Mid-Century Modern by Bradley David

I was sitting on an orange metal chair outside a fifties-inspired diner, waiting for my takeout order. It was too stuffy in there. But outside, the evening, the city placed upon it, was about as good as it gets. Although, the brick pavers, cobblestones salvaged from the old part of town turned bad and trucked to the new part of town turned good, made that particular section of sidewalk a tad wobbly, to be honest. A legal nightmare, one would think, considering wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and people who have guessed at their shoe size and come away with something that constantly stubs their toe but looks okay in these kinds of dimly lit applications. Anyway, under the foot of the retrospectively orange table I could see two straws, paper wrapped, sticking out like the wicked witch’s toes. Except they were white, not striped, so they looked like the rolled-up tissue plugs one sticks up his nostrils for any number or reasons, namely, a gross amount of blood. Just to see if they were doing their job, I wiggled the edge of the table a bit. My glass of ice water didn’t spill one bit, so everything seemed alright. But then this heavily adorned man came along, looking the opposite of a chiropractor, knelt down by my shins, and shimmied those straws out from under the table leg. I didn’t see any blood rushing from his nostrils but that’s precisely where he jammed them. One could have understandably assumed that the table would have lost some support, perhaps disturbing my ice water. But what actually happened is the entire sidewalk collapsed from under the table, taking me with it. The table stayed right where it was and the man with the straws in his nose looked down into the pit, said nothing, but scoffed as though saying it served me right, then disappeared from my view, which, at this point, was the dark toothy edge of those old bricks. Poor urban planning or incredibly well-designed straws? I like to think about that while I’m down here. And such a lovely night for it. The sidewalks must be smooth now, for everyone to safely enjoy, in the old part of town.


Bradley David’s poetry, fiction, essays, and genre-blending works appear in Terrain.org, JMWW, Thirty West, Fatal Flaw, Exacting Clam and numerous other publications and anthologies. He is Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated, and won Identity Theory’s 2022 2022-Word Poetry Contest. Bradley is also the blended-genres senior editor at JMWW Journal. Writing at www.bradley-david.com.