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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Centus

Wow! It's mostly a matter of luck and intuition, but this week's Centus prompt suggested its story to me almost instantly. I'm serious: I knew within seconds of reading it what my tale would be. The actual writing, however, was a bit difficult; I actually generated four different drafts of the same notion, with each of the first three making me think, "Come on, I can make this punchier. It's gotta hit harder." I think that Version 4.0 is the most successful of my lot. So, here it is, with the prompt in bold.

(No science fiction this week for me, by the way. Although it could be; it wouldn't take much to make this into an SF tale. Just a word or two, really, reaffirming my contention that the difference between SF stories and other stories is merely one of window dressing.)


The word hung there, like a knife. THE knife.

“But I didn’t do it!” sobbed Tommy Wayne Jones, over and over, as two policemen dragged him out of the courtroom for holding until sentencing. He tried, but really: DNA and fingerprints all over the knife and crime scene? Poor Tommy. He’d never been accused of being intelligent.

Neither had Sandra Allen, the victim’s wife. But she’d never been accused of framing a drug-addicted vagrant for the murder she’d committed, either, which is why she went home to spend her bastard husband’s insurance money while some other poor schlub went away for life.

Sandra wasn’t stupid. Nosiree, Bob.

Sandra seems pretty cold. I may have to look back into her doings at some future point....


Jaquandor said...

As a bonus, here's one of the drafts that I rejected:


“I guess I’m glad they got the sumbitch what killed muh husband,” Sandra said to reporters as she boarded the elevator outside the courtroom. “He ain’t got away wit’ nothin’.” The reporters nodded. Sympathy for a country-bumpkin widow, you know.

Once in her car, she breathed a sigh of relief. Next time she saw Johnny Wayne Jones would be at his sentencing. He’d get life; Sandra laughed at the thought.

She’d never been accused of being intelligent, but she’d also never been accused of framing an addict vagrant for the murder she’d committed.


I thought I'd reverse the gender specified in Jenny Matlock's original prompt, but in doing so, I felt the need to illustrate in some way why no one would have ever accused Sandra of being intelligent...which tipped the story too far into establishing her as a dullard (at least on the outside), and not focusing enough on the nastiness of what she's done.

Note that my poor railroaded bum's name was originally Johnny. Changed that because I didn't want "John Wayne" associations. His middle name had to be Wayne, though, because it's really odd how many criminals tend to have the middle name Wayne.

Nonna Beach said...

Excellent job ! Oh, that Sandra, I'm sure we'll see her again !!!

Kat said...

This was brilliant! I'm with Nonna, we definitely need to read more about Sandra. And I've always wondered about the whole "Wayne" thing too. You'd think by now, people would quite using that for a middle name! Kat

Judie said...

You mean like John Wayne Gacy???? I was living in Chicago when they captured him! Great take on the prompt!!

June Freaking Cleaver said...

Loved this one...but you know, crime doesn't pay...she'll get caught, and John Wayne will be able to sue the state for millions due to his unlawful arrest!

Deborah said...

Excellent ... both of them!

gaelikaa said...

Oh, I pity that poor guy. What a wicked woman! Good SC.

cj Schlottman said...

This is a wonderful centus! I love the way you make your small stories so visual and visceral at the same time. Great!


Poetic Justice said...

Wow, this was really good. I am amazed at how much you were able to say in so few words. Great take on the prompt!

Ames said...

Very clever! She sounds down right evil.~Ames

gautami tripathy said...

Love dark!

coloured perspective

Sue said...

I think your changes made it better. This was a good job and original, too.


Jenny said...

Wow. I really like how you sharpened your pencil here and tweaked and tightened this up.

That darn word count can get so annoying some weeks.

I write like crazy and then, BAM!, I see I've got 153 words.

You have a great writing voice. I always feel like you're talking to me. My favorite kind of writing.