a somewhat hokey — but still fun, hopefully — little story by yours truly
Pour yourself a cup of something and enjoy a wee bit of fiction I wrote a few months ago. Set in the same town as my novel in progress, you may recognize a character I’ve already shared with you…
Ezra listened to the kitchen clock tick away the seconds. Each sonorous tick was a tuning fork in his bones; his house-slash-home office dead quiet. The reverb in his bones traveled to his muscles, his newly-christened, thirty-year-old body begging him to inch toward his shoes by the front door. You must get me out of here, his body whispered. These walls are driving me mad.
He left the house. Outside, brown leaves curled at the edges and gathered at curbs. The afternoon breeze that agitated the bare branches of Ezra’s front yard sycamore waltzed with Ms. Higgins’ wind chimes next door. Gertrude, his cat, didn’t move from the porch chair, sound asleep like a diver midair in a pike.
Ezra turned left toward the town square in walking shoes that still needed breaking in. He squinted at the afternoon winter sun, relishing the best quality of Tuesday’s 3 o’clock hour, and shaded his eyes with his hand, a juxtaposition of his screen-drenched morning. He walked down the street, passing a street lamp, a row of post-war tract houses gentrified by young marrieds, the old house still inhabiting the old-timer, a blue post office mailbox. A murder of crows watched nothing from the electric wire, above.
On the right through the window he saw a barista sweeping the floor of Higher Grounds, the coffee shop owned by evangelicals. That girl is new, thought Ezra, and wouldn’t know Tess. It was Tess’ preferred place from which to work when the good tables at the library were taken and when Ezra drove her crazy with his work’s conference calls from the kitchen table. Tess liked the cafe’s dirty chai lattes, sub almond milk. She called them ungodly chais, and the barista on shift at the register smiled politely at her repeated joke.
He walked another block and crossed the street to the brick colonial library. Open 10 to 5 Monday through Saturday, this would be an ideal remote office were it not for the abysmal wifi. Just through the front door a bulletin board displayed a need for more help at the dry cleaner, an upcoming open mic night at Higher Grounds, a tearaway ad with the phone number of an available babysitter, and the Harry Potter cosplay gathering at the rooftop bar tomorrow. Amateurs, thought Ezra. Haven’t they heard of Middle-earth?
He unzipped his backpack and stopped at the return slot. Ezra may not work from the library, but he got his local taxes’ worth. One at a time, he returned his recent loans: A Farewell to Arms, Oathbringer, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Get the Hell Out of Debt, Travels With Charley, So You’re a Widower: Now What? The books slid on top of each other, thump thump thump, into the bin behind the wall.
“Hello, Ezra.” He jumped.
“Ooh, sorry to scare you,” said Molly Sims from behind the counter.
“…It’s okay. I didn’t see you there,” he said.
“I’m always here.”