Vending Machine Voodoo

Flash Fiction Friday:  Vending Machine Voodoo

By PR Henriksen

That damn vending machine! I felt like it was holding my life hostage. It hadn't been just a "one off". It was becoming my destiny. For a couple of weeks now, it had been forecasting my life. Now it had me. Slowly I rolled the new Coke bottle over in my hand. It said "Share with Derek." I didn't even know a Derek.

A week ago my vended Coke said "Kelsey's not the one." That night I'd arrived at my fiancé's for our weekly dinner-movie date, and I'd found him with another man. It would have been bad enough had he been with another woman, but a man? Had we been dating because he'd thought me manly? No wonder I'd just turned 39 and had had no previous takers! I took the fresh pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia from his freezer, left his key, and fled. Suicide by ice cream seemed a good option at the time. Too bad the cherries weren't up to the task.

A couple of days later, eyes dry, ice cream gone (three or four times over). I got a Coke that said "Share with your boss". "Great," I thought, “am I going to be fired?” After ensuring I had another pint on standby, I ventured in to visit with my boss and handed him the bottle.

He said "How'd you know?"

"Know what?" I said.

"That I was dying for a Coke, but didn't have any change?"

I shrugged. "Just brilliant I guess."

"Yes you are! Speaking of which, I wanted to talk to you about taking over as the creative lead on our new corporate training program."

An hour later I headed back to the vending machine, because I was still thirsty. And that's when I got Derek. I didn't know if I should give it away, or what. Heck, I had 50/50 odds of it being something deathly horrible or supremely nice. Why couldn't I quit when I while I was ahead?

I looked at the clock and realized I had survived another day. Turing off my computer, I grabbed my bag and my Coke and headed for home.

Perhaps I used the term survived a little casually, because I should have saved it for the accident on the way home. Five of us all piled into each other. Fortunately I was in the front. I got out to check on the person behind me and he was already getting out, along with the occupants of the other three cars. Yay for us! We were all still here.

"What happened?" Someone towards the back said.

"That Coke truck," said the man farthest back pointing at the giant red semi-truck passing us. "He came up on me fast, not slowing down, so I went to the only opening I had- behind you guys."

Someone in the middle hollered out. "Hey get the license plate for that truck!"

Too late, it had already passed.

Cell phones started popping out, calls and pictures were made, and everyone started the process of moving on. The guy behind me and I swapped info.

He looked at me with sky blue eyes that grew to the size of Frisbees fast. "This is going to sound like a really bad pick-up line, but I think I have something for you." He reached into his sad, crumpled Mustang and pulled out a bottle of Coke and handed it to me. The label said, "Share with Jenna."

Electric fingers crawled up my neck, forcing the hairs to stand up as I looked at the info he had given me. "I just might have something for you too." I reached into the front of my truck retrieving the last Coke I'd purchased from the machine and handed it to him.

He smiled. We both opened our Cokes and waited for the police, while we decided where to go for dinner. Who knew vending machines and Coke were part of a cosmic life-scheme?

Ok, next week's prompt - your challenge, should you choose to accept it- is from an Instagram photographer of nifty stuff:  Jeera.  I highly recommend that if you use IG you hook up with him, because you'll get lots of inspiration.

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