Short Story Exercise: Cross a Street

(using this book, set timer for ten minutes and wrote a short story relating to the phrase “cross a street,” edited lightly)

John stepped out of the Grand Hotel and looked at The Oriental across the street. It was mid-afternoon, but the saloon was already bustling. The wind, hot and dusty, pushed against his face and tugged at the brim of his hat. His guts churned and his palms were sweaty. His left eye was still swollen from the swing Curly Bill had landed the night before. If John didn’t show his face in The Oriental tonight, he might as well get on out of town and that right soon.

John crossed the narrow porch and descended the wooden steps. He held his chin high as a group of men on horses trotted past, eyeing him curiously. John forced his shoulders back and stepped onto the dirt.

Measuring his pace as he crossed the road, he met the eyes of each man lounging on The Oriental’s porch in front of him. He brought up one corner of his mouth and gave a small nod to Mrs. Jensen peeking through the curtains of the general store. She pursed her lips and shook her head at him.

John casually glanced over his shoulder and saw the coach racing towards him. The horses looked bound and determined to trample him. But John remembered his audience and maintained his pace.

The driver shouted. Mrs. Jensen pounded on her window. John stepped onto the boards of the sidewalk just before the coach lumbered past.  He waved to Mrs. Jensen and tipped his hat to the dumbstruck men on the porch.