Knock Knock…Who’s there?…



Omelet who?

Omelet Jack Horne break a few legs–oops!–eggs as the finalists scramble to get their entries in on time to conclude our Wingnuts contest.


That poacher Jack Horne came all the way from the other side of the pond to see that his entry got fried.

Care for yours sunny-side up?



by Jack Horne


‘E Lucevan le Stelle,’ the young Italian waiter crooned.

Diane thought he did a passable impression of Roberto Alagna. Slim and good-looking, he looked a little like him too.

She studied her reflection in the mirror. Short hair definitely suited her; even though it was grey, she didn’t look sixty.

She glanced across the table at her companion and thought how Susan needed to dye her hair again. Blonde Bombshell wasn’t covering Susan’s grey roots; she would have to try a different brand. She returned Susan’s smile and looked away.

Her dark eyes once more fixed on the mirror, Diane watched the other diners. Most of them weren’t even dressed appropriately. Evening dress never goes out of fashion. Such a nice restaurant, but the place was crammed full of idiots tonight. She sniffed the air. She was sure she could even smell stale sweat overpowering the garlic and parmesan cheese.

‘We went to see Tosca once,’ Susan said, applauding the now grinning waiter. ‘This guy sings better than the professional opera singer we saw.’

‘Well, what did you expect? I suppose John got you cheap tickets for the fleapit theatre where he works,’ Diane said, finishing her Chianti in a gulp and pouring the rest of the bottle into her glass. ‘My last husband took me to Sidney Opera House several times to see Pavarotti.’

Susan fingered her empty glass. ‘Do you ever think about him?’ she asked.

‘Who, Pavarotti?’

‘No, your last husband. Do you ever wonder how he is? Or any of the guys you married?’

Diane pulled a face. ‘Of course not, why should I? I was married to six jerks and the last man was such a cretin that I didn’t even bother marrying him. I don’t know why I returned to Frank after five years. I suppose I was bored after I divorced number six – and Frank repeatedly begged me to come back to him.’

‘Don’t you ever feel bad? Breaking hearts and all that, I mean.’

Diane shook her head. ‘And, before you ask, no, I don’t regret the abortion I had either.’ She coldly eyed the young couple at the adjacent table and felt some satisfaction when they quickly averted their eyes. ‘Stretch marks aren’t for me.’

‘I sometimes wish I was a mother, but I wasn’t very fertile by the time I got married. I was old enough to be John’s mum, of course. I was forty and he was twenty-three when we got together. My mother-in-law never liked me. She wanted to be a gran and even tried to dissuade him from marrying me.’

‘Just as well you didn’t have his kids. I wouldn’t share you with anyone.’

Susan grinned and flushed with pleasure. ‘John would make a good dad. He says he won’t trust anyone again, but perhaps he’ll get married again someday.’

‘I don’t believe any of my exes ever remarried. Not that I kept in touch with any of them, of course. I’m not sure if I was an impossible act to follow or just a bitch.’ Diane laughed. ‘What do you think?’

‘No one could replace you.’

Diane smiled. ‘So I’ve been told many, many times before.’

‘I can’t help feeling a little guilty about the way I left John. I mean, I was with him for twenty years – longer than I’d ever stayed with anyone before – and I left him within three months of meeting you.’

‘Yes, he resented me from the start, I could tell. Well, you told me he’d said you couldn’t really know someone whom you’d only chatted to on the Internet. What does he know?’ Diane pouted. ‘Anyway, no more talking about the past. You know I hate it. You’ve left him licking his wounds but’ – she shrugged – ‘I’m sure he’ll live. Forget him. Do I ever bring up my former partners? You belong to me now. The past is dead.’ She brought her emptied wine glass down on the table with a loud clunk.

‘Sorry.’ Susan looked thoughtful for a moment but then her face brightened. ‘I know we were meant to be together, you and I. You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, as you once said. No one has ever made me feel the way you do. I love you, Diane.’

‘Love you too,’ Diane said, but she didn’t gaze into Susan’s green eyes. She was looking at the young Italian waiter. If only I had wings, she thought. I’d fly across the room to him…


Editor-in-chief (moi) reassuring intern that his intentions are dishonorable






10 thoughts on “Knock Knock…Who’s there?…

  1. Glclark says:

    Love this story, Jack. It covers ACRES of ground in one simple, short story and you did it well. You did a great job with dialogue, too.

    My favorite line, though, is this one and I can hear my ex-wife (many years ago) saying it; “I’m not sure if I was an impossible act to follow or just a bitch.” You nailed it! And, good luck in the contest.

  2. Michael Stang says:

    I have been waiting for this entry, your entry, to see what you would do. And here is a spider’s web of love wasted and abused, told with matchete facts, too bad about them anyways. A couple of tough birds ready to slap the face that says that, but willing to cry over spilled milk as well. The waiter balances things, the future remains as the past. Well done, Jack, where do you come up with this, and your refreshing style? Best of luck in the contest.

  3. Sheri Strobaugh says:

    I loved the dialog and it seemed to come from real life experience. Then beautifully spiced up with some bitterness, tenderness…and the longing for the italian waiter. Great story. Good Luck!

  4. Diane Cresswell says:

    Jack this story leaves me breathless. Great dialogue, story builds appropriately and drops you into the mist of wishful thinking. A wonderful peek into a moment in time. Love that you put ‘older’ ladies into the setting…I feel better now. Great insight also.

  5. Parisianne Modert says:

    My mother once told me that if I couldn’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, but I did love hearing Robert Alagna sing the aria, “La fleur que tu m’avais jetee” from Carmen. Now that is romantic.

  6. 1948pdobbs says:

    Reminded me of a movie I watched this week, “The Kids Are Alright”. (something similar)
    Everyone seems to have a really interesting ending to their stories, yours, no exception. However, I bet your plot ends more realisticly than we might think or the couple in question might think when they said, “I do”. Those two words are packed and running over with experiences of which we have no idea when we say them. Nice work.
    Blessings, pd

  7. Beverly Lucey says:

    Oh, poor Susan. She has no clue about the web she’s caught in. Yet. Diane is such a dreadful character, I can’t help but wonder how she will deal with the loss of her powers. That’s another story, surely.

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