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.

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Never Back Down

Positivity flows between us like electric eels swimming upstream through unctuous sweat: electric, and hard earned. We blast away the toil in excessive bursts never before seen or expected. Loud is our keyword. Youth is our slogan. We wink and nod and laugh and scream. We’re ready. Bring it on. Turn up the music and to hell with them all. Then the bomb hits and we’re covered in glass. Well, it was good whilst it lasted and we’ve still a few minutes to go. 

50 Word Stories: Teenage Trials

The problem with anger was it wore off. Sorrow had limitations, too. Only indifference had the virtue of being inexhaustible. One could remain indifferent with contemptuous ease. The only problem was it made one listless, which If locked in your room drew anger and sorrow back. You just couldn't win!

Cloud Talk

Cloud Talk

“My cloud looks like a snake,” hissed Annie in a poor imitation of her chosen animal.
Tommy looked up with more consideration than his would-be girlfriend. “My cloud looks like a rhinoceros and it’s going to stomp on your little snake until it’s flat.” Would-be was the opportune word because now he’d never get the chance to be her boyfriend.
Cunning Jenny, a year older and wiser than the rest of us, thought long and hard before decrypting her cloud. After mulling over a few half-spoken nouns, she said, “My cloud is a locomotive and ain’t gonna stop for you.”
I was quite impressed by the flourish as she pointed to each of us in turn. She finished with a bawdy laugh and took another swig of her Cola.
“So?” said Annie, still in a huff.
“What?” said I.
“What’s yours?” she pressed.
“Oh, I can’t think of anything. Jenny wins.”
“Go on, I dare you,” she insisted.
“No, honest, she wins. I’m beat.”
But in truth, I’d won, as I knew girls much better than Tommy. It wasn’t until much later that afternoon after two full hours of Jenny’s kisses and cuddles beneath the lemon tree that she said, “Go on, Rich, what did you pick?”
I grinned.
She grinned back.
“A cannon,” said I. “It blew you all away.”

50 Word Stories: Nightspore

“He’s a hero, poppa.”
“He’s not.”
“But it doesn’t matter what they do, he takes it, then dishes out twice that back. Nightman’s my hero.”
“Nightspore.”
“What?”
“Nightspore.”
“Why would you say that?”
“Because he’s just another fungus that’s infested with hate. I pity him. Worse still, I pity us.”