Home » Flash fiction » WHEN ON-LINE AND OFF-LINE REALITY MERGE

WHEN ON-LINE AND OFF-LINE REALITY MERGE

FLASH FICTION ~ INTERNET CAFE ~ 10TH JULY 2015

Another challenge from https://therattlingbones.wordpress.com/
the life and works of Lori Carlson
Today’s prompt is to write a scene set in an internet cafe. You decide the people involved, the situation and the outcome.

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Image © John and Margaret

WHEN ON-LINE AND OFF-LINE REALITY MERGE

by John Yeo

 The day was hot but Jed needed to get on-line fast, he needed to establish an on-line footprint. The man, a tramp, or hobo, lay dying in a pool of thick red blood. This was the lull before sirens and the usual hubbub of noise followed one of his exterminations.
   “Coffee please, with cream and sugar.” Ordered Jed from the faceless man behind the counter.
  “OK! That will be one hundred and fifteen pounds, please.”
   “How the heck do you work that out?” He demanded.
 “One hundred for the footprint and fifteen pounds for your coffee.”
Jed peeled the money off from a wad of notes in his pocket. He had managed to hold on to some of the money he had earned from his last excursion into the back streets.
This was getting harder and harder to keep up the masquerade for the required time.
A button was pressed hard, and the game began again. The sirens exploded on to the naked eardrums as his pursuers began to get closer. He secreted himself in the farthest corner from the entrance and began to surf and keep in control.
 Another player entered the fray, needing the security of four walls to keep up the illusion of privacy.
A young woman with smiles and femininity had arrived. He nodded at her as she approached the coffee counter.
  “Skinny Latte heavy on the molasses?”
 “Are you sure? Skinny coffee and molasses is an unusual request!” asked the nondescript man serving behind the coffee bar.
   “Yes please!” She responded with a smile. “I’m an unusual person, I need to give myself the illusion of keeping slim together with the reality of keeping sweet”
 “That will be one hundred and thirty pounds, please.”
   “How much? I am sorry I am five pounds short of your extortionate demands. How on earth did you work that price out?”
 “With our hourly increases for inflation that is one hundred pounds for your online footprint together with your speciality coffee.”
Jed came to her rescue and peeled off another five pounds from his wad.
  “Hi! Thanks, I’m Samira, pleased to meet you. I can’t stop, I have a world of on-line things to get on with.”
  “It’s OK!” Jed replied, “I am a player on the run from the twists and turns of an on-line game.”
They both were soon lost in the ether of the world within the outside world that was reality.
Then another person shattered the concentrated silence by throwing a bag full of money on the counter.
  “A milky coffee quickly please. I must get on-line fast. I have had a tip that will not wait and you are my only chance to effect an on-line deal, I will save myself thousands of pounds.”
 “Peace my friend, How much is there in your bag?”
  “More than enough!” Shouted the burly man in a suit. “Take what you need, get on with your job and pour my coffee.”
 “Sugar?”
  “No thanks! I’m sweet enough!” Joked the ignorant man in a hurry. ” I want to use the machine in the corner farthest away from the door and the risk of interruption.”
 Jed’s game was coming to an end and the dying hobo had magically come back to life. Jed had lost interest now and Samira had done her on-line shopping.
 Jed smiled, “Would you like another special coffee Samira? I am done with my on-line gaming and I need the warmth of reality.”
  Samira blushed and nodded “Yes please, I am also through here shall we share an on-line footprint or shall we get out of here into the reality of the harsh-edged world outside?”
There was a crash as the door was thrown open and suddenly the internet cafe was full of uniformed police. They arrested the burly man in the suit for armed robbery and confiscated his bag of money, retrieved from the man behind the coffee bar.

“What about my bill?” He demanded.
 “Send him a bill” replied a police officer.
Samira and Jed left the internet cafe together arm in arm.

Copyright © ~ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

(766 Words)

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2 thoughts on “WHEN ON-LINE AND OFF-LINE REALITY MERGE

  1. Wow – talk about inflation and a reality check!
    At least sometimes it is good to know that the ‘coppers’ or ‘Bobby’s’ get their man.

    Thanks for stopping by another my ‘cafe’.

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