All Stories, Literally Reruns

Literally Reruns – Cheating the Jail Out of Time by James Hanna

We tried to encourage Leila out of the dungeons for a while over the festive season but no, she was determined to carry on rootling around. She did present us with this piece by our old friend James. This is what she said:

A lifelong small time criminal who loves TV westerns retires on top, if not with his boots on. Throughout Mr.Hanna’s LS stories and novel excerpts you meet persons like Johnny in Cheating the Jail Out of Time. Hanna treats his characters fairly and allows them to express themselves in a natural way without resorting to preachyness or passing judgement –although in this piece the narrator is accused of doing just that. Regardless, there’s an air of fresh cynicism about this writer’s work that isn’t contradictory.

Q: The parole officer is a fascinating character. He seems to want the best for his client even if it means that the guy goes back to jail. How much of his life experience is yours?

Q: In a twisty way the story is both a self written prophecy as well, I guess, a happy ending. Did you begin the story with its form already in mind, or was it something that happened during composition?

Leila Allison

***

Cheating the Jail out of Time

James’ responses.

Q: The parole officer is a fascinating character. He seems to want the best for his client even if it means that the guy goes back to jail. How much of his life experience is yours?

I was a San Francisco probation officer for fourteen years during which I was assigned to a domestic violence and stalking unit. The life experience of the probation officer is entirely my own. I often put clients in jail to save them from themselves. They knew I was only doing my job and rarely expressed hard feelings.

Q: In a twisty way, the story is both a self-written prophecy as well, I guess, a happy ending. Did you begin the story with its form already in mind, or was it something that happened during composition?

The character, Johnny Blunt, wrote the story for me. He just popped up in my mind and pretty much took over. All I did was type the words for him.

6 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Cheating the Jail Out of Time by James Hanna”

  1. Congratulations to Mr. Hanna for opening a new year of reruns. Disregard the contradictory element in the previous sentence and link to Hanna’s story and then let him know how you feel about it. Come here and execute similar behavior the next fifty-one Sundays in a row and no matter what trail of pain you leave this year, you’ll have gotten at least one thing right. Might be enough to secure Heaven, but I’m nobody’s judge.

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  2. Hi Leila,
    Happy birthday!!
    I toasted you this morning!!!
    Excellent choice as usual and a wonderful request to those who read but type with no fingers!

    James – It is always a pleasure to see your work.
    I do believe that the common theme of a smooth flowing story is the admittance from the writer that the characters tell the writer the story and not the other way round.

    Thanks so much folks!
    Hugh

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  3. The last line in the story tells it… A very charming fellow, for sure, even though he didn’t seem to have a conscience or any concept of shame….a man of the American frontier, like his Western heroes, where good was good and bad was bad. I liked the way the probation officer was taken in, immersed in the guy’s ethos.

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