They slid into their booth with goofy smiles, careful to avoid further tearing the rips in the red pleather seats. Rudy’s Cafe had been their favorite little food joint since college. It was the highlight of a random road trip James and Alex had gone on and the two friends made the hour-long trip back once or twice a year ever since.
James picked up the laminated menu and began searching for what made his stomach growl the loudest. Alex already knew what he wanted so he scanned the rundown cafe to see if anything had changed since their last visit.
Rudy’s Cafe had opened in 1981 according to the story on the back of the menu and the decor had never quite made it out of the decade. White and black linoleum tiles checkered the floor. Every inch of the walls and ceiling was covered with 1980’s memorabilia or movie posters. A life-size image of “The Fridge” stared at Alex from the door of the men’s restroom. (more…)
Drawn window shades, the husky voice of Ray Lamontagne seeping through the speakers, and hushed conversations gave the coffee shop the feel of dusk even though there were still a few hours left of daylight. Mitch was relaxing in a leather chair searching through Craigslist ads for his next dead end job.
Each time the door swung open he offered a curious glance in that direction, but the sight of the woman walking through the door turned a glance into a lingering stare. It was her. As she approached the counter to order, Mitch’s chest began to ache. The pain swelled until he realized that he was holding his breath. He let the air slowly escape through his nose and closed his eyes.
Two months ago he had been sitting at a table that was currently occupied by a large black man and his son when the soft click of heels on the beige tile pulled him out of the book he was reading. The woman wearing the shoes pulled dark sunglasses off her face and set them atop her black hair. Her skin was the color of Mitch’s coffee with cream and he wondered if it tasted as sweet. He shook the thought away and felt guilty for even thinking it. (more…)
The electronic voice of Paul’s GPS informed him that he had arrived at his destination. He leaned forward to peer through his windshield at the sign that hung above the doors on the red brick building. Large orange letters trimmed in green spelled La Cantina Antelo.
An elderly man in a bright Tommy Bahama shirt began unlocking his car on the far side of the street. Cars covered every meter that Paul could see so he wasted no time pulling around and flipping on his blinker. It only took about three minutes and what looked like a well-practiced fourteen point turn for the man to get his Buick out of the small space. As he slowly rolled away Paul slid his little Honda into the space easily and threw it in park.
He still wasn’t sure why he was here. The invitation was most likely an elaborate way to get him to sit through a time-share presentation, but it didn’t have the same tone as a marketing ploy. He grabbed it off his passenger seat and twisted it until he could read it again in the streetlight.
Your presence is requested at The Other Eight event. This is a private affair so please, no guests. Dinner, dessert, and drinks will all be provided free of charge. Your participation in this event is of the utmost importance.
Sitting in these seats countless times before was not enough to keep Sarah from scanning the sanctuary. Each beige seat folded up against the backrest when not filled. A myriad of lights hung ready to be used with the flick of a button from the industrial looking ceiling. Memories of the first time she walked through the doors seemed like fiction now. It all seemed so large then, but the crowd of two thousand or so that would join her this morning now felt like a family.
The soft pop of a chair flapping down drew her attention. She was ready to explain that the seat was saved for a friend, but much to her surprise it was Mark that had sat down with a Starbucks cup in his right hand. Whatever caffeine the beverage was providing had clearly not reached his half-asleep eyelids yet.
Her eyes froze me. I had never met someone who could say so much without a single word. Thoughts played like pictures across two small blue screens. The slightest lift of her eyebrow could convey things more clearly than most of my dim-witted friends and it is no wonder. They had willingly traded in the treasure of words for the sake of fitting in. How am I expected to know the true feelings of a person who would rather say “LOL” than share the actual joy of laughter with me?
But it was not what she could say to me that chilled my soul, it was what she could read. I felt naked when her gaze held mine. (more…)
A light snow began drifting down through the headlights as we drove to the house. Nicole reached over from the passenger seat captured my hand to hold in hers. I couldn’t help but smile. Snow always put her in the mood to snuggle.
The smooth baritone of Bing Crosby serenaded us all the way into my parent’s driveway. She probably didn’t notice it, but her hand squeezed mine a little tighter when we arrived. I knew she was nervous, but mentioning it would only get me punched in the arm. Truth be told, I was a little nervous too. But not for my own sake.
The high-pitched squeak of Riley’s chair signaled his coming arrival to the top of the grey wall that separated our cubicles. His words arrived a split-second before the top half of his face.
I looked up to see the hazel eyes of my curious co-worker looking down upon me. His short brown was neatly parted and brushed to one side. When I started working here, his habit of looking over our shared wall reminded me of the neighbor Wilson from Home Improvement, but after a few weeks of why Star Trek is more scientifically accurate than Star Wars instead of words of wisdom from obscure tribes in Africa the illusion faded.
“Some girl dialed my number by accident, but instead of hanging up she left a message.”
Riley’s voice rose a bit with excitement. “Oh yeah? Let me hear.” (more…)
I almost killed him. And I could have done it. I’ve got a hundr… sixty pounds on the little twerp. His big blue eyes were locked onto me until I couldn’t take it anymore.
“What are you looking at Thane?”
His little smile was the kind of evil that is so far from good it doesn’t even know that it’s evil.
“Mrs. Owens, your arms jiggle like the Jell-O mom makes for Halloween. I like Jell-O!”
What would the sentence be for killing a five year old? Life in prison certainly, but would they give me the chair? When I pictured the jury filled with women in their thirties I almost convinced myself I could get away with it. But then I remembered that it wasn’t him I wanted to kill. (more…)
Note: One of the greatest things an author can hear is “So what happens next?” I was lucky enough to hear this from an amazing author named Anne after publishing a story titled “Most Guys”. (You can find it here.) I gave her an honest answer and said, “I don’t know.” She proposed that maybe we could find out together. So for the past few months we have been playing tag with the lives of Adam and Emma in order to answer that question. The result was a few tears, a few more laughs, and the story below. I invite you all to go over and check out Anne’s writing here on the condition that you don’t abandon me for her superior stories.
I waited nervously by the door, resisting my desire to check the mirror one last time. Adam would arrive at any minute. The details of our last date, our honesty date, played over and over in my mind, but it was the question I hadn’t asked that taunted me. Did he really not care that I was pregnant? How could he not care? (more…)
Emma cocked her head to one side, narrowing her green eyes. Auburn hair cascaded over her shoulder when she did. She often paused to think before speaking. It was a little thing, but I found it incredibly attractive.
I turned the key and my little red Honda coughed to life.
“It’s only our second date. What, exactly, would you like to try?”
I chuckled with my best evil villain laugh and pulled away from the curb.