The bag was well-traveled, and well cared for, it was obvious. It carried the patina of old heavy leather, and grip marks had worn into the thick handle on the top. He carried that bag with him everywhere. It was always in his car when he drove, even doing some mundane task like grocery shopping, or getting gas. He’d been seen walking down the street with it.
He was a friendly enough guy, but no one really knew too much about him. He’d lived in this small town for a few years now, and when asked what was in it, he would say, “It’s my go-bag.” When asked why he needed a go-bag, he would say, “You never know when you’ll have to go.”
That led to all kinds of speculation on the part of the regulars at the local watering hole. What was in it? Was it full of a change of clothes, wrapped around a wad of money? Why did he need a “go-bag?” Was some woman’s jealous husband chasing him? Or was he involved in some clandestine activity? Maybe even a spy???
So when the bag was left unattended, sitting on a cabinet in the back of the bar, it garnered a lot of interest. Would anyone dare to go up and look at it? Where was he, and why did he leave it there? It was such a local mystery that they all just kept an eye on it, but left it alone. There was hushed conversation among the regulars as the night stretched out and the bag remained untouched, and uncollected.
Finally, as closing time approached, a few of the guys began to head home, but a some of them were waiting til the last minute, to see if he came for the bag or if it was going to be left there overnight. They weren’t disappointed. At exactly four minutes before closing time, he popped through the door, walked over and picked up the bag. Then, he turned to Leo, the bartender, and thanked him for keeping an eye on it, as he walked out the door.
All eyes turned onto Leo, who just shrugged, and smiled. Shaking their heads, they slid off the bar stools and began to file out the door. The mystery remains intact.
Note: The bag in the picture above belongs to one of my friends who plays bass with the house band at open mic. One night when I was there with Dan and a few members of my writers group, we saw the bag sitting there on that amp, and I think it was Dan who began to imagine the stories it could tell. So I took a picture, and we used it as a writing prompt for the group. The piece above is my contribution.