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Funny Fiction Friendship

“Sorry, mate. I thought I was doin’ you a favour.”

“By sending me a photo of the outside of this prison?”

“An innocent mistake.”

“With the window to my cell circled in red and words saying, This is the one, it’s not that high up?”

“Just wanted you to know where you were – in the scheme of things.”

“In the scheme of each floor in the photo, labelled one, two, three.”

“Yeah, well. It was a feature addition. Cost extra. I got it printed by a local photographer who turned it into a postcard for me – like those cheeky ones at the seaside – you know, when you go on ‘oliday. Thought you’d like a photo of your old abode when you got released. Maybe you could get a plaque put on the wall outside saying, Tom Daley Slept Here.”

“You know all of our mail gets intercepted, right?”

“Does it? Sneaky buggers. Remind me which ones in here are the criminals again?”

“The guvnor thought I was planning to escape, you wanker.”

“Was just a photo postcard.”

“With arrows pointing from my window to the ground?”

“Would ‘ave been a bloody daring escape, Tom. If you’d ‘ave survived the drop.”

“If you recall, Eric. You’re the reason I’m in here. I had specifically asked you not to visit me at all, because I knew that somehow, you’d do something stupid. I was one week away from early release, when you last came here. Thanks to you, that postcard added another six months to my sentence.”

“How was I to know? I thought it’d give you a sense of freedom, mate. Like you was a bird soaring high and carefree, looking in from the outside. It was supposed to give you hope.”

“Fucking despair is what it gave me, Eric. Cold nightmare-haunting misery.”

“They say it’s the thought that counts. I just wanted to cheer you up.”

“Thoughts need brain cells, Eric. That’s something you’re evidently missing.”

 “If I ain’t got any brain cells, then ‘ow did I sort out that postcard for you with the note, See You Soon, scribbled on it?

Soon, was when I was getting released, NOT ESCAPING!” Tom yelled out loud, disturbing the other inmates and their visitors. A stern look from the monitoring officer in the room, reminded him that prisoners were expected to maintain an acceptable level of behaviour in group gatherings. Receiving a returned nod and a silently mouthed apology from Tom, the officer relaxed his look of disapproval and went back to scanning the room for other inmate infractions.

“Blimey, who left ol’ sourpuss in charge,” Eric mockingly asked.

“He’s the senior officer, you burke. He is in charge.”

“Oh… Then he needs to lighten up a bit. A smile once-in-a-while would help.”

Tom Daley had been serving an eighteen-month sentence for a failed bank heist. It had been a poorly planned and disastrously executed jaunt into the underworld, but as times in the 1970s were hard for the two young friends - and as much as Tom’s inner voice kept loudly shouting not to follow his schoolboy friend into another cursed caper, the necessity of life dictated otherwise.

The resultant bungling burglary that Eric had talked Tom into, unravelled when Eric accidently locked them in the vault they were looting. When the electronic lock on the newly installed vault clicked open the next morning, Eric stepped out to realise it was a bank holiday, then inadvertently shut the door again, trapping Tom inside. Powerless to help his friend get out, Eric set off the alarm, then left a hastily written note for the police to check the vault, before slipping away unnoticed - naively thinking things would turn out okay.  Tom’s subsequent trial saw him accused of bank robbery; however, his sentence was reduced only for the fact that the vault – being new – was empty. The fledgling bank emerging on the high street was only seventy-five percent business-ready, and one hundred percent empty of cash and anything else of any value - something Eric had failed to realise when he came up with the harebrained idea of the easy road to riches.

“So, how’s the food in here?”

“For the kitchen staff, it’s good.”

“Wot, they get best pickings?”

“It’s the perks of a privileged job.”

“UNFAIR!” Eric spontaneously shouted out. “WHAT’S CROOKING?” He openly asked in an Eric-styled, cryptic accusation.

“Keep it down, ya muppet!” Tom chastised his reckless visitor. “You might just be here temporarily, but I’m here for another two months… and I don’t need any of your last-minute hassles again.”

Raising his hand apologetically to the monitoring officer, did the trick of placating him once again.

“So, the cook runs the place?”

“As do his helpers.”

“What’s he in for?”

“He poisoned his first wife.”

“Whaat!? ‘Ow’d he get the job as cook?”

“The warden drew up an inmate questionnaire for those applying for the position. He was the only one that knew the difference between cilantro and coriander.”

“Yeah, as if. Same bloody thing, innit?”

“Apparently not.”

“What’s the difference?”

“I asked him that, too. He said that in America, cilantro is the name for the plant’s leaves and stems, while coriander is the name for its dried seeds. Everywhere else, leaves, stems, and seeds, are called coriander.”

Eric thought long and hard about Tom’s explanation, before dismissing it as nonsense.

“So, there’s no difference, then.” He replied with his declarative question.

“According to George…”

“The poisoner cook,” Eric suffixed.

“Coriander and cilantro have different tastes and aromas, so, as part of his answer to the question, he mentioned that they can’t be used interchangeably in recipes. He reckons cilantro has a more refreshing taste and coriander is spicier.”

“What a load of bollocks! I bet the drunks piling out the pub at eleven at night, and staggering into the local vindaloo house, don’t care whether coriander or cilantro’s been used in cooking the food they stuff into their mouths.”

“Well, it got him the position as head cook, didn’t it. Anyways, it’s most likely that Indian chefs will use coriander in their cooking.”

“Expert now, are we?”

“I’ve been productively using the time added to my sentence by helping George and learning from his expertise. I might have even picked me up a trade for when I get out.”

“What, you a cook?”

“No, not a cook. I want to be a chef.”

“Wot’s the difference?”

Reminded of his friend’s lack of culture, Tom decided to enlighten him.

“Cooks, you ignorant cunt, follow established recipes to prepare food.”

“And?”

“A chef is someone trained to understand flavours, cooking techniques, and they also create their own recipes using fresh ingredients.”

“You mean like wot’s served in posh hotels and restaurants?”

“Exactly.”

“So, ‘ow come George is just a cook?”

“That’s just a term in here. He was a chef on the outside. What he can do with a tin of beans is something out of this world.”

“You just open the tin, pour the beans in a pot, and heat them up,” Eric verbally demonstrated. “Wot’s special about that?”

“He uses a pan.”

“Blimey, that’s posh, innit. Don’t you ‘ave any pots?”

“There’s a difference between heating something in a pot and cooking something in a pan, you ignoramus. You see, George low-cooks the beans with a little Mexican chipotle spice, barbeque sauce, and honey – all simmering away until it almost caramelises. Then, lightly frying a couple slices of freshly baked bread in olive oil, he puts them on a plate and carefully spoons the cooked beans over them, before adding some freshly-ground pepper, then garnishing the food with a little coriander.”

Imitating a kiss with his thumb and forefinger, Tom got lost in the joy of Cordon Bleu heaven. “It is simply délicieux.”

Eric’s doubting silence was broken by his unthinking and unstoppable opinion.

“That’s beans on toast, mate.”

“Fuck off, Eric.”

“Who’s gonna hire you, anyway? You’ve got a prison record.”

“All sorted. There’s a scheme that helps rehabilitation when you get out. They provide job leads with employers willing to help those on the straight and narrow.”

“Wot,” Eric laughed. “A job centre for rogues and ponces?”

“Keep it down, you fuckwit. It’s serious stuff for those trying to turn their lives around.”

Eric’s short attention span found itself diverted to a large, curly-haired man entering the visitor’s hall, who confidently sauntered over to the table next to him and Tom – where, he was greeted by a woman looking not too dissimilar in appearance.

“Fuck, look at that hairy bastard,” Eric pointed out. “Looks like Zorba, the Greek, don’t he…”

“Glancing back at them, the curly-haired man greeted Tom with a nod of his head.”

“Tom,” he cordially saluted in a Mediterranean accent.

“George,” Tom replied.

Leaning forward towards his friend, Eric’s surprised look prefaced his next question.

“That’s George, the poisoner cook?”

Catching the two men, staring at him, George inquisitively jerked his head in an upward movement – as if to ask, who Tom’s visitor was.

“This is Eric,” Tom responded.

“Eric,” George repeated, acknowledging his presence. “George,” he added while tapping his chest.

George’s physical gesture tickled Eric to the point of letting out a short laugh.

“You Tarzan, me Jane,” he recited from the famous movie line, while tapping his own chest.

“Tom?” George asked in a curious tone.

“This is Eric,” Tom replied with eyes jutting wide open, pushing his eyebrows to their stretching limit, while silently gesturing for George to realise who Eric was.

“Eric,” George unenthusiastically repeated, before his face lit up with the recognition. “Oh, you’re the Eric!” He exclaimed.

The unsolicited notoriety took Eric by surprise, confusing him beyond his limited comprehension.

“Eric, the bank bungler,” George added, wiping the confused smirk from Eric’s face.

“Eric, the police despatcher,” George continued with a list of aliases. “Eric, the timewaster, and Eric, the stupid cunt!”

“Well, I’m not sure about the last one, mate,” Eric defensively responded.

“Your mate here is,” George pointed out, causing Eric to ocularly search Tom for a denial of slur. However, unfortunately for Eric, it failed to materialise.

Trying to move the conversation on, Eric huffingly spluttered out a, “Yes,” followed by a clearing of his throat. “Well, it’s nice to meet you, George. Tom was just tellin’ me about ‘ow you’re teaching him to cook without poisoning people.”

George thought long and hard about how to respond to Eric’s forthrightness. Overlooking the obvious attempt to rile him, George decided to answer honestly.

“I’m preparing him for chef school. But he is no cook. He is a prodigy of the kitchen. He get good job when he gets out.”

“Blimey,” Eric realised. “You were serious.”

“When am I ever not,” Tom’s annoyed response rang out.

“And who’s your visitor, George?” Eric asked - with a preface to winding him up further. “Is this your mum?”

Silence deafened the room. It was as if everyone had been listening with one ear on the conversation and subsequently feigned shock from Eric’s unflattering question. Realising the stillness in the room, Eric shrugged his shoulders at Tom.

“Wot!?” He calculatingly asked with an underlying smirk stretching his cheeks.

Tom stared blankly back at him, before explaining through gritted teeth.

“That’s his wife, George.”

“George’s wife? Go on, what!? I thought she was…”

“George,” Tom hurriedly interrupted.

“George?”

“Her name is George.”

“Fuck me, your wife’s called George, as well,” Eric asked the vexed man. “George and George,” Eric shared with the silenced room. “He’s George and she’s George. What a laugh,” he loudly tried to explain to the room, while soliciting for allies to join in on the joke. Engrossed within their own whispered conversations, the disengaging audience was too concerned about their own dilemmas to care about Eric’s fubar outburst, so the room once again filled with clandestine whispers, impatient children crying, and the odd outburst of laughter – here and there.

“It’s short for Georgina, you idiot,” Tom corrected his friend.

“Right,” Eric shyly replied. “I knew that was wot it was short for,” he stated to Tom’s sceptical facial expression. “I did,” he sheepishly affirmed. “George and George. Good one.”

Studying Eric during the previous few moments, George leant over and tapped Tom on his left shoulder.

“Your mate’s everything you said he was.”

“I try to live up to my billing,” Eric misconstrued.

“It wasn’t a compliment,” George snapped back.

“Oi, Tom. Wot ‘ave you been sayin’ abowt me?”

To Tom’s surprise, Eric’s mood darkened at the thought of his best friend bad-mouthing him.

“He told me you’re a plonker,” George answered. “And not in a good sense,” he insultingly added.

“There ain’t any other sense,” Eric responded - annoyed at the rudeness of the hairy Greek man. “Plonker stands for, Person with Little Or No knowledge. I know that much, so stick that up your prison bum, you olive fucker!”

Outraged, George stood up to confront Eric – now backing away from the angry Greek. With a short shout and a long arm raised skyward, he beckoned the monitoring officer to him. As he approached, George reluctantly sat back down, pretending to converse with his wife.

“Is there a problem, sir?” The monitoring officer asked.

Eric’s brow lowered, as a smidge of pettiness emerged and a large dose of deviousness took hold of him.

“…Yes, I’d like to report something untoward.”

“Untoward who, sir?”

He’d gone this far, so Eric decided there was no going back.

“Untoward the safety of this prison,” Eric indicated, as he pointed at George. “I’ve just overheard this man planning an escape from here.”

“Escape, sir? When?”

“Just now.”

“No, I mean, when is the escape planned for?”

“I dunno the exact time, but it’s today!” Eric shouted – now pointing at the married pair. “These twin-a-likes are planning to swap clothes in the conjugal room, with the ugly one walking right out of here dressed as her.”

“That’s not true!” George vociferously protested. “He’s lying!”

“God’s honest truth,” Eric added. “I mean, look at ‘em. They’re like two peas in a pod. ‘Cept she’s more manly looking than he is.”

Insulted and enraged, George plunged at Eric, but was quickly immobilised by the monitoring officer, who held him in a tight headlock.

“Right!” Announced the officer, as he called several other staff members over to remove the married couple from the room, while George pleaded for assistance.

“Tom, say something!”

Tom motioned to his friend to come clean.

“Eric!?”

“Win-win, Tom,” Eric convolutedly explained, while George and his wife were escorted from the room.

“He’ll lose his kitchen privileges, now.”

“Yeah, I was hoping fer that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I got to thinkin’ that with him banged up in solitary, you’d get the chef job.”

“Are you fucking stupid, or what? No, don’t answer that!” Tom’s raised voice displayed his growing inner anxiety.

“It’s simple pecking order mathematics,” Eric explained. “The big cheese is gone, so his assistant takes his place.”

“It doesn’t work that way in here,” Tom’s voice quivered. “He’s not only the Big Cheese of the kitchen, he’s also the Big Man of the inmates.”

“So, you’ll become the big man of the…”

“Shut up!” Tom interrupted. “I’ll be lucky to see the inside of my own cell, after this. Word will get around that you - my so-called mate - grassed him up.”

“Yeah, but I just made it up. Look, if it clears the air, I’ll tell ‘em I was misled by voices in me head.”

“You wanker! I dunno how you came up with that story, but that was his exact plan all along. Only, I was to create a distraction over here, while he changed clothes, applied make-up, then left while all eyes were on me.”

“What!? Why would you do that?”

“Coz, he was leaving me the keys to the kitchen, you pillock.”

“You was gonna be the big cheese, after all?”

“Yes, now I’ll have a target on my back that says, Grassers Mate.”

“How was I to know?”

“You weren’t supposed to. Otherwise, you’d have found a way to fuck it up. I was going to do something that would make you look like an innocent bystander.”

“I don’t get it.”

“You were going to be the distraction, you thick-head.

“Me? How was I gonna be the distraction?”

Tom motioned Eric closer to him, like he wanted to tell him a secret. As he leant in to listen, Tom’s right palm, smacked itself on Eric’s temple, sending him flying backwards, causing him to end up on the floor, momentarily befuddling him. Rubbing his sore face, Eric immediately sat up and smiled. However, he was a little upset at his friend for slapping him.

“Nice one.” Eric said, trying to hide his embarrassment. “That definitely would have worked.”

Then, as loud as he despicably could, Eric added – for all to hear, “Next time, just let me know in advance when you’re planning a prison escape…”

Once again, the room went deathly silent. Tom half-heartedly looked over to where the monitoring officer had retaken his seat – hoping he hadn’t heard Eric’s loud declaration. However, everyone had heard it, so it was only a matter of time.

“Prisoner 1592813, over here - if you will. Chop-chop, there’s a good lad,” ordered the monitoring officer.

Standing in response to the officer’s index finger motioning him to walk towards an impending reprimand, Tom carefully stepped over Eric – who was attempting to get off the floor.

“Sorry, mate. I came here with the best of intentions to cheer you up,” Eric coyly apologised.

With a quick shove to his head, Tom returned Eric to the floor, then reported to the monitoring officer. Resigned to the fact that an additional six months of incarceration loomed over him, he briefly stopped and turned to calmly address Eric.

“You really wanna do me a favour, Eric?”

“Sure, Tom. Anything. What is it?”

“…Fuck off!”

 

April 12, 2023 06:51

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44 comments

Lily Finch
01:49 Apr 13, 2023

Tom needs to get a new gig with new gigsters. Pretty funny story, as always.

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Chris Campbell
02:13 Apr 13, 2023

Thanks, Lily. This is the second Tom/Eric story of a planned trilogy. In case you missed the first (23 stories ago), its called, "May Day." https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/t9xlck/

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Lily Finch
02:56 Apr 13, 2023

thank you, Chris. LF6.

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Graham Kinross
17:23 Jan 03, 2024

I love the farce in this. Misunderstanding made the most of. Very funny. Well done Chris.

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Chris Campbell
02:13 Jan 04, 2024

Thanks, Graham. Tom and Eric have appeared in five stories, so far, and there's still more to come with these two hapless friends.

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Graham Kinross
06:41 Jan 04, 2024

You’re welcome. I look forward to reading more of them.

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Chris Campbell
07:04 Jan 04, 2024

Thanks. In case you missed them, here they are in order of appearance: 1. Exact change Only (shortlisted) - https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/yuhvgf/ 2. A Sunday Roasting - https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/y9hjdo/ 3. Shopping For Jesus - https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/232856/ 4. Instructive Behaviour - Already read

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Amanda Lieser
13:52 May 02, 2023

Hi Chris! What a unique take on the prompt. I love how you introduced these characters and captured their mutual misunderstanding. You took something that felt a bit intimidating and made it amusing. I love the way you write dialogue, Chris, you have such an amazing talent for characterizing your cast through their words and this piece did not disappoint in that department. The final exchange was truly the cherry on top. Nice work!!

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Chris Campbell
14:30 May 02, 2023

Amanda, Thanks for your great feedback. This is the second Tom and Eric story in their trilogy. So glad you liked it. If you have time, the first story is called "May Day." https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/t9xlck/ and the third story is called "Michelin Start-Up." https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/24cws4/

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23:27 Apr 19, 2023

The dialogue here is really colorful the situation is ridiculous—right out of arrested development reboot or something. The start with the postcard is a great hook.

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Chris Campbell
00:13 Apr 20, 2023

Anne, Thank you for your great feedback. The postcard story was drawn from a real situation I heard about someone I once knew. I've been saving it for decades.

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Josephine Harris
12:47 Apr 19, 2023

Oh my lord Chris, this is funny. I haven't laughed so hard in ages. Is your novel going to be comedic also? Because defo I would want to read. PLEASE keep it up. Ooh I just saw the link to the first one so I'm off to read that. Definitely a follower!

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Chris Campbell
00:16 Apr 20, 2023

Josephine, Thank you for the wonderful feedback. I hope to have a generous portion of comedy involved in my novel. Interspersed with bombs falling, Nazi spies, and a love interest. There's comedy in there somewhere. 😉

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Josephine Harris
20:05 Apr 20, 2023

Perhaps if you could work in a railway crash and a dad getting hit in the privates with a baseball you might be onto something :)

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Chris Campbell
01:04 Apr 21, 2023

I will consider it. 🙂

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Viga Boland
23:25 Apr 17, 2023

Marvellous characterization and dialogue. The entire time I was reading I thought I was watching a TV sitcom or movie. So easy to visualize everything going on, and the humour was wonderful, right down to the of colour language being used by Eric and Tom. Awesome writing as always Chris. 👌

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Chris Campbell
00:15 Apr 18, 2023

Thank you, Viga. That is great feedback. I plan on completing the Tom and Eric trilogy as soon as Reedsy provides the perfect prompt for them. In case you missed their introduction and the story that led them to this one, please take a read of "May Day." https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/t9xlck/ So glad you liked it and the extraneous language.

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Viga Boland
02:44 Apr 18, 2023

Will do Chris. Sorry I missed episode 1 but now I can catch up 😊

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Chris Campbell
03:47 Apr 18, 2023

Thank you. 🙂

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Laurel Hanson
21:17 Apr 17, 2023

This is really funny. Enjoyed it from top to bottom. Love how fast it moves and yet each character is so richly depicted, largely through their own words, that it's incredibly easy to follow. Love: "Eric’s brow lowered, as a smidge of pettiness emerged and a large dose of deviousness took hold of him." A quick and clever take on this prompt. Looks like a winner.

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Chris Campbell
22:50 Apr 17, 2023

Laurel, Thank you for your great feedback and your wonderful support. Tom and Eric will return to a page near here, soon. Fingers crossed for your prediction to come true.

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Mary Bendickson
19:08 Apr 16, 2023

When I read talent like yours I feel so blessed you even took time to read and like my 'Monotony'. Thanks. This was so over the wall!

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Chris Campbell
03:23 Apr 17, 2023

Thanks, Mary. Glad you liked it. Keep on creating. When I first started on Reedsy, it was the likes and comments from other writers that helped me grow, so I try to pass that on - when I can.

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Wally Schmidt
04:49 Apr 16, 2023

Laughed until I cried. Great dialogue & creativity. Also learned what a plonker is and the difference between cilantro and corriander. Thanks Chris!

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Chris Campbell
06:10 Apr 16, 2023

Wally, Thanks for the great feedback. I learned the meaning of plonker just before writing the story. What a great library of information we have at our fingertips in today's world. Glad it made you laugh.

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02:18 Apr 15, 2023

This was such a fun read. The comic twists and turns just kept coming, from the prison escape graphic postcard, all the way until Eric trying to get George into trouble so Tom can get the chef job, which then spoils their recipe for escape. And some great dialogue, I could picture characters in a Guy Ritchie film having this back and forth. One of the funniest stories I've read this year.

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Chris Campbell
02:43 Apr 15, 2023

Scott, What great feedback, thank you. This was a follow up to the earlier antics of Tom and Eric in "May Day," https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/t9xlck/ So glad to have provided laughs to readers other than myself. Tom and Eric could very well be in a Guy Ritchie movie, so if anyone out there knows Guy Ritchie, please send him the link. Thanks again for the great rating.

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Delbert Griffith
12:33 Apr 14, 2023

Well done, Chris! The continuing saga of the bungling bank robbers! This story was, simply put, pure enjoyment. The dialogue is stellar, my friend. Finest kind. I really think a novel about these two would be a great read. I'd buy it! You have two great characters and a very creative mind that constructs the most hilarious scenarios. Love it, Chris. Cheers!

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Chris Campbell
15:42 Apr 14, 2023

Delbert, Many thanks for your great feedback. I have thought about these two for a novel. I see them in a possible TV comedy miniseries, as Eric may grate on a few people, and I'm not sure he would keep the reader amused throughout several hundred pages - without them burning the book to exorcise him. However, the novel I have started has two characters inspired by Tom and Eric, but more street smart and with a tighter friendship between them. It's set in the underworld of the London Blitz in 1940. Tom and Eric will return to close t...

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Michał Przywara
20:55 Apr 13, 2023

Ha! I remember these two from the bank story :) Eric is like the living incarnation of the prompt theme this week. Considering all his antics, Tom's got a hell of a lot of patience. Eric's short-sighted but desperate to be acting, so he does the first thing that pops into his mind. I get the sense that when it craps up, he quickly finds a way to rationalize it as not his fault, which gives him the green light to continue "helping". "Thoughts need brain cells, Eric." Ha! Brutal :) "when he came up with the hair-brained idea of the eas...

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Chris Campbell
00:12 Apr 14, 2023

Michal, Thanks for your great feedback. I have some ideas on ending the trilogy of the two misfit friends. Just waiting for the perfect weekly prompt to inspire me. Tom will most assuredly survive his "Porridge." Possibly, he'll be looking for a way out of the friendship as he grows as a person. I do think Eric lives in a bubble of what he perceives as good intentions, but others see as just a directionless fool. Whether or not he can grow out of it, will take a bit of thought on my part. So glad you liked the story.

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Chris Campbell
08:38 Apr 14, 2023

Caught the harebrained misspell late on. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Rebecca Miles
20:18 Apr 13, 2023

This was a blast, as always. I'm not very hot on anything prison based ( books, films, series) but this did spark some recollections of Paddington 2 ( that British institution) and how the poor marmalade sandwich loving bear escapes prison with a similar band of good- at- heart crooks. I wonder if you've seen it;it too features a prison cook who memorably has his names " Knuckles' " tattooed on his knuckles. The misplaced apostrophe is a writer's gold carat joke! I'd recommend a watch if you haven't seen it; perfect for all ages.

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Chris Campbell
00:06 Apr 14, 2023

Rebecca, Thanks for the great feedback. I've not seen Paddington 2 yet, but I will. I liked the first one. Glad you liked my prison caper.

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Kevin V
00:21 Apr 13, 2023

Huh... I read this and picture Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the characters, but am unsure as to who plays who? This is hilarious, Chris! As usual, love the dialects and the British? Slang. Funny how Eric keeps inadvertently giving Tom more time, especially the postcard which I found to be pretty clever! Eric is rather devious, I think. Whether not really Tom's friend or just loves the chaos, I don't know. I really enjoyed the interaction between these two. When George tapped his chest, I thought Tarzan as well before Eric mentioned it. T...

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Chris Campbell
00:47 Apr 13, 2023

Kevin, What great feedback, thank you. I think Eric may be a tad narcissistic, don't you? Years ago, I knew someone's mother in the USA that pen-friended an inmate and sent him a postcard of the prison - and yes, he ended up with an additional six months stay, because they thought he was planning an escape. This was the inspiration for the story. I've been sitting on that snippet for 26 years. 🤣 If you're interested, Tom and Eric started off in "May Day." https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/t9xlck/ I plan on a third story in the future ...

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Howard Halsall
00:10 Apr 13, 2023

Hey Chris, I enjoyed the developing exchange between Tom and Eric, and intrigued by your story as it unfolded and unravelled into the chaos at the end. With friends like Eric, who needs enemies? Well done HH

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Chris Campbell
00:40 Apr 13, 2023

Howard, Many thanks for the great feedback. This is the second in a planned trilogy. If you want to know how Tom ended up in prison, please read, "May Day." https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/t9xlck/

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Howard Halsall
00:45 Apr 13, 2023

Thanks Chris, I ‘ll check it out :)

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Michelle Oliver
08:24 Apr 12, 2023

Oh gosh, could Eric be any more dense?! Some friend he turned out to be. Loved the interplay between the two friends. Poor old Tom, I think he needs new friends. Great read as always.

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Chris Campbell
23:30 Apr 12, 2023

Thanks, Michelle. I'm thinking Eric is a bit calculating in his methods. Dense? Yes, but bordering on Narcissistic. I agree that Tom needs a new circle of friends; however, I have one more story for their trilogy to be written at a later date and there may be a parting of the ways - or not. Glad you liked the story.

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R W Mack
17:32 Apr 16, 2023

I've got enough experience with prison to say this is all pretty on point. I actually had a similar exchange with someone and had a great laugh about it. Good times, good times. Cilantro and coriander! Goddamn, that got me. Good dialogue.

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Chris Campbell
04:04 Apr 17, 2023

Thanks, RW. Having lived on three continents, I've always been curious about the coriander/cilantro difference, as I make a lot of Mexican dishes at home. In the USA, it's cilantro but everywhere else, it's coriander. However, as I've tasted both, I could tell the difference. The story brought my curiosity to the fore. I'm so glad the prison scene worked, as I just used my imagination to describe it and used what I've seen on TV and film.

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R W Mack
13:11 Apr 17, 2023

Yeah, they only screen incoming mail and generally toss anything in violation while passing along an explanation, required by law, to the recipient inmate. White out is also not allowed and will get a letter tossed. I knew someone so mad about their friend's letter getting trashed for such a, to her, stupid reason that she sent a letter on black construction paper and the phrase, "Fuck CO's" in white out. The inmate was displeased at their friend's bravado, but everyone had an understanding chuckle about it.

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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