The Recidivist

by Paula Fusco

VICIOUS – yellow-chalked, on her front door.

Twenty-second word in as many weeks.

Unwanted words, appalling, unnerving, at first.




Night after black coffee night, staked-out behind her parlour window, keen to catch the unseen hand, red-handed.

But as the alphabet progresses, so anticipation grows.

She takes to prediction, exhilarated when her word matches his: P for PERFIDIOUS: T for TWISTED.

Four more words and then the alphabet is done.

She hopes for WRETCH or X-RATED, YEARN or ZERO.

And prepares to mourn the coming loss of yellow-chalked admonishments on her front door.

Paula Fusco, who was born in Belfast and now lives in Surrey, where it’s warmer, hopes that her readers will share her passion for the absurd.

  1. #1 by Glenys Grey on December 10, 2014 - 5:42 pm

    Hi Paula. Really enjoyed your story – beautiful, clever and succinct. Well done.

    • #2 by Paula Fusco on December 12, 2014 - 1:37 pm

      Hi Glenys
      Thank you so much.
      Less is more…

  2. #3 by Gary Duncan on December 11, 2014 - 7:54 pm

    Great idea, Paula. Love the stripped down style.

  3. #4 by Paula Fusco on December 12, 2014 - 1:40 pm

    Hello Gary
    I am pleased you enjoyed it.
    I really enjoy the challenge of using fewer and fewer words.

  4. #5 by Linda on December 15, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Strange but compelling. It left me wanting to know more about the owner of the door – and the mysterious writer.

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