The Joke: Page 13 Of My Spiral Notebooks

The Joke: Page 13


Blue strobe lights.

Winking, blinking.

Against dense fog.

Like azure cotton candy.

Winding country roads.

Dark, like tree-lined tunnels.

Telephone poles and mailboxes, quickly passing.

Glancing from ditch to ditch.

A deer?

Moonlight behind trees.

Tall gnarled fingers disappearing into a night-blackened sky.

“Are we close?”

“No, not yet. We was a long ways in the country. Maybe three more miles.”

Radio lights blink in sequence.

Dispatcher speaks in monotone.

Stolen car on interstate.

Disturbance in West End.

Shoplifter at convenience store, Third and Bellview.

More lights blink.

More telephone poles.

More curves.

Tires squeal.


“There. Right there.”

“Body’s in the woods, to your left.”

“Drug him across the ditch right there.”

“See where the weeds are knocked down?”

Guns drawn.


Leaves crunch.

Twigs snap.


Don’t disturb scene.

Gun-leather creaking.

Keys jingle.



“Thought it was here.”

“Maybe there.”

“Everything looks the same.”

“I was scared.”

Humidity high.


Vests like dense clay.

Hours pass.

Spider webs.



Noses to ground.


Hundreds of mosquitoes.

Nighttime yields to dawn.

Light pushes through tree canopies.

Like translucent yellow wands.

“I found it!”

A man.

No, it’s a boy.

Leaves and pine needles.

Eyes closed, mouth open.

Hands bound in back.

Gray duct tape.

Nose and mouth.

Insects in and out.

Like cars on the 101.





9mm casings.


Gansta wannabes.


“Didn’t know gun was loaded.”

“Took it from Dad’s nightstand.”

“A joke.”


“It was just a…”


“Wanted to scare him…”


One dead.

Four in prison.

Life sentences.

A joke.

Just a joke…

2 replies
  1. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Wow, I read The Joke part and it stuck in my brain. This is not what I expected.

    Brought back memories of an incident from my teen years. Two guys I was in Jr. High with went out hunting, came back and were sitting in one of the boys’ homes. One guy picked up the shotgun and pulled the trigger thinking the gun was not loaded and shot his friend in the face from across the room. The other kid lived but was never the same.

Comments are closed.