March 16, 2018 § 1 Comment
He’d come in every night around 6:30, stay for the space of two drinks and maybe a burger. Middle-aged, not a snappy dresser but no slob, either. He knew the owners well enough that they said hi to him, but not enough for special treatment; no free drinks or anything like that.
Always grabbed the same bar stool, if it was open – sixth from the end, by the bend.
Had a name I should remember, but so vanilla it never stuck. Eric, I think, or Allen. I don’t know, I’d only been working there a couple weeks. To me, he was just Bar 6, because that’s how we entered orders in the register.
I called him “boss” to his face, just like everyone else. It’s easier than remembering names.
He wasn’t much for conversation. Some folks want to spill out their problems or chat about the music that’s playing or whatever sport is on the TV behind the bar. Bar 6 would talk to other patrons if they started it, but otherwise would just hunch over his drink until it was gone.
Bar 6 liked his bourbon. Usually neat, unless it was Jack Daniel’s, and then he’d want a rocks pour. I think the longest conversation he had with me was the night we added a couple new bourbons to the shelf, and even that only lasted a minute or two.
Every once in a while, I’d catch his eyes following a woman’s ass as she strolled past. He never made it creepy, though; he’d look, and then he’d turn his attention back to his drink. When the girls served him, he looked them in the eye and thanked them. I never saw him hit on anyone, touch anyone, nothing.
Come to think on it, I never saw him come in with anyone. He was always on his own, but never gave off that hook-up vibe. He came, he drank, he left. Veni, vino, vamoose.
Darrell? I think his name might have been Darrell. Damn, it bugs me I can’t recall.
Anyway, what I’m saying is, he was just this guy, you know? I never expected him to do what he did. Jesus. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 29, 2016 § Leave a comment
Choices are on my mind his morning, as I sip my coffee and feel the synapses begin to fire. It’s chilly in the house, but summer is staging another strike. I just ducked outside to look at a passing airplane, and it’s wonderfully warm; the perfect day for riding rollercoasters, which I will be doing with my wife and friends today, before we costume and go to a Halloween/birthday party tonight.
But choices. We make choices in almost every moment, and each choice alters the course of our life in some way.
Some choices are so small we don’t even notice we made them, yet they have a butterfly effect nonetheless: turn left instead of right, and avoid an accident; choose one word over another and cause a misunderstanding that damages a relationship.
Others are larger, more gut-wrenching decisions: to leave a job, or keep a difficult secret, or say goodbye to a beloved pet, or end a friendship that you realize is no longer a friendship.
One right choice can push your life in an amazing new direction; one wrong choice—no matter how small—can bring it all crashing down. Choose well. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Over on Joe Hill’s Thrills, a reader and first-time short-story writer asked:
I started brainstorming ideas for the first short story i am going to write and I came up with the perfect idea, but i have no idea where to start. Have you ever dealt with this, if so is there any advice you can give me?
Hill’s advice? Get the idea up front, and immediately bring the reader into your confidence and your absolute certainty. He expounds on that a bit, so click over to Hill’s blog for more.
What’s your advice for where to start a short story? Share it in the comments!