Ms. Dune never had such a hard working creative writing class as the one at the Shelby County Correctional Facility. And why not? The winning convict of the writing contest would serve the rest of his time outside the prison walls on probation.
The student body was small, consisting of the three top finishers in the early rounds of the competition. Frankie, a.k.a. Felonious Monk wrote well for a violent criminal. In particular, he was fond of metaphors and similes.
“He beat her repeatedly like a jackhammer.”
“His rage was a windstorm.”
Then there was Angela who goes by the pen name Miss Anthrope. Without going into details about what she did to her ex-boyfriend, let’s just say that suddenly he’s half the man he used to be. She goes for the long descriptive passages.
“She waded through a pile if his dirty socks, past the crowded dish-laden sink, smelling the rotting banana peel which remained in the garbage disposal, while he lay on the mid-century couch listening to music on his iPhone”
Larson, who was in for larceny, had a more eclectic style.
“Bounding through the square, Kiley juggled donuts while singing Pagliacci.”
Ms. Dune and the other judges carefully evaluated the entries. Frankie, Angela and Larson sat quietly in metal folding chairs awaiting the decision. Frankie kicked the concrete walls with his heel. Larson ran his pen across the iron bars.
The judges entered the cell. Ms. Dune read announce the winner. It was Larson. He smiled and shook hands graciously with Angela. While he was doing that, Frankie lunged at Ms. Dune.
Larson was soon free. And Frankie continues to write, now using the pen name Murder One.
Ms. Dune won’t be judging next year.