THE MAN IN THE BRETON SHIRT

breton shirt
All her life she had wanted legs. Proper legs with feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs. Yet circumstance had afforded her nought but wheels, small wheels at that. Little wrought iron ones. Wheels that required constant care. Oiling and such like.

Notwithstanding her shortcomings, she got out and about best she could. That is, until the day the local authorities had something of a retro brainwave. They cobblestoned the market square. She lived in a house on market square. So now she prayed for tarmac, as well as feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs.

Then one day, quite out of the blue the sailor arrived in town. Breton shirt, beer belly. He drank vast quantities of rum, farted constantly, belched with pride, with gusto.

They met in a smoke laden bar, she in a wheelchair (Her wizened auntie had taken her out for some fresh air. Why she chose to go to a bar no one ever knew). The sailor was singing a ribald sea shanty at the time to the accompaniment of an accordion. He amused her. She caught his eye. The accordionist noticed too. A deafening silence ensued. A galaxy of drunkards turned about face embarrassing her more than a little.

A harlot, hanging on to the sailor’s arm for dear life flinched at his rancid breath, yet still held fast. Such is the fate of a girl short of gilders (Perversely, she cast a jealous eye at the girl with no proper legs with feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs). Regardless his ‘Popeye on spinach’ forearm thrashed the harlot to Kingdom come.

In an instant, the sailor sobered up. Whereas he should have stumbled he straightened himself, walked over to the girl, planted the mother of all kisses upon her virgin lips, clicked his fingers, bellowed skyward at the heavens, and miraculously the girl had legs with feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs.

With great care and eyes shut tight the girl ran her hands over her new limbs. They felt ever so fine.
When she opened them again she found herself on a yacht on the wide-open sea in the company of a handsome young man in a Breton shirt. From his place at the helm he winked and blew her a kiss.
All was well in her world.

 

The Man in the Breton Shirt, to be found somewhere in my book ‘Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse’ and was originally posted on WordPress 3 years ago in the format of a poem. I thought I would give it some fresh air as a short story.

As a musical accompaniment, Scott Walker’s rendition of Jacques Brel’s song, ‘The Port of Amsterdam’, to me the most ‘complete’ song ever written. It’s translation from French has done it no harm.

 

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80 thoughts on “THE MAN IN THE BRETON SHIRT

    1. I am so glad you commented. I still, along with one or two others, don’t get any notifications on my Reader that you have posted. Why? I don’t think even WP know the answer. I have now written in biro on the back of my hand ‘Are You Thrilled’ as my memory for blog names is as hopeless as my memory of yesterday’s events. I’ve just spent a little time reading your recent posts. May I say that you have penned some remarkably fine pieces. That aside, I trust you are keeping well.

      1. That’s very strange, as others do, otherwise I would think it was something in my own settings. WP has so many issues, it’s like a really intelligent drunk trying to look upright and with it.

        I was feeling rather sorry for myself this morning. Somehow knowing my blog is written across your hand makes it all feel better- thank you for the extra effort-

      2. If I’ve cheered you at all then that can only be a good thing. I have transferred ‘Are You Thrilled’ to one of those sticky notes that is, of now stuck to the wall aside my desk. I can dare to wash my hands once again!

    1. That, Annette is the finest sentence I’ve read this day. Also, in a addictive surreal way, it works the other way around. Not that I am a man of religion, yet once a single kiss heralded a downfall? You have me chasing ideas from words that are not mine, a thing I never do beyond thought!

  1. Nice work Mike. I find it very hard to go back and rework older pieces. I actually find it hard even to read them. I gather Woody Allen can’t bear to watch any of his films once they’re made, and I kind of understand that. Anyway, blessings on the day, from a very wet Somerset.

      1. Oh Mike, I cannot imagine “despairing” of posts so fine as yours. Glory in them – along with how each has allowed you to hone your talent all the more. I send you a magic kiss to make it so – lol.

        Loved this fable’s “reworking” – and the photo is a wonder – women, shoes, technology and the female dissatisfaction with self all in a single image. Perfect illustration to introduce this wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

      2. My thanks. I don’t think I’ve been sent a magic kiss previously. I shall savour it. That said, when I write I seek to do so devoid of ego, and apply my special rule…’the gals must always win’…the way life should be.

      3. A kind thought, yet maybe, just maybe it’s about time the gals won a few battles…after all in the global plan of things us ‘chaps’ haven’t done that well?

      4. I would love to see many more of us win roles of leadership – that alone would change things significantly, I believe.

        I agree that it is time to temper the testosterone-fueled approaches extant today with quite a bit more feminine energy (which some men can bring as well – so lets vote for them too – lol – energy, not gender.)
        xx,
        mgh

      5. Madelyn, I couldn’t agree more. Alpha-man has/is/will destroy all that is good by his very nature. Let us hear it for the gals…it’s log overdue and I for one would afford respect to the cause.

      6. I have a board on Pinterest for men like you: ‘Sing out Louise!’ – referencing what the theatre-folk say to mean “let your voice be heard.”
        ~~~~~~~~~~~
        From the Musical Theatre Dictionary:
        “term first used in the the 1959 Sondheim musical GYPSY -adjective- Meaning sing louder so the folks in the balcony can hear you. Mama Rose would yell at her shyer daughter, “sing out Louise” during her audition for Mr. Grantsinger.
        xx,
        mgh

      7. I have heard of Pinterest yet never looked at it. Do you have a link? I’d rather like to see. I have to say such success as I have had in life has been easy come by because it arrived in spite of myself. The ability to laugh at myself also has played its part. I have been fortunate in that regard.

      8. FIRST, you have to understand that Pinterest is a graphics format – millions of meme-lovers over there – lol – but there ARE quite a few authors and readers who will and do click to visit your blog. You have to have at least one image on your site to be “pin-able” — and it’s best is to have a different image for each article you post.

        Here is a link to the Board where, when I have a moment, I pin graphics to my own posts:

        At the top of that board you will see the name of the board – ADDCoach Wisdom in this case (pinned photo of creator – me, here – to the right), number of pins on that particular board and number of followers for THAT board. (Not all followers follow every board and people can repin without following).

        If you click a pin it enlarges on its own and you will see “visit” somewhere — or “read it” or something like that (Pinterest is like WordPress, always “improving” whether we like it or not – so we’re never sure exactly what features we’ll find on any particular visit). Anyway, clicking something similar will take you to the source of the pin (usually somebody’s blog – & usually to the article from which it was pinned).

        Below is the link to my Pinterest “turf” with all of my Boards (themes, if you will) – some pins of my stuff, some with repins that others have found from somewhere. and those I have pinned directly from a blog I visit. Again, it is represented graphically (not as well as the older format, IMHO, but nobody asked me first – 🙂 )

        Similarly, if you click the Board it enlarges to look like the one described above. You may get some kind of message that makes it look like you must sign up (just like WordPress) – but you don’t if all you want to do is look and click around.

        Right NOW they re-arrange my boards willy-nilly – I set them to make some sense and to feature the EFD boards at the top (what I blog about) vs. the ones I use as sort of graphics-based bookmarks and saved ideas on other themes “pinned” to a virtual bulletin board, but some of the others have currently made their way to the top “all by themselves.” BOO!

        Hope this helped. Have fun and take care. It’s easy to sign up and easy to get hooked, if you can overlook the frustrations brought in by the new owner – FaceBook 😦
        xx,
        mgh

      9. Firstly, my thanks that you took time out to provide so much information. I can but only curse WP in that it asked me to ‘approve’ your words and at the very moment I ‘approved’ the links you provided fled off into the ether! However, I did type Pinterest into Google only to discover that I was immediately logged in, so I must have been a member (?) all this time without knowing or realising it. My blogging son, Zoolon the Musician aka George very likely set it up for me as he does things like that, knowing how u/s I am re all matters PC. I shall seek him out for assistance as I glazed over attempting both to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ you on my visit there. In essence my ‘appropriate button search’ was a fruitless one. Notwithstanding my shortcomings in understanding the place I shall unlock its secrets with his assistance. Once again, my sincere thanks.

      10. You are most welcome, Mike. Pinterest is a quick and easy format – both to learn and to use. I’m not sure how well it supports bloggers, but it used to be touted as the fastest growing platform online (probably why FB wanted to buy it – but they didn’t have the good sense to leave it alone). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

        Zoolon is your son, huh? How wonderful to have your very own tech guide. He’ll have you up and running in no time.
        xx,
        mgh

      11. My thanks. I feel a little like an ancient Greek philosopher seeking out a purpose for Pinterest. It should be rather fascinating working it all out. The annoying thing is that I need to nail Zoolon down to get me started. He spends most of his time with headphones on, guitar in hand composing in his studio. By the way I like the phrase, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Years back an idiot in an overly smart suit who’s business had bought the firm I was working with once said, ‘If it ain’t broke, make it better’. He didn’t last long.

      12. The old b-school advice was once “make no changes for the first year” — guess that it is no longer taught to “seek first to understand.”

        I only set up a Pinterest profile when I noticed that I was getting visitors from searched graphics — sent from a few pins that others had put on their boards. I began taking a moment to pin my own articles there.

        Then I started pinning Christmas, house and clothing ideas, and photos of Shih Tzus when I was looking for my next puppy — and, as I started getting repins and followers I got carried away for a while – lol.

        These days I pin my own posts and many of those I visit — my way of returning the support they give to me — only a few suggested repins when they strike me as perfect for one of my boards.

        But I spend VERY little time on the Pinterest platform now, as FB makes more and more changes to what used to be a useful format. As with WordPress, those who make the changes CLEARLY do not use their platforms themselves so have no idea what their users find useful — like your “smart suit.” You can tell from their silly multiple choice “user satisfaction surveys.”

        They won’t last much longer either if they keep it up.
        xx,
        mgh

      13. The trauma of social media befuddles the most active mind. In essence, the focus should be to make it easier for those who seek ‘traffic’ to achieve their goal. Whether it’s penning a book, or selling an item, concept or dream, to keep pace with demand they (i.e. the providers of these weird and wonderful places) should keep in touch with those – their arguable clients – who put them where they are. I often think of the days we were marketing our PI business from scratch, devoid of social media. Hard work and a smiling face saw us through. Now I look at my son, many facets to his business fighting for traffic when each media provider seems lost to egotist design furthering an end that is blinkered, to say the very least. Advertisers are there quarry. They would get so much more if they looked after their users. I suspect none of this is news to an expect such is you.

      1. We are finding it kind of wet Mike. Pretty much a wash out. LAst week had tae abandon the beer festival and come home and drink shampers. How awful was that? xxxxxxx

      2. Yeah it is. I mean I would hate for the sun to shine so I had to go outside…. I think what we are finding is that the worst of it is it cannot make up its mind. We get these wonderful sunny bursts and then five mins later grey sky, then ten mins later, sunny burst. Or we get torrential rain. oh well….

      3. Back in Devon it seemed to rain every day. At least here we get a summer. The locals claim it’s another s**t one. In reply I always tell them to try living in Devon.

  2. Oh hooray, a happy ending! But honestly, in the moments where we pray for something better with our bodies, pray to be noticed for something other than our flaws, this is all we want: the one to see, to love, to meet our need.

  3. What a wonderful storyteller you are,Mike and I thought you were an architect. Lol. “Mother of all kisses in her virgin lips”…my heart skipped a beat at that.

    1. Cheers. I am but an old fool, NMY. All I can do is pen the thing that decides to arrive unannounced and give it the space it always wanted, but was afraid to ask for.

      1. Cheers to what you just said. You are a new chip of the master storytellers block and let me tell you that unannounced thoughts are often the best ones. Ask me for space,I’m the emotional spaces, after all. Lol. And you can call me Nandita, or Nan’s if you so wish.I grant this only to good writers and humble people. 🙂 Haha

      2. Aww thanks. My name means blissful. Its in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. Do you remember me, Mike? From my old blog I mean. You used to follow me then too and vice versa. I used to go by the name Manan Unleashed. Now, don’t you give me the I’m an old fool bit . 🙂

      3. Manan Unleased…how could I forget that! My apologies for not putting two and two together. Mind, I never could count that well! Best of good fortune to you, young lady. I shall follow with renewed vigour.

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