a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

the escaped murderer

< by Brennan >

On an October evening, my parents went out and left a babysitter in their stead. My brother and I had an ordinary night ahead: throw down on some NBA Jam, order some pizza, and call it a night (accompanied with the expected pleading for just a little later). Then the phone rang.

Our neighbor alerted us to a news story about an escaped convict that was in the neighborhood, supposedly a murderer. We quickly turned on the news to find that this was true: A murderer was on the loose. The neighbor added that he had been spotted most recently in our neighborhood. We had no way of verifying or refuting this claim, but it teed us up for what came next.

First the doorbell rang, but there was no one there. Then, shapeless shadows knocked on first-floor windows and scratched along the glass. Our babysitter charged to the windows to check the locks. Doors rattled on the hinges; flashlights streamed into our house. Scared witless, we huddled in the middle of the living room with all the lights on, talking to the babysitter’s mom (this was before cell phones).

The doorbell rang again, and this time our neighbor stood on the doorstep with news of the escaped prisoner — he had left the neighborhood. How did she know this new information? Had she seen the murderer?

Suddenly two people emerged from the bushes by the door and we screamed at the top of our lungs. Then we heard laughter, and saw the neighbor and her accomplices enjoying the peak of their ruse.

I never figured out if they had planned a prank and then the prisoner timing just happened to be serendipitous. Either way, the lingering question in my mind is whether Spurs pulled out a win against the Bulls in NBA Jam that night.

1 Comment»

  Larry Who wrote @

You were made of different cloth than me. I would have got even. Maybe a burning sack of pig manure on their front porch, but something.

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