Thursday, November 10, 2011

[Excerpt #2] Flashback

The novel has few quiet moments, and the majority tend to be sadness-tinged, self-evaluations. However, here is an excerpt from a chapter about a quarter of the way through the book that offers a critical moment in the protagonist's past in order to better understand his current situation. I've never been to this bar, but it's the kind of place I can only imagine... seemingly between worlds. Is it due to the mysteries of the bar itself? Or, is it due to the company one keeps?

He was sitting across from Alexis in a dim, dive bar off 4th street downtown. It was their first date, and Shawn had tried to impress with a fancy dinner at a classy Italian place. But, the place had been booked, and they spent nearly two hours waiting for a table to open up. Neither of them noticed, the appetizer and drinks they ordered at the bar all the dinner they’d need. At Alexis’ suggestion, they moved to a quiet place around the corner, one of her favorites, lost in their conversation.

The jazz club was set back in an alley off one of the dark parking lots, its door a rusted steel vault. The only indication it was anything other than an abandoned rental space was the slim, mousey man that asked to see an ID as they neared. No name hung above the door, and the vault opened to reveal a pulsing haze, dark and melodic.

Twenty feet wide and miles deep, the bar swayed with the rhythm of the quiet tones, the trio of musicians in the near corner melting into the patchwork brick walls. They sat clustered around a dark black table stained with years of history and which mirrored the other furniture tossed throughout the club. Their three beers joined countless empties on the table, and the entire scene appeared to be as much a part of the bar as the stools or dark paintings adorning the walls. The music coursing through the air was better than Shawn had heard short of the old LPs he remembered his father listening to on rainy evenings.

It gave the impression of a private party. People dotted the tables and stools along the rough oak bar on the opposite wall, each lost in their own conversations and worlds. At one table, a group of four laughed silently to some unheard story. At another, a lone gentleman sat staring toward the wall sipping a cocktail. At yet another, an elderly couple sat in silence, seemingly content in simply being there together. They each melted into the bar. Part of it. Shawn felt he stuck out, an interloper in the scene of players that fit in such a way that implied they never left.

Shawn loved it. He breathed in the atmosphere and knew he wanted to remember it, his first experience with it. Alexis grabbed his hand and broke the spell, leading him to one of the back tables as they melted into the club’s canvas.

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