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CoinOperatedSpork
February 16th, 2013, 04:17 AM
I was browsing the forum and saw this prompt in one of the threads. I normally lean towards the fantasy but this was a nice change of pace. Did a once over but other than that it's straight from my brain to the page.
 


It was a chilly December night and The Lounge was packed with college kids again. You could almost feel the sexual tension in the air. For many it was the prime of their life and all they could think about was looking good and being cool. The place might as well have been empty. They weren't here for my show. This was just the place to be tonight. The beer was cheap and it was all you can eat chips and salsa for three bucks.

"Hey Gary," I called out over the chatter as I passed the bar.

"Hey Bill," He said without looking up. There was a lull between orders and he was clearing the bar of chips and salsa puddles. "There's a crowd tonight."

"Sure is," I said as hung up my coat and baseball cap in the back room. "Some of these kids don't look old enough to drink." They were of course but this was the sort of mindless chatter that passed as conversation between Gary and I. You work somewhere fifteen years and the interesting conversations tend to run dry.

"Don't they? Make a man feel old over here. I'll see ya after the show," He laughed to himself.

The bar noise gradually quieted as I made my way to the dressing rooms. The air back here still smelled of stale cigarettes even though this hallway hadn't seen a cigarette in years. I threw my leather bag on the old couch and sat in front of the mirror. It was familiar back here and I let my gut hang out.

"You're getting old," I told myself. "You're an old man now." The skin on my face was rife with wrinkles and sagging skin. The worry lines cut deep into my brow and my hair line had receded to the point where no amount of combing could cover the balding. I laughed despite myself. It was a healthy laugh heavy with irony.

Years ago I might have felt the need to throw open the old stage bag and primp myself but I had grown past that. Instead, I just sat there and looked at myself and the old photographs I had hung around the mirror. There were no regrets or ill feelings just nostalgia and great memories. The minutes ticked down until it was fifteen until show time. I threw on the sports jacket and combed my thin hair back.

"Hey Bill," I turned to see Alan standing in the doorway.

"Hey Boss. Just getting ready. Something you need?" I inspected my pants and jacket for lint.

"Yeah," Alan paused, "Bill, you've worked here a long time. You've been a good employee. The best really."

I turned to face him. To his credit, he looked me straight in the eye.


"Are you firing me, Alan?" I thought I'd feel shock but to be honest I didn't feel much of anything.

"Yeah, buddy." He held a white envelope out. "Your last check plus a little extra."

It totaled eight hundred and seventy three dollars with three hundred of it in Franklins.

"I don't know what to say. What about the show?"

"Don't worry about it. We already hired a replacement," He looked back towards the door. "Sorry, Bill. You know the way out." With that he left.

I followed him to the doorway and I saw her. She was a young and shapely thing in her black dress.

"It's a young people's game, I guess." I told myself.

I didn't even bother gathering my photos. They were a part of this place now. I didn't want them anymore. By the time I hung up the jacket and packed my other knick nacks the lights had dimmed and the new girl was on the stage. She was young, beautiful and she had the crowds attention. I chuckled, dropped my stuff by a stool and caught Gary's attention.

"I'll have a beer Gary."

Ariel
February 16th, 2013, 04:34 AM
This whole piece carries a sad wistfulness and a wry fondness all at once. There is a stray ending quotation hanging out in there somewhere too.

CoinOperatedSpork
February 16th, 2013, 06:31 AM
I found the sucker. Thanks for the heads up. :)

Inchidoney
February 16th, 2013, 05:59 PM
This reminded me of a time when a friend asked me to stand in for another guitarist in her brothers band. The band unbeknown to me played straight music, what's now called Lounge music. I was into slightly heavier music, so when they asked me to play and I went into, from memory, something by the Stones, silence greeted me. Eventually the drummer joined in, then the singer, and by the end of the song almost the remainder of the band. Needless to say, "don't call us, we,ll call you," was muttered as I departed.

Heid
February 17th, 2013, 06:01 PM
I actually felt relieved when he got fired (and paid). Going out there with an act that felt like it was dated and almost archaic he would have certainly been thrown to the wolves, as it were. A couple of cliches need to be ironed out I reckon ("chilly December night...") but otherwise a nice read. Be interesting to carry on the story and follow Bill after he hangs up his act for good. (or if he decides to give it one more shot somewhere else :) )

archer88iv
February 18th, 2013, 07:32 PM
Ok, so, I went two directions with a response to this piece. At first I felt that the basic problem was that it was written from a prompt (although I didn't read your preface until after reading the piece, so don't worry about contamination :) ) -- the events of the story seemed dictated.

On a second reading, I decided that the reason for that is not necessarily that you didn't include foreshadowing for those events, but rather that I missed them because of a few grammatical missteps you made in the middle. You seem to have a bit of a tendency toward the comma splice, which will tend to hide things from the reader: if they are doing any kind of skimming at all (as readers are wont to do) they will notice when a sentence is "complete" and skip anything that appears after that.

'"Hey Bill," I turned to see Alan standing in the doorway.' is a perfect example: you've got a guy who is not Bill standing in the doorway, but because you've spliced together his dialog with Bill's response, the 'I' on this line seems (incorrectly) to map to the speaker rather than the subject.

cassie30
February 18th, 2013, 11:40 PM
I would like to where this story is going. It has a nice feel to it but leaves me wondering what's next for Bill.:icon_cheesygrin:

CoinOperatedSpork
February 20th, 2013, 07:33 PM
Ok, so, I went two directions with a response to this piece. At first I felt that the basic problem was that it was written from a prompt (although I didn't read your preface until after reading the piece, so don't worry about contamination :) ) -- the events of the story seemed dictated.

On a second reading, I decided that the reason for that is not necessarily that you didn't include foreshadowing for those events, but rather that I missed them because of a few grammatical missteps you made in the middle. You seem to have a bit of a tendency toward the comma splice, which will tend to hide things from the reader: if they are doing any kind of skimming at all (as readers are wont to do) they will notice when a sentence is "complete" and skip anything that appears after that.

'"Hey Bill," I turned to see Alan standing in the doorway.' is a perfect example: you've got a guy who is not Bill standing in the doorway, but because you've spliced together his dialog with Bill's response, the 'I' on this line seems (incorrectly) to map to the speaker rather than the subject. Forgive me I'm on my smartphone. This is the first time someone has mentioned this to me. I'm not sure if it's just this piece or a bad habit I've developed over time. You've given me something to think about. Thank you. :)

nickthird
February 27th, 2013, 09:06 PM
"It was a chilly .. again" -> "One chilly December... [no and] The Lounge packed with college kids" ??

"You could almost feel the sexual tension in the air" -> "You could feel ..."
almost is weak, uninstresting.

"could think about" -> "thought about"
just is not relevant, I don't like "coulds" in this context

--> Too many 'is', 'was' etc empty words that derail my reading, weakening the impact. If the narrator cannot be unsure (unless he's being mysterious)

"Hey Gary," I called out over the chatter as I passed the bar."
--> You are not describing a dead scene you are decribing a state of mind, mystery, emotions, effects etc. I don't connect to the main character (fast enough).
--> What is his state of mind?

"He laughed to himself." redundant, I got that, maybe its just me.

"The air back here" what is "here" doing there? -> "the air smells"
"It was familiar back here" I am annoyed now.

redo I will read.

abbymeg
March 11th, 2013, 07:23 AM
*crowd's attention*

*You could almost feel the sexual tension in the air* - You probably can feel it? The air was heavy with/ thick with/ permeated by/ laden with?

Really enjoyed this, very poignant. The scene is set beautifully with some great little details. I liked your, "The beer was cheap and it was all you can eat chips and salsa for three bucks."

Fantastic, good luck with it :-)

twentysix26
April 12th, 2013, 07:36 AM
I actually enjoyed this, a good read with a sad tone and an oddly satisfying ending. Good work, really.

WechtleinUns
April 13th, 2013, 03:28 AM
Hi, CoinoperatedSpork. Before I comment on this excellent piece of fiction, I would like to apologize for backing out of the podcast thing. At the time, I rationalized that such was the way the world works, but that's such a disinginuous excuse--you didn't deserve to go through that, and I regret doing it to you. It's a stain on my character, and I wouldn't blame you if you spit this review out like sour fromaldehyde.

Now then. About this piece of fiction.

I can not help but sense an experienced hand behind the pen that marks these words. The tone is very somber and smoky, and has a very clear and recognizable theme. It evokes emotions that many have felt, and that many more will, in time. The story has the quality of timelessness, and that is a very good thing.

Having said that, I think it would definitely benefit from a few rounds of revision. You mentioned that this is a once over piece, a mind-to-meld experience, so to speak. Still, don't underestimate the power of revision.

Indeed, a good piece of writing is good no matter what you do to it. I have always thought of revision as a tool to magnify that which is already present in the work. A bad writer can revise a piece of fiction many times, but if the story itself is not good, then he only serves to heighten that same negative effect.

This piece of fiction, however, presents a very good, positive, and compelling vibe. You don't seem like the kind of person who would abhor revision and in the beginning, you said that you usually write Science Fiction, and that this was a nice break from that genre. That's perfectly understandable. It's likely that you're science fiction stories are even better. But this piece of fiction is very good as well, and I would be quite sad to see it languish.

I would like to thank you very much, just for reading this review. Ultimately, it's your story, and to be honest, I feel somewhat responsible for my earlier actions. In that sense, please take this review as an apology, in addition to this apology(this apology. ;)). I hope that, maybe when I am better situated, and if you'll have me, that I can support your podcasting goals in some small way.

Thank you very, very much,
WechtleinUns.