Now, without his brother to protect him and a mother who blames him for Darnell being in jail (“He was protecting you.”), Jamar is adrift in a neighborhood full of predators, some of whom wear the sheep’s clothing of friends. Walking home from McDonald’s one evening Jamar runs into some of those so-called friends, who promise to take him to a popular club if he’ll just do them a quick favor first.
Jamar’s smart enough to know something’s not right when they ask him to wait outside while they go into a check-cashing store – and to signal them by pulling up his hoodie if he sees someone coming – but unfortunately he’s not smart enough to avoid either getting caught up in the outburst of violence that ensues or subsequently being picked up by the police as their chief suspect.
Written from Jamar’s point of view, “The Suspect” is a taut twenty-five page short story that puts the reader in the head of a well-intentioned but simple young man who finds himself in circumstances he can’t quite wrap his mind around. We’ve all seen the good cop/bad cop routine on television and in films, but it’s an altogether different thing to experience it from Jamar’s perspective as he struggles to do what he thinks will make everyone happy, and allow him to go home.
Indeed, Tonya Plank, author of the award-winning Swallow, depicts Jamar’s fear and confusion as he’s questioned by the police in a way that’s completely palpable and absolutely heartbreaking, and which makes “The Suspect” a story more than well worth your time and $0.99.
“The Suspect” is available at Amazon.