Wednesday October 31st, 2012

The exercise:

Write about a place that is: open all night.

Wrote this ahead of time, forgetting that today is Halloween. I suspect this will be the last year I forget this day for a very long time.

But yes, there will be a Halloween themed prompt tomorrow to make up for it. Or, you know, I'm sure you could find a way to work the holiday (for lack of a better word) into today's writing.


With winter closing in business was growing steadily slower. Since there were no ski hills or major indoor attractions to offer, tourists were leaving town on their annual southward migrations.

Isaac, owner of the only 24 hour coffee shop for miles around, was keenly aware of this. His employees working the graveyard shift, desperate to be reincorporated into the day crew, had been reminding him every day for the past week.

Winter hours, they would say, bleary-eyed and tottering side to side, did not need to wait until the season officially began. The first major snowfall was more than good enough.

But Isaac was set in his ways like concrete. In thirty-five years of business he had never changed his shop's hours out of season. To do so now, he argued, would be nothing short of scandalous.

The graveyard crew, eyeing the calender which was taking great pleasure in reminding them that the solstice was still two weeks away, decided to take matters into their own hands.

That night they refused to open the till, instead giving away coffee and pastries to any soul who came near. There weren't many, but they thought their point well made.

Isaac, caring more for his pride than money, was unmoved.

Next they broke the coffee makers, then spent the rest of the night turning away empty-handed those customers who had caught wind of the previous night's antics. Surely, they reckoned, the complaints would sway the old man.

Isaac listened patiently, apologized sincerely for any inconvenience, and offered free coffee for a month. The shop hours remained as they were.

The graveyard workers reconvened, the panic in their eyes enclosed by dark circles. What else could be done? What action would get through to that stubborn fool?

In the end, the answer was painfully obvious. If Isaac wouldn't put an early end to the shop's summer hours, they would have to put an early end to Isaac.


Greg said...

I guess you don't get too many trick-or-treaters out your way if you can forget it's Hallowe'en! It's not much of an event over here, as Bonfire Night is much bigger instead (and more fun, you get to burn things!).
Heh, poor Isaac, I'm completely on his side. I like the steady build up you've got, with the small events gradually piling on until we reach the avalanche of deciding Isaac's fate at the end.

Open all night
Madame Sosotris was, technically, open all night. As she would sometimes say, to someone she had cornered and couldn't escape, though their eyes would dark madly in their heads looking for any route away, she's be a pretty poor clairvoyant if she didn't know in advance when her clients would be turning up. Nonetheless she couldn't suppress a curse-word when she woke up at 2:30am in the inky darkness, knowing that in twenty minutes time a young man would be hammering on her door with blood on his hands and in his eyes, wanting to know how to evade his pursuers.
She forced herself to get out of bed, and starting dressing in the clothes she'd laid out before she went to sleep. The cards were already set out on the table in the other room and she'd picked out the skeleton deck as a nod to Hallowe'en, but in truth the vision of the young man had intrigued her so much that she'd already scryed his fortune. All that was left for her to do now was sit back and enjoy the show.
The hammering at the door was every bit as thunderous as she'd predicted, and she sniffed, her ever-present cold instantly making her nose run as she stood up. She opened it, and the young man started in, then leapt back, a half-scream escaping his mouth.
"Come in," said Madame Sosotris seizing his wrist and pulling hard. Your pursuers are two minutes behind you, and they will be much more scared of this costume than you are."

Iron Bess said...

Yippee, Sandy is over and I managed to make it through unscathed. A bit of wind, a lot of thunder and lightning, and a LOT of rain. Waterlogged, but with power I feel lucky.

Marc - Poor Isaac. Love your build up.
Greg - Would love to see the costume. Change dark to dart at the beginning, and she's to she'd.

Here's mine...I have to go and do some homework now.

A spider.
Two mosquitos.
A hard shelled, and a soft shell beetle.
One house fly.
Some cat hair.
And a lot of lint.
Only a few of the things which travel into your mouth when it is open all night.

Marc said...

Greg - no, the houses are way too far apart around here, so it's not really worthwhile for the kids. They could hit up fifty houses in town in the same amount of time they could do two or three here.

That being said, we did pick up some chocolate just in case. So now we're working our way through it :)

Ah, the Madame is more resourceful than I had previously given her credit for! I am impressed.

Iron Bess - very glad to hear it :D

Haha, I had no idea where you were going with that, right up to the end. Awesome take on the prompt :)