Yellow Mama Archives II

Victor Kreuiter

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

Bo Harding

Victor Kreuiter



When Bo Harding was a boy, he didn’t know he’d spend most of his life behind bars. How could he know that, him just a boy?

His mother’s boyfriend – the first one he remembered – he slapped Bo around and Bo didn’t know why. His mother would drink, get mean, then start in on slapping him, too, acting like she was teasing, starting soft then hit harder, using that language. Why would she do that? That’s what he thought. Her and her boyfriends, they’d call him names, punch him, laughing. When it got like that he’d walk out. He was just a kid; he’d walk out the door into the dark. She never came after him; not once. Didn’t she care, him sleeping on the porch all night? Sleeping in the car?

Harding got a little older and done some stuff and he didn’t care what anybody thought about what he done. His mother, her boyfriends, police. He didn’t explain or defend himself. He didn’t cry. I’ll say I did it. That’s how he thought. You think I’m afraid to say I did it? Reformatory wasn’t bad. The first few days was scary, but he never said a word to nobody.

“I got me a job,” his mother told him the first time she came to visit. That first time was the only time. “I’m sorry Bo, I just can’t get here all that often.” She didn’t have no job. That’s what he found out after he got out.

How you get money? Harding never asked her that. He got older and figured it out and he didn’t want to say it out loud. He didn’t want to think about it. The men around her weren’t friendly to him. He mostly left when they came over. Hell, they came over any time, day or night. You think I don’t know what’s up here? That’s what he thought. He wasn’t dumb. You think I don’t know? Hell, he didn’t care. Didn’t matter to him. Didn’t matter at all. She’d be drinking all day anyhow. Harding didn’t drink. Ever.

His second time was real jail, a longer stay. He didn’t care. After his first fight no one bothered him. He slept when they told him to sleep and ate when they told him to eat and worked at whatever they told him to work at. Hell, things can be worse than that. He knew worse.

When he come out the second time he didn’t like it. He found a job, then got fired, then found a job, then got fired, then found a job, then got fired. I don’t have to put up with this shit. That’s what he thought. He’d been inside twice. He wasn’t scared. He asked his mother one time why she didn’t come visit and she just laughed. She was drinking then and had a cigarette stuck in her mouth and gave him that look. I hate you. That’s what the look said to him. Why does she hate me? That’s what he wondered. Then he thought: should I hate her?

She told him to get out when her boyfriends came over. “I’d like a little privacy,” she’d say. She’d have a cigarette stuck in her mouth and something to drink in her hand. “This here is my place,” she’d say. “I pay the bills here and I’d like some damn privacy.”

When he went to the penitentiary the final time he didn’t say nothing to nobody and he was big enough nobody said much to him. She wasn’t coming for no visits, that’s for sure. When some ignorant-ass convict would bring that up, Harding would give him the eye. Bo Harding had that stare.

One guy in the yard, he stepped right behind Harding and said “Your mama don’t visit?” Then he laughed, like he knew about something. Nobody else laughed. Harding looked at him and remembered his face and when he got a chance a couple days later he put his hands on that man’s neck and he held on. They run over and start beating him with clubs, grabbing his hands, screaming and hitting him over and over and he kept squeezing that neck. I can do this. That’s what he was thinking. I can do this. Harding held on, squeezing that neck, thinking about that time she looked at him like she hated him. What’d he do that she would hate him like that?

They said he had to go on trial.

Like a trial scares me. That’s what he thought. Hell, I’ll say whatever they want me to say. And he did. He said it like they told him to. That verdict came back guilty.

You ask Bo Harding if he was sorry for anything and he wouldn’t say a word. I don’t have to say nothing to nobody. That’s what he thought. Ask him if a 6x8 foot cell was home and he wouldn’t say a word. Call it what you want. That’s what he’d think. Call it any damn thing you want.

The rest of his life? He didn’t think about that neither. Why the hell they want me to think about the rest of my life? That’s how he thought. I don’t have to think about nothing..

He was okay inside. He liked it. Inside he ate when they told him and slept when they told him. He’d think: What’s so tough about this? No visitors? Like that would bother him? What do I want a visitor for? That’s what Bo Harding thought. What would I say to a visitor?

Victor Kreuiter lives, reads and writes in the Midwest. His stories have appeared in EQMM, Halfway Down The Stairs, Bewildering Stories, Literally Stories, and other online and print publications. His story, "Miller and Bell," originally published in the August, 2022, issue of Mystery, has been selected to appear in The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of 2023.

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