Hello, all my brother and sister bloggers and writers. If you’re a college student (or use to be a college student like the Old Soldier) and you like to hang out in college bars you’re going to love the story the Old Soldier has for you today. The story is a perfect example of “show don’t tell.” Show don’t tell means a writer does not depend on exposition to present a story. Instead, the writer allows the characters to “act out” the story. It’s like cinema on the page. Dialogue plays an important part in cinema on the page. Dialogue is considered action. So, all you young writers out there keep working on your dialogue.
For this story the Old Soldier used sentence fragments to say something about the view-point character. What makes The Bar Scene a flash fiction story is that the protagonist comes to an epiphany. Without the epiphany there is no story, just a character sketch.
Be sure to check out the tabs at the top of the page. You may find something that you like. This is the Old Soldier reporting from Pittsburgh.
The Bar Scene
One night many years ago. The bar scene near the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. C. J. Barney’s. The old Wooden Keg. My new hang out. Downstairs standing at the end of the bar talking to the bartender whose girlfriend use to waitress at the Sanctuary. Where Lauren, my ex-wife, and I met ten years before. Keep making eye contact with this redhead sitting on a high stool half way down the bar facing me. Wearing a mini with nude tone pantyhose. She looks awfully familiar. Some time during the night she leaves.
Later that night upstairs to meet Lloyd. One of the old crowd from the Sanctuary. An old running buddy. Was the one who introduced me to my ex-wife. He and I end the night at Calico’s. We stand at the bar. Lloyd talks to this brunette. The redhead is sitting with friends at a table against the far wall and we continue eye contact.
My hair is sliced back. I’m clean-shaven. The new look. Redhead gets up and walks by on her way down to the john. Then she comes back from the john.
“Excuse me. Is your name Kathleen?”
Her eyes go wide. “I don’t believe it.”
“I thought it was you.”
She hugs me. “My god,” she says. “I can’t believe how young you look. And so thin.”
I feel happy and old at the same time.
“You don’t look anything like thirty-eight,” she says. “I thought you were some young stud.”
“Thirty nine now.”
I remember the year before. One week after my divorce from Lauren was final. Getting drunk in the Luna. Asking the redhead to dance. Finding out her name. More dancing. More drinking. Making out in a dark booth in the back. Getting a phone number. Walking her back to her dorms. Stopping to suck face along the way in the night. Shocked to realize it wasn’t Lauren’s tongue in my mouth but the tongue of a stranger I’d met just three hours earlier. One final, long deep kiss in the glow of the lights of the Quad. On the walk home throwing her phone number in the nearest trash can…
Now, after another hug I say, “You want to stay in touch?” I’m a little drunk and know it’s a stupid thing to say as soon as I say it.
“I’m going to study in England.” Probably a lie, but maybe not. “But anytime I see you I’ll dance.”
Another hug. Nothing touching below the waist. Kathleen goes back to her friends.
“Nice to have met you,” the brunette Lloyd has been talking to says to me after Kathleen leaves. Lloyd is in the john. She and I haven’t said ten words to each other. She’s wearing glossy pink lipstick. A mouth like my ex-wife Lauren’s. Gorgeous dark gray eyes. She’s maybe twenty-seven. We talk and flirt until Lloyd comes back from the john and he and I start walking out. I look back and the brunette is watching me leave. She flutters her fingers at me. Lloyd and I go our separate ways.
I walk pass the Cathedral of Learning. The bars are letting out. It’s time for me to grow up. I’m not a kid any longer.
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