Snakes and Pills

030 - die young

"Two plain donuts," the plain man standing at the counter said. "And a large coffee, black, to go." The waitress nodded.

At this, the man sitting next to the man who had just ordered turned his head.

"Bobby? Bobby Flanagan, is that you?" the seated man asked. The man waiting for his donuts turned and looked. There was a moment of silence between the two before the glimmer of recognition flashed across his face and his expression changed to a rather jovial one.

"Stinky Stevie! How are you man?!" Bobby asked.

"I'm doing good. Doing alright. Man, I haven't seen you in ages," Stevie replied.

"Aw, I know. Probably not since high school, eh? Shit, it's been a while."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. So what you been up to?" Stevie asked as he scratched the back of his balding head.

"Working construction up at the O'Toole site, right now anyway. Other than that, just other jobs here and there. Got a family now, but times are tough, you know," Bobby answered, before asking the same question back to Stevie.

"Yeah, I hear you, times are tough. Truth was, I had been working at a mine out of state for the past five years. Maybe that's why we haven't seen each other around. Haven't been around."

"No shit? So what are you doing back here?" Bobby asked, seemingly interested in the prospect of someone having gotten out of their town, even if only for a job in a mine.

Stevie took a long drag at his coffee cup. He put it back down on the worn saucer on the diner counter. "Like you said, times are tough. Mine's closed, been sold to Russians or the Chinese or something like that. They're bringing in foreign workers," he answered.

"No shit..." was all Bobby could say.

"Yeah," Stevie quickly picked up, "so I had no reason to stay there. There aren't any jobs there, and I guess there aren't any here, either."

"You can say that again," Bobby quickly interjected.

Stevie continued, "Well, my mom is pretty sick as it turns out, and my dad has always been something of a mess, more so with my mom all laid up ill. So I brought the family back here, I figure we can help take care of my parents and maybe I can find something here."

Bobby just shook his head slowly. "Shit," he said once again, "I'm sorry to hear that, man."

Stevie nodded back. "Yeah," he muttered. The waitress came back to Bobby and handed him a bag and a cup.

"It'll be $2.35," she said, as Bobby dug around in his pockets to summon the requisite amount. After finding it, he handed it to her. "Thanks," she said, with the requisite cheeriness.

"Well, I gotta get going," he said to Stevie, but he felt a little awkward and a little bad for his old friend. "Hey, so are you living at your folks' place, then?"

Stevie nodded in the affirmative. "Same old place?" Bobby confirmed.

"Yup," said Stevie.

"Tell ya what, maybe I can swing by sometime, just for old time's sake. If you're interested, I can even check if we got anything up at the construction site, we might need another set of hands."

Stevie worked his coffee cup once again, all the while slowly nodding. "Thanks, man, I'd appreciate it."

Bobby said nothing for a moment, and then turned. "Well, like I said, gotta get going."

He patted Stevie's back a couple of times and Stevie nodded his head a bit more in acknowledgement. "See ya."

"Yeah, see ya," Bobby repeated as he headed out the diner's door.


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