Peanut Butter Cookie

One peanut butter cookie was all it took.

Seth stood at the counter when the smell hit. His mouth immediately started to water. The barista was nowhere in sight, but it was too late anyway.

Seth saw the cookies, lying out, ready to kill even the least allergic. They would topple empires, those cookies.

But Seth wasn’t allergic. He was hungry. He reached out, grabbed a cookie, and started to eat. He wolfed it down before anyone saw, and was just reaching for another when the barista arrived.

“Can I have one of those?” Seth said.

The barista picked one up with a pair of tongs and handed it to him. “Two fifty,” the barista said.

Seth handed him the money and scampered away, enjoying his ill-gotten gains

Working Aid

Miguel was tired, nearly glaring at his screen. It didn’t respond to his glare.

He had been at it for almost fourteen hours. One break for food around the seventh hour mark, eating quickly, then returning to it, smashing away at the keyboard, stopping to stare and think, trouble-shoot, and then smash some more.

The computer did its part, faithfully taking in what he typed, putting it on the screen. He couldn’t fault it for that.

He could only fault the movement between his words, and the computer’s. They didn’t meet, they didn’t communicate well. Every time he figured out something knew, the computer would reply with its own malicious reply.

Miguel’s eyes hurt. He lifted his glasses and rubbed them. He set them back on his nose, and looked at the screen again.

It was all blurring, none of it making sense any more. He should rest, he knew. But there was no time.

Rising from his chair, Miguel walked to the coffee pot, faithfully keeping his brew warm. He poured another cup, added five spoons of a sugar and a splash of cream, and returned to the desk with a fit of brilliance.

The fit ended a moment later, and Miguel returned to staring. He took a sip, tried a few more keystrokes, and wondered if that would do. Probably not. But there would be time to fix it, he hoped, in a few hours. He took another sip, stood again, and started pacing. He sat, but it wasn’t there. He looked around, grabbed the whiskey, tossed it in to the coffee, and smiled. This should help, he thought.

And it did.

A Reply

Anne glanced at her phone, ambivalent.

A text hid the rest of her screen. A good text, to some. A bad one to others. A friend, maybe, or more, or less.

Want to meet for a drink? the text read.

Anne did and didn’t. He was nice, or had been to her at least. She new to the school, though, only just starting a month or so before. New to the country, having only arrived two weeks before school.

Anne didn’t have any problem with this. He was cute, he was interesting, and he was, as she kept thinking, nice. But her mother had warned her about the white boys, how they would do what they could to fool her, take they wanted and leave her sad and damaged, unmarriageable. That was Anne’s mother.

She stared at the text, and wondered what she should do. The longer she waited, she knew, the more awkward would be her response. Did she want this? She had chosen this place to try somewhere new, to be away from the old life. It was important to her. But important enough? Did this fit?

The more she thought about it, the more she thought about how it was only a drink. That could mean many things. Maybe it was just a friendly chat. Maybe he needed help with his paper. It would be impossible to know, until she found out.

Anne tapped the screen, bringing the phone back to wakefulness. She quickly typed in a Sure. Where and when?, then breathed out to relax herself.

She sat, waiting for the reply, excited and scared.

Vending Machine

She stood in black yoga pants and a sweater, her blond head cocked to the side, a hand on the glass of the vending machine. Stephanie pressed the buttons, and the machine whirred. Something should have fallen, but did not.

Stephanie frowned, puckering her lips. She brought her hand back and hit the machine. Nothing happened.

She looked around for someone to help, but the only people available didn’t have the expertise. A couple fussed over a baby. Three women laughed. Two man-boys ogled her. She rolled her eyes.

Looking back at the machine, she knew she needed to bite the bullet. Reached into the pocket of her hoodie, pulling out her wallet. Sorting through the change purse, she inserted one coin after another, then pushed the buttons.

The machine whirred again. Her first treat fell – the second now lodging in. She sighed, looked around once more for some help, then abandoned the cause. She grabbed her snack, and muttered “You’re welcome,” under her breath to the next person who came along.

Roxie’s Bike

Roxie loved her bicycle, and raced it whenever she could.

She no longer had anyone to race against – long since becoming faster than all her friends – but still, she pushed herself. Every day, she tried to become a little faster. Rain, shine, even in the snow, she would be out on two wheels, flying down the roads.

She had been doored twice, and nearly hit by a left-turning vehicle. But still she raced against her own time. She sought shorter routes, easier turns, occasionally safer ways of riding. But mostly, she just wanted to do a little better than yesterday.

As she pushed down the road now, though, she knew she wouldn’t do it – the trucks in the way, the man with the stop sign, the construction going on everywhere. She was delayed at every step, and it would be her worst day yet.

But she wasn’t worried. Tomorrow she would be out again, trying a different, looking for a way to get back to speed. And the next day, she would get a little faster than that.

Best Friends

Two best friends sat eating their ice cream.

One best friend said to the other best friend, “Friend, do you think it is healthy of us to simply sit here and eat our ice cream?”

The second best friend seemed to consider this, then continued eating.

“Friend,” the first best friend said. “Are you considering, or are you not going to respond?”

“Perhaps,” the second best friend said, “my lack of response is response enough.”

“But, friend, I don’t know what that means,” said the first best friend.

The second best friend smiled. “Must one always know what one means?”

“I think so,” said the first best friend.

“And there, I think, is your folly,” said the second best friend.

The two looked out on the road, watching as cars passed by, each considering this wisdom.

Social Commentary?

As Darrell spun his yoyo, he looked to see who was watching.

No one was doing so, so Darrell tried again. He flipped the yoyo around, made a cradle from it, everything he knew. Still nothing.

With no good responses, Darrell threw his yoyo at the nearest kid, sat down on the ground, and started screaming. When someone came over and asked what was wrong, he pointed to the kid, also crying on the ground, and whined about the theft of his toy.

Darrell got plenty of attention, and was taken out for ice cream and a new toy. The other kid was hurt, but did end up with a yoyo in the end.

Flying Home

The rain fell outside the window, and Jean stared wistfully.

Across the tarmac, a city bustled. People went to work, to school, drove home. They talked, drank, had sex, cleaned bathrooms, and all the myriad things that people do in an average day.

Jean bit his lip and wondered. Would that all return when he did? Would it all be right?

He hadn’t left on the best of terms. His partner was angry at the last minute trip. His child was angry at canceled plans. His boss was annoyed that Jean’s reports weren’t ready.

Still, you do what you have to, and Jean had spent two months away, living his life as best he could, working and eating and sleeping and calling home every few days. Sometimes people answered, sometimes not. Usually they were cordial enough.

Now he was finally finished, and he could take a few days off to recover, and spend time with his loved ones. He didn’t know if they would spend time with him, but he would find out soon enough.

The rain was letting up, and Jean was just a little sad. He liked the rain, the smearing of life outside. The way things became otherworldly. He wished it would stop, but, as he knew, you can’t always get what you want.

The announcer called his boarding zone, and Jean stood. He gathered his things and readied himself for the last leg of his journey.

Cat Hugs

Damien grabbed the cat, lifted her, and brought her in for a hug.

The cat was having none of it.

After a quick warning meow, the cat’s claws extended. Damien didn’t notice, or didn’t care. He kept bringing the cat closer to his face. The cat wriggled, and still Damien pulled her in. The cat twisted radically, seeking some means of escape, but Damien’s grip wouldn’t allow it.

The cat sunk her claws into Damien’s clothes, scraping at his coverings, trying to get to the skin. Still, Damien brought the cat closer.

Finally, the cat did the only thing she could. She sunk her teeth into Damien’s ear, then his neck. The taste of blood filled her mouth, and she kept biting and chewing until Damien finally released her.

“What a good kitty you are!” Damien said, smiling at her. She looked back at him, coughed up a hairball, and left, disgusted.