What the fuck? Why do people wait until they are at the register to decide what they want? There’s a fucking long line but noo, she had to wait until she got to the front to figure out which pseudo-Italian-named drink she wants.
Who else looks like they’re going to do the same? The people in front of me look like they are busy and needing to get back to work. Even that one student-looking guy dressed in baggy shorts and old t-shirt — he looks like he’s also mentally commanding that woman at the front to make up her mind and go.
Geez, now she’s paying by cash? Are you fucking kidding me? I see everyone is also rolling their eyes as she picks through her pennies. So I should be safe once this woman gets her ass out of the line, and we can all get a move on.
Finally, she’s left. Good. Everyone in front looks like they are prepared to order. How’s that line doing behind me. It’s as long as when I arrived. That would suck if it were short now that I’m here. It’s still long and people look like they are pissed since she’s fucked up the system.
Whoa, as I turn my gaze, I see a woman sitting cross-legged with tan, long legs, whose luscious mouth is toying with a frappuccino straw. She looks like she’s looking at me. Could she be looking at someone else? I look around but everyone is busy with their phones, and they look like copies of me, wearing business suits without jackets since it’s too hot out.
She is gorgeous — long, thick, jet black hair, tight dress, and those legs. Who are those two goons sitting next to her, talking over her? Fuck me, she knows what she’s doing as she sucks on that straw. And she’s looking right at me. Calm down, man.
I look away from her and follow the person in front of me. I can feel her eyes on me. I look back. Why is she smiling at me. No, that’s not a smile, that’s a Mona Lisa smile. I catch up again to the person in front of me.
What is she doing now? She’s sipping that frappuccino with her juicy lips. Her eyes are smiling at me. Shit, she’s good. Wait, do I know her? Is she one of my wife’s friends? No, my wife wouldn’t associate with a woman like that. My wife wears expensive branded clothes, using my company bonuses to buy the latest trends in those magazines that stink of perfume and mostly filled with ads of nymph-like, come-fuck-me models.
Come-fuck-me … I look back at the woman … come-fuck-me … could she be? She smiles as I remember. The two goons follow her gaze and look at me too. Shit, even with 8 million people, New York City can be a small town.
How much money did I drop in that club? How many drugs did I … did we do? How is it that she and those goons are here?
I feel a tap on my shoulder and I jump. The guy behind me says, “Whoa dude, I was just trying to let you know that the line moved.” I take three giant steps forward and look back again. The woman is whispering into the goon’s ear with a neck tattoo while he looks at me.
I feel sweat bead down my neck. What happened that night? I know that me and my crew did too much of everything. Drinking, smoking, snorting — did anything else happen? Anything with that woman?
I see the guy behind me move his hand to tap my shoulder again. But I jump forward before he does.
That night is murky and slow-motioned. I did more than I’m used to. What happened that night?
I remember … I remember leaning down putting my nose into that woman’s thick black hair to tell her something. I remember the silkiness and the tart, musky scent of her hair. I remember wanting to feel more of her hair, wanting her hair to cover me, wanting her. I remember taking a handful at her nape and wrapping it around my fist and pulling her to me.
“Dude, the line moved,” the young guy behind says. I take three long steps to catch up.
I’m losing it here. I gotta keep it together. Why is she here? Who are those goons? They are whispering to each other and looking over. What happened that night?
I remember … I remember kissing her luscious lips, so full, so unlike my wife’s tight snearing mouth. Feeling her full breasts pressed up against me.
Fuck, why are those goons getting up? Everything was consensual, wasn’t it? That kiss was unbelievable, better than those other one-night stands. Yes, we did do more. Did I forget to pay? Is that why they are walking towards me.
“Dude, the line!”
I bolt to catch up to the guy in front of me and stand too close to him. He looks around and gives me a nasty look.
Those goons are still walking to me, and now she’s gotten up and is behind them. Could they beat me up here in a public place? Everything was consensual. I paid. I paid with the company card. I finagled it and worked out those thousands of dollars across a few accounts.
Fuck, I’m sweating. I can’t control the sweat under my arms and down my back. I gotta keep my cool. I’m OK. I know I paid for everything, like a big hot shot in front of my team. They loved me after that. Some said they didn’t know how to face their wives. “Get used to it,” I said. “Get used to it,” I fucking said.
I’m so fucking used to it, and now here I am, watching those goons make their way towards me. And those long, shiny legs strutting on those heels that make her as tall as me. I want them around me again, squeezing me so I can barely breathe.
“Mr. Mardon, it’s good to see you again,” the goon with the neck tattoo says, as the other goon continues to walk ahead. “We hope to see you soon.”
He slips something into my shirt pocket and walks away. The woman gives me the Mona Lisa smile before sucking on her straw, and follows behind the two goons with her full ass swelling for everyone to see and want.
The people on the line are looking at me. The guy behind me twerks his chin to point out the gap between me and the person standing at the cashier. I step forward, and then pull out the card the goon put in my shirt pocket. It’s a business card. “Gentleman’s Headquarters” — it says and only a phone number.
“Next!” the guy behind the counter shouts to get my attention.
I put the card in my pants pocket, and walk to the cashier. I stand in front of the cashier and realize I’ve forgotten what I was going to order. I look up at the board to pick something from the menu. Why is everything written in Italian? What did I want? What was I going to order? What do I want to drink?
I can’t believe this. I’ve become that guy, the one who decides what he wants at the cashier. I hear the guy behind me groan. I ignore him and the pretentious coffee names, and order a large black coffee.
Thanks for reading. You can click here to share your comments and see more stories. (The link will bring you to the Clever Fiction website, they host a weekly short fiction challenge.) This week’s prompt was:
While waiting in line for coffee, a man sees a woman across the shop he once
knew – or thinks he knew. She’s sitting between two men fidgeting with a straw. When she looks up to the man, her eyes widen. She almost smiles. Then he remembers who she is.
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