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Time to Face the Music, A Short Story

Updated on November 13, 2009

Downtown Memphis, Tennessee

Writer's prompt: A twenty something man sits in a taxi in front of his parents home trying to find the strength to tell them??????????

A cold wind was blowing off the Mississippi when we drove out of uptown. It had calmed a little on the short ride south. The young man in the back of the taxi had been polite enough. Even though his clothes were somewhat odd, his brown hair a little too long and his destination troubling the young man did not seem menacing. Brooding maybe, nervous certainly, but not menacing. I caught a glimpse of the man in my rear view mirror as he stared out the window, long almost delicate fingers of his right hand curled and touching his lips thoughtfully.

“328 Lauderdale Courts” I said. “This where you live?”

“Yes sir” He answered. “Yes sir, it is. How much do I owe you?”

I told him and the young man paid me but did not get out.

“Something wrong?” I asked.

“Yes sir, I guess there is. I quit my job today and I can’t figure out how to tell my folks.”

Music drifted in on the wind from over on Beale Street as I thought about what he had said.

“Times are hard right now, son. I figure that a young man who has a job probably ought to keep it.” I said. “Your folks counting on you to help them out?”

“Yes sir and my daddy’s not going to understand. Him and Mamma’s having it a little tough right now.”

“Why’d you quit your job?” I asked. “Let me guess. Boss man made you mad, you had to work too hard, it’s too cold, you have to get up too early...... all the above?”

“No sir, you got it all wrong. They were very good to me down at the store and all and I kinda got a promotion to delivery but......” He sat back and looked out the window doing that thing with his right hand again. Brooding.

“Are you an only child.” I said. He looked back at me and nodded. But there was more in his eyes to that story . I let it go.

“So why did you quit?” I asked.

“I cain’t hardly explain it. just don’t feel right, ya know? It’s like I’m supposed to be doing something else with my life. Something else, something different.........”

"You didn't just quit your job with nothing else lined up." I said turning to look over the seat at him. "I've learned to read people pretty good and you don't strike me that way. "

"I do have a little something lined up." He grinned and somehow in that moment he seemed to be more than just a scarred kid sitting in the back seat of a crummy cab in front of a public housing project.

"How do you think your folks are going to take it?"

"Daddy will pitch a fit! " He said. "But mostly, It's just Mamma I'm thinking about."

"Your Mamma?"

"She worries about me all the time. She's sick a lot and me having a job helps out with her medicine.........she deserves more."

"Well, you can't walk in another man's shoes." I said. "That means you have to do what seems right to you."

"I guess I know that ......... but what if I'm wrong?"

"It's just a fork in the road.." I said. "What are you, twenty-something? If this doesn't work out it's not the end of the road. Just back her up and try the other fork."

"You make it sound easy."

"Hey, I'm just giving out free advice." I said. "That's easy and worth exactly what I charge for it."

The young man smiled, pulled a beat up guitar case across the seat and got out of the car. He stepped up to my door and put his hand out. I shook it and he turned to the sidewalk.

"Time to face the music" He said.

"What's your name, son?" I asked.

He told me and as he turned to leave I wished him good luck.

"Thank you, thank you very much."


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    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Yeah, I thought we might be kindred spirits.

    • Winsome profile image


      6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thanks for the tip Res, you were right, I did enjoy it. =:)

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks, ediann. Good luck.

    • ediann profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice to keep Elvis alive in our writing as he influenced so many. My 11 year old autistic son is a big fan of his music and loves his whole persona. Great writing!

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      8 years ago from South Carolina

      This is actually an old one but I am glad you liked it, Tammy!

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      8 years ago

      Hey you've been busy...I'm not getting your new publishes in my e-mail. This is a good story I really enjoyed it. See ya.

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for taking the time to figure it out!

      Palin 2012!!!

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      9 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I am not an Elvis nut so it took me reading these comments to get the point. Once I did, I had to reread it, lol. Now that I am in on the secret I can say, Nice job, resspenser!

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      To Its Angel and Don

      Thank you both for the kind comments. I wanted the end to be the punch. A true Elvis nut would probably get there well before the end because the clues were there: Memphis, music, E had a twin brother who died at birth, he had brown hair at the beginning of his career, his Mom was sickly, etc

      Thanks again!

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      That is a huge compliment coming from you. I consider you to be as close to a professional as I ever deal with. (No slam intended!!)

      I read a lot of first person books (RB Parker mainly) and like the mystery genre in general.

      Appreciate it!

    • Michael Ray King profile image

      Michael Ray King 

      9 years ago from Palm Coast, Florida

      respenser, nicely done. The dialogue is crisp - for a number of reasons: you understand you don't have to have dialogue tags (he said, she said) and you intersperse physical descriptions sparsely which allows the pace of the reading (conversation) to flow well. Also, using first person draws the reader in more intimately.

      I also like how you don't throw his name in our face. The guitar is a nice touch as well.

      Very enjoyable offering.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 

      9 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

      You had me to the last line!

      Well written and captivating!

    • Its Angel profile image

      Its Angel 

      9 years ago from Charleston, SC

      This is great! I like the way you told it, I never guessed it was Elvis until the end but I can picture it..who knew?


    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Well, I made up the incident! But it could have happened. Thanks for the comments!

    • quicksand profile image


      9 years ago

      Hey, let me add ... this is one of the goodest short stories I have read in recent times, referring to a real life incident!

    • quicksand profile image


      9 years ago

      ... and that young man succeeded beyond his wildest dreams! Great article indeed. The way you have presented it is brilliant. Thanks!

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Thank you for the kind comment. E rules!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Great story is right! And being an Elvis fan from way back, how could I not love it - all I gotta say is this - thank ya veeery much~

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for reading it. I entered it in a contest @ Writer's Digest and did not win:(

      Shows what they know, huh!

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 

      9 years ago

      Great story, thanks for sharing


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