The hardwood floor would be illuminated by the flashing lights if not for all the writhing shadows.  A patch seven panels across has been replaced.  It’s the same wood, same stain, but newer.  The expanse was covered in scuffs and shallow scrapes, like a pensioner’s visage.  If Brazilian hardwood could talk, what would this old floor say?  Probably something like “Stop dancing and stomping before I drop you rapscallions into the sub-basement.”

“Having a good time?” the promising young man wearing two polos shouted over the thumping bass.

Absolutely, I’m overwhelmingly enthused that I was dragged to this awesome party at this awesome venue with all these awesome people holding awesome drinks dancing to awesome music by this awesome DJ.

“It’s awesome.”

“I know right?” he missed the sarcasm, but it’s not entirely his fault.  That awesome DJ spun the record back and ruined my otherwise impeccable delivery.  Do they even have records anymore?  “What’s someone like you doing way back here?”

Inspecting the floor.

“Inspecting the floor.”


“It’s Brazilian hardwood, stained and sealed three times over the last two years, and that section against the far wall was replaced a few months ago.”

“How do you know all that?”

“I spend a lot of time inspecting floors at dance parties.”

His little brain, already floating in cheap alcohol, was hopelessly out of its depth.  He made a graceful exit and freshened his mint julep, or old fashioned, or fermented swill.

I edged along the wall and stooped next to the new boards.  Manicures aren’t cheap, but this dress didn’t have any pockets for a pry-bar.  My kit was in the car, but Shannon insisted on driving instead.  Two scraped nails later, the trapdoor lifted away.

A faint red glow emanated from within.


3 thoughts on “Downcast

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