Long Days Short Stories: Time Travel and Coke

These are really strange times, stranger than fiction perhaps. Check out these two pieces of flash fiction, Cheating Time and Diet Coke, and you be the judge.

Cheating Time

By Joey Gonzalez

He was sitting at the bar when she picked up her food. Lisa! He thought, that’s her. He closed his tab and left in a hurry. When he stepped outside he picked up a receipt off the ground: “PICK UP: LISA”

“Wait!” He screamed.

Standing twenty feet ahead of him, a woman with dark brown hair turned at the man’s yell. He jogged over to her slowly and was out of breath by the time he could get out: 

“Lisa,” he panted “it’s you!”

“Me?” She stepped back and clutched the bag of food. 

“Yes it’s you, I know it’s you! I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”

She looked at him in the eyes and her stomach sank, shocked by fear, flustered, she couldn’t move. She whispered, “Dad?” then let out a cry and put her hand over her mouth, the food dropped to the ground. 

“I don’t have time to explain.”

“But how? You look so…so grey.”

He furrowed his eyebrows and tilted his head, “Thanks, but I can’t explain right now, Honey. Just give this to your mother! Give this to your mother and don’t read it, or it could alter your timeline for eternity. Okay?!” 

“You’re from the future?”

“Okay!” He yelled, grabbing her sternly by the collar and pushing a note up against her face. “This could destroy your entire world as you know it.” 

“Okay, Dad, okay!” She cried, sniffling her nose. “I won’t read it!”

He gave her a note folded inside of a fancy envelope that shined. 

“Dad–”

“Yes.”

“How did you…”

He vanished before her eyes. Unable to resist, she opened the note. It read: “I know you’re cheating, cunt.”

Diet Coke

By Joey Gonzalez

“Don’t be shy to share out, Thomas!”

Thomas sat in a circle with his coworkers; it was Friday and the office was ‘bonding’ as a team after work. He began to reconsider why he had taken the job. He had a sudden thought, a scene from a party he had gone to in college. 

The house was old and not well maintained. There was a line to get in, and when he got to the door he paid $10 and was given a red cup. There was a room in the house that was almost completely dark except for a strobe light. He remembered standing against the wall while on a tab of acid. Loud bass vibrated his skin, it was humid, and when you bumped into people it felt warm and damp. His friend Pat yelled to him: 

“Hey Thomas come over here and take this line, on me.” Thomas looked over and smiled. “C’mon, for Professor Nevit!” He laughed hard, and then coughed harder then he had laughed. 

Thomas walked over and breathed in deeply, then he exhaled as much as he could, clamped down on half of his face, and sniffed the line of cocaine quietly, with grace. 

“Thanks, Pat.” He coughed. 

Thomas thought back to the class he and Pat had together, Shakespeare in Modern Culture. They used to get high at Pat’s apartment before. Pat was so good at impressions, he had a great one of Nevit. They were usually late. 

After they graduated Pat killed himself. He drove to the top of a parking garage at seven in the morning, and dove off head first into an empty dumpster. 

Thomas shook his head. He thought about what all of his coworkers would think if he jumped out of the window right then and there. They couldn’t stop him, he thought. He fantasized about taking the scissors off of the receptionist’s desk and slitting his wrists vertically, slowly collapsing to the floor with a smile on his face. 

He blinked hard with both eyes twice. 

“Thomas? It’s your turn. You a little tired?” His manager giggled with with a big smile, then she looked at the rest of the group sitting in the circle with a pout that emoted sympathy, but more like a caricature of sympathy. She turned back to Thomas. “C’mon, what was your pit and peak of this week?” She giggled again. 

Thomas looked up and smiled. “Well, my peak of the week was definitely Angela’s brownies, those were delicious.” Several people in the group snapped, laughed softly, and whispered.

Oh-Em-Gee ya’ll those brownies.” One woman moaned. 

“Teresa.” Thomas’s manager said in a low voice, “Bring it back”. She turned to Thomas, “I’m sorry, go ahead”.

“And my pit–my pit was,” He thought about Pat again. Then he paused and looked up at one of the cute, younger new-hires, “my pit was definitely the missing Diet Coke in the vending machine this week. I mean, what was up with that?” He leaned back in his chair and smiled with dull eyes. A few older women in the circle laughed because they knew they were the ones who drank the Diet Coke, not him. 

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