• Douglas J. McLeod

Coffee with Spirits

Below is a short story I wrote for a writing competition at the university I attend part-time. While the story was not accepted for a live reading opportunity, I've decided to share it with you, my blog followers. Enjoy!

There was a chill in the autumn air in the Danforth neighborhood of Toronto. People had started wearing their heavy coats as the cusp of the first snowfall of the season was nigh. Young school children had their mittens attached to thick strings donning their small hands to prevent any preliminary signs of frostbite. It was a quiet Thursday afternoon along the busy thoroughfare, as most individuals were tending to their day jobs. However, in a quaint coffee shop near Donlands Avenue, two familiar faces were meeting up for a hot beverage.

“Amber,” a lady called out to her friend. “Over here.”

A raven-haired woman, standing a mere five feet, approached the table, where her brunette compatriot was sitting. The two friends hugged one another, and sat down at the table.

“My God, Karen,” Amber commented. “When you told me this place was tucked away, I didn’t expect it to be hidden so well.”

“I admit it is rather secluded,” Karen confessed. “But Gary seems to like it, since it’s not far from his place.”

“I remember one time he and Phil came here for a coffee and chat regarding a book Phil was working on then. It does seem quite cozy here.”

“ I think that’s part of the reason why Gary likes it so much. It’s not as crazy here as it is down in The Beach neighborhood.” Karen passed Amber her drink. “I got you your favorite, a Dirty Chai Latte.”

“Thanks,” Amber appreciated. “I was up all night with Phil, so I definitely need the extra jolt of espresso today.”

“How is the budding author, anyway?” Karen queried. “Gary hasn’t been in touch with him much ever since he moved to the Kawarthas to be with Maggie.”

“He’s doing fine. When he’s not working on his latest book, he’s been keeping busy with his new job up at the university in Peterborough.”

“I bet he must be tired most nights if he’s working a full eight-hour shift, then comes home to write.”

“I’m surprised he has the energy to do both,” Amber remarked. “I know he’s no spring chicken. Then again, neither is Gary. How’s he been doing? Is he keeping out of trouble for once?”

Karen laughed. “You know how it is. Gary’s still Gary. Sure, Jessica and I try our best to keep him in line, but we can only do so much. You know eventually he’s going to end up in some sort of trouble, or in the hospital again.”

Amber shook her head. “You’d think after all this time working the beat, he’d hang it up and settle down.”

Karen took a sip of her Mocha, and sighed. “Believe me,” she said, “we’ve tried our best to urge him to retire, but he’s still hard-headed. He insists there’s more cases to solve out there, and he won’t rest until he’s six feet under. Personally, I think he’s doing it because he can’t say goodbye.”

Amber nodded. “I understand that.”

Just then, another patron entered the coffee shop, a tall blonde male. He was greeted by the barista.

“Welcome to The One,” she greeted. “Can I take your order?”

“I’ll have a large cappuccino,” he said.

“Coming right up.”

“Quiet day in here?” the patron inquired.

“It has been,” the barista responded. “No one’s stopped by at all today.”

Karen and Amber paid no mind to the conversation between the barista and the patron, continuing on with their own chat.

Karen sighed. “I guess Gary is still not accepting the fact that I’m gone.”

Amber nodded. “I know what you mean. Phil hasn’t accepted that I’ve been dead for years either. But as long as we’re still part of their lives, they will never forget us.”

The two spirits tapped their cups together, toasting the special men that were with them while they were alive, and still were in the ladies’ afterlife.

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