Healing through story

Tag: soccer

shortfiction24 – a scar to keep a memory alive

A pissed off young man terrorizes a school bus full of children when he shoots the driver and threatens all the children on board. Enjoy the story.

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A Scar to Keep a Memory Alive

Bob Gillen

“Did you see that second goal last night! It was awesome! No one could have blocked it.” Lincoln Marrs twisted in his bus seat to talk to his friend. Two weeks into the new school year and morning energy still abounded.

The school bus stopped outside twelve-year old Sam Skor’s house. The last stop on the daily route. 

Sam got up from sitting on his front steps, slung his backpack over his shoulder, and ambled towards the bus. As Sam stepped on, the driver closed the door, said, “Let’s move it, buddy. We’re running late today.”

Sam pulled a small caliber revolver from the pocket of his hoodie and shot the driver. He slumped forward over the steering wheel. The bus rolled a hundred feet down the road, slammed into a pickup truck parked at the curb.

The truck’s owner came roaring out of his house. “What the hell is wrong with you? Look what you did to my truck.”

Sam fired a shot through the door of the bus. The man raised both hands, backed up to his front door. Sam pulled the door closed.

Inside the bus the younger students began crying, moaning, screaming. Someone cried, “Sam shot Lou.” Kids slumped down in their seats to avoid being shot. 

Sam fired a shot into the roof.

“Shut up!” he yelled. “All you little kids, get off the bus.”

No one moved.

Sam screamed. “Get off the bus.”

The younger kids moved to the front of the bus. “The door is closed,” one kid called out. Sam pointed to an older girl. “Open the door and get them out of here.”

The girl ran forward and began ushering the little kids out of the bus. The smell of urine filled the bus as some of the kids peed themselves in fear. A woman, grandmother age, ran forward and herded the younger kids into her house and out of sight. Several other residents crept forward and helped the woman with the kids.

The older students still on the bus busied themselves texting 911 or their parents.

A woman stuck her head inside the bus door. “I’m a nurse. Can I look after the driver?”

Sam fired a shot through the bus windshield. The woman backed away.

Sirens screamed as first responders arrived on the scene. In moments the bus was surrounded by police officers, guns drawn, all hesitant to approach because of the students present.

Sam waved his gun at the older students. “Put your phones away!”

In the back of the bus a few students slouched down in their seats, trying to be invisible.

A soft voice said, “Sam.”

Sam whirled on Lincoln. “Shut up.”

Lincoln said, “Sit down. You’re an easy target for the police.”

Sam looked around, sat down.

He said, “I should shoot every one of you. You threw me off the soccer team.”

Lincoln said, “Can I tell you why?”

Sam fired a shot at Lincoln. The bullet grazed his right arm. Lincoln clutched his arm as blood began to seep through his shirt sleeve.

Outside, the police moved closer to the bus. Sam saw them, yelled “Back off!” and fired another shot out the windshield.

A girl pulled a wad of tissues out of her backpack and passed them to Lincoln. He pressed them against his arm.

Lincoln gritted his teeth, spoke again. “Sam, you’re always angry. You fight with everyone over the rules and the scoring.”

“I know more about soccer than any of you. I know more than the referees and the coaches.”

Lincoln said, “We know you do. But you always pick a fight.”

“You’re all so stupid.”

Two police officers inched their heads in the door. Sam waved the gun in their direction. They ducked down under the bus chassis.

Lincoln said, “Sam, give up before they kill you.”

Sam put the gun up against his chin. “They won’t take me.”

He pulled the trigger.



Click. Click.

“Sam, you’re out of ammunition. That gun only holds six bullets.”

Sam dropped the gun on the seat. “I’m screwed.” He slumped back, fear and desperation crossing his face.

Lincoln reached across the aisle, shoved the gun to the floor. He waved to the officers. “He’s out of ammunition.”

Officers rushed in, guns aimed at Sam. They spun him around, slammed him against the seat. They handcuffed him, led him away. Other officers hustled the remaining students off the bus.

EMTs attended to the driver, who was still alive. The nurse stepped up to Lincoln, examined his arm. “Looks like only a scratch. You’ll be okay.”

“I can’t stand the sight of blood,” Lincoln said. He tried to stand, crumbled to the floor.

Lincoln woke up to the sound of wailing sirens. His own ambulance ride. The nurse held his hand. “Hi. My name is Mary. We’re going to the ER. The police called your mom. She’ll meet us there.”

“She’ll be so upset…What about the other kids?”

They’re all safe…uninjured.”


“He’s in police custody.”

“Will he be okay?”

Mary shrugged. “He’s a minor…but he could be facing attempted murder charges.”

Lincoln shook his head. “He’s a good kid. Always pissed off, though. He fucked up…oops, sorry about the language.”

“No worries. I’ve heard worse.”

Lincoln looked at the compress on his arm. “It hurts.”

“Yeah, it will for a while. They’ll give you a pain killer in the ER.”

“Will I need stitches?”

Mary nodded. “Probably.”

“Oh. I never had stitches before. I might pass out…again.”

“You were lucky. The bullet could have done a lot of damage.”

Lincoln shrugged. “I guess I’ll have a scar…a scar that won’t let me forget today.


shortfiction24 – my shoe is on the roof

This week I reach deep into my own archives for a fun story about a girl who loses her shoe just before she is up for a class presentation. Enjoy the story.

By now I am coming up on just short of 90 free stories I have posted to the blog over the last three years. My motto is, I show up. I hope some of the stories have brought a smile, a memory, a few moments of escape to your lives. Thanks for reading.

My Shoe is on the Roof

Bob Gillen

When the bell ending lunch period rang, Becky Brockway and Maria Ruiz broke off from their soccer game. They took places at the very end of the class line.

“I wish the afternoon was over already,” Becky said. “I dread reading my Social Studies report to the class.”

Just then, Mrs. Spaulding, pointing across the yard, called out, “Who left a sweatshirt out on the field?”

Becky said, “Oops, that’s mine.”

“Go and get it,” Mrs. Spaulding said. “Hurry back and meet us in class. And take Maria with you.”

Becky and Maria raced across the yard while the class filed inside.

After Becky picked up her sweatshirt, she lagged behind Maria on the way back to class. She tied the arms of the sweatshirt together to shape it into a rough ball shape. She then kicked it all the way back to the one-story class building at the other side of the schoolyard.

“Come on, Becky,” Maria said. “We’ll be late.”

“That’s okay with me.” Not able to resist one last kick, she swung her leg hard. 

Something felt wrong. The sweatshirt lay in the grass a few feet further ahead.

Her right foot felt weird. She looked up to see her shoe flying through the air. It landed on the school roof.

Maria was already in the doorway. “Come on,” she called out.

Becky stood staring at the roof. She looked down at her foot. Then back up at the roof. A knot began to form in the pit of her stomach. She felt the blood rush out of her face.

Maria stepped back out from the doorway. She looked up at where Becky was staring. Then she looked down at the shoeless right foot. She laughed. Hard.

“What did you do?”

Becky pointed at the roof. “I lost my shoe.”

“Nice move,” Maria said. She was still laughing. “You can say goodbye to that good Social Studies grade.”

“Oh no!” Becky shouted. “My report! How am I going to read in front of the class? I’m doomed.”

Just then, Jason Arnold stuck his head out the door. “Mrs. Spaulding is waiting for you… She won’t start the class without you.”

“I can’t do this,” Becky said to Maria. “I can’t go back to class.”

“We have to go in. Come on. You can cover the missing shoe.”

“No. I know… I’ll go to the office and say I’m sick.”

“How are you going to get through the office without a shoe?” Maria asked.

“I’m ruined,” Becky moaned. “I have an F before I read the first word of my report.”

“Try my shoe on,” Maria suggested as she slipped one off.

Becky struggled to get the shoe on her foot. Even when she realized it was too small, she kept pulling. 

“Alright, alright!” Maria said. “Don’t ruin it. It isn’t your size.”

“What am I going to do? I’ll be so embarrassed in front of the class. Everyone will laugh at me.”

“Walk behind me,” Maria said. “Just get to your seat. You’ll figure something out.”

By now they were at the classroom door. Maria opened it slowly. Becky followed her in so closely she stepped on Maria’s heel twice.

“We’ve been waiting for you,” Mrs. Spaulding said.

Becky slid into her seat. “Sorry.”

“We’re ready now to begin the reports.”

Slumping down in her seat, Becky thought, I’m dead. There’s no way I can do this

“Jason, please read your report,” Mrs. Spaulding said.

Oh great, Becky thought. Alphabetical order. I’m next.

When Jason finished his report, Mrs. Spaulding left her desk and walked to the rear of the classroom. “That was excellent, Jason. Becky, would you step forward to read yours?”

Becky hobbled to the front of the room. She stood with her right foot on tiptoe.

From his seat in the front row, Jason noticed that Becky’s shoe was missing. Turning to make sure Mrs. Spaulding wasn’t looking his way, he stretched out his foot to step on Becky’s toes. Becky jumped, then stepped back away from him. She smiled weakly in Mrs. Spaulding’s direction and began to read.

Halfway through her report, her right foot cramped from the awkward pose. She had to put it flat on the floor. She read the second half of the report tilted to one side.

When she finished, she looked up. She felt like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

So far so good, she thought.

“Thank you, Becky,” Mrs. Spaulding said.

Becky went back up on tiptoe and started for her seat. Mrs. Spaulding motioned for her to stay in the front.

“Does anyone in the class have any questions for Becky?” Mrs. Spaulding began walking to the front of the room.

Becky felt what must have been a million eyes looking right at her. She knew her face was getting redder by the second. 

Jason’s hand went up.

“Yes, Jason?” Mrs. Spaulding said.

Jason had just a hint of a smirk on his face. “Shouldn’t she stand up straight when she does her presentation?”

By now Mrs. Spaulding was almost to the front of the classroom.

“Yes, I suppose proper posture would help,” she said. “But Becky did a fine job on her report.” She turned to Becky. “Your report was informative, well-researched, and interesting. You’ve shown a lot of improvement, Becky.”

Becky beamed. She couldn’t believe it. She likes my report!

Now Mrs. Spaulding reached her desk. She stopped, looked down at Becky’s foot. “Becky, why are you wearing only one shoe?”

Becky swallowed hard. Jason laughed out loud. The whole class shifted to look at Becky’s feet. Others began to laugh. Becky felt ready to die.

“Class, we don’t need any laughter. Becky, where is your shoe?”

“My shoe is on the roof,” she said in a voice just above a whisper.

“On the roof?” Mrs. Spaulding said.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And when did this happen? Didn’t you have both shoes on at the end of lunch period?”

“I was practicing my soccer kick after I picked up my sweatshirt, and it slipped off my foot.”

There was a long silence. Becky stared at the floor.

Becky heard a giggle. She looked up to see Mrs. Spaulding beginning to laugh.

“Only you, Becky Brockway!” She turned to another student. “Ryan, you’re up next.”

As Becky hobbled back to her seat, Ryan whispered to Maria. “I’m going to mess up.”

Maria whispered back. “Take off a shoe. It worked for Becky.”

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