Monday, January 26, 2015

Nancy Scott

THE GREAT STEAK HEIST AT TRENTON HIGH

I'd been sent to interview the kid,
ask him why he'd stolen eight steaks
from the cafeteria freezer.

Run-down school, flaking paint, black
mold, cops patrolling the corridors—
my guess, the kid was hungry.

No one in the office could find the kid's
class schedule or remembered seeing him.
He was found hunkered in the john.

"I shouldn't a done it, but they looked so good,"
he said. "We get fed crap in the cafeteria
while they eat steak. Seem right to you?"

It didn't, but I was trying to remain neutral.

"You take all the steaks?" I asked.
"Just what we could carry," he replied.
"Wasn't the freezer locked?"

"Me and Julian used a tire iron to break the lock.
We didn't know what we'd find in the freezer.
We was just hungry."

"How did you get a tire iron past the cops?"
"Easy. We got into a fight outside
while another kid sneaked in the tire iron.

"At closing bell, me and Julian hid
in a broom closet, then opened the freezer,
took the steaks and ran out a side door in the gym."

"How did you get caught?"
"The kid who brought the tire iron ratted us out
'cause we forgot to give him a steak."

"What do your parents think about this?"
"They don't know 'cause I live with my gran,"
the kid said. "She’s really old and don't know

half the stuff that goes on.
When she went to church, I cooked
a steak and ate it. Gave the rest away."

"Was it worth it?"
"Yes, ma'am,” he said. "I never ate no steak before."

I filed my report. I wanted to know why
there were steaks in the freezer.
I couldn't do anything for the kid.

He got suspended for two weeks and the cops
arrested him. You just knew
they wanted to hang a felony on him.

I hope the kid is all right.


Nancy reads "The Great Steak Heist at Trenton High":




Nancy confesses: "Twenty-five years ago, I worked for the State of New Jersey in a child abuse and neglect unit. I was sent to investigate this event for possible child neglect. I remember it clearly against the backdrop of what's happening to black teenage boys in America today. Back then, with two teenage sons who are black, I had that conversation about how they should act if they encountered the police. Nothing has changed."


NANCY SCOTT is managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets' Cooperative in New Jersey. She is the author of seven books of poetry. The eighth, The Lanky Fisherman or Why the Winter Wind Howls over Mersey Lake (a chapbook of retold fairy tales) is forthcoming from Aldrich Press in late 2014. She is also an artist. Her poetry and artwork can be found at www.nancyscott.net.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A-Z Challenge: U

To maintain the flow of submissions year-round, each week I'll challenge you to write about crimes beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. We'll cycle through the alphabet twice a year. Notice we will come back to A in the second week of September, The Five-Two's anniversary.

This week's letter is U. That can refer to undercover, underworld, unsolved, etc. The challenge is, of course, optional. The Five-Two is open to any interpretation of crime, poems about being wronged, anything that strikes you as "criminal".

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bruce Harris

UP AND DOWN AT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

103 stories - 34 suicides - he slid the note into her coat pocket in the world’s 9th fastest elevator — 1 more suicide – 1 more story


Gerald So reads "Up and Down at the Empire State Building":




Bruce confesses: "Everything about the Empire State Building intrigues me. The contradiction of taking one’s life at this architectural marvel is disquieting."


BRUCE HARRIS s the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type, published by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.