“The children found a spent shell in the parking lot by the field. My son, Jason, was sure this meant murder was in the air. Easy to imagine in our part of town, but harder to settle on which neighbor might have done it. A pool of unsavory people, if I’m being polite.”

“I’d always intended to move, but I’m not a very reliable employee, so instead of advancing my career I’ve had to settle for whatever I could get. Low pay makes for low incentives and this where you end up living: a rundown apartment complex full of people you’d like to avoid.”

“Jason is a bright kid with an inventive imagination, but this time I had to put a stop to his theorizing. Fantasies about crime aren’t something I want to encourage in him. With his mother out of the picture, I’ve had a tough time being the type of parent he needs. I’m gone a lot and when I’m here he’s got his head down over his laptop or he’s out with the neighbor kids wandering around. I feel guilty keeping him trapped in this damn apartment, but I don’t like his friends either.”

“The truth is, I am not a good role model for him and he knows it. The boy has much better insight than I have. He is tuned in. What I am really afraid of now is that he’ll figure out that shell came from my gun.”

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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