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Flash Fiction

Fruitless Frappe

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Sometimes you just have to hit things. In Carla’s case that meant the rubber-sheathed steering wheel she was holding. Uselessly she’d already shot the drive-through speaker a disgusted look, like she’d just been asked to empty a full bed pan. They’d told her their frappe machine was not working and asked would she like to order an iced coffee instead. No, she would not. After joining the backend of a six car queue for the privilege, she now felt like asking for a refund, even though she hadn’t spent any money.

Not from the area due to the fact she was currently staying at her brother’s house since her own apartment on the other side of town was under repair due to her upper-floor bathtub crashing violently through the floor into the dining room below – traced to a slow leak that had caused the chipboard floor to perish over time – Carla used her spiderweb-patterned, decal-decorated left thumb nail to tap through her car’s navigation maps and locate the next closest store.

She wasn’t pregnant, but the pretty medical clinic receptionist had woken that morning with a craving for a coffee frappe with extra caramel drizzle. A craving that had to be satisfied. That WOULD be satisfied. “3.4 km away” read the screen’s little red numbers. Doable!

Carla started humming a tune from an advert to herself as she headed out of the car park and onto the main road. With hardly any traffic at this early hour she enjoyed a glance out the window of her Ford Focus. What do people see in trees, she wondered, settling into the meditative bliss of driving. Trunk, branches, leaves. And there are just so many of them! Her mind began to wander.

Nearly seven minutes later, she was ready to try to kill the craving for a second time. With the excited interest of a tourist, the first thing she noticed while still out on the street was the red and blue flashing lights that filled the car park. Chequered police tape was going up over the entrance. From the size of the gathered team of uniformed officers and suits packing guns on their hips, whatever had gone down was a big deal. Too big a deal for her to order a humble coffee frappe.

Carla u-turned the car just as the first drops of rain began hitting her windscreen. With a squeal of tyres she accelerated out and headed for the highway. Her left hand began tapping out the rhythm of her agitation on the centre hand rest . The GPS told her it was 14 minutes to the next drive-through. This would be her final attempt, she told herself.  Even a frappe kamikaze like her knew their limits.

In less time than that, she’d completed her order through a crackling speaker and was now finally inching closer to crossing the finishing line that was the payment window. With the end of her quest within reach and the thing that mattered most to her now close enough she could practically taste the delicious topping cream coating her tongue and sliding down the back of her throat, Carla reached over to where her handbag and purse should have been while momentarily amusing herself with the thought “What could possibly go wrong this time?”

Glen Donaldson (AUSTRALIA)

Glen Donaldson from Brisbane, Australia owns two Dobsonian computerised telescopes, one of them still working. If Glen were a wine he would be described as 'light bodied with a nutty after taste'. He blogs weekly and uniquely at both SCENIC WRITER'S SHACK and LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE.

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