A taste of The Man With The Coat

For those of you not already aware, I have been posting some short stories I wrote back in high school over in the Fiction section of Modern Evil. So far I have posted all six stories featuring The Man With The Coat, though soon I will begin posting more individual works.

Here are links to purchase each of the six stories, and to purchase all six at once:

The Man With The Coat stories (buy all six, $0.40):
  “May I Take Your Order, Please?”, $0.10
  “I Love You.”, $0.10
  “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin.”
  “Acid Rain”, $0.10
  “A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words”, $0.10
  “A Bun in the Oven” OR “What Time Is It?”, $0.10

And to give you a little preview, here’s the first story in it’s entirety:

The Man With the Coat

“May I Take Your Order, Please?”

He was a tall man of about twenty with lightly tanned skin and dark eyes, which appeared brown, though they were truly solid black. His hair was a color that appeared sometimes auburn, though its color was never seen the same twice. He wore plain black silk shirts and loose fitting, faded blue jeans, held up by a black leather belt of an odd quality. He was an uncommonly normal man for the times that he lived in, and was usually overlooked.

He had a trench coat, of a grayish/beigeish/tannish color, which was not necessarily always seen as the same color. He was never seen without his trench coat, and many believed that his trench coat was a living part of him. His trench coat had several pockets, some on the inside lining, some out. He could pull anything he wished from any of his pockets at any given time, some people speculated, as they had seen him perform acts which pointed in this direction. Many people make wrong assumptions about many things, however, some people stumble upon the truth, sometimes.

* * * * * * * * * *

He was thinking about something else when it had happened, and he was absolutely taken aback when it did. It began simple enough, he had walked into a local fast food joint for lunch. He was worried about his plans for the sub-cultural revolution in Spengo, and about how much time it would take to clean up the mess of the 500 gallons of spilled gasoline on the freeway. He was thinking about a new way to dispose of industrial waste, and had nearly completed double-checking the genetic code for a bacterium that could turn harmful toxic waste into useable fuel in his head when it had happened. He was trying to decide whether or not to order a diet drink with his lunch, or to go with the orange juice. He was even thinking about a complicated mathematical theory that, when completed, would solve the problem of democracy, allowing the world to operate free of any trouble. Overall, his mind was someplace else.

He stood in line, thinking, and when he arrived at the front of the counter, he did not realize it. The cashier thought he was simply trying to decide what to order, and let him be for a moment or two. By then, the line behind him had grown to be unacceptable, and she had had to do something with him.

“Sir, you’re holding up the line,” she said calmly.

He jerked his head towards her, finally noticing her. He looked her over, noting the paper hat, and the dull uniform that barely complimented her warm smile. He continued thinking of other things, not realizing the significance of who she was, or even what she was wearing a uniform for.

“Sir,” her smile was suddenly sub-zero, “may I take your order, please?”

He reached into one of his inside pockets, not thinking, and grasped a small black box in his right hand. He was about to hand it to her, when he had a thought. “Humans are often confused and confusing when they speak. Perhaps I should have her repeat her thought for clarification. She does seem confused,” he thought calmly.

“What’d you say?” he asked calmly.

“May I take your order, please?” she replied.

“That’s what I thought you said,” and he handed her the small black box. This had an unusual effect on both of them.

First, he began to become disordered. Each sub-atomic particle in his body decided that they wanted to go out and seek their fortunes in the universe separately. There were first small groups of particles breaking off and floating away, not quite visible because of their infinitely tiny size. Then there were individual particles leaving, each one going in its own direction. No individual particle was perceptibly missing, however, when all of them went in different directions at once, there was definitely something perceived. To the people who saw it, it appeared that as soon as he let go of the small black box, he dissolved into the air, like a mist. Here today, gone tomorrow, they say, and yet he was gone in seconds. All mouths hung agape in awe except for that of the cashier.

The cashier was the second thing that happened. As she took the small black box from his hand, she “took his order”. Each and every sub-atomic particle in her body was suddenly, violently, where it belonged. Every atom in her body did the same, as did each molecule. So went the separate parts of her body, organized, against their will, instantly. Every living cell was where it belonged, doing what it was supposed to, and every dead cell was instantly discarded. All of her organs were working exactly as they should, and her mind was instantly re-ordered for top efficiency. She would have gone into a state of shock if she had been able to, but her body was in such peak condition that it came out of shock several seconds before it went into shock. She was as ordered as she could possibly be, and she suddenly had figured out the ultimate meaning of life.

She smiled, and she died happy. Her smile was not cold, as it had been when the man had looked up, or warm, as it had been before he had arrived. Her smile was as that of the Mona Lisa, perpetually happy, yet to the untrained eye it seemed ordinary. She smiled the smile of pure joy, which can only be achieved by those who truly understand. She smiled as she died, standing there, with a small black box in her hand. Her body was so ultimately ordered when she died that she instantaneously decomposed right where she stood. There was no trace of her left but a slight musty smell in the air and the memories that she left in the minds of others.

The small black box floated in midair for a little while, not knowing what it should do next. Then, slowly, he began to pull himself together again. This time, the process was slower, as each particle was reluctant to go back to its old routine, having seen more of the universe. Slowly, painfully, he reformed himself, grasping desperately at the small black box. Those around him saw only what they had seen earlier in reverse, as the slowness of the process was truly only a misperception on his part. When he was finished, he put the small black box back in his pocket and walked out without his lunch. He had lost his appetite.

* * * * * * * * * *

So go buy the other stories to read more!

For more information about each story, use the following links that go to my original posts about them:

I love you.
Don’t Squeeze the Charmin.
Acid Rain
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.
A Bun in the Oven OR What Time Is It?


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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.

2 thoughts on “A taste of The Man With The Coat”

  1. The entire "Vintage" collection

    Every “Vintage” piece is from my high school years (or thereabouts), and as made available here is transcribed word-for-word from my originals (with spelling corrected where appropriate), retaining the initial creations in all their inexperienced glory…

  2. The entire "Vintage" collection

    Every “Vintage” piece is from my high school years (or thereabouts), and as made available here is transcribed word-for-word from my originals (with spelling corrected where appropriate), retaining the initial creations in all their inexperienced glory…

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