Convicts in my Front Yard

Literature Blogs

There were orange suited convicts in my yard this morning… They are minimal security prisoners on work release to help with the storm debris clean up piled shoulder-high along the streets of my neighborhood. My husband’s gone. I am curious. There are a few city workers using the machinery out there, too. I must admit, for some reason, it was a bit thrilling. I mean, I know no murderers were released to do the work. Still…

Now comes the awkward part.

For about a half an hour after they had moved down the street, one of the vans with blue-suited prison guard drivers, sat in our driveway. We have no sidewalks, nor curbs and gutters. There’s just grass to the edge of our narrow little street. I was trapped. It wasn’t like I needed to go anyplace, either, but I had this irresistible urge to run.

About the van in our drive. The last I’d seen anyone around it, he was an orange-suited guy, taking an awfully long time to get something from the back. (Okay. We all know by this that I would never make a very good witness, but there’s nothing wrong with my imagination.) So I started thinking… why? Why was that van there when the convicts had moved down the road and no longer in sight?

The fantasy writer in me played with magic, and the fact that our baby red-tailed hawk never moved from its dead branch for the entire time the trucks and shovels and asphalt scraping and raking and beeps went on. What, exactly, did that hawk chick have to do with the person in the unmoving van? Or orange?

The SF writer in me wondered about abduction of the driver-guard… Boring!

The thriller writer in me knew someone in orange had slipped away from the crew, and was climbing through my opened three-season room windows. Didn’t you hear the small sound coming from that part of the house?

The romance writer in me thought of an unwed mother going into labor because of all the activity out front, but who was unable to get out of the driveway because it was blocked, so HE comes to the rescue… okay… I’m not romance writer.

The crime-writer part, figured the guard was dead in the back of the van. His jacket and trousers missing… along with one of the inmates. Oooo.

The picture book writer in me was thinking about community helpers, like nice police people and smiling city workers who help keep our streets clean.

As I was typing these scenarios, a blue-suited guard walked up to driver’s side of the van, got in, and pulled away after the rest of the activity. The reasoning side of me figured he’d parked there because it was out-of-the-way, plus our driveway faces the corner, and so had a good vantage point for prisoners working either street.

I have no trouble coming up with ideas for stories. And I honestly like writing for hours at a time. And when a day or – shiver – two go past when I do not write, I go into withdrawal and become grouchity and not very nice to live with.

So here is my writing challenge to you today: find one situation and come up with several alternative solutions to it, then run with the best idea. This can be a scene from your story, or it can be just a fun exercise to get your creative juices flowing, like looking outside your window to find your yard crawling with orange-suited convicts.

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4 thoughts on “Convicts in my Front Yard

  1. Hi Sandy – I’m sorry to hear you’re still dealing with the storm of two weeks ago – it’s been a long process for you and your neighbors. Thank goodness you’re a strong, patient woman in dealing with things in any nature.

    Okay about your writing challenge. My husband and I replaced our front picture window last fall, so this is its first spring. We’ve had a number of birds (all ages, all kinds) run into our window and die. (I know, it makes me sick). So…here’s what I got.

    I heard another bang against the window and knew I’d find another bird’s little body on the ground below. I smiled.

    I’d been through the window myself…to the otherside. No one knew it was a portal, not even my husband. Imagine his surprise when he found my discarded body laying on the ground in front of our window

    Okay…so it’s a bit morbid, but it might be a set up for a lovely fantasy/paranormal.

  2. Sandy…you sort of set me up for a thriller with your convict story. Made me direct my attention outside…and I have had plenty of birds commit suicide against our new window.

    It makes me really sad when I hear the thump, knowing another little body will be on the ground. I’m anything but smiling.

    I needed a reason to smile – knowing the window is actually a portal to another place – beautiful, immortal, and so loving. It makes me smile when others know of its existance and join me there.

  3. Got it! I was wondering if your birds become humans and visa versa, but then, that isn’t a portal. I understand the smiling at death bit. And, we, too, have thumping birds against our living room window. (sigh)

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