Fast Fiction

The story begins in the middle like stories should, but not the middle of a car chase or fight scene. This one begins in the middle of a conversation…. a sentence actually. I believe her exact words were, “…he’s just…well, better.”

I didn’t get the beginning. I was eavesdropping after all and my left ear hasn’t been right since that fever stole the sound. Still, I was intrigued. Who’s he? What’s this superior talent? And more importantly, where does that leave her, him, and the lucky bastard they’re discussing?

I’m not a nosey person. Really. People and their comings and goings are typically more peel than fruit. But this seemed to be a matter of love, or more accurately, love going south. So can you blame me? People stare at traffic accidents and this was a three-heart pile up.

Plus, I sorta know the girl. We met last week in a bowling alley of all places. I extend the pompousness not on my behalf, but hers. She’s a sophisticate. Me, I come complete with a polyester shirt and a personalized pair of tri-color shoes. I’m a leaguer all right, sporting a 230 average, but with the kind of unpredictable nature that keeps me out of the pros and safely imbedded in the company of other local legends.

Anyway, she’s not a bowler, just a girl whose car broke down in front of a strip mall. Lucky for me the drugstore was closed and the service station attendant was a first generation Lithuanian who didn’t speak BMW. I didn’t talk to her then of course. I mean who would? But I was standing there when she asked Joe, the shoe man for some change for the payphone. Thank God for spotty cell coverage.

What a voice. A strange thing to fixate on when such beauty stood just inches away. I absentmindedly closed my eyes and nearly missed the show completely.

If only I were handy. I could’ve played the hero maybe even inched closer to the better boy she was going on about now. But I have less auto-related wherewithal than a seal has feathers so I stayed silent as she recapped her woes to the auto club. I’m guessing they got a similar vibe for they arrived in record time. They whisked her away so fast that even her perfume failed to linger. I thought that was it for us, but here I am, sitting in a coffee shop struggling to hear a conversation that I shouldn’t be listening too.

“Come on,” she said. “Everyone knows Rose is still the king. No. No. The Japan ones don’t count…not really. Look, when Billy Joel includes Ichiro in a song I’ll consider it. Till then, you’re dreaming, babe.

Ha. Sure. See you tonight.”

She slid from the booth, settled up at the register, and breezed out the door.

Sure I felt stupid. Foolish, creepy, and embarrassed for letting my imagination run wild. But it wasn’t all bad. Her perfume lingered this time and so did I.

Looking for more fast fiction? Check out Two Minutes Too Late



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