Messy Story by Jeff Baker for Friday Flash Fics, December 13, 2019…


                   When Tear Gas Last In The Cell Block Bloomed

By Jeff Baker


The young man with the taut muscles sat on the wooden stool and glanced up at the light.

“Once again, Mr. Sandahl, where were you at the time the riot started?”

“About eleven-thirty in the morning?” Sandahl said. “I was on my way to the chow hall.” He reached up and scratched one of his bare shoulders where the tattoo was. “They didn’t have me on work detail until the afternoon, so I got to eat institutional slop instead of slop from a cooler.”

“And before that?”

“I was out jogging with Usain Bolt, whadya think?”

“Mr. Sandahl.”

“Okay, okay. I walked into the chow hall and I heard a bunch of yelling. There was a crash and I realized somebody had thrown one of those metal lunch trays. One of the guards ran past me, that big bald black dude. We call him Curley…”

“Lack of respect from an inmate…”

“You want to hear this or not?”

“Go on.”

“Okay. I didn’t want any part of any riot. I learned over the last two years to watch my back, so I started backing out, keeping an eye behind me. That’s when that one female guard, the one with the nice…”

“Mr. Sandahl!”

“Okay, we call her Mo-mo. She ran past me and that’s when somebody threw another tray, this one at me. This one had a bunch of food on it and I got splattered in the face and got slammed against a wall.”

“Did you see who started the riot?”

“Not with fake mashed potato glop in my eyes I didn’t. Anyway, I tried to get out of the chow hall and had my face wiped where I could see when somebody tossed the garbage can and that was when a bunch of us, guards, cons, my cellie Larry, you know him? Anyway, a bunch of us slipped on the garbage and started sliding on the floor.”

“You and…”

“Yeah, me and Larry and Mo and Curley. Anyway, I managed to roll out the door and made it back to my cell and that’s when I heard all hell breaking loose behind me.”

There was a moment of dead silence. A steely glare was focused on the young inmate.

“Hey, you don’t believe me, ask the guy behind the chow counter. He saw it all!”


“Yeah,” Sandahl said with a grin. “Ted Healy.”



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