Joan sat in her corner booth, as she did every Wednesday at eleven in the morning, and pondered life as she knew it. Was it possible to feel completely exposed even as one lived in a cage? She lifted the plain white porcelain cup and sipped her coffee, staring blankly over the rim of the mug, completely ignoring the papers scattered across the table before her.
A bright spot of color caught her eye, and she let her curiosity get the better of her. She lowered the coffee mug and leaned to the side, struggling for one last glimpse of the red plain coat that had so inexplicably intrigued her. Nothing. Joan sighed with disappointment and dropped another spoonful of sugar into her coffee. She stewed for a moment before deciding to learn from this experience, and turned her contemplation inwards.
She felt frustration: understandable, yes. Excusable? Not so much. Joan took a few deep breaths, emptying her mind of the frustrated thoughts and feelings, sending them out into the ether to be countered by positive ones.
She felt curiosity: where had the person in the bright coat come from, and where had they gone? What were they doing? She shook her head. She had no need to know these things; her life would be neither more nor less full with that knowledge. She breathed the curiosity out as well.
She felt confusion: what was it about that shade of red that had caused her attention to latch on so tightly?
Joan laughed at herself and finished off her coffee in one final slurp. She gathered her papers together and crammed them all into her satchel, not bothering to straighten them, heedless of how many would have dogeared corners by the time she got home today.
In four minutes she was blocks from the coffee shop and halfway through the park, striding along as fast she normally did. She checked her watch, then looked up to see, straight in front of her, the red coat. She laughed aloud, and the old man feeding the pigeons looked up, sharply, quizzically, before dismissing her as just another lunatic.
Robert slammed the door behind him, and the sound echoed through the room. Bradley spun around where he stood by the window, his eyes wide with surprise.
“Fuckin’ girl didn’t show.” Robert threw the empty blue duffel bag straight at Bradley’s face; Bradley snatched it from the air and waited patiently for Robert to finish his rant. “I waited an extra fifteen. Some asshole prob’ly saw me and called the fuckin’ cops. Get fucked, Brad.”
Bradley admired Robert’s sweet humility, but he wasn’t going to let Robert get away with such a crude outburst. Practically corrosive on the ears. “Watch your mouth, Bob. And don’t worry about the girl or the cops. I’ve taken care of any possible contingencies, including this one. Why don’t you go in the kitchen and fix yourself a nice hot cup of coffee?”
Robert saw the look in Bradley’s eyes and immediately changed his tune. “Look, man, I’m sorry about that. It’s just–with the girl not showin’ and me havin’ to wait, I got a little worked up, is all. I’m sorry. I’m real sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Bradley nodded toward the doorway to the kitchen. Robert took the hint and walked straight to the coffeemaker, pulling a clean mug from the dish drainer as he scooted by.
As soon as Robert was out of sight, Bradley set the bag gently down on the floor at his feet. He pulled the gun from the holster strapped around his torso and turned to face the kitchen. When Robert came back, he would find a nice dose of lead to go with his hot, fresh coffee.
Nora swung an elegantly clad foot at the end of a stockinged leg, her chin resting gently atop her fist. She watched person after person pass by on the street as her cafe latte cooled on the table in front of her.
Finally, the right one walked by. Nora swept her leg to the floor and stood, dropping a pair of bills on the table for the waiter.
She picked up the pace in order to keep up with her prey. Closer and closer. He turned, and she was waiting, the gun in her hand.
She left him there, in the alley, without a second thought.
Caroline smiled approvingly down at the scale, happy to whittle down her waistline like the tortoise, not the hare. She stepped off and grabbed her toothbrush to fill it with minty freshness from a tube. Teeth properly cleaned, she washed her hands and put her contacts in. She blinked her eyes rapidly, making sure everything was in place, and cinched her bathrobe belt around her waist before heading for the kitchen.
With the kids gone, and Kenneth long since kicked to the curb, Caroline loved a good peaceful cup of coffee while catching up on her Facebook feed. She drank her Folgers black, and with the cup steaming like a house afire, she carted her laptop out to the back patio to take in the sunrise.
She chuckled at cat videos while sipping her morning joe,and suddenly remembered her desperate need for corn tortillas. She pulled her ever-present notepad and pencil from her bathrobe pocket and flipped to a fresh page. The pencil felt a bit odd in her hand, so she held it up like a pistol, and she sighted down the barrel. It looked fine. She shrugged and precisely printed corn tortillas on the first line.
Nothing was groundbreakingly new in Facebookland, so Caroline gently closed her laptop and leaned back in her chair, crossing her left leg over her right. She held her mug with both hands and took a long sip of her now-cooled coffee, letting the steam bathe her pores. The clouds in the sky blocked her view of the sunrise, so she sighed and tucked her notebook back into her pocket as she rose to go inside and dress for the day.
TBP OLWG #27 15 minutes, I choose 17.
Lola woke up to the sound of tree branches scratching against her bedroom window, The wind was kicking up, and a thunderstorm was on its way. She pulled back her curtain to reveal a violet sky. No gardening today.
She stood, toying with a strand of her hair, twisting it into a cats’ cradle around the fingers of one hand. She was lost in a daydream of plans that might have been.
Lightning arced across the sky, and abruptly, Lola was thrown back into the real world. She took a moment to synchronize herself with her surroundings, then threw on a robe and padded out into the kitchen.
Stella the cat slept peacefully on the granite countertop next to the sink. Lola was loath to shoo her off, but coffee was calling. Stella swiftly dodged the hand trying to soother her hurt feelings and ducked into the bedroom to hide among the dust bunnies beneath the bed.
Lola shrugged and dropped a pod into her Keurig. Then she leaned forward, elbows on the counter, watching the stream flow into her mug, miles away from everything.
Marcy didn’t notice that she began disappearing from existence as soon as she left her local coffee shop, double shot latte in hand.
She didn’t notice the stares of the passersby; she didn’t pay attention when the clerk at the antique shop dropped her change on the counter and crossed herself.
It was simple wish fulfillment; Marcy had spent years pretending she didn’t exist.