The Storm Within — Part One

“Thanks, Mark. We are reporting outside a possible murder-suicide on Perry Lane. An anonymous disturbance call was made for the residence behind us,” Karen Blane pivots only her body to the veil of lazy snowfall that wept over the crime scene inside the two story home, “at approximately 7:03 this evening. That was roughly three hours past.”

The producer back at WPLQ was ready for that disgusted tone and scowl from Karen. He couldn’t blame her malcontent and would remind her of that again when he next saw her. “Do it,” he ordered to his technician. Prior video footage replaced the live feed while Karen reported.

“Emergency services stated that—and please mind that these are not exact quotes; these are what police have given out for us to use at this time—stated that shouting occurred in the home sometime before seven. Shortly after, the sounds of gunfire came from within, and that is when the call was made.”

Officers divided the road with their cruisers. Flashing sirens twisted through snowfall and ominous twilight. WPLQ followed suit with national weather authorities and advised residents in nearby counties that a nor’easter was projected to hit early Thursday; it never did more than accumulate a few inches. This empty threat dwindled as dusk progressed to night and a policeman managed to establish a perimeter of yellow tape between road sign and trees in the sporadic gusts.

“When police arrived—which was well over an hour after the call was made—they entered the home to find multiple bodies. The suspect was inside and from what Police Chief Sandborn had stated, waited to ambush the officers.”  

The scene transitioned once more to the blistered face of Police Chief Sandborn, who is a large sort of man; conditioned from tenure in the line of public duty. His gruff tone and appearance was surprisingly cooperative. He never once flinched in offense at Karen when she shoved her microphone into his face after every question.

“Right now, all I can say is that the suspect engaged an officer and luckily none of our guys we’re injured.”

“How many bodies involved?”

“We count four at this moment.”

Police Chief Sandborn grimaced and Karen capitalized.

“What do you mean by that?”

“A full press conference will explain all the details and facts once we know more. I will say no more out of respect to the family and to the integrity of this investigation.”

“Can you explain why it took officers and yourself hours to arrive at the scene?”

This was a question the producer wanted answered just as bad as she, but not like this. He knew Karen’s tenacity was clouded by her welcomed anger of the delayed urgency by emergency services. Police Chief Sandborn noticed it, too.

“Our resources were allocated for the storm. That is all, thank you.”

“Do you think that a timely response to this call could have changed the outcome? Could have saved lives”

Police Chief Sandborn entertained Karen for a moment before he exited the view of the camera.

“That’s the problem with a murder-suicide; no one left to tell the real story. Thank you, no further questions.”

“The real story told this evening,” Karen was back on camera in that same side-profile stance. Her producer knew she received his texts as her flushed face shied away. “Is that four lives were lost tonight and a police officer was shot inside this home. Now, we can see medical examiners leaving the home and wait—what is that?”

The camera focused on the doorway to a crime scene investigator bent at the waist. Audible dry heaves came across the boom and into production. Karen gasped when the investigator stood upright.

“Do you want me to jump back to Mark?”

“No,” said the producer. “Let’s see how this plays out.”

“I am not one-hundred percent certain, but there appears to be a large splatter of blood on that investigators white suite. The information given early by police did not explain into any specifics to the incident, yet it appears that it was gruesome, none the less. We will be reporting live for as long as needed.”

Karen let the live footage continue to the ambiance of the crime scene. Stretchers emerged from the crime scene, bodies were transferred to awaiting ambulances, and every emergency official worked to the slow cadence of the storm.

“Let Mark know what Karen said is true,” said the producer. “She’ll stay there all night if she has to.”


©  Copyright John Potts Jr 2016 – 2017



It’s snowing outside my window right now. It is beautiful, too. This Nor’Easter is a real one that I am experiencing, unlike the “Empty Threat” in this story.

My home is in a valley and our snowfalls can be unforgiving. I suspect to receive over a foot of accumulation. Not too shabby, bub.

I like a good snowfall. I like going out while the blizzard is roaring to enjoy what I am witnessing. It is a gorgeous spectacle to experience. I’ll usually do my shoveling two or three times in a blizzard. I have certain paths to make for the oilman and certain walkways to maintain for ease-of-access; my plow guy can’t do it all. He does more than what he is paid—that’s for sure.  

What I enjoy most is the serenity involved. There is calmness in manual mechanics that are often taken for granted. I feel the same way about stacking wood. It’s… hard to explain unless you’ve actually done it before. I don’t mean going through the motions, either. There is purpose behind this—there is more to turning a mound of split logs into cords, or moving snow from one pile to another. We do it to be warm and to stay safe and to live.

And that means something.

I wrote this story for a reason. Yup, I did.

That reason being is that I am using media or news segments in a couple of short stories I am working on to hopefully get myself published. I guess I can say that I wanted some practice with incorporating that element of a journalism on the front lines.

That’s it. Nothing really meaningful with this one.  


Let’s finish catching up on my last owed after thought. This one also had purpose.

The Afternoon Shower portrays a routine I would go through when I was drinking the booze—The hooch, swills, liquors, beers and bags of wine. I’d usually wake before noon. I tended to work second shift and stayed up until I passed out from drinking or exhaustion. Or both. When I cleaned up I would still feel far from new. My innards had hurt from binge drinking and my poor eating habits and my body just felt nasty.

I don’t think I shed my skin like Kyle did. I sometimes showered still drunk, so maybe. But it felt like layers of myself were being ripped away from the waters and partially liquefied into fatty, booze-saturated goop that eventually washed down the drain. Those parts of myself could have been the important ones, too. I never knew or really cared. All that mattered was sobering up, staying somewhat clean, and getting ready to drink more.

Sometimes I’d even go a day or two without a shower. I can honestly say that; not proud, either, but I can and I will because it helps to remember. I can accept that I was that bad and I try to utilize those real experiences in helping me stay sober. I have to embrace my downfalls to continue my progression as a father and husband. Thankfully, I can do it in a story. This way I can let the details flow and the picture shine as to what it felt like for me.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year.

My resolution? I am so glad you didn’t ask!

I just want to do better at any chance I can with everything I do.

Have some inspirational shit to carry you into 2017.

Happy New Years,

John Potts Jr