New story excerpt: Lurleen at the Cafe o’Lay

The words weren’t coming out of Lurleen’s pen onto her purple spiral notebook with college ruled pages. She’d come in early on Tuesday, knowing that it would be slow until after seven, and she would have some writing time. Now she had time, but no words. She couldn’t bear to write down the mundane things that happened in her life, her divorce, her family’s redneck crudities, even the small dramas of the bar that sometimes ended in bloodshed. That was too real. She wanted to escape into another world, one that made more sense, where the good guys looked different from the bad guys.
She despaired, until she thought she saw someone walk through the wall of the Café O’Lay.
Lurleen stared at the wall at the corner of the bar near the bathrooms, where the old projector room had been when the café had been the concession stand at the drive-in, back when Lurleen was a little girl. It was a plain cinderblock wall, many times painted but showing every impact of bullet, chair and redneck skull. The woman had walked right through it, just like it was a beaded curtain.
The woman was chubby, dressed garb like a cross between an ancient hippie and a lingerie counter at the Salvation Army, complete with dragonfly wings that vibrated and buzzed every few seconds. Fifty-something with some wrinkles short salt and pepper hair, she could have been anyone’s old maid aunt.
“While you are deciding what you want to wish for, ” she said, “You can get me a beer. Draft. Domestic is fine.”
Lurleen’s professional manner kicked in while her brain refused to process what was going on. She grabbed a mug, filled it and handed it over. “Want a tab?”
The fairy didn’t answer at once. She was too busy sucking down the beer. When she came up for air, she said, “Sure. Now about that wish. You only get one, so think carefully. Wish for what you really want.”
Maybe I’m asleep, or this is some kind of flashback, Lurleen thought. She’d been heavy into the drug scene in college, but that was years ago. She didn’t even drink now, not even coffee, coke or sweet tea. She ran cold water over her hands at the sink and dabbed a damp towel over her face, not to get her makeup wet. She put out of her mind whatever she thought she’d seen.
The fairy quaffed the rest of her beer and held out the mug for more.
“Did you miss a turn on the interstate? The Renfaire is on the other side of Greenville. ” Lurleen took the mug and filled it back up, though she had a premonition that the beer would never be paid for, not even in fairy gold.

What is your wish for today?