A Matter of Taste
by Paul Liadis
note: This was written as part of a flash fiction writing contest at the blog, The Clarity of Night, back in 2009. Here is a link to the original post. The idea was to write 250 words based on a provided prompt.
“Drink,” said Graymatter, pointing at the goblet.
“I will do nothing of the sort,” spat the man in the sombrero. “I drank first at ourlast encounter.”
“Your memory is faulty,” replied Graymatter. “Much like your spine.”
“Have you met the last man who questioned my valor?” said the man in the sombrero. “He’s six feet under the ground. Perhaps you would like to join him?”
“Save the braggadocio and drink, coward,” said Graymatter, leaning back in his chair, just out of reach.
The man in the sombrero looked at the glass and then at his rival. With a cackle, he folded his arms and grinned. He would not be fooled so easily.
Graymatter blinked. Had he underestimated his opponent? Had the large man somehow found composure?
The enemies sat silent, each waiting for the other to flinch. The taunts of Graymatter gradually wormed their way under the skin of the man in the sombrero. Unable to ignore their itch, he clutched the glass and consumed its contents.
“Well?” asked Graymatter, smirking at the shrewdness of his maneuver.
“Red… banana?” replied the man in the sombrero, coughing as his body rejected the wretched drink.
Graymatter gasped. “Impossible,” he said. “That flavor exists in legend alone.”
The door swung open. A young man wearing a golf shirt emblazoned with the Kool Aid logo emerged. “Next,” he said, placing a new glass on the table. “And this time with a little less drama, please. We have twenty more flavors to test today.”