Testimony by John Riley

The next winter the house burned down. The summer before Bobby lived with us. He was short with a thick mustache and big muscles and didn’t like wearing a shirt in the heat. He showed me how to make a belt snap by looping the end to the buckle and jerking it from both sides. It’s trickier than it sounds when you’re a kid. You’d catch a finger if you weren’t careful and have to worry about crying. I walked around snapping his belt until she yelled at me to please for God’s sake stop. “I can’t take it anymore,” she said. He did card tricks too but wouldn’t show me how they worked. I could figure them out when I grew up. Now I think about it maybe his name wasn’t Bobby. The first day he wasn’t there I kept my mouth shut. The next day I asked where he’d gone. “Back to where he came from,” she said.


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Filed under John Riley

8 responses to “Testimony by John Riley

  1. Len

    tight and strong. very visual. i had a similar situation so this hit home for me. nicely done.

  2. Very mysterious, and I can see why a kid would like him.

  3. What I really like is how well you got inside a kid’s head to focus on the important stuff, like the snapping of a belt. Nice.

  4. John Riley

    Thanks everyone for the support.

  5. Kim Hutchinson

    The signs are all there, but the child doesn’t see them. Nicely done.

  6. Nicely done! You show without telling! I wish I could that. Thanks.

  7. Stark stuff. The title makes the piece chilling. Peace…

  8. Pingback: Week #33 – Spontaneous combustion | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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