BY FOSTER TRECOST
The seat I’m in was made for someone half my size. Still, I’d rather be here than smashed against the window or worse, standing with strangers so close they become another layer of clothing.
I’m eye-level with an ass and if this guy turns around, I’ll be eye-level with his dick. I’m not sure which is worse so I plan my escape: front door, side door – both blocked, but the front is closer. I have two stops to go. A lot can change in two stops.
Last night I dreamt I was spinning down the coast in a convertible. It was warm and the top was down. Waves crashed against rocks and gulls glided over the waves looking for small fish. The radio worked and it played music I liked.
It’s still dark. I’m not sure why we say sunrise. It probably started back before we knew what was really going on, and we still say it even though we know better. It works, it’s easy and simple, and that’s what we do, we take complicated things and make them easy and simple, even if they’re not true.
This morning in the kitchen, I found my dog had died during the night. What do you do with a dead dog at five in the morning? I wrapped him in a sheet and placed him just outside the back door. He wasn’t old, I don’t know why he died. Maybe he was lonely.
I’m a stop away from having a dick in my face, but two after that, I’ll be birthed back into the world. Truth is, I feel safer in here.
In an otherwise quiet coffee shop, two sounds were offered. One, a hardly audible jazz set that crawled from a nearby speaker; the other, a constant hum coming from an overhead light. Josh could hear each clearly up to the point he could hear neither, the sounds so thoroughly entwined with the absence of sound, noise and silence had become the same.
The old couple put themselves almost as close to Josh as to each other. They huddled around their coffees like campfires and spoke without words until the old man asked: “You writing a letter?”
Josh answered without words.
“People don’t take time to write letters anymore,” said the old man. “I used to get a letter every week from my grandson. Now he sends that electronic mail, with computers. I got no use for a computer, so I get no mail.” Sadness settled over him. “So it’s just me and Millie,” he said, nodding in her direction. “Kids moved away, friends died.” He paused, his old eyes struggling to keep up. “Now, we’re just waiting our turn.” He lowered his voice to a coarse whisper that sounded as though the words were being pulled across sandpaper: “Millie here, she thinks she’ll be first, but not me. She’s a tough bird, she’ll outlive us all.”
Josh thought about fruit ripening on the tree, which to him was the best way.
“You keep writing those letters, young man,” said the old one. He helped his wife to her feet. “There’s something special about mail. Ever since the war, makes me feel like somebody cares.”
His wife stopped and said: “They look about the same age, don’t you think?”
The old man nodded and then, they were gone.
Foster Trecost began writing in Italy and continues today from Philadelphia. Paying jobs have him occasionally working within various aspects of corporate tax, with Europe filling the gaps in between. His stories have appeared in Elimae, Metazen and Dark Sky Magazine, among other places.