Open Mic Story Night Prologue

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Open Mic Story Night


        April wandered in to G’s one summer Sunday night and declared it open mic night.

      “No one here can fucking sing you crazy bitch,” Oscar yelled out.

      “It’s not about singing, jack ass,” April spit back.  “I was thinking about this guy I met the other night; he was the best fucking storyteller I’ve heard.  He got me thinking about when I was a kid and my mom would take me to story time at the library.  When I got older and went to camp, we would sit around a campfire and listen and tell stories too.  And the lunch table in high school was story time most days too.  I want that back.  I want to listen to stories and I want to tell stories, here, on Sunday nights when it’s just us.”

      “So, let me get this straight.  You want us to read to each other?”  Oscar questioned completely confused.

      “Dude, shut the fuck up and listen to me now.  I don’t want to read, I want to tell and to listen.  Ok, maybe I want to read if I decide to ever write down the shit in my head,” April was frustrated and losing steam at this point.

      “We fucking tell stories every Sunday night already.  Last week I told you about my son’s baseball game, and you told me about softball in the park when you were a kid,” Oscar was at the end of his attention span and still not really getting it.

      “Fuck!  Yes, the 5 of us sit around here every Sunday night and tell drunken stories to each other, but I want more.  I want us to be real storytellers.  I want us to go up there on that fucking stage and tell fucking stories.  They don’t have to be true, hell, they don’t even have to be good.  I mean, it’d be nice and all but…” April turned towards me, “Glenna, can we do this?  I’ll start right now.”

      I looked at Tom, and then at Oscar; I had already made up my mind but I guess I was looking for support not for me but for April. 

     “What about people that wander in on Sundays, do they get to tell stories too?” I asked April.

      “Why the fuck not?  I just want to hear stories, who cares where they come from?”  She said.  She meant it too.  For all of the years we have done this she has loved every story told, and she has encouraged nearly everyone who has walked through the door on Sundays to tell stories. 

     For months before this night we’d all been hoping for April to find something to keep herself together with.  I wanted her to find something to hold on to as I watched her slip more and more into darkness.  I wanted us to be proud of her, and I wanted her to be able to see our pride.  I looked at Tom again and his expression hadn’t changed, but Oscar, wild eyed, was about to start mouthing off again, so I quickly told her to get up on stage.

    That night I listened to her tell a terrible story about some kid she knew in grade school.  Oscar even got up and told a story about his son’s night time routine and how it was the same routine his mom had for him when he was little.  I knew then, as I listened, that this was important beyond us.  The following morning I had Tom figure out how to record straight from the sound system, and on Sunday I brought a notebook to jot down who was telling what and when.

      Over the early months we started making up random rules.  Oscar really liked to make up rules, but nobody followed them much.  Anyway, one of the most important rules to Open Mic Story Night is that music must be included in all stories.  This could mean that the storyteller mentions a song or quotes lyrics, but more often the storyteller first goes to the jukebox to play a song or two before beginning to tell the story.  Occasionally, people play lots of songs, but generally this is obnoxious, as people begin singing along instead of listening to the story.  This song picking is part of the driving force that makes me keep messing with the CD’s in the jukebox.  Everyone has to have their song available.  More than once April and Roger brought me CD’s during the week to put in the jukebox before Sunday. On occasion we have theme nights, but more often April wanders in already half-drunk declaring it a certain song night.  That means that everyone has to tell a story that relates to whatever song she comes up with.  This sometimes goes ok. 

      My name is Glenna.  Welcome to G’s Bar and Open Mic Story Night. This is my place.  My friends here are a mish-mash of old punk rock kids.  Roger is the oldest, tough as they come, angry, dark haired to match his dark personality.  Oscar is from the West Coast, funny, sometimes mean, married with children, and loves all the old LA punk.  April and I have been friends since high school.  She’s angry, ready for a fight, drunk, intelligent, and sad.  She has more music in her head than anyone else I know.  Tom is our resident 90’s punk rock kid.  He is kind, quiet, skates, long bangs, shorts year round, and has one favorite baseball hat.  Dorrie is the white sheep.  She’s old, lovely, well spoken, supportive, and she won’t take crap from anyone.  She never would have been a punk rock kid if it was around when she was young.



The story is now posted on Jukepop.  Go check it out!  G's.




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