16-Sunsets – Crossing the Rubicon


Kristof took a huge bite of his cheeseburger. Krystal watched a ketchup-soaked onion slice fall and land on her husband’s shirt. He noticed it and slid his free hand under his shirt and lifted it to his lips to eat the errant onion. Her own massive burger say on her tray untouched. Kristof let out a loud burp.

Krystal sighed. “You’re disgusting. What do you say when you belch?”

Kristof smiled. “Man, that felt good…” Kristof grinned even wider, “mother!”

Krystal rolled her eyes at the same joke Kristof made every time this situation presented itself. “Sometimes I feel like your mother. Always cleaning up after you.” She sighed again, “and would it hurt you to put your damn shoes in their cubby instead of leaving them in the foyer?”

“Hey, babe. Where’s this coming from?”

“Nothing’s changed. I thought your…” She raised her fingers to make sir quotes, “powers…” Krystal started to continue, but she ended up staring at the carbs on her tray.

“Man, I’m so hungry, I could eat the butthole out of a skunk.” He took a long pull on the straw of his extra large beverage. “You gonna eat that, babe?”

Krystal allowed her face to show obvious disgust. “Kristof…” She waited for a response from her husband.

Kristof operated the straw once again and raised his eyebrows.

“We really do need to talk,” Krystal said.

Where’s a would-be robber when you need one, Kristof thought. He emptied the contents of his cup with a loud annoying slurp. He scanned the room for the soda dispenser. “Sure thing, babe. Lemmie get a refill first.” Kristof stood, shoved a handful of fries in his mouth and made his way toward the soda dispenser.

Deja vu, thought Krystal. She watched Kristof stroll to the soda dispenser. He waved to the cashier and she beamed at his attention. He made some comment and the girl laughed. She turned and retrieved another burger, looked over her shoulder and slid the wrapped sandwich across the counter. Krystal noticed she wasn’t the only one watching Kristof’s antics. A man sat alone in a booth and his eyes never wavered from her husband. Soon to be ex-husband, the errant thought popped into her head. If he lives that long. She watched him saunter back to their table. It’s been a long time coming.

Kristof plopped the burger down on his tray. “Remember that girl from last time? She got me another burger.” He winked, “a hero burger.”

“I was happy after the last time we were here, but you’re still the same pig you’ve always been.”

Before Kristof could retort, the man from the booth walked over.

Kristof shifted his attention from his angry wife to the newcomer. “Why’ve you been following me, man?” the distrust was evident in the question.

The newcomer spread his arms in surrender. “I must be getting old. I used to be able to tail someone.”

Kristof shrugged. “I seem to be seeing clearly these days. You gonna introduce yourself or what?”

The man smiled. “I’m detective Frank Massey, metro P-D.”

“I guess you know I’m Kristof. This is my wife, Krystal.” Krystal shot Kristof a look.

Massey shuffled a bit and tapped his hand on an empty chair at the table, hopeful it would elicit the desired response.

“Would you care to join us, Detective Massey?” inquired Krystal.

Massey appeared to consider the question for a moment and pulled the chair out and sat at an odd angle so he could see his tablemates and the front door at the same time.

“Well, Detective Massey?”

Massey turned slightly to respond. “I’m aware of certain…” Massey paused and looked over his shoulder, “oddities going on lately.”

Kristof frowned. “Am I one of those ‘oddities’?” Kristof made air-quotes with his fingers when he said the word “oddities.”

“I’ve been watching you for a few days now…”

“More like a week,” interrupted Kristof, barely tolerating the interruption.

Massey stared at Kristof. “See? That’s an oddity. I may be a little rusty following someone in secret, but I know I’m not that bad.”

“Why’ve you been following my husband?” Krystal reached across the table for Kristof’s hand.

“Like I said, ‘oddities’.” Massey looked at Kristof. “Something about you reminds me of an old murder case I once worked.” Massey stood and rapped his knuckle twice on the table and placed a business card between the couple. “Thanks for your time.”

Massey walked out the door, jogged across the street and got into a sedan. Kristof watched him the entire time until the sedan was a block away.

Krystal swirled coffee in her paper cup. “We need some time apart,” she blurted out.

“Apart? Why?”

“Why?” Krystal drank the remainder of her coffee in a single gulp. “We’ve got cops sniffing about. We’ve got gangbangers coming to our house to do God only knows what.” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “First you have some kind of super strength, now you have some kind of freaky vision.” Krystal stood up. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. We have no kids. We don’t seem to have anything in common other than our mailing address. Supposedly, you’re gonna die in a day or two…”

“Two more sunsets,” Kristof interrupted.

“And weird shit like that! Sunsets?” She adjusted the strap of her purse on her shoulder and scooped up the business card left by Massey. “Go see doctor Flax. Stay at a nice hotel. If I need you I’ll call you.” Krystal flipped her long hair, causing static discharge. Lightning in her hair, thought Kristof. Krystal dug in her purse and muttered, “Where’d I hide the keys?” She recovered her set, spun on her heel and walked out of the coffee shop.

“Women, huh? Sounds like she’s history, man.”

Kristof turned to see the patron at the next table. He was a man in his thirties, but what Kristof noticed was the pair of leather gloves he wore. He was eating an appetizer of something fried, but kept his leather gloves on. “What’re you eating there with your leather gloves?”

“Deep fried oyster mushrooms. They’re tasty.” The man paused and smiled. “Almost as tasty as your… wife?”

Kristof rolled his eyes. “Soon to be ex-wife, I guess.”

“No kids?”

Kristof shook his head.

“Well, at least you got history, right?”

Kristof didn’t respond.

“The funny thing about history, though,” the man popped the last mushroom into his mouth. He wiped his gloves on a paper towel. With the mushroom bulging in his cheek, he continued, “everyone’s got history.” He picked up his soda. “History’s important. You never know what you’ll discover when you look up your own history.” Before Kristof could respond, the man stood with his tray and dumped its contents into a rubbish bin and walked out the door.

Kristof stared at the still-wrapped burger on his tray. He lost his voracious appetite, but he may want to eat it later. He dumped the contents into the rubbish and walked to the counter.

“Hey, darlin,'” Kristof waved the wrapped burger, “can I get a bag?”

The girl slid a bag across the counter. “Was that your girlfriend?” She asked.

“Something like that,” Kristof replied.

The girl placed her hand on Kristof’s as he reached for the bag. “Some girls don’t know what they’ve got, right?” She produced a pen and wrote something on the bag.

“A few of my friends are throwing me a party for my eighteenth birthday. If you’re in the area, you should stop by.”

Kristof smiled and glanced at the address and phone number she wrote on the bag, then dropped the burger into it. “I’ll think about it,” Kristof said. He took a final look at the girl and walked out of the restaurant.

16Sunsets – Exodus

#3WW #bekindrewrite #FFC52 #sundayscribblings

Ugh. I started and finished this on Tuesday. It sucked. I rewrote the entire thing from scratch on Wednesday, still didn’t care for it. I think the issue is I needed to get to a particular point in the story, but wasn’t “into” getting there. An awesome idea for The Afflicted landed on my shoulder and crapped on my shirt, so I’m even less “into” 16Sunsets at this time. The muddy middle is always an issue. Today I just decided to post the damn thing. I can always fix it later. I did put some serious thought into just keeping this chapter on my cloud drive, but I know a lot of you (Well, BJ) really look forward to reading this story. Here’s 642 words of utter drek.

**EDIT: I re-wrote it again, and these 1318 words work much better**

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

9 responses to “16-Sunsets – Crossing the Rubicon

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