500 Word Short Story
Matters of the Heart
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

Zig Waller lost his wife to a sudden stroke a year ago and now here he was, heading to the operating room for a heart transplant. What a difference a year makes.

The operation was a success and after a two week hospital stay, Zig was back home. He took it easy for several months. During that time, he noticed some strange things taking place with his memory.

Flashes of scenes from a past he didn't recall kept popping into his head. As did the names of people he never knew. He wrote them down as they came to him. He thought he was going crazy, but after some investigation he came across several stories of heart transplant patients taking on habits and cravings of the heart's previous owner. “This must be what's happening to me,” he thought.

One morning he woke up with a craving for a Starbucks Americano with cream. He hated Starbuck's coffee, but the urge was too great to ignore. He hopped in his car and drove, not to the closest one, but to one all the way across town.

Zig entered the shop and went to the counter to order. The young woman waiting on him was named Lisa Mae.

The name struck a chord. “Lisa Mae, Lisa Mae, Where have I heard that name before?” He racked his brain trying to remember. Then it hit him. “Lisa Mae is one of the names on my list.”

He ordered his drink and sat down at a corner table. While he drank his coffee, he kept thinking about some of the other names on his list. He noticed Lisa kept taking quick glances in his direction as she worked. Finally, after twenty minutes, Zig was feeling like he was being watched, so he got up to leave.

As he got up, Lisa walked over to his table. “Do I know you?” She asked. “I keep getting this weird feeling that we've met before but I can't figure out where.”

“I don't think so. I've never been in here before.” replied Zig. “Although, you may find this weird. I knew your name before I came in here. Let me ask you a question.” Zig picked a name from his list. “Do you know a man named Charley Barba?”

Lisa's eyes grew wide and she lost the color in her face. Then she turned red. “Is this some kind of a joke or something? Are you stalking me? Who the hell are you?”

Zig sat back down. “I'm sorry. My name is Zig Waller. I had a heart transplant several months ago and I've been having these strange cravings for coffee at this shop. And several names keep popping into my head. Yours, Charley Barba and someone named Jack Masson.

Lisa's knees grew weak and she sat down at the table with Zig.

Jack Masson is my Uncle, and Charley Barba. He died about four months ago. His heart was donated for transplant. He was my father.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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