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Flash Fiction, Writing

Speakeasy #97: An Old-Fashioned Love Song

There are days when I dislike how email blog follows work. I get some messages late in the night on the day the particular challenge is happening. Not the fault of the blog offering the follow, but more how my email accepts and alerts me to such. Harumph. That’s why I got the Speakeasy message late. Again, I say: Harumph.

So enough of my fault-finding with technology and down to business. This week’s Yeah Write Speakeasy challenge offering is below. I call it “An Old-Fashioned Love Song:”

The bottle was nearly empty and Carl kept singing, at least in his mind; his lips had gone numb about a half-hour prior, making any attempts at actual singing nearly impossible. Clementine had been more than his muse: she had been his best friend, his lover, his surrogate mother, his roadie, and his confidante. She’d left two months ago, having grown weary of his wandering eyes and other things; Honey-babe, you know I only have eyes for you, he cried again for the umpteenth time as she threw a few sets of clothes in a bag and walked out of their condo. She turned once to look at him and he knew what she knew; while his eyes may have been only for her, he had other body parts that had been a few other places. When the door closed he knew she would never come through it again.

Copyright: Flood

Wayne had gotten him in at the usual places, but without her, without her there, his music wasn’t the same. The audiences got thinner each night and Wayne was forced to book him in local bars only because the stadiums and concert halls were costing money rather than bringing it in. Carl had tried to imagine her standing at stage right like always, but it was obvious that he couldn’t pull it off anymore. 

He picked up the drug store bottle and dropped the last benzo into his palm, then washed it down with a swig of 151. I wanna dedicate my last song tonight to the one who shoulda been my wife, he thought as he lay back with one hand on his heart and the other on the neck of his Martin D18Clementine, my honey-babe–this one’s for you.


  1. Erica M February 19, 2013 6:45 pm

    Oh. Poor Carl. Once the muse is gone, so goes the art.

    You don’t have to wait on speakeasy notifications. Each Sunday at midnight, up goes the prompt. Each Tuesday at midnight, up goes the grid. Email is unreliable, but the speakeasy is always right on time!

    Thanks for the comment on my piece of short fiction at my place.

    • AR Neal February 19, 2013 6:55 pm

      Very true…I am one of those who struggle with memory, so I have succumbed to relying on notifications from outside my own head LOLOL! I guess I could put a thing on my mobile device or sumthin’ 🙂

  2. nataliedeyoung February 19, 2013 7:59 pm

    How tragic! 🙁
    I have a Martin, too, and sometimes it is the only thing that gets the pain out…

    • AR Neal February 19, 2013 10:17 pm

      Yes, pretty great instrument…

  3. Suzanne February 19, 2013 8:44 pm

    Great piece! Poor Carl. He should have read the manual on how to treat your muse… I adore the line “while his eyes may have been only for her, he had other body parts that had been a few other places” – that’s so good!

    • AR Neal February 19, 2013 10:18 pm

      Haha! Suzanne–very true; muse-treatment is important. Thank you!

  4. deanabo February 19, 2013 9:48 pm

    Awe… Poor Carl. At least he realized what he did wrong.

    • AR Neal February 19, 2013 10:18 pm

      Yes, Poor Carl indeed; it does seem however, that his discovery is slightly late 🙂

  5. Bee February 19, 2013 10:06 pm

    If, among other things, I had to be Carl’s “surrogate mother,” I’d leave, too!

    • AR Neal February 19, 2013 10:19 pm

      🙂 Bee–you are right! In a sense, I think many women fit that role for their men-folk. Maybe not in all ways, but some. Think of the guys who like their socks folded a certain way, or their hamburger cooked just so…

  6. Stacie @ Snaps and Bits February 20, 2013 1:06 am

    I’m surprised I feel for Carl even though he totally brought it on himself. Sad, sad story – all around.

    • AR Neal February 20, 2013 2:16 am

      Thank you, Stacy: I think tragic characters should evoke sympathy, even when they are in the wrong…

  7. Sandra February 20, 2013 7:44 am

    Poor Carl. But he didn’t ‘treat her nice’. 🙁 Nicely done.

    • AR Neal February 20, 2013 1:55 pm

      Thank you, Sandra! Very true…

  8. iasoupmama February 20, 2013 3:07 pm

    This feels like a country song about a country singer — I loved the tempo and tone.

    • AR Neal February 20, 2013 4:14 pm

      Thank you–that’s the feeling I was hoping to elicit!

  9. Dayle Lynne February 20, 2013 3:40 pm

    Hopefully Carl has learned from his mistakes . . . and will find a new muse and treat her properly! Great story!

    • AR Neal February 20, 2013 4:07 pm

      Ah, it’s looking like the only way Carl will find a new muse is on the Other Side…he’s fading fast… 🙂

  10. Kristin (@kristintwoeyes) February 20, 2013 6:45 pm

    Carl’s written a rough story for himself. Poor man.

    • AR Neal February 20, 2013 7:58 pm

      Very true, Kristin! He messed up pretty bad, on various fronts!

  11. modmomelleroy February 21, 2013 3:16 am

    “while his eyes may have been only for her, he had other body parts that had been a few other places” Great line! Aw man, Carl… you blew it! I’ve got a Martin too and that’s how I wanna go…with the neck of that guitar in one hand…

    • modmomelleroy February 21, 2013 3:17 am

      …but just the guitar…not the pill! haha

      • AR Neal February 21, 2013 3:40 am

        Very true! Guitar only! 😉

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