Thain in Vain’s week 46 flash fiction prompt was: Study a stranger the next time you are in a coffee shop, on a bus or subway, in a queue. Write a story involving this stranger. You can make it a tragedy, comedy, horror, Sci-fi, mystery — whatever suits your style. Go!
This one was easy since I witnessed this very thing on the train about two weeks ago. I’m still rather in shock about it… I thought I would lighten it up with a little WoW speak, mostly because I miss playing it and have seriously debated restarting my account in the last two months. I don’t think I will, but it was fun for a while and it always makes me smile to think about all the good times I had when it was an overwhelmingly large part of my life.
This is a little over at 522 words. Enjoy!
Jared was waiting for the train when he saw Ben calmly strolling in his direction, a backpack slung over one shoulder and his hand haphazardly stuck in his pants pocket. Unlike most people, Ben had walked right up to Jared at this very stop over two years ago and started talking to him. It didn’t take long for their friendship to blossom.
“We totally pwned that dungeon last night!” Ben said as he sat on the bench next to Jared.
“Epic on every level. And that bow you looted? I wish I’d been playing my warrior. I would’ve rolled you for it.” Jared grinned, remembering the dungeon sweep that had taken half the time it normally did. “That tank really knew what he was doing. Wish our randoms were always like that.”
“No shit. I’m thinking we should create our own group.”
“Hard to do when you’re starting with two melees. Maybe I should level my warrior as a tank. Do you have a healer?”
“Yeah, but she’s not as much fun to play as my hunter.”
“I hear you, but you could always…” The train arrived, drowning out Jared’s words. He reached down to roll himself toward the train, but Ben was already behind him, pushing him to the ramp that had lowered so he could easily push the chair in. It hadn’t taken very long for Ben to naturally start helping and Jared always appreciated the friendly gesture.
Once on the train, Ben guided him to the area with a sign designation: “This area reserved for seniors and people with disabilities.” There were almost always people standing there, but they usually moved out of the way without a fuss.
This time, however, they ran into a problem.
The man standing in the open area looked average enough in his khakis and leather jacket, but when Ben politely asked, “Do you mind moving?” he responded in a way that made Jared sick.
“Yeah, actually, I do mind.” The harsh tone echoed through the normally quiet train and other passengers looked up from their phones to see what was happening.
Jared was completely baffled, but Ben responded in what he thought was a reasonable tone. “There’s a sign clearly posted.”
“I can read. I’m not an idiot!”
Jared wasn’t sure if the guy was going to move or not and he was dreading further confrontation.
“Look, I’m just trying to help my friend. Is there a problem here?” Jared could hear the mounting tension in Ben’s voice.
“I’m moving! I just don’t like you or your friend there coming on the train with your condescending attitude expecting everyone to get out of your way.” His eyes flashed, anger resonating in every word. He slowly took a step to the right, allowing Ben just enough room to roll Jared into place.
Jared could feel the guy glaring at him as he set his break, but he did his best to ignore him. Thankfully, he exited at the next stop and the two friends continued their conversation in peace.
Later, Jared found himself wondering why some people reacted to him with such overt hostility.