Today is tomorrow (New free short story)

Here is a little short story I cooked up this morning; Today is Tomorrow. You can probably tell that it sums up what my feelings are about current events. You’ll probably think it’s a little on the nose. I have used headings to break up the text too. Hope you enjoy; Today is tomorrow.

Today is tomorrow

Today is tomorrow

Randall forgot where he was. Randall knew he had been somewhere, but not he needed a boost. He was right Beans Ahoy. A coffee was needed.

Randall rolled up the ramp into Beans Ahoy. There was Chloe, standing, expecting, waiting for him at the counter. Randle smiled at her, and she smiled back. Fake or real Randall appreciated the gesture.

Not many people were in the cafe. A few people scattered around tables, some familiar faces, some not so familiar.

“Hey Randall,” Chloe said as he wheeled over to do the counter, “I’ll make a start.”

“Thank you, no rush,” Randall said as he dipped his hand into a pocket to fetch his wallet. Chloe went over to the machine, ground the beans and poured milk into the metal jug.

“You can use your veteran’s discount card if you want,” Chloe said, looking over her shoulder.

“I thought that was tomorrow,” said Randall.

“That’s today, today is tomorrow,” Chloe said and smiled.

“I am baffled,” Randall said. “My days are all mixed up,”. Noise emanated from the storeroom off to the side of the counter.

“Doing anything nice today, Randall?” Chloe asked.

“Not really, few messages here and there,” Randall said.” You know, a squirrel came right up to me today. They’re getting closer and closer”

“Maybe he thought you were a big pile of nuts”, Chloe said.

“That squirrel is a good judge of character,” Randall said and laughed. Then the noise kicked in. A noise that Randall made himself endure. It was the frother. The whines that started low then built up. Randall focused on his breath. The frother’s pitch heightened, the sound transported Randall. Reminded Randall of lying in some ditch in the middle of the forest. Then the sound of the drop. Rained with dry dirt. Sometimes blood.

He remembers lying looking up. When the sound vanished, he was up and on his feet, lobbing what he could. Randall was great at throwing. They could never throwback anything at Randall. The frother hit a pitch and stayed there. The banging and movement coming from the storeroom did not help matters either. Chloe said something to him, but Randall was in the past. Remembering waiting for death to come for him. Remembering lying face down in the dirt. One day death came looking he was face down, and death in his haste tossed Randall high in the air. He did not remember landing.

When he regained consciousness, he was in the hospital. Randall was told that death had taken his squad, his captain and his legs. The day was fast approaching when death would come back for the rest of Randall.

The steamer went quiet.

Randall returned to the present.

It was only then Randall realised, his heart had been pounding in his chest. It was subtle, but it was there. Randall’s mind had recovered, but his heart would escape his chest if it could.

“Here you go,” Chloe said. Randall blinked rapidly to return himself to the room. He took out his wallet as a man emerged from the storeroom, Brent. Brent walked from the storeroom, stood behind Chloe and looked over her shoulder at her till.

“What are you doing Chloe?” Brent said. Chloe looked perplexed then spoke without turning to him.

“What do you mean?” Chloe said. “Randall, that will be,” she began, but Brent cut her off.

“No, as in what’s that?” Brent said, pointing at the screen.

“That’s the veterans discount button, Brent,” Chloe said. Two customers entered and stood in line.

“I see that,” Brent said,” What is the point of putting up notices if you’re not going to read them?” Chloe apologised, but Brent kept on talking. “Does anyone keep themselves informed with current events around here?” Brent said and looked from Chloe to Randall. Both looked back at him, blank expressions.

“Following government guidelines,” Brent continued, “Beans Ahoy have revoked acknowledgement of the war,” Brent looked directly at Randall. “It means there’s no more veterans discount.”. The customers behind Randall tapped their feet.

“You’re saying there was no war?” Randall said. He could hear his throat catching as his breathing accelerated. It took him a moment to soothe himself, but he remembered the lessons from the therapy. Randall calmed himself down.” So, what happened to my legs?” Brent looked down at Randall’s stumps.

“People will do anything for a discount.”

“I am sorry,” Chloe said. She handed Randall his coffee. Randall tapped his wallet on the screen.

“Is there any chance of some service?” one of the customers behind Randall said.

“Chloe serves please,” Brent said. “Sir come this way,”

“You know my name is Randall,” Randall said. Brent moved away from the coffee machine. Randall moved down to be closer to him. “Look it’s not about the discount,” Randall said. Behind him, the whine of the coffee machine kicked in. “I gave my all,”

“It would appear you gave nothing,”

“The war happened,” Randall said. Brent talked back to him. Explaining everything, rationally, logically. Randall could not hear him. All he could hear was the escalating volume of the coffee machine. Brent finished speaking and was smirking at Randall like he was victorious. Randall though how people like Brent would not know what victory was like. The coffee machine grew louder. Randall looked down and saw that he had squeezed the paper coffee cup so tight that the lid had fallen off. The hot coffee in his hand. Randall looked up at Brent. He forgot where he was.


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