Okay so this next scene wasn’t exactly inspired by a prompt. Instead I had a friend send me a message about this whole challenge I’m putting myself up to. Anyway, he’s quite the gifted magician, well, at least I’m blown away when he preforms sleight of hand feats when we’ve been drinking. Without any further ramblings here’s the scene.
“That’s a mighty fine trick there,” a small, yet full voice said from somewhere directly behind Spice.
Spice made no attempt to acknowledge the voice, he was busy captivating the two 20-somethings next to him at the bar. The brunette on the left wasn’t his type– a five at best. Her friend, a blonde with high cheek bones named Christine, now she was a catch.
“Now, do you have a quarter on you?” Spice asked taking a clumsy half step towards the girls. Christine obliged and produced a quarter from her small silver purse.
“Now if you’ll just write your name on the back,” Spice’s eyes were still fixated on Christine as he quickly slipped a marker from up his sleeve making it appear to materialize from nowhere.
She stared, mouth slightly open, making doe eyes at the ‘magic’ marker. After her eyes met his, Christine’s eyes quickly snapped back to the quarter. “Right here?” She asked placing her long painted nail on the forehead of General Washington.
“Yes, that’s fine.” Spice’s cheeks were beginning to feel sore from the increasingly forced smile he wore. “Okay, now watch carefully.”
In smooth motions Spice used his eyes and hands to distract his audience while he slipped the quarter back into Christine’s purse. He then brought his hands together and opened them revealing that the quarter had ‘vanished.’ It wasn’t one of his best tricks, but, after two beers both he and the two girls lowered their expectations.
“O.M.G. Wait, let me get a snapchat of this,” squealed the brunette as she fumbled with her phone. Spice tried to pay no mind to the friend. He found that the shrillness of her voice made that task quite difficult.
“So, where’s my quarter?” Christine asked as Spice turned back to his beer.
“I think you may have had it this whole time.” He said eyeing her purse. For added effect he threw his spasmed his hand down towards Christine’s purse like Emeril Lagasse. ‘Too much.’ he thought afterwards. ‘What’s the percentage of this beer?’
Christine found the quarter rather quickly and held it up turning to the brunette.
“Oh my god, that’s my quarter.” Christine yelled, holding up the side with the signature while the brunette, now leaning slightly to the left, used her camera flash to light up the bar to the annoyance of many around them. Christine walked over to the brunette and the two began fiddling with the phone. Spice dropped his smile and upended his third beer.
“Can I another.” Spice hollered waving his two fingers in the bartenders direction.
His audience stumbled back towards Spice’s stool still astounded with the now smudged quarter.
“Hey can we get a selfie?” asked the increasingly annoying brunette.
“Of course,” Spice said tacking on that tired ear-to-ear grin. Christine and the brunette both turned their backs to him and posed in front of his stool. Spice then noticed for the first time the Christine’s dark roots. She had looked natural enough at first glance but he supposed that it was the fault of the Christmas lights and neon advertisements lining the bar that threw him off. ‘Still a 7 though,’ Spice thought to himself.
“A seven what?” Christine asked wheeling around sharply.
“Did you say something?” She asked dropping her smile.
“I didn’t say anything.” Spice said leaning back on his stool.
“Oh.” Christine produced a phone from her purse, checked the lock screen, and turned to her brunette. “I think our Uber is here. It was nice meeting you…”
“Spice,” he added without missing a beat.
“Uh, Spice. Hey, do you have a Facebook or Instagram or something?” Christine couldn’t hear him though as she walked towards the door, her brunette friend in tow.
‘Whatever’ he thought, reaching into his pocket feeling the chain of Christine’s old tennis bracelet.
“I wouldn’t say that you were exactly the winner in that exchange, but then again, you came away with the spoils.” The strange voice behind piped up.
“Excuse me?” Spice spun in his seat slightly annoyed. The drunk who looked close to sleep picked his head up.
“What?” The drunk muttered.
“Did you say something to me?” Spice asked now visibly annoyed.
The drunk took another sip of his beer and looked away, “Nope.”
Spice looked around the bar and then again to the bartender. “Can I get another?” He asked waving his empty foam-dripping glass in the air. The bartender noticed him but didn’t rush over. Spice looked forward and waited for his drink.
“Have you ever heard that you’ll get farther in life with a wink in a nod than you will with just… hmm. Wait, did I switch that up.” said the strange voice.
“Who the fuck is talking to me?” Spice muttered to himself as his eyes widened and he scanned the room. Nothing really jumped out to him as out of the ordinary, just a few older men deep into their cups– all of cupid’s connections had gone home it seemed. Upon a second scan he saw something new: an old man with a salt-and-pepper beard looking directly at him. The old man smiled, winked, and raised his glass towards Spice.
“As I said earlier, that was a mighty fine trick. She probably won’t notice the missing bracelet until tomorrow. Nice work.” The voice said. The old man across the bar didn’t move his mouth but his piercing bright blue eyes said ‘Yes, it’s really me speaking.’
Just to reiterate the voice then said “Yes, me. That is really me speaking to you.” With that the old man stood off his stool and circled around the bar for open seat next to Spice.
He was dressed as if he was middle management at a Best Buy: tie too short, shirt a little baggy and pants that were just a tad too long.
“I know. These are my work clothes,” the old man said patting Spice on the shoulder. “Buy me a drink?” He asked finally moving his mouth. “I’ll have a Maker’s and Coke.”
“Who are you?” Spice asked after a long pause.
“You can call me Charles. Or Charlie if you like.” The old man said smiling. “Now Spice, how ‘bout that drink?”
Spice motioned to the bartender once again who seemed to have gotten distracted on his ten foot walk from where he was previously. Spice again fingered the bracelet in his pocket.
“What can I get you?” The bartender asked oozing sarcastic customer service.
“A Maker’s and Coke.” Spice said refusing to look the bartender in the eye.
“Make that two,” added Charles who was now beaming his goofy smile at the bartender. He collected Spice’s glass and walked to the other end of the bar. When the bartender was out of earshot, Spice turned to Charles.
“Okay Charles, maybe I was off the mark earlier. Who are you?”
“Why I’m just like you Spice.” Charles said raising his right hand to the light of the neon above their heads. In it dangled the a chain and charms about six inches long. Spice looked down to his pocket, removed his hand and saw that the prize he had nabbed off Christine somehow had been swiped by this Charles fellow.
“18 dollars,” interjected the bartender.
“That’ll be all,” Charles said calmly waving a hand in front of the bartender’s face. The bartender repeated the line and walked away looking very confused.
Spice was floored, but the couple of beers in him helped maintain a somewhat put together outward appearance.
The old man laughed. “Can I show you something?”