Welcome one and all to the second ever Short Story Saturday. The rules are super simple; post a part of your short story (or a piece of micro-fiction) each week. Make sure you include this linky thing so your readers can find other great pieces of short stories. A huge thank you to Emily Witt at Keys and an Open Mind for setting up the linky.
This is the second part of a piece I had to write for my creative writing class. You can find Part 1 here. We were told to write in as literary a style as possible and to avoid fantasy. I freaked out a bit then because fantasy is what I usually write. Every attempt I make to set an event in the real world tends to flop but I embraced the challenge and this is the result.
His phone buzzes. Emil glances at the screen. Samantha. Where are you? He ignores it and sips again at his coffee. Tepid, now, but still drinkable. The phone rings. If it’s Samantha again…, he thinks. But it’s not. It’s his boss. He wishes he could ignore it but he must pay the rent somehow. Sighing, he answers, ‘Hi, Emil Jonson speaking.’
‘Jon, it’s Dave. You back yet? ’Cause we need to fill a shift on Monday.’
Dave always calls him Jon. Emil hates it, ‘I thought I had leave til next Wednesday?’
‘I need someone Monday. Sam said you’re back.’
‘Ran into her at the supermarket. She said you’d be back today. So, Monday?’
‘My mother just died.’
‘That’s rubbish, mate, and I’m sorry, really. But Monday, yeah? It’s a goer?’
‘Don’t I get bereavement leave or something?’
‘You’ve had two months off, Jon. You’re lucky you still have a job.’
‘My name’s not Jon.’
‘Whatever. Monday. No excuses.’
‘Dave, I didn’t say-’
‘Monday.’ Emil sighs. Dave ends the call before Emil finishes speaking. He peers into the depths of his coffee, finding no wisdom there. He wishes he had the guts to quit his job. He’s always dreamed of change but still fears the implementation of it. And so he is stuck in a shit job, with a stalkerish girlfriend.
The old woman is staring at him. He meets her eyes and smiles, just to be polite but she takes it as an invitation and hobbles over, smelling of anise and the suburbs.
‘I-’ Emil begins to protest.
‘You can’t deny an old woman company, can you?’ she raises a pencilled eyebrow.
‘I’m Janet,’ she waits, ‘and your name, young man?’
‘That’s an odd name.’
‘Not in Sweden.’ he raises his mug to his lips to hide his impatience.
‘My mother was.’
‘Ah, yes,’ she pauses, ‘couldn’t help but overhear. My condolences.’
‘Um, thank you.’
‘I knew a Swede once. Lovely man. Blonde, though, not dark haired like you are. You know, I don’t think I’ve seen a dark haired Swede before.’
‘My father’s from here.’
Emil pays no attention as Janet launches into her life story. He has no patience for old women. Younger women are on his mind. Samantha. And the waitress. Though he has never really spoken to her there is something in her manner that he envies. Perhaps it is her optimism or lack of disillusionment. Either way, the allure is hard to resist. He wonders what her name is. This place isn’t the tag-wearing type. He watches the waitress dance from table to table and feels guilty for watching. The waitress sees him looking, smiles. Blushing, he turns his attention to his mug. Empty.