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TOE Short Story :: A Private Affair – Part One


A hand drops a grimy coin into a payphone and, after the sound of a metallic clink, punches in the desired number. 0-9-0-4-8-18-0-9. Rain bounces off of the pavement outside the phone box, but is readily ignored by the shady gentleman encased in his box. He holds the receiver to his ear, awaiting a greeting from the end of the line. He shuffles uncomfortably, his head turning to reveal a dark, wrinkled face partially concealed by the thick collar of his grey raincoat. The man is smartly dressed, with his overcoat shielding a hand-tailored three-piece suit from the harsh elements. Dark clouds shift in and a strong breeze flows swiftly through the streets, disturbing only the pieces of trash that now float lifelessly down the street.

Miles away a phone rings, demanding to be answered. A husky voice receives the call, greeting the caller with a low grunt. Back in the box, the man nods his head in agreement. His face now drops and a frown quickly develops, closely followed by an anger-fueled aggressive rage. He shouts into the phone, his saliva propelled onto the mouthpiece with every sharp word uttered. He slams the phone against the glass of the phone box and it drops, slowly rocking back and forth. The man rests his head against the cracked glass in submission. The voice at the other end cuts off and the gentleman is alone once again. Secluded in his little box.

The man, after composing himself, lifts up his briefcase and hurriedly leaves the booth. As the cold wind hits his face it wrinkles slightly, highlighting the imperfections and small creases. He reaches for his hat and continues to walk against the wind, narrowly avoiding colliding with a car as he crosses the road. He picks up the pace and weaves between the evening crowd. The man continues down the path and makes a sharp right at fifty-seventh where he enters the nearby J-255 bar.

The J-255 is always occupied by hipsters and the like, all drawn to the lounge by its reputed lineup of jazz musicians, comfortable atmosphere and familiar faces. The lounge is open and spacious with an upper floor, from which the jazz performances look particularly pleasing. Our man approaches the bar and requests a double scotch from the young bar lady. He gazes around the lounge watchfully as he awaits his drink, noticing the distinctly sparkly necklace a lavish young lady in the corner is displaying and the much older gentleman in her company. The man collects his drink and takes up a table toward the back of the room. He gently fingers the scotch glass, taking periodic sips whilst attempting to take in the mellow jazz circulating the room. The music however does not encapsulate him as usual and he quickly leaves.

::Andrew also writes at The Robed Scribe::

June 9, 2009 8:13 am

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