. Just leave him to me."

With these words Thérèse got up and left the pub, followed by three pairs of more than astounded eyes gazing after her.

I didn't see her again until later that evening. I was sitting with Guillaume watching some soppy romantic comedy when she came in. We turned the television off as she pulled up her chair, but she still didn't take the hint.

"What are you looking at me like that for?" She was obviously enjoying every single glare of attention from us and seemed in no mood to ease the tension. But we did eventually coax out of her the fact that Mayor Demille had promised to drop any idea of a court-case. And more... If Simon would go back to Olonne and complete the last few weeks of the training program, he would find me a supervisor so that I could do my placement right here in Gensdouce.

Amazed I could only stammer, "How on earth did you manage that?"

But this time she didn't give me one of her knowing smiles. Indeed, I could almost have sworn, it was with tears in her eyes that she said, "I'm afraid, I'm not at liberty..." A loud knock then a slam and Mme. Bouclier burst into the room.

"Thérèse have you seen Violette? She's gone! She's taken everything with her, her clothes, her cosmetics, everything. Have you any idea where she is?"

But Thérèse just sat there deathly pale and staring into the emptiness.


I like the narration at the beginning, the questions, the thoughts, the way it goes..

Powerful storytelling..

Introducing myself

6 February 2008 at 16:17  

I agree, this is wonderful said. I enjoyed the read.

6 February 2008 at 17:48  

Wow, now I wanna know what happens next!

6 February 2008 at 18:31  

What a wonderful read...really enjoyed it.


6 February 2008 at 20:43  

you know, this story becomes more and more interesting as each chapter unfolds... i'm definitely hooked... i came aboard a few chapters back... your main character has been most enjoyable.. well, all of them actually... see ya next week!!

8 February 2008 at 19:40  

Oh wow. At first I thought he was about to go on the lam. Now I'm wondering what Therese did.

You tell a fine story.

9 February 2008 at 19:14  

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