#FridayFlash: Reconciliation


by Tony Noland

The fat man limped onto the stool next to the thin man, eliciting a crinkling noise from the almost new plastic. Everyone sitting at the counter made the same noises as they shifted and swiveled, eating and turning this way or that to face their companions. People spoke, silverware clinked, seats creaked. The thin man didn't turn to face the fat man.

Cup and saucer already in hand, the waitress asked the fat man if he wanted coffee. He said yes, he did want a cup of coffee, please. She poured it for him, refilled the thin man's cup, then left.

The fat man looked at the menu for a moment longer, then set it aside.

"I liked this place better before it was no smoking." said the thin man.

The fat man shrugged. He stirred his coffee, though he'd put neither cream nor sugar in it.

"Was a new owner made the change. I been comin' here a lot, last couple of years. If it wasn't for that, I'd have maybe said a different place." said the thin man.

The fat man sipped, said nothing.

"It's just..." the thin man said, "breakfast don't taste the same without a smoke afterwards, you know?" His fork and knife were crossed on top of the rye crusts, forming a perfect right angle in the middle of his plate. Traces of yolk spiraled around the edges, drying into a halo above. The thin man wiped his lips, set his paper napkin on the plate.

"So." said the fat man. "You called me. I came."

The thin man turned his cup, back and forth.

"It's been a long time, Michael. A long time."

"Cut it. What do you want?"

The thin man swallowed. "I was hoping that we could maybe work something out."

"We? Who exactly do you mean by 'we'? You and the boss?"

The thin man swallowed again, said, "Michael... I was hoping maybe you could talk to him. Kinda let him know I was sorry, you know? That I... well, you know what I mean."

"You want me to tell him that you want to come back to the family? That you want to come home?"

"Yeah, something like that."

The fat man sipped his coffee. The waitress returned and the fat man asked for eggs and ham, please, no toast. She took the order and left them.

"Michael, please..."

"Forget it. I vouched for you when you ran away, remember? I stood before the boss and I vouched for you, you son of a bitch, because I thought all you'd done was steal. Anybody can make a mistake, I said. He got too full of himself but he's basically a decent guy, I said. Stupid ass fuckin' me. I didn't know you'd been makin' a power play, tryin' to overthrow the boss and get the big chair for yourself."

"Mikey, I'm sorry."

"Don't call me Mikey. Now you tell me, how do you think I looked when they told me what you'd done? There I am vouching for you, and I get that little piece of news. Tell me, genius, how do you think the boss was feeling on that day? Listening to me vouching for you, the favorite lieutenant, the one who was like another fuckin' son to him, who had just tried to cap him and take over. Tell me, whadda you think, good mood or bad mood for the boss? Whadda you think?"

"I'm sorry!"

"Not half as sorry as I was. It took me a long time to convince the boss that I was just a dumb ass who got taken in by you, you fuckin' snake. Care to guess what the boys were doin' to me as I was beggin' for my life? Me, the boss' go to guy, on the floor beggin' for my life, all because I vouched for you, for my good friend, you rotten piece of shit?"

"Michael, please, I'm sorry! You're my only hope! I want to come home!"

"Fuck you." The fat man stood and tossed a tenner onto the counter.

"Hey," the fat man said, turning back. "I got an idea. If you want to come home so bad, why don't you try going to see the boss directly? Tell him to his face that you're sorry?"

The thin man paled and shrank.

"Yeah, I didn't think so. You got no balls, you lyin' coward. You never did. If the boss wants to see you, he'll send some of the boys down to get you. He knows where you live."

The fat man picked up the thin man's mug and quietly spat into it.

"You made your own hell, Lucifer, now you can fuckin' well burn in it. Don't call me again."

Comments and constructive criticisms welcome. Other #FridayFlash pieces can be found here


  1. Nice gangster feel. Could do without all the language: "coffee," "saucer," "cream." But I guess thugs talk like that.

  2. T His made me drool. I love the FORCE in the words. The sudden shift. Damn Tony, you rock.

  3. What a snap in that last sentence! Lovely build-up of characters, perfect ending.

    Glad to see you're still on form.
    - MEG

  4. Ooh, thin man must realize that one can never go back again!

    Good and menacing dialogue happening here.

    Glad to see that your recuperation did not hamper your creativity.

    Hmmm. Michael? Lucifer? Hmmm.

  5. The final reveal was a bonus because your writing was strong from the beginning. Loved it! ~ Olivia

  6. The extra touch: the thin man wishing he could still smoke. The details make this story zing.

  7. Excellent vernacular language. Had me in gangster mode all the way through so the twist in the end was doubly powerful. Just ddid not see that coming. A punch to the gut. And I like that of a friday early morn.

    marc nash

  8. The first gangster story! Brilliant, I love it.

  9. Ooooh, sneaky - that took me by surprise.

    The piece would have worked very well as a gangster piece without the reveal, too (but the reveal was so much fun)

  10. Hahaha! So the Vatican is in Rome. I see the link!

  11. This was my first gangster story in a noir sort of vein. I want the language to be believable, without being a stereotype.

    Thanks for reading, everyone!

  12. Great stuff, Tony. Very nicely paced. If anything, you could have had even more swearing.

  13. Biblical, Tony! A proper read twice and laugh aloud at the bits you missed story. Very well done! Was this one formed under anaesthetic? Did you see the white lights...?

  14. Language was perfect - I like the idea of angels cussing over breakfast. Fallen or no. :)
    Great read and smooth flow!

  15. Good job. You have a nice flow to your writing. The dialogue was perfect between the two gangsters.

  16. Didn't see this one coming. (^v^)

  17. I adore stories like this, different takes on familiar religion stories. This is a great addition to the genre. The fat man's dialog was especially fantastic. Very well done!

  18. The story really started about half-way for me, right at "cut it" initially thought fat man/thin man dialogue would reveal something more through narrator but ended up distracting me more as opposed to revealing more about these characters. Your dialogue is always spot on as it is here, there seems to be a bit more frame than picture in this one than I'm used to from your work.

  19. Love the twist in the final sentence - from the start it http://bit.ly/aKL0t5clear there was going to be an exciting dénouement, but didn't see that one coming! Enjoyed reading it for a second time and picking up clues that I'd missed initially - liked the no smoking reference in particular!

  20. Ps apologies for the URL posted in the middle of the previous comment, my iPhone seems to have a life of it's own!

  21. Nice reveal! Spitting in the coffee was a nice touch. :)

  22. Whatever's in those meds of yours... great stuff. Dialogue spot on, and loved the Lucifer twist. The no smoking reference -- priceless. Peace, Linda

  23. Loved the dialogue! And, that was a great twist at the end! Very clever way to write gansta!

    Hope you feel better soon!

  24. Lots of people got the "no smoking" reference; sometimes, I put stuff in just to amuse myself. I'm glad you guys saw the humor in it, too.

    Sometimes, jokes are only funny the second time through...


    This was written before the op, so no meds can be credited here. As it happens, the meds are messing me up a bit, so next week's might be pretty loopy.

  25. You know, it's lucky you live on the other side of the world, because after reading this, I'd be very tempted to have a passionate affair with you. Damn it, man, that was sooo good!

  26. Fantastic dialogue Tony, just great! Give us more like this, won't you?

  27. Ha! Great twist! Excellent as always.


  28. Interesting idea, I loved the ending brush-off sentence:
    "You made your own hell, Lucifer, now you can fuckin' well burn in it. Don't call me again."

  29. Oh I liked this. It was reminding me of The Godfather (Freddie & Mikey) and then on the second read I got it. I love that his hell is not having a cigarette after eating!

  30. I liked this, but i'm sort of surprised that the fat man even agreed to see the thin man ... if somebody had seen them together the boss might not be so forgiving ... the dialogue is very good, though - well done!

  31. The whole diner setting—then the mob dialogue—I got it all. The last line...it was a total headslap. Nice. Thanks.

  32. I was going to say that I thought the dialogue was fantastic and totally believable, but the twist at the end (assuming we can take Lucifer's name literally) made this a fantastic piece!

  33. Hey everyone, thanks for the reads and the great comments this week. The response to this has made me reconsider an extended gangster story I've been kicking around for a while.

    The encouragement is terrific!

  34. I was enjoying this story well enough, but when I got to the last line, it really made me smile. Excellent job!

  35. Well fuck me that was one hell of a tale!


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