A while back, I purchased a journal style book from Target called, WRITE THE STORY. It features a bunch of writing prompts with a topic and various words that must be used in the story. I decided this was a way to write a few short stories.
My first one is: A Strange Request At A Piano Bar
I had to use the following words: carnival, sprained, mask, oxidation, awkward, apple, juvenile, controversy, twirl, and sassafras.
Here it is…
After stirring for a few minutes, he finally opened his eyes and found himself in a strange room. Fearful, he stayed still for a moment. From the bed, he could see outside the open window to a wooden pole, probably electrical, and a paper advertisement for a local carnival. His eyes made their way around the room. The oxidation from the heat and humidity had caused the paint to peal back from the walls. He picked a chip of paint off the wall next to him and it fell on to the damp sheets.
He took a deep breath before attempting to move. There was a hint of apple in the air, maybe bread baking. It was a familiar and welcoming scent which caused his stomach to growl. With that, he decided to find food.
Stepping down, he felt a stabbing pain in his foot. He didn’t remember spraining his ankle, but it hurt tremendously. Biting back the pain, he got to his feet and hobbled over to the metal table and chair that sat in the corner. Other than the bed, it was the only thing in the room. He grabbed his hoodie and with a zip, he made his way slowly to the door.
Outside the door was a set of wooden stairs, leading down. There were no other doors on this floor other than the one he exited from. The stairs dropped him in the middle of a saloon. The piano in the corner stopped playing as he hit the last step. Heads turned to him. Silence pierced his ears.
A deep shallow caught in his throat as he scanned the room of older men, all dressed in white dress shirts, vests, and top hats. There wasn’t one of them without a handle bar mustache. Compared to them, I was an awkward martian from another planet with my khaki shorts with a t-shirt and hoodie.
Not saying a word, a walked to the bar on the right side of the saloon. They piano began to play again and the men’s attention returned as if he didn’t exist. Between two stools, he reached for a menu hoping there might be something to eat. The only thing on the menu was a variety of drinks, all containing sassafras.
He asked the bartender if he had a coke. Silence fell over the bar again. He was sure he heard a cricket in the distance. The barmaid cleaning the stool next to him replied that this was a respectable piano bar and if he wanted drugs, he would need to go across the way to the brothel. She winked at him.
Glancing around, he knew he should leave. When he stepped out side the swinging half doors of the saloon, a parade of juveniles marched down the dirt road that separated one building from the other. Many of them wore masks and other twirled batons and fire sticks.
Their presence must have sparked controversy in this small community as the town folk booed and hissed at the gaggle of carnies headed down the main drag. He watched them disappear around the corner of the last building and the crowd of upset people dispersed.
On the porch of the building across the way a few scantily clad women loitered in front of another wooden building. One of them whistled toward him. Looking oddly familiar, he crossed the dirt road and stepped upon the porch. The three women descended upon him, tearing at his clothes.
From the double swinging saloon doors appeared a large busty woman who wiggled her finger at him, inviting him into the business. Following the tempting invite, he burst through the swinging doors into the darkness. Once his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he found himself in his living room. He turned around. There were no swing doors behind him; only in front of him was his girlfriend who asked him where he had been.
He answered, “Another world.”