Microfiction: Thug

I should be editing but had an idea for Sacha Black’s writing prompt (yep, I blame Sacha). This week it’s a story about something that isn’t as it seems, preconceived ideas and prejudice, in less than 200 words.

Photo ©Yuval


The bus is late. Warily, I watch the lad in the hoodie leaning in a doorway at the other side of the road. He takes a drag of his cigarette then spits on the ground. A little old lady with a stick and a big dog has to push past him to get out of her front door. She struggles with stick, key and dog to lock up.

The lad in the hoodie tosses away his cigarette. His voice raps out sharp words. The old lady quavers something and yanks on the dog’s lead. The dog reacts slowly. It’s fat. She yanks again. The dog limps, dragging a lame leg. She shouts, shrill and imperious. The stick whips up and down, and the dog screams.

The lad leaps after her and grabs the stick. The old lady shrieks abuse and people start to drift over. The lad throws the stick into the road and storms over to my bus stop.

He is young, fragile, eyes full of hurt. He stuffs his trembling hands into his pockets and watches as the old woman, still vociferating, moves off down the street. The dog turns, his eyes, like the boy’s full of misery.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

32 thoughts on “Microfiction: Thug”

    1. I’m not a fan of cruel old ladies 🙂 And yes, it annoys me intensely that some people acquire sanctity just by being old and cantankerous. You can be old and nasty too. I am a hoodie wearer, so…

      1. I had a blistering row with my mother about 18 months ago when she announced that now she was over 80 she could say and do what she pleased. I pointed out that she might appear to be a rude old bag with no manners who felt entitled to be unkind. She didn’t like that ….

      2. Possibly. Probably actually. I’ve given instructions to my girls to shoot me when the time comes – in the back, mistaking me for a game bird and with no warning

      3. I wouldn’t trust mine not to just wing me. When my maternel grandmother decided she’d had enough, she wrote letters to each of her children before she went to bed and just never woke up. I’d love to know how she did it. Will power, I suspect.

    1. Thanks Judy. I know I’m as guilty as the next white woman looking warily at youths in hoodies, but I try to bring the same judgement to bear on the nasty old baggages with sticks too 🙂

      1. Oh yes, having worked in an elderly ward in hospital I have been slapped, bitten and clawed by many an old person (most of them knew what they were doing too)! 🙂

  1. Nice work, Jane! I suspected the lad in the hood ie would not turn out to be the hoodlum we expected, but I wasn’t expecting the old woman to be such a witch. Took me by surprise there. I resent people complaining about young people. I am surrounded by young people and the majority are lovely. I hate generalising and stereotyping. Seems to me the old people bitching and complaining are actually the problem.

    1. I often think many old people are bitter. They can see the buffers approaching and they feel life hasn’t been fair to them. So much they feel they haven’t had. It makes them take it out on the young people they think have it too easy.

      Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2016 18:10:21 +0000 To: jane.dougherty@dbmail.com

  2. Ha! genius. Love this little twist. It’s true you know, old people can be the worst! Like a certain grandmother who exclaimed ‘oh he’s brown’ when we turned up with our son!


    Kids get a bad hand, theres no fuel without fire I guess. But still. Too much judging too little thought.

    1. I got the “Oh, Irish?” treatment and the “Not another one!” when husband announced we were expecting number two. Two! It’s as though some people chuck all their humanity out the window when they decide they’re ‘old’ and immune to criticism.

  3. The prejudice is strong in this post, but I loved the twist on it. I too am a lover of hoodies and I hate the bad reps they give people. Has nobody realized that hoodies are ridiculously comfy, warm, and versatile? *rolls eyes* Sad that the old lady is probably going to be telling a story to everybody about this hoodie-wearing-delinquent who she’ll swear was trying to mug her or something -_-

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