extract from Trophies, a short story (version 2)


The night before I travelled home,  you asked me if I’d confirmed the taxi to pick me up and take me to the airport in the morning.

‘No. I’d better check,’ I said.

You watched as I dialled the cab company. The call was very confusing to me. They were too quick to say that it was all booked, so I asked them if they were sure they had the correct address, and they read it back to me, but they got the name of the hotel wrong, and when I pulled the woman up on it, she said it used to be known by a different name and the old name was the one in their records, but they all knew which place it was. Don’t worry about it, she said; an address is an address, right? But I was worried – it’s a huge city – and I was left with the impression that the cab might come in the morning, or it might not.

‘You should’ve got the hotel to book it,’ you said.

‘It’s cheaper this way,’ I said.

I didn’t sleep at all that night, while you slumbered deeply and cruelly beside me. Numerous anxieties crept into my mind. I became concerned that I might never see your naked body again, so I got out of bed, stood over you, and took three photographs. I didn’t want to get back into the bed. I went to the window and stood and watched the diner opposite the hotel. The waitress had three customers, three men, and they were all attended to, and she was leaning on the counter, staring at the door.

© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.

4 thoughts on “extract from Trophies, a short story (version 2)

  1. You said this isn’t finished to a commenter on the last version… are you going to keep posting versions as you work on it?


    1. Hi Jill. This is an extract/fragment from a 3000-word short story I’m working on. I wanted to see how the story works with the character Sioux as a second-person character. So I thought it’d be interesting on this occasion to re-post the extract to reflect this development.

      But I’m also interested in what people think of the use of “you” in a story. I normally avoid it, but it feels natural in this story. In fact, I originally called the character Sioux partly because it rhymes with “you”.

      How do you feel about the use of the second-person in a narrative?


      1. I like it, it feels intimate. I’ve written a few stories in second-person. But I’m afraid of over-using it. I think is works best in very short pieces or as a bit of surprise flavoring, (or like the bridge in a pop song) in a longer piece.

        I liked this second version better because of your use of second-person. Would it work for 3000 words? Try it. I’d bet that if you wrote the whole thing in second-person, then went back and replaced ‘you’ with ‘Sioux’ (and fix all the requisite conjugations, of course =) ) it would have an interesting impact at least.


        1. I saw your reply last night, very late, and I’ve had a chance to sleep on it. Yes, second-person can sometimes feel a bit much if it’s over-used. It can get sickly, like a rich dessert. Or there’s that danger hanging over its use, anyway. That’s probably why we’re so careful about employing it.

          I think this is the first time I’ve felt so strongly inclined to use it in a story. It feels right. There may have been other times, but I can’t recall.

          I agree with your suggestion. I’m going to write the story two ways. Not only will it be interesting, as you say, but maybe then the answer will arrive!


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