Short Story Title: The Coffee House – A Night Portals Short Story, Season 2
Author: Ernie Howard
Publication Date: March 8, 2021
Available On: Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Brady just wants some coffee. His regular place is sold out, so he ventures to a part of town that he considers beneath him. Encountering a homeless woman named Louisa who scares and offends him, he then enters the coffee house and places his order.
What happens next will take him on a journey he never expected, and he receives a lesson in what it’s like to literally walk in someone else’s shoes. What will happen to him and how will his worldview be permanently affected?
The plot of this short story is intriguing, as it introduces something as mundane as getting a cup of coffee and turning it into something extraordinary. As part of its premise, it successfully captures the wonderment and the darkness of Brady’s circumstances, finds small pieces of humor in it, and then hits the reader with an emotional punch to the gut with its revelations. This is especially true about its ending.
Also, the reader gains good insights into how Brady looks down on others and how he feels he is superior to others. His parental influences on his thinking and how it impacts his perception of the world give him much more depth in a short amount of time.
What happens to him also increases his sense of empathy towards others but to do that, he must learn it the hard way. This makes for terrific storytelling as all these story threads are pulled together. As a result, this short story mesmerized me from beginning to end.
This story is the fifth “episode” in season two of the author’s Night Portals series. Like the “Twilight Zone” or “Black Mirror” television shows, each one is united by its dark theme only and can be read separately without having read any of the others.
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by Ernie Howard include “Merry Christmas From The End – A Night Portals Short Story,” “Together We Cross The River,” “Ruby – A Night Portals Short Story,” “We Are Mist – A Night Portals Short Story,” “Ding Dong Ditch – A Night Portals Short Story“, “The Pool – Omnibus Edition“, “Bus Stop: A Short Story“, “On Holiday with an S.O.B“, “Gramps: A Time Travel Short Story“, “Night Portals Boxed Set – Books 1 – 8“, “Melody 8 – Books 1-3 by Ernie Howard,” “Melody 8 – Book One: The Day of the Song“, “Melody 8 – Book Two: The Musical Witch of the South” and “Melody 8 – Book Three: A Sound for the Deaf.”