Posts Tagged ‘fiction short story’

Frankie Goes Back to Hollywood
by: Colette Calapristi Casey

The lock turned easily and made its standard clicking noise to indicate all was safe on the western front. Well Western Groceries at least. Franklin, the lone store manager sighed heavily and rubbed his shoulders. “What a day” Franklin said under his breath and then turned away from the store he had worked for over 30 years.

Franklin strode down the old brick sidewalk careful not to trip on the warped bricks laid over 100 years ago. This was an old town. A town of not much notice and falsely quiet. Each storefront pushed its way onto main street shouting its wares, its sales and its brightly painted sales signs. As Franklin walked past the antique shop he noticed a pair of sunglasses that reminded him of a pair he had in 1980. He stopped and stared at the pair. A smile crept across his face and his eyes danced with the memory of a mullet, a corvette and a summer fling. Her name was Janelle. His heart began to beat a little faster and he could now see his breath in the air.

Janelle was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary smile. He had first captured Franklin’s attention as she came through his check out line. She purchased Silky shampoo, a pack of gum and Perfect Pink lip gloss. Not that he noticed. Each time she came in the store, Franklin watched her every move while he stocked the shelves, mopped the floors or checked her out. Checked out her groceries that is. Over time she came through his line more often until one day he walked her out to her car carrying her purchase. This time it was a Mountain Dew, bag of chips and hair bands.

“Janelle, I wanted to ask you something.” Franklin stuttered.
Janelle flashed that one of a kind smile. “Sure Frank, what’s up?”

Franklin gripped the plastic bag in his hands and began twisting it. “So, would you like to see a movie sometime?” The bag in his hands had now twisted all the way to the items at the bottom. And it was getting sweaty.

Janelle looked away and then back to Franklin. Those few moments that Franklin lost eye contact made his heart drop practically to the bottom of the bag he was holding.

“Yeah, that’d be fun. I’m free on Friday,” Janelle said and then Christmas lights. Her whole face smiled. Franklin could swear that even her strawberry blond hair started glowing.

A long rumble came up behind Franklin startling him away from his memory. At once, the sunny day in the parking lot was gone and he was once again a 55 year old overweight grocery store manager on his way  home occupied only by a cat that didn’t like him very much.
Before turning to away from the antique store he set his eyes once again on the sunglasses. How bright his youth had been. So bright in fact that he always thought he could do better based on his good looks, great car and wit. But now all that was gone, he had chased a jealous lover. Vanity would never let anyone rise above it for there was no room in anyone’s life for anyone else once vanity moved in.

Franklin looked around and ran his hand across his head that once boasted rich dark curls now only left with but a few strands that he had combed over to conceal the gleaming scalp.

Franklin sighed and turned away looking ahead at the darkness, the emptiness and his path home. His steps echoed in the village with every move towards home. There was nothing but the sounds of his steps and….music? Franklin stopped. He turned and looked down the alley. He had heard music.

The music was familiar, the rhythm haunting.

I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue

Uh-ah, uh-ah-ah, uh-ah-ah-ah

“Mick Jagger. Emotional Rescue.” Franklin said  out loud, I can name that tune in 6 notes or less. He smiled. The music attached itself to his core curiosity. He walked into the darkness of the alley following every note. The music came from a stairwell that led down under the street. With each step, the music became louder. Franklin reached the access door and opened it. He found himself walking along a dark hall and the music was pounding. He came upon another door and opened it slowly. At once, night had turned into day, Fall into Summer. Franklin felt something heavy on his head and reached up to realize his head was covered dark brown curls. He gasped, he looked around and saw his beloved Corvette. He smiled, but that’s not what he wanted to see. He was at the lake. It was warm and relaxing. He noticed it was all his friends from his youth, but he didn’t care. There was only one person he wanted to see. The music from the boom box continued to pound. Mick’s voice never sounded better:

“I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue”

He saw her. Strawberry Blond. She turned slowly and then….Christmas.

Uh-ah, uh-ah-ah, uh-ah-ah-ah

• Beneath the street
• A store manager
• A pair of sunglasses
• curious

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