Meet Me In the Limelight - Day 461: 5 Minute Freewrite: Thursday - Prompt: in the limelight

in freewrite •  28 days ago

Day 461: 5 Minute Freewrite: Thursday - Prompt: in the limelight


Meet me in the Limelight,

he said, and there was a lot of background noise, so I when I asked where the hell that was and what the hell he meant by it, it sounded like he said the castle, and I knew Harley was stoned out of his gourd. Musicians.

Sure he was cute. That long, unruly hair and little-boy mischief in his eyes and the slender build all those underfed rock stars had. And young jazz musicians like Harley, all sinewy arms and long, strong fingers from plucking that bass.

Q: What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?

A: Homeless.

It was an old joke but a good one.

Sure, meet him in the limelight, give him another chance. He'd stopped squatting a long time ago and had a nice carriage house with five other musicians now, but that wasn't the point.

The cordless phone was still in my hand. I walked it back to the kitchen and caught myself gently putting it back like I was putting a child to bed. And that's all Harley McSweeney was. A boy who'd never grow up.

The little black dress would be just right for my date. The staple of every smart woman's wardrobe. How to accessorize tonight? A cold, wet wind from Lake Michigan and a drizzle of rain out my brownstone window decided me. Heels, yes, but not sandals. Silver, gold, faux pearls? Jared was an architect, into the Old World look. I settled on Grandma's rhinestone necklace and earrings and her wool cape with the mink collar. The PETA activists would have me stoned, but the minks were already dead, and so was Grandma, and the cape still looked regal.

Jared was already there, waiting at the cafe,

and I got there a minute before seven. So punctual! So much better than Harley's chronic lateness. His wardrobe was spotless and new but never as awesome as Harley's.

Harley. He could wear any out-of -find from a consignment shop and it would look amazing on him. Tall, with high cheekbones, and that underfed musician slenderness, he could have made his fortune as a fashion model. In high school people would ask him where he got that incredible paisley shirt or those white leather shoes and those mind-blowing tight purple pants. Grandpa's Closet, he'd say. Where's that? Ha. When Harley's distinguished grandpa died, Harley was the only grandson who fit all those nice clothes. At school, others tried to copy his look but nobody else could pull it off like Harley did.

Everyone said we were the couple most likely to marry from St. Francis High, Harley with his elegant musician look, me with the vintage film star look, thanks to my grandma. Harley got a degree in music; I got a degree in marketing along with art, and I had a real job at an art gallery. Which is where I met Jared.

Jared had money to buy his own dinner. And mine. He insisted on paying everything, even the tip.

On our way out we passed a skinny guy playing a sax under the canopy, out of the drizzle of Chicago in almost-October. I stopped and tugged Jared's sleeve even though he hated jazz. And buskers. Anyone blocking his path on the sidewalks hoping for coins and dollar bills in their instrument cases had best stay out of Jared's way.

I tossed a dollar into the man's sax case. He'd just finished something I didn't recognize, probably an original composition, because Harley had dragged me to so many jazz gigs, I knew the "Fake Book" meant The Real Book and I knew all the jazz standards in it, to the point I could recognize them even during some of the wilder improvs. Harley once had a very well known trumpeter play Happy Birthday for me when I turned sixteen and I didn't even recognize it as Happy Birthday. That's how improvisational these guys get, and the more seasoned they are, the more liberties they take.

"Thank you," the sax player said.

Jared stared ostentatiously at his ostentatious watch.

"You're really talented," I said, squaring my shoulders as Jared took his turn tugging my sleeve. Er, cape. "I'll bet you know of a young jazz bassist named Harley. He's jammed all over Chicago with some of the last of the old gang who played with Miles Davis and all them."

The man tipped his head back and laughed, his teeth straight and white, his dark skin glistening with that mist. "Oh, do I know Harley. He's going places. Fact, he scored a gig at the new Limelight."

Miles at 25, photo by his mother

Jared yanked, and I gave him the snake-eye. "Hold on. Did you just say the Limelight?"

"Yes Ma'am. Night club that started in Florida, with spin-offs in London and Atlanta and New York. Now us!"

"It's in the old Chicago Historical Society building," Jared said. "Looks like a castle. On the corner of Dearborn and Ontario."

"Ooh, I'd love to see!"

Jared went stiff. He knew about Harley. Hell, everyone knew about Harley. Most of the CDs I played were songs Harley burned at home after recording himself on some multi-track system he bought from the estate sale of a dead musician.

Meet me in the limelight, Harley had said with his usual calm, but I'd heard the sweet, hopeful note of cajoling in his voice and those undertones of vulnerable little boy, and I wasn't falling for that again.

So I had told myself a thousand times before.

"I have tickets to the game," Jared reminded me. The pissy look on his face and the way tried to dress but fell short and the way he showed off his watch and his ability to pick up the tab--suddenly I couldn't fathom another minute with him.

Not when Harley was a cab ride away in a castle in the limelight.

"Jared, go on ahead without me. You can scalp my ticket on the sidewalk." On impulse, I fished a five from my vintage clutch purse and tucked it into the sax player's shirt pocket. "Thank you for the tip," I said.

A cab slowed down for a red light. The rain-wet streets glistened and a chorus of tires made that awesome sound you only hear in cities. The sax player took up a familiar melody, “September In The Rain.”

"Hannah!" Jared shouted as I hailed the cab, got in and shut the door. He slapped the window. "Hannah. Seriously?"

"Seriously, thanks for dinner, Jared!"

"Where to?" the cab driver said with an easy smile and all the time in the world.

"The Limelight."


Check Out The @FreeWriteHouse Prompt Of The Day By @MarianneWest

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Hi carolkean,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.


Ohhhhh wow!!! THANK YOU!!!! You totally made my day/week/New Year!!!!

ALTERNATIVE ENDING - the @negativer version - she doesn't see the sax player. She doesn't see Harley in The Liimelight. She marries Jared. Months later she sees Harley in the headlines - his career is soaring! That night at the Limelight, a talent scout found him! - but she's stuck with Jared now and the horrible realization that when Harley said "Meet me in the limelight," he wasn't being a stoner with another song in mind; he was at The Limelight; now Harely is famous and Jared is a bore. There.
I prefer the Disney ending myself.
And now I see that #freewritehouse is a hashtag I should remember to use. Sometimes I do. I rely on what auto-type delivers. -_-

I love that your Hannah goes with her heart. Few of us ever do. What a wonderful story from our freewrite prompt, @carolkean. You surely put my efforts to shame.

I did not know we were supposed to be using freewritehouse now. Thank you so much for the tip.

Details! They will be the death of me here at STEEM lol.


You sound like me - struggling with so many DETAILS - and it isn't just the millenials who make it look so easy. People my age also take to it like a big minnow to the waters of Steemit... thanks for reading!


Your own freewrites are wonderful! thank you for the compliments, and you don't need me to remind you not to sell yourself short. I however do need you to remind me to exercise more, eat more greens (ugh), and take better care of myself. We only get one body. No replacement parts, no cyborg options yet.

Nice story and nice entry for the freewrite prompt. I always like to read your fiction. You are one of the better writers we have on Steemit. I hope we will see more from you. Steem on.


Awwww THANK YOU!!! Your posts are so informative and well-researched and documented, I see why you average one post a month. Our nephew is epileptic. A co-worker lost his pilot's license when a head injury caused epilepsy. My grade school classmate died at 18 when she had a seizure while driving. You are first-rate at nonfiction and should be selling articles like this one to magazines!

What a difficult confusing life she had.. but I'm glad for her that she found him and can meet him again. It's not very healthy to compare two people like this as you will never be happy. But well, you will never be happy with a 'wrong' person neither.. as I said.. very difficult and confusing life..

Great writing, I feel like you brought us inside of her head.. I was wondering where this madness would lead and I'm happy with the direction you chose..

Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your curie vote!

Wow. I am amazed how you steered the story around. Seriously, she is going to meet Harley.

I am here to deliver the next prompt to you. Here it is, check it out! It is 'local derby'.

Also, don't forget to read the latest posts from our new page

Click the graphic to join in the fun!

Hello @carolkean, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!


Thank you!
As #theluvbug might say, "You all are amazeballs!"
(I try not to think about the linguistic origins of such phrases) :)
Thanks again!

While I'm citing sources that inspire a theme or mood in my fiction, here's one I had in mind writing Meet Me in the Limelight:
Avril Lavigne - Sk8er Boi (Official Music Video) - YouTube

He was a skater boy
She said see you later boy
He wasn't good enough for her
Now he's a super star
Slamming on his guitar
Does your pretty face see what he's worth?