Saturday, April 24, 2010

hounded

i watch you watch my son, eyes never wavering as your course fingers play along the end cap of the aisle by the train table in the bookstore. i know everyone in this town, but i don't know you.

hi, there. what's your name?

g-g-george, fear strangles your voice.

my son call my name, and when i turn once more only an empty aisle greets me coldly.

~~~~

the morning sports page crinkles as i run my finger along the box scores, warm lip of the coffee cup poised for a sip, when Dan pokes his head in...

i was out having beers with fred from down at the sheriff's department last night over at Millie's and he told me we got our first sex offender, here in this town. just registered. can you believe it? better keep and eye on the boy of yours.

indeed i will.

~~~~

hey josh, remember that guy at the book store the other day?

no, dad

look i don't want you talking to him.

i don't even know who you are talking about...

look, i said just say away from him.

~~~~

seeing you stroll down the sidewalk in our neighborhood, as i am leaving for work, grey jogging pant, light, blue shirt untucked, you don't look at me but my eyes follow you the whole way. brakes squeal as i pull to the curb, your head swinging around but i am out the door and in your face before you can even...

you need to stay off this street! if i ever see you here again, i won't even bother calling the cops. do you understand!

you just stare at me, no words, no motion to leave, just the twitch of your finger against the course fabric of your sweat pants.

go! now!

watching you lope back in the direction you came, my eyes fall on the green and white swing set in my neighbor's yard. my shoulder ratchet tight in the crisp morning air.

~~~~

you work at the movie theatre, sweeping popcorn from between the seats after each show, pushing your grey plastic trashcan from shadow to shadow.

~~~~

fresh blood, bright and red traces down the leg of josh's jeans, you pushing the bike along behind him and i...i...i hear his voice screaming, his little hands tugging at me, but it is all lost in the wet sound of my fist against your face and the hollow rebound you head makes against the asphalt. it feels warm spattering against me, running red rivulets of tears.

i don't stop until you are not longer moving, not even twitching, just pulp. it is then that they find me and call the cops.

~~~~

so, you killed him because you thought he hurt your son?

yes.

and he was a sex offender?

yes.

at what point, did you realise that both these assumptions were false?

i can't answer, i know i am guilty. i know i will go to jail. i know my son is still out there, and so is that man, and now i can't protect him.

This fictional piece is for Tenth Daughter of Memory.

100 comments:

Jingle said...

your words are sizzling!
what a fabulous tale!
very vivid images!

Jingle said...

Writing a short story or fiction is such a challenge to me, I yet to learn the ropes of it...
Thank you for the inspiring spirits
and skillful samples.
cheers!

Jingle said...

I enjoyed your story,
Happy Saturday!
Blessings and prayers to both the boy and the man who victimized him... it is such an important topic
and I appreciate your willingness in bringing highlight on that...

every child deserves pure love and free space to learn and grow...

Best wishes to children all over the world.
Very thoughtful and heartfelt post!

Jingle said...

You, He, She, I, We, They, And Everyone who read this piece, together, form a powerful force, let's give more love to our kids...
start today, start now...
It does make a tremendous difference when we work together to make the world a better place for our children, grandchildren....

May passion and inspirations be with you,
You rock!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

A thought provoking tale Brian. How many lonely souls struggling with poverty and disability are the subject of faulty assumptions ... Such a tricky one, because it is also such a primal instinct to protect our children from predators.

The other day at the bookstore, I searched for a book entitled, Essays and Poems by Brian Miller ... I'm sure I will find it there one day soon.

the walking man said...

We as a society have yet to be able to find a balance between them who "have done their time" for a sex offense and the safety of them we would want protected.

There is a real conundrum that you present Brian. In MI public urination by a male in an alley can land him on the registry along side a guy who snatches children and of course being on the list (easily accessible) paints everyone with the same brush.

I punch in my zip code and HUNDREDS of names come up but I do not know what they did and it does not say so I do not know how wary I have to be of them on the list in my area.

I have absolutely no solution beyond death penalty for them who would harm a child and permanent segregation into a set aside "zone" for the majority of the rest. And both are that proverbial slippery slope.

If we make the assumption that we need to fear every stranger we will (have already) only foster a completely suspicious and hate filled culture which distracts us from bringing true safety to our children.

Ocean Girl said...

Relief to hear it was a tale. It was quite a tale.

I do not understand how sex offenders are planted back into the society and the community is then put on alert.

Zuzana said...

Oh, this was very though provoking. I am sitting outside on my patio reading this; thus I do not know if it is the chill in the air or your writing that gave me the goosebumps...
Have a great weekend Brian,
xo

tony said...

It's easier to watch one than to watch Everyone.........

buffalodick said...

Fear is our great boogey man...

Skye said...

Wow Brian, you sure do know how to write a poignant story! Great job!

Vicki Lane said...

Very nice -- As Bonnie said -- assumptions are such tricky things -- and primal urges so strong ... well done!

jinksy said...

Every parent's nightmare, but sad that people cannot always be trusted, once proven guilty.

Birdie said...

Brian, in deed, this gave me a goose bumps as I read it. Every parent's nightmare ... The day you did comment on my blog I did mention that I did practice more compassion. In deed, because I have my 'limits' as when it comes to be compassionate to anyone who would harm a child or an animal or anyone who would harm just to harm ... brilliant piece again! thanks!!

Brian Miller said...

mark, so true....thee are some pretty simple ways to get on that list that have nothing to do with actually sex acts. the difficulty is the solution, and accepting that slippery slope eads us to even further trouble.

thanks bonnie for the encouragement and for always coming by to add your insights...

slommler said...

A new person moved into town the same time a sex offender moves in as well. No one knows what the sex offender looks like...see a stranger on the road. Has to be him...leave!
Such a violent act committed and it was the wrong man. OMG! What a horrible feeling is in my gut! My stomach wrenched and I could taste the blood.
So well written Brian.
Really moved me!
Hugs
SueAnn

Leah said...

This is really good, Brian. pushing your grey plastic trashcan from shadow to shadow, that's some great writing.

Barry said...

A powerful and thought provoking piece, Brian. You accomplish so much so much economy, it is amazing.

Cinner said...

Well you had me at every word. I can see how easily someone could jump to the wrong conclusion. It does scare me that they are let back out into society...It is very sad that we have to worry about things like this.take care.

Subby said...

Brian~ you're right about getting on a list. Our state has made it illegal to, ahem, relieve one's self along the roadway. So when nature calls you'd better hold it 'til the next exit, so to speak ( or find a deep pocket of trees! )

As for the character's reaction here; I'd prob'ly do the same thing...

Cop Mama said...

Such an important message for everyone. Also, for every REGISTERED sex offender in a neighborhood, there is typically a few others that have never been caught!

As a parent, I can totally relate to this. I think you used fiction to show what goes through all of our minds!

Sh@KiR@ CK said...

It is SO SCARY but you know what,
we as parents, neighbors , we cannot stop watching our kids...
These people who do sick stuffs to children...OMG.
Very powerful tale there, Brian.
BRAVO!
Have you a truly blessed weekend with your family.
hug
shakira

She Writes said...

I had no idea where you where you were going on this one. I have to say, I liked the fact you got the guy, until it was the wrong guy... YIKES!

LadyFi said...

This was terrifying! Chilling to the bone.

Valerie said...

Wow, powerful stuff, Brian. A typical case of act first and worry about it later. And who wouldn't when a child's in danger.

TechnoBabe said...

Of course this subject is still too close to me for comfort. I try to respond to this subject and remain objective so I can participate. As I was reading this, I had trouble breathing. Very good writing my dear Brian, maybe too good. There are predators all around. I pray for adults to help keep kids safe.

TALON said...

Protecting a child at all costs...even making life and death decisions. Powerful stuff, Brian. And lots of lessons tucked inside.

Marla said...

Geez Louise, Brian. This one struck a nerve then twisted it in knots. Excellent piece.

Jingle said...

http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/04/sunshine-brightens-ones-day-award-and.html

it is great to have an account on blogger, more organized...
Happy Day to You and Your Family!


Best!

only a movie said...

Powerful stuff, Brian.

Vodka Logic said...

wow.. a lot of emotion. Can tell you are a father.

I am sure you see too much of this

Just Be Real/God Whispers In The Wind said...

Brian, interesting piece. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

liza said...

I was glued to every word...Fantastic piece!

CatLadyLarew said...

Our fears can lead us down dangerous paths. Where do we draw the line between healthy awareness and paranoia? Great story, Brian.

Shadow said...

you gave me the chills...

Eva Gallant said...

Wow. Powerful; brought tears to my eyes.

transparentnow? said...

I was choking back tears and wondering how on earth you could write about something so horrific that must have been recent. Then at the end I felt such a wave of relief but also a little "that wasn't fair. You tricked me" LOL. Great stuff. I agree w/Bonnie. I would love to own a collection of your writings!

Jen Chandler said...

Brian,

I've missed your breathtaking words. Such a heartbreaking and suspensful piece.

It was good to see you in my comments the other day.

The writing went. I'm finished with the script and know now I'm NOT a script writer. But I got the story out and now I can work on "novelizing" it.

I hope to be back in blogland soon!

Happy weekend,
Jen

Tracy said...

A very chilling tale, Brian. Most of us would do anything to protect our kids.

PattiKen said...

You write so realistically, we all believe. I'm so glad you included the "fiction" tag at the end.

Sometimes fear and our imaginations create a bogeyman by far worse than any real threat. I often think of the old song lyrics: "Paranoia will destroy ya."

Pat said...

Some powerful writing here, AND subject. Wow. I can easily see this scenario happening, assumptions being made, wary parents. And can a sex offender who has served time be considered "rehabilitated"? Lots of questions raised on this one.

mama-face said...

my heart is in my stomach. I mean this as a compliment on the your powerful use of words.

Yodood said...

Hounds to the left, hounds to the right, in the church, in the street … striking out to quell the hounds within — extreme feast for thought. Excellent piece.

Goofball said...

provoking

Goofball said...

thought provoking I meant to say...hit to quickly on publish

JeffScape said...

Love the intent, love the fact that you're experimenting with style, and I REALLY love that final section.

Some "buts," of course. Regardless, that you're breaking out of your established aesthetic, slowly but surely, is pretty kick-ass.

Magpie said...

Fear is such a strong and mindless provoker...

Jingle said...

It is rare nowadays to read a post as eloquent as this, what an award winning piece!

I love YOU as a blogger,
I more YOUR work more...
Your wisdom or WORDS are the one that steal my heart...
Enjoy A Smiling Saturday!

Jingle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom said...

the 'list' is a very questionable thing, and what it takes to land you on it is from a range of highly disgusting to barely noticeable...i am torn by it. On one hand, sex offenders deserve to be labeled, and on the other, don't all criminals who serve their time deserve a second chance? Nicely done, thought provoking, maybe a bit cryptically written, but all your stuff is deep that way...cheers!

Anya said...

Breathtaking post today !!!
I love your lines very much .....

Enjoy your weekend
:))

Ronda Laveen said...

The fear and ignorance is so vividly depicted. Great piece!!!!

deb said...

I don't know whether I really wanted to read this, after all.
I guess it is one of those things that we pray we'll never have to deal with. I 'd like to think man can take the high road.. but when it comes to protecting our own, I seriously doubt it. As a mother this makes my soul ache.

Brian Miller said...

deb,

i know what you are saying...its one of those places you really don't want to go in your thoughts. all too real. thats usually where i like to stick my finger though...better now in writing than if it really happened.

william said...

yes, this was a great story Brian, makes one think, have a great weekend u are the best :)

sheri... said...

CHILLED ME TO THE BONE!!! i was right there with you, beating that guy to smithereens, feeling justified in my rescue/punishment...til i read on
i can't help but ask you what it is we should do?? i suppose i could go up to and ask one of the three who live in my very small town if my grandchildren's ages are out of his range?
i can tell you this, anytime you post on a subject having to do with our kids/grands being sexually molested, you are sure to get comments! still gives me chills...

Bachelor said...

I'm glad this is only a tale; however, very true to life. So sad we don't have rural America anymore where, for the most part, everyone knew everyone and trust was evident.

Alice Audrey said...

See, this is why we discourage vigilantism. It's way too easy for people to jump to conclusions.

Baino said...

It's good. Nice to see a variation of style from you Brian. We have to be very careful about making assumptions. None of this act first ask questions later. It's such an emotive subject, you have to be SURE!

Velvet Over Steel said...

Oh my, Brian, you had my full attention, mind racing and heart thumping. What a story with such a Strong eye opening message (at least hopefully!). The Consequences of Assumptions.... how true and troubling! Great writing & mnessage!!! ~ Coreen

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

That was gut wrenching and shows me why human perception can be very skewed by emotion and attitude

Lynn said...

Wow Brian - that is so powerfully written. Spine tingling really.

Maha said...

you are incredibly talented. It made my heart rush! this was just perfect!

Leslie said...

I like how you are working your style. Nice and involved piece
Love the character development

Cheerio

Me said...

The tale was chilling and althought you call it "fiction", it's way too close to non-fiction for comfort, unfortunately.

Interesting, too, to read everyone's comments. As a mother, I know there have been times when I've acted first and thought later...times when I felt my child was threatened in some way (and certainly never to *this* level!), so this assumption and resulting action rings so very true...

Nancy said...

Fabulous story and writing. And a lesson to heed.

The Retired One said...

This just grabs my gut at a primordal level....
wonderful writing, but chilling thoughts.

Daniel said...

Very dark thoughts here my friend. Very dark. I understand though.

Jingle said...

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/well-here-comes-the-week-15-rally-awards-and-more/

three poetry awards,
hot blog award,
you are a princess award,
well, the last one is for any female blogger in your family...
thanks for the contribution in Rally Thursdays!

ilovepink1078 said...

Very powerful and interesting story.keep it up,Brian!

Teri said...

Wow...this is really scary. I'm glad that it is fiction! But, it does bring to mind a couple of thoughts. 1. what we would do if it were true 2. what if it weren't and we did make assumptions, wrongly. 3. how do we keep our children safe at all times because there are some parents that DO experience this reality. So scary Brian.

Mama Zen said...

This is really chilling. As a mom, well, I can't imagine what I might do.

Cloudia said...

Powerful and worth while. Well done!



Aloha from Waikiki


Comfort Spiral

Cindybrown said...

WOW!!That was intense!! And an eyeopener..

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh. Oh it hurts me so. I pull up our town on the national registry and I am scared. It is scary. It is so scary that we have to let our children go out into this big bad world with men like them. So sad.

Powerful piece. Truly amazing.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You made the hair on my arms stand on end!

WOW!

Great job,
jj

Unknown Mami said...

This made my stomach hurt.

Eternally Distracted said...

Fear enables the most horrendous assumptions... I remember a man being beaten to death near my home town in a similar situation.

SandyCarlson said...

It may not be hard to get on that list, but it should be as easy as breathing to stay off of it.

Protecting our children without becoming paranoid about every stranger is quite a challenge. So is the challenge of making a victim of the victimizer.

Very well done, Brian. Riveting.

Chef Kar said...

A moving and frightening piece Brian. Hounded indeed.

secret agent woman said...

Chilling, and unfortunately true that sometimes in our zeal to protect our kids we can damage innocent people.

Katherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katherine said...

A hard story to read but so well written Brian. You delivered a story that sent chills up my spine and left an emptiness in the pit of my stomach that made me feel sick. The sad truth about your fictional story Brian is that these things actually do happen. Pedophilia is a terrifying real problem that exists in our communities & is something that we all need to be so aware of. Having pedophiles living in the community with our children creates fear & fear drives people to distraction. I feel terrible for the man that was wrongly accused in your story but I certainly can understand where the father misguided anger was coming from. It was such terrible situation really!
So many important messages in this post...clever man!
Well done Brian!

Titanium said...

In my experience, the ones to be feared are the ones who haven't been caught. The ones whose position in the community makes them 'immune', whose trail of 'indiscretions' is shrouded by a wall of faithful parishioners or their fellow officers.

The ones pushing the broom and sweeping trash at the movie theater are far less a danger to society than the Securitas guard snapping photos of the children at the park. Oh yeah. And downloading them to his computer, while on the job, at the same park he was supposed to be guarding.

Things are never as they seem. You wrote this so well, so ferociously well.

JML said...

You're a great story-teller!

I wonder how often this has been close to happening and how many times this HAS happened. My sister is always checking new neighbors out and checking out whatever bloody website it is that has all of them.

It is a fight to understand how you should feel about it, because some of these people did terrible things, but the whole letting everyone know they did something. . . .

Krys said...

The final section is wonderful! What an interesting take on "Hounded!"

Hilary said...

Well add me to the goosebumps pile. What a chilling and well-written tale.

Ekanthapadhikan said...

Dear Friend, I've tagged you in a blog game. Please visit my latest post and check it out.

Have fun!

suryagni said...

fantastic.

sometimes its tough, but we should always listen before acting.

Empath said...

Really great story about how fear can overpower a person. I don't know who to feel for the most, the wrongly accused man or the father...

Star said...

A very powerful glimpse into the world of fear and misunderstanding. Good writing.
Blessings, Star

Mighty M said...

It is always so hard to come up with comments for your posts - Brian.

In a good way!

Very well-written story.

slommler said...

I love this poetic story Brian. So powerful!!
Congrats on your POTW
Hugs
SueAnn

TechnoBabe said...

Congrats on POTW, Brian. Hugs.

Daryl said...

Congrats on the POTW mention from Hilary

ellen abbott said...

excellent piece Brian. Sex offender is a broad brush. It paints the true predator and the high school kid who engaged in consensual sex.

blunoz said...

Wow. You are an amazingly talented writer. You craft dramatic and vivid images in my mind with surprisingly few words. I, too, am glad to find at the end it was just fiction. Keep up the good work!

Congrats on Post of the Week!

Mmm said...

Oh my gosh, my blood runs cold. Awful.

I've know of five registered offenders! One was very handsome guy with a beautiful wife in his 30's who painted houses and walls. Another was a chess teacher who offended thousands possibly. We never trusted him. Anoth3r, read his bible every day, loved to sing his hymns as he raped his daughter, my godchild nad neice for 16 years.

Dianne said...

in the midst of all your incredible imagery the part about eyes resting on the green and white swing set pulled at my heart

powerful piece

congrats on POTW

Gina said...

Brilliant piece! You've heard all the compliments, how about the angles - defiling a child is the ultimate sin. Jesus stresses the purity of youth and protecting them, but the devil plays sport with innocence. I'm also glad you didn't really murder a man in fear, but I understand the motivation. Fear can be as deadly as sin, because one can lead to the other. Let's reflect on praying for the safety of ALL innocence AND praying for real sex offenders' souls.