Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Irish Coffee

 I was digging around in a file, looking for some old notes, and I happened upon this flash fiction I wrote a few years ago for a contest and thought I'd share.      

         The coffee is more Irish than I am. That has to be it, the reason I see Death in the corner. He’s dressed in black, just as you’d expect. Well, except, instead of a robe, Death is wearing a peacoat. And a beanie instead of a hood. But I suppose Death can wear whatever he wants. 

Oh, and he has blond curls framing his unbony face. 

And a smile formed by plump lips, not clacking teeth. 

That’s unexpected. 

Okay, I confess, the drink in my hand is all Irish with no coffee, I’m not Irish in the least, and that probably isn’t Death. And, oh fuck, he’s weaving through the crowd towards me. 

But tipsy or not, I’ve spent the day looking for Death, certain he was close. After all, he’s left hints everywhere. The first popped up as I bought breakfast. “That’ll be $6.66,” the perky girl behind the counter said. Then a black dog lurked as I got into my car. Later, there was this strange tick tick tick; surely time counting down. And someone needs to explain the three knocks on my office door where no one stood.  

The portents can’t be ignored: Death has been searching for me. Panic numbs my hands: I’m not ready. I have so much yet to do. Paint the living room. Learn to ski. Climb a mountain. Hell, I want to run with the bulls. (Okay, yeah, I really don’t want to do that last one. But I’m making a point here. There are things I still want to do.) Like, maybe…

Fall in love.

I’m 28, for fuck’s sake. I should have fallen in love a dozen times by now. And maybe I thought I had once or twice. But it never stuck. I liked him, he didn’t like me. He liked me but I was still in the closet. I was out of the closet and he was straight. It was always something. 

True, there had been a fling with my college roommate. He’d claimed to be experimenting, but I suspect he’s more bi than curious. He’d invited me to his wedding, which was a nice gesture. The bride was radiant. The groom was dapper. I was horny. (I still feel guilty about the indiscretion in the restroom during the reception, but it’s not my fault he followed me into the stall.)

A grin threatens to split my face as I force my eyes to focus. Damn, but Death is cute. 

“Hey, sexy,” Death says as he stands over me. He has the greenest eyes, reminding me of spring days. “You look lonely. Mind if I sit?” I point to an empty chair and his smile widens. “I’m Dan,” he says. 

“Jim,” I say as I grasp his warm hand; he’s definitely not Death. We shake a few seconds longer than necessary. Screw dying and mountains and bulls. I think I’ll fall in love first. 

Just a little self promotion: my writing blog is here