“Smoke Breaks” is a collection of Flash Fiction or short stories under a thousand words. They are fast paced and perfect when you only have time for a three minute diversion from your life which can be hectic at best. Every story is unique but every story is the same, much like our crazy lives and those of everyone we know. In this case, it’s the lunacy of my own life which may find you thinking you’ve got it pretty good.
Cinderella and Prince Crazy
Glass slippers leave distinct impressions and silver tongues always tell you what you want to hear. The sun beat down and my shoulders burned in the desert heat. It was almost too hot for coffee but some cravings continue regardless of the lunacy.
Given the circumstances, an iced coffee was in order. She floated through the swelter as if she lived in perpetual shade. She was wearing a yellow sundress, a large floppy hat and glass slippers. Standing behind her, I waited as she looked over the menu on the board. The options were the same: tall, grande, venti, soy, non-fat, low-fat, regular, flavor, no flavor, scone, muffin and questionable cookies made by some local woman. I waited patiently, not really caring about the time.
I wondered about her glass slippers; where she found them, how much they cost and if her name was Cinderella or at the very least, Cindy. The barista seemed less patient than I, but then she had to be there, which always makes a difference.
Cinderella turned to look at me. “What would you order?” she asked.
I raised an eyebrow and considered her question. I looked at the barista and the menu. I looked down at her glass slippers and floppy hat and said, “A martini.”
She tilted her head as if I was from another planet, which I am, and said quizzically, “They don’t serve martinis here.”
I smiled and stared straight into her violet eyes. She slowly parted her mouth and touched her auburn hair which is always a good sign. “What are you going to order?”
I looked away and appeared disinterested. I shifted my attention back to her. “What difference does it make what I order?”
She smiled brilliantly. “I need to be inspired.”
My mind flashed with possibilities. I looked back at the menu, then at her and said, “You should definitely order a mango smoothie.”
She took off her hat and shook her long mane, creating a moment of pure lust. She looked back at the board and spoke without looking at me.
“It appears they don’t have mango smoothies here.”
I pretended to be surprised. “Is that so? If we go to my house I can make you one.”
She put her hat back on and headed for the door. She stopped and looked at me with other-worldly eyes, the kind that always accompany the insane. She stood at the exit, beckoning me with silent anticipation. I shrugged at the barista and walked over to the door to let her walk through first. Her hat barely made it through. Her glass slippers made a hollow clinking sound that reminded me of marbles tapping each other in a childhood game of years past.
The next morning she stayed in the shower for almost an hour. I made coffee and smoked one cigarette after another, waiting and wondering about the craziness of life. She finally made her naked entrance, glass slippers in hand. She sat down next to me and placed them on the floor. I smiled and slipped them onto small, perfect feet. She kissed me on the cheek and put her hat on. She stood up and walked out the door wearing only her slippers and big floppy hat, the sundress draped over her arm. She walked back to her car casually as if just picking up her dress from the cleaners.
I watched her drive away with the top down, my neighbor’s lawn mower suddenly silent. I lit another smoke and opened the paper to the news. My coffee cup was empty again so I poured another cup. I never did ask her name.