Friday, June 12, 2009

[Fiction] Friday - June 12, 2009

Include this line in your story…”The piano accordion player slumped forward.”

The accordion bellowed sweet music as he pumped air through it and swayed in rhythm. His head tilted up towards the sun, as bursts of light danced across his sunglasses. Dressed in an odd combination of patterns along with mis-matched socks and an old newsboy hat, he played his accordion as if it was his only way of communicating.

People shuffled by all day long passing this old accordion player on a busy street downtown. Most hardly noticed him or took time to listen, while others stood and enjoyed his vision of freedom through the whistling pitches he created. The people who did stop to listen only stayed for a short time, often tossing a few coins into the cup he had sitting out in front of him.

They often gave money because they felt bad for him in his odd clothing riddled with stains and frayed edges. They figured he lived someplace on the street close by in an alley or under a bridge. Not giving it anymore thought than that they moved on with their busy day and stressful lives.

The accordion player was a mysterious man though. He was probably close to eighty-five or even ninety years old. He never talked to the people on the street and most times didn’t even know if anyone was listening. All he could hear was the sound of the music he bellowed through his instrument, at least until he stopped playing.

That’s when the sounds of life irritated his sensitive hearing. Shoes scuffing the ground, voices mumbling, the hum of the freeway just a block away, and car brakes screaming even few minutes. And of course there was the occasional sound of coins being tossed into his can, while whispers fluttered around about his appearance. He could only take a few moments of the sounds before he had to play to drown out the city sounds.

After each song, the piano accordion player slumped forward to give a seated bow to anyone who was still standing there, even if they were only there waiting for the pedestrian crossing light to change.

At the end of the day, with the sinking sun glowing on the old mans face, it’s time for him to go. He snaps the strap to close his accordion and puts it in its case. He collects his can and reaches behind him to retrieve his walking cane. He stands up, unfolds the red and white stick, adjusts his hat and sunglasses and walks away toward the sun.

Casting a shadow ten times his height behind him as he maneuvers down the quiet sidewalk, he wonders if he’ll be back tomorrow.



Annie Evett said...

Whimsical piece, taking a breathe in of real life, a glimpse of the beauty we have around us but never stop and look. thanks for sharing.

and thanks for not killing the poor fellow off. Hes had a rather hard trot tonight on other blogs and stories.

visitors can see my submission at

Anonymous said...

Loooove it, so detailed in character description and surroundings.

check out my submission :

James Ashelford said...

That was a great character piece. Lad that I'm not the only one letting their player live through the night.

Whimsical and sad at the same time, giving us a glimpse into the explanations behind someone that we would never consider, this is exactly the sort of story I love:

My own humble submission:

dan powell said...

Super character portrait. You give the writer a clear and sympathetic view of the player. His discomfort at the sounds around him is a great motivation. A moving piece.

My effort:

Post a Comment