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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: The Dawn of the Hunted: Paris Rendezvous
By Dee Yoder


Paris lay before me like a glittery necklace, looped around a rotund lady’s neck. To the right rose the Eiffel Tower. The receding night swirled its foggy velvet cloth around the skeletal-like framework and smothered the sounds of the cars passing beneath and between the famous structure’s feet. I never liked the shape of that thing; it reminded me of a tiger ready to spring on unsuspecting tourists and counterfeit-hawking merchants alike.

I chewed the eraser of the pencil I carried and wetted its tip with my tongue. As I continued to watch the duo, who were strolling just beyond the call of my voice, I made note of their previous rendezvous, writing the information I’d acquired in the battered notebook I carried in my pocket. The misty rain that had begun to fall didn’t stop the pair as they made their way through the darkened cheap streets beside the Seine. Even the boats had stopped gliding over the waters; it was too cold and damp for any tourists to want to be out on the river.

I pulled my collar up and scrunched further into the rain jacket I’d owned for twenty years. Yeah, it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

I spit the eraser top out onto the cobbled street and ambled along behind my subjects. I slipped from darkened doorway to darkened doorway as the two continued to stroll, the wet and dismal air making me impatient for them to conclude their meandering. They finally stopped their aimless walking in front of the infamous Moulin Rouge. Oh “non!” Not there.

The red and yellow neon lights blinked garishly as the larger-than-life windmill flashed its hideous colors over the pavement. It creaked and turned to the syncopated music that was spilling out on the tourists who were waiting in line even at this hour of the early morning.

I sighed. Why did they all end up here? I couldn’t stand the thought of another hunt inside that crowded, sweaty, cigarette smoke-laden tourist trap with its greasy, slippery tiles littered with food debris. I wish they’d sweep those floors.

But the couple in question had other plans. They suddenly darted into the alley that ran beside the old building and disappeared into the hazy darkness beyond. Rats. I’d need to hurry if I didn’t want them to give me the slip. I couldn’t afford to let another pair get away, or my boss would be on my back like escargot on a buttered baguette.

I loped around the crowd and caught a peak of the pair just as they were rounding the corner onto the Boulevard de Clichy. They ran east toward the metro at Blanche. I couldn’t let them disappear into the groups of people congregated there.

I clambered down the steps into the metro but there was no sign of my quarry. “Quel desastre!”* I slowly climbed the stairs back to street level, and just as I was ready to give up, a flash of white moving in the park across the way caught my eye. Could it be? “Oui!” It had to be them!

I edged my way to the path and pounced on my first subject with a yell of triumph. The net settled like a nylon web over the wiggling behind of …a Bison Frise. “Oh non.” The wrong dog! I hauled the squirming, snarling puppy toward my truck and managed to push the petite chien into the waiting cage.

As I latched the back door securely, the rising sun cast its rosy glow over the sleepy park. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied two fluffy tails happily bouncing away from me toward the center of Paris. I narrowed my eyes as I watched their retreating backsides.

“Next time, you mongrels,” I growled.

*Quel desastre: what a disaster!

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This article has been read 1122 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/17/08
A ha! You got me at the end. Very clever.
Jan Ackerson 01/18/08
Absolutely adorable. Love the French flavor of this, and the film noir feel, then the awesome kicker.
Jacqueline Zerres01/18/08
Shades of "Lady and the Tramp" does Paris. What a fun story with a surprise ending. Kudos!
Gregory Kane01/19/08
A cheeky and altogether delightful twist. I wondered if there wasn’t a discontinuity in that the hunter’s car seems suddenly to be at hand when he has been chasing his prey on foot.
One idea for improving the story further would be to use a little foreshadowing in the opening paragraphs. Not enough to give the game away, but just the right amount to have the reader kick himself on a second read.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/19/08
This is an absolute gem of a story, descriptive, witty, clever--my favorite this week.
Karen Wilber01/21/08
Oh, you got me! You hooked me in wondering who he was following. Then I wondered what "they" were up to. I'm thinking spies? lovers? Then.... aaaargh! ;-D Too funny.
Debbie Roome 01/22/08
Very clever - and I have a much better picture of Paris than previously...
Sally Hanan01/22/08
So nice to be brought back to the real Paris--the cold, wet, back street place that I'm sure mongrels love :) Great writing, and you managed the lead up to the twist really well.
Gerald Shuler 01/22/08
I kept expecting Humphry Bogart to step out of the mist at any moment.
Fabulous read.
Holly Westefeld01/22/08
You had me on the edge of my seat. Cute.
Debbie Wistrom01/22/08
That's the most fun I've had reading the challenge entries. THANKS!
Sheri Gordon01/22/08
This was really fun to read. You kept the suspense growing at a nice pace. And the writing fit the setting perfectly.

Nice job with the topic.
Julie Ruspoli01/22/08
Oh this is so fun to read. The twist really surprised me. Wonderful writing. You are so clever!
Marita Vandertogt01/22/08
velvet cloth - smothered sounds - nice imagery - and very cute ending... tres tres good
Loren T. Lowery01/22/08
Your sense of setting and atmosphere is tres bien...I could sense it all. I liked the way you got the reader into your protagonist's head as well. And the story line...what a delightful suprise!
Betty Castleberry01/22/08
Ha! Ya got me! This was an entertaing read with a delightful ending. Five stars!
Linda Watson Owen01/22/08
ROFL!!! Oh, what a gem! You had me hook, line, and sinker until that delightful 'end'ing! Such a treat! Love it!
Emily Gibson01/23/08
I can just see this one as a delightful animated short film. Great fun and so well written!
Joanne Sher 01/23/08
Absolutely delightful - love the atmosphere, the intrigue, and the COMPLETE surprise twist at the end. I'll bet this was an absolute blast to write!
Dianne Janak01/23/08
Great writing DEE... You got me but I loved being GOT! Your writing is masterful in my opinion!
Sara Harricharan 01/23/08
ROFL! The ending is really good, I was expecting a big spy story, but was delightfully surprised with this twist to the tail-er-tale! Excellent job, especially with the rich descriptions of Paris. LOVED IT! ^_^
Rita Garcia01/23/08
Absolutely delightful!
Merci Madame
Lisa Graham01/23/08
You had me hook in the first paragraph. Love the descriptive writing and surprise ending. This is a delight!
Patty Wysong01/23/08
You got me!! What a fun read--and so different!! I loved it! :-) hugs!
Beth LaBuff 01/23/08
This is wonderful!!! I LOVE THE FRENCH! You did great with the french shading from the escargot to the bishon... Great work!! Magnifique! (not sure if I spelled that right :) )
TJ Nickel01/23/08
I sure hope you take this as a compliment. I didn't make it past the second paragraph. I will sometime, and I'll comment again, but for now, those first two paragraphs are WRITING. I read the first one three times before making it to the second and then together twice. It's good music. I'll get to the rest later.