9-22-16 Flash Fiction Challenge (prompt word: coat)

“I’ll have to call you back with that answer. I’ve got a ten o’clock at the White House,” Michelle rushed out of the Starbuck’s with her Skinny Vanilla Latte, phone, and laptop fighting for balance.
The latte lost the battle, toppled over, and drenched her coat.
“Crap!” She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and pawed at her cashmere.
“Is that soy or milk in that latte?” One of the homeless women who populated that block of the city asked.
“Soy.” Michelle answered.
“Mix baking soda, seltzer, and add a little vinegar at the end, and it will come right out. Coffee and all.”
“Thanks. How do you know that?” Michelle walked to her.
“I used to be a personal assistant.”
“If you don’t mind my asking, what happened?”
“My boss and her husband went to jail on racketeering charges, and no one would hire me after that,” The woman scooted over and made room on her bench.
“And you ended up here?” Michelle joined her.
“Yes.”
“I’m Michelle.”
“Taylor,” she replied.
“So, Taylor, you wouldn’t want to come and fix this for me, would you?”
“I could,” Taylor shifted on the bench and gazed at her with curious eyes.
“Great! And after that, do you want a job?” Michelle pointed to the mess of laptop, bag, phone, and latte in her lap. “Because, obviously, I need the help.”

(I and friends do a Feed the Homeless action periodically where we get together, make about 200 bagged lunches and go out on the streets of DC to feed people who might be hungry.

I’ve had many wonderful interactions with these folks. Their lives are varied and fascinating. Many times I’ve wished I had the resources to hire them to work. So many want to but so few have the opportunity. And that is one of the reasons I started helping homeless people and people living in shelters write their resumes. With one, they can apply for work, if they want to do that. It is super helpful. The sort of interaction in this story might happen, but honestly, I believe the best is when we give as many as possible more even odds to succeed.

This story ended up being mostly dialogue, but I hope that it still captured the essence of a bustling DC street. Flash fiction tends to be more about plot, action, and dialogue than it does about exposition and description. It lends itself to snippets of life tales better than many other fiction genres.

I hope you enjoyed it.)

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