Forty Cents Worth of a Story

dannyy

Dan and I sat at a small table outside a café in some unfindable alley of the city talking about how long it would take you to get bored if walking out of this alley simply spat you back in through the other end.

Before the conversation could find the point it would never find, a man approached us. He had the look of one of those men who sat down on the streets of Barcelona at some non-descript time, on some non-descript corner with a glass of wine to work on his tan, twenty years ago. He had a heavy face; a nose you wanted to pop off and bounce.

He stood a polite distance away but leaned in gently.

“Do you have seventy-five cents?” He asked. Dan and I riffled around in our shorts and came up with forty cents.

“Thank you,” he said, and sat down. “May I?” he continued, pointing at my cigarettes. I nodded. He slipped one out between the dark nub of his fingers.

“How do you like Barcelona?” He asked.

Dan and I gave our response in a positive series of shrugs and smiles.

“Beautiful city. Beautiful.” He puckered and smacked his dry lips together in between words. He crossed his legs and leaned back.

“Do you know what the most beautiful country in the world is?”

We shook our heads and each pulled a cigarette from the pack. The waitress came over and began clearing away plates. As she did I heard her whisper “Is everything okay.” I smiled and nodded. The man continued.

“Have you been to India?”

We shook our heads.

“I was in India. Traveling down a small road far from the city. There was a man selling coffee there outside of a little house. I stopped for one and began speaking with him. I asked him why not make pizza. So, I build him an oven and we begin to make pizzas together. He had a wife, this man. And three children. We agree to split the profits fifty-fifty. On the first day, we sell thirty-five pizzas.”

He smacked his lips as he went along.

“We made profit, it was good profit. His family was happy, I was happy. For one month we did this, and then–” he made a sound.

It was a “hmm” or maybe something closer to “mhm”.

He stood up and snubbed the cigarette into the ash tray. He looked around the alley back the way he came, then back to us.

“How much did you give me?” He patted his pocket “Forty-cents?”

We nodded.

“Good, well.” He said. He patted his pockets once more, smacked his lips, turned, and left.

 

56 Comments

  1. Hahaha, gorgeous story! (Or almost one, if I may say so)
    I’m from India and I can’t stop laughing at this.
    Your beautiful way with words, your spot-on descriptions that transports your readers to the setting of the story and your trademark twists in the end really shine through in this one.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The twist at the end that he simply goes without telling the story comes perhaps because he has decided that it does not make any sense. Maybe the story closes here in mind and starts again in the beginning? So when you think about how long it may take to get bored when you leave your usual streets.
      Then that would be the main idea of ​​the story. I vague times a cautious statement to this. Whoever wants to discover must also leave his territory, which does not mean that he must emigrate. He can experience wonderful things there, get to know people and show them his territory.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love love your stories meanwhile flash! How should I say, “important non-importance”, like “some non-descript corner” … “Before the conversation could find the point it would never find” …. Your story … cruel As always … but different …
    Disconnection of history at 40cent, no ifs and buts. Very consistent and in any case artistically valuable Flash, congratulations to another grandiose story.
    For all who are angry about the missing end of the story … creating your own is the best…for who does not want to, can take the “Fischer and his wife” as a very personal suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t seen that but I’m going to look it up now. I am really glad you liked this story. I had written a version of it a long time ago (after it happened) but I didn’t like it so I never posted it. Then recently I was going back through old stories to rewrite and decided on this one.

        Like

  3. I am not sure if I am with you, but, as the author always says, every view is an enrichment. get served or create? I believe that is not a question of the place of residence or alleys, but a life style. Some people want to create their own reality, others want to find the perfect one off the shelf. Creative people will rarely get bored. But they also have fun in searching!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did I get the right attention? The conversation will never find the point, so it is anyway difficult to talk about? little happenings instead of talking?

      Oh, flash, again a clever, real challenge, this story!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. If they just desperately want one, that they can’t find…so may be, they should create a subject to talk about and all the other hidden conversations will appear time by time?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I love, how you can always make your thoughts so free, Paul! A great head perfect for flash stories. You better think big!
      Every story has its price and its value. And you must never forget that stories are for the infinity!
      Paul, what happend with your name, you transformed in another story?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How could I forget you. My memory is really bad, but some special things stick there for ever, Paul Simon! Really I have to leave Paul and move to John?….: (….but names are not important for me, if you keep your wonderful picture, everything is o.k!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ohh.. the storyteller does not seem to have had a simple life? But he simply goes. He does not leave the listeners any choice, he goes, he does not want to tell the story at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is sad that everything is just about money …I hoped that there are still things built up on trust, love and loyalty. I think if he stayed with you, you could have had a nice day together. You would have heard the story and certainly gave him more than you wanted.

        Liked by 1 person

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