Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tales from Middle School: Part Four

             Mother let me sleep in past nine,  and woke me with the news that she and Dad had talked to the sheriff and they all agreed I should go to the clinic and then make  a sheriff report.  I would have preferred to go straight to school.
           At the clinic, I just told everyone that I climbed on the fence and fell in the rose bushes.  My story didn't change at all, Liz commented. She too came to the doctor with us. By the time we left the clinic, I was ravenous. 
            “You had quite a day yesterday.” Dad started, as he sat next to me at Red Lobster.
            “Can we have dessert?” I asked, nicely. We never had dessert when we ate out with Mom.
            “How far did you walk?” Mother asked.
            "Now, let Alli eat. She'll get a chance to tell us at the sheriff's office." Dad had ordered dessert to go for himself, and watched me eat a big slice of chocolate cake.
“I just followed the horse trail up to Clear lake." I said. I began to worry right then and there about what I told them.  The  swimming hole two miles up the trail was not a place I was allowed to go alone or with friends, not even when I rode horses.
            “Wilson was great the whole time. I took off his leash and I lost him for a while. That’s why I was late, Mom. I had to find him and get back home. I didn't mean to go so far.
            Dad helped himself to my chocolate cake, and talked about the home-cooking he was missing. He  meant this comment for mom.
 I asked him, "Dad, when will you be home for good?"
Mom answered instead, "Leave Dad alone, Alli. We need to get to the bottom of what happened yesterday and we need to know all that happened." 
            “Alli, what are you going to tell the sheriff?” I heard Dad's question, but I didn’t understand what he meant. 
             Mom chimed in.
            “He sent a posse up there looking for you, after I told him you had never been gone for so long.  He’s going to ask where you were.”
            “Once you make a report, and detectives get involved, it gets complicated for everybody.” Dad said
            “What do you mean?”I asked.
            “What did you tell the sheriff to get him up there so fast?” Dad asked Mom.
“ I gave this Raymond  a ride the very afternoon, and he knew the kid by the description.” She said.
            “Fine.  Now don’t you see how it will all play out?”Dad was confusing me.
            “What about Alli ?” Mother gave me the opening I needed.
            “That’s what I was trying to tell you too, Dad.  This boy followed us at school.  Then he had Wilson.”
            “Yeah.  He found him up in the arroyo and brought him back to me." 
            “Alli,  tell the whole truth!” Mother said.
“Bulldog said I couldn’t say that I saw him with all those boys by the arroyo.”
 “There were other boys up there? Alli, what did he say, what did he do?”  Mom sounded panicky. Good, I thought, maybe now she won't accuse me of being rude.

“He said I couldn’t tell a soul.  I had to promise.”
“What were they doing?” Dad pressed me for details.
“Alli could have been abducted, raped! I can't believe how dangerous this place has become! " She kept on and on about the people that she was meeting in the supermarket, the boys hanging around at the local Bottle Shop, the way the parks were always full of young men loitering all hours of the day. 

As Mother spoke about our life in the desert,  I thought about the  boys playing at that lake.They were all older and bigger than us kids.

(to be continued...)


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