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Stephen Sweetland, 08 Feb '13

Tumbleweed rolls through the landscape, the sound of wind picking up dust mixes with the sounds of distant cowbells from a herd being driven home.

Hinges creak as saloon doors open and close, and ringing in your ears is the plinking of a dusty aging piano being played by a half-blind old gunslinger, poorly imitating the written notes of Amazing Grace. It's amazingly ungraceful, more disturbing. Still, you appreciate the effort, given what the empty bourbon bottle and vinegary odor suggests.

All has been quiet here since the last of gold came out of the ground. Those few who remain are tied to failing businesses, or clawing a dying grip onto a dream which seems to have long passed.

You feel yourself groan internally at the feeling of hopelessness. So deep is the groan that it pushes up to become a long, mournful sigh. You’re old now. Your back aches. Your legs, from walking around all day in dust and on pebbles, are weary.

The shoes you’re wearing are almost worn through, and the thought of replacing them doesn’t bear thinking about. How will you manage that? The local smith left town months ago.

You shudder at the prospect and let out another sigh, this time, rattling your lips together loudly.

The barkeep looks up from the bar on which he was slumbering. As he looks your way, a look of surprise appears on his face.

A moment passes which feels like an eternity. The barkeep is assessing his surroundings, seemingly lost and dazed from his dozing. He suddenly jolts up out of the stool and kicks it towards you, falling backwards clumsily, eyes wide in shock.

He gathers himself together again, and uses the cloth from his apron to dust himself off and wanders over to the inebriate pianist, now slumped heavily on the keys.


Comments · 2

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  • Stephen Sweetland said...

    My first burrst. I'm not a comedy writer. I'm not really a writer. This isn't -supposed- to be funny, but I thought it could be a nice warmup to get me into writing again. Hoping this platform will help.

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Mary Beth W. said...

    I LOVE this!!! I was totally not expecting the end - this was a really great piece :)

    • Posted 7 years ago