The Broadcast Violence Was Thusly Amplified

He was watching the news. Something bad was happening in Syria.

She was in the other room getting undressed. She thought about what she had just read on her phone. Something bad was happening in Syria.

She used the master control to turn off the lights. The apartment fell dark and this had the effect of making the television seem somehow brighter. The intensity of the broadcast violence was thusly amplified. Something very bad was happening in Syria.

The television was muted. The only audible sounds were those made by the passing traffic twelve stories below and the impact of her bare feet as she walked toward him across the carpeted floor. She was wearing only a pale blue bra and matching panties. The light from the television danced across her bare skin. It was performance art. He was a captive audience. The pale projection of an explosion reflected across the small of her back. Something very bad was happening in Syria.

She straddled his lap and put her hands on either side of his face. The kiss that she gave him made him think of the first time they had kissed. Her lips had been pillowy then. Her lips were pillowy now. Her body was warm. His body was warm. She turned off the television.

Something good was happening.

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An Undergraduate Refilled Their Glasses

Neither of them moved or spoke. An undergraduate refilled their glasses. The horn of an unseen car honked succinctly, providing an auditory punctuation that neither of them could muster.

Short Story:
Modifications Politely Declined

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He wouldn’t have noticed her if she hadn’t been smoking a cigarette. That she was doing so while seated directly under a sign that read ‘Thank You For Not Smoking’ made him feel strangely anxious.

The barista announced that a flat white was ready for ‘Kyle’. This was the incorrect interpretation of his name that he had by now learned to listen for. This made him a better listener than the very high “dude” taking orders but that was of little comfort on this particular morning.

He claimed the mislabeled cup and scanned the room for an available seat. There was a vacant stool across the table from the smoking girl but he wasn’t particularly interested in sharing a table with a stranger and he was less interested in sitting within her cloud of smoke.

Rough timber boards traced the bottom of the walls, giving way here and there to too-small seats attached to the wall with too-rusty hinges that looked ready to buckle at any moment. The interior designer responsible for all of this had overshot both ‘authentic’ and ‘vintage’ and landed instead on ‘dilapidated’.

Not one of these rickety seats was empty. Nor were any of the cushioned couches that lined the wall just inside the door of the café. Nor were any of the milk crates that doubled as furniture on the front sidewalk. Annoyance blossomed into heartless surrender as he accepted that the stool across from the girl was the only free chair in the cafe.

He turned to reassess the stool’s availability and saw that the girl was watching him with a placid expression. She took a drag and then exhaled smoke, studying him dispassionately all the while. After a few seconds she motioned to the stool with the hand that held her cigarette. To not join her now would be deliberately rude.

She watched him take the two or three steps across the wooden floor and she kept her eyes trained on him while he sat his coffee on the small table and leaned his bag against the legs of the stool. He finally sat before her, unbuttoning the jacket of his suit as he did so.

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This JimmyGoodWords is fiction.

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Heartbreak Dulled His Senses

She was sitting on the upper level of the train. He couldn’t see her face from where he was standing but he could see that her hair was auburn colored.

It was enough. He was in love.

It was easy and pleasurable to imagine meeting her in the city after work. He would take her to Dymocks and she would rest her head on his shoulder as he introduced her to his very best friends: Scott Fitzgerald and George Orwell.

It was Thursday, so they would stay out later than usual and have dinner. They would most likely go to the Thai place he really liked. He was convinced she would like it, too.

The train pulled into Central and he knew he had to step off of the train and out of her life. He did, and the day that followed was cloudy and overcast with regret. He spent the train ride home wondering why he wasn’t meeting her in the city. Why had he not introduced himself to the love of his life?

He made macaroni and cheese for dinner and went to bed early. Heartbreak dulled his senses enough that he fell into a deep sleep.
He tried not to think of her as he stepped onto the train the next morning. The carriage was crowded. The scene was the same.

He could see a girl sitting on the upper level of the train. He couldn’t see her face from where he was standing but he could see that her hair was strawberry colored.

It was enough. He was in love.

Watching The Trains Come And Go

He could go out to the staircase and have a smoke without his boyfriend giving him shit about ‘bad life choices’ and him ‘being smarter than this’. Those moments could instead be spent sitting on the outdoor stairs watching the trains come and go rather than listening to the other (admittedly handsome) bad life decision that he was too smart for – the one that never shuts up.