Miss Alice Hagerty, twenty-four, woke up early on the morning of September 19th not because of the sunlight that streamed into her bedroom that hit her eyes, though closed, but because every Saturday morning the Juice Man came. He always came at the same time - never later than half past ten.
Alice was surprised at first, maybe even a little scared, maybe shocked because she didn't understand the Juiceman, didn't understand why every Saturday morning he left a glass carafe full of juices of different kinds outside her apartment door. She wondered why each carafe came with a note that always reads MAYDE SPECIALLY FOR YOU. The other ladies on the block didn’t get juice and maybe, just maybe, it was Robbie who ordered them for her. Sweet Robbie. She smiles.
The morning of September 19th Alice knew that she wanted to confront the Juiceman and ask him these questions that have plagued her mind. She got out of bed, her mattress still on the floor because her bedspring hasn't been delivered yet. She side stepped the unpacked boxes her feet bare on the hardwood floor.
How am I going to ask him? Her mind asked. Should I just invite him in? Should we make small talk?Maybe I should ask for his name?
"What's your favorite kind of juice?" she asked herself in her bathroom mirror. She ruffled her hair, bedroom messy but still cute.
She arched her back just low enough to see the clock that stood on her bedside table. 10:23. He should be here any minute. Maybe he's running late. Maybe his juicer broke. She chuckled at that remark and thought just what makes a juicer laugh.
She pulled on her bathrobe, a parting gift from her last boyfriend who, very much unlike the robe, was uncomforting. She wondered if she should brush her hair or put on lipstick. She wondered if he would even stay. She arched her back once more. 10:28.
She put on her lipstick, smacked her lips and walked to the front door. She stood on her tiptoes to peer out the peephole at nothing. The hallway was empty. The apartment was quiet. The building was quiet. She looked back at the clock. 10:31.
It is Saturday isn't it? It has to be. Maybe he changed his route. He's gonna surprise me I know it. Any minute now. Any minute now he'll come through that door....
Three knocks. Knock. Knock. Knock.
She took a deep breath and smiled. He knew her name. He knew her name and she dosen't even know his.
He came. She knew he would. She looked out the peephole. The JuiceMan wore his white shirt and black pants. He wore his horn rimmed glasses today and had his hair parted to the side. He held in his hand a carafe filled with a yellow liquid. It looked like orange juice. Maybe it was lemonade. She loved lemonade. She cracked the front door open, pulling down on her dress. Do I look alright?
"Alice it’s time for your pills."
She doesn’t have cups. Should I drink it in front of him?I didn't even offer him any. I should get a cup. Should I get two? I need to pull up a chair for him. I have so many questions.
"For you,” He says. “I have to watch you take them you know that Alice."
“Won’t you come inside? Take a seat.”
"Alice. Doctor Bailey will be in at eleven. He's stuck with a patient now okay? Maybe he'll let you go outside? Would you like that?"
"Only if I can bring my juice," She asked.
"Well... you'll have to ask Doctor Bailey about that."
"I got it from the juiceman. He gave it to me. He always gives me juice. Today it was lemonade. It was sour. Oh so sour but oh so sweet. He's gonna come again... I just know it... I’ll be right back..."
She walked back in with two cups and a folding chair but he was gone. She put the cups, plastic, red, on the table, poured out a drink for herself and sat back in her chair. She closed her eyes.
"How is she?"
"I'm not sure Doctor. She said something about the juiceman again.”
Doctor Bailey clicked his tongue. "Thought those stopped. She was doing so good and finally accepting that what she did was wrong."
"What should we do?"
“We’ll have to start from the beginning again.”
Doctor Bailey looked toward her door at the end of the hallway and takes a deep breath. He starts toward it, his shoes tap tapped on the hard, cold white tile. He stopped just before her door. Knocked.
He came. She knew he would.
"You're late. Come in sweetie. I made your drink, special, just for you."
Bio: Joe Russo has been published in Linguistic Erosion, Farther Stars than These, Leaves of Ink, Typehouse Magazine, Door is A Jar Magazine, Spillwords and Centum Press. Joe is currently working on a collection of short stories, "Let's Talk about Porn," which showcases interesting and odd stories about the one thing we're all afraid to admit to watching and his first chapbook collection called, “Manhat” about the greatest city in the world – New York. You can find more of his work over at his website - http://joerusso8writer.wix.com/creativewriter