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Green Panther

by John Clinch

About the Author: John Clinch is a research student in British cinema at Queen’s University Belfast. He has written and directed a number of short films, and in 2012 appeared as a finalist in the Galway Film Festival Script Pitching competition. He has just completed his first novel.


At twenty, if someone had told me I’d be spending my thirty-fifth birthday serving a life sentence in Attica State Correctional, I’d have tied two concrete blocks to my feet and flung myself into the Irish Sea. No-one did tell me, so here I am.

Patrick James O’Donovan: prisoner #624 in New York’s human landfill, peach fuzz where my thick copper hair used to be, face the colour of a raw sausage from years without sunlight. It’s just after midnight on the first day of December 1986, and I’m lying on my bed in Cell Block C, listening to the sound of rain pelting against the prison walls. I turn onto my left side. Move the pillow. Breathe in, breathe out, close my eyes and try to remember the tips the psychologist gave.

It’s no use.

Tonight is one of those nights when the past comes to visit, and no amount of bullshit cognitive therapy is going to get in its way.

Blood. Rubble. A dead little girl. That’s what everyone remembers about my case, but in truth the story starts earlier. It starts with me at twenty years of age, hunched over the dish-pit in Morty’s Ale n’ Grub House on 43rd Street, Queens. Clouds of steam are billowing up from the basin, stinging the zits on my cheeks as I look up and see Chip Hoggford wincing down at me through his square-framed glasses.

Story Comments

Jun 3 - Kevin J. Turner

A very seasoned writing style for a young writer. Vivid description and great pace.

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