Flash Fiction Challenge: Last Meal

Photo by K.S. Brooks

They had given him what they called his last meal, but it wasn’t really. It was just food. Meals are for free men.

As they strap him down onto the table, Danny remembers his last meal. He had it in a little roadside diner right before all the trouble started—right before the end began.

That was a long time ago now. Twelve years of trials and appeals. Too long. He was ready for it to be over now.  It will be over in a minute or two. They are prepping the injection site now and Danny is thinking about that hamburger. Someone says something to him, they ask about regrets. He thinks about that for a moment. He feels the sting of the needle in his arm.

In 250 words or less, tell me a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday, September 4th 2012.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.

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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Last Meal”

  1. It had been a long day on the road, and Danny was starved. Man, he thought, I could really use a burger and fries. The diner appeared as if by magic, and he whistled joyfully. Parking his Harley in front, he went in and ordered the largest burger and fries they had from the big, blonde woman behind the counter, who smiled like his mother used to smile when he ate all his vegetables.

    When she asked him what he wanted to drink with it, he said milk, and that’s when the trouble started. Two burly truckers sitting at the end of the counter started whistling and catcalling, and making faces and funny signs at him. Danny didn’t drink, never had; and the reason he didn’t was because he had a temper that was hard to control when he was sober. He tried to ignore them, but that just egged them on.

    When one of the man walked over and put his hand on Danny’s shoulder, calling him a momma’s boy, he lost it. He picked up the handiest object, a large bottle of vinegar that was on the counter, and hit the man in the throat. The bottle shattered, but Danny kept hitting, and hitting, and hitting.

    When they finally pulled him off and called the cops, the counter lady said that a glass shard from the broken bottle had severed the man’s carotid artery; he bled to death as Danny was hitting him.

    Danny didn’t hear a word.

  2. Danny dropped onto the wobbly stool, the ripped vinyl digging into his backside. Stale smoke and fryer grease fumes seared his nostrils, but he didn’t care. After thirteen straight hours in his semi, he just wanted a greasy burger, fries, and a cold soda. And some coffee. He still had hours to go.

    The entire diner was empty, the only visible employee a middle-aged woman with a severe lack of teeth and sun-damaged skin. Deborah – according to her yellowed nametag – whipped up his order, serving it with a wink.

    It only took Danny one bite to realize that this was the best burger that had ever graced his taste buds. He fought the urge to moan with each bite. With a knowing smile, Deborah stepped out to smoke. Danny laid his head on the counter, staring at the uneaten half of his burger, waiting for Deborah to return with his check.


    Danny awoke to an officer ripping him from the stool and throwing him against the diner’s front windows. As his Miranda rights were read, Danny saw Deborah’s bloody, lifeless body on the floor. There was blood on his clothes and hands, but he had just been sleeping, right?

    All Danny could do was close his eyes.

    When he opened them again, fire coursed through his veins, the pain accompanied by the promise of a swift death. Someone in his periphery asked him about his regrets.

    Danny smiled. “I really wish I finished that burger.”

  3. Title: “Saving Her Bacon”

    Funny all these years and I never gave that last meal a thought until now.

    Things flashed through my mind; getting my step dad to kick my butt instead of Mom’s. Her leaving him, and my leaving school that same day headed in a different direction.

    Years later on a long-haul, I met Sandy at the ‘Sanitary’ diner. She didn’t know it, but I would drive miles out of my way to see her face light up when I came in. I wanted to be with her forever, and I think she could sense it, but I loved her too much to burden her with me.

    That last day she had two black eyes. She reminded me of my mom and what she endured. Her hands were shaking when she served me my hamburger. I asked what happened and she started crying.

    Then she looked over my shoulder at the big dude who stormed in. The lights went out and there was a gunshot. When the lights came back on, the big dude was missing the back of his head. I had the gun in my hand and they arrested me.

    I tried not to think about whether I was going to hell, but in my heart I knew I earned something better. My mom would be proud of me. I don’t have any regrets about taking the gun from Sandy’s shaking hand.

    My only regret is I should have ordered bacon on that hamburger.

  4. The Kindness of Strangers

    Mr. Fisher dined every Friday at Fresco’s for the last fifty years – at the same – time – in the same booth. Evelyn is his favorite waitress. He says she reminds him of his late wife Hester. He always pays her compliments. Evelyn is a single mom.
    One Friday she arrived early to work and freshened up in the ladies room. She looked at her watch waiting for John’s arrival. She even wore a red rose in her hair that day because it was Fisher’s late wife’s favorite rose. Evelyn looked at her watch and noted that Fisher was a tad late. A co-worker took Evelyn aside to deliver some sobering news.

    “Where’s John? Asked Evelyn.

    “I’m sorry to tell you honey but he passed away last Thursday,” said the co-worker. “His family dropped by and told me to give you this note.”

    Evelyn sank in the booth and wept. She opened the rather large envelope which contained a photograph of John. She propped it on the table with a salt shaker against the wall. Evelyn removed the rose from her hair and placed it in front of the photograph. She stormed out of the restaurant overcome with grief. Her co-worker gave chase.

    “Evelyn! There’s something else in the envelope,” said the co-worker.

    In John’s will he left his entire estate to Evelyn and her son of more than half a million dollars. It further thanked her for her kindness. John was planning to surprise Evelyn on their anniversary.

  5. Danny closed his eyes, thinking back to that day. It felt like yesterday. It was a mid- December day; a light snow had fallen, the air was cold and crisp. Danny had been driving for hours. Stressed out from the slick driving conditions and starving for a good meal, he pulled into the Sanitary Diner. He passed by the Diner at least twice a day and had always thought about stopping. But today would be his first visit, and his last.
    After placing his order, Danny took a seat by the window and waited for his food. Upon arrival, it looked and smelled delightful. He had ordered the jalapeño bacon burger with a side of cheesy curly fries. Danny could still taste the charbroiled flavor.
    As he was enjoying his burger, another customer had arrived. Danny recognized the voice. It was Harold, Danny’s ex-wife’s boyfriend. Harold sat down at the booth in front of Danny, with his back towards him, trying to avoid confrontation. Danny’s eyes filled with hatred. Harold had taken Danny’s wife from him. He had told himself over and over that if he ever saw Harold in public, he would kill him. It was now or never. Taking the plastic knife that came in his condiment package, Danny stood up and stabbed Harold repeatedly in the side of the neck.
    As the burning sensation from the lethal injection spread, Danny opened his eyes.
    “My only regret” Danny said with a smile “was eating the jalapeños.”

  6. Marcus was about two hundred miles from home. The snow storm was just getting started, lightly dusting the earth’s canvas with a sheet of white satin. The highways were starting to become slick so Marcus decided to stop at the next exit. When he came upon the Sanitary Diner, Marcus figured it would be as good a place as any. As he pulled into the parking lot, he noticed the place looked abandoned. The only vehicle around was a run down Chevy pickup. As curiosity grew within him, Marcus decided to get out and take a look around.
    All the windows and doors were boarded up on the building complex that sat behind the diner. Still filled with curiosity, Marcus continued looking around, checking out the pickup next. It was a 67 Chevy step-side. The last time it was tagged was 1970. It looked as if it had been sitting since then as well. That year, 1970, meant something but Marcus couldn’t place it. After he was done looking at the pickup, Marcus decided to check out the inside of the diner. The hinges creaked of rust as he pulled the door open. Marcus stepped inside. The air smelled of mold and dust with the hint of decay. He had only taken a couple steps when the door slammed shut behind him.
    Marcus spun around as a demonic figure slashed his throat. As Marcus dropped to his knees, he remembered why 1970 stood out. Now it was too late.

  7. Regrets? Of course Danny had regrets, most of them about that hamburger he never got to eat. He could still picture it when he closed his eyes. Hot, glistening juices soaked into the sesame topped bun. Perfectly seared meat, elegantly adored with a slice of cheddar and two crisp bacon strips. The scent filled Danny’s nostrils, making his mouth water. Sweet greasy onion rings piled generously on the plate completed the image. It was art, pure and simple. Something Danny didn’t expect to find in a small roadside diner, especially one named ‘Sanitary’. It sounded more like a hospital than a food establishment.

    It had been a long time since that exquisite burger. Before Danny could take his first bite that idiot kid in the next booth had thrown his milkshake across the room. Half frozen chocolate glop contaminated his perfect hamburger. The kid deserved to have his neck broke. So did the parents that were supposed to be watching him. The rest of the patrons and the pretty waitress with the pink stripe in her hair, well… they laughed. The only one I let live was the artist who created that burger.

    Twelve years and multiple trials and appeals later, Danny still longed for that flawless burger. If only they could have found that cook for his last meal. Saliva ran down his throat as they strapped him down and jabbed a needle into his arm. Only the memory remained. Food… perfection… and then, nothing.

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