NOTE: The following is part 4 of fifteen weekly posts by Tom Spencer ’16. It is a creative writing short story broken up into 15 chapters. This story is fiction, which is the creation of a story from the author’s imagination, and is not based on real events or people, though it may reference real events or people.
Chapter 4: Care to Dance, Stranger?
What can you do? I’ve got classes like the next student. I’ve been keeping a sharp eye out for Lauren’s roommate, but it’s like Lauren says: she’s scarce. It’s not long before it’s time to go to the MUB.
I stand across from the pool hall, and watch a few students play. One of them’s all right at the game- I wouldn’t want to play him for money. Through the wall, Frank Sinatra music is swinging softly. Sing it, Frankie.
“Care to dance, stranger?”
I look up and there’s a girl standing there in a red dress. She’s got one hand on her hip and she nods towards the door next to me. I look back and see the Hepcats Ballroom Dance club is holding their meeting in there. They’re practicing to Frank Sinatra. Well, she didn’t make the offer in a way you turn down easily, so I followed her into the studio.
The music is going, and she takes my hand. We start a steady swing step. “So. You a club member?” I ask. She does a spin and catches my hand again.
“I’ve never been here before in my life.”
I’m not sure I believe her. It’s my style to cut to the chase, so that’s what I do.
“You wouldn’t happen to be a friend of Pete, would you?”
She cocks her head sideways to knock a dark curl away from one eye. “Who?”
“Well why didn’t you say that in the first place?” she asks. She’s got a glint in her eye, and I know she’s giving me a hard time. We do a dip.
“Listen,” I say, “I got work to do. If I’m wasting my time just let me know.”
She giggles, and suddenly I feel a piece of paper in my palm. She spins away from me, and I’m left standing there alone. I unfold the paper, and read it. This is definitely a guy’s handwriting, gross chicken scratch cursive. “Thorns @ 9,” it says.
I hold it up to her. “What’s this about?” The door to the studio is closing. I look around, and she’s gone. I bolt out the door, and look in the poolroom. Nothing. Outside on the balcony, I watch to see if I can catch where she went. Nothing. What a disappearing act.
Something had come from Pepsi’s tip, even if I didn’t understand it. I’m walking back, and soon I peel back my shirtsleeve to look at my wristwatch. 9pm. A funny idea hits me.
I could be back at the hall in under five minutes. I was just worried I would miss whatever this thing, whatever it was.
Back at Hawthorne I walk around to the side door that isn’t used as much. There’s someone back there.
It’s a figure in a hoodie who shoves his hands in his pockets, and walks towards the door a little too quickly. He’s got a big duffel bag on his shoulder, and he can barely walk because it’s banging against his legs heavily. The bag is canvas, and black. I can hear glass clinking from here. He takes out an I.D. to swipe in. That means he lives here, which makes him my problem.
To be continued…