30 Jan

by Jim Holzman

Billy Barrows was a jerk! Just about everyone in the town of Haysberg, Michigan, a small farming community, shared this opinion or one very similar to it.  As a child growing up in this rural setting with a population of less than two thousand, Billy never quite fit into any socially acceptable group.  Even as a young boy he found himself at odds with most of his teachers for missed assignments or ruffian behavior at school, when he felt like attending, which was not all that often.  Billy held the opinion that school was a last option, with very little effort, he could always find something better to do.  The only obstacle in his way of thinking was finding someone to join him in his latest escapade.

School was not the only thing holding Billy back, he also had a great dislike, hatred and genuine disdain for the police. In Billy’s mind, they were always hassling him and accusing him of any and all misdeeds that took place in Haysberg.  No matter if he had anything to do with it, Billy felt that he was always on top of the likely offenders.

At the worldly age of 12, Billy spent his very first night in jail.  He was being held on suspicion of breaking into a TV repair shop and smashing upwards of 10 television sets, a charge that he vehemently denied, even though four witnesses, including the Pastor from the First Holy Baptist Church of God all gave the same story to Sheriff David Bolster of Door County. They all knew who Billy was and were familiar with his exploits around town, so none were shocked when they saw him running from Dave’s TV and Radio repair.  Billy thought he would save everybody time, so he admitted his guilt.  He was sentenced to 30 days of community service, which was unheard of for a minor, but Judge Stewart was part owner of Dave’s TV and Radio repair, a fact that he forgot to mention before the trial.  Although very few people had much pity for Billy, they felt that somehow justice didn’t equal honesty on this day.

Jim Holzman lives with retinitis pigmentosa  He is a volunteer at Second Sense in Chicago and joined the creative writing workshop.  We think he’s always been good at oral storytelling and now he’s proven he can write too.  Jim says, “I am not a writer, the writing workshop changed all that, or did it? Enjoy!”


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