Some people never seem to have a bad day in their life.
The worst day Tallis could ever remember was the time he accidentally sat in chocolate and walked around with a stain on his pants all day. His life was plain. Opportunity for excitement never seemed to walk into his life, so he had to find joy in the ordinary.
Tallis was the kind of man who could find beauty in a cockroach.
“Look at it’s nubby little head!” he’d probably say. “There can’t be much brain in there, but yet its kind knows exactly how to survive for hundreds of millions of years. I don’t even know how to cook myself a proper meal, but this thing? He’s a little genius.”
He’d see a busy intersection, and instead of yelling at the damn idiot weaving through traffic, he’d remark on how incredible it is that such a simple thing as traffic lights can direct so many people safely through the streets.
Tallis was an annoying philocalist. He doesn’t even know what that word means, but he thinks it sounds awful pretty when spoken aloud.
At this particular moment in time, Tallis was busy gazing at a reflection in a puddle. It had just rained the night before, and while he was on his way to Bru—the local café—a colorful puddle caught his attention.
A pink neon light reflected in a wide puddle on the sidewalk. Water droplets tumbled from the overhang of a nearby shop, landing in the puddle with little splishes, rippling the reflection into brilliant pink waves.
Tallis stood for a moment longer until the droplets seemed to stop, pulling him from his trance. He looked up at the source of the light—a simple sign for a tech repair shop. Reminding himself of the task at hand, he jumped a little in his step as he hurried on his way.
As he walked, he couldn’t stop thinking of the song his alarm clock played that morning. The pat-pat of his flat soles grew louder in his ears as he began to walk to the beat of the song in his head. Eventually, the concrete sidewalk turned to soft grass as he neared the entrance of Bru.
Contrasting sharply with the glass, neon lights, and cement of the city, the café was an unremarkable building of stone and wood.
A wave of warm coffee air hit him like a tidal wave as he tugged on the solid wood door. Outside, the sun was beginning to rise, but inside, you could never quite tell what time it was. The couple of thick, amber-tinted windows reminded Tallis of honey. As he stared at the long menu, he wondered how honey would taste in coffee.
Tallis shuffled forward in line. A petite blonde woman ordered some soy-mocha-mega-something.
He reached into his pocket to fish out his card in advance. He hated holding up lines. Pulling his hand back out, he felt a hangnail tug. He held his finger up in the dim light to get a better look. Picking at the tiny piece of skin, a shudder rippling over him as he imagined how horrific it would be if he pulled a hangnail and it just kept going, unraveling him like a fleshy mummy.
“Sir!” a woman behind the counter crowed.
Tallis peered past his finger at her.
People were glaring at him, looks of dismay and disgust painted on their faces. When he realized which finger was up, he shot his hand down into his pocket, as if the finger itself was embarrassed for him.
– Jen Guberman/Perry