The Scribe

A bit of flash fiction for your Friday.

WARNING: Adult content.

The Scribe by N. E. White

The scribe writes at a pace that would rival a snail.

“Is it always this hot in Alexandria?” I ask, then immediately regret it for the scribe’s quill lifts from the page. His face crunches up in what I surmise is frustration at the loss of concentration my question precipitates. I glance at the harlot on my arm. Her lavender perfume encircles me and all I can think of is the moment when I can satisfy my loins. I cup her breast in one hand.

“No, my lord,” the scribe answers. “It is usually much hotter.”

I look back at the scribe, sitting on the stone steps of the central library. His ink-stained fingers dip his quill into the inkwell. Balancing his writing tray on his knees, he resumes to transcribe my letter. He works quicker, and I began to wonder if he can read my mind, but then he pulls up again.

“And?” he says.

“And what?” I ask.

“What else would you like your letter to your wife to include?” The scribe casts a furtive glance at my whore.

“Read it back to me,” I say, my eyes and hands busy with the plaything I bought for only a few copper coins. Since landing at its port, Alexandria has received this one merchant rather well. I want to boast of my sales and reassure my wife that I would be back soon, but instead my letter tells of hard-earned bargains and the unexpected travails of foreign customs. The whore giggles when my fingers find her cleft moist with desire; I hardly hear what words fall from the scribe’s lips. It is long past finding a room.

I wave my free hand at the scribe, tossing a few coins. With my voice thick with lust, I say, “That will do. Send it off on the next boat.”

I walk away with my whore, not knowing the scribe hunkers over my letter for some time after. I don’t see him sand the ink, roll the parchment tight, and secure it with a seal. I don’t see him hand it to a runner who will carry it to the next ship bound for the north. I don’t see my wife open it to read a recount of what my hands did to that whore on the wondrous streets of Alexandria.


9 thoughts on “The Scribe

  1. And the motto….never trust a bloody writer!

    Well done. Is it difficult for you to write erotica?
    What little I have attempted I’ve struggled with to be honest.

    I read ”WARNING: Adult content” and was on my guard as I had written a piece that I too believed warranted the warning, yet one reader thought it was tame.
    One man’s meat is another man’s poisson n’est ce pas? 🙂

    1. I know, my story is super tame, but I’ve shopped this piece around to several magazines, and a number of editors found the ‘cleft’ thing a bit offensive. I wish they could have told me whether I just used the wrong word or if they thought it was to explicit for their magazine or what. But, such is rejection. The story just kept getting rejected so here it sits. 😮

      Do I find it hard to write erotica? To be honest, no. I don’t find it any harder than anything else I write. Keep in mind, I think everything I write sucks.

      I like your chapter. You did the erotica part well and I felt just as startled as the character when the door opened. Very funny. Will you be posting a second chapter?

      1. How can the word cleft be offensive? Unless you submitted it to an under 11 girls magazine with Christian Fundamentalist leanings whose adult members only had sex in the dark on a Wednesday in November with their clothes on!

        I thought the tone and language perfectly conveyed the time and setting.
        What female anatomical terms would a Roman (?) merchant use? I suspect a lot more impolite than what you have used here.

        Maybe there is way to check what language was common in this era?
        As my kids always tell me when I ask a question: JFG.

        Keep in mind, I think everything I write sucks.

        Leave the self-deprecating remarks for others. I’m no judge of good writing but what I’ve read hasn’t made my teeth hurt or sent me screaming from the room! 😉
        Stop fretting. Every writer feels crappy about their stuff at some point.

        Insecurity is part of the makeup, didn’t you know this? lol…

        here you go…made me curious

      2. JFG?

        I know I could have gone way worse with the language, but I was trying to write something semi-literary. I guess. Who knows why I write what I write.

        I do like your conclusion: beware of writers! 😉

      3. Just F^&*^% Google.

        Lol….and I thought I was over the hill.

        Cheer up chicken… go watch a funny “writer” movie. Try.
        As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson. Hilarious.

  2. Hey this was good and it’s great to finally see some of your fiction. The only issue with it I would take is the context – if this is ancient Greece or Rome (because it could be either) – is that there are no qualms of a man hiring a prostitute, or even purchasing a slave purely for sexual services.

    Either way, it’s well written with an amusing ending 🙂

    1. Oh, good point.

      I guess I kind of knew that, but I was trying to say that he’s from somewhere else and that once there in Alexandria it’s like, Woohoo! Let’s go hog wild! Anything goes here.

      Which he does, but the scribe thinks him crude and doesn’t like him and writes something his northern wife wouldn’t like. Of course, that presumes the scribe knows that she would find offense in that. So, yeah, a lot of modern assumptions.

      Again, good point!

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