In addition to having a baby, I was working on my first novel last month. While I didn't get my draft finished (I blame the baby for coming sooner than instructed, but really, I lost the pace a week or so before I went into labor), I did get more than a dozen scenes written out. I thought I'd share one of my favorites with you.
This evening takes place early in the story. The two main characters, Rosie and Stone, got together a couple of weeks previously and they have just begun to include one another in their regular activities.
Thursday Trivia Night was the busiest evening of the week at Smokey’s Pub, or “The Off-Campus” as it had been dubbed many years ago by the local student population. Thursdays at the Off-Campus were a tradition for Stone. He’d started meeting a few of the guys from his dorm for trivia and beer when he was a freshman and returned every fall when he got back to school. He greeted several other regulars as he led Rosie through the crowd to the bar in the back.
“Hey, Fred,” Stone waved at the usual Thursday-night bartender.
“Hiya, Stone,” Fred smiled, showing off a his gold front tooth, as he popped the cap off a bottle of Stone’s favorite beer. “Wasn’t sure we’d be seeing you here anymore. You graduated from the Big House this last week, didn’t you?”
“Sure did. I’m still around for now, though,” Stone drew Rosie closer to the bar. “I made a new friend. This is Rosie.”
Fred stuck out a hand, “Good to meet you, Rosie. I’m Fred, best barman south of the Mason-Dixon line.”
Rosie smiled and shook his hand, “It’s nice to meet you.”
“What can I get for you?”
“Could I get a Coke with a lime, please?”
“No challenge,” Fred grumbled with a wink to Rosie as he scooped up ice into a wide-mouth glass, filled it with soda, and squeezed in a lime wedge. He added a red straw and passed the drink across the bar. Stone reached for his wallet, but Fred shook his head.
“Naw,” he said. “Those are on the house. Graduation gift for you.”
“Thank you,” Stone and Rosie spoke together.
“Thanks, a lot, Fred,” Stone added.
“Good luck in the game,” Fred called as they stepped away to look for a free table.
Settling in at a tiny table for two near the corner stage, Rosie asked Stone about the trivia game.
“It doesn’t start until 8:00,” Stone explained, “But if you’re not here by 6:30, you won’t get a table.” He gestured at the crowd already filling most of the tables in the pub, then pointed to the small stage, “The emcee reads the questions from here, then each team has two minutes to write down their answer and pass it up. Whoever has the most answers right at the end of the night wins.”
“What’s the prize?”
“Free pitcher of your choice.”
“I think I’m beginning to understand the popularity of Trivia Night,” Rosie said, dryly. “How often has your team gotten the pitcher of beer?”
Stone smiled, “Once or twice. Some of these players are pretty hard core, though. They’ve been part of the same teams, every week, for years.” Stone pointed out a few of the long-standing competitors, explaining that each team member specialized in one or two categories so their group always had an expert, no matter what sort of question came up.
Rosie raised her eyebrows. She shook her head, “I don’t think you should count on any more free beer tonight. I don’t know if I can compete with that kind of advanced strategy.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Stone told her. “I don’t really come for the prize. Trivia Night is what’s kept me from holing up in my room too much over the years and becoming anti-social.”
“I don’t believe it,” Rosie said. “I can’t see you not playing to win.”
“I didn’t say I don’t play to win,” Stone replied. “I just know when I’m outmatched.”
Rosie nodded and took a sip of her Coke, “That’s a good thing to know.”
“How about you?” Stone leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table.
“What about me?”
“Do you know when you’ve met your match?”
Rosie stirred the straw in her drink. She studied Stone’s blue eyes, dark in the dim light of the pub.
“Yeah,” She said slowly. “I think I do.”
Copyright ©2009 by Amy James Gray. No part of this text may be copied or reprinted without the prior consent of the author.