The New Orleans Writing Marathon is doing an exercise called FreeWrite Fridays. I did not participate in the marathon, but I did do the weekly writing prompts on their Facebook page. This is the fourth one. The prompt was, “Distance.”
© Copyright 2014 by Sara Jacobelli
It was about a twelve foot drop. That was her estimation anyway, not that she was all that good at math. Still, she figured it must have been twelve feet, maybe ten. All she would have to do was climb over the fence, one of the parts where the barbed wire didn’t reach. Then make the drop. Then run, cutting through backyards in unfamiliar neighborhoods, running fast until she could get far enough away they’d quit looking. It’s not like they’d send a posse out to look for a cookie-eating-juvenile who escaped from juvenile hall. The store dropped the charges, the only reason they were keeping her was because she was a minor, and no responsible adult came around to claim her.
She would have to do it during their “outdoor recreation period.” This was a joke. Sometimes they would let them outside in a fenced-in concrete yard. They’d give them a few balls and some girls would play four square. It reminded her of recess. She didn’t participate, she just leaned against the wall and sang her favorite songs quietly and stared over the fence, daydreaming. She didn’t participate in anything. There was some type of point system, you earned points for cooperating, you lost points for not participating in activities or for having a bad attitude. All she did was lose points, she was somewhere around minus three hundred now. This amused her, her Negative Balance. She couldn’t imagine why she would cooperate, you earned things like the privilege of making phone calls or buying a candy bar from the machines. Since she had no one to call, and no money on her books to buy anything, there was no point in cooperating.
I’m just a kid, she thought. A hungry kid who ate some fucking cookies out of open packages in Safeway, so you busted me and put me in juvenile hall. Now I’m stuck here. But I’m only twelve feet away from freedom. Just twelve feet, if I could make the climb, and make the jump, and land without breaking my legs. Twelve feet.
Photo Credit: Pixabay free images: Barbed Wire. CC NonCommercial ShareAlike.