Writing Prompt: “Your thrown-away characters from discarded stories or plotlines all get together in a bar and complain about you.”
The door opened and Laura strolled in. The bar was already full of people most of which were caught up in their own things. Talking. Drinking. That sort of thing.
Laura looked up and noticed that there was a second floor full of a rowdy crowd of people. And were those, animals? They seemed to be celebrating something. There were cheers and all types of noise.
The crowd below was a little quieter. More reserved. A lot sadder or at least melancholy.
“Hello? Where am I? What is this?” She asked.
“Oh no, not another one,” The woman bartender said looking Laura up and down. “Come sit, little lady. It’s going to be ok.”
The woman beckoned Laura forward towards the bar. Other patrons on the bottom floor gave her looks. Some of interest and some of disgust. The patrons upstairs didn’t seem to notice her at all.
Laura looked around.
“What? What is this place? I don’t remember how I got here.”
“Come, sit. It’s alright. We’ll explain everything. You just need to take a seat. Maybe have a drink,” The woman said. “She then turned back towards the bar. “Michael, get out here. We have another one.”
The woman turned back to Laura.
“I’m Rosie, by the way. Nice to meet you,” She said with a smile although her face showed sadness.
“Laura,” She said taking a seat up at the bar.
“Do you want anything to drink?” Rosie asked her.
“Aren’t I too young to drink alcohol?” Laura asked.
“I’m not sure. You age looks pretty ambiguous. But I’ll get you some ice water for now,” She said.
As Rosie got Laura some water, another bartender came out of the kitchen. He wore a dirty smock stained with a variety of food and drink stains.
“You must be our newest patron,” He said stepping up to the bar. “I’m Michael.”
“I’m Laura. Where am I? What is this place?” She asked.
Michael looked nervous.
Rosie set down the glass of ice water.
“This is going to sound a little off the wall, but this is a bar for…characters,” Rosie said.
“What do you mean?” Laura asked.
“Oh, just rip the band-aid off quickly!” One of the patrons shouted from across the bar.
“Now you shut up, Brain,” Rosie yelled across the bar.
“Yeah at least you got a second part to your story,” Another patron shouted.
“You too, Seline. Be quiet,” Michael yelled. “Just let us explain things.”
“You see, Laura,” Rosie began. “You’re not really you. As in you’re not a person, a living human being. You’re a character. Someone written up by a man named Allen. We all are. Does that make sense?”
“I’m…I’m a what? I’m a character? Like a book character?” Laura asked.
“Pffft. Allen wishes. That man can barely get out two thousand words.”
Laura turned to another patron at the bar.
“Don’t mind her. That’s Alexis. She’s very bitter,” Rosie explained.
“Well wouldn’t you be if you had a long-lasting series that he just cancels out of nowhere. Missing weeks all the time. Allen practically sabotaged my series from the beginning. Then he can’t even end it on a high note. He just lets it drop off the face of the Earth. No conclusion. No cliffhanger. Nothing,” Alexis rambled. “Then it gets worse! He decides he’s going to do a whole ‘nother Pokémon Series. Not picking up with my story, no. He jumps into Heart Gold and Soul Silver. That stupid Jonathan and his stupid face. Stupid Allen.”
Alexis slammed back her drink and slammed the empty glass on the bar.
“Another please,” She said.
Rosie reluctantly poured Alexis another drink.
“Wow. All of you are characters as well?” Laura asked.
“Yeah we are all characters written by Allen that are put up on his Blog. Michael and I were one of the first characters up on the Blog. Unfortunately we haven’t gotten any update or continuation to our series since it went up, but you never know what will happen,” Rosie explained.
“He gave the stupid wind two shots and neither one did well,” Alexis mumbled.
“Hey Rosie and I are going to be an awesome space story one day. Allen’s got big plans for us. Just you wait,” Michael said.
“Michael, it’s ok,” Rosie said patting his arm. “No need to get so upset.”
She turned back to Laura.
“So once we were no longer feature on the blog, we started this bar for both active and non-active characters that Allen has written,” Rosie explained.
“What about them?” Laura pointed to the loud group on the second floor.
“Those are the active cast of characters,” The patron to Laura’s left spoke up. “People with recent published pieces or continual stories. The name is Cassandra, by the way.”
The girl reached out her hand and Laura shook it. Next to her on the adjacent bar stool was a baby carrier with a young child in it.
“Awww, who’s that?” Laura asked.
“That’s my younger brother, Caleb,” Cassandra said. “My other brother, Lucas, and my mother got killed with Aliens came down with some kind of laser and blew a hole in my suburban block.”
“Oh my god, that’s horrible. Then what happened?” Laura asked.
“Not sure yet. Allen hasn’t written any more, but my original post sometimes still gets views, so maybe he’ll bring it back soon,” Cassandra said.
“Oh I hope so,” Laura gave a nervous smile.
“Thanks,” Cassandra said and then went back to snacking on peanuts and drinking her soda.
Laura turned back to Rosie and Michael.
“So those are the active characters? Is that why they are so loud?” Laura asked.
“Well they are a rowdy group. There’s a couple of Pokémon trainers. A Dungeons and Dragons party. A school teacher. A boy and his AI. Just a lot of people. But they are especially rowdy tonight,” Michael said.
Alexis spoke up again.
“Yeah they’re celebrating because Allen’s apparently doing this whole revival thing, but only with some series. Some special lead up or whatever,” Alexis grumbled.
Rosie continued. “Yeah Claire and Henry got an update to their popular Writing Prompt piece, Miranda and Jake are celebrating a third installment to their series as well as an engagement, and Zoey and Allison are celebrating their new story being published yesterday. Apparently their friendship has gotten kind of strained in this last part, but I’m sure they’ll make it through it ok.”
“I know Allen wrote Allison straight but I would like to see some Lesbian representation on his Blog,” Michael said.
“At least he was been giving more female characters the lead,” Rosie said.
Alexis grumbled again.
“And what about all these other people?” Laura asked.
“Well you met Alexis and her series was based on a video game called Pokémon Sun and Moon. Heart and Brain over in the corner are based on the personification of thoughts and emotions. It’s had two parts. Seline over there was from a zombie story that never got a second part. That girl over there was a part of a story where a mysterious blue taxi cab took her to her dying mother at the hospital. She doesn’t have a name though,” Rosie said.
“That’s the danger of having a first person perspective. If no one else says your name, you’re only known as I,” Michael chimed in.
“Right you are Michael,” Rosie nodded.
She turned back towards the crowd of patrons.
“Oh right. Over there we have the literal personification of the wind. Allen’s tried really hard to make that work, but people just aren’t really feeling it. Let’s see. Then we have Baxter. He’s a very good dog who helped his owner when she had a heart attack. Just so many wonderful stories over there.”
Rosie then turned to look at the other side of the bar.
“Over here we have Katie, Derek, Delilah, and Max. Allen tried to do this whole super-powered teens thing, but you know how things are. The markets are over saturated with superheroes.”
“What about all his fantasy series? There are like a thousand of those,” Alexis said.
“Hey now. Allen loves writing fantasy. It makes him happy. Plus his current Dungeons and Dragons series is pretty good. Not to mention fan favorites like Evil on the Doorstep and A Child on Fire. People like those,” Michael said.
“Still I wish he would write more Science Fiction,” Cassandra said.
“We could both use a second part,” Michael said.
“Allen knows what he is doing. He’ll bring us back if he thinks the audience wants it. He’s trying to build a community you know. He has to balance what makes him happy and what he wants to write and what the audience wants to read. It can’t be an easy job,” Rosie said.
“At least he could give you some kind of closure,” Alexis said. “People are going to read my series hoping for an adventure through Alola only to be disappointed when they reach Part 28 only to realize that there’s no more. He even introduced a new character in that part.”
“Hey Alexis, some people would be happy with a part two and you’re over there complaining there’s no part 29,” Another patron spoke up.
“Shut up, Nathan!” Alexis sneered at him.
A boy leaned over the bar and waved at Laura.
“Hi, I’m Nathan!” He waved.
The boy next to him waved as well.
“And I’m Caspian.”
“Hello to the both of you,” Laura waved back.
“Nathan and Caspain are both from a fantasy piece where they go to a magic school and have magical familiars that help them do spells. Only has one part I’m afriad,” Rosie explained.
“My familiar is a hammerhead shark,” Caspian said.
“And mine’s a dragon,” Nathan said.
“Good luck winning a swim meet with a dragon familiar,” Caspian said.
“Dude, I don’t need to win swim meets. My familiar is a dragon,” Nathan replied.
They both got back into a conversation with themselves over which one was cooler: a hammerhead shark or a dragon.
“So what about you, Laura? What’s your story about?” Cassandra asked her.
“I…I don’t know,” Laura said holding her glass with both hands.
“You don’t remember anything?” Cassandra asked.
“No. Nothing at all. But I have a feeling someone is looking for me,” Laura said.
“Oh wow,” Cassandra looked shocked.
“You’re a blank-pager,” Rosie said with a sad expression on her face.
“I’m a what?” Laura asked.
“It’s when you’re story isn’t even written. It just sits in his drafts, not finished,” Michael said as he began cleaning glasses.
“About a year ago we had a mass exodus of blank-paggers. Apparently Allen cleaned out his drafts folder. I’m surprised someone made it. You must be really special,” Rosie said trying to sound positive.
“On the plus side, your story can be anything,” Cassandra said.
“Yeah maybe it will be a Space Opera and you’ll be some kind of Space Princess,” Michael said.
“Or maybe you will have magic powers,” Caspian shouted out.
“Better not be another Pokémon trainer,” Alexis let out a sigh.
“No matter what you are, I’m sure your story is going to be great and people are going to love it,” Rosie smiled.
“I sure hope so,” Laura said. “But don’t worry, even if my story does become popular, I’m going to hang out down here with you guys.”
“That’s very sweet of you, Laura,” Rosie said. “But we’ll understand if you want to hang out with the people up there. They have a lot of fun as well.”
“Yeah when, Sigthyme pulls out his lute. Oh man, then it’s a party,” Michael said.
And almost on cue or as if some outside force was making it happen, lute music erupted from upstairs and people started to cheer.
“I think I’m going to like it here,” Laura said taking another sip of water.
Header Photo Credit to O’Neil’s Pub
Writing Prompt submitted to r/WritingPrompt by u/biffboffboof