Friday, July 16, 2010

Passion & Passivity.

The sweat rolled down the boy's face, beginning at his scalp and finding it's way to the edge of his chin, like a river winding down a mountain. He ignored the sweat, ignored the temperature, ignored his mother's nagging as she poked her head through the door and told him to "turn that crap down," in an exasperated tone. He ignored everything except his fingers pressed against the strings, and the tabs that sat beside him, printed off from the internet. Mason Welding loved music, and not much else. Behind him, his friend and bandmate, Shawn, pounded on the drums. He could use some practice, Mason thought to himself, but then again that's why they were here. That's why they were sitting in the ridiculously hot garage on this ridiculously hot day. Eventually it would pay off, they thought. What now seemed like nothing more than a series of jam sessions broken by the occasional local gig would someday give way to a record deal, surely. The idea of a record deal was vague to them. Somewhere in the world, a powerful man in a sharp suit sat in a highly air-conditioned office, and his sole job was to find worthy artists to sign onto his prestigious record label. That had to be how it worked. He would eventually stumble upon Mason and Shawn's music, maybe on MySpace. He'd like it so much he had to sign them. Whoever he was, wherever he was, he had to.

Bowie Riverton didn't have a ridiculously hot garage to complain about. He didn't have much, in fact. He had his guitar, and he had a backpack full of worn clothes and sentimental items. He had his voice, too, and he made the most out of what he had. He sat outside the Stater Bros. one day, and outside of the local 7-eleven the next. He strummed his guitar and he gave life to words he had carefully jotted down. Beside him lay his straw hat, upside down. It collected change as he sang each day away. The collective earnings Bowie emptied out of his hat provided him with all that he needed to live what he considered to be a fulfilling life: a cup of coffee in the morning, a sandwich sometime around noon, a 40 and a burger in the evening, right after sunset. Occasionally, if he had a little extra change, he would replace a broken string on his guitar. And though he lacked a set of wheels or a roof over his head, Bowie was happy.

Inside a highly air-conditioned office overlooking the city of San Diego, Greggory Helms sat at his computer. He rapped his fingers against the oak impatiently, occasionally glancing to his left at the phone. The call he had been expecting for a good 45 minutes now still hadn't come, and as it was now well after noon, he felt a knot being created in his stomach. Greggory enjoyed fine cuisine, and he had been looking forward to trying a new Italian restaurant just about seven blocks from the office all morning. But as the minutes rolled by and the call never came, Greggory increasingly lost patience. Finally, he muttered "Screw it," removed his sharp gray suit jacket, loosened his tie and walked out of the office. No longer caring about trying the new restaurant, he walked quickly in the direction of the nearest 7-eleven. He would just settle for a sandwich today. As he approached the store, he stopped in his tracks. Sitting against the wall to the right of the store entrance, a man played his guitar and sang, eyes closed as if to shut the world out while he created his melody. It was beautiful, Greggory thought. He couldn't help but walk toward the man, compliment him on his musical abilities, and hand him a business card bearing the name of his record label. With the promise of a phone call if he decided to sign onto the label, Greggory said goodbye and walked back toward the office. He forgot the sandwich.

Years later, Mason Welding found himself driving down the 15 freeway in a corporate fleet vehicle, his Honda Accord. As he sat there flipping through the stations on the radio, his coworker told him to stop at 101.5 FM. The station was playing a slow, acoustic song that had a certain nostalgic feel to it. The vocals had a quiet passion to them that Mason had not paid much attention to in years. Gone were the days when music was his pastime, his passion, his declared future. Late-night jam sessions had given way to early wake-ups and hours spent in a cubicle staring at a computer screen. In this moment, when he really listened to the lyrics to whatever was playing on the radio, he was brought back to a time when music was all that mattered to him. "Wow, I really like this," Mason admitted. "Do you know who sings it?"

"I don't remember his name," the coworker replied. "But I've been hearing him a lot lately on all the local radio stations. He's really good, and a nice change of pace if you ask me. It's funny, he must be pretty old. He has some kind of Flower Child name like Aladdin or Ziggy or something."

"Ohhh, I know exactly who you're talking about," Mason exclaimed. "It's Bowie Riverton."


The prompt:

[Fiction] Friday #164

JULY 16, 2010

Use a McGuffin in your story.

McGuffin: An object or person in a movie that has no use other than to drive the narrative forward. (originally coined by Alfred Hitchcock)

examples: The Maltese Falcon in the movie of the same name; the suitcase in Pulp Fiction.


  1. The power of music to compel and to satisfy. There are musical gems everywhere to be found.
    Adam B

  2. Ah, the dreams of aspiring musicians. I wonder sometimes how some people get signed and others don't. Quite the enigma when you stop and think about it.

  3. Look at you! Not only did you get it done, but you did it well. Nice characterization. I love the names, too. Good job, Kyara!

  4. Bravo! I really enjoyed your narrative and the characterisations were very good. You have a great voice.

    Welcome to #FridayFlash, BTW!

  5. As a fellow music lover this story immediately caught my attention. I love the names, especially as they took me back to people like David Bowie (yes that dates me) and others who inspired the music of my era. Very well done and great visual picture.

  6. Thank you, guys! I actually participated last Friday as well, but I had posted my story on my primary blog, which is hosted by Tumblr. Tumblr doesn't allow you to comment on posts for some reason, to my knowledge. So I made this blog to more actively participate each week. Yesterday's story was a last-minute thing for me, but next week I'd like to be a lot more involved. Thanks for the feedback!

  7. LOVE your new blog background! You are so creative. Where did you find it?

  8. Although I wish I could take credit, it was one of the templates they offer. I just tweaked the colors a little bit to make it easier to read.