After ‘Tarantella’

Task set by my local writing group to base an item of creative writing on the poem by Hilaire Belloc in 15 minutes flat. You probably need to read the poem first


She looked at him, half-slumped on his seat, unkempt and malodorous as he finished the last of his drink. At least when he was supping and swallowing he wasn’t talking. Talking, as such, wasn’t really the problem; it was when so much of it was directed at her that she got uncomfortable and annoyed.

He banged his glass down with a belch and a smile. She swore that there was a mischievous¬†gleam in his eye that indicated he wasn’t done yet. He picked up his next drink with a wink.

old man drinking

The evening had began normally enough but then he had appeared and somehow she had become the epicentre of his world. Well, her and the regular top-ups of alcohol. The sound of other punters had faded before his unending tales and remembered scenes. It had all seemed quite sweet and poetic to begin with.

And now he was halfway into his next drink, the point at which he would normally order its sequel. But a maudlin look had fallen across his face and he was mumbling something about death and doom.

Michelle watched as he slowly slid off his stool onto the floor.

“I really love you, Miranda,” he muttered from below the counter.

“For the last time, my name’s not Miranda,” said the barmaid as she retrieved his glass and turned to find the landlord.

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