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Fantasy Happy Speculative

Heads up- This is meant as a sequel to a previously posted story here. "On the way to somewhere you're not".

The cup was getting warm, but I wasn’t. The few sips that I took that burned my tongue didn’t help. I knew that I couldn’t get my money back on the tongue burning or the shivers, so I decided to just live with it. Like I usually do. I’m just glad I thought to grab my coats when I left my last apartment, unannounced. Jobs were scarce for somebody like me. Finally got one that helped pay for this cup over-warming my hand, so I need to hurry. 

I kept turning the new piercing over and over. Nervous habit or admiring my payday prize. Whatever. It looked cool, especially when the cute new guy at the counter showed it to me. He wore one just like it on the other ear next to his spider web tat. Cute and great taste. Sigh. I wished that I cared enough to date a guy. I hate Fall turning into Winter. Momma Nature can’t make up Her mind. Good thing my retro-grunge look is layered. Bundled up and moving on until I can get a coffee. Like this older guy in front of me.

What the hell? Goth costumes back in season or something? Poor girl. Hope her mother doesn’t see her looking like that. Even cold and in this wind, she still looks like she’s enjoying her life, how black her hoodie is, how shiny her earrings are, the tattoos on her neck still showing. With no care about what anyone thinks. Maybe she needs gloves. Actually, I need gloves.

The older dude is like other guys his generation. Can’t help staring at my awesomeness. But something. Something is…

Meeting eye contact, “Alison. Is your name Alison?” I just had a moment of overwhelming memory, and I had no idea where it came from.

I paused. No guy makes me pause. What the hell? “Normy? Mort? Morty? What do I want to call you that?” Bee zarre. Why do I feel like my head is one huge empty cavern and I don’t mean like my mother used to tell me. I know this dude that I don’t know but I know that I’ve met. The cold felt like it was outside.

I kept standing there staring at this wicked looking punk/goth/grunge/not caring anything about what’s going on girl. In other circumstances, I’d probably get the police on me quick, and I definitely can’t afford that. Not anymore. I tried to break the icy wind with a joke. “Congratulations. You got it right. Morty. Winner gets to hold my warm coffee cup.” I held it out to her and she didn’t see it. She kept staring at my eyes. I did the same.

“When was the last time that you sat on a bench in a park, looking at kids, ducks and feeling the wind move over us…..you, I mean?”

“I’ve been in parks when the sun was out, but I haven’t sat on a bench in ages.” Nothing like showing my age to impress this anime reject..

“I remember meeting somebody like you. Just like you. Plain. Nothing super-interesting. But, a good guy. You kept claiming you’ve done some things, but I don’t….didn’t….want to believe any of it.”

My mouth dropped open at her words. At my memories invading the warming space between us. Something about a bench. Two of us meeting. Talking. Going from desperately finding topics in common to not getting enough of each other.

“Sadness on parting. You had to go to one door.”

“I went to another one.” Silence between our eyes until I dropped my coffee. It started cooling off, so it didn’t burn either of our legs. “Roxy. It’s me, Morty.” I paused and looked around at the cityscape, the people passing us, not noticing these two mismatched people sharing something.

Something weird. Something tugging on my navel ring, except further inside. “Morty, what happened? I remember you went through a door and I went through another one. I wished and wished that you would have joined me and I thought you felt the same.”

“Roxy, I don’t know.”

I couldn’t help myself but laugh. I sucked in cold air as I bent down. “O.M.G. You remember.”

I couldn’t help myself but laugh. “Yeah. Yeah, I do.” The cold air should have stung my sore tooth that I had, but it didn’t. It should have frozen my coffee by now, but it didn’t. My hands should be numb or I should be shivering, but neither happened.

“Roxy? Where are we?”

“Somewhere like with the park bench?” People came and went, talked to their bluetooths or just to themselves. They seemed to be ignorant of the chill, the wind and two people taking up the middle of the sidewalk in a busy section of the city. 

“Oh, no. I think that you’re probably right.” I stepped in front of a woman with a heavy purse, a few shopping bags from some over-priced department stores. I’ve gotten used to seeing the nose-upturned ladies with those same bags walk past with no regard for anyone around them. This one, though….she should have brushed me as she deliberately passed. Nothing. Nothing at all. No feel of a heavy, but fashionably correct coat, not even the clap of solid boots on the thin layer of snow. 

“Well….why ‘Oh, no’? Do you see any doors?”

That just now came to me, too. I looked carefully, making sure that I wasn’t mistaken and we weren’t going to get drawn into obsidian doors and moved somewhere else. Some other life, experiences and other people. Until now. “No. No, I don’t. What do you think that this means?”

She slipped her arm around mine and we walked through the babbling crowd. Through the cold air that was soon to change with the emerging sun now. Spotlights shown on us, clouds shaping and forming beams that started melting some of the little snow left, winds calming down. 

My Roxy took the lead and walked us down the runway that became less and less crowded, less and less gray and wet. I didn’t know what happened to my coffee and I didn’t care. Maybe some imaginary transient took it. “Isn’t this better than that rave you went to when you went through your door?”

“Not by much, but I guess you’ll do.” She squeezed my arm a bit more and walked faster, daring me to keep up. 

All good things don’t always come to an end. Most of them just wait for the right moment.

May 23, 2023 01:59

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2 comments

Joe Smallwood
22:04 May 31, 2023

Hi, David, I got you for critique circle! Here goes. Your writing just pops! Here are some examples: I paused. No guy makes me pause. The cup was getting warm, but I wasn’t. Then you have this technique of slipping in tiny sentences that reveal plenty about the character through their thoughts...which isn't as bad as flat-out telling: I decided to just live with it. Like I usually do. There is this beautiful ambiguity like you just woke up and nothing is clear: I know this dude that I don’t know but I know that I’ve met. “Roxy, I don’t ...

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David Drake
14:11 Jun 01, 2023

Joe, thank you! I'm a few decades away from 20-something, but I did what I could to write as those 20-something characters. Only trouble with reading my drafts is that I used Google Docs to type these stories and I save them "as is". With the novellas/long stories that I'm writing and have written, I'll either save a potential revision as a different name or just backspace and start a section over. I appreciate your feedback a great deal!

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