Writing very short fiction is like having sorbet between courses. It is a palate cleanser for my brain, an opportunity to create something tight and still entertaining. Lately, my writing has been of the non-fiction variety, essays on history as I begin work on my Masters in History. Unfortunately, that means less time to work on my fiction. Sometimes I envision my characters being very impatient with me as they wait for their next move. At least I like to think that I have that much control over them. I know what’s really happening is I’m waiting for them to tell me their next move!
Anyway….this came to me on my commute to work, which seems to be when I find myself the most creative. Too bad I can’t write while I drive!
So I thank you for your patience and I hope this little palate cleanser can hold your interest, while I get ready to introduce some new characters to the world of Johanna Edderle.
He noted her the first time she came into the café. Long dark hair pulled into a ponytail. When she handed him the money to pay for her coffee and bagel, the smile in her eyes sent an electric shock through him.
She didn’t come in every day. But when she did, she ordered the same thing: decaf iced mocha, skim, no whip, and a bagel, plain with cream cheese on the side. Not toasted. $5.01. Every single time. If he knew when she would be coming in, he would have it ready for her. But the only consistency was in her order.
She always had her copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, the unabridged version, all 1,276 pages. One day, a slow day, he was wiping the espresso machine and saw her absent-mindedly cross her legs. The hem of her jeans rode up slightly and she was wearing loafers with no socks and the brief flash of ankle skin stopped him. He decided then that it was time for his break. He didn’t see her leave that day.
His attempts at conversation were clumsy. The first time he tried, he said “Decaf iced mocha, skim, no whip, bagel, plain, cream cheese on the side.” She gave him a half smile and cocked one eyebrow and said, “Exactly.” He was in heaven the rest of the day.
Three months and he watched as she drew to the close of her book. The next time she came in, she had a smaller book. “You finished,” he said, pointing to her new book.
“Yeah, it was for a class. This is pleasure reading.” She held the title up for him to read. 9-11 Descent into Tyranny. Alex Jones.
He grinned. “You don’t believe that stuff, do you?”
She stared at him with the eyes that had haunted him for months. “You don’t?” she answered.
And as he felt his entire body deflate, he noticed the pimple on her cheek and the way she loudly slurped when she took a sip of her coffee.