Reversal and Gratitude

Here’s a two-fer for Linda Hill’s Just-Jot-It January 2023, combining Sadje and Carole Anne’s prompt words. They just seemed to flow together in a stream of consciousness story. We’re only half way through the month, but if you want to play (read others’ posts and/or write your own) here is where you go to join in! The prompts are:

Reversal (Sadje @ )

Gratitude (Carol Anne @


January 13 – Reversal

While it wasn’t exactly a face palm, her forehead did wind up lowered into her left hand, head tipped to the side. She gazed at him from under her curtain of curly bangs, unable to believe what she was hearing now. Her elbows dropped to the dark wooden table as her left hand met the right and clasped her mouth. She sighed and looked at him straight on. “How in the hell did we get to this place?”

He leaned back in his chair, the wood protesting his muscular weight, and swiped his bangs from in front of his face, curling the ends behind his ear. “What?”

“You told me the exact opposite story, not five hours ago,” she snapped. “So how did we get a complete reversal of your earlier statement: first, you were nowhere near the scene of the crime, to up front and center, with the victim’s cash in your pocket, and video of you leaving the site to buy beer.”

“I was going to buy root beer,” he mumbled, dropping his head.

“Which you did not in fact end up doing. You bought a keg of beer and brought it back to the scene in the back of the victim’s pickup.”

“Well, the victim, as you like to call him, was too drunk to drive. So really, I was doing a public service, taking his keys and keeping him off the road.” He looked up hopefully.

She stared him down. “And you used a fake ID to get the beer.”

“Well, I’m underage.”

“That’s right. You’re underage,” she said, raising her eyebrows and crossing her hands over her chest.

“But the victim was murdered while I was buying beer. You said you have time-stamped video of me nowhere near the river because I was buying beer at Bernie’s Booze Barn.”

“You’re clear of the murder, yes,” she said quietly, “But you still bought alcohol, underage, and Bernie’s clerk said you reeked of alcohol.”

“So, I’m not being charged with murder, but I’m still in deep trouble?”

“That’s right, son. You should have gone to the Stop, Shop & Go for root beer and ice cream, instead of drinking and driving, using a false ID, and buying alcohol underage.”

“But at least I didn’t kill anyone.”

“I’ll give you that. But you’re accountable for all the other laws you broke.”

“So maybe I get community service?”

“If you’re lucky. Now go on home and get dinner started. I’ve got a murder to solve. And yes, you’re still grounded.”

“Aw Mom!”


January 15 – Gratitude

“Geez-o-Pete Belinda. You’d think that kid would show a little gratitude. He’s getting off easy.” Deputy Miller watched the boy cross the station with a long-legged stride.

“It’s not so easy being the Sheriff’s son in a small town, Derek.” Belinda pulled the door closed on the small space that served as an interview room. “He feels like he needs to prove something.”

“Ya hafta keep a tighter rein on the kid, then. So he doesn’t wind up like his sister did, rest her soul,” Derek shook his head and headed to the Bunn coffee-maker. He lifted the carafe and swirled the muddy remains, noting the viscous contents and grains of coffee grounds.”Looks like we’re gonna be here for awhile. Should I make a fresh pot?”

 “None for me,  thanks,” Belinda answered. “He’s never been like his sister, Delores. She was a challenge from day one, like her father.” She sat on the edge of her corner desk. “He’s more like me, I’m afraid. And that means I have to keep a tight rein when he screws up, but also give him his head when he’s on the right track.” She smiled bitterly. “I’m making this up as I go along. No one ever taught me how to deal with me.”

“Aw, you do all right,” answered Derek. He spooned the grounds in for half a pot and checked the reservoir. “But maybe you could let him teach you a thing or two. You know, learn how to deal, with each other?”

“Yep,” she smiled and stood. “And to that challenge, I’m going to head home and see what the kid and I can make for dinner. He’s a better cook than I am.”

“You could be grateful for that, at least,” Derek Miller laughed, pressing the on button for the Bunn.

“I’ll be back at the station by 7 pm. You think you can hold down the fort until I come back?”

“I’ll do my best. I’d do better if you could bring me a little of what your son’s cooking up. We should have test results back by then, and can discuss.”

“Maybe just stop by, say, 6 pm? At least he likes you…”

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2023)

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