Before Opening, Fiction

He always arrives before opening.

“Nights are getting cold,” he murmurs as I let him in. Coffee’s brewing.

I pour him his cup. He holds it in his cracked, cold hands and raises it to his lips. It isn’t much, but it must be warm enough to make him smile.

Expand full comment

Just Window Shopping-Creative Non-Fiction

She pulled up to the brand new Ollie’s store, anxious to see what this one held, since it was in a more upscale neighborhood than hers was.

Grabbing her wallet, she exited the vehicle, crossed the driving lane and saw the Opening Next Week sign.

Deflated, she drove home.

Expand full comment

Closing Time, Fiction-ish

2025 and the planet was dying in earnest.

Friday, three mourning doves died at my feet. Dropped right out of the sky. Orchards barren, branches like bones. Air thick with the scent of decay. Village coffee shop, once promising hope like newspapers of yore, now shuttered. End of an era.

Expand full comment

Break the Door, Fiction

Eric didn’t believe in “Closed” signs. He slipped on his brass knuckles. With a powerful jab, Eric shattered the glass in the door—

“We’ll be open in ten,” assured the barista as she went inside the locked coffee shop. Eric continued squatting on the front steps, writing on his phone.

Expand full comment
Dec 9, 2022·edited Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Coffeehouse, Fiction from Sharron at 🍁Leaves

He sat in the coffeehouse, scanning the relationships column in the local newspaper. “SWF seeks man who will encourage me to realize my dreams,” he read. It was 1980.

Forty-two years later, sitting together by the lake, she’d realized her dreams.

Realized her dreams were the same as his.

Expand full comment

Out Through the in Door - Fiction

I walk through the portal in the lab and out of the coffee shop. As I turn, the awning and doors fade from existence. Here I stand, stuck on US soil, seventy years in a past that never existed. I can tell the Schutzstaffel aren’t happy with my sudden arrival.

Expand full comment

How Much For That Shadow In The Window?, Fiction (Horror)

Vanessa walked past the coffee shop that hadn't been there the day before.

Spilling out the open-window was an invitation; music, laughter and the clink of coffee cups.

She turned to join them but stopped. The sounds were gone.

The coffee shop was abandoned.

Save a shadow in the window.

Expand full comment
Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

After I Went Before, Fantasy

My hand-written choices; stay in the past to correct the blunders of others, travel ahead to my present day and deal with my own mistakes, or journey further into the future and make completely new miscalculations.

An unseen hand thrust me through the door.

The decision was no longer mine.

Expand full comment
Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Meet Up (Fiction)

Always the first to arrive. Giving me time to slow my breath, practice my smile. Trim my coffee order down to not coffee, but hot chocolate with a shot of hazelnut. Because I don't want to come across complicated. Because though some people like depth, they don't appreciate the layers.

Expand full comment

Word Is, Fiction

Sonny comes in before we really open. That's okay, I've always liked the guy. He sits and taps a finger against the newspaper. "Says here that you're going out of business."

"We're still here, aren't we? Living until we're dying, that's always been the way."

Expand full comment

Perfect Day (Fiction)

Dara, was first in line outside the coffeehouse where her favorite singer would play tonight. She reveled in the apricity of the sun’s rays on her face as she smiled at the flother floating down to land on her nose. Perfect day—music, warm sun, and the promise of snow.

I added an extra challenge for myself--to use two quirky words. Apricity is the feel of the sun's warmth on a cold day and a flother is a lone falling snowflake that heralds the coming of more.

Expand full comment

An Experiment in Chalk, Fiction

No sooner has he completed the chalk drawing when there is a rumble, accompanied by a plume of dust. The former quiet of the alley gives way to indistinct chatter; the familiar hiss of milk being steamed; soft jazz playing.

A single fingertip smudge would cast it away.

He hesitates.

Expand full comment