by Michael Metz
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The local Denney’s restaurant had its usual bussle of tourist activity; mostly because the place was located off of highway 95. The smell of eggs and pancakes filled the place, as well as the sizzling sounds of breakfast, “Grandslam up!” Roger liked coming here in an effort to get some inspiration for the weekly FaithWriters challenge. He didn’t do his writing here, of course; but the myriad of people, the vast topics of conversation, “I think we need to check the tires on the horse trailer before we go.”
Roger had found himself becoming shackled to the same style of writing when doing these FaithWriter weekly challenges. He was wanting to breakout, even a little, to doing something different.
“Hey, Roger!” Roger came out of the creative place in his mind turning his head towards the hostess station. It was his friend Rodger walking towards him. A talkative and exuberant fellow he often wore clothes that drew some initial attention whenever he entered a room. “What’s you doin’, man?” Today was no exception as he was sporting shiny slacks that bordered on lime green with gold metal studs running down the outside seems, a silk shirt with a mix of dark and light blue and splashes of yellow, then topping it off was a wide-brimmed fuzzy brown fedora.
As they shook hands, Roger replied with a bit of a drone, “Trying to get inspired.”
“You don’t sound inspired.” Rodger said with a chuckle.
“I’m working on the FaithWriters challenge for this week.”
“You mean that thing where they give you a word and you have to write a story.”
The smell of a three-egg omelet hit Rogers’ nose as the waiter placed Rogers food in front of him; Roger replied, “Yeah, that thing.”
“So what’s the word?”
Rogers‘ face lit with an idea, “I can‘t tell you.” replied Roger.
Rodger squeezed up his face and said, “Whats you mean you can’t tell me?”
Roger returned his gaze to Rodger and scanned Rodgers wardrobe, “What you’re wearing is the word.”
“Oh, you mean casual. I had to throw this on quick like. So what’s the big deal?”
Roger dismissed what Rodger said, “Just before you came in I found myself thinking about writing this thing in a way where I don’t mention the word for the challenge, but write in a way where I show something...” Roger picked up on Rodgers quizzical look. “See, writing needs to be about showing the reader what’s being communicated; not telling ‘em.”
Rodger was not concerned with Rogers plight and said, “This isn’t gonna keep you from bein’ at work tonight is it?”
“Naw, I have ‘till Thursday to submit this.”
“Good, ‘cause I’m counting on you.” With that they shook hands and Rodger was off.
Later that night Roger was working the crowd. The low, rumbling roar of the peoples’ conversation began to wane as the next event was about to begin. Stale air reeked throughout the place as Rodger appeared on the platform.
Roger looked up to the top of the tent; as he assessed who he saw his lungs filled with stale air so fast he was gagging. Quickly he regained his composure and began up the stairs to a higher vantage point. On his way his attention was captured by someone grabbing at his shirt, “Hey, I asked for some peanuts!” Roger stopped only long enough to hand the peanuts off; for some reason he felt he could be of some support if he was at a higher vantage point.
Rodger felt heat from the burning ends of the baton as he wheeled the unicycle onto the tightrope; the long balancing pole in his hands began to wobble. The crowd gave an occasional gasp. Rodger felt adrenaline pumping through his body; he had to work at countering the rush to stay calm. Reaching midpoint he stopped, set the pole in his lap, short peddles back-and-forth to stay balanced, positioning the flaming baton he twirled it, tossed it - nearly dropped it, and caught it in his other hand - the crowd sucked in enough air Rodger was certain he felt a breeze. Rodger peddled the rest of the way finishing the ride - applause ripped throughout the bigtop. Then Rodger took a dive into the net - applause erupted a second time.
Roger skated down the stairs.
Seeing Roger before he finished bouncing Rodger said, “How’d I do!”
Horrified, surprised, and out of breath Roger replied, “That was…”
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