Sid and the Bag

This is from a pompt I did with an old writing group. The prompt was to use a character name Sid Baldwin, a short term memory problem, and a brown paper bag.

Sid Baldwin stepped in from the sandy shards of desert heat to the dusty shadows of the bar. Inside it was cool and empty. As if the air conditioning were a breeze. A few men, like chairs leaned up at closing, slumped against a beam of wood that wrapped around the bar top. Sid walked up to the bar, set down a brown paper bag, and sat down. Out of his hand, the rolled-closed top of the bag unwound, but remained sealed. Sid ordered a beer.

He looked behind him where a multi-colored slot machine, idling, bleeped at him. Glass tapped glass and he turned toward the sound. A thick-headed beer sat in front of him.

“Is someone sitting here?”

The bartender looked at him strangely. 

Sid sipped from the beer, then held it up in a gesture that meant it tasted fine. The bartender nodded, a gesture that meant he was glad the man thought the beer was fine. 

Under his beer, under a square of glass, Sid saw a video poker game. He pulled a ten out of his front shirt pocket. “Can I get quarters?”

“Sure.” The bartender opened his till.

Behind Sid, a multi-colored slot machine, idling, bleeped at him. I hope I didn’t leave any money in there, Sid thought.  He would have gone and checked, but another sound caught his attention. He turned and the bartender was walking away from him.

“Hey, someone’s quarters.”

The bartender turned at him. “Yeah, I just got them for you.”

“I know.” Sid opened the roll and quarters spilled onto the glass. He fed them one after another into the machine which tallied his credits for the game. Everyone at the bar top was staring at him and he didn’t know why. When the quarters were gone, he sipped again from the beer that was in front of him.

“So, what’s in the bag?” Sid asked.

The bartender stood still and looked over at him. The other patrons leaned up from their stools and peered down the bar top at him. 

“What’s in the bag?” Sid asked again, motioning at it with his head.

They all looked at each other, they began laughing. 

It must have been a bar gag. One time, on a road trip, Sid remembered stopping in a bar in Montana where an old Indian horn, carved out of bone, hung from the ceiling. The bartender had taken it down and told Sid’s friend that beers were on the house if he could get a sound out of the thing. Sid’s friend had puffed out his cheeks like a jazz man and blew a horn-full of flour out that buried him and Sid. Everyone in the bar had burst out laughing. 

Laughing, Sid carefully opened the bag and peered in. He recoiled at what he saw. And everyone still laughed. How could they think that was funny, it was sick, it was awful. Sid stumbled backward, into the exit. 

They were still laughing and Sid shook his head at them before he left. “You’re all a real wonderful bunch of humans.”

So, what’s in the bag? Please leave an answer here or on facebook.


2 thoughts on “Sid and the Bag

  1. A thick, dark liquid coats the lower portion of the bag. As Sid lifts it from the red mahogany bar, a sticky residue is left behind. The patrons, sitting a few yards away, think it’s funny that this man has put his mashed potatoes in a paper bag, but they’re too far removed to see the truth. Sid peers into the bag of leftovers and wonders whose heart this is, and why someone put it in a brown paper bag.

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