Dead Man's Ring

Written by: Ken Burns

Hugo wiped his hands on the paper towel and adjusted the chunky gold wedding ring. He smiled into the mirror and smoothed his hands through blonde hair, straightened his bow tie, and walked out of the changing room and into the restaurant.

Two days on the job at the White Dolphin seafront restaurant and he’d already made fifty dollars in tips. Life was good and the extra money would help with living expenses while he studied at university. He winked at Vivienne, the Maître D, as he passed her. She looked up, a long curl of black hair dropping over one eye, and smiled back through glossy red lips as she flicked the hair back in place. The woman was vivacious and had a great personality, a typical Aquarian who would make a great compatible friend for him, a Leo. The problem was he always had trouble asking for a date.

The experience he dreaded was rejection. As he served the clientele that night he decided to find a way he could capture the emotional trigger of Vivienne. There was definite chemistry, something he, and he was sure she too, felt at his interview.  He smiled, remembering the way she asked if he was married after noticing the ring. He had just shaken his head.

At closing time, Hugo asked Vivienne if she would join him for a drink. She accepted with a smile and placed a guiding hand on his elbow, nodding toward the bar. Fragrant scent together with a passing glance from her green eyes set his pulse racing.

“I wanted to explain about the wedding ring,” he said, as they sat sipping drinks. “I shared a flat with my first girlfriend who was studying at medical school. After two years she became pregnant and left the university.” He paused and placed his drink on the bar, then turned to Vivienne. “One Friday she took our old blue station wagon to go buy pizza downtown. As the car passed under a green traffic light it was hit by a drunken truck driver racing a red.”

Hugo winced, closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath as if overcome by emotion. “Our baby died four days later,” he choked.  He looked up and realized he had gone too far. Vivienne had tears in her eyes.

Later, after driving Hugo home, Vivienne asked, “Where are the photos of your wife?”

Shamefaced, Hugo apologized. “I’m sorry, Vivienne, I lied. I wanted a date with you. I bought this ring in a jewelers’ I worked at. Customers brought in their old gold with brokenhearted tales of widowhood, being jilted, or broke.” He wiggled his fingers. “This is a dead man’s ring.” He shrugged. “I liked it.”

Vivienne turned away from him, a wry smile across her face. She wasn’t annoyed with him and looked forward to dating him again. He needed a lesson. She would get even.

 

Author: Ken Burns (NZ)

Comments

A fresh approach to story telling, Ken has given us a 'slice of life' situation that is both interesting for the readers and a new challenge for the writers. Here we have a good opportunity to be script writers on a TV soap, perhaps. There are lots of directions we can go and plenty of characters we could introduce. Great idea Ken.
Great start Ken.
There are a lot of Hugo's 'out there'.
It is time their story was exposed.

I like your over the top stance on this one.
It has style, and drips subplots to be tracked down and explored.
I already have ideas for the ring, and its loathsome owners.

You are writing in a genre I haven't tried before, so it is going to be a challenge.
If no-one has dealt with it by Chapter 6, I would like to scribe the story of the ring....
The story of the ring sounds like a great title for a new starter. Go for it Roger.
I didn't choose to write this in a particular genre. It just came out this way with adjustment/editing changes made. My main drive to to engage the reader early, keep it clear and short and give the next writer lots of options to take on the next chapter.
Interesting story line. I see a possibility for a complex and engaging relationship kind of story. I'll try not to mess it up.
It's about trying something new Joe. I'm not precious about hanging onto a story line or format. We can all learn from each other by what we contribute. Good on you for signing up for a chapter.
Any chapters left?? If so, I'll give it a try....
Come on in Timbo - sign up now!
Just signed on for Chapter 8, this is a new way of writing for me so it should definitely be fun
Nice work for you all to contribute. It will always be interesting to see how it ends up.
Good story. Well written. Engrossing, room to grow. I liked it. One very small point, and maybe others will disagree, but the last paragraph change POV seemed a little sudden.
I know it was probably just a sum-up, and with only 500 words to work with it sometimes can be difficult to fit everything in.