#Short #ShortStory The Bench

I’ve done this only once before, but I’ve been inspired by my student’s and by recent reading of Raymond Carver’s work. This story is definitely not finished and there is more to come, but for now snack on this.

The Bench by Nigeria Lockley

One job. 

It was only supposed to be one job. Terrence thought to himself while zipping his coat all the way up to his chin. Things seemed simple enough.

All he had to do was sit down and watch. Watch everyone that entered and exited the park through back. Sounded simple enough didn’t sound like a conspiracy. 

He’d gotten a lot of thinking done while sitting and watching, but today was going to be the last time. 

“Jimmy, I’m out,” Terrance said to his lanky compatriot seated beside him.

“You’re on for tonight, right?”

“For sure”—Terrance gave a quick nod—“I’m on it tonight, by after this—I’m out,” he stated drawing an imaginary line across his throat. 

“What you found God or something?” 

“No, I just want out.” Terrence avoided Jimmy’s coal black eyes. They were hypnotic and had drawn him into plenty of schemes before this one. Right and wrong had become relative especially since wrong kept his fridge full, his mom off his back, and him in a new pair of kicks. 

“Why you want out all of a sudden?”

“Man, it’s not sudden.”

“What you got planned? You gon’ start snitching now.” 

Terrance shook his head fervently from side to side. “Never that. It’s just time.” 

“Time for what? Someone whisper something in ear? What you trying do—go to school get a G.E.D or something? bench crop

Terrance shrugged his shoulders and leaned back on his bench. He gripped the wood of the bench avoiding the spots that had become cracked and broken up. He occupied this bench so long he knew how to avoid being pricked by the wood or getting his clothes caught on the wood. 

“I don’t get it man.”Jimmy glowered at him and let out guttural groan. “Your girl take you to one session of Sunday school and you not tryna roll with us no more. I really don’t get it. 

“There’s nothing to get,” Terrance said and sat straight up. This is my last night on this bench. Instead of trying to play Dr. Phil why don’t you get in position and I’ll hit you when I see a good mark.” Terrance banged his hand on the bench and gripped it tightly leaving Jimmy’s balled up fist hanging in the air like a bent tree bough. 

“You good?” 

“Yeah.” I’ll be good when I’m off this bench, Terrance ruminated sinking back on his bench.   

Terrence’s eyes followed Jimmy to his spot. He turned his gaze to the sparsely populated park. Yesterday’s rain and cool breeze had kept many at home. 


Many nights had passed by since Terrance had even made an appearance at his home. His whole world had become the bench. Visions of what he’d do when reporting to this bench was no longer required cluttered his mind’s eye. So much so that he lost focus. 

He stopped watching his man. 

He stopped watching. 

He stopped watching his mark. 

He stopped watching. 

“Sir, please stand up and put your hands behind your back,” a man in a police officer’s uniform said to him.

He didn’t move. 

“Sir, I’m going to need you to get off of this bench. Stand up and place your hands behind your back.”

He stopped watching.


© Nigeria Lockley 2015 All Rights Resevered.


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