Backward, Edward, Forward by Nick Cody

Our final entry for this round of By Prescription Only: Themed Writing is from our latest and greatest member, Nick Cody. We hope you enjoyed all of the pieces in this showcase, and keep your eyes peeled for our next BPO installment.

This is the last time, I promise: The following story is entirely a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, events, etc. are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in the following works of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners. Some stories in this showcase contain adult themes, so reader caution is advised.

Backward, Edward, Forward by Nick Cody

A character should have a name, but this one does not yet.  He is moving fast, feet pounding a descent down the stairs and echoing his loud, panicked heart. When we catch up to him outside he is on the verge of tears. There, in fact, crying. He holds a note in his right hand, sullying it with sweat. From this position, we can’t read it, and besides he won’t sit still. He is thinking, ‘Bus or run?’, and decides to run. It’s two miles to his office. One wonders if he sees the cars, meaning the individual automobiles, or has his state of mind reduced the scene to one, blurry, collective hum of traffic? He almost certainly doesn’t see the boy ahead, standing on the street corner at the convenience store, sandwiched between his mom and the Popsicle freezer. The mom is not attractive. I mean, not attractive in his eyes. But the boy definitely notices him. Between the hoot of an accelerating motorbike hauling pizza and the blare of a bus’s horn, we hear the boy saying, “Mom, I want some ice…” and freezing when he catches sight of the racing, anguished man in tears.

The note. It is yellow, the size of an index card, and was posted on the side of his personal computer until about eight minutes ago. It was peeled off, read, reread, crumpled and then unfolded. After that, the creases were fingered again and again to no avail. It would never be smooth again.

He goes another block, a block and a half, and then backpedals looking for a bus. He won’t take a taxi. It’s only about 18 more blocks to the Writer’s Center, virtually in a straight line, and he has always felt embarrassed asking cabs for short rides. Coincidentally, just a few moments later, bus 36 converges at the Dutch Avenue bus stop with the man holding a yellow note. He is also wearing a suit. Kind of a fancy blue one. The note has been in and out of his jacket’s side pocket several times already. He has stopped crying and boarded the bus. When he takes his seat and retrieves the pocketed yellow note once more, we finally discover his name…

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