Humor Fiction posted June 8, 2022

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A bucket of coke a day keeps Mister Tracz away

Anthracite, coke and firewood

by JoannaN

My cousin Pansy has a strange taste when it comes to men. She loves bad boys. Most of them are junkies. Truth be told, I suspect she is into drugs herself. Recently, Pansy has changed for the worse. She has grown itchy and restless. My aunt and uncle, obsessed with their daughter, turn a blind eye to her obnoxious behaviour. I would gladly say something, but I am only fourteen, no one is interested in what I want to say.

Two days ago, Pansy invited me home, and I declined. I had something else to do. The winter is coming with long strides, and my father ordered half a tonne of coke. After the fuel has been deposited in our cellar, I spend one hour tidying everything up. I sweep the floor and wipe the dark powder from the walls. After I’m done, I go to our garden for vegetables to have with supper.

Suddenly, someone calls my name. I whirl around to see Pansy standing at our gates. She is not alone. Four adults accompany her. I gasp. Pansy’s companions are abnormally pale and thin. I have heard of those people. They are low-lives who live nearby. The rumour has it, they work for Mister Ivanski. One woman blows a bubble with bubblegum and stares at me challengingly. Pansy summons me with a snap of her fingers. Now, in the company of her new friends, she feels powerful. 

“Well?” I ask nervously. The Bubblegum Woman is holding a switchblade in her hand.

Pansy straightens herself up to her full height. “I told my friends you have some coke at home. They want some.”

I am stunned into silence. The Bubblegum Woman keeps playing with her switchblade, folding and unfolding it. My thoughts are racing. “I’ll bring you some,” I decide.

After a while, I return with a small plastic bag with coke. Pansy grabs it, but the Bubblegum Woman snatches it from her hands.  “Why is it black?”

“It’s Silesian.”
Coke is black, you idiot, I think in exasperation.

Pansy’s friends whisper something to one another, and they just turn around and go away.

Half an hour later, someone is honking the horn on the street. A black Ferrari has just parked at our gates. Half a heartbeat later, the door bursts open, and in comes no one else, but Mister Tracz. Mister Tracz is the younger brother of Mister Ivanski, who is the local mobster.

“Erm. Good afternoon,” I say politely.

Mr Tracz glances at me. His eyes are wide open, his pupils abnormally large. “Bring me coke.” His voice brooks no argument.

In a twinkling, I return with a plastic bucket full of coke. “Here you are.” I hand the bucket over to Mister Tracz. “Coke is better than coal. I’ve put here a few lumps of anthracite. It has higher carbon content.” I giggle nervously. “I’d give you some firewood, but we burnt our whole supply last month.”

Mister Tracz puts his index finger in the bucket and he rubs the black substance on his gum. “I don’t need any wood,” he grumbles and returns to his Ferrari, holding the precious coke in his hands.

PS: For some reason or another, Mister Tracz was satisfied with our coke. He did not return to complain, at least. For safety reasons, we started to order firewood instead of coke. This is how Mister Tracz contributed to the reduction of our carbon footprint.


You are not welcome writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a short story (between 400-600 words). The topic is as follows: describe an unexpected, unwanted visit at your home/workplace etc.


"Coke is a grey, hard, and porous fuel with a high carbon content and few impurities, made by heating coal or oil in the absence of air - a destructive distillation process. It is an important industrial product, used mainly in iron ore smelting, but also as a fuel in stoves and forges when air pollution is a concern"

"Anthracite, also known as hard coal, and black coal, is a hard, compact variety of coal that has a submetallic luster. It has the highest carbon content, the fewest impurities, and the highest energy density of all types of coal and is the highest ranking of coals."

Source (definitions/picture): Wikipedia
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