A Street Corner Duet [short story]

Just a fun little drabble for today. ❤ You all will probably recognize these characters pretty soon off, but I like being mysterious so I’m gonna let you guess. xD

I was sort of trying a bit more of a poetic/descriptive style, more than I’m used to. So yeah. Hope it turned out well and you guys like it. 🙂

 


The Duet

The sun was dipping low over the ocean, glowing gold across the town of Seaside, Oregon and stretching the shadows long. The heat of the warm, July day had cooled, just leaving the lingering warmth coming from the sand and cracked, worn sidewalks.

 

The chatter and bustle in the side streets from earlier in the heat of the day had calmed to a steady, quieter stream of people, about evenly divided between locals and tourists. A few people in still damp swimsuits, grabbing late dinners or just getting an ice cream from one of the shops.

 

A lone, towering figure stepped out onto one of the street corners, his long shadow stretching out beside the thin line of the streetlamp’s shadow in the low sunlight. He lifted his head and looked around for a few seconds. He looked one way down the street, then briefly lifted his sunglasses and peered at the candy shop across the way.

 

Baden News took in a deep breath through his nose, inhaling the scent of ocean, taffy and warm ice cream cones. He smiled. Taking a couple of seconds, he straightened his back, adjusted his thin, black tie, then reached inside his coat.

 

When he pulled his large hand back out again, he was holding a small, dinged-up ceramic dish and a small, shiny harmonica.

 

Carefully, News set the dish on the ground at his feet. He straightened back up. He adjusted his cuffs and pulled down on the bottom hem of his coat. And then he began to play.

 

He kept his head ducked, facing slightly away from the waning sunlight so his face was hidden in the shadow of his fedora brim. His huge hands swallowed up the harmonica. Only the tiniest little glint of silver flashed through when he moved his hands a little and the surface caught the sunlight.

 

It was a slow, kind of sad sounding tune. A few people slowed to listen. News moved to the music, wiggling the harmonica around a little to trill the notes while he played.

 

The sound of his harmonica playing carried down the street and a few more people came to see as he worked through a few more songs. A couple of jazzy, faster ones. A few more sad sounding ones. And a few that everyone liked, but no one could place the exact tune to. Those ones were Schoolhouse Rock. News liked putting a lot of energy into those performances.

 

The occasional clink of coins or rustle of bills dropping into his dish accented the playing. News would look up for a little bit and wiggle his eyebrows at whoever had been so generous. A few people liked that. It was a little hard to give much other thanks when you were in the middle of playing the harmonica.

 

The sun slowly turned orange, then red as it dipped into the ocean and disappeared beyond the water in a blaze of color. The air got colder. Some people stayed around the beach and made bonfires, but the streets slowly emptied as people went home.

 

News stayed, illuminated on his corner by the orange, buzzing glow of the streetlight above him. He still had a few more songs he wanted to work through for the last few people who were out late.

 

Until recently, he’d been used to playing his favorite jazzy songs as accompaniment. Usually he had Franklin singing along with him. But striking out on his own had gotten him to improvise in more ways than one.

 

News finished the song he was on and pulled the harmonica down from his mouth for a second. He took in a deep breath and blew it out. Pushing his hat back from his forehead a little, he looked up and down the street again.

 

Barely anyone out now. Just that couple over there, leaning into each other as they walked down the street. A couple of shop owners closing up. And… one other guy. Running kinda fast down the street towards him.

 

Long, tangled hair flopped out behind this new figure as he ran. His bare feet smacked against the pavement and a plaid flannel shirt fluttered out behind him like a cape. He raised the hand that didn’t have a deathgrip on a ukulele and gave a frantic wave.

 

News frowned a little and raised one hand to wave back.

 

“Hey dude!” the other guy skittered up to a stop next to News, taking about half a second to catch his breath. He puffed out his cheeks and swiped a few strands of hair out of his face before turning his face upwards and gave a grin. He held up his ukulele. “I’m Fnu Lnu. A fellow musicianist. Would you be up for a duet?”

 

News blinked a couple of times, then a slow smile pulled at his mouth. “I’m Bad News, and sure thing, bud.”

 

Fnu’s face lit up. “Stellar.” He quickly put his ukulele into playing position and tweaked the tuning keys.

 

They didn’t have much of an audience by now, but News didn’t care, too absorbed with observing his new business partner. The tiny single braid in his hair and his “aliens are people too” t-shirt.

 

This made the trip worth it all by itself.

 

“Where’d you say you hail from, Fnu?” News asked, tilting his head a little.

 

Fnu looked up and shrugged, tucking his hair behind one ear. “Earth. Here and there. I’ve been about everywhere sometime or another.” He looked back down and adjusted one more peg. “Okay. Start with something pretty easy everyone knows. You know ‘Bad Moon Rising’, right?”

 

“’course.”

 

Fnu gave a thumbs up and a wide grin. “I knew you were good.” He got his fingers in position and strummed the opening chords.

 

News put the harmonica back up to his lips and joined in on the harmony a few seconds later.

 

The sounds of harmonica and ukulele echoed off the street corner, joining in with the late night sounds of the campfires crackling and the surf whooshing in against the beach. The streetlight illuminated both of their silhouettes as they moved to the music. Fnu’s hair swooshing as he nodded his head back and forth and News swaying from side to side and tapping his foot against the sidewalk.

 

They hit the final riff and the last chords faded off into the night.

 

“Dude, that was awesome!” Fnu reached over and smacked News on the back, giving a happy laugh. “I played with a few guys in my day, but you… you, my dude are truly stellar.”

 

News rumbled out a chuckle, rubbing his harmonica off on the lapel of his coat a little. “Well, you ain’t half bad yourself there. That’s some good ukulele-ing.”

 

“Ah, man.” Fnu waved a hand, “I had lotsa practice.” He looked back down and stroked his ukulele affectionately. Then stopped and stiffened up for a second, snapping his gaze back onto News. “Hey, would you mind if I played one of my original pieces? It’s one I’ve been working on a lot lately and it could really use a harmonica in there if you could jam along.”

 

News raised his eyebrows and shrugged. “Sure. How’s it go?”

 

“Okay, okay, gimme a sec…” Fnu straightened his back and looked to the sky for a few seconds, his expression serious. He closed his eyes and slowly nodded his head. His toes started tapping quietly against the pavement and he lowered his head again, his hair hiding his face as his nodding and tapping got more and more exaggerated. He slowly thumped his hand against the side of his ukulele faster and faster, speeding up the beat until he finally crashed into his three-chord opening.

 

He flung his head back and sang passionately as he continued to strum. “I love Bigfoot! Oh baby, he’s real. Dooon’t try and tell me he’s not, because you know how I feel…”

 

A few people who had just been walking by actually stopped and backed up to stare at Fnu.

 

News didn’t seem to notice them, just tilting his head as he listened to the music. He nodded slowly, tapping his own foot to the beat as Fnu sang on. Then he came in on the next verse, playing harmony to Fnu’s violent ukulele strumming.

 

After another round of “oh yeah”s, Fnu stopped for a second, turning back to News. “Okay so this next part is sort of like the bridge and it’s just instrumental. And I’ll be playing like this…” he twanged on a few more of the strings, sliding his fingers around. “And you…” he pointed to News. “I’m thinking you come in with something like this?” He looked up thoughtfully and whistled a few bars.

 

“Hmm.” News furrowed his brow thoughtfully. “The X-Files theme?”

 

Yes,” Fnu pointed at him.

 

News nodded and put his harmonica back up, playing a slower version of what Fnu had just whistled, fluttering the notes.

 

“YES.” Fnu hopped on his toes a little, smacking one hand against his ukulele and grinning so widely it looked like it would split his face. “Stellar. Perfect. Just like that. Okay I’ll start on the last verse and then we’ll go into that.”

 

And they did. More people gathered, but neither of them seemed to notice as they kept adding more tweaks and extra bits into “I Love Bigfoot”.

 

Finally, they played through their perfect, final version. The people around applauded.

 

News grinned and bowed. Fnu gave what sort of looked like a long-legged curtsy.

 

“You should get that recorded, man,” News remarked, tweaking the brim of his hat. “You’d be a hit.”

 

Fnu wrinkled his nose. “Nah. Fame corrupts.”

 

News raised his eyebrows, twisted his mouth to the side and gave a “can’t argue with that” shrug. He stood there thoughtfully for another second, then smiled and poked Fnu’s arm. “Hey. I got a song you might like. Ever heard of ‘Little Twelvetoes’?”

 

Fnu frowned and shook his head.

 

“I’ve got a treat for you, then, kiddo.” News brought his harmonica back up. “Follow my lead.”


 

Hope you all enjoyed and have an awesome rest of your Tuesday! 😀

Any other crossover stories you’d like to see? Tell me in the comments!

~writefury

26 thoughts on “A Street Corner Duet [short story]

  1. Oh my goodness, SO ADORABLLLLE. I love it. They fit well. 😂

    (You’ll be happy to know, for some time since every time I hear the word ‘stellar’ I immediately think of Fnu. xD)

    It might be cool to have some crossover story featuring both Wolfgang and Micah, possibly having to work together. Idk how that’d pan out, but since they’re similar in a lot of ways, it’d probably be hilarious. Their environment would prolly crack from the sarcasm overload…

    1. Yayyyy ❤ xD This was just such a happy story to write, I tell you.
      (-fistpump- yas. xD Fnu's favorite word.)
      Ooohhh I would have to do some monkeying to get that to work. But they should totally meet at some point.
      even though if I'm honest they'd probably be slightly put off by one another. xD
      Wolfgang: emo teenager? no thank you.
      Micah: um…. ex-terrorist? no thank you.

  2. AHHHH I love it!!! I actually haven’t read any of the story with Fnu, but I still really loved this! (I’ve been reading a lot of short stories to critique for class, so it’s a nice change to read one for fun!)

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