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An Unfortunate Incident in the Cafe A flash fiction Photo by Victor He on Unsplash If he had to give a reason, he might have said it was because the man took his shoes off. But, of course, Michael did not need a reason. Previously, Michael had entered the cafe on S. street. It was packed with local students. Nobody noticed him even though he was older than most and dressed too well in this neighborhood. The young girl behind the counter did not even notice when he dropped his change. He sat down with his coffee and opened his book, The Master and Margarita. Don’t you know that manuscripts don’t burn? He glanced at the man who was sitting diagonally across him. He seemed out of place. He was neither young nor old. He was wearing a pair of dirty trousers. His hair was visibly unclean. He was tapping his foot rapidly while staring at the newspaper. A short twenty minutes passed. The man’s eyes were still focusing on the newspaper while his right foot continued to tap monotonously. Michael noticed that the paper was yesterday’s. Everything about him was old and unclean. As Michael was about to go back to his book, the man removed his shoes. Without socks, the man’s toes moved individually. It was grotesque. A giant squid, tentacles wiggling. Michael started to count his toes. One, two, three, four. Michael stood up, holding a knife in his pocket. He did not need a reason.