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The Long Silence Sample: Idle Crime

Short story By: James Robert Bell
Literary fiction



This is the opening short story for a collection I hope to finish by the end of the year. As such it's exceedingly short and serves only to set the tone for the rest of the work. This was written when I was in an odd place emotionally. To put it shortly: I was at peace with the world, which is an exceptionally odd place for me to be in.

Originally the idea came from an article I read in the news about a bank robbery which went horribly wrong. What struck me as odd was the reason that the robbery went wrong, which the story will explain.


Submitted:Nov 11, 2008    Reads: 178    Comments: 3    Likes: 1   


Story One: Idle Crime

It is in moments of calm, when the body can rest and the mind is idle, that evil seeps into the world. For it is in these of tranquillity that the mind becomes restless, thought turns to plot, and needs turn to want of stimulation.

For the future murder Robert Blackstith and Albert Johnson, the man whom he would kill in precisely two minutes and twenty six seconds from our present time, by the manner of unloading a .45 calibre bullet into the skull, tranquillity was plentiful.


The bank robbery had gone well so far. Robert and Albert had entered and fired a single warning shot each, as planned. The shotgun stowed beneath the cashiers desk at the far right of the building had been "confiscated" and disarmed, and the manager of the bank had obligingly opened the safe in which the money that our "heroes" coveted so dearly lay. Robert and Albert currently stood behind the bank waiting patiently for a getaway car to come and collect them.

Before you judge the future murderer and his victim too harshly, it is only just that you learn their backgrounds. Robert was an ordinary man, married with 2.4 children, who one day simply got sick of the hum-drum mediocrity of modern life and decided to lead an adrenaline fuelled life of crime. This would be his first criminal offence.

Albert was a psychopathic hired gun. He had led a troubled childhood, often being beaten by his father and mother had led to a deep spiral of depression until he one day lost all form of sanity, decided he'd had enough and in a crime of passion he slaughtered his entire family. Since then Albert has killed seventeen people (two of which "deserved it" in Albert's own words), robbed four banks and escaped from three prisons.

Albert and Robert met one glorious winter evening. Robert had been taking a stroll with 1.4 members of his family (the other two members being quote-unquote "rebellious teens" and therefore horribly adverse to physical activity) when he stumbled across Albert face down in the snow, a bottle of whisky in-hand. Robert being a kind-hearted soul allowed point four of his children to poke the seemingly dead man with a stick before dialling 999 and requesting an emergency service vehicle.

Upon awakening in hospital Albert became determined to find the man whom had saved his life and reward him accordingly. Over the following months Albert used his various Mafia connections to track down his saviour, the pastry chef at a quaint British Caf�. When Albert finally found Robert he had but one question for him: "What can I do to repay you?"

Robert's reply was clear and concise, "An interesting day out." which leads us rather nicely to Robert and Albert's current plight.

Deep in the urban jungle Robert could hear sirens, although they were often over-shadowed by the limp pitter-patter of rain or the coarse necrotic breathing coming from the man next to him . He now had time to reflect upon what he had done.

He had robbed a bank, yet felt no guilt. Maybe it was that he hadn't come down from his adrenaline high. Maybe it was that he was sick of being just another statistic, just an average. It did not matter why, all the mattered was that he wanted more. Another chance to prove that he was a sick, albeit interesting individual.

The pistol in Robert's hand felt heavy. It's cool grip offered an alluring complexity that Robert had only ever found in the realm of fiction and the trigger felt impeccably comfortable beneath his finger.

What difference would it make if he killed the man standing next to him? A simple criminal. A man who would be far better dead than alive. A man who had already had his chance. A thief. A murderer.

Robert raised his gun.

Gripped it's cool grip.

Memorised the moment.

Pulled the trigger.

Robert's entire body jarred, stuck fast in the position of an executioner. A loud and clear bang issued from the pistol and proceeded to ring around the city, leaping from building to building, stuck in an eternal momentum. Albert simply slumped to the floor. Dead.

It was not the brutality of the act which shocked Robert, forcing him to empty the contents of his stomach into a nearby bin, it was that everything he had ever be told about death was wrong. Albert did not look the same and yet different, a large red and gooey hole had ensured that his face was lost to the confines of Robert's memory. His eyes did not loose their light, they simply lost the ability to move and were stuck in a position of horrific shock and agony. After every clich� had been stripped bare, after all was said and done, Robert had to live with the fact that he had killed this man.

Robert's knees buckled under the weight of conscience and slammed down onto the cold, wet ground. He clasped the ground with both of his hands as if clinging for his very life. Tears and rainwater stained his face until it was impossible to tell which was which. He was lost to despair, and the world cried for him. Robert's head slammed to the floor. He could hear sirens getting closer. In his mind the sound of a gunshot rang with a continuous and deadly poise.

Everything went black.

The murderer Robert Blackstith and his victim Albert Johnson were discovered precisely six minutes and forty eight seconds after they robbed the London branch of Halifax. Robert was sent to prison for life for his crimes. Albert was sent to the morgue for his. The money was never found, however it is presumed that there is one very happy and very rich getaway driver living somewhere in London.

Robert always regretted what he had done. It haunted his every moment, both when he was awake and when he was asleep.

In fact he regretted it so much that on the twenty sixth of September, two thousand and eight, precisely two years, three months and fourteen days after the event had occurred, Robert was found dead, hanging from his own shoelaces. Robert's family descended into debt and depression, neither of which they could ever escape. The lives of 3.4 people were ruined by the carelessness of one.

So dear reader, in your moments of calm, when nothing is happening and evil begins to poison your mind, I beg of you to consider the melancholy of the murderer Robert Blackstith and his victim Albert Johnson lest you follow suit and fall into idle crime.





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