Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge

A quote: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” ~~ Dante Alighieri

I’ll start with a story …


‘Play it again, Sam.’

Chuckles from the dark. I hear it at least once a night, usually after midnight. After the couples leave and it’s just the lonely, the drunks and the ones trying sober up before furtively slipping out.

The lights are dim, the air is smoky and I lose myself in the playing. Old school, some jazz, pieces from old masters unpersoned that mom taught me on the sly.

My pay is the pleasure of touching a real piano – plus tips. Each night the grace of song, a benediction of music. I risk it all to be here.


Now, it’s your turn.
. featured image, cropped, Adobe Stock standard license.

Written by

  • Dupin says:

    “Something Liszt.”

    I was at a friend’s art gallery showing premiere. He introduced us, told her I played piano. I’m no professional, but I enjoy playing, and Liszt—I don’t need sheet music for that.

    We talked, admiring the paintings, separated, and came together a few times. As I said my goodbyes, she wanted to hear me play, so she’s here at home. A glass of wine and some Liebesträume to start.

    The music flowed over her, a slight smile as she swayed lightly, feet shifting by the end.

    Do I dare?

    Yes. Mephisto Waltz #1.

    How will she dance now?

  • Cameron says:

    Some people said that jazz was “Negro Music” and good people didn’t listen. She paid that no mind. The club’s atmosphere was always fun loving and raucous and the drinks flowed like water. The man could coax sounds out of the piano that caused hearts to race. She took a sip of her martini and focused on him.

    The song ended and the nurse was there. With a smile, she guided the patient back to the common area. “He’s pretty good, isn’t he Miss Henderson?”

    The frail old woman blinked away tears from half remembered times. “The best,” she asserted.

  • Fletch says:

    It was unexpected. And uncomfortable. And simply wasn’t done. Not in Manhattan. Not on the upper West side.

    He had sat down at the piano to begin playing Amazing Grace. That Christian stuff made her uncomfortable. She didn’t want it.

    She wanted to do what she always did: drink to make the pain go away then fumble her way home drunk. What right did he have to improve her? What right to tell her of hope?

    She tried to forget the words, but they clung to her. Without meaning to, she carried them home with her – to what effect only God knows.

  • Leigh Kimmel says:

    I still remember Mr. Caldwell, my high school physics teacher, commenting on how much trouble I had making decisions. In particular, given a situation where it was a binary choice and one answer was right and the other was wrong, but I couldn’t remember which, I’d freeze up solid. Like when we had to wire an ammeter for him — there I stood, stuck. He told me to just guess, that I had a fifty-percent chance of being right — but the thought of choosing wrong was too scary, too humiliating. So I ended up taking a zero on that part of the test — but he was more worried that one day it wouldn’t just be a procedural question, but a moral one.

    Back then, morality seemed pretty clear-cut. Everyday life was simple enough, and the politics of the Cold War were clear: West good, Commies bad. But after the Soviet Union went crashing down in fire and lightning and both sides’ unethical experiments in human cloning and biomodification came out, things started getting blurry. Should the Constitution apply equally to everyone, even clones and other “Sharps,” or were they tainted by the immorality of what was done to them, so that it was not merely right, but morally imperative to mark them out so they couldn’t pass as natural human beings?

    Both sides had compelling arguments, and I was no philosopher, just a college dropout eking out a living as a cabaret singer. So when push came to shove, I froze, unable to pick a side. Which means nobody trusts me, and I’m lucky to find work in a dive bar like this.

  • Navig8r says:

    Some tough acts to follow here.

  • Navig8r says:

    “The lighting’s wrong for the mood.”

    “Says the lady in the little black dress drinking a martini at three in the afternoon. This is rehearsal. Come back at eight for the show.”

    “I just flew in from several time zones away. When evening rolls around here I’ll be completely jet lagged. What’s your excuse?”

    “I’m learning a new tune. I need the light to see the sheet music.”

    “The mood is still wrong. Humor me. Draw the curtains and turn down the lights.”

    She was right. The mood improved drastically. Guess I’ll have to learn that tune some other time.

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