Green

Whilst musing with a group of writer friends recently, we were trying to come up with a catchy short story title.  The obvious ones – I Can’t Think of Anything, and Writer’s Block – fell by the wayside pretty quickly. Then we started on the silly stuff – My God Look At The Size of That and Not If I Can Help It – were also discarded amid much giggling. Ah, children to the last. I’m surprised nobody farted at the same time. Perhaps someone should have. We gave Death as a title quite a wide berth, feeling somehow that it had been done… to death… and tried Crossing The Road, Hamburgers for Free, (nil point) and Boom! none of which seemed to hook us. Then someone said Green, which although not receiving tumultuous and rapturous applause didn’t get the immediate thumbs-down either. So Green it was.   We had no idea we were in such esteemed company!

So, for this damp and miserable January day, here is my offering of Green. Didn’t say it was any good.

GREEN

She smiles,
quickly.
Lips parted
like an F22 undercarriage
open for business.
Plates, snatched from the table
cannot
will not
escape
her tight tight grip.
“I guess the best girl won, right?” laughs the diner,
smoothing crumbs
with long painted nails
from the cloth.
“Guess so,” She replies, coolly,
but not as cool
as the breath that she feels
smearing
the inside of her own mouth.
Until today,
waitress and diner worked shifts
together
waiting tables and clearing up
other people’s
half-eaten food and lipsticked cups.
But now, today,
Fate had slipped
an invisible wall
between them,
and where one now ate
the other removed the redundant
dirty plate,
dismissed
with a wave of the hand.
“Bring the bill, would you
sweetie,” instructs Long Nails,
and, leaning in,
drops a rapturous smile
to her faithful companion.
Loitering, plates still held fast,
“No dessert?” She asks,
wishing the answer were
Yes,
in the hope that Long Nails would succumb
and choke on a random
sugary crumb.
“Not now honey. Gotta watch
this figure!” Long Nails returned,
the smugness in her voice
smacking her hard in the face,
and putting her
firmly
in
her waitressing place.
She gripped the plates tighter
until it felt her fingers
would break.
Long Nails looked up.
“What? Gotta take
the rough with the smooth,
sugar,” she cooed.
“We both had a chance. You lost.
Guess I just look better on the screen
than you.”
It’s a tough place, L.A.
to audition.
Tougher still,
to waitress.
And before the thought
had even left her head
those plates she held so tightly
fell
releasing half-eaten
balsamic
and other staining liquids
all over
the semi-transparent
dress.
“Oops,” She said,
and closed her lips.
Mission complete.

Copyright Jacci Gooding 2017

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