Smooth as a Fresh Cup of Pour-Over Coffee

Musical Selection: L.T.D.|Holding On (When Love Is Gone)

Flash Fiction

I didn’t think he’d see me staring at him. I tried to fiddle with the People magazine in my hand — darted my eyes over the cuckoo clock above the Barista’s head.

He spotted me. And I couldn’t backpedal, couldn’t turn away fast enough. He was the color of pre-evening with onyx eyes and a James Earl Jones voice.

My entire body convulsed when he said, “I think you dropped this.” I looked down and he was holding my pen. I had been tackling a crossword puzzle, and the sleek writing tool must’ve escaped my grip when I saw him.

“I, uh … Yes, that’s mine.” I started tripping over my words. What was I doing?! Where was my head? I dragged the pen from his grip.

“I’m Loyal.” He extended his very manicured right hand to me.

“Um … I’m trustworthy.”

He giggled. I heard cherubs singing. I hadn’t caught the humor until he casually said, “No. Loyal is my name. Loyal Manor.”

His hand was still waiting for mine. I slapped it nervously, cupped it, then gave it two quick shakes.

“Oh! Oh! Haha. My apologies. I’m Grace … Grace Baron. It’s nice to meet you, Loyal.”

I glanced over at the Barista, who flawlessly prepares my order daily, and she flashed me a wink.

“Well, I’ll let you get back to your puzzle, Grace. Will you be here tomorrow?”

“WILL I?! I mean … Sure, I’ll be here.”

The dimple in his left cheek made my acquaintance, and I became as giddy as a schoolgirl. Everything about Loyal was smooth as a cup of pour-over coffee, and I wanted to learn more about him.

“Okay, then. I’ll see you tomorrow, Grace Baron.”

“Uh huh. Yes. Yes, you will.”

He turned to exit the building, and I knew it was rude to watch, but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The Barista tipped her hat in my direction, and flashed me another wink. The server bought me a second cup of coffee and patted my hand. A piece of paper bounced off my knuckles.

There, on a strawberry-scented blueprint piece of stationery, was Loyal’s phone number.


©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

At 4 am, She Calls for Comfort (Bisexual Flash Fiction)

Musical Selection: Doja Cat|Woman

Part III: She’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter

A woman stretching for legs far away from each other while lying on the floor.
Photo by Oksana Taran on Unsplash

Today, I will give her the space she needs to talk about Bree’s graduation invitation, her current need to want to get clean, and perhaps a future for us. Today, I will learn about this woman a bit more — the one who ripped my heart out almost a year ago but hasn’t left me alone since. There is a reason for all of this. There is always a reason for everything, yes? Today, I will be the listener she needs — the shoulder with everlasting comfort.

Tomorrow will bring whatever it will bring, and I will be ready for it, too


Cari devours her breakfast. She is adamant about consuming delicious, home-cooked meals. We almost never ate out. In the past, she would say, “Rena, whatever you make, I will eat it.” And she did. There had never been a meal of mine I cooked, she did not eat. She had been more than pleased to inflate my culinary ego, and I fell into every compliment as quickly as I could. This woman — the woman I loved and still love, the woman whose body I pressed my palms onto, massaging every ache away … she has returned. What will I do? What can I do?

“I still can’t believe Bree sent me an invitation to her graduation. I haven’t seen her in so long, Rena. God, how will I react when I see her?”

“I don’t know, Cari. The graduation is in, what? A little more than a week? How about you take it day by day, and when we get there, you react however your heart implores you to act.”

I look at her searching my eyes for more answers. The sunlight from one of my windows in the kitchen kisses her right cheek gently. She glows. Even though her beauty shines through undeniably, I recognize the pain in her eyes. The pain of a mother who will go above and beyond for her daughter. An addict reaching out to the heavens to get clean for the possibility of new love in the future. It has only been three days, and she’s stretching herself in all directions for her daughter.

“You’re right, Rena. I mean … You’ve always been right about most shit.”

“I’m not trying to be right, love. I’m just saying what I’m saying. There’s no need to agonize over what you will do when the day isn’t even here yet.”

I slide another cup of coffee in front of her. She grips the mug with a mighty force. I watch her as the hot liquid slips down her throat. We’re going to be okay with this. We are.


Her accent meets my ears in a way I am accustomed to it doing, but this morning, it’s different. I can sense the pain in her voice — the unknowingness that comes with reuniting with one’s daughter — especially for someone who is an addict yearning to become sober. Cari had already contacted one of the addiction and drug rehab centers in our area prior to mentioning it to me. She had an appointment with a licensed professional who would assess her upon their first meeting and go from there.

That she had taken these steps informs me she is serious — truly serious about reconnecting with Sabrina and getting sober. The old Cari would mention getting clean and then five days later, I’d find her strung out in an alley near Shoaf Blvd passed out at 3 in the morning. Cari’s phone rings just as soon as we’re done eating, and it’s Bree. My entire body tenses up because I recall the last real conversation they had and how much it tortured Cari. I listen intently.

The room is silent and each word she utters bounces off the walls and echoes back to us. She ends the call with tears in her eyes and says not to me, but to the air in front of us or around us — she was not looking at me.

“Ze maakt me zo van streek!”

I pause. I walk over to her slowly and gently pull her into my arms. I don’t have a clue what had been said — I don’t speak Dutch, but the tone … the tone showed anger? Sadness? Both?

“She makes me so angry, Rena. So angry. But how? How can she make me so angry and I still love her so much?”

Not being a mother myself, I am perplexed. I do not feel qualified to answer this question. I continue to hold her. I continue to let her vent and cry. I say what I am thinking.

“Please tell me you have not been uninvited to the graduation.”

“No … Worse. She doesn’t want you there.”


We stood in silence. Teardrops from her big, bold, and dark eyes fell onto my hands. I danced in a circle as I held her close to me. Our breaths pushed from our chests and forced us to stay in sync with one another. How will we deal with this? I don’t yet know, but what I know is this … we have a chance at a new beginning, and daughter or not, I will stand guard against Sabrina if I have to. I won’t watch her break her mother’s heart for a second time.

Once was enough.


Doja Cat, Woman, December 2021

Part I and Part II

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.

I just realized I had not shared the first two parts with you all. I hope this will help you get caught up here. Part I and Part II are above. Peace and blessings.

They Depend on the Time They Don’t Have

A Haibun

Photo by Lelia Milaya via ReShot

Delores leaned into her son’s embrace. He’d been promoted to area manager of his engineering firm. The promotion came with a corner office with an exceptional view of the city, and a $25,000 per year increase. He’d worked hard for it–harder than most. 

The sacrifices he made never met his mother’s ears. The people he manipulated, the women he raped, and the old neighbors from which he stole. He lived in lost moments of time, pursuing what he wanted and never what he needed. He’d step on the backs of everyone to get where he was all over again.

And his beautiful, loving, and clueless mother could never, would ever know it.

An evil con-man
steps on the backs of others
breaks the moon in half


©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt, Originally published via Simily.

Checking In After Hours Part III

Flash Fiction: What lingers behind the shadow?

Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Noting the information given by the motel clerk, the officers gathered their things and headed for Magda’s room. Tamara insisted on following along — she wouldn’t be able to sleep. Not tonight, and definitely not at this motel. On her way out, she noticed the fire extinguisher was on the opposite side of the door.

“Wasn’t that fire extinguisher on the other side when we came in?”

“No, ma’am. Been there the whole time.”

But had it?


Tamara looked at the strange man and rolled her eyes. She followed closely behind Officers Dibbs and Bends as they trotted down the concrete path to Magda’s unit. She left her husband, Dale, alone with the children. He loaded them up in the car’s backseat while they waited for the last of the fiasco to run its course.

The plan was to drive up the road another ten to fifteen miles to where the next motel was, check in, set up for the night, and try to get some much-needed rest.

Tamara didn’t want to say anything — didn’t want to bring any attention to an already peculiar night, but she had noticed one more shadow accompanying hers, the officers, and the strange old man’s. As they got closer to Magda’s unit, the strange Oompa Loompa’d man slithered closer to the front of their line, jingled out his set of keys, and opened the door.

“Here, you go. This is Magda’s unit. Spick and span, just as I’d believe it to be. Magda was serious about these rooms and even more serious about how clean her unit was. She made it such a top priority that Daphne and Tess had been trained under her directly, so they would know exactly how to clean each room, just as she had for years. Go on — give the place a look-see.”

The officers filed in one after the other, Tamara snaking in closely behind them. The shadow was still trailing them — still in place. She looked all around the room — in the closet, in the bathroom, and in the small kitchenette. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, at least not to her.

“Bends, get over here! I think I may have found us a little clue.”

Officer Dibbs slipped on some gloves, pulled a set of tweezers from his pocket, and snipped up what looked like a letter — drenched in what smelled like maple syrup.

“Well, what the hell do you make of this, Dibbs? What’s it say?” Officer Dibbs slid his glasses on with his free hand and began reading.

To whom it may concern:

Magda wanted this. I was simply a willing hand in the process — doing her the favor she requested of me so many years ago. I have no name of importance to you. I have no fingerprints. By the time you find this letter, I will be so far away it’d be useless to search for me. There is no trace — no trail. The deceased cunningly calculated this. If you want to know more, ask the shadow.

Sincerely,
B.

“What in the blue haze?! Ask the shadow? What the hell kinda message is this, Dibbs?”

“Your guess is as good as mine, Bends. I’m puzzled by this one. Just puzzled. ‘Ask the shadow.’ What shadow and why would we talk to something that’s not really there?! We’re going to have to call in the calvary for this one, Bends. This is some serious shit.”


Tamara looked at the strange man. He looked curiously at her. The two of them shifted their eyes over to where the “shadow” was and said nothing.


Originally published in Hinged.press via Medium.

Part I and Part II

They Buried Him Under the Old Jane Magnolia Tree

Springtime. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Flash Fiction (Challenge Response)

Rufus was the town postman—employed for thirty-six years before he had a heart attack on his route during a blazing hot summer.

Died on the spot.

His manager, Paul Scheltz, had to identify the body, call his wife, and drive the mail truck back to the distribution center. EMS wasted no time hauling his bloated body to the local hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead.

All their potential life-saving efforts stood before them laughing—making fun of the ten minutes they had pumped the man’s chest. He was deader than dead, and there was nothing they could do about it.

Sylvia arrived at the hospital. Her heart weighed a ton. They’d just taken out a second mortgage, and their youngest was about to enter college. All these thoughts raced through her head as she stared at her dead husband—body as stiff as a board.

They buried him underneath the Jane Magnolia tree in their backyard four days later. No other family was there other than her and their three children. No friends except for Paul and his wife. Sylvia sang, “The Old Rugged Cross” while tears waterfall’d upon her face.

“May he rest in peace,” she said afterward.

May he rest in peace.


This is in response to a challenge request from fellow Simily contributor Rod Gilley where he challenged me by stating the following on my previous post: “I challenge you to write a Flash Fiction (1,000 words or less) on the subject of that tree (any genre). That is a beautiful tree – eager to see what your imagination can come up with for a story about it.” 

Originally published via Simily.