The conversation lulls and as if the quiet forces Gerard to break the silence he says, “I tried donating my stepson to Goodwill, shoved that little fuck right into the donation box. Not sure what we expected, but like a cockroach he crawled out and came home contaminated with bedbugs. Now we have two problems thanks to him.”

The red haired convenience store manager lifts the shot of Wild Turkey. Its been sitting idle in front of him on the bar. His arm flab jiggles like a pendulum on an old clock. He holds the whiskey high up in the air as if offering a salute before continuing, “To a dead body and a burned down home.”

He pauses after downing the volatile bourbon and shakes his head.

We all hoped for laughter and a ‘just kidding,’ but it never came, but the cops did and the soft wafting scent of a wood fire burning somewhere.

Gerard is doing 20 to life up at singsing.

Somebody said he is happy finally.

“This is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” he is rumored to have told the judge at sentencing, “thank you very much.”



Published by Bryan

I am an army vet, husband, and father of twins, I am currently working on my next publication, a collection of military fiction, and next year will be publishing an apocalyptic science fiction novel. My urban noir novel, "Compounded Interest," can be purchased on Amazon. I host a podcast on creativity called Origin: Stories on Creativity and co-host the soon-to-be-released show on speculative fiction called Mirage with fantasy author R. Emma Hardcastle. My youtube channel is: The Origin podcast feed is: For updates on "Mirage" and future publications follow me on twitter: @bryaiello More of my short fiction can be found at: My amazon author page is:

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