“Let’s Have Coffee” a short short story by Bill White (for Halloween)

A black boy knocked on the door of my hut at eight in the morning.

“I want to have coffee with you,” he said, simply.

We drove up the mountain on an unusual road with no curves, just a straight twenty degree rise, When we reached the top, he put the car in reverse and sped down the road, the speed increasing rapidly until we had passed 100 kilometers per hour. I screamed for him to stop and let me out of the car, but his speed continued to increase and my screaming grew more enraged and I was cursing him to hell between my shrieks of terror. At last we reached the bottom of the climb and I kicked open the door and started running.

He chased me into a rifle shop, where he lost interest in me while perusing the racks of ancient guns. I slipped out the side door and crossed the street to a narrow market where a two muscular transvestites with enormous breasts were trying to sell candy to a small group of tourists.

I cut an escape route, and motioned for the tourists to follow me into a coffee shop that I knew did not allow gypsies. There were four of them, all women, and were talking about movies. I recognized the one who was doing most of the talking as a famous movie director from my home town. I just sat there and listened for several minutes before realizing that my friend who liked to race his car backwards down mountains had slid in and taken the seat next to me.

“Has anybody seen ‘Horse’?” he asked. “I have been wanting to see that one.”

“That movie has come and gone,” I butted in. Then grabbed the boy by the forearm and led him out of the coffeeshop, sparing the women the risk of his establishing a rapport with any of them.

“Why don’t you like me?” he asked. “Is my skin too black?”

“No. Your skin has a garishness that is striking. Especially against the blue skies.”

“You think I am garish? You insult me.”

“No insult meant. You see, garish has one meaning. Garishmess has another. They do not mean the same thing. It is a complement to say something has a garishness. It connotes a certain attraction.”

“You cannot trick me,” he spat, pulling his forearm out of my grip. “And I know that ghost and ghostly do not have opposite meanings, and that is what your white skin is to me. Ghostly. Meaning to me you are only a ghost. And that is what all of us in this land think of you and your kind. Ghosts.”

“You weren’t looking at those girls with the eyes of one seeing ghosts.”

“Those were pretty girls. You should not have pulled me away.”

“I was doing you a favor. You were about to embarrass yourself.”

“How is that?”

“The girl you asked about the movie “Horse.” She is the director of that movie.’

“Really? She didnt seem like a film director.”

“Well, she is not a very good one, that’s for sure. I think she makes films in order to collect people around her. She uses her fame as a socialite. She has wild parties and is always at the center of them.

But you are right, she is not a real film director. Anybody can pick up a camera and point it at something.”

“I did not know that. I thought only those loved of the gods were allowed to do that.”

“Where I come from, nobody is loved by the gods.”

He laughed at that, then looked up at me with a supplicating gaze. “How about our coffee? Could we have our coffee now?” he asked, simply.

“No. Not today. Come by my hut tomorrow morning. But come at seven o’clock, not eight. I always have my coffee at seven. And I will prepare it for us. We don’t need to go anywhere.”


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