“So I’m sitting at the side of the road earlier, waiting for a bus, watching all the other poor sods caught in the rain. On the other side there’s this shop that’s closed, windows all bare, except for a big sign in black letters that says, ‘April Fools’. It’s, like, so big I can read it from the bus stop.” My date stops, grinning, readying some kind of punchline.
I stir my lemon tea, add a little more honey. “Go on.”
Permission received, his brown eyes crinkle in remembered merriment. “Alright, so what happened was, someone would walk along, notice the sign, and sometimes they would stop. Like, what’s that all about? And then, this is the best bit, then a car would come along and drive straight through this huge puddle right next to the pavement. Ker-splash!”
He laughs loudly, a full body laugh with hands spread, head back, eyes and face screwed up. Any minute coffee is going to come snorting out of his nose.
“April fools alright!” He’s still chuckling. “Whoever came up with that one was a doozy.”
I smile politely, trying not to feel sorry for the drenched pedestrians trying to make their way through the rain. Big white fingers take up his coffee cup, downing the dregs, moistening his tongue for more stories. He waves for the waitress, who diligently trots over to the largest personality in the café.
“What can I get you?” she asks, courteous smile masking the fatigue from a million hours on her feet. A bright ribbon flashes in her dark hair, testament to her determined attempt for cheerfulness.
“Long black, milk on the side, make it a mug yeah.” Brown eyes question me. “Anything?” I shake my head, nod thanks to the waitress.
“Alright.” She takes off, tucking the waiter’s pad into her black apron. I watch her leave. So much energy.
My coffee date is another ball of energy, ready to burst like the rain clouds heavy outside. I’m not sure I can take another deluge.
My tea is nearly finished. “So, how’s Sam doing?” Safer ground.
“Oh yeah, alright, much the same you know.” He shrugs, disinterested. Steers the conversation back to him. “Reminds me, we were out a couple weeks ago, across the river at that new club Icon, you know it? Well anyway, there was this band playing…”
I tune out. Rain drops slick across the window panes like oil on glass, rainbow pigments of scattered light from the antique fixtures turning the outside world into an artist’s impression.
“And then I caught it.”
A pause in the torrent of words. I’m expected to say something. I smile, shake my head, finish my tea. I’ll message Sam later. Another failed set-up, but it’s not their fault.
“Thanks for the—” I wave a hand. Retrieve my coat.
He makes to rise, is blocked by his coffee arriving. I escape. Outside, the rain refreshes my face and I smile ruefully.
April fool, alright.
It’s that time of the month again, Furious Fiction! Out of 1700 entrants this April, I did not make the list (the odds were not in my favour). But here is my story for your enjoyment anyway. Hope you like it. It’s contemporary fiction like most of my FF entries, but it’s not set in this year. For various reasons I’m sure you can understand.
I hope you are not feeling too bleak indoors, dear readers. Perhaps you are going on virtual dates these days? I do so miss my coffee shop hangouts. Anyone who goes on a physical date at the moment though… Well, they might be April fools too.
Here’s to happier times. And hopefully a better date one day for our poor protagonist!
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