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By John Richmond

PROMPT — What is Love?

Once upon a time, a handsome urban lad from the Northland and a lovely genteel lass

from the Southland, set out so as to quest for their castle.

Did they know what they were looking for?

Well, it would be better to say that they were pretty certain they had a more defined sense of what they didn’t want.

This led them to search near and far, but, to no avail.

“Too old!”

“Too noisy!”

“Much too small.”

“Way too big!”

“Impossibly far away!”

“Really expensive.”

I mean, they weren’t being “picky.” Actually, their needs were really quite simple:

(a) off the beaten path;

(b) a place most people would never think of;

(c) spacious and peaceful;

(d) an opportunity to lodge, sufficient available rooms;

(e) access to food and especially drink; and, finally,

(f) a space that was publicly private.

On and off for months, they searched and searched and just when they were almost at

the point of admitting that what they were looking for was impossible to find, there it was!

The Knoxville Hyatt, a pyramidal looking structure—recently built—near downtown and within minutes of where they lived.

“How about we go in, get a drink and check it out?” he suggested as he pulled into the

parking lot.

“I’m up for that,” she replied, unfastening her seat belt.

Once through the door and barely inside, they found themselves in an oasis of ease, comfort and potential.

He took a moment to survey the space before pointing out to her, “Here, the bar is over there, on the left.”

There, they each ordered a shot of bourbon, took their tumblers and went out into the atrium, searching for the perfect spot.

So, who were these people? Were they friends, partners, lovers?

Well, yes, they were all these things—in varying degrees—but, more so, they were kin; not biological or adoptive or having found themselves in the same family for any number of possible reasons. Still, they were definitely kin.

More specifically, they were kin in spirit. Some place way past friends, but well short of the most they could be. Now, all of this is not to say that they could neither be close— they were—nor eager to spend time together—which they did. In fact, they were relatively demonstrative; they touched, hugged, even kissed.

Yes, of all these things they were certain, except one. Did they really want to go further because if they did, they wondered, would it irretrievably change everything?

Maybe they were lovers in a different sense, and maybe they realized in however of a faint way that if they were to physically consummate what they had, they could lose so, so much more.

And, so, they left it alone, though within reach just in case the moment was right, the stars were aligned and the hope—manifesting itself in a way they could never begin to imagine—that they just might catch magic in a tumbler.

Did this, you might ask make their “togetherness” complicated? Not exactly. Maybe a little foggy, but not so much that they weren’t aware of the nuances of time and place.

Ah, yes, place. Let’s get back to the atrium. There together, they found the delicacies they were looking for—bourbon—sauteed libidos on a bed of familiarity, closeness and possibility.

All was seemingly perfect except for one thing. The bar closed early—well, at least to their time-clock—so how were they going to maintain the moment while staring into an empty glass, wishing there was more?

The Solution?

  • both of them would get two tumblers (one for each hand);

  • they would instruct the bartender to pour four shots of Jim Beam per glass;

  • which means, two quadruples per person.

That’s it!

No longer a need to worry about the bar closing or the tumbler running dry! Oh, no! There now were more important matters that needed to be taken into consideration!

Will it be a good night?


They’ll see!


As of late, John Richmond has sequestered himself in his basement office where he divides his time between writing and discussing the state of the world with his coonhound buddy, Roma. John's writing has appeared in a number of publications, some of which include The Tower Journal, Stone Path Review, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Rogue Particles Magazine, From the Depths, Flash Frontier (N. Z.), The Birmingham Arts Journal, Riverbabble, The Writing Disorder, Lalitamba, Poetic Diversity, Marco Polo Arts Magazine, Embodied Effigies, ken*again, Black & White, SNReview, The Round, The Potomac, Syndic Literary Journal, Ygdrasil (Canada), Slow Trains, Forge Journal, and The Corner Club Press. He writes from Getzville, NY.


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