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Weekly Challenge freebie #8: The Heist

cover3Here it is! Story #8 in this happy death march. Well, okay–I actually am happy about it. But the last couple of weeks have been awfully busy, so it’s been hard to find time for the stories.

Even better? Next week my family and I will leave the Washington DC area and head back to Alaska. It’ll be great fun. And, uh, I’ll write stories. ‘Cause I’ll have to. But it’ll be interesting to see how it goes–we’ll be on the road (well, and on the water too) for a couple of weeks.

You know what? If you think that’s a wonderful problem to have? You’re absolutely right. I love my life and my family. And friends, and readers, and housepets, but probably not that guy down the street who glares at me as I drive by. I think he’s creepy.

That said? Even though it didn’t have to be? Hope you like it. {8’>

The Heist

Joe Keith, not quite eighteen years old, is doing his damnedest to get by. It’s hard, especially since he doesn’t really have a home to go to. And he has responsibilities. So he does what he can, when he can, where he can. As he puts it: it is what it is.

[REDACTED 8/28/2014]

I’m making many of my stories Amazon-only for a while. Their “Kindle Unlimited” deal is very nice for short fiction. I hate to leave people out if they prefer buying stuff at non-Amazon sites, but…(1) nearly all sales and downloads, for me, have always come from Amazon, (2) while I’ve had issues with Amazon, they’ve been very responsive in dealing with them, (3) I can’t say that for any other online distributor (well, Smashwords is actually pretty nice), and (4) this may boost visibility at Amazon…kind of the core of my business. If you really really hate the idea, please let me know.


Published inWeekly Challenge


  1. Shelley Bricker

    David, This story really made me sad. I was surprised by the darkness and sadness. If I didn’t know better(maybe I don’t) I would have thought you have been homeless. I just wanted to take these kids into my home and feed them a warm nutritious meal. I really like the way you wrote the conversations. I didn’t feel like I was reading a story but rather that I was eavesdropping on a private meeting. I was upset at first that we don’t know how the story ends, but I figured out that was the point, at least for me. It was what it was.

    Now, for the scary part. A character has my name (her attitude reminded me of Eminem in 8 Mile), Ashleigh is the name of a street in my neighborhood, Devin is the name of the main character in a book I’m currently reading by Stephen King, AND Lord Of The Rings is one of my all time favorites that I have read numerous times. Not sure how all that happened in one story!

    I hope you have safe travels to Alaska and I can’t wait to see what stories appear from your time there! Hopefully there won’t be any creepy neighbors in Alaska!

    • David

      I wondered how many readers would drop me after this one. I wonder that fairly often, and sometimes laugh about it ’cause I plan to just write whatever I write and see what happens.

      But in this case…when we got involved with foster care (via a strange, strange path) and started meeting kids & their friends, feeding some of them a meal was about all we could do. Through no fault of their own–many were just plain awesome, talented, funny people–the kids were in terrible situations with no good choices or outcomes available. For a lot of them their best bet seemed to be to just wait it out, try not to get involved, and move away as soon as they could.

      But what kind of advice is that? “Don’t get involved” with your family or friends, even when they’re hurting and desperate? The government-type services available all seemed to make it worse, kids were stopped and questioned by police with no parental consent all the damned time, nobody involved seemed to understand that there were civil rights violations all over the place (including for the kids’ parents and other nearby adults with little money or education, but there was another standard for the reasonably well-off or plugged-in), the schools flat-out scammed their way past every state-level requirement I could find, and all the bureaucrats seemed to have each other’s backs…seriously, I considered staying there and running for office. And I’m a tourist by nature. Though my family’s been in that area for over 100 years. Meaning some of the kids, whose families had also been there for quite a while, were very likely related to me.

      Some of the kids responded well to a little bit of attention and respect. Some didn’t. Lots of times, we didn’t have any good choices either. I know kids who are in bad situations right now, and all I could do from here is make it worse for them.

      So anyway, that’s where the story came from.

  2. Really enjoyable story! It’s the first one I’ve read by you and I liked it a lot. Of course, I’m one of those people who would go around screaming “sequel” at everyone if I could, but even as it stands, the story is good and makes me think about what’s coming next.

    • David

      Thanks! I’d love to write a sequel to this one. I had ideas all over the place when it ended…but I thought it made its point, and I also thought it was pretty different from my other stories. So I stopped typing.

      I kind of like using short stories to capture ideas, or even sometimes just a single scene. Which means I don’t always bring them to the sort of resolution I’d feel obligated to provide in a longer piece of fiction. I’m aware, though, that a lot of people want more of a standard ending and if possible a happy one. Sometimes I try to compromise by making a particular ending seem very likely. In this story, though, I just kept thinking about all the kids out there with no good choices available to them. Making it all come out okay, or even picking a particular ending, struck me as a cop-out. The truth from my perspective is that the specific outcome isn’t as important as thinking about how to avoid putting kids into situations like these. Or about how to find them and offer something outside what they’ve learned to see as the set of reasonable options.

      I know: I’m here to entertain, and this is all coloring outside the lines. So I’ll do better next week! {8’>

      • I thought the ending was appropriate, even though I would have liked more. Abrupt but carrying on the theme of the story quite well. It is what it is. 😀 The thing is, a good story is going to make you want more just because it’s good. And it did.

  3. By the way, I had signed up for follow-up comments by email, but I didn’t receive anything. I’m not sure your plugin (if that’s what you’re using) is working properly.

    • David

      Thanks for letting me know! I checked the comment subscriptions, and it doesn’t show anything for this post. Hmm. I’ll have to look into it further when I get a chance. Next week, probably, ’cause I’m traveling.

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