Eclectic Corner Fiction: The Bar and The Ring

Justine at Eclectic Odds N Sods throws a weekly party of prompts in which she tempts bloggers to add to her foundation with photographs or words.

I Love Eclectic Corner

She calls in I Love Eclectic Corner.

You can find the latest installment here.

She writes of a painter, a woman at her easel in the field of her country home, struck by a memory of a time in a bar in the city. She’s shaken from her thoughts when her phone rings.

I decided to join the corner gang for the first time.

Here are my story and photo. The picture was taken at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Destiny USA in Syracuse, N.Y. The story comes from my mind …

She sat back down and shook her head, slowly, trying to forget and remember at the same time.

The ring of the phone continued. Once. Twice. She looked down at the spot on her finger and the simple gold of her other ring and all that it symbolized. Yes, it made her happy, and so did the man who had slipped it upon her finger and taken her here to explore her visions and raise their children and paint their world together on the canvasses that flew off her easels and onto the walls of collectors and curators and …

A rich cowboy who played guitar? She wondered, as she sometimes did about her first true love, thinking back to those days when she tended bar at the bustling country music joint so unlikely located in the big and sprawling urban mall.

She tried to forget the blur of the bar in her memory.

She tried to forget the blur of the bar in her memory.

Oh, she was young, then, just past the legal drinking and serving age, and the days and nights went by in a blur. Except Thursdays. That’s when Joe and the Jukebox Jockeys were written on the chalkboard to play, 10 o’clock start, every week, no cover to see the local boys perform as you bought the overpriced drafts and wings and burgers and danced with peanut shells on the floor and looked at the pictures of the really famous musician who owned the joint on the wall — yup, even big color ones from the afternoon he stopped in and played acoustic on the stage with one guitarist the evening he had a gig with his full band at the grandstand a few miles up the road.

Joe was good. Some whispered great when they heard that gravel in his voice and caught that gleam in his eye and caught the rich buzz of his guitar.

But every break, Joe would cockey walk on over to her station at the bar, and he only had eyes for her even when the crowds got bigger and the hopeful Lucy Lou’s were 10 dozen strong line dancing, two-stepping and offering their numbers and more as he jumped from the stage.

And when the band was done packing up and she’d punched the clock and counted out her share of the tip jar, Joe’d saunter back over again, down that jigger of whiskey she’d set aside for him, lean in close for a good, long kiss, and tell her she was his No. 1 with a bullet.

One night she got, what did that famous singer judge with the big hair and great voice on “American Idol” she liked so much call them? Yes, that one night she both loves with all her heart and hates to the pit of her stomach, both her arms had rippled with goosies when Joe had caught her attention between songs. “Not all the artists in here are up on the stage,” he had said, looking right at her while introducing a song. “I just wrote this one,” he declared in that braggie-dodgie way of his, and I think I’m gonna call it “Your Finger, My Ring.”

Except one Friday she came in to work and everybody was all excited about the big news, new house band next Thursday, the owner himself decided Joe is going to tour all 50 bars in his chain!

Joe got the really big record contract on the owner’s label next. She never heard another word from him.

But the real cowboy farmer walked in the bar soon after, fresh from a trip trucking some of his herd cows, and caught her eyes and ears and asked her if she’d like to take a ride to see his land and ranch house on her day off. It was only an hour but a whole new life away …

Whiskey or beer at a country music bar? Acoustic set in a bar or full band electric set at the grandstand? Line dance or two-step?

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50 thoughts on “Eclectic Corner Fiction: The Bar and The Ring

  1. Engagingly written – many congratulations Mark. Just a small point, and I don’t know if it was intentionally mischievous, though the line “Your Finger, My Ring” has rather unfortunate connotations here in England. o_O

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey, you can write, cousin to the east!!! Great story, one that I really liked! HA to the superstar stud! His loss in my humble opinion. Hope you are keeping warm. It is SO cold here …. (-) numbers seen on thermometer. Brrrrrrrrrrr……. ((((HUGS))) cousin to the west

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  3. So you can’t always get what you want but sometimes you get what you need, and it turns out better than what you wanted… I like the story Mark, you pulled me in and left me wondering, in the end, who was on the phone???!!! ❤
    Diana xo

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  4. I think I should qualify. Electric with beer and line dance. Acoustic, whiskey and two step. Nice story Mark. It took right back to the Country bars of my yesterdays. Hence my eagerness to play.

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  5. sorry I had to laugh at what Hariod said about finger and ring lol, so very naughty. Seriously though what a great story, i sense you have frequented that bar often lol, the descriptions were amazing down to the shells on the floor, you almost took me back to my youth. Oh the musical scroundrels hey breaking hearts? lol….fantastic story, love it, uplifting and refreshing all at the same time, plus a jaunt down memory lane, so thank you for that and for joining Eclectic Corner I hope to see you here again…grinzzz big

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  6. Well done MBM!!! Is this your first fiction piece? For real??? You should do more? And if given a choice, I would choose the real deal I could sing with, dance with and go home with, dependably, every single day.

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    • I did a couple of paragraphs for the Blog Hop story, creating Dick Richards, private eye, and a poem here and there. But otherewise, yes, first standalone, yes, MDB Colleen. I will return to do more. I liked the process. I liked your answers, too. 🙂

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  7. loved the title and your story was great, you should write more of these. i’ve only been to one country bar, while in texas and had a ball trying to two-step. i’m more a beer woman, rather than whiskey –

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  8. whiskey, but not in a country music bar. dancing, but not in a country music bar. any kind of music, but not in a country music bar. I’m the city mouse, remember?

    Great story, Mark. Enjoy your writing so much!

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  9. Pingback: Eclectic Corner #7 , Street Life, Photography & Writing | Eclectic odds n sods

  10. Pingback: Eclectic Corner #7 , Street Life, Photography & Writing, my 3rd entry | Eclectic odds n sods

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