Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Magpie/ Prompt #2

                                      photo from willow/magpie tales

MATCHLESS...
       Let me take you back to 1988. I was sitting on a dark red sofa in the lobby of the Hotel Forum in Bratislava. It seemed more bustling and crowded than usual. I decided to sort through the matchboxes that I had recently bought for my cousin, Count Esterhazy, who was a rather renowned collector of museum quality boxes. Some people like to sort by sports, or animals, but Cousin Niki preferred to sort by countries.  I had before me three treasures, all rated by the Match Book Society: 1. An "Always Ready" label.  2. An English Co. label, issued in 1885.  3. A Thomas Gee label, issued in 1875. I couldn't wait to see the look on his face when I handed them to him.

I looked up to see him headed towards me, but he paused every few seconds to scoop up whatever matchbox he could lay his hands on. Had he been so reduced in taste and judgement, that he was now collecting hotel matches?


He stuffed his pockets with as many as he could, looked around to see if he was being watched, abruptly stopped in front of me, kissed me quickly on both cheeks, and said, "Let's get out of here"!

     I gathered my scattered packages, making absolutely certain to stow the gift I had for Niki. We walked very quickly out the door, turned right and headed across the plaza to the Cafe' Camouflage. Niki pushed me towards the back, grabbed a chair for me, and waited until I was seated for him to empty his pockets of dozens of Hotel Forum matchboxes. "These are for later", he said.

     That night came to be known as the Candle Demonstration, a first step towards the destruction of the Communist regime. 3000 Slovaks protested in the square. I stood pretty far back, the presence of the military being a big warning to me. But Niki made his way through the crowd, striking Hotel Forum matches and lighting candles for the mostly young protesters.

     I walked back to the Hotel, having been assured by Niki that we would meet up later. I still had a gift to give him. And for myself, a single box of Hotel Forum matches, matches from a revolution, that I've saved to this day.
                                  The Crowne Plaza Hotel
                                   previously/ HOTEL FORUM


38 comments:

spacedlaw said...

Nice evocative story!

Peter Goulding said...

Hi Lyn,
Do you collect matchboxes or did you research the subject? Or was it just general knowledge?
Either way, its a great story - I thought he was going to burn down the hotel!

SUN DANCE HILL said...

Wonderful piece of writing - really enjoyed this story. Thanks!

Lyn said...

Hi spacedlaw-
Thank you! I did have fun doing it!

Lyn said...

Hi Peter-
Thanks for stopping by..It's all research, which I love..then I always find a hook that seems interesting..love intrigue, melodrama!!
Burn down the hotel..hmmm..maybe next time!!

Lyn said...

Hi Sun Dance Hill-
Thanks, I'm so glad you liked it..I'm sort of convinced that I have a cousin..the Count!!

Brian Miller said...

revolutionary matches...nice magpie...really enjoyed youe tale...

Lyn said...

Hi Brian-
No doubt..I had fun!! Thanks!

Geetly said...

Interesting story and research.

willow said...

"Had he been so reduced in taste and judgement, that he was now collecting hotel matches?" (giggles)

I actually was in Warsaw in November of 1988 when the wall came down. I'll never forget the euphoric mood!

Lyn said...

Hi Geetly-
Thanks for stopping by..this was a really good prompt, wasn't it?

Lyn said...

Hi Willow-
Thanks for this wonderful prompt..How come we didn't run into each other? I think we will, one of these days!!
Amazing that you were in Warsaw!!

Vicki Lane said...

Nice story and evocation of a time!

Lyn said...

Hi Vicki Lane-
Thank you..really liked doing this..turned into a movie, which is what I usually aim for!!

Everyday Goddess said...

Love this! Jumped right off the screen.

JC said...

I like what you did with this ...

Jessie said...

Hi, this was really interesting. you put the reader right there beside you -- well done.

smiles,

A Cuban In London said...

What a valuable keepsake! ANd the fact that it's underpinned by historical events makes it even a more important memento to cherish. Many thanks for such a beautiful post. Your cousin would be proud.

Greetings from London.

steviewren said...

Wonderful way to work history and location into your story. Great ending line.

Lyn said...

Hi Everyday Goddess-
Thanks..such a fun thing to do!

jeane said...

not too sure what the 'magpie' thing is, but love the story - you have the gift :)
ps love matchbooks - little pieces of art with fire inside xxo

Lyn said...

Hi JC-
Thanks for visiting..first a challenge, then the fun!

Joan Tucker said...

Love this; make me want to do research..

Lyn said...

Hi Jessie-
Thanks..I sort of believe it myself now!

Lyn said...

Greetings to a Cuban-
Thank you..sad to say my no-account Count has made off with the family jewels..maybe my next tall tale!!

Lyn said...

Hi Jeane-
Art with fire inside..great!!
A magpie is a bird that collects everything and stashes it for further use..sort of like most of us!!
Thanks!

JeffScape said...

Revolution!

From a thief to a lighter. Not bad for a day's work.

Lyn said...

Hi Joan Tucker-
I'm sure there's a story in even the driest research..I've got to start somewhere!
Thanks for stopping by..

Lyn said...

Hi steviewren-
I find that if I get the details accurately, I'm better able to weave a tale! Thanks...

Lyn said...

Hi JeffScape-
You just can't tell by appearances!
Long live the revolution!!
Thanks..

The Muse said...

My Magpie #2 www.adivashammer.com

great research of factual applications which resonate through the story...in a clearly believable format!

Lyn said...

Hi The Muse-
I do like to know the nitty-gritty..And thanks for stopping by. Heading for yours...

Deedee said...

A nice piece of writing, Lyn! You really created a scene and a mood.

Lyn said...

Hi Deedee-
Thank you..I really enjoyed this prompt very much!

Gerry Boyd said...

A compelling read. Great verisimilitude.

Lyn said...

Hi Gerry-
Thank you..what a terrific word...verisimil.....I think that's what makes fiction real!!

chiccoreal said...

Thank-you Lynn for this most evocative fiction account on Magpie/Prompt #2. The matchbox collection is intriguing, and I must say I did at one time collect matchbooks. Of particular interest here are the Art Nouveau etc circa l880's I think? How intricate your plot and the matchbooks - keep writing you have much talent! Secrets, eh?

Lyn said...

Hi chiccoreal-
It was fun to do this..one finds out so much..pulling strands together..thank you..

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