"Clay Graces a Cafe" by Chris Prince


Introduction Often survival of the fittest is found lacking, especially for humans, and means two things: 1. complete self-confidence & 2. utter lack of common courtesy. Of course we all see things our way, some more than others, like Clay in Chris Prince’s story this week. He’s not a particularly sympathetic character (even trying to be “unempathetic”) but he is a compelling one. I can see him perfectly. And I find myself wondering why he is the way he is. Luminaria is tomorrow. Spring Break is next week. Take a moment during the boozing or art perusing (or both) to scribble down a story. Ponder the wonder of the human experience. Marvel at the ridiculousness of social norms. Meditate on the complexities of nature. Write! I’m looking for work to publish in April so send in your short pieces (approximately 500 words) to flashfiction@sacurrent.com.

—Lyle Rosdahl

"Clay Graces a Cafe" by Chris Prince He saunters in as if he is the main attraction. With his powerful projection he makes his presence known, saying hello to the girl behind the counter in the most unempathetic way he can muster. He throws a glance about the small coffee shop, calculating his inherent level of coolness and his external image of strength versus those sitting in chairs tapping at chiclet keyboards. No one notices him and that upsets him because he is so suave and impressive that they should acknowledge him with a likewise glance and then feel small and pathetic about themselves. He spits out his order and says his name before the girl even asks for it. “Clay.” He leans into the counter, placing a large hand on the edge of the register. Now everyone should be thinking how comfortable Clay looks in this coffee shop. When the girl behind the counter tells him the price he mutters a quip about coffee being more expensive than the diesel he puts in his super-crew, lifted pick-up truck. He chuckles at his own joke revealing tobacco stained teeth. The girl gives him a smile. Clay knows she wants to laugh but she is shy and doesn’t know how to handle such an outgoing, stellar man. He lingers for a moment after his order is placed, preventing the next customer in line from placing their order. He acts like he doesn’t know what he is doing, pretending to be intrigued by some CD below the register. Clay likes making people wait on him. They should recognize how smooth he is and take down a note or two. It is his greatest hope that one day someone asks him to move. He already knows exactly what he’d say. “Chill-out, buddy. No need to be rude.” Then, he’d stare at them in the eye until they looked away. Yea, he always got excited at the thought, but to date no one had ever said anything. He swaggers to the drink pick-up area and looks about the shop again, this time with more scrutiny. They should be thinking about avoiding his gaze; because, like the sun, Clay is so overpowering that it kind of hurts to look at him. Damn, he is so cool. He grabs his drink and walks over to a couch and places his coffee on the small table and flops his over-sized body down. He props his feet up on the table letting everyone know again how comfortable he is. They should all know by now that Clay is the biggest, baddest guy in this cafe. Clay smirks. Someone is probably watching him, probably jealous. Haters.

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