Remember when you used to sit around the campfire, taking turns telling the same story? That's what we're going to try to do here. Each day a different one of us will pick up the story where it left off and take it to strange exciting new places. I was picked to start, and decided to get us going by taking inspiration from a painting by Edward Hopper. (Thoughtfully provided by Schrodinger, with my thanks.)
I hope you enjoy this, and make sure to leave lots of nice comments, as most Monkey Barn Contributors aren't writers (so they're kind of nervous).
Harry and Anika sat there tense, trying to pretend they were no such thing. Last night had been truly awful. Three months in town and still no friends, they had jumped at a party invitation. The instructions to “bring your favorite weapon” were odd, but Harry assured Anika it was just small town humor.
Nothing at the party went well. There was a film noir buff, fascinated that Harry should have the same name as a character in some famous movie. ‘Harry Lime,’ the man had repeated all night, infinitely delighted.
Anika didn’t fare much better. Again and again she’d had to tell people, no, “Not like Star Wars. That was Anakin. I’m Anika.” The message didn’t seem to come through.
Then at the end of the party that…thing happened. Small town or not, Anika couldn’t stand it, and she told Harry to take her home. Angry words were spoken. The hide-a-bed unfolded.
Now they sat there, uncomfortable. Harry tried to read the paper, his mind on other things. He was dreading work today. What must his coworkers think of him? After Bob invites him over for a big shindig, Anika embarrasses him like that. Harry knew he needed to speak to her about it, but confrontation made Harry queasy.
Out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Anika playing silently, her fingers an inch above the keys. She used to love to play; a delicate touch and a flair for combining the most incongruous. The first time Harry ever met Anika was at another party. She was effortlessly melding Chopin’s Nocturne and the theme song from “COPS” together. Harry fell in love with her at first sound.
Anika hadn’t played once since they moved here, and Harry wasn’t quire sure why. Oddly, he noticed she was a little too dressed up for a Tuesday morning. Anika always looked lovely, but it wasn’t even 8, and already she had her makeup on, her hair done, and was that a hint of perfume?
Harry was going to mention it to her when out of the corner of his eye he saw the article with accompanying picture. Was that the guy? From last night? That they…..? Blood drained from Harry’s face as he soaked in the details.
“My, God, Anika, you’re not going to believe it. I know who that man was now.”
“What man?” Anika said casually, but Harry noticed her fingers had quit whatever music had been in her head. Did she know something?
Harry opened his mouth to tell her, when a knock came at the door behind them. Both looked up sharply at the sound, then eyed each other, nervous.
“You better see who that is.” Harry said hoarsely.
“Yes.” Anika answered faintly. I suppose I must.”
Anika began to rise, straightening her dress. Harry opened his mouth to tell his wife something important, but just then the door burst open, and whatever thought Harry had fell plumb out of his head.
Today's Part was brought to you by :
Up tomorrow: Bear
Go on to Part II