Member Monday: An Excerpt from Daisy Chain Killers by Jim Barrett

Welcome back to Member Monday.  This month we’re highlighting Writers Forum member authors who will be featured at the upcoming Authors Fair on November 10th at the Mt. Shasta Mall.  It’s a pleasure to welcome back author Jim Barrett.

The Convicts (an Excerpt from Daisy Chain Killers)

Jackson (Jacko) Dickson was a big man. Even when dressed in prison garb, he was a presence. He was also a “Texan” through and through; proud of his heritage—especially so in his later years which he was rapidly approaching. Many of those who knew him compared him to Lyndon Johnson, the past president of the United States, whom he closely resembled. That comparison never made Dickson happy because he loathed all politicians. They were, in his mind, the bane of American society. Dickson had reached his retirement years, but he was not spending them as he had envisioned. For one thing, he was still working, and for very little pay. He was the prison librarian at the Federal Penitentiary at El Reno, Oklahoma. But he knew better than to gripe about the job, because it had its benefits. And, in this place, there were much worse ways to spend your time.

Dickson’s work world now revolved around books. His library—yes he thought of it as his—encompassed a twelve by twenty room chock full of books—mainly paperbacks—which lined all four walls. His desk was a battered institutional grey metal affair, with only two of the five drawers still working. Behind his desk was a brass hat rack, and hung upon the rack was Jacko’s trademark—a silver belly Stetson hat. This small token of his individuality had been approved by Warden Reznak some years previously, no doubt as a reward for the prisoner not causing trouble in the cell blocks.

Dickson rose from his desk and began dusting books stocked on the metal shelves when the door swung open and a guard entered the room. He paused in his work and looked at the man in blue, noting that he had never seen this guy before. “Oh shit, a rookie,” he thought. He watched the officer out of the corner of his eye as the man strolled around the library. The cop was doing what they called a “walk through;” putting in an appearance, but apparently not interested in “tossing” the room or doing a thorough search. The officer stopped and began looking in earnest at several books. He plucked one from the shelf, opened it and riffled through the pages before returning the book to its former location.

The guard walked over to a small table, pulled up a chair and sat facing Jacko’s back. “Hey Dickson, c’mon here and sit down.”

Jacko hesitated for a moment not wanting to immediately accede to the man’s demands. He slowly set down his duster on the corner of the desk and ambled to the chair across from the officer. He hesitantly pulled the chair out, made brief eye contact, and then sat.

“Whatcha want?” he drawled.

“How long you been in here?”

“Why you askin’?”

“Jus wonderin’.”

“Twelve years.”

“What for?”

“Rico Statute—out of Montana District Court.”

“You do it?”

“Hell yes—and lots more!”

“Now that’s refreshing—someone around here actually ownin’ up to what they did,” the guard smirked as he spoke.

“Might as well—I got a life sentence and all of my appeals have been shot down.  At my age I’m only coming out of here one way.”

The conversation paused as the two men considered the implications of Dickson’s statement. Jacko broke the silence, “You new around here?”

“Yeah—been working for about six months.”

“Thought so.”

“So, how’d they get you on a Rico case? I thought that was for the heavy hitters out of Chicago?”

Jacko shrugged his shoulders wondering why he should talk to this cop. “Why not tell this guy, it isn’t going to change my circumstances,” he thought to himself.

“So, you writing a book or somethin’?” Dickson asked.

“Hell, no…just curious about how you got here.”

“You gonna take notes?”

The guard leaned back in his chair and laughed. “I ain’t that interested.”

“I got here because a banker friend of mine introduced me to this Washington farmer . . .”

Daisy Chain Killers, is available on line at, through, Barnes and or Jim will also be selling his other book Ma Duncan, which is available through and

Be sure to stop by Jim’s table at the Author’s Fair on November 10th and pick up a copy of Daisy Chain Killers to find out what happens next.


A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to  Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free.  Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links.  The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter.  Thank you!

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