What have cloisters, transit-lounge and SNAFU got in common?

One of the fun writing exercises we did at the fabulous writers retreat in the Bloo Lagoon was to come up with a short story within 15 minutes which mentions the following 6 words:  Apprehensive, Constipated, Pathetic, Transit-Lounge, Cloisters and… wait for it… SNAFU!

I recently put this challenge out to you, my readers, with the intention of posting the best reply on my blog. But I haven’t received any replies (come on guys! – send your story to me at: julieinbali@outlook.com), so I thought I would share my own story which I hope will encourage you to write one too.

Here goes….

The Tale of Francis the Monk

Francis, an aging monk walked through the empty cloisters.  He was on his way to a gathering of all the monks in the abbey.

The Abbot himself would be there, that snivelling little man who had a grubby looking face that contorted as if he were constipated, just the look of him put Francis on edge.

What’s more he would always speak in a way that didn’t seem to fit in, often using terminology that the rest of the monks were unfamiliar with causing them to look quizzically at each other and then reach for the dictionary when they next returned to the library.

Just last week the Abbot had used the word SNAFU.  It had completely taken Francis by surprise.  Didn’t that mean something very rude, something totally unacceptable for a man of the cloth to utter.  Another time he had explained that the monastery was like a ‘transit-lounge’ on the way to God, that phrase wasn’t even in his old, well worn dictionary.

Francis hurried, he realised that he had been dawdling and might be late for the meeting if he didn’t rush.  No-one else was walking along the cloisters or the courtyard.  Oh dear, perhaps they were already at the meeting and he would interupt the Abbot in the middle of his speech and all the other monks would turn to look at him, how embarrassing – especially today of all days!

He started to run as fast as his old legs could manage, and then he tripped over a stone on the stony path which ripped his tunic and covered it in mud.  Now, not only would he be late but he would look like a pathetic mess.  There was nothing else for it, he had to continue, there was no turning back.

He finally reached the big oak doors leading to the meeting hall.  He took a deep appehensive breath as he open them.  Inside, everyone turned to look at him and, led by the Abbot, they all started to sing ‘Happy Birthday’.

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  1. The merging of a writers and health retreat | Julie in Bali

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