Review: “Inmate #85298” by Andrew J. Rausch

1 of 5 stars.

Included in Chronology published by Curiosity Quills Press, this tale reads like the set-up of a joke, or possibly an urban legend or parable. It doesn’t tell a story as it doesn’t explore the actions or follow any logical consistency. It’s an idea, without development.

Frank “The Hammer” Peretti is holed up at Millwood Maximum Security Prison with a death sentence over his head. And possibly a curse. He’s insufferably polite and considered the model prisoner, but he considers his sentence rightly earned for a mistake, an accident, he made when collecting on debts to the mafia. His “Hammer” nickname comes from this slip in protocol that when described is clearly overkill, literally. The victim’s daughter curses[?] Frank to an eternity of suffering.

The tale opens on Frank’s appointment with an electric chair. The pain he experiences is briefly acknowledged, but Frank won’t die. So, in a world without apparent court systems or a legal system in general, within days they’ve built a gallows for Frank to try hanging him. From here the tale stops describing what Frank would be feeling as it constructs increasingly ridiculous modes of execution: oven incineration, beheading by dragon-sword.

I wanted much more from this tale than the moral: don’t get cursed. But there isn’t more to this tale.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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