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Mini Sledgehammer: Floyd’s Coffee Shop

As anticipated, the most recent Mini Sledgehammer smashed through more writer’s block and produced great stories all around. Thanks to everyone who came out and threw a great story into the running. It was a tough decision.

Blythe Ayne took home the prize, which consisted of four books and a calendar. Congratulations!

Prompts included:
a football coach
in a Health & Welfare office
playing a board game
“Can you do one thing for me?”

Last Request

Monopoly is sometimes considered similar to the game of life. But it’s not. Life is really not about money.

Anyway, here I am, at the Health & Welfare office… that’s what they call it, but there’s little health here. Lots of welfare, but little health.

I see my reflection in the front windows, the broken shades have been partially pulled letting in broken shards of light. As much as I’d rather not see my reflection, I do. Even more broken than the window shades, the shards of light. I remember my former self, a big, buff football coach. Now, here’s this shattered reflection – a reflection of a reflection.

There’s a bunch of people playing monopoly, waiting for their names to be called, waiting to get their share of health and welfare. As if either can simply be doled out.

Someone behind me says, “can you do one thing for me?”

I turn. There stands probably the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen this side of paradise.

Just like in the movies, I look around me to see who she’s addressing.

And I say, “are you talking to me?”

She doesn’t move or say anything.

“Are you talking to me?”

“I can tell,” she says, “you’re a gentle soul. Can you do one thing for me?”

“I… I don’t know. ” No one has asked me to do anything for them since the cancer got my guts and my wife couldn’t stand to watch me fade away and she, mercifully for both of us, left me.

“I used to do things for people every day. But….”

“I know,” she says, since you got sick….”

“That’s right. ” I can’t help staring. Her big violet eyes remind me of something, and I can’t look away. I see a tear course down her cheek. “What, my dear, what? If I can help, I will. But….”

“My son needs his mother, and I can’t reach him.”

“Why not?”

“I got so sick, and I couldn’t stay. I had to leave. Didn’t want to. But… just… couldn’t hang on.”

“So you want me to?….”

“I want you to find him and take care of him.”

“Me? Oh, I believe you’d better find someone else.“

“There’s not one else here. ” Her sad voice rolls around in my cavernous disease infested chest.

All around me, the place is jam-packed with people. But… funny thing, as my eyes pass over the window where I see my reflection, the beautiful woman isn’t standing beside me.

I turn to her. She reads my thought.

“Where are you? What are you?” I ask.

“Here and not here. Between worlds… because of my son. Unfinished business.”

I look up at the “Health & Welfare” sign, contemplating my remaining short journey.

“What kind of power do you have to appear to me, to talk to me?”

“I don’t know… I’ve been looking for a kind person who has the same fractal pattern as my son. ”

The same fractal pattern? “What?”

“Oh, too difficult to explain. But… when you… that is… eventually it’ll be perfectly clear.”

“Never mind.” I look deep into her violet eyes. “Can you trade places with me?”

“Truly?” she asks, shocked.

“Truly. I don’t have much time here, it really doesn’t make much difference to me. You won’t have long, but it’s better than leaving unfinished business.”

In a flash, I find myself inside a fractal pattern, looking through it at the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, though obviously in poor health, walking out of the Health and Welfare office, with a huge smile on her face.

It fills me with joy as I turn, peering down this new path. I hurry toward a wonderful light at the end of a swirling fractal tunnel.

© 2010 Blythe Ayne


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