A little piece of flash fiction today, inspired by a prompt during one of the workshops at the Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol earlier this year.
His voice preceded him.
‘Ain’t this just the quaintest place? Is it Hogwarts or what? Look, it’s even got the date written on the frontispiece or whatever you call ‘em bits.’
‘Bet they don’t have air-conditioning in this old pile of stones, eh? … Mind the step, honey, can’t be having you spraining your pretty ankle, Mary Lou.’
Only then did he materialise in the doorway. He had lost some hair and put on weight, but it matched the Hawaiian shirt he was wearing. His clothes were trying just a little too hard, I thought. Birkenstocks and bermudas, a red bandana knotted carelessly around his sunburnt neck, as if it had just fallen from his head while playing a particularly tricky guitar solo. He still clicked his fingers when he expected everyone to burst out laughing at his jokes.
He was surrounded, as always, by a gaggle of ladies. This time they were elderly and American, to match his newfound accent. They followed his every move with the requisite giggles, gasps and applause. He was their tour guide, their leader, their go-to person. As he had once been for us.