Sep 242015

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.49 and part two of an unplanned great-American-authors series. Enjoy:

The Jazz Age was a time period in the 1920s when jazz music became popular. The period is mainly associated with the United States but there were also significant jazz ages in the United Kingdom and France. Jazz music originated in African-American communities, particularly that of New Orleans. Critics of jazz music labelled it the music of unskilled or untrained musicians. Eventually jazz was picked up by the white middle classes and large cities such as New York and Chicago became cultural centres for the style. The jazz age coincided with prohibition in the United States and illicit speakeasies became synonymous with the style. The jazz age ended in 1929 with the beginning of the great depression.

American author F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on this day in 1896 in Minnesota. He is most famous for his 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald spent a lot of time during the jazz age in Paris with his friend Ernest Hemingway. Like many authors of that time, Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for magazines such as Esquire, a practice both he and Hemingway referred to this as ‘whoring.’ Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since leaving college and by his late thirties suffered from ill-health, including recurring tuberculosis. He died of a heart attack in 1940 aged just forty-four. The Great Gatsby received mixed reviews and moderate sales on publication and Fitzgerald died believing his work would be forgotten. Today it is recognised as one of the great American novels and has sold over 25 million copies.

Here is this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius via CC.

Photo Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Karl A. Russell, winner of MB1.42 and MB1.48. Read his winning story and what he has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with JAZZ and ending with AGE and incorporating the photo prompt.


Anyone, but especially you!


Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘Who is the author?’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.


Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time:




Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation, including hyphens and apostrophes, is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  171 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.49 – JAZZ [micro] AGE”


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    109 words

    * * *

    “Jazz,” says Chris.

    “Nope,” replies the landlord. “Ain’t no one here called that.”

    The whisper of a marching band floats through the air.

    “It’s getting closer,” says Mike.

    “Check again!” barks Chris.

    “I’m here, Christopher.”

    Chris, Mike, and the receptionist all turn towards the lobby stairs. An elderly gentleman makes his way down; saxophone in hand, a solemn look on his face.

    The sound of the marching band draws closer.

    “The Darkest Music has returned,” says Chris.

    “I’m old, Christopher. Best years behind me.”

    The sound of the marching band shakes the hotel.

    “Mr Jazz, sir?” says Mike. “I believe your power will be stronger because of your age.”

  2. Not a Merlot
    110 words

    Jazz. So that was the name of the sultry sound spilling from her ruby lips. It coated him like honey and tasted like bourbon on a Sunday afternoon.

    He tapped his cigar against the crenels of the copper ashtray, watching the seductive sway of her hips from beneath the shadowed brim of his fedora as the heady notes of the saxophone washed over him in waves.

    She caressed the microphone stand like a lover, pouring her soul into every note and seducing him with her dark eyes.

    Of course, she made every man in the room feel that way.

    He motioned for another drink, wishing he were half his age.


    Jazz of autumn.


    Balanced precariously; half day, half night. Poised, we plunge into the turning season, bound for the coming night of winter bright.

    Blue sky. Indian Summer. Berry pie.

    Yellow Birch leaves trickle down. One. By. One. By. One.

    Sparrows assemble on power lines ready to soaaaar round the curve of the earth. Flying on, and on, and on, until Af-ri-ca.

    Crisp new school starting stationery, reading lists, Gatsbys and politics. Crackling frosty mornings, winter clad in woollen layers. Wood smoke on the night air.

    Cackling geese, trailing above, circling, circling, alighting and circling.

    Stocking up for winter.


    A temptation.

    At any age.

    106 words

  4. (107)
    Bloody Good Show

    ‘Jazz time!’ The burlesque vampire smiled toothily down the golden microphone. Her hair was thick black silk to her shoulders, her lips dark and glossy in the spotlight.

    The audience stood in his honour as he came out onto the stage. His blood-red cloak swept the boards, and he cradled the saxophone in his arms. It gleamed, highly polished bone. She blew him a kiss and he nodded regally, his long black fingernails clicking the stops.

    Then he began to play, and even the ancient and jaded crowd gasped. For centuries he’d been blowing the bones, and they marvelled that Count Dracula still grew better with age.

  5. Lessons in Jazz

    WC 110


    ‘Jazz,’ he said mustering his most authoritative tone, ‘is the origin of all music. It will never die out because

    every generation takes it in a new direction. It has evolved from blues through swing, into funk, rock, acid

    and R&B. Armstrong, Ellington, Monk, Peterson, Coltrane are all household names.’

    Ignoring the sound of shuffling feet he continued the tutorial.

    ‘Brubeck’s “Take Five” is the number one jazz track of all time, I guarantee you’ve heard it somewhere.’

    The young cashier looked at the queue forming behind and made a mental note never to question a

    customer about their musical tastes again — one of those things you learn with age!

  6. jazz bores! Nice take on the prompt.

    • I’m afraid i have to put my hand up to being a bit of a jazz freak myself but I try not to mention it too often. 🙂

  7. As Yet Untitled
    108 words

    Jazz hands punctuate the words; no hint of irony. Bursts of syncopated notes make his gestures swell. The room senses the impending frenzy, the edge of chaos.

    Light glances metal: his audience roars.

    The most dissonant riffs rise now and ricochet; surfaces ripple with sound. Fingers spirit music from the future. One last, long reprize charmed from the air, before collapsing to his knees with climactic exhaustion.

    His audience, addicted, bay for more!

    Compelled. He places the needle back on the record, takes up his place in front of the full length mirror and begins, again, his  introduction:

    The one, the only, a miracle of his age…’

  8. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 101

    Title: “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know” – Louis Armstrong

    Jazz. For the 50 years they’d been married, he’d hated jazz.

    And now his wife had taken up the saxophone. A cacophony of atonal, squealing.

    He retired to his potting shed.


    With their own interesting lives to lead, they soon began to barely notice each other’s absence.

    The selves that once had loved each other.

    Until one day he found his suitcase at the bottom of the stairs


    His wife would stop playing the saxophone soon after.

    But she cleaned it furiously every day, determined to keep it shining bright.

    And not dull, with the regretful patina of age.

  9. Last Night

    ‘Jazz it up!’ Beryl opens a drawer.
    I smile. It’s her night. I add a cravat and the snakeskin belt she bought me years back. I fetch water for her painkillers.
    We’re waiting for the band. I’m on my third gin.
    ‘What will I do without you?’ I hear myself say.
    She shakes her head, dismissing my words. The band begins to play. She sips her drink. I watch her eyes narrow and the music release her.
    She’s flagging already. Is this the last time? I can’t begin to imagine the next few months. Or beyond. I won’t find another wife, lover and friend like her. Not at my age.

    110 words

  10. Village Vanguard of the Heart


    Jazz smuggles poetry into soul place of flashing gold and love notes read through bourbon style haze a smoky room where the stage holds a single writer.

    Light hair, aquiline nose, poised toward manuscript. Cross between writing desk and raven, this is humming-bird of inspiration, moment before lips press a gentle finger that hovers above your beating page.

    Falling fountain days over. Money/acclaim. Maxwell Perkins putting job on line. Beautiful Zelda.

    By fireplace, drink held old friend. Hand that once spilled ink, abandons bourbon on the floor. Fire dances. Your name warmed by its future a beautiful fountain as everlasting as the pen you played resonating with any age.


    (110 words)

  11. The Magic Words
    110 words

    “Jazz, spazz, razzmatazz!”

    “You sure he’s a wizard? He smells like a hobo,” Andy said.

    “Shh,” Mandy said. “He’s magic-ing.”

    “Blues, shoes, megachews! Mandy here’s the one you’ll choose!”

    “This isn’t a hair spell,” Andy said.

    “Yeah…I burned off my eyebrows because I knew you wouldn’t pay for a love spell.”

    “Ugh, not that again!”

    “Sarah will be mine!”

    “Tune, goon, pantaloon! Make sacrifice of this raccoon!” The wizard raise the road kill. “I’m kinda hungry, do you kids know how long ago it croaked?”

    Sudden lightning struck the wizard dead.

    “What happened?” Mandy asked.

    “Isn’t it obvious?” Andy said. “It’s bad luck to ask a coon for its age!”

  12. Would There Be Tears?

    WC: 109

    Jazz, the poor sweaty, of all the people, I would have suspected him the least.

    What do you mean?

    Don’t you read the news? It was suicide.

    Really? Why?

    Loneliness, I suspect.

    But, he was well liked.

    Maybe when he was the new thing, but he got old, and people got bored. Nowadays, the only people who liked him were those who he made to feel cultured and sophisticated: sax players, I guess. He was never liked for who he was. This viewing will be a no show for sure.

    It isn’t over yet. People may still come.

    But they haven’t, dearest. We’ve been waiting a day and an age.


    WC 109



    ‘What’s that mean?’ She asked.


    ‘Stop mucking about.’


    ‘You’re not making a lot of sense.’


    ‘Compared to usual. I’m not IN THE MOOD for your TWISTED games.’


    ‘A holiday! Now you’re talking AT LAST – STOLEN MOMENTS – AUTUMN IN NEW YORK.’


    ‘TAKE FIVE, your SIDEWINDER is blowing apart my AUTUMN LEAVES.’

    ‘THE IN CROWD will be there.’

    ‘I’m not FEELING GOOD.’


    ‘But thats so far away, it’ll seem like an age.’

  14. @AvLaidlaw
    106 Words

    Annus Mirabilis

    Jazz died in 1963. I was there.

    I played sax. The women came and went, and the money generally followed them. But my Selmer was my only love. Her keys under my fingertips, twisting me through the whiskey drenched nightclubs and the midnight blues. I didn’t care. Only ever wanted to hear that bad girl moan with dark and subtle pleasures like no woman ever could.

    But nights dissolve and their magic goes to some place we cannot follow. 1963. The Beatles were back from Hamburg. The thump of those drums like pneumatic drills on every kid’s transistor radio. Brutal. Like music from the stone age.

    • Great inversion of what happened in 1963. And what a beauty of last sentence in the middle paragraph

    • Great lines – whiskey drenched nightclubs and midnight blues – darkened subtle pleasure like no woman ever could – nights dissolve – all really atmospheric.

    • Different take on the prompts – what a fabulous voice you’ve given this musician.

    • I thought Don Maclean established that 1959 was “The Day The Music Died”. 😉 Sombre take on the prompt, AV.
      [ But surely the title should be, as our own dear Queen once said after “Burning Down The House”, “Annus Horribilis“? ]

  15. Generations
    Word Count: 100

    “Jazz,” the man explains.
    “That’s it, Grandpa? Jazz is your answer?”
    The man catches his grandson’s eye. A twitch of a frown is all it takes for the boy to drop his head and, hopefully, his attitude.
    “You asked, ‘what made me the saddest in life?’”
    “But your answer was the same for, ‘what made you the happiest.’ How is that possible?”
    “That’s jazz for you.”
    He could see his grandson’s frustration, his fist clenching the pencil with teenage fury.
    “My saxophone controlled the emotions of the audience, and myself. That’s why they called me the Master of the Age.”

  16. @stellakateT
    110 words

    It’s Only Music

    “Jazz Fusion I love it”.

    He carried on playing the sax as if his life depended on it.
    She carried on slamming the drums exceeding their electronic amplification.
    He wanted to slam her against the wall, make her listen to all the old great jazz masters or just jam his fingers deep in his ears to block out the cacophony of her wailing. She’d now started to sing and she was no Ella Fitzgerald.

    “We’ll be great on X Factor. We don’t want to win, being placed is much better. We’ll be megastars”

    She’s so beautiful, we probably will.

    Reaching over he turned his mike up, they were New Age.

  17. Charlie Parker Plays a Pumpkin in October


    Jazz like tiny shiny explosions of saxophones in the eyes, music sparkles a blown solo with small freckles of air – a spot of time.

    Things move quicker now with a stale emergency.

    Air bold new and old wilting a memory sleeping with fire.

    You move like the knife that carved you with brilliant improvisations of light.

    Capturing a year in your song perched on golden tree; no more rustling applause, audience has left.

    Cigarette butts/cocktail napkins left behind.

    Great party has taken place and you watch playing all alone in your empty chamber…

    as if intermission were a great symphonic riff
    surrounded by the braille
    of a blind

    (110 words)

  18. @PattyannMc
    WC: 110

    Puurfect Ending

    Jazz enjoyed her last lazy Sunday on Millie’s blanketed lap. Rain pelted gloomy windows, a lethargic fire burned, and an old movie, Jimmy Dorsey playing the Sax on the classics.

    “A perfect kind of day, isn’t it?” Millie cooed to her ancient calico, tears welling in her eyes, massaging behind her ears. Jazz sprawled lackluster, eyes dim and not purring.

    So many trials overcome together. Millie’s hubby dying, a break-in; Millie learned Jazz wasn’t a good alarm system. She reacted to intruders the same way she reacted to insects.

    She wasn’t moving; heartbroken, Millie knew Jazz was dying. Holding her calico close, cooing, Jazz exhaled, peacefully passing from old age.

  19. @fs_iver
    WC: 106

    Title: A Girl Learning about her Roots




    1. a style of music of [a certain skin color] American origin distinguished for its use of caterwauling, untidy rhythm, and abrupt shift of accent. The piano, saxophone, trombone, and trumpet are primarily associated with jazz, though some stringed instruments may also be incorporated. Jazz rose to prominence in the early 20th century and was outlawed by the end of the 21st.

    2. A code word or symbol of the Uprising. Often used to denote a location where dissimilar races could congregate in secret. Ex: Jazz Lounge. (See image.)

    verb (dated)

    1. to encourage rebellion against The Establishment, especially from a young age.

  20. The Age of Jazz

    “Jazz,” she whispered in her sultry voice, “I love vocals.”

    Ella’s honey-smooth voice burst through the air in the car and spilled over onto the mountain breeze. Moon leaned over the horizon as if to eavesdrop on the lovers.

    Later, she would wonder about the sounds of that evening traveling far and wide. She wondered about the pale skin on his tanned finger. She wondered about the photos tucked neatly in his wallet. She wondered about his vibrating phone at the most inconvenient moments. She was broken when she finally learned about his deception and her indignities.

    Much later she would become smarter, dance to Ella’s Jazz, and gracefully age.

    110 words

  21. Settling the Score

    110 words


    Jazz hands fluttered like moths in front of his face. Stan slapped them away in a double-bass beat, terrified by his vulnerability even though tonight Rosie kept him company. His tormentors laughed.

    A jingle of coins. His money. Gone. Just like his saxophone.

    “Let’s call it a donation to our community fund,” said one assailant.

    Stan drew himself up, past humiliations fuelling his determination. He had one more tune to play. He whistled. A melody they didn’t recognise but which Rosie did. Out of the dark she leapt, her growl low, menacing, her teeth a razor percussion; her song bringing him the peace for which he had waited an age.

  22. Bright as a Lighthouse


    “Jazz bebop soul music of everlasting hipster frog muse.” Jack Kerouac said while writing “On the Road.”

    “Must free Buddhist soul and let it roam in the open field of Thelonious black and white rainbow vision.” Ginsberg stated as he wrote Howl.

    Richard Brautigan dictating poems on backs of napkins at Enrico’s with saxophone wailing as if fishing for lonely night trout.

    Strip clubs winking neon creating machine like rainbows that arched over pots of fools gold.

    Woman bright as lighthouses waiting for their ship to come in.

    San Francisco night, in North Beach, alive with spirit of jazz and it didn’t matter one bit if you were under age.

    (110 words)


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    109 words

    * * *

    Jazz. Generation 1. Limited edition. Still in the box.

    $300. Yikes.

    I wish I hadn’t seen it. Hello there, conundrum.

    I have the money, just sat in my bank account.

    But I can see the wife’s face, hear her angry words. Because she doesn’t like me buying these ‘toys’.

    Damn it, though. I’ve been hunting this one for ages.

    But it’s an argument I can do without.

    But I deserve it.

    But what if the washing machine breaks?

    But it’s there, right now.

    But what about little Jamie wanting to learn saxophone?

    But it’s my money.


    Sigh. I’m thirty-six years old. Guess I’d better start acting my age.

  24. A surprise

    # # #

    “Jazz,” he groaned, ” have mercy!”

    He should have googled “Mike Stern”. But why ruin his day beforehand? The audience in the cushioned seats was quiet. Where was the show? The guy on the barstool needed a haircut. And a new shirt.

    His mother nudged her elbow into his ribs. “You promised. Now listen.”

    Yes, he did. In a moment of weakness. She promised tickets for Mastodon in return.

    The lights went out, the music set in: Brushed drums first, the saxophone, finally the guitar. He steeled himself.

    Two hours later he had to admit: The man was a mage.

    # # #

    100 words

  25. @PattyannMc
    WC: 110

    He was the Cool

    Jazz was his name; jazz his game. I saw this talented old musician every morning I exited the train on my way to work. Always made sure I had a few dollars and an extra coffee, sweet, the way he liked.

    We talked often, waiting to board my train home, more coffee, gratitude in his eyes for my gift in his change cup, his fingerless gloves clutching his rusted Sax tightly.

    One morning, dozens of police poked him; he lay frozen, wrapped around his Sax. I cried.

    “Did you know him?”

    “He was the Cool! Best musician I ever heard play, though I haven’t heard him play in an age.”

  26. Feeling It
    A.J. Walker

    Jazz singer’s making everybody swoon
    Aficionados filling out the sweaty room
    Double bass pulsing out its steady beat
    I can’t be the only one suffering in the heat
    The piano comes in with a forgotten melody
    And the smoke and the vibe makes me ill at ease

    The jazz singer’s making everybody swoon
    Grooving to the spiked edge of the almost tune
    She drags on a smoke wisping in the light
    As the whisky blurs my edges gradually through the night
    Then the saxophone bursts forth from the stage
    Sending me to another time into another age.

    (97 words)

  27. King’s X, Northern Line concours, 20:47

    ‘Jazz, sonny? Bit ambitious. You’d better keep practicing your scales.’

    The old guy wants to walk away, but I am gripped by a strange rage. It makes me do the unthinkable: I offer him the sax.

    ‘Think you can do better?’

    He takes it, searches his bag for something and pulls out the right mouthpiece. He stops my background track and launches into Take Five. Only a few bars in, a crowd has gathered. A pretty blonde girl who sometimes listens sings along.

    It’s like magic flowing from the sax. I swear the old guy now looks half his age.

    (100 words)

  28. Thanks for the Music and Vices, Mister Khrushchev
    By Adam Houlding
    110 words
    For my Sister-in-Law Kasia

    – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Jazz and troublemaking. Like butter on toast.

    1955. Kość Klub. Polish People’s Republic.

    Wrocław ain’t no tourist hotspot, but damn this place is fine! Gomorrah of the Catacombs, a sardine city of sin. These pollack chicks know how to twist, and goddamn they love our Charlie Parker!

    My band-mates are rabid. Some high, most drunk and all feisty. Even Hickey, religiously homosexual, is seizing some male tail. A true blue outlaw crew.

    Tomek calls us on-stage, replacing ol’ Davy Cree’s saxophone solo. Davy’s angry.
    “Gotta be good, son, ‘cos average is for the Devil.”

    I tell him we’re like fine wine. He tells us it’s professionals who gracefully age.

    • Great descriptions “Gomorrah of the the Catacombs” and esp. “sardine city of sin” and the bebop back and forth of the last couple of lines.

  29. Lullaby of Birdland
    110 Words

    Jazz spilled out the muted alto, its blue wings uncontainable. They unfurled amid the smoke coils clouding the club, preparing for her song to take flight.

    “Lullaby of Birdland:
    that’s what I
    always hear
    when you sigh.”

    She wasn’t accustomed to the chore sleep would become.

    “Have you ever heard
    two turtle doves
    bill and coo
    when they love?”

    A weepy, old willow among the patrons reminded her of the tears on the pillow backstage. There was no farewell. No goodbye.

    “Flying high in Birdland,” she belted out, hoping to soar through the atmosphere,
    “high in the sky up above.”

    Her love had been lost at too early an age.

  30. Cope

    Jazz was what he called it, the whisky. He said it was as smooth as its namesake. I never had a taste for jazz or whisky, but we were out of beer, and I wasn’t ready to quit drinking.

    He pulled glass tumblers off the shelf and poured them both halfway.

    We drank.

    The warm liquid burned the hell out of my throat, but I kept it down.

    “Listen, man.” He paused, thinking carefully. “I’m here for you. You know, whatever.”

    I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I drank again. We both drank until we puked. It was the wrong response but such was the age.

    108 words

  31. Scott Free

    Jazz bullets, a blues fusillade;

    they both reached down my throat

    pulled up my heart.

    The cellar smoked like a firestorm,

    notes blazing up the walls,

    licking the mirrored ceiling,

    blasting up from the depths

    scraping the skin from my bones.

    She billowed in like a wild chorus

    of dangerously, freshly-picked roses,

    high-stepping her way through the deranged

    and the dreary,

    her scarlet lips glistening,

    her raging mascary eyes

    scorching hot,

    trumpeting a blackboard screeching fugue

    spinning that sax

    into a spine tingled solo serenade

    that lifted me up

    over the sky,

    over the moon,

    circling back

    into a new and brilliant age.

    103 prohibitions

  32. Signed, Sealed, Awaiting Delivery

    110 words

    Jazz, smokes, scotch – life’s three essentials. If pushed, I’d quit smoking but Jazz and scotch are in my blood.
    Blood I signed in, thinned by scotch, red ink bravado. Man, was I wrong to doubt I could play so right.
    Right away gigged, an imagination for syncopation. He sat at the back first show and every show after – keeping tabs.
    Tabs I got in every bar. Sometimes I pay with trembling fingers. I can’t hardly hold an instrument no more but I can still hold a tune.
    He waits as I wheeze one out. Old Nick, Nick of Time, watching my clock.
    I dread the coming of age.

  33. NFL JAZZ


    Jazz football master Coltrane, quarterback of Patriots.

    He calls, A Love Supreme, as defense allows Miles to break for 30-yard solo run.

    But next time Gene Krupa, best middle linebacker in the game, beats fullback Mingus with a perfect drum roll as he comes through the chorus.

    Charlie Parker, star wide receiver called “Bird,” because how fast he runs and how high he can jump, catches perfect note in mid-air end-zone.

    Now, quarterback Thelonious Monk must make last second drive for Steelers. He plays the black and white of the refs perfectly moving his fingers down field without anyone noticing.

    Monk orchestrates another brilliant comeback.

    Great playing can never age.

    (110 Words)

  34. New Age (110 words)

    Jazz infiltrated the background of my experience.

    “Cheek to Cheek,” was on the nose, but that’s what happened when I used the alley near the club as a staging ground for my temptation.

    They — they being the press, the police and the cockroaches of the city — called me Father Death.

    So named for the silver-coated cross I left on my victim’s cheek. I wasn’t religious or anything — they didn’t know that, hence the name — but I liked the way it looked.

    I placed it on the cheek of Cathy here.

    “Heaven, I’m in Heaven,” I whispered.

    Serial killers used to mean something in this country. I’m resurrecting a dead age.



    Mum’s right, of course, in her own unpredictable Nokia text speak. Lazy bones is exactly what I am. I should have popped round today to say hello and to talk about Col’s birthday. Unlucky lad had his Raleigh nicked last week and she wants me to find him a replacement on eBay.


    Pay what you like, Mum. This 18 speed hybrid looks good, though. Auction ends later tonight and the current price is £40. I think it would be a steal at twice that.


    101 words

  36. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 109

    All or Nothing at All

    Jazz had been her salvation.

    In the speakeasy, air filled with blue smoke and blue notes, she shimmers into the spotlight.

    Gold lamé dress gleams, lip gloss shines, teeth gleam, eyes glint. Her hands glide slowly, sensuously, suggestively along the shaft of the microphone stand, her fingers linger lustfully.

    She arouses passion in men, envy in women… and seething jealousy in a figure standing in the shadows.

    After the set, she leaves the stage door. A cigarette glows in the darkness.


    Jazz had been her salvation, her escape from an abusive marriage. She had finally embraced life.

    But now she will never know the contentment of old age.

    • No matter how many times you read through them… Dave, please make that ‘A cigarette glows in the darkness.” (and the word count 109)

    • Billie Holliday/Lester Young? Classic show don’t tell! Great story.

      • Thanks, dazmb, but,although I had Billie Holiday in the back of my mind while writing, I was really aiming for a generic jazz singer; the name Lester popped into head without any conscious bidding. I did ponder for a while whether there was some connection, but I let it go,what with the late hour and all. It would have been nice to be able to take the credit for this supposed ‘show, don’t tell’! 😀

  37. Blowing Smoke

    “Jazz?” I think. “Or Chazz? Or Spazz? It sounded something like that. Ring any bells for you?”

    The kid’s all shifty-eyed, pupils circling like jets desperate for a runway.

    “Mister, I know this hood. No one hereabouts got a name like that. Yeah, we got our share of spazzes but don’t everyplace, Eh?”

    So I describe Johnny Spot. “Maybe he’s using a different name. He’s old, seventy, scar on his right cheek, trumpet tattooed on his right bicep.”

    “Huh?” the kid’s mystified.

    “Here,” I flex and point.

    “Nah. Lots a tats. Nuttin like that.”

    “Fine,” I lament. “It’s cocktail time.”

    Nothing’s easy for a dick in this day and age.

    110 obstreperous punks

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