Wednesay’s Briefs–Flash Fiction- a free read
EMUS AND COFFEE AND A SIDEWALK CAFE
He was such a jerk.
“You have to leave a tip.”
“A gratuity requires exceptional service,” he said in stentorian tones.
“Waitresses depend on tips. Everybody tips,” I said, barely able to sound reasonably civil. What a mistake this was, having lunch with Mr. Pontificator. “Look, you said you had somewhere to be. I’m going to have another cup of coffee. Why don’t you just go.”
“Yes, I have a meeting. I’ll call you tonight.”
“I’m in the book,” I lied. I really didn’t want to tell him to get lost right here, so let him try to call.
I signaled the waitress as he walked away and really did order another cup of coffee. It was a beautiful day and I loved sidewalk cafés and I didn’t have to be back to work for another half hour. It was a pleasure to just sit and people watch and wonder about their lives. Mine was very simple. Single, prone to meet jerks who invited me out to lunch and turned out to be duds. I’m also self-employed as a pretty good PR consultant, which means I’m not exactly scratching for a living.
“Nice boots,” somebody said.
I turned. Well, this guy was a very handsome dude.
He frowned. “Emu? That’s a bird isn’t it; something like an ostrich?”
“Yes. It’s also an Australian boot company.”
“They’re made of bird skin?”
“Sheepskin. Who are you?”
“Jeffrey Sims. Jeff to my friends.”
“I see. Jeffrey.”
He broke into a great big grin. “Just had a fight with the boyfriend, huh?”
I stared at him. “I don’t like nosy people.”
“Sorry. I’ve been sitting at the next table. I couldn’t help but hear.”
“What happened to your girlfriend?” I said before I could catch the words. I really hadn’t been eavesdropping, not deliberately at least.
He grinned. “We just met this morning. She never stopped talking.”
“Why did she leave?”
“I interrupted. Had to tell her I liked my peace and quiet. She got the message.”
“What about you? You sounded pretty ticked at him.”
“Yeah. We met this morning too.” Now why did I tell him that?
“Short-lived engagement too?” he asked with a smile. Sheesh, he had a nice smile.
“Terminal. He likes to lecture people and he wouldn’t tip the waitress.”
“Capital offenses, both of them,” he said as the waitress returned with my coffee. He grinned at her. “I’ll have one of those too, if the lady will let me join her.”
The waitress laughed. “You better ask her then.”
He turned back to me wearing that beautiful smile again. “What do you say?”
“Do you tip?”
“Have a seat.”
“You have a name I take it?”
He frowned. “And?”
I studied him for a minute. Gray eyes, sort of an auburn colored hair, and a nice face. And he did give tips. That was a pretty good start; why not? “Ronnie Grabowski. I’m Irish.”
He burst out laughing. Then he stared at me. “I think you’re serious.”
I liked this guy. I laughed too. “Mostly Irish.”
“Nice to meet you Ronnie.” He reached a hand across the table.
I shook it. “Me too.”
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