The prompt for NPR’s Three Minute Fiction Contest, Round 10 was: “Leave a Message after the Beep.”
The story had to be 600 words, or less, in the form of a voice mail message.
Here is my story:
Jail Babies © copyright 2013 by Sara Jacobelli
Mindy? Is this Mindy Wainwright’s phone? Well, you’re probably wondering who I am. I’m not a crazy person, really I’m not.
Um, remember about two weeks ago? You were in that club on Frenchmen Street? Café Eliza? It was a Saturday night, about 9 pm?
You came in by yourself. I was surprised you weren’t with a gaggle of girlfriends, you don’t look the type to go anywhere alone. You were wearing a really expensive looking black dress, with these little sparkly things on it, and gobs of jewelry. You smelled like spendy perfume. Just your shoes could pay for a week’s worth of groceries at my house.
You took two hundred bucks out of the ATM, broke a twenty to buy margaritas. Left your wallet with the rest of the money in your purse on the bar. You got up to dance with some cute guy.
Mindy? You’re gonna think I’m a terrible person. But when you were dancing, and the bartender got busy, I’m the one who snuck into your purse and took your wallet. I’m not a bad person. If you knew me, you’d like me. That sounds crazy, I know.
I needed that hundred and eighty bucks, Mindy. I’ve got two kids to feed. And yeah, sure we do get food stamps. But. . . they run out by the twentieth of the month. And kids eat a lot. You might not know much about kids. And you probably don’t know much about being hungry.
It’s not like I don’t work. I clean apartments under the table. It’s hard work, believe me. I don’t even want to clean my OWN house when I get home. But I have to. Somebody does. You probably have a maid to clean your place.
You might be wondering about my old man? He’s in jail. You probably don’t know much about jail. My two kids, they’re jail babies, got it? And with him in jail he ain’t bringing home a paycheck. You might wonder why he got busted? Well, he hurt his back doing construction work, and got turned down for workmen’s comp and disability. So he had a friend front him some weed, and he started dealing. Just weed, Mindy. No meth or crack. He was making good, too, til he got popped.
I got dreams, Mindy, I do. I’m planning to take my GED. I already tried once, but couldn’t pass the math part. I just don’t get algebra. But I’m not stupid. Your parents probably sent you to college. You’re lucky. You don’t know it but you are. You probably won’t miss that money.
You might be wondering if this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, Mindy? I wish it was, I really do. But this is gonna make me sound bad, really bad. About once a month, when our food stamps run out, I get all dressed up in the best clothes I got. Just thrift shop stuff, but I clean up OK. And I go to a nice club, I buy one drink. Maybe a guy will buy me a drink or two. I try different clubs, so I don’t get caught.
And I look for girls like you, Mindy. Young and single and pretty and carefree. And careless. Very careless. So, when they get careless, I take their money.
I need it to feed my kids, Mindy. And buy them clothes, and treats, and school supplies.
I’m not a bad person. I’m really not. Don’t hate me. You should thank me, I taught you a lesson.
Photo Credit: “Jail Bars,” by Cyborglibrarian. CC License ShareAlike. Flickr.