A tale of zombies, awkward acquaintanceship, and dropped calls.
As soon as Grenadine arrived, she sensed something was out of place. Instead of the gentle perfume of nag champa, the acrid bouquet of charred carp, stale beer, boiled cabbage and asparagus infused urine assailed her nostrils. She wretched, dropping her handbag and a loosely wrapped parcel to the floor. She turned her face downward. Clear drops of saliva ran toward the edges of her mouth. In an effort to retain her after-breakfast cocktails, she bolted upright. Jim appeared from behind a derelict refrigerator, spewing something brown onto the parquet floor. He twitched as he approached her. The others wandered in from another room.
“Clara,” Jim crooned. A man and woman broke from the approaching group and fell, as if exhausted, upon a violet mohair divan. A haggard, ashen-haired man joined the couple on the divan and the three of them began to grope each other. Grenadine shot Jim a revolted look and he glanced toward the affectionate trio. He rubs the front of his trousers before returning his gaze to Grenadine. He leers as she sweats. She takes a step backward.
Andy Parker folds his paperback edition in half to read the previous year’s best-seller using only one hand. A bedraggled woman, looking worn-out and high on barbiturates, in a Hawaiian dress has fixed her gaze on either his hand or the page right above it. He finds this annoying but continues to read, shifting the novel from hand to hand to make her endeavor more challenging. After a few minutes,when she doesn’t get the hint, he sneezes in her direction without covering his mouth. She doesn’t flinch. When their eyes meet, she holds his gaze then grins seductively. She is missing four front teeth.
Speechless, Andy lifts his book to obscure her visage as his right hand withdraws his beloved smartphone from a clandestine pocket on the front of next season’s military style coat. He stands up and holding the upper rail with his book hand, judiciously looks for the safest and farthest away place to sit. Silence on the line. A look at the display confirms what he already knew.
“Grenadine! Grenadine,” he demanded, “you need to get rid of that cheap ass phone!” He rings off, shakes his head in annoyance and makes his way toward the rear doors of the metro. The corpselike woman in the shrunken purple dress smiles after him.
“Enjoy your boo-ook,” she sings.
Grenadine slides her mobile into the front of her apron and shrugs her trench coat into a heap behind her black satin stilettos, exposing her tan lines. Jim affects a lascivious smile. A second man, who seems very interested in the back of Jim’s head, licks dry cracked lips, as he ambles forward. Grenadine bends forward at the waist, seductively flipping her hair as she returns upright to reveal a vulgar looking automatic weapon. Jim’s smile fades. The second man swings his arm in an arc and catches Jim’s forehead in the palm of his hand, as Grenadine blows it clean off.
Escaping a sidewalk bustling with activity into the foyer of a dilapidated looking brownstone, Andy broods silently over his options. A ‘for sale’ sign is visible on the outside of the window in the mirror behind him. An explosion. He heads toward the sound, shaking his head. He is already late.
CREATIVE WRITING PROMPT
Start your story with “As soon as (the main character) arrived, (the main character) sensed something was out of place”.
THAT SINKING FEELING was written by Maxximillian Dafoe—that’s me!—I love short stories. Among the many short fiction authors who inspire me are Chuck Palahniuk, Stephen King, David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs. Little-known fact: My favorite party game is Cards Against Humanity.