Thursday, August 20, 2015

#HOMICIDEwanderers .. WE GOTTA GET OUT A THIS PLACE ... 8/20/15

The next day was a Friday. They made 'harvest' decorations in class. You couldn't call them Thanksgiving decorations anymore, since that referenced The Divine and any mention of religion, save in the most passing and general manner, was forbidden. The student teacher, a skinny, personable girl from The Main Line, passed out stencils so those lacking artistic ability could have nice leaves too. Everyone was quiet. Kids like 'art.' And Friday afternoon is art time.

Timothy and Ca-Ca sat right next to each other and they were quiet too... almost calm. Cutting through two or three layers of construction paper can do that to you. Science doesn't know why. It just does. If you listened, you could hear the hum from the florescent lights. Esther's desk was still unoccupied. Her books and some personal things were still in it. She had an open ended desk. If you leaned to the side, you could still see them. Her mother said she'd come in to get them, but she hasn't done it yet. Timothy and Ca-Ca never looked over that way. Once a water bug did a crazy dance 'round Esther's desk. All the kids pointed and laughed. Some girls screamed... some boys too. Timothy looked over. His eyes scanned the interior of her desk for an instant, but he saw Esther's little, orange haired troll doll smiling back at him. He almost shit himself.

Right after restroom break (ten minutes, after two o'clock) a man entered the room. He gestured toward the teacher and she got up and followed him out into the hall. Ca-Ca looked. He wore a suit. Male teachers never wore suits. They wore big Hawaiian tops, or button down casual shirts with the sleeves rolled up. The suit-guy made her nervous. Her stomach started gurgling again. Since it happened...the murder, I mean... Ca-Ca'd been farting almost as bad as Esther. Nerves will do that to a person. Now she knew.... Then the teacher came back into the room, went straight to her desk, opened a drawer and took out the roll book. Ca-Ca watched as she returned to the hall and gave it to the suit-guy. A few other kids watched too, wide eyed and silent. Tim saw, but he pretended not to. The man was a cop. They all knew that. Kids from that neighborhood could tell. The teacher came back in. She looked sad. They heard the cop-guy walk away.

The 'bum' must have said something....

Forty five minutes later, as they walked home, Ca-Ca whispered - I can get in 'Pony's' house. Pony was the fat girl from across the street with the 'rich' grandmother. Her name was really Penny, but everybody called her Pony.... Timothy said - How?.... Ca-Ca said - Through the window, through her little basement window. They got them glass slats. The kind you crank open. Three of 'em. If you break the top one, you can slide the other two out. Then you twist the wing nuts and push in the regular glass..... What's a wing nut? - said Timothy. ... Ca-Ca told him to drop dead.

That night it was cold and drizzly. All the window shades were pulled down tight. Everyone sat in watching television. Some houses with two working people in them watched cable. They were the lucky ones.

Ca-Ca laid on the sofa looking at one of them programs where they show Saturday Night Live clips in prime time. Her mother snored from the reclining chair throne. Ca-Ca covered her up real good with a fleece throw from Walmart. Cozy people sleep longer. Everybody knows that. And Ca-Ca wanted to think, so she laid back down on the sofa and thought. Will Ferrell's face flickered on their old 'fat screen' TV. He made 'goof' faces, but she wasn't watching... The three-way bulb in the lamp by the sofa was on low. She felt safe... almost. The little Sears & Roebuck strongbox with all the money was maybe twenty five yards away... But how would she open it? Maybe her cousin Mike would help her. Mike was in juvvie hall. He knew. Old guys learned him lots a things.

Then an icy rain began to hit the windows. She switched stations... Some 'Buy these '60's hits' infomercial. Eric Burden and The Animals sang WE GOTTA GET OUT A THIS PLACE.

Ca-Ca pushed back into the soft old cushions and listened... She listened hard... real hard.

<to be continued>

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