Under New Management


Under New Management


“Harry, I can’t believe this is happening.   When I agreed to sell you this place, I never thought you’d pull a stunt like this.”

“It’s no stunt, but this is my joint now, and I’m just doin’ what I want to do.  If you don’t like it, that’s too damned bad.  Deal with it,” replied Harry, the burly, fiftyish man, whose noticeable Brooklyn accent made him something of an anomaly among his neighbors.

At that, Newt went purple with rage, and a vein on his right temple enlarged and began throbbing uncontrollably.  He clenched a fist and pounded it on the counter.

“Do you really think people are just going to sit back and take this?  You’ll lose all the regular customers.  In a couple of months you’ll be out of business.  That’s for sure.  Don’t do this, Harry.  For the sake of Millie and your kids, don’t do this,” the now plaintive Newt shouted.

Harry wasn’t buying it.  He’d always had a bit of a stubborn streak, and was dismissive about the possible consequences.

“I don’t think so,” he replied.  “Everyone knows the barbequed ribs here are the best damned ribs in all of Alabama.  And the burgers here are damned good too.

In fact, I think I’ll change the name, and put up a new sign.   How does ‘BIRMINGHAM RIB HEAVEN’ sound to you?”

Newt grimaced, shook his head, and ignored the question. Then his face relaxed a bit, and the vein stopped jumping up and down, as a new thought popped into his head.

“You know what, Harry?  I don’t think he’ll even show up.  He’ll realize it’s too dangerous.  I’m fretting for nothing.  He’s not gonna show up, Harry.”

“Don’t get your hopes up, Newt,” said Harry. “He’ll be here.   I put in a phone call, and was assured he’ll be coming for the breakfast special.  He’ll be here in about an hour.  The time for this is right, Newt.  It’s long overdue.”

“Well, I don’t want to see that.  I’m getting the hell out and never setting foot in here again.”

“Suit yourself, Newt. I’m not really going to miss you.  And don’t slam the door on your way out,” Harry retorted.

The new customers were early.  Accompanied by reporters, they arrived twenty minutes later.

Harry looked at them and smiled.  “Hi, Dr. King.  Let me get you and your friends some menus,” he said.



Robert Feinstein


Robert Feinstein is a retired medical librarian.  His short stories have previously appeared in: Downtown Brooklyn, Stuck in the Library,  Lowestloft Chronicle, The Forward, and  The New English Review,

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