Sunday Storytelling is where I post a piece of fiction each Sunday. It might be a complete short story, a snippet of a work in progress, a character sketch, a response to one of the thousands of creative writing prompts I’ve collected through the years. Most of them won’t be polished or “final,” so feedback and criticism is welcome, but please be constructive in your comments. Read other Sunday Storytelling pieces here.
The bar was dim, a little smoky, quiet. A man played something bluesy-sounding on an acoustic guitar in the back corner, but the sound wasn’t great and unless you were at one of the three tables right next to him, the music was just barely background noise.
Noelle sat on a stool at the far end of the bar. Only two other stools were occupied, two men, most likely blue-collar shift workers trying to feel a little fuzzy before going home. They sat together, but looked straight forward, or down at their drinks, not needing to make conversation.
The bartender caught Noelle’s eye right before he refilled one of their drinks. He nodded, silently acknowledging her presence and promising to get to her in a moment. And he did. “What it’ll be, miss?”
“Double whiskey on the rocks.” She laid a twenty down on the bar.
“What kind of whiskey?”
“Something that burns.”
Noelle watched as he retrieved a glass and filled it with ice, but looked away when he turned to the back wall to make his selection. She didn’t care or want to know what exactly she’d be drinking.
Was she being too cliche right now? Too overdramatic? She could’ve just bought a cheap bottle of wine and gone back to her hotel room. Would that have been better? Probably not, but at least then she wouldn’t be broadcasting her feelings to the bartender and patrons of this fine drinking establishment at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon.
The bartender set her glass down with a gentle thud. “Thanks,” she muttered. He retreated to the other end of the bar, wiping it down, rearranging glasses, counting out change at the register.
The cash register was actually made to look like an old-timey register, like you’d see in a touristy store meant to look like an old Western general store. Noelle liked that. A little bit of character in an otherwise unremarkable dive bar around the corner from her hotel.
She picked up the glass, swirled it gently, watching the ice cubes tumble against each other and roll around in the amber liquid. She raised it to her nose and sniffed, a slow, steady inhale. Then pressed the glass to her lips and took a tiny sip. Then a bigger one. One more normal-sized drink. She set it down and leaned back.
It burned as it slid down her throat.
Comments, feedback, and constructive criticism welcome…