A Cold Choice
ROW80-1 -03/03 -Is it Spring Yet?

Coming Clean

The challenge this week from FlashFictionFriday was to use eight given words in a 1000 word story, words chosen at random from a list of  16. I got confess, second, lively, exchange, smell, noisy, stocking, and sign. It took a few days, but eventually my subconscious came up with a story. I added characters, issue, some plot, and voila. I bolded my eight words. It's just under 1000 words.

Coming Clean

Trevor hadn't meant to hit the old lady so hard.

This was his intro into the gang, leading a break-in. He'd peeked in a window and saw her quietly napping by the fire, one stocking down by her ankle, wrapped in a blanket like a corpse, with three or four fat cats sleeping at her feet.  No problem. But when she was confronted with three teenagers, balaclavas hiding their faces, she became decidedly more lively. As did the cats. They hissed and spit at the boys, while she bounced up from her chair, screaming and thrashing around with her cane. 

Tony glared at Trevor. "Shit, man, what a screwup. Shut her up."

So he had, apparently.

He poked her. 

"Lady?" Nothing. He turned back to his friends. "Guys, I'm not--", but they were gone. Bastards.
So, what to take? She might have money hidden somewhere but too late now. The place was a mess of dirty dishes, with bits of food and whatever dropped on the rug.

Trevor quickly grabbed a thick roll of cash from the purse. Success. He could hear voices calling at the front door—she’d been pretty noisy. He headed out the back way and up the alley. He threw the balaclava and gloves into a dumpster, then paused to catch his breath. Safe.

Minutes later he was swaggering into the old garage they called headquarters. As he’d thought, all the gang was there.

"Hey, what happened to you guys? Chicken?"

"You killed her, man," said Tony.

"Well, the bust was your idea," said Trevor. "You said she was just a little old lady, she’d faint as soon as she saw us."

"Bullshit," said Tony. "You screwed up." He paused. "Did you get anything?"

Trevor smiled and held out the roll of bills. "Like this? Must be a few hundred in here for us. So, am I in now?"

Tony nodded. "Yeah, I guess you are. Now let’s snort a few lines to celebrate."

It was almost dark by the time Trevor left the party, heading for home. Maybe his older brothers hadn't eaten all the supper. He was strutting down the street, a little high and a little drunk, when he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder.

"Trevor, me lad. And why do you seem in such a good mood.?"

Shit, It was Detective Kelly. Trevor tried to squirm free but the Detective's grip quickly shifted to his collar.

"Now, now, Trevor, don’t be in a rush. Let’s you and I take a little trip downtown."

It wasn’t Trevor’s first time in an interrogation room with Kelly, but he knew that as a juvenile, he was safe.

Kelly leaned forward "I think you know why you’re here. There was a break-in today over on Clarence. A Mrs. Miller was robbed, beaten, and left for dead."

Trevor just stared back at Kelly. But Miller sounded familiar. He knew a Charlie Miller from school. Shit, maybe that was his gran.

"Trevor? From the look on your face, maybe some of this is coming back now."

"No, just feeling sorry for the lady—is she okay?"

"Can’t say," said Kelly. "She managed to say a few words in the ambulance, but that was it. If she doesn’t pull through, we’ll be trying you as an adult. Where were you all day?"

Trevor forced a smile. "With my friends, over at Tony’s place. Ask them."

It was Kelly’s turn to smile. "Actually, that’s where I started looking for you. They said they hadn’t seen you all day. Care to change your story? I could be perhaps convinced to ask for some leniency."

Assholes. So much for being part of the gang. But of course they’d still expect him to take the rap. Trevor just shrugged. "That’s my story."

Kelly placed an evidence bag on the table. "We found these in a dumpster just up the alley. A balaclava and some leather gloves. Do you think the gloves might fit?"

"What if they do? I bet most of the kids in the neighbourhood would fit them." He slid his chair back and put his foot up on the desk. "Is that all you’ve got?"

Kelly leaned forward, about to push Trevor's foot off the desk, but paused and sniffed. "What’s that smell?"

"I don't smell nothing." said Trevor.

"No wonder, with all that crap you snort." Kelly leaned closer, actually sniffing Trevor’s shoe. He pulled back and grimaced. "Christ, it’s you. Cat shit, all over the bottom of those expensive LeBron’s. I was just in Mrs. Miller’s place, she needs less cats and more kitty litter trays. But I bet we find your footprints in the mess there. I’ll ask a second, and last time. This exchange is not going well for you. Care to change your story? Tell us about you, and Tony’s gang. Oh, and foot down please—I’m not touching it."

Trevor dropped his foot down and stared at his shoes. Kelly had him. Next steps would be a long jail term. For just him. All for some cash and a gang that dumped him as soon as they could. And Charlie’s Gran, shit, that could have been his own gran. She lived alone too, just like that. Well, without the cats.

Trevor nodded. "If I do, can I get a witness protection thing?"

Kelly laughed. "Ah Trevor, you’re not giving us the Mafia here. Best I can do is spread the word the old lady identified you all by voices. You do all live in the same neighbourhood, shop at the same corner store."

"All right," said Trevor. "I’ll confess."

Within twenty minutes he’d written up his side of the story, including Tony and the gang. He signed the document and slid it across to Kelly.

"Good choice, Trevor. And, just to let you know, Mrs. Miller was just sedated for a while, she’ll soon be as feisty as ever."

Trevor shook his head. The bastard. But at least she was okay.


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Joyce Juzwik

Great story, Mike. You've put together a tale that flows smoothly, and your eight words fit in very nicely with the plot and the mood. Trevor's not a bad kid; he's just trying to belong. Unfortunately, he's trying to belong in the worst possible way. The police can lie to suspects, or strongly hint at an untruth (not quite lying, but close) and a lot of times, it helps to bring a confession. In this case, it worked well, and I think all concerned, even Trevor, will be okay in the end. Great job with this!


Joyce - thx. The Detective did bend the truth with Trevor, but sometimes the end justifies the means.

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