No Expectations

On day three, he eventually arrived, stoned; his only possession a guitar in its case. It turned out to be just an acoustic. Taking himself into a corner, he fiddled around mindlessly, striking notes randomly. He appeared to want to tune it but made no effort.

The band had already laid the track, the producer said it just needs backing vocals, and something else.

You think you can cut it, man?

They set up a mic. Reaching into his case, he withdrew a bottleneck. The red light was on, the track played, and the sweetest slide ever was recorded.

(99 words)


Written for the Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction Prompt: “Bottleneck”

Boy, it’s so TOUGH getting a story into just 99 words! But it’s fun trying.

I’ve liked The Rolling Stones for a long while, their early period and their golden period especially. From the start, there was always a mythology about them. The band was formed by Brian Jones, a Cheltenham lad, a man whose character changed as fame arrived and the decline into drug abuse. He had unwittingly created a thing which, in time, no longer needed him. He was sacked; they said he showed no surprise. Not long after, he was found dead, drowned in his own swimming pool, an event itself which conjured up fantastical theories of how? and why?

I read, or saw, an interview it which the band discuss Jones and his part in his final recording with them on their Beggars Banquet album. My Flash Fiction, which is totally made up, was inspired by the interview. In a nutshell, he was permanently wasted and the band found him impossible to work with. He was put in a quiet corner while they got on with business. But the song “No Expectations”, a slow blues, suggested a slide guitar and they took a chance on him. He managed to perform it very well.

5 comments

    1. Thanks! The first one I did, I had no idea what 99 words looked like. It ended up more like 250. I gave up on that one but gradually they came down to about 120 and then it’s a lesson in identifying the fat and brutally cutting it out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a good idea! I think I even wrote a blog post after my first 99-words attempt relating that trimming process to murder -but, I’ve noticed my approach is more conservative and word-aware now so I have less to cut.

        Liked by 1 person

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