The Last Lunch at Nanking’s

chinese restaurant

© Singledust

Joel had been bringing his son Chris to the Nanking’s on Balboa since he was seven. They had father-son talks over dumpling soup or dry-fried chicken. Tommy Woo, the owner, was like an uncle to the boy. Joel and Chris eventually became a fixture at Nanking’s.

Chris was 30 now and engaged. This was their last lunch together.

Nanking doesn’t open until noon, but Joel asked Tommy for a favor. They lunched at ten just the two men with Tommy and his staff.

Chris opened his fortune cookie and read it. “Your life will change dramatically. Never thought these things were true until now.”

Joel smiled weakly and looked out the window.

“They’re here son. You ready?”

“Yes, Dad. Thanks for this one last time together.”

They stood. Tommy was near the kitchen door, tears streaming down his face.

“I love you, son.” They embraced, both crying now.

“I’ll turn myself in. You’re right. I caught Mallory cheating on me, but I shouldn’t have killed her. Now I’m going to prison.”

I wrote this in response to the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. Based on the photo prompt above, ideally, you’re supposed to write a flash fiction story of between 100 and 150 words, however the word count can go up to 175. That’s good, because my wee tale comes in at 170 words.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit

There’s a very slight similarity to reality here. My son David and I periodically meet at a local Thai restaurant on Fridays about once every three months or so to spend time together. Beyond that, the story is pure fiction.

18 thoughts on “The Last Lunch at Nanking’s

  1. Wow, what a twist at the end there! I like how you foreshadow that something’s up by saying it’s their last time there, leaving me wondering why it would be the last time. That definitely was not one of my guesses!


  2. Such a challenging piece, you made me feel for the murder. Most crime writing leaves me flat, but this piece certainly did not. Very well put together.


    • Thanks, Michael.

      Actually, I’m thinking more of manslaughter/crime of passion than premeditated murder. Also, this is less a crime story and more of a family tragedy. It’s the story about a Dad who has always supported his son and, when he finds out his son killed his fiancee, he convinces him to turn himself in to the police peacefully. Their traditional lunches together is the backdrop for the sort of relationship they have.

      When I was a much younger man, I worked as a therapist at a runaway shelter and youth counseling program. One of our teens was wanted by the police, and I kept him in an office talking while police were on their way. I helped keep him calm when law enforcement arrived and he didn’t resist when they cuffed him. I was thinking about that incident while writing this story.


  3. A touching scene, family bonds can be funny things, especially if a murder is putting strains on relations. I felt for the father though, I suspect he may end up suffering more than his son. Nice work.


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