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Monday, April 18, 2016

Java Script – Flash Fiction

Java Script

A large cup of aromatic coffee steamed on the table in front of the hurried man. He detested Mondays. Mondays, he pondered, this cup of Java is almost as dark as a Monday.

Downing his breakfast, consisting of a cup of coffee and a doughnut, Karl scurried off to make his way toward his cubical dungeon to continue his illustrious job's programming endeavors; a career that had once appeared exciting to his youthful mind, but now belted him routinely with mundane boredness more times than nine rounds of kissing a professional boxer's padded blood-stained gloves would.

When his car refused to start, almost as vehemently as his boss had when the man refused to give Karl a raise the week prior, he simply walked the two blocks to the bus stop and waited… and waited… and waited.

"Hey, mister," came the childish, wanna-be-tough sounding voice of a local behavioral problematic youth holding an age appropriate cancer stick between his youthful fingers, "you got a match, lighter, or somethin'?"

Taking the wasted effort to turn his head and respond to the pillar of sophisticate teenage representation, Karl replied, "Somethin'."

The youth adjusted his crooked ball cap to an increased crooked angle before replying, "Somethin'?"

"Look, kid, I don't smoke and neither should you."

Karl actually believed that if more of these future prodigies of urban social degeneracy smoked, there may well be fewer of them occupying prisons over the next few decades. This would, he thought, save humanity a lot of needless tax dollars.

"Yeah, yeah, the kid moaned, I heard it all before, thanks anyway."

Hearing the youth's words of gratitude threw Karl for that proverbial loop we all have heard of and read about. He reached out and touched the boy's shoulder, and said, "If I had a light, son, I'd be obliged to render it to you."

Smirking, the teen questioned, "Obliged? Render? What century are you from?"

As Karl watched the little street urchin walk away, he felt that uneasiness one experiences when any semblance of hope begins to deflate faster than the final Fourth of July firework does the night before a long dreaded work day.

An elderly woman addressed Karl, "The previous century," she shielded her sun-filled eyes to see Karl’s face better, "that is where we're from, correct, young man?"

"Correct, ma'am."

"A generation comes and a generation goes,” she continued, “and youth remains wasted on the young."

"Indeed, ma'am, indeed."

The uneventful bus ride, featuring the summer sun's rays pounding down on Karl's left shoulder through the vehicle's window, reminded him of his days back in eastern Oregon. Days growing up on a sharecropping farm where life was hard, days were long, and life was simple, or so it seemed within his faded recollections.

You gotta get yourself an education, son, he could hear his father's voice ringing in his ears like an old church bell, and gets your boots outta here. Get a good life for yourself in the city.

Well, the boots of youth no longer fit and Karl's life in the city was no more eventful than a rainy camping trip. He longed for those blissful days on the farm. He could almost smell the fresh cut alfalfa hay and feel the coolness of an irrigation ditch’s water vapor in the air. He longed to see catfish and carp floundering in shallow water holes, to see their mouths kissing the air at water’s surface.

That's it, I know what I will do.

Upon entering his cubical infested office complex, unusually silent for a Monday morning, Karl 's boss took him aside, explaining about cutbacks and something concerning a six month severance package.

Karl simply smiled, thinking, No more Java Script.

© Royce A Ratterman


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