Phony Express

This story came about as a result of a challenge by Selena Wolff at her Solitary Words site.  Her challenge is here:  Ask me if writing a fantasy story with the word “asphodel” in it is easy.  I got revenge though.  The whole story is about Asphodel 😛


South façade of the White House, the executive...

Image via Wikipedia

Cheryl pouted.  “Alexandra Kouches never makes public appearances.  But she is promoting her new picture and was asked specifically to attend the First Lady‘s special celebrity reception for food for the world’s hungry.  I want to see her.”

Her husband grimaced.  “What’s so special about her?  She’s just another no-talent beauty…has probably slept her way to the top.”

Cheryl bit back an angry retort.  “Listen, Arlen, it won’t cost us anything. Just close your eyes when Alexandra talks. But there’s something special about her: with those large, beautiful, slightly slanted, brown eyes, she looks almost fey…”

With a grunt, Arlen indicated he knew he had lost this battle.

 * * *

“What would I do without you, my Damianos?”

“Probably live longer, Lexie.” He glanced sharply at her.  “How do you feel?  It took much make-up to cover your pallor.  Remember, you are the flower of life to Asphodel Meadows.  You should at least look like it.”

Alexandra shuddered.  “It’s taking longer this time, Dami.  Perhaps if I just rest.”

“They mustn’t make you do anything strenuous.” The little man scowled.  “You haven’t recovered from that unexpected stunt in Phoney Express.”

The star nodded, seated herself and leaned back wearily.

* * *

Three hours later, Alexandra Kouches mounted the steps to the hastily built stage near the entrance to the White House. Somehow Arlen had gotten Cheryl a seat atop the temporary bank of chairs that lined Lafayette Park.  Every time she looked at her hero, she felt that special strength encompass her.  She recalled a recent conversation with her best friend.  Apparently, Louise felt the same.  It was a…something…that made people scramble whenever Alexandra Kouches appeared.  It’s what made her funnily named movies a success.  It’s what made people love Alexandra.

Suddenly, amid the roaring of the crowd, Cheryl gasped.  Mounting the steep steps to the stage, Alexandra had faltered, then stumbled onto the platform.  A strange little dark-haired man rushed up behind her and grabbed her arm, leading her to a chair.

Uneasily, the Master of Ceremonies trotted to the microphone.“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you to the renowned star of…oh…Rebecca of Funnybrook Farms and Star Shrek come to mind.  No one in the recorded history of film-making has shown such graceful beauty, combined with such absolute comedic timing.  Please welcome, from uh…Greece…uh…”

Seen as Alexandra Kouches

© Jeffrey Banke |

He stopped and looked at Alexandra.  “Where in Greece?”

“Just say from Asphodel Meadows,” the little man advised.  “Say that, after bringing beauty and grace to the world through her films, Alexandra Kouches has returned home.

The MC looked startled.  “She’s right there.”

“Yes, but her ether has returned to walk the fields of Asphodel Meadows…until the time the world needs her return.  Too much of the physical world destroys her.  Watch for her in…mmm…another century.”

The little man vanished…at the exact time as Alexandra.  No one knew what to think.  But Alexandra Kouches had unquestionably disappeared, along with her little make-up man. No one could remember his name.

500 words

Copyright (c) 2011 by Sandra Bell Kirchman – all rights reserved.


20 responses to “Phony Express

  1. Fun.

    Check the quote marks in the last 2 paragraphs. Something’s amiss.


  2. I blame deleting whole sentences on the quotation marks mix-up. It’s fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out to me, Nancy.


  3. Having just finished my first excursion into sci fi with “The Fresco” by Sherri Tepper (2000), I want to know more about Asphodel Meadows! Can we look forward to a sequel and reappearance of Alexandra? I’d say the real ” world needs her return ASAP.
    Hope you, your husband and adorable pooches (and perhaps some offspring) had an enjoyable Mother’s Day.


    • How did you like “The Fresco”? I like sci fi a lot, but my first love is fantasy. If you want some good old-fashioned sci fi, try reading Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Ben Bova. However, if you want really good fantasy, try David Eddings “Belgariad” and sequels. The Belgariad comprises the first five books of that series. You could also try my book “Witchcanery,” which is available at, as well as other online outlets.

      Once again I am surprised at the response to this little story. I will definitely consider writing a sequel.

      Hope you and hubby and son and furry/hairy “kids” had a good Mother’s Day as well.


      • I have fallen so behind in my blog responses, etc. My part-time job at the local high school becomes overwhelming when the end of the school year grows near. But we’re in the homestretch to summer break now! Thanks for the suggestions for sci fi and fantasy reads. I have Witchanery on my book wish list as an intro to fantasy! Janet


  4. How wonderful, Sandra! A whole new dimension of fantasy. And the pickup on Asphodel Meadows was ingenius.


    • Isn’t it great how Wikipedia can make people seem like geniuses? 😛 Yes, I had never heard of Asphodel before and had to look it up. I wasn’t too interested in the flowers but Asphodel Meadows immediately grabbed my attention. I am very fond of Greek mythology (as well as Roman and Norse). However, with only 500 words to use, I had to leave it to the reader to find out what Asphodel Meadows actually was. heh heh

      I like the words you pick. They make me think.


  5. A fun read. Will we see more of Alexandra in the future? Please!


    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, cecelia. As with the others who liked this little story, I will say that there is a definite possibility of seeing more of Alexandra in the future. Writing sequels so far hasn’t been my strong point, but it’s about time I started 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.


  6. Great story, but I’m not sure I’d want to go to that Asphodel Meadows place. It sounds like it’s full of boring people! Except your heroine, of course. 🙂


    • Glad you enjoyed it, Anna. Your sensitivity is accurate regarding Asphodel Meadows. It’s kind of a queer place where it’s said that souls of the dead roam. You can look it up in Wikipedia – it’s a mythical place in Greek mythology. I think I am going to have to write a sequel to Phony Express because all you readers have kind of piqued MY curiosity as to what happens next. I will let it percolate for a while.

      Thanks for dropping by. I always enjoy your comments.


      • Ha ha, no sensitivity involved. I already looked it up with your convenient link, that’s how I knew! You learn something new every day, I say, except for the days when you don’t. 🙂


  7. Rebecca of Funnybrook Farms and Star Shrek – these made me chuckle. Thanks for a great read Sandra! Great job weaving in the required words too.


    • You’re welcome, Billie Jo. Thanks for reading it.

      As for the titles of her movies, I had a few more in there originally (The Prince and the Piper, Mary Pauppins [about a poor nanny], Bowtie and the Beast [I have a weird sense of humor sometimes]), but had to take them out due to word limits.

      I had to take a lot of words out, which is why some people might have had a little trouble reading it. I am actually amazed that no one has complained of it. Thanks for saying I wove the words in well. It helped soothe my guilty conscience 😉


  8. Pingback: Phony Express » Greece on WEB

  9. I like this one, SBK! I was thinking, though, that particularly for a fantasy story, “Asphodel” would be a great name for a character!


  10. yes, i agree. a fun read indeed.


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