Stuart ordered a cup of coffee. He poured cream into it and stirred it in. He swiveled his stool part way around to keep an eye on the building across the street. The man sitting next to him was eating a donut, breaking it in half and dunking one of the halves into the coffee, biting off the dunked part. Stuart thought the donut looked good, so he ordered one and ate it the same way.
A large clock with luminous hands hung on the wall. A motto was painted on the clock in luminous block letters: TIME TO EAT.
This is an excerpt from an unpublished short story Quality Time Pieces. I’ve written four stories with Stuart Dulley as the central character. A quiet and often ineffective young man, Stuart nonetheless gets caught up in the tide of history and winds up somehow joining the Marines, fighting on Guadalcanal, and even earning a couple decorations. He’s a strange guy to write about, since his personality is so subtle. This snippet is very much in the style of all the stories.
If you’re interested in the full piece, you can download a PDF here.