The Pretentious Bean Café

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Sitting in the frenetic neighbourhood Pretentious Bean Café, Stella noticed a well dressed man enter. He was tall and elegant with slightly greying hair.

Stella followed him with her eyes as he browsed the merchandise by the pick up counter. The barista placed a cup on the counter and called a name. In the bustle of activity, the cup sat unclaimed. Stella watched the well dressed man glide to the counter. He nonchalantly picked up the cup, nodded to the barista, then slipped out the door.

It took a few seconds for Stella to process what just happened. The well dressed man stole the cup of coffee. It was so natural, it hardly seemed real.

Two days later, Stella was at the same table when the well dressed man returned. The café was in the middle of its morning rush. Stella cautiously pulled out her phone to record what would transpire.

The well dressed man hovered casually around the pick up counter. The barista set a cup on the counter, called out a name and no one responded. The well dressed man approached, picked up the coffee and left. This time, the actual customer complained about his missing beverage. The barista shrugged and made a replacement.

Stella didn’t know what to do. A wave of excitement shivered down her spine. It all seemed so defiant. Stella spent the next week and a half watching the criminal actions of the well dressed man. Several episodes were secretly recorded. After two weeks, she decided to act.

It was a Tuesday morning when Stella confronted the well dressed man in the parking lot of the Pretentious Bean.

“Excuse me,” she said.

The well dressed man stopped at his BMW. “Yes?”

Her courage wavered. “I couldn’t help but notice that you have a coffee,” she said.

“Is that a pickup line?” he asked.

Stella swallowed hard. “No. Um, more of an accusation. You stole that coffee.”

The well dressed man leaned against his car. “That’s a bold statement to make without proof.”

The man’s belligerence emboldened Stella. She pulled out her phone and showed him video clips of his crime. He laughed.

“That’s a lot of effort for something so minor,” said the man.

For the first time, Stella looked directly into the man’s eyes. They were a topaz blue, haunting and beautiful. “It doesn’t change the fact that it’s still wrong.”

The well dressed man looked at the café behind her. “What do you want?”

Stella wavered. She hadn’t thought that far ahead. Thinking quickly, she asked, “I want to know why. You obviously don’t need to steal coffee, so why do you do it?”

The well dressed man looked at the bookworm, wearing a cardigan, standing before him. “You really want to know?”

“Yes.”

“I do it because I can. Because one day, when I was waiting for my coffee, the opportunity just presented itself. And It happens all the time, everywhere I go. It happens so often, in fact, that I realized people secretly want this to happen,” he said.

Stella was at a loss for words. He was so brazen, so unapologetic.

“What are you going to do?” asked the well dressed man.

“Teach me. Teach me to do what you do. I want to see the opportunities,” said Stella. The words shocked her, as though they came from someone else.

The well dressed man smiled and looked Stella over. “Alright, then. I’ll teach you, but after that, you’re on your own.”

This was the beginning of Stella’s compelling career in white collar crime.

Posted in cafe, coffee, crime, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, short fiction, short story, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Return of the Dancing Cowboy

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Clive burst through the front door of the apartment. “It’s that time of year,” he announced.

“For your annual shower?” asked Julie.

“No,” said Clive.

“A new hairstyle?”

Clive gave Julie a scowl. “Know what? Forget it.”

Julie laughed. “I’m sorry. Tell me.”

“Nuh uh,” grumbled Clive.

“C’mon. Don’t be mad.”

“Too late for that.”

“Alright,” warned Julie. “Here comes the sulking.”

“I don’t sulk,” said Clive as he plunked on the couch.

Julie rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right. Whatever.”

“What’re you talking about? I’ve never sulked in my life.”

“Let’s call your mother and see what she says.”

“Don’t you dare,” said Clive.

“Why not? It’s because you know I’m right.”

“No, it’s because she’ll take your side. She always does.”

“She does not,” said Julie.

“Does so. She thinks you can do no wrong. She constantly tells me that marrying you was the best decision I ever made.”

“I can’t help it if she’s wise beyond her years,” laughed Julie.

“It means she’s nutty as a fruitcake. Admit it. You two talk about me when I’m not around.”

Julie smiled. “I admit nothing.”

“You know what? I’m gonna wander the streets and find the dancing cowboy. Maybe I’ll find out why he’s always dancing. It’s probably because he’s single,” said Clive.

“Oh, is the dancing cowboy back? I haven’t seen him out all winter.”

“As a matter of fact, he is. I saw him when I was coming home from work. The city’s colourful characters are back. That’s what I was gonna tell you before you got all mouthy.”

“It must be that time of year,” said Julie.

Clive’s face went beet red and the veins on his neck stuck out. “That’s what I said!”

“Ouch. Someone’s got Spring fever,” laughed Julie.

Clive grabbed his coat and stomped to the door. “No, I’m just sick of you,” he said, just as he slammed the door behind him.

Posted in dancing cowboy, fiction, fight, flash fiction, humor, humour, marriage, relationships, short fiction, short story, story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope Through Tennis

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When Lilith walked into the family room, she was stunned by what she discovered. “Why are you watching tennis? You hate tennis,” she said.

“That’s not true,” said Vernon.

“In the eight years I’ve known you, I have never even heard you mention the word ‘tennis’, much less watch it on TV,” said Lilith.

“You’re exaggerating,” said Vernon.

“Not once. Ever.”

Vernon rolled his eyes. “People change, you know.”

“Yeah, after a stroke or a blow to the head or something. Are you having a stroke? Should I call an ambulance?” asked Lilith.

Vernon sighed.

“Okay, fine. Tell me what’s got you so interested in tennis,” asked Lilith.

Vernon sighed again. “Sit,” he said, patting the cushion on the couch.

Lilith sat, leaning toward the TV. “What am I looking at?”

“First of all, look outside. What do you see?”

“Snowbanks. Ice. Cold.”

“Okay, now look at the TV. It’s a tournament in Monaco. What do you see?”

“It’s sunny. It looks hot. Oh, I get it,” said Lilith.

“I’m looking for hope that summer is eventually coming,” said Vernon.

Lilith sat back on the couch and watched along with Vernon. After a few minutes, Lilith said, “You know, this is interesting.”

Vernon smiled. “I know, right?”

Posted in fiction, flash fiction, hope, humor, humour, short fiction, short story, story, summer, tennis, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Big Three

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Carter swallowed a mouthful of his mom’s tuna casserole, set his fork down beside his plate and declared, “Mom, dad. I’ve decided to become a politician.”

Carter’s mom burst into tears. “I raised you better than that.”

His dad remained stoic. “Have you settled on a political persuasion?”

“Not yet. I haven’t decided,” said Carter.

“That’s good. You don’t want to rush into anything. You’ll know what to choose when you see where the money comes from,” said Carter’s dad.

His mom continued to sob into her casserole.

“I figured I should assess the lay of the land,” said Carter.

Carter’s dad nodded in agreement. “There are three keys to political success: networking, money and branding. I call them the Big Three.”

“What about principle, huh? Remember when politics was about principle?” shrieked Carter’s mom.

“Mom, I know. Principle is important for people at the lower levels, like for volunteers and interns. But if you want to make a career of it, you’ve got to go bigger than that,” said Carter. “It takes more investment.”

“What do you mean by that?” demanded his mom.

“Dear, everyone’s got principles. They’re a dime a dozen,” explained Carter’s dad. “Not everyone has the Big Three.”

“I swear, the level of cynicism in this house is shocking,” said Carter’s mom.

“What do you think politics is? asked Carter.

“It used to be about building society, helping humanity,” said Carter’s mom.

Carter’s dad laughed. “It’s about the other Big Three: power, wealth and fame.”

“If you want to help society, join a charity,” said Carter.

Carter’s mom smacked Carter on the arm. “Don’t use that tone with me, young man.”

“Your mom’s right. You’ll never build a positive brand by being disrespectful to your mother,” said Carter’s dad.

Carter forced a tear to fall. “Sorry, mom.”

“It’s okay, son,” said his mom.

Carter’s dad slapped him on the back. “You’re a natural, son. Once you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.”

Carter smiled, then shoveled another spoonful of tuna casserole in his mouth.

Posted in big three, career, fame, family, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, politics, power, principle, short fiction, short story, sincerity, story, wealth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Tough Education

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Distractions for a lifeguard are many. The echos of children splashing in the pool, for instance, rarely allowed Trevor an opportunity to think. Not to mention the constant need to protect the little cretins from drowning. Oh well, thought Trevor, it’s a job.

After the pool closed for the day, Trevor caught up with Alicia, another lifeguard. “I was doing some figuring,” he said.

“Yeah?”

“I have a Bachelor’s degree, right?”

“Me, too,” said Alicia.

“That’s what I mean. We both went to university, did the higher education thing,” said Trevor.

“So?”

“How much did your degree cost?” asked Trevor.

“I dunno. Never thought about it,” said Alicia.

“How much is your student debt?” asked Trevor.

Alicia looked to the ceiling as she did some quick figuring. “About twenty-eight thousand, I think. Something like that.”

“I’ve got just under twenty-five,” said Trevor.

“Lucky you.”

“Not really,” said Trevor. “Now, what’s your degree in?”

“My major was English literature,” said Alicia.

“I took history with a minor in sociology,” said Trevor.

“What’s your point?” asked Alicia.

“How long have you been a lifeguard?”

“I got my Bronze Cross when I was 16.”

“Exactly. And it probably cost, what? A thousand dollars total?”

“I guess. What are you suggesting? That university was a waste of time and money?” asked Alicia.

“Are you working in the field of English lit? Does that even exist?” asked Trevor.

“No, but you aren’t, either,” said Alicia, defensively.

“I know. That’s what got me thinking. I’ve basically wasted four years and twenty-four thousand dollars just to become a lifeguard, something I earned before I went to university in the first place. Weird, eh?” said Trevor.

Alicia scowled. “Hilarious.”

“I mean, what’s all the fuss about university? It’s not like it’s all that useful anyway. It’s a big scam.”

“I think university is important,” said Alicia defiantly.

“How can you say that? What’s university actually done for you?”

Alicia glared at Trevor, then dove into the pool. When she resurfaced, she turned to Trevor. “I’m going for swim. You’re too depressing for me.”

Trevor sighed. “The truth is often depressing.”

Posted in debt, education, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, lifeguard, short story, story, tuition, university college | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Question of the Day

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If we are the most informed society in history, why do we act like we have no idea what we’re doing?

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If Cupid Was A Medical Professional

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The phlebotomist smiled as she snapped her glove in place. “Have you ever had blood work done before?” she asked as she read the patient’s orders.

“No,” said Kyle. His eyes darted across the desk filled with medical supplies.

“Right or left?”

“Excuse me?”

“Do you want me to stick your right or left arm? Do you have a preference?”

“Oh, no,” said Kyle. He watched nervously as she wrapped an elastic band around his arm and prepped the needle.

Moving with the kind of precision a person gets from repeating the same motions day after day, the phlebotomist targeted the vein and plunged the needle in Kyle’s arm.

That was the last thing Kyle saw before he passed out.

The first thing Kyle felt when he regained consciousness was a splitting headache. The second thing he felt was cold linoleum on the left side of his face. The third thing he felt was a sharp pain in his ear.

Kyle opened his eyes to discover a little boy sticking a finger in Kyle’s ear. The little boy looked at him with large eyes and sucked on his fingers.

“What are you doing? Get out of here,” growled Kyle.

The little boy ran away, crying.

Kyle sat up and nearly passed out again. The phlebotomist poked her head between the curtains. “Oh, good. You’re awake. Stay down. The ambulance is on it’s way.”

“What happened?”

“You passed out. You should’ve told me you’re trypanophobic,” scolded the phlebotomist.

“I’m what?” asked Kyle. He made another effort to sit up.

“You have a fear of needles. Stay down. You hit your head.”

“That would explain the headache.”

“I’ll bet.”

“I didn’t know I was trypano-whatever. This is so humiliating,” said Kyle, wiping drool from his chin.

“I thought you looked cute passed out on the floor,” winked the phlebotomist.

Did she put on lipstick, wondered Kyle. His brain was too foggy to know for sure.

“I’ll go with you to the hospital. I saw what happened and I have your medical information.”

“How did you…” mumbled Kyle.

“I called your family doctor. I told him your file was incomplete. Don’t worry. I’ll stay with you as long as you need me. My name is Marcy, by the way,” smiled Marcy, the phlebotomist.

That was how Kyle first met his second wife.

Posted in blood work, Cupid, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, love, marriage, medical professional, phlebotomist, phlebotomy, romance, short fiction, short story, story, trypanophobia, trypanophobic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments