Copyright is held by the author.

WHEN THE security company telephoned at four o’clock in the morning to tell Matt West that someone had attempted to break into his jewelry store, he went into a rage. It was the second attempt in six months.

The final straw was when his wife was knocked down by two teenagers and had her purse snatched. Fortunately, she wasn’t injured, but that was just a stroke of good luck.

He kept saying, “Something has to be done,” but he didn’t know what. He couldn’t stop thinking about it and started charting the crime pattern. The worst part of the city was Emerson Road. Even with the security cameras everywhere, car thefts and break-ins were happening nightly.

“The cops are useless,” he told anyone who would listen to him.

It was something that he read in a novel that started the wheels spinning. The character in the novel was sick of crime and decided to solve it himself. The author provided the details and Matt saw exactly how to send a message to those punks.

He bought a plastic box at a dollar shop and filled it with one pound of black powder that he used for refilling cartridges. When the lid was open, the bomb would explode.

He saw an ad in the newspaper for a 12-year-old Ford; it was what he wanted to deliver the bomb to the right place. The car was in lousy condition, but it wouldn’t be noticed by anyone and would make it to Emerson Road. He would use it only once before he sold it to a scrap yard.

He parked in a shopping centre that he knew had security cameras that did not cover the entire parking lot. The plastic box was put into a cheap brief case and left on the driver’s seat with the door unlocked while he went into a supermarket. When he came out 15 minutes later, he could see that the door was open. The box was gone.

At one o’clock in the morning, the doorbell rang. He checked his security camera. There were two men in police uniforms at the door.

“Mister West?” One of them asked and showed his ID as he did.

“Yes, what is it?” He was shaking inside. How could they have discovered his connection to the box? He had wiped off his fingerprints. Those plastic boxes were sold by the millions.

“Is this your son?” The officer flashed a driver’s license that had his son’s face and name.


“Do you know if he is involved with any terrorist groups?”

“Of course not. He is a top student and the best track star at the school. He’s getting a full scholarship to the university.

“He and two others were making a bomb that exploded. We found a lot of stolen items in the apartment. We think that they were a part of a terrorist cell that was using robberies to finance their activities. We have a warrant to search the house.”

  1. A couple of things police in uniform don’t need to show their ID their badges their ID And a typo where “the was door open” should be the door was open

  2. Nicosia: Thanks for pointing out the typo. It’s fixed now.

  3. Your local friendly jeweller gets up one morning and decides to blow some unsuspecting punk to smithereens.
    But then Fate interferes and the plan, like many plans, runs off the rails: his son is the one that gets blown to kingdom come. Turns out junior is a terrorist. Why is he a terrorist…?
    The story needed more.

  4. Oh the irony!
    Some quibbles: if the son is dead, which I assume we are meant to infer, then that would have been the first thing the cops would mention; they would not voice suspicions about terrorism at this point; they would probably not plan to search the house at this point either, but if they did then they would have arrived with a whole SWAT team if suspecting terrorist connections.

  5. Hi Jazz, I don’t think the son is a terrorist, that’s just the police being dumb. I believe the author’s intent was that the son and his buddies are petty thieves who stole the bomb from the car.
    But you could read it either way, unfortunately.

  6. A stroke of good luck…..the final straw…..the wheels spinning…… With three cliches in the first few paragraphs, I lost momentum. As writers, I believe we have an obligation to avoid lazy writing ‘at all cost.’ We must work harder than our readers.

  7. I retired from the police several years ago. One thing I do know about police procedures, however, is that they have not changed much in the intervening years. Whatever we write about must impart the conviction that the writer knows whereof he writes. As writers, we must be better informed than our readers about EVERY aspect of the story. No-one is perfect, and short fiction might be the hardest of all the genres to master.

  8. READERS ARE CRUEL. MERCILESS. They react with the vengeance of school children (Lord of the Flies) when they suspect weakness and fallibility. Better to take up skydiving without a chute than attempt to write.

  9. The writing, the fluency is good, I had no trouble reading on. But I think there needs to be more foreshadowing about the son as a character so that the plot becomes clearer. Keep writing!

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