by Denis Bell
The latest item had come in while Ray was out of the office. West Coast – TB17. He looked at it and swore under his breath. He hadn’t signed on for this crap, at least it wasn’t what he thought he was signing on for. Looked like he was in for the duration now. No official rule against resigning, yet you heard things … roach motels and the like. Ray shuddered at the thought, he had a couple of kids. He forced his attention back to the printout.
8/15/2013 9:35 am PST
ON OUR STREET every child has a mom and a dad
ON OUR STREET everybody is whyte
Everybody is strate
Everybody sez their prayers
Dogz live forever
Catz dont exist
Everybody bathes (twice a day)
ON OUR STREET everybody is DEDD
What the frack, a poem? Following this “work of art”, the usual synopsis. Ray felt a little sick as he read it over.
Tamas (Tommy) Olenic
Address: 355 Cedar Avenue, Portland OR 83510 Introvert/Extrovert Spectrum: l3
Sexual orientation: ?
St Johns High School, Oak Hill District, Portland OR
Grades: B/C (underachiever)
INTERESTS: Drama club, Faulkner society
Jim looked over from the other desk. “What you got there, Buster?”
Ray stared back stonily. Forty years of age, he must have been ten years older than this schmuck though the other man had seniority. He was welcome to it.
Ray handed it over. “Came in ten minutes ago.”
“Hmm … Tamas. Sounds East European. Most likely why it got picked up, aftter Boston.”
“Sounds like a goddam idiot.”
“Lit nerd. Creative type. Disaffected.”
Ray sighed. “Want me to send it on?”
“Fits the profile.”
“Pretty darn weak if you ask me. See the Crim/Psy? C-4 at the most.”
“We’re sending C-4 now. You did get the memo, I suppose?”
Ray was thinking about Mark, who this year would be applying to colleges. Anne, who was majoring in Psychology at Penn.
“High school kids, for God’s sake?”
“Shit happens. Kid walks into a mall. Say hello to my little friend. Next thing you know, we’re on Fox News Sunday.”
“Whereas another screwball turns up in a dumpster…”
“That’s what you do with garbage, right?”
“A truck driver in Maine.”
“Fell asleep at the wheel of his cab. Happens all the time.”
“A witless little punk in Oregon.”
“Don’t sweat it. Probably won’t even happen.”
“If it does you won’t see it on Fox.”
“Brief mention on News At Ten, maybe. On a slow night.”
“We all get a gold star.”
“Hell, it’s nice to be appreciated.”
“Possibly a bonus.”
“Baby needs a new pair of shoes.”
“You know what? I’ve just about had it with this shit.”
“Hey, you got a problem Joe Friday, take it upstairs. I’m just doing my job.”
“Keeping the public safe.”
Troll Bot: a device that monitors Internet traffic, searching for suspicious activity.
Denis Bell is a mathematics professor living in Jacksonville, Florida. He was born in London, England, a while ago. He is the father of two great kids. Aside from writing short fiction, his hobbies include listening to music, watching Premier League soccer, and surfing (the web, that is!). His work has appeared in Foliate Oak, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, The Prague Revue, and many other journals.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.