Tag Archives: writing

A Short Story: Billy’s Bad Breath

The noise Billy heard at 7:00 a.m. was both terrifying and strangely familiar, like the sound of a severe weather alert that interrupts your favorite song on the radio. He instinctively rolled onto his alarm clock and put an end to the auditory assault.

He smacked his lips together thickly, as though he has just eaten a cotton ball topped with a dollop of peanut butter. All he could taste was the sticky smell that came barreling forth during his morning expiration like a locomotive from the darkest caverns of his anatomy. It was a smell he could taste, a taste he could smell. A nasty duality of the senses that was all at once uncomfortable, jarring and strangely delicious, not only for himself but potentially for those who found themselves themselves within a six-foot radius of his bulb.

“Christ,” Billy said out loud. It was to no one in particular, although perhaps he was subconsciously preparing to ask the fellow why his breath smelled like dead people. He got up to brush his teeth, although he knew it wouldn’t help. Being an onion sure came with its fair share of misfortunes and he was feeling particularly ornery this morning.

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Five Minute Observation: Old Man at Starbucks

I’m going to start a daily (but probably semi-daily) post called “Five Minute Observation”. In these I’ll briefly describe an encounter I had during that day in just five minutes so that I only have time to include the meat of the experience. I need to start listening more and observing the world around me (even if it means having to look at ugly, fat people, I’ll have to suck it up) and this is the perfect way to do it. We’ll see how this turns out. The first one is titled, “Old Man at Starbucks”:

I sit down at a table in the Starbucks next to the Publix on Abercorn.

Behind me there’s an old man. He’s sitting at a table for two but there’s no one with him. He’s reading the New York times with a white, plastic magnifying glass. Something tells me that magnifying glass isn’t really helping because he’s still hunched down to within two inches of the paper, his eyelashes even touch the magnifying glass. He seems deeply enthralled in the Business section until a customer walks in. At that point he becomes the unofficial greeter of Starbucks. He welcomes each guest with a, “How’s it going today, you fine young man?” and a “Good morning, my dear.”┬áHe talks to each customer as if he knows them but the looks on their faces make it clear he probably doesn’t.

He comes here everyday and reads the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, he says to my back. As I turn around, I notice he has one piercing blue eye and one eye that looks like a cloudy beach day. His long, wrinkled face contorts into a smile and he asks me what I want to do with my life. “I want to be a writer,” I respond. “Good, well now, I can say I talked to you before you got famous,” he says confidently as he decisively hunches back down to his magnifying glass.

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