November Flash writers Leigh Binder, Marnie Shure and Dane Zeller take you to three very unusual places!
The Other Side of Possibility
She said, “Come find me at the Other Side.”
So I did just that, unaware of potential pitfalls. She seemed normal enough for someone I had only met two hours prior. Sometimes it’s better to jump in with both feet as opposed to the one foot in, one foot out, hokie pokie nightmare of indecision. Indecision is the pathetic act of stringing out the inevitable. The inevitable is promised the second your ass is slapped by the doctor at birth, and finally witnessed by the grave digger shoveling the last bit of dirt upon the grave.
While I was walking to meet her, I cursed the fact that I had quit smoking cigarettes. What was the point? The truth is, I missed killing myself one cancer stick at a time. It beat shoving a shotgun in my mouth and reminded me that nothing lasts forever. A black stained cigarette butt is actually the poor man’ s lung x-ray and harbinger of bad news. It’s true, it costs more to buy cigarettes for a month than to go to the doctor’s office for a check-up. But you’ll save money in the long run if you balance in the cost of uninsured cancer treatment.
Either way you die. It’s really a matter of what you can live without. I just wasn’t sure what those things were. When she offered to meet me at the Other Side, she said it was an opportunity. Did I mention that an opportunity is only a possibility due to the favorable combination of circumstances? Neither did she.
The Other Side Cafe was situated on a busy street. Looking around, I figured there were at least a hundred people having dinner when I walked in. The restaurant staff was harried and if you weren’t careful, you’d slip on the floor from their sweat. She was seated in the very center of the dining room at a table for two.
When I sat down, it felt like we were on display even though the place was only illuminated by candles. She smiled and offered to pour me a glass of blood red wine from a bottle already opened and half empty. I’m not much for wine but I accepted, noting she hadn’t taken off her coat. Considering the warm breeze floating in from the street, it seemed odd. The air conditioner wasn’t on and the body heat from the patrons and staff only added to the rising temperature.
I tasted the wine, found it to be smooth, finished it off in one gulp and emptied the remains of the bottle into the crystal glass. I wasn’t trying to catch up, I was just bored. She smiled at me with a crooked mouth and offered her thanks for meeting at such a short notice. Her dark eyes hinted at more possibilities later on.
She suddenly began talking about politics, religion and the glory of Allah, with a fervor that bordered on reckless abandon. It was if she were getting off. When I noticed the continued movement of her arm below the table, I understood her sweaty passion. Some people get aroused in the strangest ways.
If I was going to be the recipient of such a passion, who was I to argue? Then she asked me what I thought about the afterlife. I had to admit, it was one of my favorite subjects. She told me that she had a feeling that I might understand and opened her coat to reveal enough explosives to take out a whole city block, let alone the cafe.
Funny what you wish for in moments like that. There were no pleas for sanity from my lips but I asked her if she had a cigarette. She grinned right before she pushed the detonator and whispered, “Those things will kill you.”