4 Replies to “7.18.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. ‘Here,’ she said. ‘I’m sure it was here. Only, it’s different in the day.’

    They were outside a grey looking building with tall windows and a tall door, as though the place was built for giants. She hadn’t been certain at first and so they had passed the place several times, retracing their steps till she concluded that this was the place.

    ‘It looks different in the daylight and with the door closed.’

    Behind them the quiet thunder of passing traffic, and a newspaper vendor calling the headlines in words that lost their shape and had just the feel of music, and a child crying, and a scolding mother, and a dog barking just to be noticed.

    ‘I’m sure this is it. There was music playing. Thumping, and the air all shocked and shrieking. And light. The firefly flame of light in hot yellows and reds. Like the sun had gone there to hide. Outside it was cool and it wanted to be dark; but inside there was dancing and singing and the sprung wooden floor shook.’

    The street had been swept clean and the stone shone like old silver and the air was dry and smelled of car exhaust and bitter coffee and cigarettes. Alessandro stepped forward and knocked on the door, his fist making almost no noise. Then he stepped back and waited.

    A gap-toothed smiling man stopped, as if he might be of some assistance. He nodded to the girl and scratched at his crotch.

    ‘Buongiorno,’ said Alessandro.

    Without taking his eyes from Chiara, the man nodded. ‘Salve,’ he said.

    Alessandro knocked on the door again.

    They all three looked at the shut door and the paint blistering on the surface and red showing beneath the dark blue. Nothing to distinguish it from a hundred other doors in the street and all of them closed. The shutters on the windows were closed, too, as if the people had moved away.

    ‘It’s early,’ said the man.

    ‘I was here last night,’ Chiara said. ‘And there was music and light and everybody dancing.’

    The man nodded and scratched at his crotch again and he licked his lips.

    ‘I’m sure it was here,’ she said.

    ‘Benedetto’s,’ said the man. ‘First Saturday of every month. Dancing in the front of the house and fucking in the back.’ He sniffed his own fingers and then put his hands in his pockets. ‘And in the morning, regrets. Always regrets.’

    It was as though he was speaking her thoughts out loud. Chiara put a hand on his arm and she said, ‘Please,’ and she said how she’d left something inside and it was important and could he help.

    Alessandro opened his wallet and showed the man the money inside.

    The man pulled an iron key from his pocket and he opened the door. He stood back to let them enter. It was dark and quiet inside and it smelled of sweat and smoke and women’s perfume. ‘Always regrets,’ the man said, as though he had some of his own.

    1. I like the suspense of the ‘morning after’ and the vacant house, and the universal theme of regret, which plays well against the very specific–but ultimately unimportant–location. Crotch scratching and the stones like old silver–good use of detail to enrich the tension.

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