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The Flamingo Lounge

A Munson's Microfiction Entry

By D.K. ShepardPublished 28 days ago Updated 17 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - May 2024
The Flamingo Lounge
Photo by Vladyslava Andriyenko on Unsplash

Lola heard the footsteps from the hallway as she sat in her dressing room. She stared straight ahead at her reflection. Her lips had grown thin and her wrinkles had grown deep. The Flamingo Lounge had seen better days and so had she.

Back in 1925 they’d both been in their prime. Lola had possessed the joints of a young woman and a voice with less vibrato. And the lounge had been an exotic club, with its palm trees, art nouveau architecture, and flamingos brought over from Cuba.

The lounge’s patrons would gawk at the pink birds while flouting prohibition with their cocktails in hand. Then they’d settle into their seats to listen to Lola, the lounge’s songbird.

A hush would fall, lights would dim, and the curtain would be drawn back. Then Lola dressed in sequins and feathers of her own would emerge and take her rightful place, center stage.

She was radiant and mysterious. Her voice would lull and stir in equal measure. No one was immune to the spell she cast.

The lounge’s owner, Ernesto, would congratulate himself after every performance for securing his siren. He’d been picking his son up from the academy when he’d heard the voice of an angel drifting out of the music hall. The angel, he had discovered, was the daughter of a wealthy Cuban family who attended boarding school in Miami. Her name was Beatriz Cabrales.

But anyone who had known her by that name had died or forgotten her. After fifty years, all that was left was Lola.

Ernesto had died. His son was in a care facility. And his grandson was bad at business.

There was no longer a flock of flamingos, just two sad females.

The paint was peeling and the palm trees looked shabby.

Instead of a packed house, there might be half a dozen listeners on a good night.

There had been a Cuban exodus and now there was an entire neighborhood called Little Havana. The Flamingo Lounge was no longer exotic and its songbird knew her kind were going extinct. But it wouldn’t make the news she knew was coming any easier to hear.

A knock sounded on the dressing room door.

“Come in,” Lola said.

Ernesto’s grandson, Anton, entered.

“Good evening, Lola,” he said. “You’re looking lovely, as always.”

Lola smiled. Anton was a terrible businessman, but he’d always been a sweet boy. “Thank you, my dear. But you shouldn’t lie. We both know I don’t look as lovely as I did a lifetime ago.”

Anton frowned and opened his mouth.

“Tut-tut,” Lola said. “And neither does the lounge. Which is why you’re here isn’t it?”

He sighed. “Well, you’re certainly sharp as ever.”

“I’ve got some of my wits left, it’s true,” Lola remarked. “But I also saw the sign.” She was referring to the large white and red ‘For Sale’ one that had greeted her this afternoon.

“Oh, no! Lola, I’m sorry they weren’t supposed to put it up yet. Not until I’d talked to you. But I’m sure you’d have guessed anyways with the way things have been lately.”

Lola nodded. The tears were beginning to well up.

“Tonight will be the last show,” Anton declared. “We already have a buyer for the property.”

“They’re going to tear it down, aren’t they?” Lola asked. “Turn it into another high-rise.”

“I’m afraid so,” Anton admitted.

Lola felt the first one escape, but did not raise her hand to wipe it away. She’d let it make a trail for the others to follow.

“Is there anything I can do, Lola? We can cancel the show tonight,” Anton offered.

"No, no,” Lola replied. “I’d like to have my final curtain call. I’ll be alright. My tears need a minute to find the edges of my face. If you'll please excuse me.”

She exited the dressing room. Making her way to the courtyard, she sat and watched the two lonely flamingos wander about the pond. At least they had each other. All she had was the lounge. She’d come here as a child and it had been her home ever since.

In all these years, she’d had her fair share of heartbreaks, but none of them would compare to this good-bye.

***

When the curtain pulled back, Lola could tell there weren’t many people in the audience, maybe four. But that didn’t matter. She wouldn’t be singing for them. She’d be singing to the walls, the palm trees, the flamingos, and to all the memories. The ones that swirled with vintage glamor and sloshed drinks on the stone floor. The ones that clapped deafeningly and called for an encore.

Smiling, she stepped out into the spotlight for the final time and sang her swan song for The Flamingo Lounge.

Author's Note: Honored to have this piece selected as the 2nd Place Winner for Christy Munson's Microfiction Challenge: My Tears Need a Minute. Check out the challenge prompt and other entries below:

Microfiction

About the Creator

D.K. Shepard

Character Crafter, Witty Banter Enthusiast, World Builder, Unpublished novelist...for now

Fantasy is where I thrive, but I like to experiment with genres for my short stories. Currently employed as a teacher in Louisville.

dkshepard.com

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Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (33)

  • Dawnxisoul393art4 days ago

    The narrative skillfully interweaves the venue's decline with Lola's own aging, as she reflects on the passage of time and the loss of her former radiance. The juxtaposition of the lounge's former grandeur and its current shabby state poignantly symbolizes the fleeting nature of fame and success. Thank you very much!

  • Andrea Corwin 5 days ago

    D.K. I just came across a story that appears to have plagiarized yours!! Please review this and report: https://vocal.media/fiction/the-story-of-flamingo 🤬

  • L.C. Schäfer8 days ago

    I want to know more about Lola's back story! Sounds like she had a hard life in some ways. I am intrigued!

  • Andrea Corwin 18 days ago

    ❤️Such wonderful descriptions in your story set the reader in the lounge. I wonder what they did with the flamingoes…🤔

  • As is often the case…I’m behind the times 😵‍💫… I only just read this captivating tale & learnt of Christy’s intriguing challenge. Well done.. T.S. Too🤩. Really liked ‘ She’d be singing to the walls, the palm trees, the flamingos, and to all the memories. The ones that swirled with vintage glamor and sloshed drinks on the stone floor. The ones that clapped deafeningly and called for an encore.’ Poignant.✅

  • Shirley Belk22 days ago

    Totally amazing, believable, and heart-tugging!

  • I could hear Barry Manilow singing in the background...I loved this

  • Hey DK, this person has plagiarised your story. I've reported them. Please have a look ans report them as well. I'll leave their link in the comment below:

  • Sweileh 88823 days ago

    Interesting and delicious content. Keep posting more

  • JBaz24 days ago

    You hit every note perfectly. The feel the emotion and the dying sense of time moving on. I truly enjoyed this piece, sad yet brilliantly written.

  • Margaret Brennan24 days ago

    first: congratulations on your TS. Now: this is so beautiful; sad and yet, it pulls you in, makes you hope for another ending even while you know there won't be one. This is truly fantastic.

  • Hey, back to say congratulations!

  • John Cox24 days ago

    DK, you nailed this! I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job of developing the trajectory of a shooting star to her sad final curtain. Congratulations on a top story for this! Richly, richly deserved!

  • angela hepworth24 days ago

    Congratulations on top story!!

  • Penny Fuller24 days ago

    Beautiful and sad. I loved this. There was a lot of truth here. A well-deserved top story!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Angel Malaika 24 days ago

    Very interesting 🤔

  • Beth Sarah25 days ago

    Wonderful writing, I loved reading it. Thank you 🙏

  • Paul Alashe25 days ago

    Love this story. Good composer.

  • Cathy holmes25 days ago

    This story was really captivating. Excellent work. Congrats on the TS.

  • Caroline Craven25 days ago

    Flawless. Good luck in the competition. This was brilliant.

  • Gabriel Huizenga25 days ago

    This is really fantastic, D.K. It feels so real, and so compelling all the way through - a beautiful and wistful piece. Bravo!!

  • Rachel Deeming26 days ago

    So sad. Poor old Lola. An end of an era and probably, in some ways, the end of Lola. Tugged at my heartstrings and I love this line: The Flamingo Lounge was no longer exotic and its songbird knew her kind were going extinct.

  • The narrative voice in this is pitch perfect. I felt like I was watching an old film, and I could see and hear Lola being portrayed by a starlet. Great writing.

D.K. ShepardWritten by D.K. Shepard

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