SPOILS OF WAR

‘Don’t cross the border,’ his father had pleaded.

Cortez sat on what remained of the balcony. ‘Look at me now, Padre.’

His balcony.

It would take hard labour to fix the place up, but he had been doing hard labour his whole life.

This time though, the work would be for his benefit, not the gringo.

He chuckled thinking of the rich folk fleeing as the army approached. Their treasured wealth left behind.

The car had been in the garage, untouched as the bombs fell.

In the distance the battle for California raged on.

Cortez leaned back and sipped his beer.


derelict-building-sandra-crook
Copyright Sandra Crook

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

104 responses to “SPOILS OF WAR”

  1. There’s something rather satisfying about this. Or maybe not, depending on your political persuasions. Good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is perhaps a sense of poetical justice in his inheritance, although how long it will last I’m not sure. Thanks Sandra.

      Like

  2. I liked the quiet irony of the name Cortez

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Neil, a name with significance both as a symbol and from history. Glad you appreciated it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hope he is safe & the bombs spare his home & car.
    His sipping beer, reminded me of Emperor Nero who “fiddled while Rome burned”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anita. He doesn’t have the power or responsibility of Nero, but I think he’s been happy to watch the surrounding country burn!

      Like

  4. …Surely they were stopped by that wall they paid for?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Perhaps that what started the whole thing…

      Like

  5. Great, unique story though I admit, a few re-reads will do me good.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Moon – the beauty of 100 word stories is that it doesn’t take too long to read them over a few times 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s always a pleasure reading/ retreading your stories. They inspire me .

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Too kind, thank you 🙂

          Like

  6. For a moment I thought this was set in the 1830s when the Americans took California away from its inhabitants. There’s a lot of story here. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – a case of history repeating, but perhaps with a different outcome in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Iain,

    I read this twice and don’t regret a minute of it. At first, I, too, thought it was history and famous Cortez. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. History has a habit of being cyclical. I pictured this in the future, but it certainly reflects the past. Thanks Rochelle.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, lovely work indeed. The name, the peacefulness after the war (if you can say that), the beer. No reread necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alicia, glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. He is reaping the benefits. I hope he enjoys it while it lasts. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think so – it may be the only chance he gets. Thank you.

      Like

  10. A clever take with historical undertone. Beautifully crafted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, very nicely done! A vision of the future perhaps? I really enjoyed reading this, Iain.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Susan – who knows, although it seems likely we’ll still be having wars for a long time to come, so you never know!

      Like

  12. Great story. A pleasure to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oddly enough, I wish Cortez good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, thanks Liz – as do I 🙂

      Like

  14. Oh, so Mexico is taking California back? Given what’s been going on in that state lately, I’m not sure they’d want it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It doesn’t have it’s troubles to seek at the moment. I deliberately didn’t mention either side in the war – could be Mexico, but I suspect not, could be someone else entirely – Cortez seems to be ambivalent about it, apart from taking the opportunity to improve his lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Cortez is a character with great fictional potential. He’s complex and morally ambivalent, a scavenger, but one who is prepared to work hard. He’d be a great subject for a longer piece. Well written, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Penny, I’m glad the character appealed so much. I always prefer the characters who aren’t black and white.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wish you had said Arizona or New Mexico instead. Even Texas…California is home and I’m not ready to give up yet. I’ve seen some of those cars around too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apologies Janet – fortunately it’s fiction and I don’t see an impending invasion heading your way just yet! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. What goes around comes around. He should enjoy his beer while he can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure it won’t last, but he’s seizing the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Greetings this Burns Night! The last 2 years I celebrated at the Oak Inn Balmaha on the banks of Loch Lomond – tonight it’ll be a haggis from my local Tescos!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know the Oak Inn, Keith – a lovely setting. I too will be enjoying some supermarket bought haggis while trying to get children off to bed on time. I’m not sure it’s what Burns quite had in mind.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. You’ve fitted so much in and managed to get topical and timeless in one tale.

    At the risk of never again getting an ESTA/visa to visit the US, I’m wondering which side of the border Cortez’ beer is from. Will he take one more sip and head back home again?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Perhaps he managed to get some homegrown beer exported over to him 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Even after a war there are always those who harvest the spoils…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Someone somewhere is always making a profit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes.. and those caught between are the sadly just goods

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I that what comes of claiming to build walls?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It could be one of the unintended consequences for sure.

      Like

      1. I find myself telling anyone who will listen that I didn’t vote for him. It probably won’t save me.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Smart man, someone gets to enjoy the spoils of war, why not the small guy. Though this is clearly a work of fiction as the Great Wall of Trump will prevent anything like this in the future 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Walls are always the best way to stop a war – just look at Israel and Palestine. Oh no, wait… 🙂

      Like

  22. Well, that didn’t go where I expected! Excellent tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Barb – glad I managed a surprise 🙂

      Like

  23. i think he better enjoy it while it lasts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It may not last for long so I think you’re right.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. With the way the world is going, Cortez is surely the smart one to just live the moment to the fullest and not worry about the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It might be the only way to get through whatever the future brings!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Working for yourself is much more satisfying. The revolution is come!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And enjoying the profits from your work too.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. loved the serous tone (surprised me) but not heavy – and even fun
    “not the gringo..”
    and side note – without having read yours I also mentioned beer in my fiction

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – perhaps something about the picture suggests just sitting with a beer!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes – perhaps
        and I am also feeling a bomb or gun fight – perhaps? lol

        Liked by 1 person

  27. A great take on the prompt Iain. Historical resonances and current themes too – well done

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure Iain 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  28. That was an enjoyable read, Iain. I, too, am happy for Cortez. Hope his hard work pays off…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It may depend on the final outcome of the war, but so long as others are distracted…

      Liked by 1 person

  29. As long as you’ve got beer there’s always plenty to be thankful for.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I love this, Iain, beautifully constructed piece of then and now – or never.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you CE, much appreciated.

      Like

  31. Haha well told Iain. So much here. I think he is very clever. Seems happy with his lot in life now. Hope the attack does not return

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s banking on it heading away and leaving him in peace. Thanks Laurie.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Wow, either the wall came down , or Trump’s constant carping about it started this war! Good take:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Walls are a pretty ineffective way of stopping anything really. Thanks Vivian

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They simply escalate tension😊

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Is this set in the past or the future? Either way, great take. War ruins everything, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had thought future, although from the comments it seems it could be either! Thanks for reading.

      Like

  34. I thought this was a piece of history reference too! Refreshing style in narration.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I like Cortez’s style. I almost used the word Gringo. It was fun seeing that one word. Fun story Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. He should enjoy it while he can! I’m not sure what the future holds with the war, but I am rooting for him. Great character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amie – he seems to be popular with those that have read it so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Good Job. Thought is was history, but it’s the future!
    SCott

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Very atmospheric, love it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Cortez is an opportunist. Will his good fortune last? Loved the setting – the war still wages between Mexico and California.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I also thought of history, but my thoughts ended up in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. Totally different altogether. I’m not sure how I feel about the rich fleeing as the army approached. But I assume the rich took the land by force in the first place.

    Like

  41. It sounds a bit like Cuba and Fidel Castro. These wars just keep happening. I’d hate to see something like happening to California after the fires, mudslides, etc. Good writing, Iain. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, perhaps I should have laid off California at the moment, they have it bad enough! Thanks Suzanne.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. This is a brilliantly executed story, Iain. I loved the way you threw in the location of California near the end. Until then, I wasn’t sure if it was in the future (although suspected it was so). The name Cortez then made me think, does he come from somewhere south of a certain currently proposed wall?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarah. The name was a deliberate pick, although whether the wall has anything to do with it, I leave to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  43. You’ve told us a lot about Cortez in this short story, and I feel myself rooting for him. Then I catch myself and remember that in war, there are no winners in war. Well told.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to believe there are no winner sin war, but I think history teaches us differently, but not in a good way. At least Cortez seems like an innocent beneficiary.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. Oh, wow! “The battle for Californa…” Completely unexpected and I loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jan, glad you loved it! 🙂

      Like

  45. Lovely mood here. But it doesn’t end well, does it?

    Liked by 1 person

  46. This is an interesting one. I hope it doesn’t wind up being prophetic. Although… Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who knows? I hope not too. Thanks for reading.

      Like

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