Few Hairs and The Torteless

So that’s his game!

The old man sat there with a brick for a phone pressed to his hairy ear. He squinted, strained to hear whoever he talked with, mouthed spittle-infused words.

Oh, he was good. Really good. But it was an obvious ruse.

He turned and gave me that glassy-eyed look only the elderly could, his comb-over blowing in the speeding traffic’s wake.

He knew I was on to him.

Across the road, the last chocolate torte glistened in the bakery window like an Olympic medal.

He wanted it, but I wanted more.

Red: A wiggle and a shake.

Red and amber: I checked my trainers laced. Come to poppa.

Green: He was off.

Goddamn! He was already halfway across the road!

I swerved through the milling pedestrians like a serpent through grass. I’d show the old buzzard!

Bursting onto the pavement, I dodged an old woman with a mop for a dog and leapt through the open bakery door, chest thrust forward. Winner!

With no time to gloat, I got straight down to business. “Onechocolatetorteplease.”

“Pardon?”

“One chocolate torte, please.” This time slower.

“Sorry,” said the girl behind the counter, “we’ve just sold the last one.”

“The one in the window?”

“That’s the one.” She beamed an inoffensive smile.

I panicked, after all, she was pretty. “But I was here first,” I whimpered.

The girl shook her head and pointed over my shoulder, her bangs smacking a drum ‘n’ bass rhythm against her rosy cheeks.

I turned so slowly, my hips ground.

He sat there in his buggy smug as you like, his eyes watering and his few stray hairs a mess. His dentures were missing as though he’d rushed to beat me and hadn’t had time to put them in, his hitched-up slacks revealing the argyle socks beneath — beige, of course. But worst of all, worse than anything, he had something to say; his lips frothed with the effort.

“You’re fast,” he said. “Really fast, son.”

I glowered.

“Whilst I’m old and slow.”

I gave him one of my best sneers.

“But I have this.”

He held his black brick aloft, or as aloft as his ancient limbs could manage. This, he waggled.

“Same tomorrow?” asked the girl behind the counter.

The old man cupped his ear.

“Same tomorrow?” she bellowed.

He waggled his archaic phone one last time; it might as well have been a cup and string.

“I’ll ring ahead,” he replied, then reversed over my foot and sped off.

You’ve won this round, old man, but I’m off to buy a new charger.

Truth was, I’d rather have had the torte.

Advertisements

Coffee Shop Confrontations

If it was to pass without incident or event, without anger or altercation, I had to stay calm. There were no awards for foolishness, nor unprovable bravado. In this game of life and death decisions, I had to remain cool, unbothered, frosty.
"One lemon muffin please."
Her words cut through my misting, morning torpor like a bullet through paper; she'd bought the last one!
My fingers clenched, teeth grated, eyes shot daggers.
"I'm sorry," she said looking me up and down. "Would you like the last one?"
That was it, my faith in humanity restored. Not only was she stunning, but kind. I could've leapt in the air clicking my heels, laughed in jubilation, sung my heart out. But…
"No, you're alright, love. I'll have toast instead.
Well, after all, I was English.

50 Word Stories: The Chocolate Theory


The curative properties of chocolate were a theory I'd been working on for some time. I designed a test to prove that its effects were permanent and not an occasional fluke. That test involved my mouth. Later, it involved my wife's fist in said mouth. Yes, the chocolate was hers.

Fantasy Foods

The Phoenix hatched from an egg I threw in the fire. I held it in my hand as its heat intensified until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Out it popped, a Phoenix.

I’d swapped the egg with an old woman at work who had black teeth and a pointed hat. I didn’t know her, but hated my corned beef sandwiches, (I’d asked for roast beef but them’s the breaks,) so I really got the better deal. Luckily for the Phoenix, I got busy and hadn’t eaten what the woman had claimed a hard-boiled delicacy.

The Phoenix burst from the flames like a forest fire, circled the room three times, then crashed out of the window in molten shards. It saddened me to see it go; it was beautiful in a devastating way.

The next day, the old lady tried to swap me some vegetables. She claimed them marrow beans, but I knew better. “Oh, no you don’t, you crafty old hag!” I bellowed. “Not this time, lady!”

Besides, I’d already snaffled Phoenix rolls. It really shouldn’t have flown back.

#VignetteSeries – Perkins Has a New Master

Author’s Note: I wrote this really quickly because I was feeling that way out. Perkins always cheers me up.

Poor old Perkin Perkins, he of the forgettable name, has found a new employer. The gentlemen asks far too many questions, however, and Perkins just isn’t in the mood.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Plopkins?”

“Mopping up, Sir.”

“Why?”

“Because the floor requires cleaning.”

“And don’t I employ a housecleaner to do that?”

“No, Sir.”

“Why not?”

“You’re economical with your wallet, Sir.”

“That might be termed slanderous, Porkins.”

“It might, Sir.”

“And that!”

“No, Sir, that would be termed indecisive. It’s not the same thing.”

“I ought to tan your backside!”

“That would require copious amounts of energy, Sir.”

“And?”

“You haven’t got it.”

“You’re only here.”

“Only at the moment, Sir, as I would run if you tried.”

“And where should you run to that I would not find you?”

“The cafe down the road, Sir.”

“Goddamn your insolence! Why the hell there of all places?”

“They sell breakfasts, Sir.”

“Your point being?”

“Mine’s on the floor.”