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Now They Call Me Gunner

by Thom Whalen


Copyright (c) 2012 Thom Whalen


All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction, either in whole or in part, in any form. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



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In the summer of nineteen seventy-one, the head cook at Elsa’s Grill was a crazy man named Randal. I don’t remember his last name. Maybe I never knew it. It doesn’t matter because his name wasn’t important. His craziness was what mattered and it took me a while to find out how crazy he was and why.

Elsa’s was a mom-and-pop diner in Wemsley, a small town in upstate New York, halfway between there and nowhere. Elsa’s was no different than any other little family-owned restaurant anywhere else in these United States.

The grill was ageless. I never knew if it was a real grill or just a sheet of three-eights steel thrown on top of an old gas stove. But it had seen more liver and onions than I could stomach, even in my worst nightmares. And I have had some bad nightmares about the summer I worked at Elsa’s.

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