Friday, March 18, 2011

Night On the Town - Flash Fiction

The four of them always got together on Saturday nights. Well, some would call them afternoons, but when you've seen the sun go down 30,000 times or so, bed calls you early. Besides, if you want to get in on the Early Bird Special at the Cross Keys Diner, you'd best get there around 4PM. Wait till 5, and you get canned clam chowder instead of the luxury of vacillating between chicken corn and beef barley. Wait till 6 and you'll be paying another dollar for the same special, and the pie's already been cut, left, and liable to have overtones of fried fish or liver-n-onions.

El and Evelyn used to be twins, still are I guess, although they don't look much like two peas in a pod anymore unless one pea's been pecked a few times and the other left in the sun too long. They were friends with Jame and Bobbie since grade school when they all walked the mile to school barefoot, carrying their shoes with laces knotted and slung over their shoulders. The four used to be eight at the Cross Keys, but their “worst halves” as they referred to them had caused one disturbance too many, and Big Joe laid down the law.

“This here's a fine eating establishment and I won't have trouble. Y'all find somewhere else to go, or leave that rabble you call kinfolk at home when you come in.” The four had gotten together and thought on it and crafted a plan whereby the WHs would spend Saturday evenings with their own kind at the Fire Hall. It'd do 'em all good to be apart for a while anyways, seeing that old age was like a Zerox copy of youth when the toner runs low. When they were courting they were glued to each other out of want and need; now they were glued together mostly out of boredom and habit.

“So how much did Sammy get outta ya tonight, Ev?” asked Jame with a wink.

“50 smackers. And you know how Sammy is, it won't go far, especially since the Fire Hall started serving beer.” Ev sighed. “You know, the Robinson's split up last week. Old Tom ran off with his secretary.” Ev poked around in the soup hopefully.

Jame grinned. “Knew about that days ago. What else you got?”

Evelyn grinned. “The new librarian had a little surgery done. Spotted it a mile away.”

El, sitting up straighter, chest thrust out, called out in a high voice “Oh, boys! Boys! Come into the book stacks and do a little research!” A trucker at the counter turned to look at them.

“Oooooh, El, you've got an admirer,” said Bobbie, shaking with laughter.

El winked. “More your type than mine, my friend. I like 'em a little more refined.”

“You wouldn't know it by what you're hitched to!” sputtered Jame, spraying them all with a dusting of cracker crumbs.

“Hell,” said Ev, glancing outside. “Look who just pulled in.” They all peered through the window, filmed with grease and flyspecks.

“It's the Law,” said El in a stage whisper. “Here to arrest Big Joe for not wearing a hairnet.”

But El had a sinking feeling, which proved right enough when the sheriff heaved his bulk up the steps, through the rusting aluminum door, and planted it right by their table.

“There was a fracas going on down at the Hall, so your partners are cooling their heels down at the municipal building. Which means,” he said, looking pointedly at his watch, “you have about 10 minutes to get down there before they become overnight guests of the county. You'll be billed for the damages just as soon as the insurance adjustor gets out of the hospital.”

And so the four men rose, paid their tabs, and went off to collect their wives once again after Bingo Night.


  1. Oh, what a delicious twist at the end - how clever! (Clapping my hands)

  2. *Blushing* Awww shucks, thanks.

  3. LOL, exactly why I don't go play Bingo anymore. There definitely are some women there that will scare you :)

    Have a great weekend.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. Wonderful twist at the end. most enjoyable to read.


  5. I simply loved your first paragraph

  6. Clever ending .... I've played Bingo and let me tell you there are some people who become very agitated LOL! Great Friday Flash and thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hi!

  7. I, too, have been at Bingo nights as a volunteer for fund raising. It's interesting the characters you meet. I enjoyed your characterization of the four.

  8. This is great, Li! Love the description of the sheriff coming through the door and the characters giving a humorous reason. You have a delightful sense of humor and it brings joy into your writing. Thank You.