Misdemeanor Offense by John Riley

It was a surprise they put me in a dormitory, not a cell, with fourteen sets of bunk beds along two walls, windows with no bars, and that for two days no one threatened me, the kid with Penguin classics under his mattress. It was not a surprise when, on the third day, the man sat on my bunk without invitation and told me without being asked he’d beaten his friend to death with a pool cue and still didn’t know why and asked without caring which book was my favorite. I showed him my used copy of Lady With a Little Dog except in that translation it was called Lady With a Lapdog. He said no man should be a lapdog. I agreed and told him the story. “Fuckin’ cheaters,” he said which made me think of my father and I told him about our drunken trip to Mexico, my dad and I, and how at fourteen I’d driven us over the Madres and through a town called Durango. It was a surprise that after I said Durango he stared a long time at the wall of men wearing green shirts and green pants waiting to see what was supposed to happen and whispered twice “Madres at Durango” and then said I should shut-up he’d make sure I was okay but I should shut-up and the prisoners, so unlike me I was certain, schooled away, leaving behind an endlessness that didn’t last.


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Filed under John Riley

7 responses to “Misdemeanor Offense by John Riley

  1. Powerful, suspenseful story, I felt so worried for the boy, and this strange man coming to him, and love the backstory of the trip with the father. So well done!

  2. I agree. I’m worried about the kid!

  3. This sounds like the beginning of a novel, there’s so much more to these men. Well drawn characters.

  4. John Riley

    Thanks for the feedback. This is my first posting at 52/250 and your comments are encouraging.

  5. Kim Hutchinson

    Very nice start to the challenge! The trip is haunting.

  6. Welcome to this great site, John! A great first story, diving right into the deep end. This story has complex details, rich, and there are multiple possibilities with this one. I also felt concern for the boy, a nod to your character building traits.

  7. Pingback: Week #32 – Silence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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