I took my daughter to Five Below this weekend. If you are unfamiliar (as I was several years ago, and thought it was a store for all things winter) everything in the store is $5 or below. It’s not like the old five & dime stores, and definitely geared toward teens and younger.
While there, we each purchased a book “Write The Story”. On each blank page is a title and beneath the title are eight words that must be included in the story. I thought this would be good practice for both of us because I procrastinate and am very much distracted by my phone, and my daughter likes to write stories. We agreed to read our finished pieces to each other.
The first story is titled above. The words to include were Carnival, Sprained, Mask, Oxidation, Awkward, Apple, Juvenile, Controversy, Twirl and Sassafras. With limited space, it really calls on the old editing skills.
Tommy was a drifter; orphaned in New Orleans, he’d float from state to state working odd jobs at the carnival.
Mrs. Oozabell eyed him. “How old are you?”
He lied. “Twenty-one.”
She tutted. “Please, you are just a juvenile.” But she nodded toward the apple dunking tent anyway. “You can manage that one.”
Tommy smiled. “Thank you.”
“Fifteen bucks a day.” She nodded. Tommy had to mask his disappointment. He’d been hoping for at least thirty but he’d take whatever was offered.
The apple dunking tent was opposite an aged carousel with horses that would tilt and twirl, and with few customers wanting to get their face wet for fruit, Tommy wasted time watching the passengers. His attention perked up when he saw a pretty, dark-haired girl. She was the prettiest girl he’d seen all day and she was accompanied by two friends. He noticed the slender curve of her arm as she reached for the railing, and was in a daydream when she took an awkward fall stepping aboard.
Her friends laughed but Tommy was by her side immediately.
“I think I’ve sprained my ankle.” she cried.
The carousel manager lumbered over. “Looks like oxidation on the metal wore the step away. Guess it was only a matter of time.”
The girl hobbled to first aid and out of Tommy’s life. He looked at the empty apple dunking tent and decided it was time to move on. Mrs. Oozabell handed him his earnings.
“You have a good heart. Find another life, yes?”
Tommy walked the streets until he heard piano music from a bar. He loved the piano; had taught himself to play in the orphanage, so he walked in and ordered a sassafras sidecar. The bartender queried Tommy’s age with a flick of his eye and poured the drink anyway.
The place was empty except for a few tables and the pianist, and when the guy was finished, Tommy approached.
“Hey, I don’t mean to step on any toes, or cause controversy, but how do I get a gig here?”
The pianist raised an eyebrow.
“What….you think you’re some kind of big shot? I’m the piano man around here.”