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No Smoking



I stubbed out my cigarette in a plate of half eaten french fries and gazed at my waitress with a look I hoped she interpreted as disgust.

I blew the smoke out in her face and said, “What?”

She wiped a hand across her perspiring forehead then placed her hands on her hips. “You cannot smoke in here. How many times do I have to tell you?”

I tried to look offended. “But I’m not smoking.”

“You were.”

“Oh yeah? Prove it!”

She pointed at my plate of fries. “You just put it out on your plate.”

“Well how about that?” I said. “There’s a damned cigarette butt in my fries. I demand this meal be free!”

“You gotta be kidding me,” she said as she threw up her hands in hopeless despair.

A man two booths down suddenly felt the urge to join in on the conversation. “Hey, Buddy. Why don’t you give us all a break?”

I gave him a long look and determined he was big enough to kick my ass. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t want any trouble.”

“Well thank God for that,” said the waitress as she turned to walk away.

“Thank God is right,” I agreed. Then I pulled my pack from my shirt pocket and lit another cigarette.

The Gentleman from two booths down stood and walked toward me with a heavy stride. His face grew redder and redder as he approached. When his large hands came down on me I couldn’t help but smile, because my record remained undefeated.

He dragged me outside, threw me to the sidewalk and looked shocked when I found my footing and ran. For fifty-nine days and counting, I hadn’t paid for a single meal.

This story was written by Daniel Roche. His short fiction has appeared in Idea Gems Magazine, Tough Lit Magazine and many online publications.
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