Tag Archives: micro-fiction

The Denver Omelet

“One Denver omelet, over medium, please,” Charlie said, sitting back in his chair, hands on the table, loosely clasped beside his cup of coffee.

“Sure thing, Charlie,” Monica answered, smiling.

Gratified, Charlie smiled back.

“Two strips bacon, extra cream cheese on the home fries. English muffin, butter on the side, and a bowl of fruit, extra honey dew.”

“Sure think, Charlie.”

“I forget anything?”

“No, you did not,” she laughed, and Charlie winked.

She picked up his menu, turned smartly on one heel and walked away. She’d always liked Charlie. He was one of her favorite regulars. He was polite and patient. He’d never pushed the flirtation thing too far, and he usually left a good tip.

When the cooks finished with his plate, she added an extra wedge of orange, because she remembered from idle conversation that he liked orange, though he had never asked for it special.

“Here you go, Charlie,” she said, setting the plate on his table. “Denver omelet over medium.”

Charlie had one hand on the base of his throat, like he was trying to clear away a stubborn piece of phlegm.

“You okay, Charlie?” she asked.

He raised his eyes to hers. It looked like he was trying to tell her something. But he was usually so obsequious.

Even though she was busy, and she had food out and more on the way, she stopped at Charlie’s table. The restaurant buzzed around them like a meat and china beehive.

“What is it, Charlie?” she asked.

Charlie closed his eyes. He opened his mouth, and a sound came out that made Monica think of a hippopotamus. Then he collapsed face-first forward into his Denver omelet.

Monica screamed.

If it had been eggs over-easy he might well have drowned.

Luckily a recent pre-med graduate was dining at a nearby table. After dialing 9-1-1 and working Charlie’s neck, arms and shoulders to get the blood flowing, he reassured the crowd gathered around them that the poor guy was going to be alright. Except for Monica, everyone applauded.

The paramedics arrived a few minutes later. The pre-med student asked Monica for her phone number, and she gave it to him, though she didn’t feel very good about it. She’d realized that she’d hoped Charlie would ask her, one of these days. But, as it turned out, she would never see Charlie again. Over-medium or no, that was the last Denver omelet Charlie would ever order.

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Knocking at the Door

It was the California take on the shotgun shack: a squat, adobe-style bungalo partitioned from the sidewalk by a ratty fence and a cement lawn.

The door opened before he had knocked three times, which meant Mr. Julius had been right there waiting for it.

“What can I do for you, officer?” he asked, smiling wide.

“Are you Hanover Julius? The owner of this property?” Officer Jefferson asked.

Mr. Julius nodded.

“A woman placed a 9-1-1 call from this address.”

Hanover Julius held the door open with one hand, barring Jefferson’s view. His smile withered. His eyes lowered to Officer Jefferson’s shoes.

“Do you have a wife, Mr. Julius?”

Mr. Julius did not answer.

“Are there any women living here, Mr. Julius?”

“Ain’t nobody here but me.”

“Do you mind if I take a look around?”

“There is no emergency here, Officer.”

“I am obliged to search the premises, sir.”

“Look, this just ain’t none of your business.”

“You are legally obliged to let us onto the premises, Mr. Julius.”

Mr. Julius did not let go of the door. His other hand was behind his back. Officer Jefferson’s hand strayed to the plastic, rubber-gripped handle of his taser, holstered to his belt. He reminded himself how rarely his instincts failed him.

“Officer, just leave me be. Leave us be. This is my house. I’m not gonna say please.”

“Open the door, Mr. Julius.”

“I won’t.”

“You are refusing the orders of a peace officer.”

“I am.”

“You hurt your wife, didn’t you?”

“It ain’t your damn business.”

Officer Jefferson clicked on the mic attached to his collar, and radioed for backup. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Hanover Julius make a sudden movement. He might have been closing the door, or swinging the hand behind his back forward.

Officer Jefferson raised his taser and pulled the trigger. Hanover Julius reeled back into the house and fell to the floor, taking a coatrack loaded with hats and coats along with him.

Officer Jefferson stopped in the doorway. He found himself confused, at the ringing in his ears and the smell of gunpowder in the air. He began to wonder whether he had seen all of this before, or, alternatively, whether he had seen it coming.

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