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The Power Grid

In my writing class, we were told to find a news story and write two pieces of fiction: one from the POV of the criminal, one from the POV of the victim. 

This story is the from the criminal’s POV. 
See for the counter point story. 

The last thing I remember, before the incident, was laying in bed with Kayla. The house was so quiet. Kayla’s hair hung over her face like brown paint dripping down a blank canvas. She hovered over me, my bicep wrapped tight with her old brown leather belt, and she whispered, “You have to find what you love, Mathew.” The needle slid into my vein. My arm felt like cold concrete, hanging limp, as I tried to pump my fist. “Find what you love,” she repeated. “And let it kill you.”

I’ve heard of aliens – traveling through electricity, through out the entire power grid – right into people’s homes and stealing them away. I think that might have happened to me. I think that’s why I am the way I am. Who knows. Maybe that is how I ended up on that roof, with the sandy shingles cutting into my bare feet.

The guy, the one they said I assaulted, was yelling up at me and all I could see were smudges of stars. I slipped. I landed on top of him hard. I knocked him to the ground. He grabbed me, took hold of my arm and tried to hold me down. And, then time flashed again and I was inside the house. It smelled like garlic, burnt and pungent. The television was on the ground, smashed into several pieces. I had the dirt canister from the vacuum cleaner in my hand, dirt particles were spinning out around me – into the universe, falling like soft snow. I wanted to taste it. I wanted to feel it in my mouth.

Three booms erupted around me, bounced around the room like a sonic blast. I fell to the rug. I was making snow angels. I was sinking into the ground, melting like a piece of hard candy left in the summer sun. I had found what I loved. It wasn’t Kayla, it wasn’t even her collection of needles and hot spoons. It was that moment of pure energy, when I tapped into the power grid. 


Naked Florida Man Jumps Off Roof Onto Homeowner, Knocks Television Over, Empties Vacuum Cleaner, Masturbates

Ripped from the headlines:

“I went to bed real early – around 7pm, so it all happened right about that time,” Officer Roberts was busy scribbling into his little blue notebook and didn’t even glance up at me. I dragged my hands over the top of my head. When I’d started balding ten years ago, I’d shaved the whole thing. Now, all I could feel were the patches of whiskers where the follicles were still trying to do the job.

“Are you sure on the time, sir?” he asked.

I cleared my throat before replying, “I remember it was 7pm because Law & Order had just started and I wanted to watch it in my bedroom where I could maybe get some peace and quiet and not have to listen to Gloria bitch about my “pervert murder stories”.” Officer Roberts finally lifted his head and looked at me, his eyes narrowed.

“What happened next, sir,?” he asked, his voice a low monotone.

“Well, I thought I heard thunder – like a boom or something. But, thunder doesn’t have foot steps and it doesn’t slide around on a person’s roof like a God damn crack head.”

“Mr. Jenkins, can you describe the actual altercation for me, please?” Officer Roberts tucked his double chin back against his chest and started scribbling again.

“Sure thing, Officer,” I said as I spit into the lawn – my lawn. “I went out the front door and looked up onto the roof,” I motioned to the house, pointing at the exact spot I’d found that naked jackass. “I yelled for him to get his scrawny ass down off my roof. He started to wave his arms all around, I think to try to intimidate me or something. But, I just yelled again,” I paused to let that sink into the officer: the eyes I was giving him said it all: I am not prone to intimidation.

“And then what happened, Mr. Jenkins?” Officer Roberts looked behind him at the ambulance parked in my driveway. We were both actively trying to ignore the naked man being strapped to the gurney. He was finally coming to after being tasered. I think Gloria was a little traumatized by the whole thing but I don’t mind telling you that it was a pretty cool thing to see the taser in action.

“What happened next is that he jumped down at me. Like a God damn puma. He landed on top of me and I bashed my head against the drive way. That’s my blood right there,” I pointed at the inky blots of rust embedded in the concrete. “I must have blacked out for a moment because next thing I know, he’s in the house, knocking over my brand new flat screen television. Do you know how much those things cost? I called 911 on my cell while Gloria screamed and ran into our son’s room. It isn’t right for a man to be attacked, for his wife to be terrorized in his own home. This is America, I’ll remind you.”

“Yes, thank you, Mr. Jenkins. Can you describe how the shots were fired?”

“Well, I was on the phone with 911, like I said,” I hoisted my pants up and hesitated before continuing. I’d heard one too many stories of innocent people getting sued because a criminal had been injured while committing a crime. “That idiot was assaulting our vacuum cleaner – who can say why addicts do the things they do? Fact is, Gloria and I were both afraid for our lives. She must have grabbed my old .38 revolver before running into our son’s room.”

“How old is your son?”

“He’s twenty-nine, Officer Roberts.”

Did the perpetrator try to physically assault your wife, Mr. Jenkins?”

“Well, he was in our house, wasn’t he? Destroying our belongings?” I got pissed off just thinking of that asshole dumping the dirt from the vacuum back out onto the floor like it was confetti and he was running around in a party of one. I folded my arms across my chest, straightening my back. “If I’ve told Gloria once, I’ve told her a million times: Intruders don’t get warning shots. And, they sure as shit don’t get three of them! Because that is exactly how you end up with some dope fiend jacking off on your living room rug. Are we supposed to just clean that rug and move on? Knowing he defiled it?”

“I suppose that is up to you and your wife, sir,” Officer Roberts cracked a smile, so slight I almost missed it. “And if you can get that vacuum cleaner fixed.”

In the Hardship and the Hoping


Several years ago, a college buddy, Tim Bugansky, invited me to submit some poetry for a contest he was running that featured North East Ohio writers. I laughed. A lot. (I am many things, a poet is not one of them. Although, every time I get drunk, I change my mind.) Then I submitted three poems and he said, “Sure! Why not?”  and included me in the book he put out. You can download the book for free – it is full of Ohio poets that are actually good. And, then there are three of my own silly-full-of-white-space poems that I wrote under the influence of too much wine and too much bravado.

If you’d like to read more, see Available for free in PDF.

I Found You Hiding

I found you hiding

In a box of old photographs

And memorabilia from when

We were young


“Peekaboo,” you cried

When I lifted the old shoebox lid

And my hand fell to the table,

From the gravity of your absence


You smiled up at me

A foolish grin

wrapped around

Bright silver braced teeth


I smiled down at you

Wondering just how long

You would have stayed hidden

Had I not stumbled upon you here


How smart you were

To stay hidden until

At just the right moment

Springing up to say “hello”


And “Where have you been?”

As if I was the one hidden

Not in this shoebox of memories

But out in plain sight