Thursday, November 23, 2017

11/3/17 Friday Challenge: Entry #4

Fiction: “Un Poêle Français,” by Mimosa Longfellow

Mrs. Lavender Goldman was glad to get a new stove. Her old one was covered in marks of burnt lasagna, old coffee, and sticky syrup. She had bought it three years before at a flea market for cheap, but the man who sold it to her said it was eight years old. Her husband was tired of coming home to burnt meals, so he told Lavender he would get her a new stove. He didn’t make much, being a reporter, and Lavender didn’t work, since she was busy taking care of their twelve-month-old son. Jacob Goldman, Lavender’s husband, said he would get her the best, newest stove there was. Together they saved up all the money they could.

After a few weeks of saving up money, Jacob and Lavender Goldman and their little son went out to find a new stove. They stopped at the finest appliance store, and found the newest, cleanest, and nicest stove. They barely had enough money to buy it, but the manager kindly lowered the price a bit. In just a few hours, their new stove was delivered and installed in their apartment.

Lavender stood looking at the beautiful new stove. It was large, with shiny silver handles and quaint knobs. “What could be better than pie to start off this oven? I’ll make my grandmom’s classic American apple pie,” she said, as she busied herself cutting apples. When she turned to the oven to preheat it, she noticed a small gauge pointed to the flag of France. She figured the gauge was supposed to point at where you came from, so she tried to turn it to the American flag. But it wouldn’t budge a bit. “Oh, well. I’ll just keep it where it is.” She finished mixing up the pie batter, and put it into a store-bought piecrust.

As she started putting the pie into the oven, she heard a decidedly French voice talking to her. “Awful! Don’t even try to put that hooorible thing into meeee. Why not tarts instead of horrid American food?”

Lavender stared at the stove, and fainted. When her husband came home, he found her in a chair, looking dazed. “Food ready, dear?” he asked.

“No. I can’t even make a pie! The stove started talking and wouldn’t let me!” Lavender replied.

“Holy cow! You must be pulling my leg,” exclaimed Jacob.

The stove let out a burst of smoke as it said, “‘Holy cow’ is such an Ammmerican phrase. When will one of you make food? You know, there should be about five courses in a meal. You’re not even getting out the fruit and cheese for dessert! Disgraceful!”

Jacob frowned. “Humph. I reckon the manager did say something about it being one of those ‘smart stoves.’ Ignore it and make food,” he muttered.

Mrs. Goldman stood up and put the pie in the oven as the stove yelled bad words in French at her.

An hour later, Lavender went to check on her pie. It was burnt to a crisp. “Why, it isn’t supposed to be burnt! I followed the directions exactly!”

I burnt it, darling! Haha! Now bake some tarts...or else you’ll be in trouble,” the stove screeched.

Mrs. Goldman put tarts in the oven, much against her will. She pulled out cheese and fruit for dessert, and steeped some tea. Then she made some French food that she didn’t even know what it was called. The stove yelled directions at her, directions that sounded like they had been taken off of Google.

The next day, Mrs. Lavender went into her kitchen to make breakfast.

“Hello, darling,” the stove said as Lavender entered. “This kitchen isn’t French enough. Buy some French figurines and put them on that shelf up there. Buy a French flag and hang it in the window. If you do it, I’ll let you cook one American meal.”

Lavender decided to do it for a good American meal, and went to a Dollar Tree for the supplies. After buying them and returning home, she put the figurines on a shelf, and hung up the flag.

Everything looked fine until Lavender’s little son stepped into the kitchen and yelled. Suddenly the figurines all fell off the shelf with a bang.

“Oh no!” cried Lavender. “What happened?”

The stove sniffed. “Why, they are just running away from your son. Us French always run away. It’s part of our culture.”

“Culture, fiddlesticks! They cost me a dollar each. At least I can make one American meal, though,” replied Lavender.

Lavender and her husband Jacob went out to dinner the next night, since they didn’t want another French meal. They were done with French meals. Lavender hired a babysitter to watch her son. Mr. and Mrs. Goldman stuffed themselves with “good ‘ol American food” and headed home in their small car. When they arrived home, they were surprised to see the babysitter in hysterics in their living room.

“What’s wrong?” exclaimed Lavender.

“The stove is teaching your son French!” cried the anxious babysitter in dismay.

Mr. and Mrs. Goldman ran into their kitchen. There was their little son happily saying “Chet bebe dort!” as he danced about their kitchen.

“What in the world does that mean?” Jacob asked the stove, while his wife quieted their baby son.

“Why, ‘hush, baby sleeps’, of course,” replied the stove.

Jacob threw pots and pans at the stove, as it shrieked in dismay, “Adieu, Earth’s bliss!”

Jacob went back to the appliance store and got a refund. When they got back their money, they bought a five-year-old stove, and kept it for ten more years. They never bought a “smart” stove again, and could never again hear a French accent without wincing.



Mimosa Longfellow currently lives near the equator on an extinct volcano. She has been reading and writing from an early age, and is in love with fantasy, fiction, and humorous stories. Her favorite authors include J. R. R. Tolkien, Rod Walker, and Rudyard Kipling. Her hobbies include drawing, writing, and running around barefoot through the jungle.


Editor’s Note: This story was written in response to the 11/3/17 Friday Challenge. We received so many good stories in response to this challenge that we’re running new stories daily all this week. We encourage you to comment on the stories and to vote for your favorite as soon as the polling widget goes live, as the author of the winning story will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Thanks for participating!

Another Note: We’ve learned that the polling widget is not accessible in some web browsers, particularly those found on smart phones. If you can’t see the polling widget in the upper right corner, here’s a direct link to it: