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Jumbo Jake – Flash Fiction Journal


By Elizabeth J. Wenger

“Pay attention right here, Jumbo Jake.” I puffed out my chest actual far like I used to be a person, and this was the Previous West, and Jumbo Jake was an actual risk, not only a smiley face some doofus had painted on the dumpster out behind our Applebee’s.

I did this complete cowboy routine on breaks typically, when nobody else was out again sneaking cigarettes. Louie, our supervisor, hated cigarettes, and though he couldn’t technically hearth us for taking cig breaks, he may all the time give you another cause. Proper-to-Work legal guidelines and all that.

None of us actually bought the legal guidelines, however that was the ability in them, and that’s why Louie was all the time firing us. Extra like disappearing us, like he was a mafia man and never simply the supervisor of some Kansas Applebee’s.

“You assume you’ll be able to beat me down, however I do know higher.” I continued with my dumpster function play. “I’ve been in search of you, and also you’re gonna get it this time. Get it straight to the top.” I pulled a finger gun out of its imaginary holster.

I used to be about to shoot when Mark pushed open the Applebee’s again door together with his butt, so I had time to compose myself and re-holster the gun earlier than he rotated to face me. He was the bartender, which made him the Actual Cool Man of our office. He was in all probability sleeping with Frida, one of many waitresses, however I heard he noticed Patty, who was only a hostess, on the aspect. I used to be a dishwasher, so I positive wasn’t one of many Cool Ones.

Mark nodded at me and pulled a Camel from its pack.

“I got here from Walgreens.” I pointed to the drug retailer within the lot subsequent to ours in order to not let him in on the reality of my little sport. The strip mall the place our Applebee’s was positioned provided numerous excuses. One time, Frida virtually caught me doing my sport, and I pointed to the Genesis Well being Membership and stated I had been understanding on break. This was double good as a result of not solely did I seem to be I wasn’t speaking to the dumpster, however I appeared like I took care of my physique too.

Mark smiled and provided me the cigarette pack.

I virtually shook my head as a result of I didn’t smoke, however then I remembered he was the Cool Man, so I took one.

Whereas he lit the cigarette for me, I seemed over his shoulder on the dumpster. Jumbo Jake could be very intimidated by me smoking.

I used to be feeling actual good as I breathed in till Mark stated, “Why are you all the time speaking to your self out right here?”

I began to cough, and he reached out to pat my again, which didn’t assist. The benefit of the coughing was that it gave me time to give you a lie.

“I name my mother on breaks.”

“How come you by no means have a cellphone?”

“How come you’re sleeping with Patty when everybody is aware of you can have Frida, and he or she’s cuter anyway…” All these phrases burst out with out me considering what I used to be saying.

Mark raised his eyebrows.

I took an extended drag on my cigarette only for one thing to do.

He laughed. “You’re a bizarre lady.”

“Yeah, nicely we each work at a shitty restaurant, so it doesn’t matter a lot if I’m bizarre. You bought one thing in frequent with a bizarre lady, and that’s how it’s.” I shook my head matter-of-factly, the best way my ma did when she bought drunk and informed me the story of how my daddy left, though I’d heard it a couple of bajillion instances.

“Actually, what are you all the time doing out right here?” Mark blew smoke out his nostril. Yeah, he was the Cool Man.

I thought-about for a second what would possibly occur if I shared my shameful secret, and Mark bought freaked, informed Louie, and I bought fired. My ma could be so mad since I couldn’t purchase her groceries anymore and particularly as a result of I couldn’t purchase her Budweiser. Man, if she wasn’t ingesting Budweiser, she wasn’t ingesting something. How the hell would I get her to drink water? Perhaps she would simply die of dehydration with out her Bud.

I figured that I may wash dishes anyplace, so I ended up telling Mark.

“See that face on that dumpster there.” I pointed. “I fake that’s a nasty man, and I discuss to him after I’m indignant. It’s kind of like how I get out my dangerous feelings.”

As an alternative of laughing at me like I anticipated, Mark nodded and sucked the remainder of the smoke out his cigarette.

“I bought one thing like that,” he stated.


“Yeah. My mates and I bought boxing gloves, and after a nasty day of labor or no matter, we meet up and beat on one another. Simply to let free, you understand?”

“Yeah,” I stated.

Mark lit one other cigarette.

I had to return inside quickly, or Louie could be out right here yelling.

“Can I strive it?” Mark requested.

I shrugged. “Isn’t my dumpster.”

“Proper.” Mark moved to face in entrance of the smiley face.

His complete face went slack for a second, after which his mouth fashioned right into a imply snarl. He took a deep breath, and as he exhaled, he screamed. “Motherfucker, you ain’t the boss of me. You bought the physique of a ten-year-old and a few rank halitosis. Shorter than Napoleon. Little man with no guts…” Mark went on like this for some time, multi functional single breath, and I frightened he was gonna have a coronary heart assault or an aneurism or one thing, however then he stopped, sighed, and shook all up his backbone like a demon was going out of him.

“I preferred that.” He put his cigarette out and went again inside.

As soon as the door closed behind him, I turned to Jumbo Jake.

That dumpster positive seemed blissful.

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