Henry pressed his face up against the restaurant’s window. He put his hands up next to his eyes to get a better view of what was inside. He marveled at the bright, white tablecloths and the artistically folded napkins.
Each table was neatly lined up, a beautifully framed piece of artwork gracing each setting. He felt and heard the growling of his stomach. How long had it been since he’d eaten at such a place, Henry wondered. Hell, how long had it been since he’d had a decent meal?
Henry remembered the heady days when he was making money hand over fist as a commodities trader. He could afford to go to fancy restaurants like this. He’d bring prospective clients to such places to impress them. This memory brought a melancholy smile to Henry’s face.
If only he hadn’t put his money in that Ponzi scheme. He lost everything. All his money, all his clients, his family, his reputation. He avoided jail time by agreeing to flip on the crook who masterminded the fraud.
The restaurant door opened. The owner invited Henry to come in and have a meal before the restaurant opened for business.
Henry actually started to cry.
Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practictioner from Roger Shipp. Photo credit: MorgueFile May 2018 1400068700w0086.
Frank had assured Annie that the evacuation order was just a precaution. He was sure the firefighters would be able to get the wildfire under control in a few hours. They were professionals.
Annie and Frank packed what they could, grabbed their two kids, piled into the car, and headed south. Frank told the kids to think of it as an adventure. Annie told them it would be like they were going on vacation.
They drove to Annie’s father’s home a safe distance from the area of fires. Frank kept checking his smartphone for updates, while Annie played a board game with her father and the kids. She could see how worried Frank was, and that worried her.
The next morning Annie fixed breakfast for everyone. Annie’s father agreed to watch the kids while she and Frank drove back to their neighborhood. But the road was closed because the fire was still out of control.
Franks stopped the car and they looked in the direction of their home. Annie saw the heavy smoke billowing high into the sky. She grabbed Frank’s hand and squeezed hard as she fought to hold back her tears.
They both knew that everything was lost.
Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner from Roger Shipp. Photo credit: MorgueFile May 2018 1382470355ix82z.
She hated being alone, and yet there she was, on a stunningly beautiful beach in mid-afternoon, sitting by herself on the sand just beyond the reach of the water. Susan gazed out towards the sea, reflecting on her young life and contemplating what she might do to give it more meaning.
He told her that she had no depth, that she had little to offer him, added no value. Yes, she was pretty, he told her. And the sex was great. But that would fade over time and he wanted to be with a smart person, a deep thinker. He couldn’t waste his time with someone who didn’t possess the same intellectual curiosity that he did.
She was not stupid, she told herself. She always got good grades in school. The teachers loved her. She was quite popular among her peers. How could he think she was shallow?
Maybe her best friend, Connie, was right. Perhaps he was too old for her. “You’re a senior in high school,” Connie said. “He’s forty and married. I don’t see how this works out well for you.”
“I suppose she’s right,” Susan said to herself as she peered out towards the sea.
Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner from Roger Shipp and for today’s Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “shallow.” Image credit: MorgueFile May 2018 1365256807kyjpp.
Did you ever notice that people walking through airports are like zombies? The next time you’re in an airport, look around. Walking through the terminal and toward their gates, dragging their rollaboards behind them, they all have these vacant, empty expressions on their faces. They seem to be possessed. They’re like the walking dead.
Even those who are eating something in one of the various food courts or restaurants that dot the terminal buildings are just going through the motions, opening up their mouths and stuffing some crappy food into it while either staring off into space or with their eyes affixed to their smartphone screens.
And when it’s time to board, they line up like lemmings, waiting for their boarding group number to be called and then, one after the other, like automatons, hand their boarding passes to the gate attendant before entering the long, narrow, metal tube.
Except for kids. They are still too young to have reached the airport zombie stage. They are too excited, too full of energy. They are running around and screeching and giving all of the grown up zombies bigger headaches than they already have.
And I used to enjoy flying.
Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner from Roger Shipp. Photo credit: flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo.
“I keep seeing him,” Richard told his therapist. “I saw him this morning on the subway platform. He was staring straight at me with cold, dead eyes. He was completely expressionless.”
“Where else have you seen him?” his therapist asked.
“Everywhere. All the time. In store windows. At the park when I’m walking the dog. Standing outside of my house looking in,” Richard said.
“Is he anyone you recognize?”
“He looks vaguely familiar, like someone I should know or may have known. But I don’t know who he is,” Richard explained.
“Can you describe him for me?”
“He is about my height and weight,” Richard said. “In fact, he looks a little like me.”
“You told me you’re an only child, right?” the therapist said. “Maybe it’s an apparition.”
“You think I’m seeing ghosts?” Richard said angrily. “I’m outta here.”
Richard went to see his mother after leaving the therapist’s office. “Ma,” he said, “my therapist says I’m seeing a ghost. A ghost who looks a lot like me.”
Richard’s mother put her hand to her mouth. “Richard,” she said. “Your twin brother died at birth. It was him or you. Forgive me for never telling you. ”
Written for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Image credit: black-and-white-person-train-motion-42153 Pixel photo.