What Happened To
by Robert Garner
Im in a
coffee shop on a spring afternoon when a man at a
table near the creamers picks up his smart phone
and says in a loud voice, John? Doug
here. Laura is back. Shes pissed
off. Shes a really pissed off person
dont know what shes pissed off about
Im taking her into
the doctor today
Its a hard call, they
Thats good, thats good...Shes
real angry, shes real brutal, shes
Yeah, thats right
dont know if Im going to have to
hospitalize her or not
Its brutal, its
real brutal, Ill call you after we see the
Okay, thanks, right
Doug signs off. But
hes back on a moment later. Bob?
Doug here. Laura came back
pissed off, shes real pissed off
good, thats good
Well, shes real
Were going to see the
doctor in about twenty minutes
Ill hide everything
He hangs up. We
all look up from our tables to meet his widened
eyes. A tall man rises up. He points a
finger at Dougs chest. I want to
know whats wrong with Laura, he says.
A woman in a
leather jacket turns from the pastry display. Maybe
she has good reasons to be pissed off.
We nod. Yeah,
we say as one, we want to know whats
wrong with Laura.
eyes twitch. His brow crinkles in alarm.
want to Laura to get screwed over, the
woman in the leather jacket says.
us, Doug, the tall man says. Make
it easy for everybody.
The barista, a
young man with dragon tattoos on his forearms,
comes out from behind the bar and sets a steamy
cup in front of the man. It looks loaded
with all the hard stuff, maybe a double mocha. He
breathes over the man. Maybe this will
loosen your lips, he says.
back in his seat, hand on his phone. We lean
in on him.
Laura Im concerned about, the woman
course you are, we say. We all are.
published at Big Muddy literary journal and won
the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Award.