The Stone Soup Novelist

I have a great idea for a novel. You know what would make it even better?…

A scene: The Besjian in the Bar

landscapeExcept for the sign over the door and the crowd inside, the bar could have been one of the city’s ancient ruins.

A Besjian was talking to Duck in their own language. “Hey, how I’m supposed to eat looking at that flat-faced thing you bring in here, ah?”

“What is he saying?” asked Joshua.

“He’s never seen an alien. Heard how tall you are, doesn’t believe it. Just get up, he’ll go away.”

Joshua pushed his chair back and stood.

The Besjan looked up at Joshua’s chin. “Is he done standing?”


“Well, that’s good.”

“He says he never saw a sword like that. Wants to know what it looks like.”

This short scene is for the Friday Fictioneers flash fiction meme. Every Friday a bunch of online writers write 100 words on a given topic. In this case, the picture above. Then we link and comment on each others’ posts. Check it out here. Links to other peoples’ fiction should start appearing in the Comments to this post as well.

Criticism is invited! Tell me what you think of my prose. How can it be tightened up? I . . . sort of blew out the 100 word limit on this one; sorry!

To read more about the novel in which this scene will be set, look under “The Story” tab at the top. If you’d like to contribute ideas for my book, just drop them into the Comments and I’ll work them in as best I can.


32 responses to “A scene: The Besjian in the Bar

  1. Carrie July 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    It has a real Star Wars feel. That scene in the bar 🙂 enjoyable story

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Yes, I realized after I’d written the scene, that was an influence. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. TheOthers1 July 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    This seems like a culture that would be rude. And by rude, I mean frank without regard to someone’s feelings. Not necessarily to be mean though.

    This is an interesting scene. I might have to venture over and give the longer portion a read

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:21 am

      Nah, the guy’s just being a jerk :). Thanks for the kind words. Any comments or suggestions are always welcome. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to see in a science fiction novel, let me know. I’ll work it in!

  3. lenwilliamscarver July 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    unearthly hmmmmm interesting take I really like this twist.

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:19 am

      Thanks a lot!

  4. Kwadwo July 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Did the interpreter lie to Joshua about the last thing the Besjian said?
    I didn’t get that part.

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:26 am

      Hmm, good point. “Duck,” the interpreter was indeed lying to Joshua, getting him to scare off the Besjian without telling him what was happening. But now I look at it, it’s not entirely clear who he’s talking to our why. Something for the second draft!

      • Kwadwo July 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

        Glad I was able to contribute.

  5. raina July 5, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    “is he done standing?” hehe..I chuckled a bit. Nice little scene 🙂

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:18 am

      Thanks. I had a friend in high school who was really tall, and I remembered someone having that reaction when he stood.

  6. billgncs July 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    If he draws his weapon, is there an intergalactic event? Has a bit of the flavor of the “Callahan’s Cross Time Saloon” stories.

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:15 am

      Thanks! I’ve never read those, I’ll have to check them out!

  7. erinleary July 6, 2012 at 12:50 am

    The dialogue was very believable and engaging. Reminded me a little of the bar scene in Star Wars.

    Mine is #15 on the Link List – here for others:

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:27 am


  8. Kaitlin July 6, 2012 at 3:10 am

    I too thought about the bar scene in Mos Eisley. 😀 Cool.

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:29 am

      Yeah, even the way the Besjian talks is similar to the guy in Mos Eisley Cantina, now that I think of it. Glad you liked it.

  9. Linda July 6, 2012 at 6:20 am

    It’s strange reading about a human being the alien and I love the way you used the fact that those who don’t understand a language can be manipulated into doing what others want them to do. Well done.

    I’m on the list but for those who happen across, my offering is also here:

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Thanks a lot. There’s no way you could know this from the scene above, but they’re all humans, just adapted differently after millions of years on different planets!

      • Linda July 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

        Well I never would have guessed that – now I want to know even more too 🙂

  10. dmmacilroy July 6, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Excellent characterization and sly manipulation. To have crafted an outworldly feel while maintaining a ‘this worldly’ atmosphere is a hard thing to do. You nailed it perfectly. There’s a whole lot going on behind the scenes in the story. i like that.



    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments Doug. I really appreciate it!

  11. thedevelopmentactivist July 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I so wanted the Besjian to be talking not to Duck but just talking ‘Duck’. I think Duck would be a great l;anguage. Love the comment about the flat face too.

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      That’s an idea!

  12. Jess Schira July 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    The unabashed humor in your flash fiction didn’t remind me so much of Star Wars, but more of Hitchhikers Guide. Fantastic job!

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      I’m glad you liked it!

  13. DasNuk July 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I like the way you utilized the location. It hooked my right away. 🙂

    • dbfurches July 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks much!

  14. Brian Benoit July 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    So then he draws the sword and the man says he wants to see how well Joshua fights? Very nice, I can see the conflict growing already. I also really liked the line “Is he done standing?” haha.

    The only constructive bit I could offer is that I was tripped up by the phrasing of the Besjian’s first line “Hey, how I’m –” I guess just because I expected the contraction to be like “How’m I”

    Either way, I really liked this and I’d definitely be up for reading more excerpts!

    Brian (

    • dbfurches July 8, 2012 at 5:46 am

      Thanks for the kind words and especially the constructive criticism Brian. I was going for an ungrammatical construction to get at the character, but if the audience is on its feet asking for footnotes, I need to go back and revise.

  15. lightningpen July 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Hi, this is an imaginative and worthwhile blog! I love the idea behind this! Great writing is a found dollar or stealing someone else’s lightning bolt! Thank you for the follow! I can tell this blog will catch on! Keep writing and the world will come to you!

    • dbfurches July 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Thanks for the kind words!

By posting this comment, you are granting me permission to use the words and ideas expressed below in my novel. You will not sue me when it becomes a bestseller. This is totally legally binding.

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