Penelope’s Project


Photo prompt courtesy of CEAyr

The early blossoms were perfect. At first no-one noticed. Helen called a cheery hello as she passed, and George waved good morning as he watered his yellow roses.

Soon the bushes were a riot of purple, and Penelope’s neighbours stared, from a distance. George stayed indoors.

Penelope completed her project. This was who she was – a woman with purple flowers and a matching purple door.

The end was swift. Penelope’s padlocked purple door remained a warning to passers-by that the Ministry of Civic Harmony would not tolerate subversive colour schemes. This was a yellow street. Just yellow.


Once again I’m dragging the chain this week, but hopefully someone will still be browsing through the Friday Fictioneers link-up and drop by to read my story. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this weekly flash fiction event. 

30 thoughts on “Penelope’s Project

  1. Great story! This happens to a small extent in some neighbourhoods (like when someone decides to paint their house neon orange for example!). Who knows if it could go to these lengths in the future?


    • Neon orange sounds scary. Let’s hope mutual consideration and tolerance hold sway over such dilemmas in the future, rather than a scenario like the one in the story. Thanks for your input, Ali. Glad you enjoyed the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reminds me of those ‘gated’ communities (I think Disney built one) where everything has to be just so and if you don’t abide by the written and unwritten rules, censure will swiftly follow. Great tale Margaret


  3. Dear Margaret,

    It sounds like our neighborhood with its muted tones of golds and greens. One neighbor dared to paint his house blue. You can imagine the outrage. 😉 (Not really, but it did kind of tick off one of our neighbors and there are neighborhoods like that.) Good story. Better late than never.




    • Thank you, Rochelle. Last Sunday I had a conversation with an acquaintance who showed me photos of her beautiful front garden – all purple flowers. She’s painted sections of her brickwork to match. Of course, I followed the idea trail pretty quickly after coming up blank for days, and voila! – my story.


  4. Oh, I love this story. It’s so original. It reminds of friend who painted who door red and didn’t get permission first. Her neighbors were not happy with her. I really like the “riot of purple.” Great one, Margaret.


  5. That Penelope is quite a rebel. I like that in a woman.
    We have some covenant communities nearby. I hate the thought of someone being able to dictate what I can and can’t do in my own yard. Wouldn’t work for me.


    • She’s got gumption. It’s interesting how some people are willing to surrender such control over their lives to someone else. And when so many people around the world have their independence forcibly taken, I must admit I’m baffled. Of course, there’s a fair amount of coercion or manipulation going on behind the scenes in some of these communities, I’m sure. Nice to hear from you, and sorry to take so long to reply.


    • I guess polka dots would be pushing the limits of neighbourly tolerance, although it might depend on the dots, and on the neighbourhood. Glad you enjoyed the story, Suzanne. Sorry to be so long in replying.


    • Yes – forced compliance exactly. What a fascinating Wikipedia article – thank you for linking it, Bjorn. The ‘ten laws’ sound like admirable qualities when a person chooses to live by them, but if they’re forcibly imposed it would make for a miserable community, I think.


  6. Conformity, don’t stick out, don’t get airs, don’t think you are better than us… Nice if you want to fit in, horrible if you have your own ideas. Let’s hope there’s room for Penelopes. Someone in our street (suburban village) painted their house bright yellow. People wagged their tongues, but now some are getting brave. We have kind of a colour revolution, people paint deep red, blue, orange, purple… and the more traditional baroque pastels. Out with the grey I say. Great story, Margaret.


      • Not really, there are a lot of people who like to complain about everything, but over time they get used to it. Don’t worry about being late, I was so horribly late last week that only now I replied.

        Liked by 1 person

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