The Price of Minimalism and Other Stories

For your pleasure (or something), please accept another batch of police blotter haiku: stories of misbehavior taken from the police blotter columns of the nation’s newspaper and condensed down to 17 syllables on three lines. I enjoy writing them, enjoy the process of fitting the gist of a story into such a small space.  Yes, I’m odd: have often been told this.

This minimalism comes at a price: all the juicy details that end up on the cutting-room floor.  Take this item from the Athens (GA) Banner-Herald:

HOUSING DISPUTE: On April 5, a deputy was dispatched to East Broad Street, where a woman called to report that she was being followed by her landlord, who was driving a Smart Car. The deputy saw the vehicles going in a circle in a parking lot, so he made the cars stop and ordered the landlord out of the car.

The man said he was chasing the woman, who had been renting a room in his basement, because she was moving out and had removed the door handles on every door. The man explained he confronted the woman and she fled in her car, so he pursued her.

The woman explained the landlord had changed the code on the front door keypad, so she removed on the door handles so she would have access to her living quarters. The deputy took the door knobs and returned them to the landlord.


Those three paragraphs hold enough material for a half-hour sitcom: an eccentric tenant, eviction, doorknob theft, and a circular parking-lot pursuit by a Smart Car: the closest thing to an actual clown car that you can buy on the open market.

And yet, this is all that I could say in 17 syllables.

He changed all the locks.
So his evicted tenant
stole all the doorknobs.

And that’s indeed the gist of the story.  But dammit, I do wish there’d been room for the details.  Especially the Smart Car chase.

As promised, here are more haiku, from Orange County to Nevada County to counties you may never have heard of out across the Great American Whatever.  Fill in the details yourself.  And as always, enjoy.

His chainsaw, stolen.
Because, outside, his dogs barked,
but he ignored them.


While he slept,
someone bribed his pit bull and
stole his ATV.


“I’m God,” he told her.
Their sex was consensual.
At least, so spake God.


“Self defense! One shove!”
And yet the other guy’s face
was beaten bloody.


The store video
showed her missing credit card
in her cousin’s hand.


A strange ire owns him.
He walks past that store daily
and spits up coffee..


Drugged at a party,
He wakes with a rabbit’s foot
tattooed in his crotch.


He dropped his backpack
Out spilled a great deal of mail
not addressed to him.


A rampaging wife.
She poured beer in his lap!
He seeks protection.


He’s not paid enough
to worry when his workers
smoke by the gas pumps.