Hoops Writing Club: 3rd Assignment

My third submission for the Hoops Writing Club. I have really enjoyed submitting stories for this group and I would recommend this for any writer her on OD looking for a new outlet to provoke some great creative energy.

So here is my newest submission. The prompt for this story is “I didn’t see any other way out, so I shot him.

So here is the new story. I hope you like it!


The two men sat there for at least a half hour, not saying anything. They were both professionals, which meant they both knew there was no need to fill the air with bullshit. It was this mutual respect for one another that lead to what was for the people on the other side of the glass a very long, uncomfortable silence. Both of them smoked, but neither even reached for a stick. On one side of the table, with his back to the mirror was a clean cut man wearing a suit. He was the man in charge of the situation, but he was being patient. He wasn’t dealing with a regular thug but a man who knew how this game was played. That changed everything. It was like a game of chicken and the first one to speak lost. Both of them seemed to have an infinite patience, one that was broken when someone finally knocked on the glass.

The man sitting with his back to the wall smiled. He was wearing a black t-shirt with blue jeans and had his hands cuffed behind his back. He was williing to wait forever but he could tell the silence was upsetting someone. “Sounds like the Captain’s back there.”

The other man paused for a moment and grinned. “He was never very patient. You know that as well as I do, Max.”

Max just relaxed and continued to grin. “If everyone had it, then it wouldn’t be a virtue Detective Jones.”

Jones grinned. “That’s not a problem for you, is it Max?”

“Of course not.” Max replied as he held his hands up. “I’m just not used to playing on this side of the board.”

“What do you mean?” Jones inquired.

“I mean an interrogation is just like Chess.” Max answered.

“How so?”

“White goes first.”

Jones sat up. “This isn’t a game, Max. You’re here because you killed a man.”

“Yes, I killed him.” Max confirmed. “But I don’t think this piece of turd was much of a man.”

“So you admit it?” Jones asked, somewhat surprised.

“Of course I do.” Max said as he grinned. “I put two bullets in his chest and for good reason.”

“What the hell were you doing there in the first place?” Jones asked.

“Martha sent me a text.” Max answered.

“And Martha is the victim’s wife?” Jones asked.

”No, she’s the victim.” Max corrected. “And she’s also my sister.”

“So why didn’t you call the cops?” Jones asked.

“Because I didn’t think it was necessary.” Max answered. “I wanted to resolve the situation without having anyone arrested.”

“And how did that work out?” Jones asked as he gestured to his cuffs.

“Not very well.” Max admitted.

“That much we can agree on.” Jones said as he stood up. “Did you know the victim had a gun?”

“No clue.” Max replied. “Makes me glad I brought my own.”

“Can you tell me what happened when you got there?” Jones asked.

“I arrived around seven thirty. Martha and the kids went to the bathroom and locked the door so I could have a chance to speak with Stephen.” Max said as he became a little uncomfortable. “I asked Stephen what happened to Martha, who was sporting one hell of a shiner. He tried to give me this bullshit about her falling over and hitting something against her eye. Complete bullshit… that piece of shit punched her in the face again.”

“So you shot him?” Jones asked.

”No.” Max said as he stood up in his chair. “I roughed him up, gave him a little taste of his own medicine.”

“Then what happened?” Jones asked.

“I gave him a little space and that’s when he pulled out a gun.” Max said as he looked towards the glass. “I didn’t even know he had one registered.”

“He doesn’t.” Jones replied. “We found the gun underneath the couch and there’s no serial numbers on it. We think he got it off the streets.”

“Fucker.” Max cursed as he shuffled in his chair.

“So who shot first?” Jones asked.

“He did, when Martha came back into the living room.” Max answered. “She startled him and he fired at her. The bullet winged her in the arm.”

“And what happened next?” Jones asked.

”I used the moment of distraction to draw my own service weapon.” Max answered. “I then asked him to drop his gun.”

“And he refused?” Jones asked.

“He didn’t say anything.” Max answered. “But I take his attempt to shoot me as a refusal to follow instructions.”

“And that is when you shot Stephen?” Jones assumed.

“Yes.” Max answered. “Two shots to the torso.”

“Nice shot, Max.” Jones said as he sat back down. “Stephen was dead before the EMT’s could make it there. He was declared at the scene.”

“He had already shot my sister and there were two scared kids in the other room.” Max said as he recalled it as best as he could. “I had no choice… I took down a man who was a threat to everyone in the house.”

“So basically you’re calling this self defence?” Jones asked.

“You bet your ass I am.” Max replied. “It was a good shooting and I’m not saying another word until either my lawyer or union rep gets here.”

“All right.” Jones said as he took the paperwork from the table. “I’ll be back.”

Max watched as detective Jones left the room and closed the door behind him, fully aware that Jones couldn’t ask anymore questions once he asked for his lawyer. As a member of the force, Max was well aware of how the game was played around here, but kept his cards close to his chest. He gave the boys behind the glass the show they wanted to see; a fellow officer coming clean and showing respect to his superiors. He tossed the guys a bone, something nice to chew on while keeping the real truth to himself.

Even though it was past the kid’s bedtime, every light in the house was still on and Max knew it wasn’t a good thing. He could hear the kids crying from their rooms and there was screaming coming from the living room. Martha had sent him a text message. He was drunk, which was when it always hit the fan. It was a shame too because Stephen had been clean for almost two years. He went to rehab, got clean and attended meetings every week and kept tabs with his sponsor. Max was sure things were good, but here he was. Knocking on the door as hard as he can, the same knock he would make when he was on duty. It was a distinct knock that always told you that a cop was at the door. A few moments later, Martha came over and opened it. “Where is he?”

“In the living room.” Martha answered.

Max took a look at her eye and it was pretty bad. “Did he hit the kids?”

“No, but he almost did.” Martha answered. “James tried to get between us but I wouldn’t let him.”

Max was already furious but the idea that one of his nephews tried to be a human shield for his mother was allhe could take. “Take the boys and take them in the bathroom and lock the door. Put the kids in the tub and don’t leave until I call for you.”

“Max…” Martha pleaded.

”Do it!” Max said as he walked inside. He watched as his sister ran down the hall and took the boys out of their bedrooms. Once he saw the bathroom door close and lock, Max proceeded to living room. When he got there Stephen was in the lazy boy, drinking straight out of a twenty-sixer of Jack Daniels and watching the game on television. The Yankees were losing and it was the reason he was being so abusive. “Hey Stephen.”

Stephen looked up from his chair. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

“I got a message from Martha.” Max answered. “She’s under instructions to contact me if you ever break your sobriety or get violent. From the looks of it you’re two for two today…”

“Get the fuck out of my house.” His brother-in-law replied.

“I’ve been chipping in over 50% of the rent the last several months. When you were in rehab, I paid all of it.” Max retorted. “Shouldn’t I be telling you to get your drunk, wife beating ass out of my house?”

Stephen hopped out of the lazy boy. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”

Max replied with actions rather than words. While he was walking down the hall to the living room, he had put leather gloves on. He wasn’t there to talk. Max cracked his brother-in-law in the side of his head with a vicious left jab. While the fat man was dazed, Max came in and slapped the bottle of Jack out of his hands and proceeded to land a combo of serious body shots before cracking Stephen in the chin with an uppercut to the chin that sent the man flying off his feet and crashing through the coffee table.

“Please stop!” Stephen cried.

Max didn’t respond to the man’s crying and picked him up off the ground. Once the bastard was back on his feet, Max pulled out his gun. “Do you remember what I told you the last time this happened?”

“No.” Stephen sobbed. “Please, no!”

“I told you.” Max said as he pulled out a second gun. “The next time this happened, it would be the last time you ever laid a finger on my sister.”

“I won’t do it again.” Stephen begged, “I swear!”

“I know you won’t.” Max said as he raised one of the guns up to eye level. Before Stephen could say another word, Max fired two shots right into his brother-in-law’s chest. He crashed to the ground with a loud thud. The bullets both hit his heart and he was dead in a matter of minutes.

“Max!” a voice called out from the hallway. Martha came out and saw the body on the floor. “What did you do?”

“I freed you.” Max said as he then raised the other gun and fired it at his sister. The bullet tore into her right shoulder, a wound that was not life threatening but would take a few months to recover from. She fell to the floor, stunned.

“Don’t worry.” Max said. “I have to make it look good.” He took the same gun he just shot his sister with and fired two more shots into the wall from an angle to make it look like his brother-in-law fired in his direction.

“What did you do?” his sister repeated.

Max dropped the gun beside Stephen’s body and then took his gloves off. He pulled up the corner of the rug and fired two more shots into the floor. He then put the rug back down, confident forensics would never find it because there were no holes in the rug. He would also now only have one form of gunpowder on his hands thanks to his gloves, which he would dispose of before the police arrived. He walked up to his sister and comforted her. “I told him if he ever did this again I would end him. I’m a man of my word.”

His sister was in the state of shock. “Max… the police.”

“I’ll handle them.” Max said as he pulled out his phone and dialled a familiar number. “Dispatch, this is Officer Maxwell Davis.”

“What can we do for you Officer Davis?” the dispatch replied.

“I have shots fired at 21 pine road.” Max replied.

“We have units already in route.” Dispatch said.

“Please inform them an off duty officer is present and that the scene is secure.” Max continued. “We’re also going to need EMT for two people. One of them is critical.”

“Are you injured, Officer Davis?” Dispatch asked.

“I am not, but I can’t say the same for the homeowner.” Max answered.

“Where is the perpetrator?”

“Homeowner is the perp.” Max answered. “This is a domestic disturbance.”


Moments later there was a loud knocking at the door. Max paused for a moment and then took a deep breath. “The door’s open!”

The door opened and two uniformed officers walked in. Max didn’t want to put them in a bad situation and raised his hands to let them know he wasn’t a threat. “Hey Bob. Denise.” He called as they walked into the room.

“Max?” Bob said as he walked up. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

“I’d like you to meet my sister, Martha.” Max said as he pointed to the woman sitting against the wall, bleeding. “I got a towel pressed against her arm, but she needs a hospital, asap.”

“We got medic coming.” Bob said as he walked over and took a look at was left of Stephen. “Who did that?”

“I did.” Max replied. “He pulled a gun and shot my sister right in front of me. I asked him to drop his weapon and he tried to shoot me.” Max pointed to the wall where there were two bullet holes. “I didn’t see any other way out, so I shot him.”

Denise was still taking care of his sister as Bob checked Stephen for a pulse. “He’s deader than Dillenger.”

“What a fucking shame.” Max sarcastically replied.

Bob got back to his feet. “Where’s your piece?”

“It’s behind me.” Max said as he put his hands on his head. “Go ahead. I know the drill and I won’t take it personally. You’re doing your job.”

Bob took the piece from Max and then cuffed his hands behind his back. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney…”

Max waited patiently for over an hour before finally Jones came back into the room. He walked over and took the cuffs off his prisoner. “What’s going on?” Max asked. “Is my lawyer or union rep here?”

“No.” Jones asked. “We’ve been talking to the DA and we’ve decided not to press any charges. We spoke to your sister at the hospital and she’s backed your story. Your brother in law was raving mad, beat her and then pulled a gun. Considering your brother-in-law’s long history of being arrested for domestic assault and that you’re an officer with a clean record, we have no reason to think you’re not telling the truth.”

“Thank you.” Max said as he stood up.

“I would have done the same thing if I was in that situation.” Jones replied. “I’m just glad nothing happened to the kids.”

”Me too.” Max said as he shook the detective’s hand. “When can I go see my sister?”

“Just sign a few release forms and you can go now.” Jones replied.

“Thanks for your help.” Max said as he walked to the open door. “When can I get back on the job?”

“We’re giving you a week off with pay.” Jones answered. “Take care of your nephews until your sister gets home.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Max said as he left the room. He nodded to the captain as he walked through to the hallway and strolled over to the booth he passes by all the time. “Hey Jim.”

“Max.” Jim answered from behind the cage. “What can I do for ya?”

“Just need my stuff.” Max said. “I was locked up for a few hours.”

“No, you?” Jim asked.

“No charges.” Max said with a wink. “It was a clean shooting.”

“Always is with you.” Jim said as he retrieved a small bag with all his possessions. “I’m sorry about all this paper work, we’ve had to beef things up for everyone after we lost a few items.”

“Jesus, Jim.” Max said as he signed the few forms. “What the hell did you lose back there?”

“Some evidence from last month’s big drug raid. A good bit of cash and a gun went missing.” Jim answered. “They just upped and vanished and there’s no we’ll ever find it. The bills and the gun are completely clean, untraceable.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it.” Max said as he took his stuff. “I’m sure they’ll turn up.”

Author’s Note:

The story you just read is fiction, but domestic violence is very real. It happens everyday.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact these people for immediate assistance:

The United States:

National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233): Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, this line is a resource for safety information and can connect any caller with shelters and protection advocates in her area.

VINE (VineLink.com): Active in 47 states, VineLink.com allows women to search for an offender in custody by name or identification number, then register to be alerted if the offender has been released or transferred, or has escaped.

Women’s Law (WomensLaw.org): This site has state-by-state legal information and resources for victims, as well as advice on how to leave an abusive situation, gather evidence of abuse, and prepare for court.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Dialing 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) will connect you with an advocate to speak with confidentially at any time, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

The United Kingdom:

To talk to someone in confidence for support, information or an emergency referral to temporary accommodation, contact the free 24 hour National

Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247

Website: http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/

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Good stuff. The dialogue feels real and genuine to me. Although, as a StarWars nut, I kind of wish Max had answered the “who shot first” question with a smart-ass comment about Han shooting first and everyone knowing it but not everyone would get that so I suppose you made the right choice. My only thought for you to chew on is about intrigue. I felt like I knew what had really happened right from the start–which isn’t a bad thing–but I feel like it makes the separation of the interrogation and the thoughts about what really happened into two distinct parts an interesting choice. For me, personally–I was filling in the details of what really happened during the part of the story with the interrogation, so when you went back and retold that part of the story, it felt redundant. That said, what you wrote there was good stuff. What I’m wondering and have for you to think about, is if the story would be better served if you integrated the two parts and broke up Part 2 and peppered it into Part 1, having Max think about what really happened, as he lied about those questions in the interrogation? It’s just a thought though. All-in-all, I liked it a lot.

ryn: good stuff…thanks for the feedback.

March 28, 2013

the way this story ended sounds like the first chapter in a cop/detective novel. which is a genre that i have a serious fondness for. anyways, i always feel like short stories should be like a chapter lifted from a novel, so i liked this a lot. the only criticism that i have is for the opening paragraph, the scene and players could be clearer. i had to reread that a couple time to make sense.

I think this is your sharpest story yet. There’s an impressive, thoughtful attention to detail, and the dialogue feels genuine. Parts 1 and 2 worked for me, for the most part. (I thought it was bold to show most of your cards at the halfway point.) But the conclusion of Part 3 makes Max come off more as a crooked cop than a morally ambiguous-yet-justified instrument of justice. A single line really stood out to me: “It was this mutual respect for one another that lead to what was for the people on the other side of the glass a very long, uncomfortable silence.” This line is super-clunky, and for a tone-setting sequence like the opening paragraph, every word should pull its weight or get cut. But otherwise, nice job!