The Iron Writer Challenge #125
The Richard Russell Challenge
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Four song writers witnessed the same event, but because they each had different perspectives their songs focused on different aspects of the one event. Write a 500 word story describing the actual event they all saw. Here are the four songs they wrote …
By Dani J Caile
Piano man by Billy Joel – I’m their saviour from the misery of life
Waiting on a friend by Mick Jaggar – He thinks he’s so superior
Stay by Jackson Browne – Looking for an escape from the torture
Boulevard of broken dreams by Greenday – Dead inside but still breathing
“I’m their saviour from the misery of life. For them, perfection lies beyond…”
The guy opposite stared on, pen and paper at the ready, mouth chewing three hour gum. “You want me to write that down?” he asked. “Your fingerprints were found on the bodies, the murder weapons, all over the crime scenes…what do you have to say?”
“I don’t like using gloves, it takes the fun out of it, the touch of skin against skin…”
“That’s disgusting.” He moved the gum between his teeth, then continued with the cow face. “You know, you could’ve gone on indefinitely if it wasn’t for the fact that you got sloppy on your last victim, a Richard Russell, when you re-used an envelope for a ‘hate’ note, scribbling his address over yours.”
“It was the only thing handy at the time. I was angry. He’d used too many big words. He thinks he’s so superior.”
“Thought. So you killed him?”
The other guy standing in the corner broke from the shadows. Time to tell.
“I was cleansing this rock of its vermin, nothing more. They’re looking for an escape from the torture and stench of this putrid pit called humanity. His time had come. As the others.”
“So you’re willing to make a statement to that effect?” asked the standing guy.
“Doesn’t matter to me. I’m dead inside but still breathing.”
“How about this one?” Cow face slid over a photo of my third victim.
“I saw a bag of flesh, slopped over a stool, heavily engrossed in a local rag. As a tree it mattered. But those pulped lifeless sheets secrete only lies and propaganda, eager to hold the illusional status quo over us all. And yet it comes to nothing, in the end. Nothing.”
The standing guy shook his head and went back to leaning on the wall.
“And this one?”
“The pianist, under the smoke of his own future cancer, stumbled over some Jackson Browne classics. Notes broke through the darkness, oblivious to the apathetic ears in that bar. When he did Billy Joel’s ‘Piano man’, that was enough.”
“Who the hell do you think you are?” shouted the standing man, running over and slamming his fists down hard.
“We all reach for a part, a piece we clutch onto as our own. But it’s taken, cut short. When time gives one last tick in our inconsequential lives, it has all been for nothing. Reality holds no meaning, no soul, turning into cold regretful dust as we die like those before us did, long ago. We are all a part of the same whole, the unfeeling, uncaring universe. We live in pure infantile meaningless inane individualities! When will we finally see that the games we play, the days we live, the words we speak mean squat? Life flushes over us with no connection, no contact, burning our skin alive…”
“You said it. Sign here, before I start to give a shit,” chewed sitting cow face, handing me an empty form.
Steven L Bergeron
Life of a Loner on the Streets – Boulevard of Dreams
The lose of a loved one – Waiting on a Friend
A musician singing all night – Stay
Roadies waiting for their song – Piano Man
Walking these streets alone, this aging artist has seen it all. My mind took me back to the way it used to be. My life at the moment is like a mangled roller coaster, which no one dares to ride.
Why do I call the park bench at Major Hills Park my home? Listen to my life story.
I was in my thirties trying to make my mark as a blues musician which isn’t an easy task. Life for any artist has there up and downs, till they find there big break. What started out as a benefit concert for Canada day celebration, turned out more than I had dreamed. I was there that I met Elsa McFarlaine , who tried to changed my for the better. She was the program manager at the Lord Elgin and been looking for talent to showcase her cigarette room. She had an ear for talent and ready to share it with the world. Her beauty captured my heart and sealed the deal.
Once the local walked in, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The look on their face said it all. Their life was missing that spark. It was up to me to rekindle it. As I finished my first set I knew this was it. I had found my big break and my life as a musician had begun.
Sex, Drugs and Alcohol was our game in this decade in no particular order.
At the club I pleased the crowd. At night Elsa pleased me.
Week after week the crowd grew bigger, so did my tribute to B.B King with a little added touch to make them my own. It was how I looked at life. Some night I seen myself playing till two in the morning, as long as the drinks and the joints kept coming I kept going.
I was the talk of the town. Friday nights at the Lord Elgin cigarette room was the place to be.
Soon my life was like a roller coaster gone out of control. No matter what I tried I couldn’t slow down. The drugs had taken over.
Then one night just out of the blues everything was a blank. Elsa had left she saw enough with my life and how it was turning out to be, she didn’t want any part of it.
A week later I found myself behind steel bars with no recollection of how I got there. When all the smoke had cleared I was being charged with arson. It would appear Elsa was trapped in the cigarette room had want up in smokes. I was the last one seen exiting that night. I guess if I couldn’t have her no one else would. See what drugs can do.
That was my life in a nut shell. Now I sit here where it all started. The bench at Major Hills Park, the only home I cherish the most.
Words and Music
Piano Man – Hope, accessibility, a common thread, the constant
Waiting for a Friend – Satisfaction with current status, with life
Stay – Regret, wistfulness, and ultimately acceptance
Blvd. of Broken Dreams – resignation, to fate, to one’s station in life
Smoky silhouettes and jumbled conversations fill the dark piano bar.
George teases out the first velvety notes of “In a Sentimental Mood”.
All around him people press together.
In the far corner a man is watching, his drink in one hand, a pencil in the other.
Brief and blinding, the setting sunlight shoots through the opened door. She walks in, sits at the bar alone.
She never looks at anyone except the bartender.
“Manhattan. Two cherries,” she says.
The writer dictates the scene from his imagination.
He sets the drink down. Electricity moves through him when she brushes her hand against his. Since meeting her three months ago, he’s obsessed, almost consumed by thoughts of Arabella. Sometimes, when he’s driving home late at night, he imagines her lips, feels the very weight of them, pressing onto his.
“Would you like another, sir?” the waitress asks. He shakes his head. She leaves the bill, walks away. The last of his whisky burns going down. He counts out the change.
A tattered, spiral notebook is open on the table. It holds words strung together into sentences that will be remade again and again before he’s satisfied. Lives unfold, fates seal, a story evolves.
Arabella, the woman at the bar, is a main character. So’s George, (the piano man), and the bartender.
He imagines the bartender to be secretly in love with Arabella. But the bartender is an honorable man with a wife and twin girls. He wrestles with temptation every time he sees this other woman. But, he won’t leave his wife the way his father left his mother. His prison is desire and loyalty.
And Arabella’s husband has fallen for someone younger. They were to run away together, but the younger woman has been kidnapped and imprisoned in a shack in the Everglades. Her captor is an alligator hunter, an infatuated ex-boyfriend. No matter, Arabella will never realize she’s been betrayed.The younger woman will be fed to the alligators in her tragic end. She will only notice her husband’s melancholy. And he’ll explain it away by saying, “it’s only the blues”.
At a state fair, long ago, a gypsy palm reader told the writer that he was destined to be alone. Accepting his fortune, he watches and waits, gives life to characters.
Imagination is his most precious commodity.
It was a minute and a half before she spoke again.
“I can’t see you anymore,” she said.“You belong to someone else.”
He felt like a man falling from a cliff.
“Arabella…,” he pleaded.
“Some things aren’t meant to be,” she whispered.
He held her eyes in his own until she turned to leave. Intoxicated with her perfume and drunk at the thought of her, regret paralyzed him.
As he watched her walk away, he closed his eyes and imagined what might’ve been.
The piano man pretended not to notice.