“Pickles and Tarts” — Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Nicole could be a man, Frank also thought, but this was Spark, which is based on Visage, so the chances of her being someone other than who she claimed seemed unlikely, but then the GFEs were also uncertainties. It also told him that she probably wasn’t even interested in looking the word up.

Frank could imagine her, given the four or five pictures, and what this response indicated was a smile and a carefree, even quiet response. Perhaps she was being cocky. He imagined the same response might await him if he were to see her in public. Nicole would respond, “Who is this guy?” and “What is he doing talking to me?”

Frank could imagine her, her sleek, unbroken line of youthful flesh as she sat next to him. He knew it was forced, awkward. She laughed when he said they should talk: “What should we talk about?”

“I guess you’re correct,” Frank said. “It’s fairly obvious I am attracted to you.” He didn’t dare look into her eyes. He controlled his head. The truth was obvious. There was almost nothing he could relate to, except of course his wanting to write about this.

Nicole looked over her shoulder at Frank who was sitting on the couch, “Who is Brontes even?”

“Jane Eyre writer,” Frank said, “Amy, Charlotte, and Emily were sisters who wrote. I know you’ve at least tried to read one.”

“Nope, I haven’t,” Nicole said. Her shortness, her certainty, spoke of her investment in the conversation. He could feel the futility in his having started it. He studied the words, something he could say, the space was both expansive in possibility, but also limiting and obvious. He tended toward the negative, and the word “nope” was staring at him, almost like it was another hint of the predictable outcome, but he chose to ignore it.


  1. Facing delusion yet still living on dreams. Frank is like a balloon that wants to fly high, but it seems to me that this balloon is, at the same time, well tethered to Earth. It is fascinating to observe how the opposites dream-reality, illusion-delusion are complementary poles within our human existence. I like how philosophers have approached this subject throughout time, starting with the ancient Greeks like Heraclitus till our modern thinkers. I personally find the questions you pose in this chapter relatable to everything we experience in life, not just to sexual desire and to the need to find a love partner, which are already of great importance. Now going back to Frank’s and Nicole’s story, I think if Frank decided to completely cut the thick rope of his balloon the result would be entering a state of madness, the same kind of madness Foucault talks about? However it is your choice as writer to decide what you will do with your characters. Perhaps your novel will unfold in a totally unsuspected manner.

    • I like to think that I can create the sky, but the sky has to be blue. Or maybe it doesn’t. As a writer, I am beginning open the balloons and breathe the helium. I never know how the stories are going to come out. I am in a reed basket and floating on air.

  2. I had the intuition that the story would continue like this, and I guess that Frank will also want to keep the contact with Nicole.

    • I think you are correct. Nicole appears to be hot, in that first year of Ivy League college, most popular in high school, look. She demonstrates complete confidence in herself, attended prom, a school dance, or some school event implying strong social position, where formal wear was appropriate, comes from a wealthy family, her brothers are cocky, future stock brokers. She has both parents, implying strong mental health, or at least stability. I can’t remember what I have said thus far, but this is definitely a story about Frank and Nicole’s contact or lack thereof. But, your use of the term “intuition” as relates to fiction is key. I think writers and writing has to be intuitively credible to bring readers along, complemented by strong characterization, and intrigue, and hopefully it is steeped in contemporary culture, so that others may find it relevant, or at least, inspire judgement about how things should or might turn out.

  3. When I think I can anticipate what happens next I find I can’t. Still I’m interested to see where this story is going. ?? Is it the chase Frank is after? or is he having a midlife crisis? but I think I’ll sit tight and wait for the other chapters before asking any more questions.

    • Thank you for your compliment. I hope to read more of your blog. I entered two names for your Raku Pot, but I am not sure the comment went through. Let me know if it doesn’t, and I will try to resurrect it.

  4. Based on the first paragraph, I’m guessing that Frank and Nicole have never met. So I just have a query, that is Frank imagining Nicole sitting by his side, having a conversation or is he actually sitting with her and having a conversation?

  5. I look up to this chapter very much. Because I too often visualise people I know. This chapter conveys how Frank knows Nicole so deeply that he even can tell what Nicole would say had she been with him. This indicates the real affection apart from the desires Frank has for Nicole.

    I thank you, Mario, for providing such a good story!

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