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This is my entry for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. Our prompt word this week was club, and I thought it was a great opportunity to dust off an idea that came straight out of a conversation my friends and I had back in college.

“The Rough Draught”

The bar was Noel’s idea in the first place. Everyone comes to see him.

They first met in college, students finding their place in the real world. They would chat about music, movies, video games, life. Most of the time, though, it was books. Books, authors, the publishing industry. It was their shared passion, whether they were heaping praise upon those that earned their approval or tearing down those that drew their ire.

Noel was majoring in business, Jackson in creative writing, Camille in professional editing, and Mike in art and philosophy. They quickly became close friends, and soon Mike and Camille were engaged. They met anywhere they were tolerated. Usually the volume and intensity of their conversations would scare other customers away in bookstores, and the relatively soundproof study rooms in the local library could only do so much once they really got started.

However, all good things must come to an end, and so it was with the club’s regular meetings. Graduation came, and their next reunion was not to be until Camille and Mike’s wedding a year later. It was at the wedding dinner that Noel proposed his idea.

“Imagine a place,” he said, “where people would be free to have the kind of conversations we used to have, but be able to find the support for their endeavors.”

“You obviously have something in mind,” Camille grinned, wiping a bit of cake from her mouth. “What is it?”

“I call it ‘The Rough Draught.’ A bar for book people, but not just a bar. A bookstore, a bar, a literary agency. Hell, we could even get a print-on-demand station if we wanted to. But I’d love your help. I’ve got a business plan and a couple of potential investors, but I would love your help. We could have editors and artists on hand every day. What do you guys think?”

“I love it, and the name’s perfect,” Jackson laughed. “When do we start?”

“As soon as we can,” Noel said.

And here’s number 3 in my latest series, pieces inspired by Cowboy Bebop episode titles. This one’s called “Honky Tonk Women.”

 

 

“Do you really think that life will be that different out there? I mean, we’ve got it pretty good here, all things considered. The bar is even starting to turn a profit.”

“I don’t know. I want it to be better, but I don’t know. All I know is that they’ve offered me the job in Valentine.”

“Abby, you know we can’t afford to go to Mars!”

“They’ve offered to pay my way. Full coverage of relocation. Not just me, actually. Both of us.”

“Us?”

“You know I can’t imagine going anywhere without you. How long have we been together now?”

“Two years, next Thursday.”

“Exactly. What better way to celebrate our anniversary? We can even go out for a fancy dinner, steak, or sushi, or something, maybe go see a show. When was the last time we went out? It’ll be my treat, Emily.”

“But you always pay for dinner…”

“No buts, missy.”

“Fine. But on one condition.”

“To dinner, or to my taking the job in Valentine?”

“To your taking the job, I guess.”

“Okay.”

“Well…are you going to tell them about me? About us?”

“They already know, Em. I had to put someone down as my beneficiary if something happens to me. I sure as hell wasn’t going to leave anything to my parents after what they said to you.”

“You’re…but…why?”

“Because I love you, you big dork.”

“I love you too, Abby.”

“So, they’ve offered us relocation expenses, including a ride on the TPE next week. Our stuff will be sent along as freight, so we don’t have to worry about having some jackass movers meet us there. We’ve already got a lease ready to sign for an apartment in central Valentine, just down the street from the library. They want me to start as soon as we can get there.”

“Oh my God…”

“I know. We’re going to be set, hun.”

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

“They just got back to me yesterday. I wanted to surprise you with the news, but you were at work, and I didn’t want to tell the whole bar. It’s not like you could’ve heard me over that godawful country crap they play in there.”

“What are we going to do about it?”

“The bar? Sell it! Hasn’t James been talking to you about converting part of it into a hookah place anyway? Let him have the whole building. Start a new one on Mars! You can call it ‘The Mars Bar’ or some other lame pun like you love so much.”

“You know me way too well…”

“I thought that was the idea.”

“So, you’ve got a new job that’s going to take care of both of us.”

“Yup.”

“It sounds like they thought of everything.”

“There’s no other library like it in the solar system. They said they wanted the best people to work for them, and they picked me, so here we are.”

“So, when do we leave?”

“How quickly can you pack?”

“I don’t even know what to say.”

“Say you’ll come with me to Mars, and we’ll be able to live our dreams together.”

“I’ll go.”