Editor’s note: Six Sentence Stories is a weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog. Last week’s cue word was MUNDANE for which I was MIA up to my neck in muck and Covid at work, indeed for the whole month. Fuck you Covid.
Warning: this is not an official Six! Beware of cheap imitations and budget time travel plans! The Mage has not lost his mind… it’s still there just a little hard to find! I repeat, we repeat, this is not an official Six!
However, nothing wrong with a bootleg, ay? And sometimes a Six needs to be said even when there’s nowhere to say it because you missed the deadline boat!
So, in response to Clark’s Six, and Nick’s Six which followed that, and then Denise’s Six which followed that (please read all three first) … here is the ‘unofficial’ part 4 of a little tale from the Six Sentence Café & Bistro…
The Six That Should Not Be
Rewind: to the week before when that student kid applied for a job at our Six Sentence establishment, when Nick and I were about to throw him out on his ear before Denise opted to give him a break… and I knew I’d seen him before somewhere (I remember now, I was on my way downtown to help out some buddies who were shooting a low-budget romantic zombie coming-of-age film, and needed me as an undead extra… and I saw the student busking a guitar on the streets; he was playing Dylan covers, decent like, not bad, for a kid, not that I’m any judge of musicianship – hell, I’m a drummer).
Fast Forward: to the night we were closing up, 5.05 am, and Denise had just emerged from the back office after counting our daily takings and shuffling generous wads of notes into seven envelopes, which she always kept locked in her desk drawer until payday came at the end of each month… me… I was helping Nick and Chris polish off a freshly-opened bottle of Napoleon brandy (in a pre-celebration celebration of some upcoming celebration for a book launch Chris was having, or, maybe it was a boat launch, or a boar lunch… I don’t know, the three of us were pretty drunk at this stage).
Clark was there too, a flask of coffee (or so he told us) occupying the same table as an old typewriter he’d recently found in a dumpster – for which his long fingers were tap-tap-tapping away at, like he was a pianist composing ballads for which the lyrics came first and the tunes came second.
The other two of our seven were present… Mimi and Jenne, at opposite ends of the room, tables apart and thoughts a thousand miles high into the coming dawn sky… they never said much, they didn’t need to, we seven could speak in a magical telepathy; in sound waves that maybe only a new-born wolf cub might hear.
Fast Forward: to the day after, and Denise comes tearing out of the office with all the fury and wrath of a firestorm propelled from the nozzle of a flame-thrower on loan from Hell, and she tells us: “The money… our takings for the entire month… it’s gone, every last dollar… those envelopes were locked in my desk the same as always… my fellow proprietors, we’ve been royally robbed.”
Again, that telepathy between us, and our minds straight away began to pick out the culprit: the student – that kid – it had to be him, and do you know what… we wanted it to be him… all except Clark who looked up from his typewriter and said: “Hate to break it to you, guys, but it wasn’t the kid who robbed us and that’s a fact… I think I know exactly who it was.”
The Six That Should Not Be written by Ford, 27 February, 2022.