The Soothing Sounds Of May by Jason Lefthand by Jason Lefthand - Read Online

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The Soothing Sounds Of May - Jason Lefthand

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Several Band-Aids on the back of Nick's hand hung on by one end, like fleshy tassels, as he dipped an overused spoon into a bowl of tepid chicken noodle soup. The cuts on his hands looked angry red. They had barely enough time to heal. Nick hunched over his dinner, at a long counter. All the tables behind him were filled parents and kids who chattered incessantly. Nick did not mind the noise, or how his Band-Aids dipped into the broth, over and over. He also did not mind the hard round seat, the bitter coffee, or the fact his shoulder ached every time he moved. There were large chunks of chicken in his soup. Some even had traces of red veins. That he liked.

But, Nick did not like the way Buck picked his teeth with toothpick after toothpick, long after he had finished his meal. Buck sat close to Nick on purpose. Nick winced every time the soft wood squealed against Buck's teeth.

Stop that, Nick said. He kept his face close to the bowl.

Buck looked at Nick from the corner of his eye and grinned. He wedged the tip of the toothpick between his incisors. Stop what, buddy?

You know what I fucking mean, Nick said. He spooned another mouthful as his other hand remained firmly planted on his knee.

Buck had large teeth, framed by smooth brown cheeks. It's not a real hamburger if there aren't pieces of fat stuck in there. I gotta get 'em out.

Nick dropped his spoon. It clanked loudly in the near-empty bowl. No one seemed to notice Nick’s frustration in the busy diner. He rubbed his face hard with his hands. Nick could not remember the last time he had a full night's sleep