Friday Fictioneers – Quartet

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - Quartet 180404

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Quartet

Six years after their last performance, the Bedrich Quartet was once again to perform.

Charlie strode through the train station, hugging his battered fiddle case with its priceless contents.

“Hang on,” said Graham, the viola player, to second violinist Jeremy, who was juggling their car into a parking space. He swallowed a beta-blocker.

Yvonne, resplendent in silk, swept up in a limousine.

Three of them met in the Green Room.

“Where the hell is Charlie?” demanded Yvonne.

In he tumbled, lip split, and two black eyes.

“Sorry! Been mugged,” he gasped. “But the instrument’s fine. The concert can go ahead!”

72 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – Quartet

    • Dear Karen
      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully. No, the performers have had different degrees of success. Thank you for your lovely comment about the characterisations!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Dear Penny,

    Neil took my comment…that Charlie had his priorities straight. At the same time, the lip will heal, the violin wouldn’t be as forgiving. Well done. I love strings, I’d love to hear them play. 😉

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Obviously, they are not always a Quartet… otherwise Charlie would not be taking the subway and risking his life whereas others arrive in limousines. Kind of sad, isn’t it?
    One would like to see each member have the same level of success but that’s not how life works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You are right – they are not a regular quartet nowadays, although six years ago they were. In my imagination Yvonne enjoyed success as a soloist; and maybe that was why the quartet originally split up. Charlie was reasonably successful as a soloist – you don’t get to play a priceless violin without being successful – but he was always a penny pincher! Graham and Jeremy were playing in a good, professional symphony orchestra.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny… I saw Charlie as the brilliant musician who was forever lost in his stuff so never managed to succeed financially!
        And yeah, the probably did split up because of Yvonne. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jilly
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I believe quite a number of performers use beta-blockers before a concert; it doesn’t eliminate nerves, but it stops the heart pounding away too fast! I’m glas you loved the story.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are absolutely right, I have known performers who use beta-blockers. Adrenalin has a knack of becoming the enemy. Whichever part of the body is most important for the performance goes haywire e.g. the horn player’s mouth dries, the fiddler’s fingers tremble.

        I also enjoyed your extension of the story in your exchange with Dale. I find your writing entertaining and thoroughly assured. Inspiring!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anurag
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I like your description of Charlie’s violin as an instrument of pain. I’m afraid that’s exactly what it will be when he tucks it between his battered chin and his shoulder. Ouch!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how the way they all arrive seperately mirrors their life and characters, and features Charlie as someone extraordinary, a likeable, slightry excentric individual. This was skilfully done. This is something I wish I could do, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Moon
      Thank you for reading, and for your very kind comment. I’m happy that you mentioned the real life feel – that’s something I try to achieve in all my stories.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  4. It must be nerve wracking joining up after a number of years particularly when Yvonne has done well or married well and the others not doing so good. Hopefully the beta blocker will calm Graham. It struck me that possibly he is playing second fiddle. Poor old Charlie comes by train and gets mugged but he doesn’t let them down. Perhaps he has more to lose if the show doesn’t go on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Irene
      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully. I’m sure it would have been nerve wracking for this quartet. Still, they perform – let’s hope the audience enjoyed the concert!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James
      Thank you for reading and commenting.
      There’s a lot of money and reputation bound up in a concert like this. But even more important, there is the ethos the “the show must go on”. I’m glad you liked that aspect of the story.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Dawn
      Thank you for reading and commenting. As you say, thank goodness the ruffian spared his instrument! You know, I think Charlie would have risked his life rather than see the violin damaged.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder if Charlie begged the robbers to spare his instrument, or if they considered it not to be valuable enough to take.
    What an impression his split lip and two black eyes must have made on the audience! I can see him in my mind’s eye.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Fatima
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m sure Charlie was looking forward to the reunion concert. It was definitely more inspiring than repeatedly performing the Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Bruch violin concertos with a succession of amateur orchestras, even though his fee for the reunion was less than he received for playing concertos!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  6. I love the pictures you paint of all their journeys and arrivals – there is so much movement in this. Charlie is a true professional. I just hope he’s doesn’t wince too much during the performance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah Ann
      Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments. I’m delighted that you love the journeys and arrivals. I was feeling very ambitious, wanting to sketch in four distinct characters as well as telling a story. The way they travelled gave me a useful vehicle (pun intended!) for that.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

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