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FLIM FLAM MAN • by Tom Britz

The three of us — Frank Mullins, Jim Tanner and I — were enjoying a couple of cold ones at Tony’s Bar and Grill. Just another dull Thursday afternoon, in which we were partaking of our favorite pastimes, drinking and talking baseball. We’d been talking about the trade of Prince Fielder by the Detroit Tigers to the Texas Rangers, for Ian Kinsler, and how that just about cinched another division title, if not actually giving the Tigers another shot at the World Series. We barely got up a head of steam when Gramps walked in.

Slouched would be the more accurate verb. Gramps looked as if he’d just lost someone near and dear. He gave us a perfunctory wave then drooped on down to the far end of the bar. This got our immediate attention, as none of us had ever seen the like before. This moroseness needed to be delved into. So I, John Fischer, bought a couple of longneck Buds and strolled down to where Gramps had nested.

“Damn, Gramps, what the hell’s got you so down?” I asked, as I slid a longneck down in front of him.

“Maddie lied,” was all he could mutter as he made a wipe across his eyes with his shirt sleeve.

I swear, just then he sniffled. This caught the attention of everyone. Tony brought down a couple more longnecks and Frank and Jim got up and moved close.

Friendship is not measured in time. It doesn’t matter how long someone has been a friend; it is a feeling that goes deep inside the gut. When a friend is hurting we all hurt a little. That’s just the way things are here in Fargone, Michigan.

“How can I ever trust her again, after this?” Gramps managed to get out between chugs of beer. He actually hung his head then. Our hearts immediately jumped onto our sleeves.

Everyone was chiming in with platitudes of Maddie, how she was the sweetest, most thoughtful person any of us ever knew. I knew the best thing for it was to let Gramps work through it in his own way. This, more likely than not, used the Gramps technique of drinking till you don’t care anymore.

Jim, still in his coveralls from his shift at the Quickie Lube, asked, “What is it, Gramps? Maddie wouldn’t do anything serious, I’m sure. I’ve known her since high school.”

“All I know is that she promised to be here at four o’clock with our season tickets for the Detroit Tigers, and she’s nowhere to be seen,” Gramps said.

We all looked and just as my watch clicked over to five after four, the door opened and Maddie Heath strolled in waving the tickets.

Gramps immediately smiled and, giving us all a chuckle, said, “Thanks for the beer, guys.”


Tom Britz says: “I am a writer. It was basically a sorting out of private ambitions, having given up on my first career choice of Major League ballplayer and my second, an astronaut. Never got the hang of Indian Chief or even a Tinker. I have been a factory rat but never really cared for it. Thanks to Every Day Fiction for giving me a start. I am a writer.”


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FLIM FLAM MAN • by Tom Britz, 3.2 out of 5 based on 34 ratings
Posted on July 7, 2014 in Humour/Satire, Stories
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  • Edward Beach

    Dude, really?

  • Erin Ryan

    They’ll never trust Gramps again after this …

  • Tom Britz

    He’ll owe a round or two, this is for sure.

  • Gerald_Warfield

    Entertaining story although only one joke deep. Reminds me of the Chris Ledoux song “Hippies in Calgary.”

  • terrytvgal

    Cute. Not fancy, but nicely told. I tend to get myself in trouble by getting in over my head in the stories I try to write. This is an example of the sort of story I need to try and tell.

  • Tom Britz

    Thank you Terry. Sometimes less is more, as they say.

  • Tom Britz

    Thank you, Gerald.

  • Cranky Steven

    LMAO! Great! Five biggies! Say, what the hell is a “tinker” anyway?

  • Cranky Steven

    Don’t try, terrytvgal, do. An ounce of done is worth a pound of perfect.

  • Tom Britz

    Thank you, Steven!

  • Tom Britz

    I like this response! Yes, better to have done than try to do.

  • Tom Britz

    A tinker is an old time tinsmith.

  • Chris Antenen

    I have the feeling that something close to this really happened. Great story and that’s what I look for first. Well done, too. Any more like this coming? i hope so.

  • Tom Britz

    I thank you, Chris. You put a smile on my face. No this didn’t happen, but there were a few that were similar.

  • Cranky Steven

    OK, (not that I know what that is either)

  • Kathy Ragle

    Wonderful story I loved it! I could see it as it happened, especially Grumps smiling at the end.

  • Tom Britz

    Kathy, you are a dear! Thank you very much.

  • Pete Wood

    Sounds like Gramps has a little bit of Sparky Anderson in him. Nice job.

  • http://www.derekmcmillan.com/ Derek McMillan

    I enjoyed this more for the characters than for the plot to be sure :)

  • Avalina Kreska

    Just the sort of quirky story I like. :)

  • http://www.derekmcmillan.com/ Derek McMillan

    This was great fun. I remember the discussions in the 1950s (!!) about how we would cope with all the leisure coming our way from automation. It turned out half of us would be working overtime and the other half unemployed.

  • Tom Britz

    Thank you Pete. Yes, Sparky did have a bit of a sly side.

  • Tom Britz

    Thank you Derek, I do try for characterization.

  • Tom Britz

    Avalina, I thank you for your quirky taste.

  • Tom Britz

    Derek, it sure seems to have come true.

  • Kelly Ospina

    That Gramps is a crafty one! I look forward to his next adventure (or misadventure, as the case may be).

  • Tom Britz

    Thank you Kelly! I’m sure he will have something up his sleeve.

  • Gengis Bob

    Cute trick on the part of gramps.

    As for the story – I get nervous reading a short piece when a bunch of names are thrown at me in the first paragraph. Frank – Jim – Tony’s – Ian Kinsler – you could easily have omitted these details, as none of them are essential to the gag.

  • Tom Britz

    Thank you, Bob. This is constructive criticism.

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