Flash! Fridays has an all new setup from this week onwards. Now, in addition to the (optional) photo prompt, we are given several elements of a famous novel to act as inspiration and we select two to incorporate. This week was one of my all time favourite novels, the Count of Monte Cristo, and the themes were as follows:

Plot: A clever, now fabulously wealthy man seeks revenge on those who once wrongfully imprisoned him.
Conflict: man vs man
Character: escaped convict
Theme(s): revenge AND/OR justice
Setting: Napoleonic France

I chose character and theme. Here is my story incorporating these elements and using the optional photo:

Château d'If, Marseille vu de la navette des Iles d'OrChâteau d’If, Marseille, vu de la navette des Iles d’Or. CC2.0 photo by Jacqueline Poggi.

The keys to the kingdom 

Confidence. It’s all I ever needed. They took my tailored suit, my designer watch and my sports car with upwards opening doors, but they could never take my secret sauce.

It took a few months to assemble a suitable disguise. They take the maximum security part extremely seriously. Still, you’d be surprised what people leave laying around. A clipboard here, some thick rimmed glasses there, before you know it I’m a different person. The jump suit was the hardest part, but of all things it was my interest in botany that solved the problem. A couple of spin cycles with just the right mixture of berries turned inmate orange into maintenance team green.

No-one ever questions a person walking with purpose, holding a clipboard. It’s better than an invisibility cloak. I walked right out of the front gate, my head held high. Confidence is the key that opens all doors.

I haven’t forgotten those that took it all away from me. They say I didn’t earn it. That simply isn’t true, I conned a lot of people to earn that money. It wasn’t easy, it was hard goddamned work. Even idiots don’t just hand over thousands of dollars without question.

If you can’t beat them, join them. The government was happy to take the results of my hard work, now I’m going on take the results of theirs. After all, what does it take to win an election? All you need is confidence and a winning smile.

Say cheese!