Lanterne Rouge

21 Jul

Here is a 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers inspired by the photo prompt below. It is late. I needed to write it, but you need not read it. Just had to get in across the finish line to win the Lanterne Rouge. In the event you do read this, please comment only by leaving a smiley face or a frowny face. Thank you. (Starting a trend? We’ll see.)

Lantern Rouge

The Sycamore was smaller fifty-three years ago and my ride was a Haylett Speciale.

As I sprinted toward the finish line in Thonon-les-Bains, a girl dashed across the road.  I swerved to avoid her. ‘Nando Manzeneque won the stage.  I was denied even the Lanterne Rouge.

I woke in the hospital with no memory of the crash but recognized the girl sitting at my bedside. We fell in love and married.  With her father’s passing the bistro became ours. We run it still.

When the Tour comes through town we put a mattress around the tree.

She cheers. I remember.


First or Last

48 Responses to “Lanterne Rouge”

  1. sandraconner July 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    You’ve written a lot of great stories for this challenge, but I have to say I do believe this is one of the best. Of course, I’m a sucker for a happy ending, so I suppose that aspect of the story puts it high on my list to begin with. But there is just something about the way you’ve handled the language here that takes the good old basic “love story” and lifts it way above the ordinary.

    • dmmacilroy July 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      Thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to write such a nice comment. That you would call this one of my best means a great deal to me because it was, as you noticed, a labor of ‘love’. Even if I don’t win the Lanterne Rouge for this week’s submissions, I’ll polish up your comment and put it on my mantlepiece where it belongs.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


  2. Sandra July 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    I didn’t know about the Lanerne Rouge, so thanks for the snippet of information. Lovely post, and a far more sympathetic treatment of the Tour de France by-standers than I’ve been giving these last few days. Nicely done Doug.

    • dmmacilroy July 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      You must be having fun watching Le Tour. The spectators are part of the ‘spectacle’ but the runner lunatics ought to show a little more respect for the effort of the riders. They must know they’re not really helping, right?

      Thanks for commenting kindly.



      • Sandra July 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

        Yesterday I saw both the police outrider and two riders (including Chris Froom) elbowing runners out of the way. Not surprised, it must be so distracting. Enjoy todays spectacle, Doug.

  3. denmother July 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    I really love this one. Such a sweet story.

    • dmmacilroy July 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      Thank you for the smiley face.



  4. misskzebra July 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    I enjoyed this, seems like a really fresh version of a love story.

    • dmmacilroy July 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      Thanks MKZ,

      I’ll chalk this up as a happy face. I appreciate it.



  5. elmowrites July 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm #


    • dmmacilroy July 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Excellent smiley faces. I appreciate it.



  6. yarnspinnerr July 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    🙂 🙂

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 2:13 am #

      Dear Yarnspinner,

      Thanks for the smile.



  7. Madison Woods July 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm #


    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 2:13 am #

      Dear Madison,

      Thanks for the smile. Your child (FF) is prospering and you spirit lives within. Rochelle was the perfect choice to be a steward of the clan.

      I love watching you blossom in your new endeavors.



  8. sustainabilitea July 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    🙂 Reminds me of the FF story I wrote some months ago, A Made Man (–NOT that I’m accusing you of cheating, mind you. It has that same lovely, nostalgic feeling I was trying to get across in that one. And so Tour-timely, as well. What will we do after today? (I know–replays.) 🙂 Excellent story, my Tour buddy.


    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 2:11 am #

      Dear Janet,

      The prompt spoke to me of the Tour and an old participant reminiscing at a bistro somewhere. The story grew from there. I went back and read your story to see whether there were any similarities (and whether I had unconsciously plagiarized.) Luckily, I have a good memory, but it’s short, so no way I could have done that.

      I am happy for Chris Froome. He really earned it (with help from Richie Porte and the Sky gang.) I can’t seem to get my mind behind any other bike races. Perhaps it has something to do with the stellar coverage that the Tour puts together. I enjoyed watching each stage up on the summit using the streaming feature and thought of you each time I hooked up. Only 11 months until 2014 TdF starts.

      Thanks for commenting.



  9. bridgesareforburning July 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    A winsome story with European flair with perfect timing. I’d say the rider won something more important than the race when he won her heart. Oh crap, I’m sounding like a romantic old fool! Excellent story. Ron

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 2:04 am #

      Dear Ron,

      My apologies for taking so long to get back to you on this. Thanks for your comment. I tried to channel a continental sound but have no real idea how to do that. I’m glad that you enjoyed the story. I, too, think that he won more than was at stake in the race.



  10. vishalbheeroo July 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm #


    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 2:02 am #

      Dear Vishal,

      Thanks so much.



  11. Erinleary July 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Lovely story of a chance meeting that endures. Well told and timely given the TdF is underway.

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 2:01 am #

      Dear Erin,

      The prompt spoke to me of the Tour so I thought I’d see what I could do to spin a tale around the two. Thanks for reading.



  12. summerstommy2 July 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm #


  13. Lindaura Glamoura July 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    I don’t know if this is one of your best, but it is a sweet little tale and well crafted as per usual.

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 2:00 am #

      Hi Lindaura,

      Sorry I took so long to get back to you. I am the White Rabbit this month. Thanks for visiting and commenting.



  14. David Stewart July 22, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    Seems like he got a pretty good consolation prize though, all things considered. I like the touch about putting the mattress around the tree. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:59 am #

      Dear Dave,

      Thanks for liking the mattress touch. Seemed like somthing a guy who’d crashed into a tree might do.



  15. valeriedavies July 22, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    I can’t manage smiles or frowns, so will just say that your few well chosen words reminded me of those gorgeous, romantic, atmospheric French films like The Well Digger’s Daughter or Le Gloire de Mon Pere…set in Provence, dated back to the thirties… lovely lovely…

    • dmmacilroy July 22, 2013 at 2:48 am #

      Dearest Valerie,

      You just made me smile, so I’d say you manage them just fine. I’ve seen neither film you mentioned but they’re now on the list. Thank you for broadening my horizons and for gracing my simple story with such heartwarming praise.

      Kia ora,


      • valeriedavies July 22, 2013 at 3:25 am #

        I’m glad I made you smile…
        If you’re interested, I wrote a blog on 12 July last year called Passion in Provence about The Well-diggers Daughter…
        I’m expecting to have my horizons broadened any day now by the arrival of Mark Helprin’s book. I found a hard back, first edition in Adelaide, so it should be here Valerie
        If you get this message twice, I thought I lost it, and may have done… technology grrr….

  16. Dee July 22, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Dear Doug
    I love this tale, so well crafted and real. I smiled at the reference to a mattress being put round the tree as I have something similar before, during a motorcycle race through a small village in France many years ago.
    (I hope this comment reaches you, I have tried to leave comments on many FF blogs this weekend and had a mesaage saying “sorry your comment cannot be posted” which is worrying.)
    Take care

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:27 am #

      Dear Dee,

      Thank you for your detailed comment and remembrances. Yes, WordPress has been acting up. That reminds me, i should go and check my spam filter. Off to write this weeks story. I feel like the White Rabbit, always laate.



  17. petrujviljoen July 22, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    It doesn’t seem people understand that he got maimed in the accident. You’re not getting a smiley from me. It made me cry.

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:25 am #

      Dear Petru,

      Life happens, doesn’t it? And people have a harder time remembering the pain along the way, I guess. I apologize for making you cry. Was never my intent.



      • petrujviljoen July 27, 2013 at 6:07 am #

        Don’t be silly.

  18. Charles Oyeleke Williams July 22, 2013 at 9:21 am #


    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:24 am #

      Back at you, Charles. Thanks.



  19. rgayer55 July 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    When I first saw the title, I mistaken read it as Latrine Rouge–which would be an entirely different story in itself 🙂

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:23 am #

      Dear Russell,

      I’m just down off the mountain and hopelessly behind the curve on everything. Latrine Rouge? Only you could write that story. Perhaps one week we should all trade titles and write a story for them. Would be interesting, eh?



  20. M Myers July 23, 2013 at 12:19 am #


    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:22 am #

      Dear Mike,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. It is nice to see your name in the feed. Feels good knowing that you’re reading these small stories.

      Have you ever noticed that you dispense light for a living and your wife collects it for hers? Interesting. Please say hello to her for me.



  21. Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) July 26, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Came here looking for this week’s story … not there yet, so read this one instead! 🙂 🙂

  22. Lynda July 26, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    Your story is well written and I just love happy endings!

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:18 am #

      Dear Lynda,

      Thanks so much. Happy is nice now and then, yes?



  23. The Bumble Files July 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Excellent. Love. 🙂

    • dmmacilroy July 27, 2013 at 1:17 am #

      Dear Bumble Files,

      Thanks so so much for visiting and commenting. I’m glad I could slip across the line with that story.



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