Stories Within Stories


I jumped into my old gun metal truck and drove to my late night hang-out, a coffee shop on the top of the hill above my house, after one of those weeks that furiously flew by. I pulled into the parking lot, and right in front of the coffee shop was a prime parking space that was positioned almost directly in front of the main entrance. I pulled the brake and shut off the engine. While patting the dash of my truck, I sent my thoughts of gratitude to it, “Thank you for taking care of me.” I counted this moment as my tenth win for the day.

I pulled my brief case from behind my seat and exited my truck, locking it with my key. My  remote control had long been discarded in a drawer within my personal office. It’s just something I didn’t care to fix after all these years.

I entered the coffee shop and paused by the display glass filled with sandwiches and pastries so I could pull out my smart phone from my front pocket of my jeans and open the app for the coffee shop, which I used for my transactions since you could get rewarded a free drink after a certain amount of purchases.

“Hey Riki, how are you?” asked Kelly, a cute barista with a mixture of Asian and Caucasian ethnicity who I’ve gotten to know over my many visits. She was always so welcoming.

I walked up to her cash register. “Good to be back at the office.”

“What will you get tonight?” Just as I opened my mouth to speak, Kelly blurted, “Wait, let me guess.”

I chuckled. “Alright.”

She closed her eyes and then opened them with a wide smile. “Hot, medium, Green tea latte?”

“Yes. I swear you have a gift.”

“Well, it’s either that or your hot, medium, plain old green tea. So my odds are pretty good in guessing your drink. Tonight you look a bit stressed and that’s when you go for the sweet stuff.”

“You’re really observant. I have to finish drafting a couple contracts for a friend.”

“Got to get paid right?”

“I don’t know. I only get paid if my friend gets paid.”

A frown formed on Kelly’s perplexed facial expression.

“If the deal doesn’t go through, I get nothing for all the work I do.”

“Damn.”

“It’s the nature of what I do.” If only she knew that I didn’t get paid even when I closed some deals with a couple of former business partners I had. I didn’t fight for anything that was owed to me, I just cut my losses and simply moved on.

I flashed my app on the screen of my smartphone in front of the scanner fronting the cash register. After a “beep” sound, I tapped a button and returned my phone back into my front pocket of my jeans.

“Well, I wish you the best on that deal. Have a productive session.”

“Will do. Thank you.”

I proceeded over to the counter where other customers waited to receive their orders. After a few minutes, my order was called by the barista who made my beverage, a young man named Todd with surfer blonde hair.

I strolled over to my favorite corner of the coffee shop where the counters rode along the windows, and lined up beside it were a number of high stools. I placed my briefcase on an unused stool next to me to my right. I pulled out my laptop from my briefcase and fired it up. I opened up a partial draft of one of the agreements I was working on for my friend. I stared at the words on the screen, which began to blur as I dozed off into another world. When my vision cleared up, I was no longer sitting on a stool in front of the window in my regular coffee shop. Instead, I was leaning back on a black leather couch in the more trendy coffee shop with dimmer lights that I’ve become so familiar with over my eight years of writing and reading this scene over and over.

Across the shop I saw Ken sitting at a small square table in front of Kaylee. He had already given her a chocolate cupcake in his attempt to liven up her spirits. He looked just as nervous as I had envisioned. I smiled and giggled quietly because I knew that he was changing the course of the future between the two of them. If only Ken and Kaylee could know how much a part of me has always been with them. Every bit of their pain has been mine, and every time they’ve experienced joy, I’ve felt it just the same. For it’s through their journey that I’m finding my way. If they can make others feel what I’ve felt, then I’m certain many others will find their way as well.

“Excuse me. Excuse me.”

I snapped back to reality and saw a young college-aged Asian girl standing next to me. “Is it okay if I plug my laptop into the outlet?” she asked and glanced under the counter. I followed her eyes and noticed the outlet just to the left of my leg.

“Oh yeah, sure. Go ahead.” I moved off my stool and stood to the side as she plugged in her laptop and returned to sit at a table behind me.

I got back onto my stool and returned to staring at my draft of the agreement on my computer. The minutes kept changing to higher numbers on my clock located near the upper right corner of my laptop, and still, I didn’t write anything new. “Screw this,” I murmured under my breath. I closed the document and opened up my query letter that was addressed to a boutique literary agency based in New York City. I took out my headset from my briefcase and played the songs from my playlist. I bobbed my head to a catchy song “Something Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay as I proceeded to re-write my query letter.

– Super Short Fictional Story by Jon Riki Karamatsu on March 26, 2016 (This super short fictional story is connected to my first novel that I started in October 2006 and completed in January 2014) –

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