I walked the line


Dear Liz:

Here are the rest of my notes–faxed per your request. I really can’t do another piece on him. You were right. I walked the line. Thanks for letting Lynn do the piece. And, thanks for being my friend, not just my editor.
His name is Vincent (Vinny) Pellegrinetti. I interviewed him for an article about living on death row. I ended up falling for the guy and I found sufficient evidence to back up his plea of innocence in the alleged murder of his mother, Alice Pellegrinetti. There was a hearing and they went to trial again. This time he was not charged with murder but manslaughter for assisted suicide. He was set free for time served.

I haven’t heard from him since and that was five weeks ago. He shook my hand and thanked me, then gave me a quick hug and walked away. He never looked back. Today I found out, through my grapevine, that the Marines took him back as of two days ago. He’s at Parris Island, S. Carolina, undergoing some training, then he’ll get his old rank back–Gunny Sargent. He was right when he said the Marines never gave up on him. Yeah, they didn’t give up on him how? They didn’t dishonorably discharge him. I didn’t give up on him how? I got him his freedom.

So, what has he been doing up until two days ago? I thought maybe I would get a call from him. Maybe an email or a letter; a thank you card or a postcard at the very least. I feel like a real jerk. I’ve been used and it’s taken until now to feel like killing him. Some journalist I am. What was I thinking? Is he thinking about the woman–the patsy he used to get out of prison? What if I was lied to by all those people who knew him? There is such a thing as conspiracy. He might belong to some secret society and they manufactured the evidence for me to uncover.

The following are from my original notes.
He’s tall. He claims he’s 6′ 6″ (198 cm) but he’s actually 6′ 7″ (200.6 cm) according to his records. Most men exaggerate upwards not down. He’s slender now. It seems he was heavier but prison food and the gym have slimmed him down. His hair is the darkest brown and it tends to curl if it gets too long, so he keeps it short. He has brown eyes and long slender fingers of a pianist, which he is, actually. Because of good behavior he participates in a concert each week.

His mother, Alice, was sure that Vinny killed his brothers. He was in the country where each was killed. She went to Vinny’s Colonel. He was cleared by the Marines. Until the day she died, Vinny’s mother believed he murdered his brothers and nothing would change her mind.

Liz:   I’ve changed my mind. I need to look into something.  Call you later.


Flash Fiction Challenge #27
Prompt:  A journalist writing a story about living on death row begins to fall for one of the inmates she’s interviewing.
Word Count:  500

Thanks to Ms Thain at Thain in Vain for hosting Flash Fiction Challenge


13 thoughts on “I walked the line

  1. Very compelling! Was Connie duped? Or did was she a legit help to Vinny? Did Vinny kill his brothers? And why did Connie change her mind at the end of the letter! I want to know more! Another great story, Lucy! I can’t believe we are on week 27! It’s certainly become a habit to write these stories! TiV

    • That’s it–a taste. I do leave clues. I like my mysteries to be open ended. If there’s a spark of interest, the reader will speculate and solve it herself/himself according to her/his own perspective. I don’t know that this one needs a sequel. Thanks for coming by. I’m a little behind on reading everyone’s submissions–I’ve been way under the weather. I see you wrote a flash fiction for 520 words but could have used another 500. I always feel that way. Thanks again. I seem to be very chatty today. Lucy

  2. He (Vinnie) was found to have participated in his mother’s death by assisting in her suicide? That’s intriguing… especially since we know Mama thought sonny was involved in the deaths of his brothers. What does Liz need to check into? Spell it out, woman! Like everyone else, I want a sequel!

    • First. I used your entire name, not just your first name in Mercury Poisoning. Secondly I liked the idea of Mercury being a car and what better than one from the 50’s seeing as my best friend’s mom had the exact same convertible

      A Fitting Curse is partially true. There are night walkers in their folklore that are malevolent spirits who kidnap people, etc. I did Estonia because the photo is most likely that of a city in Estonia and the largest city is the capital, Blah, blah , blah, I found the photographer’s work online and this photo is in his Estonia album.

      And, finally, I walked the line. I hate to write about lovey dovey stuff so of course I had to go down the road of the journalist being duped or not duped?

      Seriously, which story out of the three do you like the most?

      I finally got to read your story The Visit.. Excellent. You’re getting better and better with “macabre”.

      I learned a lot doing these last challenges. I now know a lot about Estonia, Mercury’s and cars from 1957. I really liked the 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser but when I saw the yellow convertible I had to go with that. I will use the Cruiser in another story.

      I will answer your email either tonight or tomorrow morning. I am still not well. I need to lie down now. Lucy

      • Hi Lucy! I am really behind in everything, so please forgive the delay in my responding to your remarks. Very clever – using Loveton as an anagram. Went right by me, clever woman. I like the name Voltone, though… sounds like a space age name to me. Like voltage, maybe? I can see a 1950s style astronaut helmet with little lightining bolts on it. 🙂 Or maybe a space alien, Lord Voltrone.

        I liked the idea of using the Mercury (car) for the mercury poisoning prompt. I hadn’t thought of the car – an inspired idea!

        Regarding Estonia, I think the Eastern bloc countries are the perfect setting for stories such as the one you explored. Thanks to those old movies about Transylvania, I always envision that entire area as the home of werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, etc. It seems… mysterious. I guess it is obvious, I’ve never been there! Otherwise, my perception would probably be quite different.

        So you wrote about a journalist being duped, and I wrote about a journalist who was nuts. Either way, we didn’t write a romance, did we? Not really. The idea of love for a murderer creeps me out; I had to make my journalist a kook.

        While I enjoyed all the stories, I think my favorite is Mercury Poisoning because it is so far afield from what I might have imagined. The car idea is really a novel one, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do in the future with the story. And also if Ms. Voltone makes a return appearance – make her a crazed killer! That would work for me! 😀

        Thanks for the kind words about The Visit. I thought the photo went well with it; the eyes in that photo look quite bizarre and not a little crazy intense to me.

        I hope you soon feel better, my friend.

  3. Did Vinny kill his brothers and his mother, what is it that causes Connie to sign off so quickly?

    Enquiring minds want to know! This story is ripe for a sequel should you choose to write one. Great work! 🙂

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