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.