Parisianne Modert travels a bridge too far, Once Upon a Time

(one of our interns at the towers that are A Word with You Press. That is not a cigarette  holder; it’s a smoke editor)


Here is a most unusual entry into our contest Once Upon a Time. Madam Parisianne Modert’s entry could be a stand-alone story, or a vignette ( “a small, graceful literary sketch” if holds any sway). If this is indeed a prologue, it will be interesting to see if, based on the manner in which this story concludes,  it can be resuscitated to began a larger tale. There is not a paragraph that floats by that is not rife with distinct imagery. Imagery is to the writer what red and gray are to the artist: the chance for either passion or intellect to express themselves.  See if you agree.

“Myself, I long for love and light; but must it come so cruel? and o, so bright?”  (Leonard Cohen, upon watching Joan of Arc burn at the stake)

Here is

Smoke Veil Bridge

by Madam Parisianne Modert

Drawing in a pink puff of smoke from her e-cigarette nestled in a 20s, black stemmed holder, Rouxette let her false eye-lashed, dark charcoal painted eyelids close remembering the sounds of the black swan circling St. James Lake at foot’s edge the evening before.  The color of the swan’s ruffling feathers and aloof curved neck reminded her of Vixa’s black dress, red lipstick, black lined, intense eyes and shadowy, obsession-absorbed beauty and vane attitudes.

Vixa’s no show, hand written note on New Year’s Eve had resulted in Rouxette’s San Diego red eye to London’s New Year Day’s sunset.  An elderly woman feeding the birds got wrapped in Rouxette’s mink wrap complete with cheek kiss.  “You must not die on swan lake.  Vixa is the black swan and I am the white one not you.”chimed the insane Rouxette.”

With a ballet leap and sigh, the sad America adjusted her Breakfast at Tiffany’s sunglasses blinking images distorted by her disturbed mind.  The swans’ turning away abandonment reminded Rouxette of Vixa calling off their affair.  “See, do you see how love lies?” Rouxette screamed as the woman ran away wearing the wrap.

Bare shouldered, Rouxette whistled down a ride to the nearest rail station.  Drifting off on trains and jets had never been Rouxette’s style without a sleeping mask.  Connections from swaying English rail to Chunnel crossing to the Paris bound bullet train flew by as fantasies about Vixa’s kiss, embrace, naked body twisting like a bristled furred cat with an uplifted questioning back smothered Rouxette’s mind like crib death.  All were reminders that the path to hell is paved in shattered memories of harpy perfumed heartless strings.

The Paris sky displayed a ghostly cloudiness spitting snowflakes at the city of lights. “Parc De Bercy, s’il vous plaît,” Rouxette informed the taxi driver who gave a suspicious eye up and down to his Holly-Go-lightly passenger with hair piled up behind a tarnished tiara.  The question of aren’t you freezing mademoiselle received no response, so he drove on.

The veil is my last request and my only needed sleep .  Nobody will really miss me once my will is settled.  Why has my life always been a beautiful mistake played out, one page ripped out at a time?  People care only when you pay their checks, counsel their fears and praise their hypocritically false virtues.

Paying the driver with a roll of bills, she posed like a marble goddess until his tail lights faded.  Rouxette lit her cigarette, drawing in, then exhaling the tubular trapped, cherry laced smoke.  The path from falling snow was as familiar as brushing the snow off your parents’ grave marker.  Rouxette threw her open-toed heels into the icy waters before sitting on the icy wood ledge of the short, curved bridge pressing through her Givenchy, little black dress, her stockings buried under unspoiled snowfall.  The crackling, bare bark trees blend well with the two story house where Vixa first kissed me last spring.  Did you ever love me, Vixa? raged the doe-eyed actress feeling sleep deprivation, betrayal and despair.  Here is my true ending to our false journey, Vixa…at last peace from your confused cruelty…I lost my weight for you, gave you my heart.  Look at my figure…the plastic surgery…all for you…o, the lies of ‘I love you Rouxette.’  C’est la vie you Katie Perry, kissing alien pretending to be mortal.  Vixa, you are mirrors and memoirs spinning a sociopathic conceit. Pere La Chaise will cremate me into ashes you can’t control, Vixa.  Better to be Chopin’s grave sonata of soot than your embarrassing, homophobic interlude.

Rouxette rolled her eyes in disgust exhaling her hateful jealousy.  Men always win with you, Vixa.  Why your husband’s limpy, once-and-done cock Vixa when I gave you my complete nights rich with kisses?  Why did I ever fall in love with that alpha, designing woman of clueless deceit?  She told you a thousand times she loved you profaning her damn, straightness.  All lies, all bullshit poured in a wine glass.  A signed marriage license to consummate his pleasure fucking desires only isn’t love.  I made love to you Vixa, but you prefer getting fucked over by that neglectful cheater?  You’re stupid Rouxette! Your pathetic Vixa!  You promised heaven Vixa and have jaded me to hell!  Why does Satan believe in me more than you do Vixa?

Pin the cemetery instructions on Rouxette even thought the French can throw this worthless shell of shit in the Seine for all I care.  I have no more wing feathers of love to fly with in this lifetime…where is it damn it?…here is the pussy vile of death in a tampon.. you’re the cause Vixa…she murdered me Jesus…just one puff…God damnit…a tight fit…patience Rouxette…I loved you Vixa…I would have given you everything and anything…why couldn’t you have loved me… Why did I fall in love with you of all people Vixa?  Why won’t you leave my mind alone Vixa?  Get out…leave me alone…but, you never will, will you?…I’ll hate you throughout my eternity of red hot coals Vixa…too late now…burn Rouxette…burn in hell…love is a prison of endless pain!…no more Vixa…let go Rouxette…goodbye Vixa…step through the veil Rouxette…end the pain she fucked you over with!…void her memory forever…please, death be swift…

Raising the cigarette tip to her plum painted lips, Rouxette inhaled, holding in the blue, poison smoke.  Now I am so mad I thought I heard Vixa.  The moonlight breaking through the clouds spotlighted Rouxette’s passed out, backward splash towards the next world with watery veil.  Rouxette would have instantly believed if her faith in love had been greater that it was Vixa’s voice screaming from the path yelling, “No!  I didn’t write that note.  Believe me.  I love you Rouxette.”  Vixa dove from the smoke veil bridge following her love down into Rouxette’s watery grave.




4 thoughts on “Parisianne Modert travels a bridge too far, Once Upon a Time

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    Disclaimer and advisement: This story in no way is meant to represent anyone living, dead or fictional character other than the reference to Ms. Audrey Hepburn’s role of Holly Golightly from Breakfast At Tiffany’s. My influences draw from my experiences of life, attributes of the thousands of people I have met in a lifetime and my free flowing fantasies once the story characters are imagined.

    I realize that this is a very profoundly ugly fairy tale’s beginning, but chapter one begins to redeem the vileness of my character Rouxette. Redemption is a very slow process for the disturbed of mind. Later in the story we find that Rouxette is not the only love challenged character.

    Chapter One of “Smoke Veil Bridge” has been written and edited as well as both chapters of my other two entry prologues. Of the three if any of them are awarded passage to the semi-finals, I hope that “Smoke Veil Bridge” will be the one. Thank you for reading and commenting of my entered prologues.

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    I wished to thank once again A Word With You Press for publishing this prologue, the initial photo from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the dress is Givenchy by the way) and the video of the black swan mating ritual afterwards as submitted. My belief is that the music in the video is either from or influenced by the television show, “Twin Peaks” which is the mental state I tried to develop for the first two thirds in the character of Rouxette as her frustrations, disappointments, angst and sleep deprivation take her sanity away. There was meant to be an evil sense of where this story was headed from the start. The dresses are black, the swans are black, the Park in Paris has blackened waters, but a white snowy lining as does the sky. This piece; although some of the italicized words didn’t get printed as such were suppose to be the unspoken monologue within a troubled, lack of faith mind.

    My test group actually recoiled in their seats as I read this prologue to them. More of one of them actually forgot to breath as the intensity of passion crescendos at the end. Their heaved out gasping breathes at the end was proof that I needed to submit this work. If I disturbed your peace with my prologue, I believe I succeeded no matter what other judgments you might have of this story.

  3. Parisianne Modert says:

    Now that all the semi-finalist pieces are in, but before the finals I can tell you that I followed Julie Mark Cohen’s advice of putting thoughts from the mind that are unspoken out loud in italics which somehow didn’t get translated onto the page above. Here is a woman, Rouxette, who is driving herself with tortured thoughts, nobody else hears. She is sleep deprived, has had a nervous breakdown and is acting out insanely. The more and more she doesn’t sleep and the closer she comes to Paris the more the irrational behavior comes. The angst is a cymbal crashing crescendo meant to build to climax.

    What isn’t obvious at first reading including me is that Rouxette isn’t new to dark thoughts. She had the poison in advance and on her person. Her approaching New Year’s Eve Party is an approaching crisis. She lacks faith in the woman she has loved which dooms her to death. Vixa is also a conflicted woman or Rouxette would not have taken that dark journey to suicide.

    I confess I never planned on writing this Prologue, but originally did so from my own angst in life, my own crisis, my own lack of faith, my own irrational insistence of trying to control my destiny and that of another. My faith has since been more restored than ever, because i have learned to let go of needing to make demands of control and the need to paint my own destiny and the destiny of others. Rouxette is based on me and the crisis I was going through.

    Writing is such a devotion to me that I almost started smoking e-cigarettes and had very dark thoughts during the writing and editing. My locked in passion for writing didn’t afford time to get out to purchase and use an e-cigarette and my responsibility ethics didn’t allow me to carry out my darkest thoughts. Any writer who gives themselves over to such passion for their art lives on the edge of sanity, but o, what magnificent results. Once written I knew this story was too good not to share. Both beauty and ugliness need to be shared. The other two prologues I wrote were good writing, but this one was art.

    For the semi-finals I choose to continue Smoke Veil Bridge, because of Thorn’s word, “resuscitated” within his introduction to this work along with the labeling me Madam when I am nasty, wicked and obscene, but Madame when I am my fairy princess side. Because the semi-finalist list said Madam instead of Madame and my angst and energy were still at high tide, I chose this prologue that content wise I hate over the other two novels which I love for their beauty. The novel based on this prologue is still being written unlike the other two which are complete short of better editing. Sometimes a writer has to light up the cigarette that is their current passion draw it in and blow it over the page they submit no matter how poorly it reflects upon them as a person. Sometimes a writer needs to expose their own ugliness to redeem in time both the characters she delivers and herself. Smoke Veil Bridge is such a novel in progress.

    Sadly for this contest, the redemption doesn’t begin until the last sentence of Chapter Two. For me it began only a few moments before writing that last line. My life has turned upside down during this contest, but not because of this contest. We all have been through a lot. With the contest drawing a a smokey breath that fills us with our own mortalities both in war thru Fred Rivera and the loss of a true friend in Gary Clark it is time to blow that smoke out into the universe and begin to heal.

  4. Shawna A Smart says:

    Fantastic stream-of-consciousness, with seamy, vivid tornado strewn thoughts and descriptions that strike like cobras, and strangle like old thickened wine.

    It’s breathless and merciless, and I love love love the bad girl insides, so strewn with selfish pathos and daring do.

    This could certainly breathe again with your magic pen, I am certain, and might even burn hotter than this prologue/vignette, a heady thought indeed. I myself feel out of breath at the raging torrent of words.

    Powerful prose.

    Good luck:)

    Fond regards,


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