Arnaldo slugged the last of his beer and tossed the bottle. The tinkle of glass echoed in the night.

‘That’s me,’ he announced, even though there was no one there to listen to him. ‘Same time tomorrow.’

He stood up, swaying precariously on the edge of the wooden pier. He stared into the dark, black water.

‘Happy fortieth, Arnaldo,’ he muttered to his reflection.

Forty years since he had fled Carolina, taken on the new identity, become Arnaldo instead of Jose.

The police siren blared a sharp blast and the pier was bathed in swirling blue.

‘Hands where I can see them,’ hailed the voice. ‘You’re trespassing, sir.’

In the fog of his clouded mind, Arnaldo only just grasped the trouble that was coming his way.

‘Sure thing, officer, no problem,’ Arnaldo staggered, shielding his eyes with a raised hand.

As he moved haltingly along the pier, Jose slowly emerged into the light.


Linking up with the prompt at What Pegman Saw. The task is to write a story in 150 words or less based on the destination that Pegman is visiting. This week’s destination is Tolchester Beach, Delaware, USA. Not finding much inspiration in the history of Delaware, I found a recent news story about the real life arrest of Arnaldo/Jose, who had escaped from prison 40 years ago and lived under his assumed identity ever since.

You can read other stories based on the prompt HERE.


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14 responses to “IDENTITY CRISIS”

  1. Great take, Iain. I’ve approached blown identity once or twice in prompts, but I really like the elegant way you handle that. It’s really effective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Josh. Difficult to do this sort of story in a limited word count, so thanks for the compliment, much appreciated.


  2. Great tale, Iain. I’m sure Arnaldo felt he was home and dry after forty years. Makes me wonder what kind of life he led, whether he was a reformed character or had continued a life of crime. Elegantly done, as Josh says

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn, very kind. Yeah, he must be cursing himself for being so stupid to get arrested after all this time for something fairly minor too! He must have managed to keep a fairly low profile, without breaking the law too much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wonder how many fugitives manage to do just that. Harder here in the UK with so much surveillance, but in countries where there aren’t so many security cameras, perhaps it’s still possible to live out a fugitive life

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific story, Iain. Your handling of the transition from a story about a drunk being picked up for trespass to the revelation of the changed identity unravelling is done beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Penny, much appreciated.


  4. I can’t help be sympathetic for someone who’s drinking alone on his own birthday. I like how you reveal what’s happening with the twist at the end — that Jose emerges into the light.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The guilty cannot rest.
    This was very well crafted.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope he managed to talk his way out of the situation. You made me like him in so few words! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

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