Excerpts, Fiction, January Workshop, Short Stories, Writing Workshops

Writing Workshop: Joyless Banjo, Josh’s Story

All January Writing Workshop stories were written in 15 minutes, the writer inspired by the following prompt: “This coffee house is a castle of memories I’d like to forget with the barista playing his jester’s tune, the bitter coffee like hot oil from the keep while I sip my tea in solitude.”


I looked down at my banjo. The strings were worn and loose from an evening of constant play.  The hour-long set of songs was burned into my mind. They no longer brought me any joy. Their only worth was a cup of black tea and a hat full of small bills and coins that would carry me through the next day.

“Good job, mate,” said a young man with a splotchy beard. He patted me on the shoulder and shook his head. “You’re a wizard with that thing. The guy playing right now?… Not so much.” We both glanced up at the barista, Derek, who was screeching a fiddle and hopping back and forth like a pitiful leprechaun. His ruffled red hair and short stature didn’t help.

“Thanks,” I muttered. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.” My gaze drifted through Derek and out beyond the lofted café’s walls. She did for a while, too, but she’s never come back, I thought.

“Here you go! I’ll stop another Friday when I’m in town. The ads about this café did not disappoint.” He dropped a fiver into my hat and walked toward the door. As he was halfway through,he turned, smiled, nodded, and stepped out into the night.

Written by Joshua Hall

Josh enjoys writing stories, designing games, and hitting a fuzzy yellow ball with a racquet. He migrates between Philadelphia and Tampa, and is often seen hanging out with middle schoolers for the sake of youth ministry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *