Check out the details for this week’s challenge here.
The rich aroma of sweets and fresh baked break mixed with coffee wafted through the open glass door. Almost strong enough to cancel out the city stench. It had been over a year, and I still couldn’t get used to the smells that came with the crowds. Maybe it was the acclimation to the craft services tables on set. They never smelled… edible, and they reminded me of the city, even a thousand miles away.
Today wouldn’t be the first time I considered offering the staff of Whistle and Thorn a position on my team. And it wouldn’t be the first time I talked myself out of it. I needed something to look forward to when I came home.
The hairs on the back of my neck ticked up. I had hovered outside for too long. The eyes had found me. I flipped up the collar of my blazer and the prickling dissipated. With a side-gaze over my collar, I spotted a trio of teenage girls hovering two stores down. They seemed indecisive enough. I might be able to slip inside without them following. Or I could acknowledge them. The choice was always a gamble.
I had hesitated to a further point of awkwardness. More eyes would follow if I didn’t make a decision. One of the girls had pulled out her cell phone, and was trying to discreetly take a picture. Honestly, it was more obvious that way than if she had just held the thing up in front of her.
Smiling to myself, I popped my collar back down and turned to face them. The one with the camera froze, cheeks flushing. I dug out my best publicity smile with a touch of snark. Feet spread apart slightly, back straight. Hand raised to my brow with a look into the distance. Hold. If their hands weren’t shaking too bad with excitement, they should have been able to take a few photos. Three, two, one.
I rolled out a sweeping, over-exaggerated bow, and with a wink, I stepped inside Whistle and Thorn. I could see the girls’ silhouettes through the squares of privacy glass that made up the street-side wall of the cafe. The girls had moved closer, but I had judged correctly. They wouldn’t follow me inside.
Turning to the counter, I pulled off my blazer.
“Afternoon, Mr. Walker. Your usual?”
“Yes, please. Thank you, Jane.” The ladies behind the counter were always so sweet. I couldn’t guarantee that they didn’t dissolve the facade behind the kitchen doors, but they treated me like a human. They welcomed me home. I smiled. “And please, call me Vance.”
It took me a minute to figure out which role you were going for, and I think that’s because I was mildly confused by the structure of the first paragraph, namely “Maybe it was the acclimation to the craft services tables on set.” I can chalk that up with the nature of flashfiction and plopping the reader into a scene. I thought “craft services tables” might be some sort of catering thing, but that made more sense when I went back. A lot more sense. 🙂
Before thinking on it, I thought this might be some secret agent or even possibly the village idiot (with paranoia), but it’s definitely the movie star. I like how Vance is very calculated, thoughtful, and rather introspective. I assume a number of actors/actresses are, but that’s not something we typically see in the public light. He’d rather avoid his fawning devotees, but knows his audience well enough to dissuade them effectively rather than snub them or run from them.
And I can see the name “Vance Walker” as a famous actor. The first name is unique, and the two names roll easily off the tongue.
I was confused at first. I had the thought he was a British cooking show host. The food table, the smells of both the city and the set, the name of the restaurant. The pose confused me though- a chef striking a defiant heroic pose? so upon further inspection, I got it. Action star. humble, but only a little more than the entrenched action star. Vance didn’t fit the Chef, so I stuck it to a star. Viola! Fit like a glove and the whole thing made sense. I agree, the flash part of fiction can sometimes be hard to interpret at first glance, but he covered the deep/ limited 3rd pretty good. Maybe he would like to be a chef instead?