THE PERFECT COUPLE • by Christopher Kastensmidt

I watched. She noticed. I grinned. She winked. We spoke. I flirted. We walked. We agreed. We parted.


We met. We strolled. We conversed. I relaxed. We sat. We touched. We embraced. We kissed. We loved.


Dog barked. We awoke. I stretched. I bathed. I cooked. She arose. I smiled. We hugged. We ate. We left. I drove. I worked. I returned.


We married. We traveled. We fought. We mended. We lived. We aged.


I questioned. She refused. I demanded. She lied. I turned. I cried. I knew.


I saw. I followed. I approached. I listened. They laughed. They moaned. I entered. I confronted. She gasped. I yelled. He sneered. I shot. He died. She screamed. I fired. She fell.


Jesus wept.

By “The Perfect Couple”, Christopher Kastensmidt is of course referring to subjects and verbs. Language is a beautiful thing.

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 average 4 stars • 2 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • Dear Christopher;
    I very much enjoyed your insightful piece ‘The Perfect Couple’, and wish added successes for you. PR

  • Gerard Demayne

    Didn’t think much of that one. Given up commenting on stories I don’t unless they actually annoy me and this one did. If it had been written conventionally the story would be considered cliched in the extreme so the only wrinkle was writing it as some sort of stripped down verse, which is just lazy. Nope, didn’t work for me and a poor selection, IMO.

    • Thanks for making your feelings known, Gerard.

      Experimental fiction is always a risk. Some people will love it and others will hate it. I’m sorry you didn’t care for this one.

  • The essence of story-telling is subject+verb, or in our parlance, character+action. Too many writers get caught up in language and forget this basic concept.

    Writers often forget about the verb. This piece is a great illustration of using verbs to create plot. If everyone started a project like this, we’d have fewer boring I-don’t-get-it kinds of stories.

    AND that said, too many writers forget about the subject, the character. This piece has subjects taking action. In other words, characters who take action and react to action which in turn helps the reader to care. If everyone realized that characters must be willing to DO something, take a risk, TAKE ACTION as well as react, we’d have fewer ho-hum-who-gives-a-darn kinds of stories.

    AND The Perfect Couple contains irony. Hmmm, irony is a literary concept. This is also good.

    So Christopher, all I can say is congratulations and I want the rest.

  • Succinct and simple, yet it says so much. Story stripped bare. Well done.

  • A bit too stacatto of a pace for me, which had me attempting to read it as poetry, but it was interesting.

  • Thanks for all the comments!

    This is an experimental piece, not for everyone. I liked the comment “story stripped bare,” as my working title for the story was “Laid Bare”.

    As Gay points out, it’s about cutting away the fluff, attempting to create story and emotion with pure action. Not a single verb is repeated.

    It was fun to write and I appreciate EDF for publishing it! Now back to more typical prose…

  • I don’t normally comment on these, but felt compelled to on this occasion. I thought this was great, and a wonderful lesson in economy. To the poster who disliked it, I think it needs to be appreciated for what it is, an experiment in language stripped bare, rather than a conventional piece of fiction. I’m going to link to this from my blog.

  • GL

    I thought this was a wonderful piece. It didn’t need any more than the subject-verb in each sentence. It’s very powerful as is.

  • Al Schindler

    I loved the style: to the point. No extra words to mess up visual concepts of what was happening. Hope to see more of your work here.

  • Jim Cobb

    As poetry, this works because it is a cliched story. The narrator is telling us what happened, as if it happens all the time. The phrasing is spare because no other detail is needed. You’ve heard the story before – many times. You supply your own details. Subject/verb – BAM! There you go. . .

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Some hated. Others loved. I admired.

  • Too sparse for me, not enough character for prose and not enough emotion for poetry. I appreciate the value in experimentation, I just didn’t enjoy reading the result.

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  • cmh

    John 11:35