Now up at The Fiction Pool
A prequel to this story, ‘An Ordinary White Index Card’ appears in the Bath Flash Fiction Award anthology, ‘To Carry Her Home’
Another associated flash, ‘Customer Service’ (below), is also in the current issue of RazurCuts:
She tried to follow their conversation by reading their lips but soon gave up. Watching their faces, she was sure this was a first date, their looks flitting eyes to mouth, to eyes, to chest, lips clinging slightly to teeth when they smiled, too often. They sat side by side in the window, facing out, partially turned to each other. She watched their shoulder movements, hands, wondering who liked the other more, who was being polite. The Malaysian-or-whatever girl was so pretty, pearly skinned, hair like a waterfall, but the red-head had a sweet aura…
“Moira, are you even listening to me?”
Moira, outside on the pavement with her manager Joyce, glanced at the latté she hadn’t wanted. Froth blew off the top of the glass. She flicked ash onto it. “Yes,” Moira said, “You were telling me to stop picking up customers. Someone’s complained.”
i.e. her colleague Anna, and they both knew it. Anna had overheard Moira boasting, half joking, that she could bring any man to fruition before he could finish reading a page of ‘The Hobbit’ out loud. She’d sold the guy a copy, so Joyce should’ve been pleased.
Joyce, who’d wanted to meet on neutral territory, was starting to regret it. Moira kept looking over her head at who knows what, probably the reflection of the pub opposite. Even now, she smelled liked the dregs of a wine bottle. What was she going to do with this girl? The men loitering outside the shop come closing time, (only to have to be told Moira hadn’t turned up for work that day.) The drinking. The disappearing. The scarves ‘round her wrists.
They’ll sleep together once, then both make their excuses, Moira decided of the young women. It almost made her sad.