Written for OLWG#106
Marshall was walking south on U.S. Route 54, the train tracks to his left when the snow began to fall. He would have been hitching if there had been any traffic. It was dark, no streetlights, and cold. He was surrounded by desert and heavy clouds blacked out the stars. The quiet was like a beast sitting on his chest and roaring. Oppressive, Omnipotent, Weighty…
He kept walking; one foot in front of the other and at some point he became aware of something else that he shared with this high desert landscape. He couldn’t have told you whether he heard it first or saw it first. A faint glow – behind the next hill? Maybe over the horizon? – he couldn’t tell. The sound of a crowd? Or the throaty rumble of mufflers from a hundred race cars? Music? Hallucinations?
Marshall continued to put one foot in front of the other. He was shivering with the cold, but as he moved he realized that he had begun to sing along with the music. It was a mixture of country and old rock ‘n roll. It was then that he crested the hill and looked down. He saw a tilt-up concrete building the size of a sports arena that was surrounded by a poorly lit gravel lot. Pick-ups filled the parking area. and a garish lighted sign shone brightly where the driveway met the highway.
“The StarLite” it read in large letters done in a mid-century modern typeface, stylized stars, planets, and satellites seemed to orbit the name. There was a changeable letter message board below where the message read,
7 STAGES, LIVE NUDE GIRL5,
BEER, WINE, BILLIARDS, BOWLING
BEST PASTRAMI SANDWICHES THIS SIDE OF THE RIO GRANDE
Marshall picked up his pace. What the hell, he thought, any port in a storm, it was cold and he craved warmth. By the time he reached the driveway he was running; down the drive and across the gravel lot. The double front door was metal. It was a fire door, painted red that opened with a crash bar. There were no windows on the front of the building, but inside, sat a large man on a stool. A black felt cowboy hat rested on the floor next to him. The man had a shaved head and wore a blue shirt with a white patch over the pocket. The patch read “Hector”.
His sleeves were rolled up and cinched around tree-trunk biceps. Jeans and black boots finished the outfit.
Without a word, Hector pointed to a hand-lettered sign over his shoulder “$5.00 Cover” Marshall pulled a twenty from his pocket and, teeth chattering, handed it to the big man. Hector produced a roll of bills and carefully manipulating his island sized paws, gave back three fives to Marshall. He then held aside a beaded curtain and motioned Marshall inside.
This week’s prompts were:
- keep walking till the music gets loud
- it’s always money
- he only came in to get out of the snow