Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Just over a year ago, I was introduced to a crazy group of writers in Fiction 440. The premise of the group is that every six weeks or so a prompt is given which must be used in a complete piece of writing (no poetry, no excerpts) of 440 words or less. The creators of this group come up with the words, and, well, sometimes I'm pretty sure there is a lot of drinking involved!

For instance, this month's words were: Potvaliant, sweaty and toad.

Yes, you ask, what the hell does 'potvaliant' mean! So did most of the F440 folks. Well, I'm not going to tell you...yet.

Read my fictional 438 word story and see if you can figure out the meaning before you read the definition at the end of this post.

Let me know what you think with either a comment here or head to my website: 

                                      The Hand of Fate

Emma’d been sitting in the beer tent for an hour, waiting for her date. Whatever had possessed her to meet here, in her town? What if he was a toad? Or worse, saw her and ran away?
She’d arrived early to enjoy the Squid Band, giving her nerves a chance to settle. Unfortunately, she’d attracted the attention of a boisterous group of barely legal drinkers. Clearly, the four were new to public festival drinking. Slamming beers, their off-tune singing had viewers shushing and sending dirty looks.
“How you doin?” the pack leader yelled at her, eyebrows waggling suggestively. Ignoring his overture, Emma searched for her blond, clean-shaven Match, Todd. He should arrive any minute. Seeing nobody who matched his profile, she fought the urge to flee and turned back to her beer, finding Mr. Romance approaching.
“Yamusttanotheardme,” he slurred, giving his enthusiastic friends a thumbs up over his shoulder.  Tossing a sweaty beer coupon onto her table, he added, “I’m buyin’ you a drink!”
Pushing the ticket back, Emma tried her best to ignore him, searching again for Todd.
Beer guy’s friends notched up their calls, egging him on to ‘get some digits.’ The band was wrapping up their set, and the crowd’s clapping drowned out his next offer to Emma. When she didn’t answer, he reached across and grabbed her elbow. Without thinking, she wrenched her arm away, deciding it was time to leave the tent. Clearly, Fate had decided Todd was not to be the one.
Before she took a step, a large hand clamped down none too gently onto Beer Guy’s shoulder. “You owe the lady an apology.” Emma looked up, and up, into deep blue eyes, shivered as dimples graced both cheeks and a smile and wink were directed at her from the tanned Adonis who had intervened.
Beer Guy’s friends howled their disapproval. “Shut it!” Emma yelled, leaning sideways to see past the two men in front of her. Prince Charming nodded his approval, and she felt her knees liquefy. Was this why women used to swoon?
“You and your potvaliant friends have behaved quite poorly to Miss…?” he looked toward her…
“…Miss Emma,” he finished. “Apologize and go away.”
“We’re very sorry for our behavior,” Beer Guy muttered, stumbling back to his table as the tent patrons cheered.
Smoothing her locks, Emma crooked her elbow in invitation. “Dance?”
“My pleasure,” tall and handsome accepted, allowing Emma to escort him to the street square dance area.
“Thank you, Fate,” Emma whispered.
As they danced, eyes only for each other, the couple never noticed Todd, searching vainly, before leaving with a shrug.

 *Definition of potvaliant: bravery induced by alcohol consumption
Did you figure it out? Tell me what you thought it was if you had another idea!