One year, I was a registration slash information desk guy.
A nostalgia convention.
Some radio-heads were talking about this radio station.

Might have been in Montana, or Idaho, or some other
rural locale.

The station was formerly a bus station, and there was some kind of dead drop.

While it was still the bus station.
Something about how it was a transit point for spies.
Something about some kind of listening post, that the Reds had set up.
Something about how it was eventually discovered.
Something about how the surrounding area –

No, wait.

That’s in the House Select Report on * redacted *
Only, you’ll never read that. It was never approved, and the
CIA guys disavowed everything.

Now, I found this former station.
I can make something come true, if you give me the location
of some unverified story. I like to find these spots, for
my portfolio.

Last week, I managed to get this band a gig.
They want to play this festival.
I told them to how fix their demo reel.
They told me where this diner is.

It’s allegedly the one that didn’t make the final album
cover of “Abandoned Luncheonette” by Hall & Oates.

Only, it’s the one where characters go, when they can’t
get into the diner of Hopper’s “Nighthawks” because
they don’t know the password there.

And they’re not very nice.

Me?
I’ve got just the trick.
I need the joint to myself, since it’s for a photo project.

I’ll tell them I can offer them the password.

Only, it’s for the diner during the day.
They’ll leave, and be pretty smug about having the
coveted password.

There’s a reason, though, why “Nighthawks” wasn’t portrayed
during the day.

Hopper never talked about it.

I could.

Only, it’s – well, I can’t remember what the word for “ill-advised” is, from
this dead language.

I only talked to this priestess once.

4 Comments

  1. Nancy Stohlman

    Trent!
    I love the rhythm in this section:
    Something about how it was a transit point for spies.
    Something about some kind of listening post, that the Reds had set up.
    Something about how it was eventually discovered.
    Something about how the surrounding area –

    And this idea of the password–it resonates for me both on the magical/spy realm and also the “realism” realm of “what is my damned password!” Ha.

    And the ending–I love the way the priestess just comes in there with complete authority. As if she was always there and I just missed it (in fact I reread just to make sure). So subtle: I only talked to this priestess once.
    The title is perfect for this as well, especially since the syntax feels almost “sputtering”. Love it!! xoxo

  2. Dominique Christina

    Ooh. You wrote something juicy Trent. I love how you enter the story and I really love how you exit it. The priestess’s sudden incursion is perfect. She is the knower. She’s the spinal column and you are putting meat on our plates with tight camera flash lines that are interrupted by your remembrance that well…we don’t actually get to know certain details. They’ve been redacted and the CIA guys disavowed. It’s so great. Leaves the reader suspended skillfully. Thank you for this. Really great work.

  3. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Trent, This was not only fun to read, but touched something of our weird world too. I would love to see you put a backslash in place of the word “slash” and maybe some dashes too for the places that the staccato pace is strongest. Terrific.

    • Rhyannon Brightwater

      That was amazing, Trent! Maybe part of a poetic novel? I would read it. the rhythm was pure delight. I agree with Martha about slashes and dashes. I do them all the time when I write poetry but also sometimes in prose because it helps with scanning the line.

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