Join us as Freddy MacKay goes Outside the Margins.
On the Divide – Part 5
Hello, welcome to the Prism Book Alliance Blog today. Freddy MacKay here, one of the contributors to Outside the Margins. For my part, I am writing 500 – 1000 word flash fiction pieces. Please forgive me, as these aren’t professionally edited (I did try to catch my mistakes), but I hope you enjoy.
On the Divide – Part 5 by Freddy MacKay
“Cooper? Hey, Cooper? Are you listening?”
He blinked. Mabel’s hand waved in front of his face, a beige blur.
“You’re going to be in real trouble if this continues,” Mabel said, frown lines etching into her face.
“I’m sorry.” He didn’t know what else to say. “Could you put us on different shifts?”
Mabel sighed, pushing her chair back, precariously balancing on the two back legs.
“Listen, I told you what happen at Stubby’s—”
“Which is one of the reason’s I haven’t fired you.”
“I’ve been a model employee,” Cooper answered, taking a step back and crossing his arms. “Harlan backed me up about Evelyn’s behavior.”
Mabel closed her eyes. “I know. I know. But until now Evelyn has been a model employee too. I have to take her accusations against you seriously.”
“I haven’t taken anything. I haven’t touched anyone inappropriately. Shit, boss, you saw the bruise on my jaw after she punched me. I’ve just done my job. That’s all I want to do.”
Mabel opened her eyes again, her dark brown gaze centering on him. She reached out and patted Cooper. “I believe you. I just have to prove it to Benji.”
“He doesn’t believe me?” Cooper asked, his voice hitching. Damn. Never in his wildest dreams did Cooper think he’d be having to defend himself against such wild accusations.
“Benji is a—” Mabel waved a hand, biting the left side of her mouth. “A born skeptic. And this establishment and the bakery is our lifeblood. We can’t lose them over something like sexual harassment allegations going unheard.”
“No. But. I…He’s always been nice to me when he visits the café,” Cooper said automatically, like it would help.
“Because you were polite and respectful to him.”
“Just because some acts one way doesn’t mean that’s their true selves.”
Yeah. Didn’t Cooper know it. This fuck up with Evelyn was tearing his life apart. Mabel shrugged, her mouth lifting into a smile before disappearing again.
“I’m sorry, Cooper. I really am. I’ll see what I can do about making sure you’re on different shifts. Just try to make sure you keep clear of Evelyn for today when she comes in for her shift. Malik is here for a buffer. We’ll go from there.”
“Sure thing, Cooper. I hope we can get to the bottom of this quickly.”
Cooper tied his apron on, gave Mabel one last look, then headed out of the managerial office, stunned and moving in a stupor.
He knew Evelyn had been pissed at Stubby’s, but to accuse him of sexual harassment? Of stealing? Jesus. Cooper didn’t know how to even feel. Well, angry covered a good portion of his feelings. He just didn’t know what to do with it. It wasn’t like he could retaliate. That would only prove Evelyn right.
He huffed, wiping his head with a hand. God. What a fucking mess. No matter how much he liked The Jolt, or the pay that went with being a shift manager, maybe it was time he moved on. There were other coffee shops in Boswell. Hopefully any new job would work with creating a decent schedule with his job at Band Rescue.
Shit. No one else was nearly as flexible as Mabel when it came to his work schedules.
“You goin’ to help or what?”
Cooper glanced up. Malik stood behind the pastry case, lips twisted, hands on his hips, and brows scrunched together.
“You, all right, Coop?”
“Yeah, just—” He shook his head. “Just stuff. Don’t worry about it.”
“Evelyn up to her shit again?”
How did Malik even know?
“Man, what did you do to piss her off this time?”
Whatever, there wasn’t time for gossiping. Cooper didn’t want to go there. “Shhh. We have customers.”
After a moment, Malik shrugged and went back to the bar, wiping down the espresso station. Cooper got behind the register and smiled at the couple talking over the menu. Once he handed the order off to Malik, Cooper went back to checking supplies, making note of anything they needed to stock up. After the morning rush, they basically needed everything, but Cooper hated wasting the delicious pastries Benji made every day.
“What are we low on?” Mabel asked, making Cooper jump.
He made a face at her. “Everything. Hey, when is Benji’s permit gonna come through to connect the bakery and café?”
“The town council is throwing another wrench in the works.”
“You’ve got to be joking.”
Mabel rolled her eyes. “I wish.”
“That’s nine months.”
“You’re telling me.” Mabel leaned against the doorframe. “We bought out Helen’s Heaven because we were told we’d be allowed to expand.”
Grunting, Mabel pushed off the door. “I wouldn’t disagree. That your list?”
“Yup.” He handed it over.
“I’ll be back shortly. Be good.”
“I always am.”
Malik laughed, his dread lock beads clacking.
“What?” Cooper asked, indignant.
“Then why are you always in trouble, Coop?”
Mabel tittered. “He’s got a point, Cooper.”
“It, uh, finds me?” He must have a bad luck magnet or something.
The door chimed. They all yelled hello. The greeting died on Cooper’s lips when Evelyn walked through the door, smiling like a cat with a live lizard caught in its teeth.
End Part 5
~ 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. Feel Me (The Marduck Expanse) was a Gay SF Finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2014 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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