Sunday Snippet – A Ring in a Cup of Tea

After a period of time he decided to choose a different coffee shop, one that was not quite as mysterious. He knew he would miss his waitress, but there would be another in the new shop and he didn’t want to get to the point that his harmless crush would seem creepy.

—-Bill Chance, A Ring in a Cup of Tea

Mojo Coffee, Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
(click to enlarge)

I don’t usually use writing prompts – but I was suffering from a moment of writer’s block and picked one out of a list. It said “A man finds a ring in a cup of tea.” OK

Sunday Snippet

A Ring in a Cup of Tea

There was a ring in his teacup. He looked around the coffee shop. At every table there were people doing what people do in a coffee shop on a Saturday morning. One middle aged man reading a newspaper… a few couples discussing the upcoming day… more than a few people confessing their sins of Friday night. What there didn’t seem to be was anybody that would have slipped a ring into his teacup.

He looked at the waitress. It was the same woman that he had bought tea from many times before. She was young and attractive in a coffee shop waitress sort of way. A world-weary smile that looked like it belonged on someone older than her. Slim, despite being around pastries and calorie-stuffed sugar-loaded specialty coffee drinks all the time. Short hair that bobbed a little when she turned her head. Odd glasses with heavy frames with a line of rhinestones on the side – glasses that have been out of style for fifty years – so out of style they looked cool in a hipster post-modern coffee shop on a Saturday morning.

Could it have been an accident? The waitress had brought the cup empty and he had picked a teabag out of the big wooden box that she presented to him – taking his time as long as he dared in order to enjoy the waitress bending over slightly in front of him. She then unpeeled the bag and said, “Good choice,” like she always did, even though he knew nothing of tea and picked the bag at random. She then had filled the cup with clear hot water, setting down the pot and leaving before the leaves had a chance to turn the water semi-opaque.

If the ring was in the cup she would have seen it. He might have, except he wasn’t looking at the cup.

He picked up the sugar spoon and fished the ring out of the hot tea, setting it on the table for a second to cool. He picked it up, still a little warm and examined the plain gold band. A fan of fantasy fiction he almost expected to see glowing writing in an elvish hand around the circumference – but it was an ordinary , plain, non-magical ring. No special power there.

He held it up to his eye and waved it around a bit – not enough to be obviously nuts – but he hoped that if it belonged to someone, had slipped off a finger into his cup, unseen, they would see him brandishing it and would say something.

“Excuse me, is that my ring?” they would say.

“It must be, it isn’t mine,” he would reply with a bright chuckle, “It must have slipped off your finger and fallen into my tea.”

“Well, then, sorry, let me pay for a fresh cup,” would be their slightly embarrassed reply.

But there was only silence.

He didn’t know whether to drink his tea or not. After looking carefully at the ring, he decided it was clean enough and gold isn’t going to wear off into hot water so he drained his cup anyway. Then he carefully slipped the ring into his pocket and stood up to leave. He looked around, put his coat on, expecting someone to come up to him and explain the joke of them slipping the ring into his tea.

But there was only silence.

At that point he couldn’t think of anything to do except to go home. He thought of leaving the ring in his cup, but that was crazy. At his place he rolled it up in a ball of socks (bright purple ones – a present from an old girlfriend – so ugly that he never wore them – but the woman brought back fond memories so he kept the pair) in his underwear drawer.

The next day, and every day for a week he stopped by the coffee shop and checked the bulletin board carefully – checking for a notice of someone looking for a lost ring.

But he found nothing.

After two weeks he decided to choose a different coffee shop, one that was not quite as mysterious. He knew he would miss his waitress, but there would be another in the new shop and he didn’t want to get to the point that his harmless crush would seem creepy.

He lived for many, many years and when he died his nieces and nephews were given the task of going through his things. He was a man of simple tastes and it wasn’t an overwhelming job. For some reason, though, his favorite niece decided to unroll the balled-up purple socks, so out of place, and found the ring inside.

The family talked for days about this discovery.

“I’ll bet he proposed marriage and she jilted him, wouldn’t even take the ring.”

“No, we would know about that. He probably just loaned some money and the ring was collateral and the loan was never paid back.”

“Maybe it was his mother’s?”

“No, it is too plain for her.”

They speculated over and over again. Every explanation for the ring was offered up and rejected.

Except nobody could possibly even imagine that it simply showed up in a cup of tea.

Short Story (Flash Fiction) Of the Day, Suit by Rachael Poli

Jude stared at himself in the full-length mirror with disgust. In his 18 years of being alive, he had gotten out of wearing a suit with an almost 100-percent success rate.

—-Rachel Poli, Suit

Main Street Park
Dallas, Texas

We all remember being young – most remember going to prom. Even if it wasn’t the same everywhere and anytime, it was always a time of embarrassment and shame. Preparation for the rest of your life.

Read it here:

Suit by Rachael Poli

from Rachael Poli

Rachael Poli Twitter

Short Story (Flash Fiction) Of the Day, The Last Parade by Steve Prusky

It all ended at midnight, Fat Tuesday. Avoiding goodbyes, the sulking couple wandered, heads bowed, on a side street toward Canal, as if searching the ancient pavers on the Quarter’s cobbled road for advice on what parting words to say.

—-Steve Prusky, The Last Parade

Lee now, in New Orleans

New Orleans – Mardi Gras, Krewe of Zulu parade.

There are millions of Mardi Gras stories from New Orleans – a lot are the same.

Read it here:

The Last Parade by Steve Prusky

from The Flash Fiction Offensive

 

Short Story (Flash Fiction) Of the Day, Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

this is how to love a man, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad about giving up

—-Jamaica Kincaid, Girl

Somewhere in the Caribbean

this is how you write a short piece

Read it here:

Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

from The New Yorker

Short Story (Flash Fiction) Of the Day, How do you Sense the Sea, Child by Kat Day

The sea-king known as Mysing was a trader and a warrior, with grey eyes and the nose of hawk. Many said he had the mind of a hawk, too: sharp, opportunistic, and sometimes cruel. Mysing and his men invaded the lands of King Frodi, drawn there by a low rumble of song. A melody of pain and torment and misfortune, blood and tears and separation.

—- Kat Day, How do you Sense the Sea, Child

Column Capital, Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie, Texas

Today we have a modified retelling of a old Norse story, with some inorganic and dye chemistry thrown in (I like that).

Read it here:

How do you Sense the Sea, Child by Kat Day

from the fiction phial

Kat Day Twitter

Short Story (Flash Fiction) Of the Day, Something That Can Never be Held by Cathy Ulrich

You are on the run. You are in love.

—-Cathy Ulrich, Something That Can Never Be Held

Bonnie Parker's Gravesite

Bonnie Parker’s Gravesite

Bonnie and Clyde are from Dallas. Across the city you see spots that call back to their infamous history. I have visited the gravesites of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.  It is a story that will forever be told and retold, the truth wavering in the background, changing as widely variable points of view shift in and out of focus. Today we have a bit of flash fiction inspired by an old photograph.

Read (or listen to)  it here:

Something That Can Never be Held by Cathy Ulrich

from FlashBack Fiction

Cathy Ulrich Twitter

Grave of Clyde Barrow and his brother, Buck.

Short Story (Flash Fiction) Of the Day, Rush by Jordan

Struggling to sit up, she squinted bleary eyes at the alarm clock across the room. Was that an eight?

—-Jordan, Rush

One day later.

I once woke up and looked at the analog clock and saw six. I looked at the window and saw twilight. I had to wait to see if it became lighter or darker.

 

Read it here:

Rush by Jordan

from Write Then & There