First Line Friday — Reconnecting

4D2FE010-5CE3-4ADB-B1CC-506C99417764Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside. But as soon as she entered the room, she was hit by an atmosphere thick with the aroma of cigars. It reminded her of her father and a room in their house, which was actually a spare bedroom, when she was a young girl. It was the one place in their home where her mother permitted her father to smoke his cigars. This place smelled just like that room, and she wondered if all the men in the lounge would smell like her father did each time he emerged from that room of his. Strangely, the thought being in a room with men who smelled like her father both repelled and attracted her.

She made her way through the fog of cigar smoke until she reached the bar, where a man wearing a fedora was sitting by himself sipping on a martini and puffing away on a fat cigar. She stood next to him and asked the bartender to fix her a vodka martini, which he did. The bartender asked her if she wanted to start a tab. “Put it on my tab,” the man in the fedora said.

She sat down next to him. “Thanks,” she said. He tipped his head and said, “You’re welcome. We don’t get many classy dames like you in this place. What brings you here?”

“I was supposed to have dinner at the restaurant next door with my father, but he stood me up. I haven’t seen him in over ten years, since shortly after my mother died, and I was hoping to reconnect with him tonight. But when he never showed, I didn’t feel like sitting there by myself, so I left the restaurant and came over here when I heard the music,” she explained.

“Ah, that’s why you’re all dolled up,” he said, giving her the once over. “Your old man must be a fool to have left you sitting all alone like that.”

“Thank you, I guess. I’m Monica,” she said, extending a hand. “And you are?”

He took her hand and squeezed gently. “I’m Frank. Pleased to meet you, Monica,” he said. “That’s a nice name.”

“My father’s name was Frank,” Monica said. “Like you, he enjoyed his cigars.” Monica looked more closely at the man sitting next to her. “Would you mind taking your hat off? I want to see your face.”

“Sure, babe, whatever you want,” Frank said, removing his hat and putting it on the bar to his left.

Monica let out a gasp. “Oh my God,” she said. “You look remarkably like my father when he was a younger man.”

“Should I be flattered or insulted?” Frank asked, a smile on his face.

Monica had heard her father use that expression many times over the years. A weird feeling came over her. “What is your last name?” she asked Frank.

“Grayson,” he said. “Frank Grayson, but my friends call me Smitty.”

Monica felt faint. “This can’t be happening,” she said. “My last name is Grayson and my father’s nickname is Smitty. Is this some kind of a sick joke? She stood up, put down her drink, grabbed her wrap, and ran toward the door.

“Hey, honey, it’s 1955,” Frank yelled as she was leaving. “You need to lighten up in these modern times.”

As Monica left the lounge, Rod Serling appeared just outside the door. “Monica missed her estranged father terribly,” he said, “but when he didn’t show up for dinner tonight, she left the restaurant and walked into the past, where she finally met her father again…in a cigar lounge called The Twilight Zone.”


Written for the First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The first line is “Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside.” Image credit: “Cigar Bar Evening Lounge” by Brent Lynch.

Window Treatments

A9F1206C-B9B5-4D53-8232-C6EC3C07170BYou may recall my mentioning in this post from February 11th that we have no window treatments in the house we moved into at the beginning of the month. And while most of our windows are on the sides and back of the house, where no neighbors can see in, we do have four windows facing the street. So, yes, not having any window treatments gives me the feeling, especially at night when the lights are on, that I’m living in a fishbowl and am on display for any passersby to see.

My Fandango’s One-World Challenge for today, which I scheduled to post today nearly two weeks ago, is “treatment.”

Interestingly, first thing this morning, I got a call from the place where we ordered the window treatments for our new place telling me that they’re in and that they want to come over today to install them.

So is it merely a coincidence that my word prompt for today, which I scheduled to post about two weeks ago, was published on the very day my window treatments are being installed? Or was I uncannily prescient two weeks ago when I scheduled the word “treatment” to post today?

120F28E1-148A-4D6D-972E-458179E054D4Or is this new, idyllic, suburban neighborhood my wife and I moved into more than what it seems to be? Are there forces at work that are not visible to the naked eye? Have my wife and I crossed over into the The Twilight Zone? You tell me what’s at play here.

In any event, I’ll be very happy to have shades to pull down tonight when the sun sets!

The Elevator

6B56D84C-DDC8-45B8-95F2-3201829C0842The elevator stopped on the thirteenth floor with a lurch. The three passengers, a young man, maybe in his early twenties dressed in jeans and carrying an envelope, a middle-aged man dressed in a suit and tie, and an older woman in an unflattering, matronly outfit, looked at one another other.

The middle-aged man immediately took charge and pressed the button to take him to his office on the 20th floor, but nothing happened when he hit it. He looked to see what floor the elevator had stopped at and saw the sign above the elevator door, which displayed the number 13. “That’s not possible,” he said.

The old woman looked worried and asked what the problem was. The man looked at her, then at the young man, and back up to the number displayed. “This building does not have a thirteenth floor,” he said. “It goes from the twelfth to the fourteenth floor.”

“You baby boomers and your stupid superstitions,” the younger man said. “Thirteen is just a number, like every other number.”

“Today is Friday the thirteenth,” the old woman said. “I knew I should have stayed home today.”

The young man chuckled. The older man pressed the emergency call button, but no sound was heard.

The old lady began to sob. The young man shook his head, and the older man attempted to pull the elevator doors apart with his hands. “A little help here,” he said to the younger man.

Suddenly the doors opened and a cold, eerie mist filled the elevator. The last sound that was heard was that of the younger man’s voice saying, “What the fuck?”

A moment later the mist cleared and a lone man was standing outside the elevator doors. He began to speak. “Three strangers enter an elevator in a high rise building on Friday the thirteenth. One a business executive, one a bicycle messenger boy, and one a kindly grandmother. What none of them knew when they boarded the elevator on that auspicious day, was that the elevator made only one stop. It stopped atD59D2BF3-CBBE-4395-8904-20CDCE959FC7Written for this week’s First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The first line is, “The elevator stopped on the thirteenth floor with a lurch.”