This story is one that never would have been published without a draft or two (or three) presented to my writing group. Thanks to Craig, Emrie, Mireille and Steph for the candid feedback and patience to sit through yet another version. It was first published by Ariel Chart in June 2018.
A Harmless Prank
by DL Shirey
Morning came to the courtyard between iron bars of a skylight, brightening the floor outside his cell door. Finner dropped to his knees and touched his cheek to cold concrete, eyeballing the distance and angle from his door to Peralta’s. Finner had an idea how to cheer up his shipmate, then he wondered, are we still called shipmates on dry land?
Prisoners weren’t allowed to speak, so they wrote messages instead. Finner hadn’t traded words with Peralta for three weeks, not since their jailers confiscated the conveyance used to pass notes. When it was found, Finner took a beating, but it didn’t stop him from assembling another rig.