Here’s a little something I wrote as a timed writing exercise, from The 4 a.m. Breakthrough by Brian Kiteley. I chose #63, Love and Chance, “a very short scene in which two people meet by accident and fall madly in love,” maximum 500 words.
I wrote 493 words in 15 minutes, and I’m while not sure I really accomplished the falling madly in love part, I think I gave these two a pretty good start down that road. It’s not great, but it’s something. Enjoy…
She set the glass on the oak bar with a meaty thunk.
“I’d like another, please,” she said.
He took the glass and turned to the tap, filling it slowly to make the bubbly head rise in a creamy surf, not too thick, not too thin. When he set the perfectly poured glass before her, he said, “You’re burning through them.”
She took several deep gulps, the creases in her white neck bobbing slightly. “So?”
He shrugged. “It’s a good beer, worth tasting.”
She set the glass down again. “I was fired today.”
He turned back to the tap to wipe it down. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh really? Seems like you have job security. Lots of need for bartenders when the rest of us are getting fired.”
He turned back, smiling. “You think I chose to be a bartender?”
She paused, red lips on the rim of her glass, then threw her head back and laughed. She had a nice laugh, fruity and deep, not like other girls who came in here to flirt with the bartender, the girls who giggled and simpered.
“Fair enough,” she said, still chuckling. “When did you get fired?”
He pulled up a stool. “About a year ago. I was an accounts manager for an ad agency uptown.”
“No shit,” she said staring at him. “I was designer at Shepherd and Locke on sixth.”
“You’re kidding! I worked for your biggest competitor.”
“Davis? You know, I was offered a job there about four years ago, didn’t take it.”
“Lucky for you, you probably would’ve been fired a year ago with the rest of us.”
She shook her head and took a slower sip of her beer. “That’s unbelievable.”
“Small world,” he said.
“This is good,” she observed. She had a tiny crease between her eyebrows, he noticed, almost invisible, but he could imagine its appearance when she concentrated, bent over some worthless ad.
“My favorite,” he said.
“Now you’re just being cute.”
“I’m glad you think so.”
She drank in silence for a few minutes while he got drinks for some newcomers. He watched her out of the corner of his eye while he worked, studying her long dark curls and the way she hooked her heels on the step of the barstool.
Once, she caught his eye when he was staring at her, and he almost blushed.
“So how do you like it?” she asked him when he returned.
“Excuse me?” he asked, startled. He’d been admiring her ass, but there was no way she could’ve known.
“Working here.” She studied him, an odd glint in her dark eyes.
“Oh. It’s nice to slow down a little. Nice to meet people, talk to them. People bullshit less in a bar than they do in the office. It’s nice to be myself, you know?”
She nodded, and took another drink. “I think I know.”
“I’m Peter,” he said, offering her his hand.
“Leslie.” She placed her hand in his.