August 30, 2014

DOCTOR SNAP – By Cristina L White

It was written on the sideboard menu in white chalk: PLAIN BELGIAN WAFFLE. As opposed to what, I wondered. Fancy Belgian waffle? Or maybe it wasn’t about plain or fancy. Could one order a plain Bulgarian waffle? What the hell is a Belgian waffle anyway? And why would I care? Please take note: Rachel Sutton doesn’t care about waffles, plain or fancy. Oh, sure, I thought. As if anyone out there is taking note of what I care about. Once upon a time, Angie would have taken note. No. Better not think about that. She had moved on; I should do the same. It was over.

I sipped my coffee. It was black. Bitter. I liked the taste of it, the heat of the liquid. I closed my eyes and listened to the chatter and clatter around me in the café. The noise of the place was soothing. It occurred to me that I might be focusing on plain Belgian waffles in order not to think about my plain old misery. My plain old apartment, barely big enough for two, but Angie and I had made it work. That was then. Now, it was the place where I lived alone, with my plain old solitude for company.

“Purple toothbrush! Purple toothbrush!”

It was a child’s voice. I opened my eyes and saw her—a toddler wearing an Army green baseball cap and a pink dress. The kid definitely had her own style. I found myself grinning, and realized it was the first time in days—maybe weeks—that I had found anything funny. Me and my deep-down funk: my girlfriend gone, my sense of humor nearly smothered by self-pity.

Screw it, I thought. This little girl in her Army baseball cap had the right idea.

“Purple toothbrush,” she said again.

Yeah. Color. That’s the ticket. Mix it up.

I got up and went to the sideboard. I put sugar and cream in my coffee. Sampled it. Good. Nice creamy color. I remembered my red baseball cap. Bright red. And didn’t I have a Pink Martini tee shirt somewhere? Yeah, I’ll wear that. Pink tee shirt and red cap.

The waitress walked by, and I signaled her. She had poured my coffee, but this time, as she came toward me, I noticed her eyes. Beautiful blue eyes. And on her right shoulder, a sexy rose tattoo. How had I missed that?  “Could I get one of those plain Belgian waffles?”

“Sure,” she said.

“And a side dish of blueberries?”

She smiled. “You can get strawberries too.”

“Sounds good.”

“Plain B with a red-and-blue side, coming up.”

I watched her walk away, then went back to my table and settled in again. The purple toothbrush toddler was drumming on an empty chair while her mother looked on. She seemed amazed at the kooky human being she had brought into the world.

“Great kid,” I said.

“That she is. Keeps me on my toes.”

“What’s her name?”

“Ellie.”

“Hi, Ellie.”

Ellie looked up at me. “Hi,” she said.

I lifted my cup to her. “I like your style, Ellie.”

She considered this. “Hi,” she said again.

“Exactly. High style.”

Ellie tilted her head, made a “popping” sound with her lips, then went back to her drumming.

I drank my coffee, feeling at one with my surroundings. I wondered what Ellie would grow up to be. Maybe a therapist with unconventional methods. Today, in my book, that’s what she was—Doc Ellie, A.K.A. Doctor Snap. As in: Snap-Out-of-It-Already. I leaned back in my chair, awaiting the arrival of my not-so-plain Belgian waffle, and the girl with the sexy rose tattoo.

—End—

  (c) Cristina L. White, 2014


Cristina L. White writes fiction, memoir, and plays. Her most recent work, Sex and Soul: A Memoir of Salvation, is due for release fall 2014.

 Author Contact  |  Blog   | Website (coming in October ’14)

August 9, 2014

Sushi: A Vignette – by Tamara K. Walker

 

CHARACTERS

A – a young woman in her early twenties, slightly plump with soft features.  She has a patient, tired, wise, responsible manner, but still acts and seems her age.

B – another young woman, also in her twenties, with very long hair at least halfway down her back, not too skinny.  B may be wearing pants or a long skirt and an unbuttoned plaid shirt over a short-sleeved V-neck top.  She consistently affects a more melancholy, contemplative vibe.

NARRATOR – never seen.

VARIOUS RESTAURANT CUSTOMERS – including two YOUNG CHILDREN around 7 or 8 years old, possibly siblings, wearing shorts and sandals.

WAITER – an enthusiastic young Japanese-American man.

 

SETTING

A mid-scale Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar.  The polished floors, overhead lights, walls, and lamps above the sushi counter are all shades of white.  Brightly lit ambiance in general.


[A and B are in the middle of a meal at a narrow table, sitting across from each other.  Assorted plates of half-finished food are strewn about in front of them, covering almost the entire table.  The same few phrases of a jazz piece play very faintly over and over again in a continuous loop in the background, giving the warm atmosphere an eerie contrasting quality.]


[B’s manner decrescendos from playful, unassuming, and familiar to distinctly sober in an instant.]:    Maybe you should lay off the raw sushi at some point.  Just in case.

A:         You’re right…[trails off, zoning out until she snaps suddenly back to attention] You’re right!  If this really is.

[A and B sit in subdued silence.]

NARRATOR [offstage, pseudo-ethereally]: Slippery rainbow streams of sashimi and elaborate rolls have barely maintained their mutually constructed parallel distraction, happy but wistful.

[The music stops.]

A or B: Well…

A:         It makes sense.  I’m late for, like, the first time ever.  Very late, I mean.  My regularity’s never been that great, but this is beyond anything before.

[B sighs in tentative agony and shifts in her chair, pushing back from the   table.]

B:         And we did do that.  Rare as it is.  [Agitated resignation struggles to emerge from her face.]

A:         Yeah.  Apartment and a rainstorm.  Stereotypical.  Hmph.
B:         I think you mean, ‘cliché’.
A:         Whatever.
B:         I was drunk.
A:         Yes.  I’m so sorry.
B:         It’s fine, we both—
[visibly uncomfortable, cutting her off]: Mm.  Ok.
B:         We’re fluid-bonded, even before.  Guess I got a little cocky.
[dryly]:    Ha.

[Pause.] 

NARRATOR [offstage]:  Pickled ginger and recent memories of hope.  It still felt so fundamentally wrong to refer to it as a ‘scare’.  B recalled the bizarre ambivalent feeling when A first told her, knowing beyond knowing that she couldn’t deal with the development but desperately wanting it anyway.  A kind of relieved gratitude when life forces your slimy little cherished hopes to be tested.

A or B:      And the hormones are no guarantee.
A or B [whoever didn’t say previous line]:    Nope.

[They sigh simultaneously.]

A:         I read about that.
[Around five seconds of silence passes.]

A:         I suppose we have to face it.  Better now.
B:         How did this happen?  [No one makes the obvious joke.] I mean, I just—[struggles briefly for words, floundering]  I’ve always thought subconsciously that if any pregnancy comes of me that I’d be carrying it, it’d be mine.  Of course I know that can’t actually—it’s hard to explain, but that’s how it’s wired…well, there’s the answer, that’s probably how this happened in the first place.
A:         I understand.  That makes sense, too, sweetie.
[A’s tenderness breaks through the stolid taut air as her hand moves to grasp B’s across the table.  They hold hands atop the table.]

B:         Please don’t hate me for this: I don’t know how to feel.

[A’s tears flow one, two, then continuously.  A erupts with an audible sob.   VARIOUS RESTAURANT CUSTOMERS at nearby tables turn their heads.  They knock over the domino keeping B’s tears gated, and she also starts crying softly.]

[sniffling, composes herself, releases A’s hand]:           No guarantee, but it’s been a lot of years.  It’d probably be my last chance, if.
A:         You said you always adored the concept of motherhood.
B:         As a concept.
A:         You have the breasts for it.
[A looks uncertain, clearly trying to be funny but immediately regretting her attempt.  She searches B’s face, trying to assess its impact.  B looks briefly startled, then smiles wryly and halfheartedly and stares deliberately off in another  direction, pointedly avoiding eye contact with A.]

B:         We’re friends, first.  We always have been.  Before we started.  [Mumbles inaudibly.]

[almost to herself]:      We better deal with it.
NARRATOR [offstage]:   They better deal with it.
B:         I need a cigarette.
A:         You don’t smoke.  Anyway maybe you should be careful, just in case.

[The YOUNG CHILDREN hover near the sushi bar.  B gazes at them and then quickly glances at the menu again.  The WAITER arrives.]

WAITER [guiltily looking down, aware that he’s interrupting a very intimate and unresolved conversation]:     Anything else for you ladies?
A:         Nothing else raw.  [glances at B quickly, who looks away] I’ll have the grilled unagi.

 

[CURTAIN, suddenly and immediately as if by accident.]

 

(c) 2014 Tamara K. Walker

~~~ ~~~

Tamara K. Walker is a writer of various forms, primarily flash fiction and experimental short stories, who lives in Colorado with her wife/life partner and blogs irregularly about writing and literature at http://tamarakwalker.wordpress.com.  She may also be found online at http://about.me/tamara.kwalker.  Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in A cappella Zoo, Identity Theory, Apocrypha and Abstractions, and a handful of poetry zines.

Contact  |  Website  |  About.Me


July 27, 2014

Defending Her Honor – by Caseyrenee Lopez

The jukebox pulsed loud and booming bass flooded the bar. People were getting shitfaced and a group of bikers started shit talking and harassing women. Then an uncle-daddy-inbred-bastard thought he could put his hands on the waitress, who happened to be Lindsey’s girl (the owner). “Come home baby, I’ll show you what a real cock feels like,” he said, as he tried to put his hand up her skirt. Fuck that. Baseball bat in hand, Lindsey took a swing at the cue-ball-headed motherfucker who disrespected Patsy.

 

(c) 2014 Caseyrenee Lopez

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Caseyrenee Lopez: Contact


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