affectandeffect.com/tales | and accounts

one-hundred-forty-one-word story

Sabina walked into the cafe and spotted Adriana at a nearby table.

“Hey, what are you doing here?”, Sabina asked as she sat down.

“Relaxing,” replied Adriana. “I just love this place. They have the best…”

Adriana’s voice trailed off as Sabina’s cheery expression turned into a stern look.

“What exactly are you drinking?”, Sabina asked while eyeing Adriana’s cup suspiciously.

Adriana grasped her cup with both hands.

“Umm… cappuccino.”

“Decaf?”

“There’s no right answer, is there?”

“You have to stop drinking that, right now!”, Sabrina erupted.

Adriana replied sheepishly.

“But I like–”

Sabina raised a scolding finger.

“It’s after four o’clock. You’re going to be up all night!”

Adriana glanced longingly at the cinnamon-dusted foam in her cup and sighed.

“And they served a cappuccino?”, Sabina continued loudly enough for the baristas to hear. “It’s after breakfast, for heaven’s sake!”

one-hundred-forty-word story

Brody jogged off the stage, the audience bidding him farewell and the next act welcome with a half-hearted applause. He grinned and waved, all while muttering obscenities under his breath.

“Your game’s a little off tonight,” said the bartender.

“Gimme a drink before the review, will ya?”

“Here’s a double,” he said, sliding a bourbon down the bar.

“So, what’s going on, Brody?”

Brody slammed down the drink, grimacing slightly, and signalled for another.

“It was the audience,” Brody explained. “That was some quality material.”

“Yeah, you figure?”

“All due respect to your fine skills, but stand-up is the hardest job in the world. Damned sitcom laugh tracks have ruined basic sense of humour.”

He shot back his second drink and pointed at the empty glass.

“Sure, but slow down. All due respect, but I’m pretty good with timing myself.”

one-hundred-thirty-nine-word story

Felix extinguished the wet, stubby remains of his cigar and let a cloud of soot escape from his gaping mouth.

“Are you gonna call or what?”, he asked.

Marvin scratched the green felt nervously. The flop had given him four-of-a-kind. He looked at the the other players’ meagre chip stacks which Felix was effortlessly plundering.

“Four aces,” Felix continued. “It’s an easy call.”

How the hell did he know that?, Marvin puzzled.

Marvin pushed some chips into the pot. The dealer revealed the turn, putting Felix one card away from a royal flush.

“I think I’ll get a royal flush, but I’m not sure.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”, Marvin barked.

“I read short fiction,” Felix confessed.

“You’re insane. Why do I keep playing with you?”

Felix shrugged.

“It’s not up to either of us, is it?”

one-hundred-thirty-eight-word story

The car came to a screeching halt.

“Why are you stopping, Dad? I’m gonna be late,” Andy whined without looking up from his Nintendo DS.

“Andy! Something’s happening! Look at those flames over there!”

Andy’s dad pointed at a dark shape twisting in the air spewing bright flames.

“It’s probably the dragon,” Andy said while still engrossed in a video game.

“No, it’s this dark thing flying–”

“Dragon.”

“–fire in all directions–”

“Dragon.”

“Andy! What are you talking about? There’s no such thing as dragons!”

“We see them every day from the school bus.”

“What?!”

Andy tossed the DS aside.

“Aw, Dad. You made me lose my game.”

“That’s not a dragon. It could be an industrial fire or–”

“I’m gonna be late. You can see them better from the school. You can see the robots too.”

“Robots?!”

one-hundred-thirty-seven-word story

Most days, Trudy loves the subway. She takes a 31-minute ride on the green line and then a 15-minute ride along the yellow line. That gives her enough time to play a few games, listen to a podcast and listen to two 80s tracks that put her in the mood to get on with her workday.

Today, however, wasn’t like most days. Trudy left her Nexus One at home.

She grumbled to herself as the subway movement jerked her around. She wondered if the seats always felt that uncomfortable. She could hear sounds from three nearby MP3 players competing to annoy her.

A man carrying a newspaper sat down beside her. This excited her. It was no ebook, but at least it would give her something to read.

He flipped right to the sports section.

Trudy grumbled.

one-hundred-thirty-six-word story

Lara opened the front door.

“I wanted to talk,” Ophelia began abruptly.

Lara sighed and then turned around, with Ophelia followed behind her.

“Want anything?”, Lara asked. “I’m making coffee.”

“Great! I’ll have a non-fat latte.”

“Drip coffee, lots of milk. You had something to say?”

“Uh huh. I spoke to Tara and she said I should apologize.”

Lara kept at the coffee machine while Ophelia just stood there awkwardly looking around. Eventually, she picked up a magazine on the table.

“You know,” Ophelia began, “for the picnic next weekend–”

“I thought you were going to apologize,” Lara interrupted.

“You agree with Tara then? Okay. Sorry. Anyways, the picnic–”

“Sorry for what exactly?”

“For yesterday.”

“Geez!”, Ophelia erupted. “Can’t you just move on?”

“Sorry,” Tara said quietly.

…to have ever met you, she thought to herself.

one-hundred-thirty-five-word story

Dominik picked up the bottle and swished it around.

“Gentlemen, our work here is not yet done,” he said.

The three other men obliged and nudged their glasses towards him.

“I think there’s enough for only me,” Gamba said with a bitter laugh.

Abdu forced a chuckle and slapped Gamba on the shoulder.

“Given your circumstances, old friend, I’d agree,” Abdu said. “But we all have things we need to forget.”

They raised their glasses and silently downed their shots.

“You will support me then, Abdu?”, asked Gamba.

Abdu looked down at his hands, sighed heavily and then pushed his chair away from the table.

Gamba clenched his teeth.

“Dominik? Rashid?”

They, too, looked down sombrely.

Dominik, Abdu and Rashid stood up and left the warehouse silently.

Gamba held the empty bottle in his hand.

one-hundred-thirty-four-word story

Dagny peered around the corner and surveyed the deserted street. Dim cones of yellowish light from street lamps stretched out in both directions. Muffled sounds of vents and machinery could be faintly heard through the brick of nearby factories. Rats forayed out of the alleys to pick at scraps the daytime left behind and claim the nighttime as their own.

Dagny stepped out of the dark shadows in the alley. She shook an aerosol can in one hand and pulled a bandana up over her nose with the other. She inspected the concrete canvas laid out before her.

Dagny returned the next afternoon. Most people paid no attention. A few pointed and scowled to express their distaste. Still, others slowed down and even stopped, and Dagny could see that her message made them think.

one-hundred-thirty-three-word story

Raphael clicked, dragged, dropped and typed at a nearly reckless pace. The laptop’s tiny fan whirred and tiny currents of computer-heated air heated his palms. He gulped some cold coffee and pushed aside a stack of papers to uncover his desk clock. He struggled with the math and finally calculated that he had less than three hours to email the report to his overseas clients. Raphael returned to his document, clicked to save and waited until he could resume his race against the impending deadline.

Ten seconds passed and the document was still being saved.

Twenty seconds.

Thirty. He moved the mouse around and clicked aggressively.

Forty seconds and still saving. He rapped on the spacebar angrily.

One minute.

He took a deep breath. He’d need to add something strong to his coffee.

one-hundred-thirty-two-word story

Priya slumped forward against the table, letting her head hang. She tilted her glass and peered deeply into it. As her gaze descended along the inside, she felt as if she were tumbling into the glass. The mildly dizzying vertigo made her both a little giddy and ill. She widened her eyes and the bottom of the glass finally came into clear focus. Her unsteady hand sloshed the last, tepid remnants of her beer around.

She pulled her body away from the table and took the glass up to her mouth. Priya lifted the now-empty glass in weary triumph.

“For the birthday girl!”, someone yelled and put another pint down in front of her.

“You guys are awesome,” Priya said and slumped forward against the table.

“This is the best birthday ever.”

 

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