un jouet
un volet

fichu

Cafe_2fichu(e) (fee-shoo) adjective
1. (bad) wretched, lousy; rotten; (capable)  able

Expressions:
c'est fichu = it's had it
être bien fichu(e) = to be well put together (physique)
être mal fichu(e) = to be under the weather, to feel lousy

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Citation du Jour:
Quand tout est fichu, il y a encore le courage.
When all is lost, there's still courage.
--Daniel Pennac

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A Day in a French Life...

I sat at the café in Lorgues, shivering next to my coffee and stalling for my appointment at le Baracavin, where I was to leave in dépôt* ten books for sale.

La serveuse breezed over and I handed her three coins totalling 1 Euro 40, before downing the last of my noisette.* To the man standing behind me, I said, "Avez-vous l'heure, s'il vous plaît?"*

"Bien sûr,* little woman," he said, offering a wrist. I tilted my head to read his watch: 10:55. Time to go. I noticed his tattoo, just above the watch, "60" it read. I guessed it to be his age.

"Merci, Monsieur," I said.
"Oh, it is a pleasure, really," he replied.
"May I sit here?" he said, pulling up a chair and sitting down anyway.
"Could I offer you a coffee?" he continued.
"Oh. Yes. I mean no! Yes, you can sit down, but I have to leave now."
"Just a coffee?" he said.

I remembered my mom's extended stay here last year, and how she knew everyone in my village because she judged no one and no situation, and found each and every person and situation interesting.

"D'accord,"* I said, "but I'll have to leave in a few minutes."
"Deux cafés!" he said to la serveuse.*

I looked at the other patrons, and was sure they were thinking: "Now there's a real tart!" (or 'une poufiasse' as they say here).

"What do you do?" he said.
"J'écris."
"Me too. I write!" he said.

Quelle chance!* Surely I'd stumbled upon the editor of the local paper? Non! Paris--he's with a Parisian publishing house. Pourquoi pas?* I could not believe my good fortune.

"Regardez,"* he said, opening his wallet. Inside, at least a dozen neatly folded squares of paper. He carefully selected one and offered it to me. I noted the strange business card format, but didn't lose hope.

Unfolding the flimsy paper, I found these words stamped inside:

                    Remy DuPont
          Un Coeur Libre ("A free heart")
       Si vous le désirez (If you so desire)
                Tél: 06 24 17 00 75
             Pourquoi Pas? (Why not?)


Trying to look composed, I carefully refolded the paper and stuck it in my pocket.

"I'm looking for a wife," he said. "You married?"

Quelle question!* Don't I look married? There I sat, in four layers of clothing, a day old coiffure* and chapped lips.

And just like that, my illusions of literary success in the small town of Lorgues were fichu,* kaput. Chapped as my lips.

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*References: en dépôt = on consignment; une noisette (f) = a small coffee with a few drops of milk; s'il vous plaît = please; bien sûr! = of course!; d'accord = agreed; la serveuse (f) = the waitress; quelle chance = what luck; pourquoi pas = why not; regardez = look; quelle question = what a question; une coiffure (f) = a hairdo; fichu = kaput

Click on book cover to read more stories in my book:

Book

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