Closed Mondays

Twelve tables, two booths,
staff of three:
           Frank on the grill
           Merla waiting table
           Mrs. on the register.

  Weekends the wait
     is an hour or more
       but early

         get in

               Frank hovers over 
               the smoking flat-top
               like a symphony conductor

              each order taking up its little area

     a big wedge of hashbrowns
     down one edge
     perpetually replenished

                          bacon and sausage cooking
                                in the side broiler.

Merla glides through
        like an ice skater
                pitcher of water
            and pot of coffee
       in perpetual motion,
plates stacked across her arm.

                                  Mrs sits watching
                                                  like a chickenhawk. 


Friday Fictioneers


Oh he don’t look like much, Birdy, with them cross-eye glasses and orthopedic boots, but I tell you that kid is worth more than his weight in silver dollars. You put that crook-face boy up on a ladder and he can tell you the layout of everything in the room worth a pickled cent. Jewelry, TV, watches… that stuff is all easy. He can spot a wall safe, or a closet strongbox. He can tell you whether the woman of the house is a light sleeper, whether the man has an in-town girl he sees.

Oh yes, Birdy. He’s gold.


Friday Fictioneers

See You At The Top Of The Sky

The roach-crawling apartment, broken down car, the Waffle House, forty-plus hours a week of aching feet and grease-saturated clothes.

All gone now, left way away down there.

It’d been in her mind ever since signing up for the course. She’d ingratiated herself with Jerry, a middle-aged divorcee who thought he knew everything about ballooning and was eager to share.

The look on his face when she cast off the ballasts and left him standing there. Poor sucker couldn’t believe it. Probably planning what he’d do when she landed.

But she wasn’t going to land.

She turned the burners to full.

Friday Fictioneers

What To Do With Saturday Night

Them days we’d meet up after work at Fat Vince’s.

Little Stevie was still alive then, before all that shit with his Ma.

We’d eat and figure out what to do with Saturday Night.

I was holding down seven-to-four at Saragaglia’s Hardware, mixing paint and flirting with the women.

That place got more women than you ever saw in a hardware store, all of them helpless as does.

What’s a Phillips screwdriver, James?

Will this plug fit my drain? 

I always remembered all of their names, too.

They loved me.

Looking back, I think that’s why Saragaglia kept me on.

Friday Fictioneers