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by Walter Giersbach


Walt bounces between writing genres, from mystery to humor, speculative fiction to romance with a little historical non-fiction thrown in for good measure. His work has appeared in print and online in over two dozen publications, including Clever. Two volumes of short stories, Cruising the Green of Second Avenue, were available until his publisher ceased operations in 2016. He’s also bounced from Fortune 500 firms to university posts, and from homes in eight states and to a couple of Asian countries. He now lives in New Jersey, a nice place to visit, but he doesn’t want to die there.

“Cora, pass me the sugar. This is only my fifth cup of coffee today. But,” she jerked forward in her seat at the St. Regis coffee shop, “what are you wearing?  Is that by Ivanka?  No one wears that anymore! Only now is it safe to shop Nordstrom’s.” Laughs.  “You probably wait till it’s dark and you can watch reruns of The Apprentice.” 

Cora shook her head and threw down her coffee spoon. “Dammit, I can’t keep up with this!  Yesterday, Annaliese chastised me for eating a taco. I admitted it was one of my late-night guilty pleasures. She said her maid eats burritos, but that doesn’t mean she has to drive a used Kia and wash floors.” 

“That’s deplorable. Tacos are simply not the food of our people. I mean, chili peppers and hamburger juice leaking down your arm? Really!” She patted her mouth with the napkin and examined it for errant lipstick. 

“Don’t give me that ‘our people’ hooey, Lucinda. I can trace my people back to the 1400s.  Maybe earlier.” She sniffed and looks at the ceiling as if expecting heavenly confirmation. 

“Earlier? There is no earlier unless one of your grandparents was Jesus.” 

Cora put her hand to her forehead and a little sob escaped her lips. “I can’t help it.  I’ve been so unsettled, anxious, and near panic these past few months.” Whispering, “Find a waiter and order me a coffee.”  Inhales deeply. “It’s those people…those people in Washington. Where on earth did they come from?” 

“Well, Donald has been with us in New York all this time, like an obnoxious doorman.  The others, voters and government appointees, well, I believe they live somewhere out in those great flat states. I mean, who knew? I had to go to Kansas once, when I was a child and my grandmother died.” 

“Did she die because of Kansas?” 

“No, I think it was pleurisy or pneumonia or pancreatitis. Something that started with a P.  One of those communicable diseases. We hurried back to our place in Westchester and closed the blinds for a week.” 

“Pancreatitis isn’t communicable unless you have a husband who drinks too much and insists on making you drink with him. I remember Devon…” 

“Was that your third or fourth?” 

“Husband? Darling, I’m not one of those Trumps.” 

“No, third or fourth coffee. I heard the most remarkable news today! Wolf Blitzer reported breathlessly that drinking three cups of coffee a day may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.  This is my fourth — no fifth. I think. I can’t really remember. Did I put sugar in this or not?” 

“Well,” Cora’s face shone brightly, “look on the positive side. If you have dementia the doctors will understand you forgetting to pay them.” 

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