Here’s this week’s Free Fiction Friday story, coming your way from UnWrecked Press.
UPDATE: Now that the free week is over, you can read the rest of this story by downloading a copy from Smashwords or Amazon. Then you can read it on your laptop, desktop, Kindle, iPad, Nook, iPhone, or whatever device you use to read ebooks.
This is one of the first stories I ever wrote, dating back to my college days at the University of Iowa. Three-fourths of it is more or less true, but I’m not telling you which three-fourths!
Enjoy, and have a Happy New Year!
The Doorstop Thieves
When I was eleven years old, my best friend was Chris Thomas, and together we were doorstop thieves. We went to Saint Francis Xavier Elementary in Dyersville, Iowa, where a huge statue of the patron saint stood peacefully in front of the brick four-story school. It was the goal of every fifth and sixth grade boy to climb the statue, swing from the saint’s arms, and spit on his classmates below. The small concrete birds that had once perched on Saint Francis’ shoulders and outstretched arms had been broken off by small, rough hands, leaving only tiny nubbles of stone and the memory of serenity.
It was noon on a warm spring Monday when Chris kicked the little block of wood out from under a door. As the doorstop clattered down the steps to the second floor landing, a strange gleam came into Chris’ eyes. He ran down the stairs and picked up the doorstop, turning it over and over in his hands. Behind me, the unblocked door closed with a bump.
Chris waved me down and bent over, his narrow back hunched. His hair fell in his eyes as he cackled, “I have zee doorstop, masster, I have zee doorstop!”
I guess it all could have ended there if I hadn’t encouraged him. But Chris was my best friend, and I would have done anything for him short of murder or blasphemy. After watching him lurch around the landing with the doorstop held tight to his chest, I hurried down the steps as well. We tossed the wood back and forth until we heard the familiar clacking of Sister Virginia’s shoes on the stairs above us. Playing was not allowed in the school.
I figured he’d just toss the doorstop to the floor and forget about it. Instead, I watched in surprise as Chris slipped the doorstop into a pocket of his brown corduroys and hopped down the last flight of stairs. He had stolen school property. Visions of jail and possible damnation danced in front of my eyes on our way to the lunchroom, and I had trouble eating my Salisbury steak and green beans. I could see a visit to the confessional in my near future.
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