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Paris Street by Andre Gustavas

by SubSubLibrarian


Paris was beautiful at night. A man with a red beanie waited just outside the doorway of a small cafe. Beneath the awning of a bookstore across the street stood a woman with a dark blue afghan and a purse to match. A boy was rode his bicycle, pedaling hard to compensate for the weight of his passenger, the girl on the handlebars. The Eiffel Tower cast a long shadow there in the afternoon, but the shadow had long since faded into the darkness of night. Beaming, a fat man with a giant mustache pushed a cart of breads in the light of a crooked street lamp. At least it looked like he was going to. For the moment he was still. In fact, everything was still. The bike didn't move forward, nor fall. The woman at the bookstore tirelessly held up her hand as she waited for a motionless taxi frozen not far from where she stood. It was silent too. Much too silent for a night in one of Earth's greatest cities.

"Do you like it?"

Paul shifted to look at the man just behind his elbow. His pointer finger dropped from where it had rested so long on his lips and helped the rest of his hand straighten his tie, which seemed to be hanging from his neck at an angle again. He didn't dare touch his hair for fear of mussing it. He'd slathered it with enough gel to cement this painting to the gallery wall. He was sure it hadn't moved a millimeter and he didn't want that to change. He'd do best to leave his hands where they were, crossed against his chest now.

"You know, I don't think I do," he said, considering it once more. "Have you ever been to Paris? This is nothing like it. Too quiet."

"Mr. Carson, paintings are always quiet. If you want noise, you've come to the wrong place. May I suggest a French opera house?"

"Very funny. But that's not the kind of noise I'm looking for. This painting could be louder. For example, smoke near the taxi's tires could suggest squealing brakes. If that bread cart looked like it were toppling over, I'm sure I would not only hear the crash, but hear the baker's curses as well. If the woman's mouth were open, I could almost feel the word "taxi" slipping from between her lips."

"That's about as loud as an art gallery will get. So loud that you can almost hear it."

Paul chuckled. "I guess it would have made more sense if our artist had painted the Louvre. Then it would have been perfectly quiet."

"How long will you be staying here in D.C., Mr. Carson."

"I really can't say," Paul said. "There are some things I have to do here, but I'm not sure how long they'll take."

"Why don't you give me a call in a couple of days. I'll keep the offer on the table until you go. If you change your mind about the painting, you know where to find me."

"I don't think I will, but I really appreciate it." He followed the gallery attendant to the door and stopped just before pushing it open. "Oh, and thanks for the tour. It's not very often that I have time to do something like this and it's become a bit of a hobby."

The attendant nodded acknowledgement and watched Paul push through the doors into the open square, the clear blue sky refreshing after that stuffy Parisian twilight.  


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Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:32 am
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rosette wrote a review...



'ello there, SubSub!

I wasn't sure if this painting in here was an actual, real-life one, so I actually looked it up. :P I didn't find it! But I did find a lovely old work called Pais Street; Rainy Day... I'm not sure if that had anything to do this, but I'm just throwing it out there lol.

You open this piece with descriptions of the painting, which is super awesome. I thought I was in Paris for a second. I like how there is a cyclist and a fat man with a mustache, and the Eiffel tower looming over them all. But I did think the descriptions were a little too straightforward and dull. Since this is a painting, I can totally understand why that's so, but it might help to add some color. Tell me more about the boy and girl on the bicycle: what they're wearing, what they look like - what's unique about them? Try to make the descriptions unique. Is the woman 80 or 30? Is man's hat just "red" or could it be a deep, wine red. Are those loaves of bread in that fat man's cart hot from the oven?
Since this short story revolves around this painting, I do think it's important to give the reader a beautiful picture of what, well, this picture looks like. :p

And one other thing on that: it might be best to clear up the exact location of everything. I'm not sure where the boy is riding his bicycle or where the fat man is pushing his cart.

Paris was beautiful at night.
A man with a red beanie waited just outside the doorway of a small cafe.
\
We have this lovely opening statement, and then we go straight to the man outside the cafe. I'm sure this man is handsome enough and no offense to him but he isn't what makes Paris beautiful if you know what I mean. :p It might be cool if you start out with the glowing and gorgeous Eiffel Tower, and then proceed to describe the street scene that's nestled in its shadow.

Paul shifted to look at the man just behind his elbow. His pointer finger dropped from where it had rested so long on his lips and helped the rest of his hand straighten his tie, which seemed to be hanging from his neck at an angle again. He didn't dare touch his hair for fear of mussing it. He'd slathered it with enough gel to cement this painting to the gallery wall. He was sure it hadn't moved a millimeter and he didn't want that to change. He'd do best to leave his hands where they were, crossed against his chest now.

I feel like this was a lot of unnecessary information. And it read a bit awkwardly. Those last few sentences all began with "He" or "He'd", and the second sentence was much too lengthy. Chop it up, change some things around here, shorten it. But I will say, I liked the sentence on his gel and cementing the painting to the wall. xp

"Mr. Carson, paintings are always quiet. If you want noise, you've come to the wrong place. May I suggest a French opera house?"

lol

I think it's interesting Paul only notes the quiet of the picture. Sure, that is strange for Paris, but I'm wondering what he thought of how this picture was painted. Maybe he only mentally noted the paint strokes and style and the lighting of the whole thing, but I'm curious as to what it looks like. Since this story does center around the painting and all.
I'm also curious about Paul... why this painting? Why take time for it? Any special importance or meaning behind this story?

Other than those notes... I believe that's all I have to say. This was a short and sweet piece, and I hope to read more of your works soon. :]
Have a great one.

~rosette <3






Thanks for the review. It was kind of just a random story that popped into my head. It came to me just as I wrote it. It gave me a weird idea for a character. I'm trying to figure out what's so special about it myself! :) Anyway, thanks again for the review. I agree with all of your suggestions.



rosette says...


That's cool, though!
And you are welcome. C:



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Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:42 am
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1nspire wrote a review...



This was such a great story!!!! I really liked the concept and the way that you introduced the painting as the setting at first. The imagery is amazing, and I could really picture what the painting would've looked like.

My favorite lined was "That's about as loud as an art gallery will get. So loud that you can almost hear it." I've never thought about this before. It's really cool to look at paintings, but the best ones really are the ones that don't just show you a place, but take you there. This was a really great theme and I like the way you incorporated it.

There were a couple minor grammar mistakes, for example. the second sentence did not begin with a capital letter and one question ended with a period instead of a question mark. Aside from that, the writing was great and the word choice was excellent. I learned a new word today: mussing, so thank you for that!


I have a couple suggestions that I think will help the piece flow a little better. Firstly, when the painting is described in the first paragraph, you introduce each character by beginning with the word "A"; I think that changing the sentence structure around a little might make the characters seem more intriguing, for example : "There was a women..".


I would also suggest describing the Eiffel Tower's shadow as being long rather then large, just because that's the word that's typically used.


There were a few lines that I would've written a little differently just for the sake of condensing it a little. I think this line:"A fat man with a giant smile and an even bigger mustache pushed a cart of breads down the sidewalk. At least it looked like he was going to. For the moment he was still." might read better as something like "A smiled as he pushed his cart, or at least appeared to; for the moment he was still."


Also "The bike didn't move forward, but it didn't fall with the weight of gravity. The woman at the bookstore tirelessly held up her hand as she waited for the taxi that seemed to be parked not very far from where she stood. It was silent too. Much too silent for a night in one of Earth's greatest cities." could be changed to "The bike wasn't moving, nor did it fall. The women at the bookstore waved tirelessly at a taxi, which was frozen not far from where she stood. Everything was silent, much to quiet for a night in one of the world's greatest cities."

Of course, these suggestions are not necessarily right, as all writers have there own unique style and I applaud your great storytelling ability. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. Amazing job on this story!






Thanks. I will definitely take your suggestions to revision. I really appreciate the review.




Don't go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.
— Mark Twain