Running Late
By Gary Duncan

and you're supposed to meet him at half-ten, but you're late and you're in one of your moods because Maggie's not returning your calls and you're pretty fucking sure she's left you for good this time, and then some fucking idiot in a Jeep deliberately cuts you off on Gold Lane Square and you get out of the car and you're going to kick the fucking shit out of him and his stupid fucking Jeep but he pulls away just before you get to him and beeps his horn and gives you the finger, so you get back in the car but you stall it and the bloke behind you starts shaking his head and looks like he might start beeping his horn too but doesn't so you pull away and drive down the high street and try to find somewhere to park, but it's Saturday morning and it's busy and you have to park miles away, way over on Bridge Street, because the fucking council in their infinite fucking wisdom have decided to pedestrianise half the fucking town, so you stop-start it all the way down the high street, then along Castle View, then down the hill and into Bridge Street, and you look down at your phone and you wonder if Maggie's ever going to call you again, and think maybe you should start calling some of her friends but you know they never liked you anyway, so they can all fuck off as well, and you chug along Bridge Street to the car park and when you get there it starts to rain, proper rain, and within seconds you're soaked right through and when you finally see Larry he's leaning against the wall outside the coffee shop, in a world of his own, in the pissing rain, and when he sees you he asks how's it going and you tell him everything's fine but you really need a coffee so let's get inside and out of this pissing fucking rain and it's only when you're inside, at your favourite table in the corner, that you look at him properly and you say to him what the fuck happened to your eye and he shrugs and he says it's nothing, even though you know it's something, his eye all red and puffy but he tells you not to worry about it because he knows what you're like and he knows you'll only do something really fucking stupid like last time.

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Gary Duncan is a freelance writer and editor based in Northumberland. His short stories have appeared in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, The Pygmy Giant, Shotgun Honey and Alliterati.

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