Merry day-after-Christmas to all the Fictioneers and their reader.!  I hope you have no post-Christmas hangovers of any sort and that your day was wonderful (and if not wonderful, at least as good as it could be.)  Since there’s no rest for the wicked, the Fictioneers are off on another adventure this week, so climb aboard and join the fun by clicking on the little critter at the end of the post to read all the stories.  Happy New Year and may 2013 exceed all your expectations!!

Copyright Jean L. Hays

Copyright Jean L. Hays

Breakfast Special

 The aroma of fresh cinnamon rolls and two-eggs-anyway-you-like-ham-or-bacon-toast-hash-browns-and-coffee made him wobbly.  Shoving shaking hands gun-like into his pockets, he summoned his inner James Dean, bad-boy look in place, lacking the dangling cigarette, because he hated them.

The grandmotherly woman smiled as he approached­.  “What can I get you?”

“Whatever’s in your register and no one gets hurt.”  (Crap, how trite.)

“There’s no need…”

Eyes flickering nervously, “Just open the register.”

“Really, you…”

Urgently…“Open it!”

Her hand emerged from the register with a workmanlike gun.   “I won’t give you money, but there’s plenty food and I can use a dishwasher.

  1. boomiebol says:

    Very nice… Lucky for him, he found a job…

  2. Paul says:

    I like it. The first sentence helped set the smells of the place nicely. I would have changed two words. The end of the first paragraph “but he hated them” would read better, I think, if it was “because he hated them”. And the sound effect Ka-ching bothers me. I don’t know why and I have no suggestions. Other than that… Now I’ll go work on one so you can criticize me! 🙂

  3. I like your story. I’m not sure what a workmanlike gun is, though.

  4. NOT what he, or your readers, was expecting! Clearly grandmotherly doesn’t mean helpless. I wonder if he’ll take the job? Good story, whatever he does after it ends.

    • I think taking the job would be a judicious choice, but you never know. I guess she might have been robbed before.

      Just thought right now that perhaps readers will take this amiss after the Sandy Hook killings, but that didn’t cross my mind here and no disrespect or anything like that was meant. I wanted the contrast between the idea that she would be easy to rob because she was older and that she could protect herself but offered redemption instead.

      • For what it’s worth, it didn’t make me think of Sandy Hook. I suppose partly because she seems to be clearly in control of herself (and the situation) – and also, her offer of redemption shows that she’s not malicious.

  5. Tom Poet says:

    There is a true story that took place on Long Island(Where I live) where a guy tried to rob a store the owner pulled out his own gun, gave the guy food and some money and told him to pay it back when he had the chance. The man who tried to rob him had lost his job and was trying to put food on the table. The robber sent the money back in a letter and thanked the man for changing his life around and giving him a second chance. That is more or less the story I may be embellishing a bit…I will try and find the story for you…People are often kinder and more forgiving then we realize. Nice take on the prompt. Well done Janet.


  6. Parul says:

    The aroma of the place set the right image of the cafe. I liked this story of a novice robber and the very kind lady.
    Enjoyed it.

  7. Harumph….
    A good robber needs money, not a job.

    Robbery is a job, and this victim needs better manners and a better sense of her social responsibilities in society.

    What if every victim acted like this? This would be inexcusable.This would be, excuse this line but… highway robbery for the robber.

    How’s a guy supposed to support his family with his existing skills if there’s no sense of devotion on the part of those who are being robbed. No, this simply won’t work.

    Society has its rules and roles.

    And not just nice smelling cinnamon rolls

    • Yeah, you old curmudgeon, I knew there was going to be a comment coming along. This just means he has to work harder and get better at what he does. Maybe he could start a class (for a fee, of course) for those about to be robbed, so they could know how to better react. Then he’d be getting money from two sources and be doing even better. His company name could be “High Way Robbery.”

    • Tom Poet says:

      You make a good point….I think I would have shot the guy myself or at least beat him with the pistol…but perhaps there is something darker going on here. Maybe granny needs a fall guy for a heist she is planning…maybe she is digging a tunnel to 710 Fulton street where the bank is located. The sweet smelling air could just be a front for her foul smelling past and sinister plans…or she sees potential in him and wants to teach him how to successfully get a way with robbery and not just little stick ups. I would go with him being her fall guy I mean only a moron would try to look like James Dean without the dangling cigarette.


    • Tom Poet says:

      Does that count as two stories?

  8. kz says:

    haha awesome twist! ^^

  9. rich says:

    she knows where he is, where he’s been, and she understands enough to give him a chance. that’s sympathy, empathy, and a kind – but worn – heart.

  10. Nice ending! That’s what I call tough love (by the way, that first sentence almost made me wobbly, it sounded so good. Mmm…)

  11. Nice twist. Not sure he’s the type to wash dishes though

    • He’s hungry and probably lonely, so food of all sorts may just turn him around. You notice he didn’t really have a gun and was just acting tough, so I think there’s a good chance he’ll make it.

  12. Sandra says:

    That’s the way to do it! 🙂 Nice one.

  13. yerpirate says:

    Very, very funny – clever – nice ending! Really enjoyed that story a lot.

  14. Dear Janet,
    You put me there…sight, sound and emotion. Well done with a great twist at the end. O’Henry is smiling on you.

    • O’Heck, lovely of you to say so, Rochelle. Speaking of writers, I came across a five-book set of Ogden Nash books at Half Price Books in mid-December, lovely little volumes with dust jackets and all. Bill loves O.N. so they became the perfect Christmas present.

  15. tedstrutz says:

    I’m not sure what a workmanlike gun looks like, but I don’t think I would like to find out that way. I thought it was cool that the grandmotherly type had one. She sized up her ‘customer’ pretty well, and your description of the aroma sized up the joint for me… could be 708 Fulton.

    • “Workmanlike” would be a simple gun, nothing big and flashy, just something that would deter robbers. I thought about a pearl-handled derringer, too, as it seemed a little feminine.

      There was a place in Greeley, Colorado (where I went to grad school some year ago) that served the largest cinnamon rolls drenched, if you so desired, in butter. They were absolutely amazing and came to mind what I was writing the story.

  16. Sarah Ann says:

    Lovely twist. I don’t think that was on his list of, ‘What can possibly go wrong?’

  17. Hi Janet,
    Can it be possible? Am I actually reading your story before you read mine? Probably not. Haven’t checked my comments for 10 minutes, new personal record. So fun to see the photo of you and Rich on the Facebook page. Very skillfully developed story. First quality writing, and you kept us going until the final words. Happy 2013! Ron

    • Thanks, Ron. You did beat me to the reading punch, but not by much. I’ve been out most of the day, having lunch with Bill and the girls, running errands, etc. (Really, I just held off to make you feel good.) 🙂

      Hope your 2013 is more than you hope for! As for pictures, there will probably be at least one more in early January, this time with Sharon as well.


  18. kdmccrite2 says:

    Well, I guess she showed him!

  19. It’s a very well-done and surprising story because you are assuming he’s either going to shoot her or fumble the job. Her act provides a sense of relief and also a sort of lesson for the reader.

    But I would drop the phrase “Crap, how trite.” It sticks out because the story is not really told from the POV of the would-be robber as much as from that of an observer.

    “‘Crap, how trite’ he berated himself” might work better.

  20. elappleby says:

    Love this story – summoning his inner James Dean! Also, very clever how you get around the 100 word thing with this: “two-eggs-anyway-you-like-ham-or-bacon-toast-hash-browns-and-coffee” – which counts as one word. Or is that just plain cheating?! 😀

  21. Thank God she saved him. Lovely ending.

  22. I loved the ending. Maybe he was just having a bad time. Loved that she offered him a job instead of calling the police. Great story.

  23. Joyce says:

    Great story. She had either a lot of confidence over her ability to neutralize or disarm him, or she had a lot of faith in someone pretty powerful to handle the situation. 🙂

  24. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    This was one of the nicest stories you’ve ever written. I thoroughly enjoyed the lead in and the tension building and then the perfect life line thrown to a man in need by someone that didn’t have to. Great story that show exactly who you are. Kudos.



  25. Jodie says:

    Ha, Nice Twist. 🙂

  26. claireful says:

    Great story Janet. I love his line of internal dialogue in brackets – that gives just enough to see him as a human being who perhaps hasn’t done this before.

  27. Hi Janet
    A great twist story, well managed and concealing the pay-off until the final line – well done!
    Just one small suggestion; do you need the modifiers in his second and third lines of dialogue? I feel that these are implicit in the introduction to the character and so just slow the flow of a well written exchange.
    Thanks. I enjoyed it.
    BTW Flash and micro fiction can be as illustrative of a writer’s world-view, particularly if you read a number by the same author in quick succession, as the longest literary works. Your positive and upbeat outlook comes through in your writing. As a former career cop, my stories are rather more yang to your yin, and that’s what makes them fun to read. No great profound insights here – I’m just sayin’!

    • Nick, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I went back and re-read my story and agree that those modifiers could be left out, especially the “Urgently.” The flickering eyes line is there to re-emphasize that he isn’t a hardened criminal and feels uncomfortable with what he’s doing. But it would read just fine your way as well and a more hardened criminal might be trying to keep an eye out for trouble.

      I agree that flash fiction can demonstrate a worldview and you’re right that I’m a generally optimistic, upbeat person. I’ve often said that it would be difficult to be a policeman/woman and not become at least somewhat jaded. If you deal mostly with people doing or possibly doing wrong or bad things, it would be difficult to be otherwise. It’s one of the reasons I love to see police or highway patrol helping people and (hopefully) being thanked for it.

      Nice to talk with you and I look forward to more reading and discussion.

      Happy New Year.


  28. I like that he was just hungry for food and not just hungry for money to buy drugs, and that she was prepared either way, but willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I once bought a biscuit when I bought my own for someone holding a “hungry” sign outside and he gave me a very disgusted look when I gave him the biscuit. I know not everyone is scamming, but I’m very skeptical too, so that’s why I like that she pulled the gun just in case.

    • There are plenty people who don’t really want the food, just the money. I vacillate between wanting to help and being annoyed. A couple Christmases ago, there was a young woman with a sign, saying she had children, etc. I went home, raided my pantry and came back with a box of food. I also told her about our church food pantry, but I don’t know if she ever went. But it was Christmas.

  29. Sunshine says:

    he better listen because this granny knows what he really needs!

  30. A mushy rat says:

    Wonderful twist! haaha, it surely proves that everything is not what it seems like!

  31. Russell says:

    Granny got a gun. The dishes must be done. – sounds like a lyric from an Aerosmith song. I loved this story, Janet. Happy New Year to you, Bill, and the kids.

  32. deanabo says:

    Perfect. If only this would rally happen! Loved it.