God bless NYC Midnight. This story, too, is a product of their Flash Fiction Challenge. It was the second round of their 2013 FFC, and I was assigned a ghost story in a hotel bar with sunglasses.
I'd written most of a story set in the early 1900s when it occurred to me to check the year sunglasses were invented. Turns out, they're a product of the 1920s--1929, to be exact. Oops. Draft 1 scrapped.
On to Draft 2.
I tried using third person narration. I tried a more traditional structure. But this story insisted on being something different. The story didn't flow until I transcribed the bartender's monologue word for word.
The nontraditional format had mixed results. The feedback from the NYC Midnight judges was largely negative, but they award the story more points than my other flash fiction entries. Go figure.
After the competition, I workshopped the story in my writer's group and tweaked it here and there to fix some inconsistencies. The result is the story you see now, over on Fiction First.
To read "A Seat at the Bar" click here.