The Appointment

Monday, September 19, 2011 9:21 PM By crosswaysnet , In

- Bookrix 2012 Flash Fiction 3rd Place Award!

- NPR Weekend Edition "Three Minute Fiction"  Submission, Round 7 -
(Prompt: Submissions must have a character come to town and someone leave town. Each piece of writing has to be read in less than three minutes, so no longer than 600 words.
More info at:

Here's a link to the NPR Round 7 Winners program:

“Jack, did you say? You're probably asking for me. John Wilson. Right there – line number 7. What's that? No, sorry, don't know him. Not personally, anyway. He disappeared about 6 months ago, from what I've heard. The same day I arrived in town, as a matter of fact.

“I look a lot like him? Yeah, I get that a lot. That gets pretty annoying sometimes, let me tell you! By all accounts he was a loser. How do I know? I looked into it a bit. He had the same dead-end job for 25 years. Nervous, hypertensive type. Didn't have many friends. And those he did have were anchored to the same row of barstools every night.

“It ended up costing him his family. Lost his wife to another man for a while, I hear. Kids wouldn't talk to him. And according to his brother, he didn't fight for them. Hard not to hate a guy like that.

“Sorry? Clipboard? Sure. Here you are. All the information's correct. Anything else you need? Oh, right. Here's my insurance card.

“That Jack was a case, that's for sure. Can't say it's a bad thing, though. It's worked out pretty well for me. I applied for a job at the same company. I'd never take that same job Jack had, of course. Accounting's a real bore. But they've had some openings recently in customer service. Turns out I'm pretty suited to it. Yeah, I like people. Everyone I've met in town since I arrived has been really nice. Well, with the exception of some of Jack's old friends. They've been pretty cool to me, even suspicious. Maybe I just remind them of Jack too much. I guess that would freak me out a little, too. Someone you know just disappears in a flash, and someone you've never met shows up looking just like him. One guy even told me it's like I'm a 'body snatcher' or something. I noticed he avoided me at Mel's Diner after that. That's OK. You can't be everyone's ice cream flavor, can you? Live and let live, I say. Kinda have to in a small town, right?

“What's that? Oh, thanks. Don't want to forget the card. I still have to be careful with things. I tend to lose them a lot. Yes, it's getting a lot better, though. Thanks for asking.

“Hey, you know what shocked me the most? It's what Jack left behind. I've met that wife of his. Yes, Sarah - the one he abandoned. She's a knockout! Oh, that's right, you've met her. Did you know we started dating recently? I can't for the life of me imagine why he left her. She's got plenty of virtues worth sticking around for. And I plan to. Oh, stop laughing. You know what I mean. And it's not just her looks. Sarah's sister was just joking that I killed off Jack so I could take his place. Maybe I did.

“Her kids are pretty amazing, too. I've been able to step in and help out a bit. Went to Karen's volleyball tournament last week. I'll probably be up to attending Jim's football game in Smithville next week. That is, if everything checks out with the doctor today.

“He's ready? Great.

“Good to see you again, Doc! Yes, sir, I'm doing well. The speech and occupational therapy ended 2 months ago. Yes, really. How long's it been altogether? Well, tomorrow it'll be six months since the stroke. All in all? I feel like a new man.”


John McCustion said...

Love the "Like" button! Oh, and the story, of course!

September 20, 2011 at 11:07 AM
Judy Blunt said...

I love this!

September 20, 2011 at 11:46 AM
Bram said...

Thanks, Judy!

September 21, 2011 at 8:23 AM
Bram Floria said...

Kind of you to like BOTH...

September 21, 2011 at 8:24 AM

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