Fish N Chips

In his whole life, James Tucker had only been good at two things; frying fish and playing poker. The first kept him in a job, the second kept him in money, and neither gave him enough appeal to acquire a wife. Still, when Martine Early started waitressing at the café, the two struck up a strong friendship based in a mutual love of lures and woodsy solitude. Of course, it helped that Martine could actually hook things, where James, for all his standing in the water, only rarely made a catch.

She didn’t have much use for poker. When he went off to his tournaments and to the casinos, she would look in at the cook on duty and shake her head. “This is burned. I can’t serve this.” And when James came back, a little more flush with winnings, she’d drag him out into the wilderness to cleanse him of the chips and cards.

She told him, “I can’t abide the way you smell when you gamble.”

In the truck, on the way to the stream, he said, “I always win at least a little.”

“That’s not the point.”

He downshifted. “It is for me. I won’t give it up.”

“I know that.”

“But I don’t want to give you up either.”

“Well I won’t make you choose. But I won’t marry a gambling man.”

“Never said you should. I don’t think we have to be married to be happy.”

“Maybe not. But promise me something?”

“Maybe.” They had reached the stream. He parked a good distance away and swung out to get his tackle, rod, and reel.

She joined him and laid a hand on his shoulder. “If you ever lose more than you came in with for a straight week, give it up for a bad job.”

“I’ll think about it,” he said. “The truth is, I’ve only lost a few times. I almost always come out ahead.”

She said, “I guess you do, James. I guess you do.”

They moved in together the next week, and they’ve been happily unmarried ever since.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Fish N Chips — 18 Comments

    • Awesome – that first sentence isn’t even mine. The prompter gave us the first sentence and I ran with it from there. Twice as good that you connected with it!

  1. Love how you come up with names! Do you have a rolodex with a bunch of names and you just spin it to randomly land on one? Are they made up? The build up was better than the ending that gave me a small feeling of rushed through – is that possible?

    • This one is from a prompt – it’s from the deviant art flash fiction month (And I now see that in my haste to post, I neglected to put that in. I shall amend!) Anyway, the prompt came with the first sentence and James’ name. But Martine just felt right for a waitress at a little cafe.

  2. Just a great read on a Monday. But yes, where do you come up with so many names AND so many characters.

    • The names are actually a real struggle. But the people live in my head all the damned time. It’s always a question to me of who the hell they are until I finish talking about them, though.

    • Sadly, yes. But New York doesn’t have residency laws if you wanted to get a piece of paper that no state will recognize until DOMA is de railed.