Short Stories

Published in MAGNOLIAS AND MAYHEM, co-written with A.B. Robbins, edited by Jeffrey Marks; ISBN 1-570-72112-2.

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In jail on a trumped-up charge, Cisroe Perkins, P.I. and restaurant owner, is invited along on a jailbreak. He refuses until he overhears a hit called on a young man from his neighborhood. In moments he finds himself on the street evading the law while chasing down a would-be assassin.

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Ben Weems had it in mind to bust out but I wanted no part of it.

"Alls we do is make that door," he said, voice as soft as a singer who knows how to make a crowd weep. "Walk right out, like we helping Virgil. Y’all don’t take care of your own selfs, somebody else be scratching your balls." His eyes gleamed bright as a beetle’s, and it was hard to tell if it was from roustin’ me or from the concerns of his young heart.

"I got nineteen days left of my thirty," I said. "I can do that spinning on a knuckle."

Over by the far wall, two inmates were sitting at a table, slapping cards down and calling each other good-natured names while they spent their dream jackpots. We were 39 of us stashed temporarily in the basement of the old civil courts building downtown because the main jail was full-up and the municipal work farm was overflowing. So this was jail, a building that looked pretty much like all the other ancient brown brick buildings downtown, the rooms dim or glaring with fluorescents.

"Gotta get me on home, see my boy, Cisroe, so’s he don’ forget his daddy’s face."