On a Wing and a Prayer


Image copyright: Luther Siler

Image copyright: Luther Siler

Samuel sucks hard on his pipe, smears the filthy window with his sleeve, prays for inspiration. He needs to get something, anything, to his publisher as soon as possible.

He orders another pint. The alehouse fills up with the usual late morning harbour flotsam – porters, dockers, sailors, fallen women; sounds, smells rewarding the senses.

A wedding party bursts in, escaping the downpour.

“Water everywhere,” says the bride.

An old sailor, bright-eyed, three sheets to the wind, accosts the reluctant bridegroom, speaks at him.

A large bird, disoriented, flies into the window, falls to earth.

Samuel picks up his pen.



Written in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ weekly 100 word challenge. Find it here.

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52 Responses to On a Wing and a Prayer

  1. I LOVED this story! Yes, one finds inspiration everywhere, anywhere one chooses to look. Loved the reference to the Ancient Mariner, and the bird, not an albatross, “A large bird, disoriented, flies into the window, falls to earth.”

    Samuel … Taylor Coleridge, perhaps?

  2. Good story. I read that Shakespeare also wrote in ale houses. For one thing, there was light and he didn’t have to spend money on candles. He no doubt found inspiration there also. Well done, Patrick. 🙂 — Suzanne

  3. rgayer55 says:

    I love it when inspiration just flies in a window like that. Especially, if the window is closed. That “splat” noise always gets my creative juices flowing.

  4. Amy Reese says:

    The fallen bird has got to be a sign! This is great, Patrick. I wouldn’t change a thing. It read really well, fluid, and such a perfect ending.

  5. Dale says:

    This was great. Like searching for a parking space, all you have to do is wait!

  6. MythRider says:

    One never knows when or how inspiration will come.
    But when it does, it’s great. ;0)

  7. Enjoyed this. Looks as though his writer’s block has been solved.

  8. Well done, most folks will go to the cafe to write, but a bar would have so much more inspiration!

  9. Nice take on the prompt. I love how an author’s mind can bring pieces together into a connected whole.

  10. lillian says:

    Especially like the second paragraph. Have always been partial to the word “flotsam.” Interesting shift from the norm (at least my norm) to have the sailor speak “at” the bridegroom rather than “to.”
    Good take on the photo.

  11. I’m obviously not well read enough – I didn’t get the Coleridge reference, but I really enjoyed the scene – so many people, so well described. I also really liked the circular nature of it; it could easily simply loop around again and again.

  12. That should be a heck of a story. Maybe the reluctant bridegroom will make his escape on the large bird?

  13. And inspiration comes from everywhere, if only we stop and observe.
    Great story.

  14. Oh, what fun this is! There’s nothing like real life to make a good story.

  15. Oh and that poor albatross flew into the window… yes there a bright-eyed mariner

  16. C – Coleridge, yes? I love the way you echoed his style – snippets of description: drinker, party, storm, bird. ” …spoke ‘at’ him – excellent word choice. Not sure bridegroom needs the “s” in the middle.

  17. ansumani says:

    The scene is well described. Nice take on the prompt.

  18. misskzebra says:

    You build the scene really well here, and I can picture it in my head very clearly, and can practically feel the humidity of the room as I read.

    Nothing I can think of that I would do differently, except maybe say, “A wedding party bursts in to escape the downpour,” rather than, “A wedding party bursts in escaping the downpour.” Or maybe a comma between “in” and “escaping” since you’d need an extra word. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

  19. ceayr says:

    Hugely entertaining, Patrick.
    Love the bride’s comment, very clever, when followed by the ‘old sailor’..

  20. Bloggeuse says:

    The title made me laugh but the story was actually quite engaging in a serious way. You really set the scene, and it made me think. Really liked it!

  21. Sandra says:

    I couldn’t get Samuel Pepys out of my head, as soon as I started reading. Was I supposed to? Nice piece of writing, full of sights, sounds and people. Well done.

  22. Dear Patrick,

    Now there’s inspiration for a wirter. 😉 Do you mean ‘An’ old sailor as opposed to ‘A’?
    This would make one hilarious video. Nicely done.



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