Flash Fiction Fridays: Anything Goes

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


It is the first Friday of January and that means Anything Goes! To start us off, here's a piece of noir by Jeanette Fratto.






Night Duty
By Jeanette A. Fratto


The cigarette dangling from his lower lip gave off a curl of blue smoke that rose to join the rest of the stale air in the county jail waiting room. Taking one last long drag, Sam Biggs ignored the ashtray and flipped the butt onto the cement floor, grinding it under his foot. He was not a happy man. It was 2 a.m. His eyes burned, and his head hurt from no sleep and too much cheap whiskey the night before.

He had barely stumbled into bed an hour ago when the phone rang. Johnny Prince had been arrested again, and his sobbing girlfriend-of-the-moment begged Sam to meet her at the jail immediately. She had the ten percent bail money and didn’t want Johnny to spend one more minute there. She must be new, he thought, as he groped for the clothes he had just taken off. Johnny was a good customer of Biggs Bail Bonds and probably spent more time in jail than at home.

Now he stood in the smelly waiting room, running his hands through his thinning hair, growing more impatient by the minute.  A twinge in his stomach told him his ulcer was acting up. Rubbing the paunchy area above his belt, he felt little relief. The drinking’s got to stop, his gut kept telling him, but he was celebrating his fiftieth birthday last night. A man alone had to have something, even if it’s only bourbon.

Restless, Sam stepped outside for some fresh air. Shivering in the chilly night, he pulled his frayed jacket collar up around his neck. Reaching in his pocket for his cigarettes, he remembered that he’d smoked the last one. Sam noticed the ashtray stand near the door,  a cigarette butt still smoldering. No one was watching, so he sidled over and picked it up. He inhaled deeply, cursing his fate that his livelihood depended on such losers. I can’t do this anymore he thought, as he watched the smoke he had just exhaled slowly disappear into the night air.

When the bimbo shows I won’t take her money, he decided. Let Johnny rot in jail. His mind was racing now. My brother’s been after me to join him on his farm, help him with the chores now that he’s getting older. Free room and board. No more jails, crooks, and dumb broads. Heal my ulcer maybe. Sam was elated with the thought.

High heels tapping on cement announced the arrival of Johnny’s girl, Marcie something. Sam returned to the present, surprised how beautiful she was.

“All the money in cash, like you said.” She handed the bills to Sam, who counted them, then went inside.

Returning, he took Marcie’s arm, propelling her towards his car, telling her it would take a couple of hours before Johnny’s release.

“I’ll buy you a drink while you wait. Here’s my card . I’ve been in business over 20 years . . . ”



Jeanette A. Fratto is a Michigan transplant now living in southern California. She has bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in social science from California State University-Fullerton and worked for twenty six years with the Orange County California Probation Department. Her first novel, No Stone Unturned, is available through Outskirts Press. To learn more about Jeanette, visit her blog, JeanetteWrites.

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