KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Micro-Fiction: 398 words

Mr. Shaky

by Meg Pokrass

When I walked into the coffee shop, there was Mr. Shaky. I had dated him once a few months earlier and had not heard from him since.

He waved at me, a trembly little motion of the fingers. I waved back. Hello there, Mr. Shaky. How’s it going?

I was there to meet my date of the week. Monty. At least he said his name was Monty. But he signed off with “Quentin.” His text said: “From Monty: Let’s meet for Java, kid! What do ewe say? I’m belligerent and proud of it! Tap ’er light! Quentin.”

Seeing Mr. Shaky reminded me of our own date a few months ago, how he showed up wearing royal blue shorts and shower sandals. Pet rat on his shoulder. His lips trembled when he said hello. He introduced me to his friend.

“This is Rosie Rat,” he said. “She’s got the snuffles, so I have her on antibiotics.”

Rosie had round ears. Way too cute to be a rat, so I pushed my lips into a smile. Rosie’s fur reminded me of my mother’s final hair color, a cross between blue and gray. She had died years ago, but I missed her every day.

Our date ended shortly after it began, Mr. Shaky spilling his coffee on my skirt and me telling him that I had to run home and squirt it with stain remover.


So here I was, wondering why Rosie was not on his shoulder, wondering if she might have died, when my new date sauntered in.

I noticed the hump of night-hair, like he’d slept on one side. A haystack of blond hair, dented and precariously placed. It reminded me of volunteering on an organic farm as a college student, hoping the hay wouldn’t topple in the wind.

He wore a bombastic t-shirt: “tap-er-light.” I tried to imagine what that meant.

Quiet as a rodent I watched him from the corner of my eye, a few customers behind me in line. Peering around, he was probably worried I had stood him up.

I don’t look anything like my profile photo. I took it with my arm extended high above my face. It white-washed all of my wrinkles out, made me look thirty years younger, like a woman who had never been divorced and had not lost her mother. Like a woman who could love a rat.


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