Join us as Freddy MacKay goes Outside the Margins.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Prism Book Alliance Blog today. I am Freddy MacKay and one of the contributors to Outside the Margins. For my part, I decided to go with 500 – 1000 word flash fiction pieces, so please forgive, as these aren’t professionally edits (I did try to catch my mistakes, though).
On the Divide – Part 1 by Freddy MacKay
The day had worn down. Less customers had trickled in, wanting their sugar-filled coffee on steroids, and less writers took up the overstuffed chairs. At least, the regular writing crew Cooper recognized that always hunched over their laptops typing furiously away at god knows what kind of story. There had been some interesting ones.
The guy in the corner didn’t seem to be one of these. Not yet. No tell tale signs of caffeine lackage, or cramped fingers needing a break. The poochy, twenty-something fella did a lot of furious clicking though. Cooper only hoped the guy was some sort of gamer. He didn’t want to find out what else the customer might be doing with the cafe’s internet. Cooper’s lip curled. Some nasty shit went down sometimes. He hated calling the cops.
Free WiFi and its wonders, attracting all the weirdoes in the woodworks and giving them an external respite to drive everyone bonkers.
A quick glance to his watch set Cooper about the store, letting the few remaining customers know they were closing in five minutes. Several head nods and one ‘give me a sec’ later, the flurry of packing began among the regulars. The not-so-regulars, well they, of course, were chatting away, not caring how long they kept the staff. They were also the ones who ignored Cooper when he went around picking up their plates and cups. Manners. So twentieth century, yeah?
When the regulars left, Cooper locked the doors and began a wipe down of the counters while Ross did spot check of the shelves. The one group of adults got up and were let out, but the group of teenagers and mystery man didn’t show any signs of moving. He signaled to Ross to start cleaning up the equipment. Dumping the coffee usually seemed to do the trick for any stragglers.
Cooper hit the music, thankful for some quiet. But the sloshing sound of coffee dumpage quickly replaced the silence. The kids’ heads all popped up, their eyes squinting in a creepy children of the corn kind of way. Head tilt, too.
“You closing?” asked the one with the purple sweater.
“Been closed,” answered Cooper. “If you guys don’t mind heading out so we can clean up for the morning crew, we’d appreciate it.”
A chorus of ‘sorrys’ went up and the teens began to gather themselves up. Apparently, it was a process. Cooper meandered over to the pooch guy, wiping tables and checking the bar station as he went. Finally, when the kids were getting their coats on, Cooper went up to the man’s table.
“Can I take your cup, sir?”
“No, I—” The guy looked up, blinking rapidly. He looked around the store. “Have you closed?”
“Oh, I, uh, can I use the restroom before I go?” he asked as he closed his computer immediately and packed up.
“Is the PADS location at the church on Cedar?”
“Uhh…” Cooper had no idea what “pads” was, besides feminine hygiene products.
“P. A. D. S. The local homeless shelter for the night,” explained the man.
“Oh, uh.” The guy was homeless? “The church is on Cedar. We also have the First Methodists over on Fifth if it’s not at that one. You could check there.”
Cooper looked over his shoulder. The group of kids was waiting at the door.
“Can you let us out?”
“I’ll be right back. Just hold the door.” The poochy tummy guy went to the bathroom. Cooper sighed and went to unlock the door.
He flipped the top lock, turned the center, and pulled the floor bolt. The teens filtered out, thanking him, one apologizing for keeping him and Ross.
Okay, so they weren’t all bad.
Stretching as he stood back up, Coopers knuckles grazed the low ceiling of the doorway. Damn, exhaustion curled its way around him like a constrictor and wouldn’t let go. Rubbing furiously over his short blond hair, Cooper tried to wake up. Only another half hour and he could go home, pass out for a few blessed hours.
He let out a sigh and turned, jumping back because poochy guy was right there. Like right there. Right in front of him. God, his heart jumped.
“Thanks for use of the bathroom.” The dude didn’t look homeless. His clothes were nice and he had a computer, but then, what did Cooper know.
He shrugged, fidgeting. “No problem.”
Poochy went out the door, pulling his jacket close. His face became pensive as he looked up and down the street before taking off. If he was homeless, Cooper hope he found the PADS place he talked about. The temps were supposed to nose dive into the twenties tonight.
“Hey, Coop. You gonna help close or what?” yelled Ross.
“Don’t get your underwear in a bunch,” he called back. “Just closing the damn door!”
Cooper reached for the top lock, stopping mid-reach. Evelyn stood on the other side of the door, waving at him. What did she want? She stood back and he popped the door open.
“You need to check next week’s schedule?” He hoped. He really, truly hoped.
“Oh, no, I’m her for you,” she said brightly, wondering in. “I’ll help you close.”
Why? “No need.”
“It’s not a problem. I had nothing better to do,” she said as she began stacking chairs.
“Let her help,” said Ross from behind the counter. “The quicker we close, the quicker we get out.”
Evelyn smiled. “Besides, why wouldn’t you want your favorite Fag Hag around?”
“Who even uses that anymore?” Good god. And no, just no. He shook his head, frowning, but Evelyn and Ross just laughed anyway.
And then just to prove what a lovely, wonderful person she was went, Evelyn picked up the damn broom.
End Part 1
~ Freddy MacKay
About Freddy MacKay
I grew up and went to college in the Midwest where I currently reside with my family. I spend most of my time playing sports and running around outside. And honestly, that much has not changed since I was little, except who is included my activities. I also have a healthy geocaching addiction. It’s so much fun! I enjoy spending my time traveling when I can, and I hold the view that a person should continually to learn about new things and people whenever possible.
My contemporary LGBTQ book, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Erotic Fiction in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. In 2013, Internment, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Fantasy in the Rainbow Awards.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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