Happy Story Time Sunday! In between lockdowns, I visited the Modern Pinakothek, currently hosting a collection of paintings by Max Beckmann, which inspired me greatly in the stories they held. This flash fiction, An Agreed Upon Fable, tells the story depicted in the party painting below. I hope you enjoy this cheeky little slice. Be sure to let me know what you think.
We met in the madness of a Parisian masquerade. Dressed in a pompous 19th century uniform of red, Tommy, or so he called himself, pressed against me early, a glued on sultan’s goatee matching his weaselly hair and eyes. And I was a courtesan for the evening, seducing men during the long notes of a French horn.
The vibrations of a Spanish guitar aligned our hips. I watched patiently as he wrapped his white sash across my chest and through my legs, but looking past him, I worried that I could no longer discern the birch trees in the total darkness, just as I could discern no genuine affection in his black-and-white, worldly grin.
“Want to heal a suffering redcoat?” he leaned in brushing his goatee against my bosom.
And when I refused, Tommy unsheathed his ivory tusk, poking me in the back with its taboo tip.
An imperialistic instrument, he pricked me to prove he never followed rules, to threaten me, and the playbill underneath our feet was the only witness to his licentiousness.
I tipped my Napoleon hat to his strategies. As it is, our history is just a set of lies agreed upon.
Tommy, which at this point I assumed was not his real name, revealed himself to be a man who coveted his own cocky impulses, and to foil his further expansion of empire, I grabbed his goatee ripping it off to reveal a weak, pink chin.