Jean-Louis watched the person in the water.

He had piloted his small coal barge for thirty years, travelling back and forth along the canal between Arles and For-Sur-Mer on the coast.

The canal was straight, had only one lock, and passed through farmland and a nature reserveIt was unusual to see anyone on the paths alongside the canal, let alone jumping into the water to meet his barge.

He picked up his pole with the mooring hook attached and held it out to the incoming swimmer.

The man gratefully grabbed the hook and Jean-Louis pulled him aboard.

Merci,’ the man said, having regained his breath. He wore only a shirt and underwear.

‘Pas de problème,‘ Jean-Louis replied.

‘You must think I am crazy.’

‘The thought had crossed my mind,’ Jean-Louis said, taking hold of the tiller.

‘There is a good reason for my strange behaviour.’

‘It is none of my concern,’ Jean-Louis shrugged.

Problème de femme,‘ the man explained.

‘Ah,’ Jean-Louis nodded his head. ‘N‘est-ce pas toujours.’

Copyright BarbCT

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around 150 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy. For more information visit HERE.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Merci – thank you
Pas de problème – no problem
Problème de femme – woman trouble
N‘est-ce pas toujours – isn’t it always

39 responses to “ISN’T IT ALWAYS”

    • Funnily enough I wasn’t going to include a translation because I thought everyone would get it – until I wrote the last line, then I thought I better just to be safe 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I loved the story Iain, but I think if une femme had overheard the conversation, she’d have followed on with “et vice versa”. Three languages in one sentence – I’m feeling like a veritable polyglot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the little translation there, Iain. I didn’t get the last bit at first but on scrolling further got my answer. A catchy last line.
    Makes me wonder the what and where that made him land in a minimal state. A whole new direction to wander.

    Liked by 1 person

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