The buzzing sounds of the coffee shop filled Shaw’s ears. It was busy and crowds were good. Crowds meant avoiding a scene. The nervous twisting in his stomach told him it might not be enough. The stakes were too high. This was his last chance.
“You sure you wouldn’t rather do this at the house?” Callie asked as she sat down in the iron chair across from him. “It’s awfully noisy here, don’t you think?”
“I like the noise,” Shaw said. “Do you want something? The special of the week is a peanut butter cup latte.”
He waved over at the barista, but Callie shook him off.
“I’m not planning on staying that long, Shaw. We’re just here to sign the papers.” She pulled a thick stack of pages held together with a binder clip from her briefcase and sat it on the table. “Everywhere you need to sign is a flagged.”
“Do we really need to do this so fast? You should get some coffee. We can talk–”
“No, Shaw. I have another appointment. Just sign the papers and let me get out of here.” Callie sat a pen on the stack and pushed it all across the table. “As soon as you sign the papers, I can leave and this will be over.”
“I know,” Shaw said. He pushed down the lump in the back of his throat and picked up the pen. “I just don’t know if I’m ready.”
“We’ve been through this. The last six months brought us to this point. I’m ready to be done. Sign the papers.” Callie pulled out her phone and tapped something into the screen. “Ugh… I’m going to be late.”
Shaw shook his head. “Fine.” He flipped through the pages, quickly scrawling his name on the line everywhere Callie had marked.
“There,” he said. He pushed the papers and pen back across the table. “All done. You never have to see me again.”
Callie smiled. She tucked the pages back into her briefcase and stood up. “Thank you.” She pulled a set of keys from her pocket. “I marked which one is for the doorknob and which is for the deadbolt. I hope you enjoy your new home. If you do find you need another realtor… Well, call someone else.” She clicked her briefcase closed. “Have a nice life, Shaw.”
He watched her walk back to the car, his heart sinking a little.
Flash fiction has its own unique challenges, but there is something fun about trying to fit a story into 500 words. I even managed to get this one down to 403 words. Which gave me exactly 97 words to write this author’s note.
I have to admit, when I started the Bradbury Challenge, I was worried I’d never be able to come up with enough short story ideas to fill 52 weeks. That worry actually got me stalled out for awhile.
I’m not really worried about that anymore. I’ve got this other, overwhelming dread coming from…
Sorry. 500 word limit.