The photo prompt this week is courtesy of Ted Strutz. His photo of the Icon Grill in Seattle has prompted many stories from the talented group of people who, each week, submit a story or poem to Friday Fictioneers, which is hosted assiduously by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.



Icon Grill courtesy of Ted Strutz

Icon Grill courtesy of Ted Strutz

Genre: Historical fiction

Word Count: 100


Hunched over a glass of absinthe, he listens to des prostituees making their arrangements with the drunks in the corner.

The pain in his head is back again.

He drains the glass, reaches for the small canvas at his feet and hands it to Albert; they also have an arrangement.

His paintings, though brighter than ever, remain unsold.  The allowance from his beloved brother is not enough.

Later, as Albert hangs the new painting of a vase of flowers next to one showing a pipe on a straw chair, he shakes head.

They are worthless, but they brighten the walls.


(Vincent Van Gogh, spent some of his last years in Arles in the South of France. Amongst others, he painted many scenes of café life. One entitled The Night Café, is of the interior of the Café de la Gare, allegedly frequented by prostitutes– des prostituees and drunks. They could stay all night if they had nowhere else to go. It is reported that he gave the picture to the owner in settlement of his debts. Although he painted many hundreds of paintings, he sold only one during his lifetime and was supported by an allowance from his brother Theo. Although these facts have been documented, the story above is entirely from my imagination).




50 thoughts on “Vincent

  1. Your use of “des prostituees” is so perfect. The French that is normally so much associated with high society, used for such a frowned-upon profession. Perfect.


  2. I enjoyed this very much, darling — and while I am very familiar with Van Gogh’s biography, you should be happy to know that your story didn’t require the lovely history you wrote afterward — it held up on it’s own. I look forward to reading more of your work.


  3. Most creative people are unappreciated in their time. I wish Albert had an idea of how much Van Gogh’s work would be worth in modern times.

    Beautiful piece. I enjoyed reading it.


  4. This was really good. I didn’t realize it was Vincent Van Gogh at first, then when I did I was shocked. Thank you for the history lesson too. Poor Vncent. I just love that song Starry Starry Night by Don Mclean about him too.


  5. So many painters in and around that time were very poor. What a shame! I agree that your story stood on its own. I was expecting the loss of an ear, perhaps, so I’m glad that didn’t happen Very nice!



    • Thank you Janet.
      I decided to set the piece before the full self destructive phase took hold of him. The latter part of his life was so tragic.

      Are you still travelling up and down the east coast?



      • I finally stopped (for about a week) but will soon be headed back to Cleveland for the final push to get the house ready to put on the market. Then I’m praying for a quick sale so we can get moved and both in one place again. It’s been much to long. Thanks for asking. Enjoy the weekend!



      • Oh I hope you get lucky and sell straightaway. It must be so difficult having to fit in so much travelling along with everything else.
        Be thinking of you both
        Take care


  6. This photo also made me think of van Gogh and the cafes he painted. I’m still not sure if that’s him in the painting, but it really does look like him. I hope he somehow knows how much everyone appreciates his work these days.


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