Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #48 (11.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts. 

Despite the tragedy, life goes on, and so it is with Evan and Chan. Evan returns to work, to be greeted by his friends, who are glad to see him. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's going on with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #48 (11.3)

“I’m so sorry about Chan’s parents.” Christina’s brown eyes were warm and sympathetic as she greeted Evan when he entered the station on his first day back at work. Her desk was always the first place he stopped when he began his shift, to check for calls he needed to take right away or simply catch up on what was happening and pass a few minutes before the day started. “How is he doing?”

“About as well as expected, all things considered. Thanks for the flowers. They were beautiful.” Christina had sent a sympathy card and a bouquet of chrysanthemums and marigolds to the house. Evan and Chan had gone out with Christina and Nathan a couple of times, despite her protestations that she and the other trooper were just friends. Everyone pretty well saw through that nonsense, though. It wasn’t hard to see that Nathan was very taken with the young Latina desk clerk, and she was equally attracted to him.

“You’re very welcome. Those poor kids.”Christina sighed. “I can’t even imagine what they’re going through. I know I would have been devastated to lose my parents at such a young age. I wouldn’t handle it well even now, as old as I am.” Evan knew her parents were both alive and well, as she talked about them frequently. They’d come up to Texas from Mexico many years before and set down roots in Tucker Falls. They still had family in Mexico, and there was frequent visitation across the border.

Evan had no such happy familial ties, but he realized that this wasn’t an easy time for Chan or the kids. All they could do was hang in there and try to get through it as well as they could. He had to admit to himself, though, that he wasn’t used to being around children all the time. Their proximity still felt odd to him. He imagined that would change over time. At least he hoped so.

“Want some coffee before you head out?” Christina asked. “I just made a fresh pot.”

At that moment, with perfect timing, Nathan walked in the door. He must have heard her question and assumed it was meant for him.

“I’d love some, beautiful,” he said, taking up a position next to Evan, who was leaning over the front desk while he conversed with Christina.

“You know where it is,” Christina replied, never missing a beat.

Evan couldn’t help but snicker.

“Yes, but nobody makes it like you. You add that extra little something that makes everything so much better,” Nathan shot back.

“You mean arsenic?” Christina said sweetly.

“Actually, I had sweetener in mind.” Nathan turned toward Evan and winked. “Don’t let her fool you. She’s sweet on me, just hides it well.”

“Very well,” Evan agreed. “C’mon, let’s get some coffee and get out of her hair.”

“Whose side are you on?” Nathan pretended to pout as he followed Evan into the break room, but not until after he’d blown Christina an air kiss. Evan noticed with no surprise that she caught his kiss and pretended to put it in her uniform pocket, smiling all the while.

They each poured coffee into plastic cups from the pot that was always brewing, no matter what time of day, added cream and sugar, and a lid. One never knew when the first call would come. If nothing else, they would take it on patrol with them as they began their rounds.

“Ooh, donuts!” Nathan exclaimed at the sight of a familiar bakery box on one of the tables in the room. Nathan liked to say he didn’t how cliché it was he loved his coffee and doughnuts. “Thank you, beautiful!” He raised his voice in order to be heard at the front desk. That was generally not a problem, since his voice carried very well, especially when he wanted it to.

“Don’t think I did it for you,” came the cheeky reply. Evan had to smile. Luckily, some things never changed.

They each snagged a doughnut from the box, then began to munch, leaning against the kitchen counters as they ate.

“How’s it feel to be a father?” Nathan asked between bites.

Evan frowned. He wouldn’t say he felt very fatherly. He wasn’t even sure if he qualified as any kind of uncle, either, or evan an older brother. Despite being with Chan for a while, he was mostly a stranger to them. Just one who happened to be dating their brother. He had a lot to adjust to himself, he realized. Maybe not in as dramatic a way as they all did, but a change nonetheless.

He must have taken too long to reply, he realized belatedly, judging by the shrewd look Nathan was giving him. He really wasn’t sure how to respond, but was saved having to do so when another trooper walked in, an older man who was heading toward retirement in a few years but showed no signs of slowing down.

“Hey Wally,” Evan greeted the newcomer. He gestured toward the table. “Donuts, courtesy of the lovely Christina.”

“She’s a good damn woman,” Wally said, making a beeline toward the pastries. “Damn shame no one’s scooped her up.” His last words were aimed squarely at Nathan, whose face reddened.

“Not for lack of trying,” Evan quipped.

They all shared a laugh, and the previous topic was dropped, to Evan’s relief. At least for now.

 to be continued

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Cia Nordwell

Carol Pedroso

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