The Prompt

_I heard the Asian preacher playing trumpet outside of the station.

The Judge

This week's Judge is Week 3 winner Tom Keller (@dryadsgarden).  Let's show him some love by visiting his sites:

The Rules

  1. Story must continue from the prompt.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt)
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week.
  6. Have fun!
11/14/2011 05:17:06 am


By the time I noticed I was tapping my foot to the beat it was too late to play off the fact that I had no idea what the blonde hair hippie was singing about.

She just looked so free doing it that I couldn’t help but be caught on the wave of pure nonsensical emotion that poured through her voice and the strings of her beat up wooden guitar.

“I heard the Asian preacher playing trumpet outside of the station, Sayin’ hey man don’t you want something to believe in?”

It must have been the massive of amounts of marijuana being stoked throughout the room because that line caused a raucous of applause and cheers from the college crowd that filled the small bar room to its seams.

The famous lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower said that the word ‘hippie’ was derived from the word hip whose origin was unknown., a strange label for a movement of people striving to know and love themselves better than their predeccessors.

As I watch the typical representation of tripping youth of the 70’s swaying their bodies and waving their hands, caught up somewhere between an acid trip and pure lyrical genious, or lack thereof, I knew that I was in trouble.

I just turned 43 two days ago. My wife had left me, my kids wanted nothing to do with me, and I’d been wearing the same tie to work for the last 12 years. I was supposed to feel free right?

Free to connect to the world around me without peering through the filter of a society enforced label. I wasn’t husband, father, or son. I was me, but set to my own devices I wound up here sitting in a dark corner of a college bar obviously going through something that didn’t belong here, in this room, with the innocence of youth all around me.

They fascinated me. The freedom, the innocent way they moved and talked without inhibition. I watched as the young blonde singer finished her melody and came off the stage deeply kissing 4 or 5 of the people who came up to her.

She walked past me and I could smell the sweet saltiness of the sweat soaking through her clothing and the old animal in me stirred.

“You can’t do this. You can’t go back to this.” I heard the voice loud and clear in my mind. The prodding of the Me that married and had a family and found himself failing and losing everything.

“I gave you control for awhile, you fucked us, and now it’s my turn to play.” I answered. He wouldn’t ruin it for me this time. Fuck no, we played by the rules and the rules fucked us.

No one noticed me follow her back to dressing rooms. I stopped as she opened her dressing room door, silhouted by the dim yellow lights from within.

She threw me a smile and I smiled back as I moved towards her and towards freedom.

11/14/2011 10:06:34 am


“I heard the Asian preacher playing trumpet outside of the station.”

When Grace looked up at the strange statement, she almost dropped her latte. It wasn't an Asian preacher, but an extraordinarily beautiful male with a long horn pressed to his lips on top of the courthouse across the street. Chiseled features stood out starkly against the crystal blue sky as his chest expanded to blow another anthem of notes. Grace stopped short, gaping as a pair of great white wings extended out behind his back and the music of the horn danced through the autumn air. Grumbled comments of other pedestrians who hadn’t expected her to stop surged around her.

Grace glanced at her fellow foot travelers, wondering if they saw the handsome man with the wings and horn, but no one else stopped. She frowned and looked again, but he’d disappeared.

<i>I must have imagined it.</i>

She shook her head and resumed her journey, going over the chores she had to finish when she got home that day. She hadn’t realized she dropped her head until she ran into someone. Someone tall and hard, who smelled like sandalwood incense until her latte added its own scent when it splashed across his belly.

“Be easy, Grace. I’ve got you.”

She looked up, way up, into the light brown eyes of the man holding her steady and froze. The same chiseled features she’d seen on the rooftop faced her with a compassionate smile curling his sensual lips. The wings visible over his shoulders shone white in the reflected light off the buildings, but no feathers shifted in the mild breeze. The skin was leathery, like a bat’s wing, and a small clawed thumb gripped the edge of the longest wing-finger.

“What are you?”

He cocked his head to one side as his smile broadened. “What do you think I am, Grace?”

“When I first saw you with the wings and the trumpet . . .”

He laughed and the music in his laughter tempted her to join him. “An angel?”

“Yes, but now . . .”

“And now?” he prompted.

She huffed with exasperation. “Now you don’t have a trumpet. Where did you put that thing, anyway? And what’s with the bat’s wings? I expected feathers.”

He laughed again, tucking her arm into his as one leathery wing extended around her shoulders, hugging her to his side.

“Contrary to popular belief, angels come in all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of wings. Mine just happen to look like this.” He pulled her against his chest as the other wing closed around her, encasing her in a sandalwood scented world with his blazing golden eyes staring down at her. “I wanted you to know I’m here for you.”

“Here for me? What are you talking about?”

He leaned forward and kissed her forehead, then returned her to the world in front of a speeding taxi. Horns blared and people screamed as her world shattered into brightness, her latte spilling across the asphalt like golden blood.

“Be easy, Grace. I’ve got you.”

500 words

11/14/2011 11:23:14 am

@SEAdamsKY slick and visceral or rather "groovy" :)

@SiobhanMuir Absolutely amazing!

Great job to the both of you!

11/15/2011 12:15:38 am

I heard the Asian preacher playing trumpet outside of the station. The mournful sound of his trumpet rippled through me like a knife cutting out all the bad within me. I felt joy I felt sorrow and everything in between but I wasn’t ready not for this. The Asian preacher put down his trumpet and started preaching and I found myself listening to his mesmerizing voice. Forgiveness? What did a preacher know of forgiveness and yet I found myself beckoned closer. I listened as he talked of I burned inside an anger flaming within for the person who had killed my son. I was just going ignore this preacher take the train and go kill him. No one knew my plan, no one could stop me.
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of me your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” the preacher continued. It was almost like he knew my heart. I would not let him stop me.
“This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” the preacher continued and I really looked at him as he then put his trumpet to his lips and played Hallelujah. I felt my anger rip away from me and the tattered holes that were my heart heal.
What magic was it that this preacher possessed? I stared at his feet and realized with surprise that they bore new shoes. His clothes were tattered and he looked homeless. I took my running shoes out of my gym bag I carried and offered them too him as well as my sweater and my gym clothes. He smiled and as he turned to speak to me sunlight streamed in from the station windows and he was bathed in light, so much so that it almost hurt to look at him.
“James this is your true self the giver not the revenge seeker you were this morning. Verily I say to you seek not this path. You are better than you know. You have much to offer and help those who have suffered like you. Write these hurts and heal.” He said touching head as I closed my eyes.
When I opened my eyes he was gone. I looked around but in an instance I knew who he was. I went home and took out my laptop and wrote my book God Smiled at Me. .


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