“Okay, Kid,” remarked Aubrey as he handed the baggie to Buddy. “Are you sure
you know where to take it?”
“Yeah,” replied Buddy. “I’m not an imbecile.”
“Just be careful,” responded Aubrey. “This is an upscale neighborhood, and people
will wonder what you’re doing there.”
“I’ll be careful,” assured Buddy as he left the trailer. Aubrey wanted him to deliver
some marijuana to a residential neighborhood outside of town. It would be a thirty-
minute ride on the bus, but he’d been promised that he would be paid double the
normal amount because of the risk involved. It was easy to make a delivery in his
neighborhood, but he was going to an area where people would be suspicious of a
stranger walking around.
It didn’t help when he got off the bus and walked about a block before seeing a
‘Neighborhood Watch’ sign. He pulled his hoodie over his head so he couldn’t be
recognized. He walked six blocks before he came to the address on the paper
Aubrey had given him.
“Shit!” exclaimed Buddy as he looked at the immense home. It appeared to have
three different floors, and the yard was meticulously landscaped. He hesitantly
approached the columned front porch. It contained white rattan furniture, but it
appeared more for show than sitting. As he started to climb the steps, a window
from above opened.
“Hey, Kid,” someone said softly. “Come around to the back.” Buddy descended
from the stairs and walked around the side of the house. A stone sidewalk trailed
around the garage to a white gate. He opened it and stepped into the back yard.
He immediately saw an Olympic size pool.
“Jesus,” hissed Buddy to himself. “Who lives like this?”
A young man stepped out from a door of the house and motioned for him to come
nearer. Buddy cautiously approached. He recognized him from school, but he didn’t
think they shared any classes.
“Good,” said the boy. “You’re here. Me and my buddies have been waiting.” Buddy
reached into his pants for the baggie and handed it to the boy. The boy reached
into his pocket for the money. Just then, Buddy looked past the boy as two more
young men approached. His heart started pounding when he noticed one of the
boys was Brad.
Brad pushed the boy to the side as he stepped out onto the patio. “What the fuck
are you doing here?” He grabbed Buddy’s jacket, pulled him forward and hit him in
“What’s going on?” shouted one of the boys as they tried to pull him off.
Buddy doubled over when Brad hit him in the stomach. “This fucker is always up in
my business,” he said scornfully. “He’s the one who ratted me out about Joy. Now
he’ll tell everyone I’m smoking. Coach will kick me off the team.” Buddy ducked
when he swung again, and he lunged at Brad. They toppled to the ground, and
Buddy hit Brad several times in the face.
Brad’s friends pulled Buddy off, and they held his arms while Brad beat Buddy
mercilessly. Buddy struggled to free his arms, but they held him tightly while Brad
pummeled his face. When Brad told them to set him free, he shoved Buddy into
the pool. Small traces of blood flowed into the cool water.
Buddy gasped for air as he thrashed around in the water. He looked up through
swollen eyes to see Brad standing on the edge of the pool. He quickly moved back
when Brad attempted to kick him in his face.
“Listen, Fucker,” spat Brad. “Tell anyone about this and I’ll kill you the next time.”
He turned and headed into the house
When they were inside, Buddy crawled out of the water, sat on the edge of the
pool and tried to catch his breath. Everything looked hazy. He ran his hand across
his face, and then looked at the blood he wiped off. His face throbbed with pain,
and he knew he had visible wounds. He dragged himself up and stumbled out
through the gate. Almost blindly, he made his way down the street.
He couldn’t see the car approaching. By the time he heard the screeching of tires,
it was too late to react.
* * * * * *
Kyle was lying across his bed when his cell phone rang. When he answered it, his
father shouted out frantically, “Grab some towels and bring them to me!”
Kyle responded worriedly, “Where are you?”
“In front of the Chambers’ house,” his father replied anxiously. “Someone stepped
out in front of my car. I’ve called 911, but I have to stop some of the bleeding.
Kyle ran to the linen closet in the bathroom and grabbed an armload of towels. He
also grabbed the emergency medical kit in case his father would need it. When he
exited the bathroom, Melissa stuck her head out of her bedroom door and asked
what was happening. Kyle rushed past her without even responding.
He ran out onto the porch and peered down the road. He could see his father’s car
in the middle of the road with its warning lights flashing. His father was kneeling
down, and he appeared to be comforting a body lying in the street. Kyle tore off
down the sidewalk and rushed to his father.
His father stood and extended his hands, “Give me those,” he said urgently as he
grabbed the towels from Kyle’s arms. “He’s got a big gash on his forehead, and
I’ve got to try and stop the bleeding.” Kyle stood back and watched as his father
lifted the person’s head and wrapped the towel around him. In the darkness, he
couldn’t make out who the injured person was.
After wrapping the towel around the person’s head, his father sat down in the
street, and held the person gently in his arms. “It’s going to be alright,” he said
Kyle bent down and asked, “Is there anything I can do?” Just then, sirens could be
heard in the distance.
“Go down to the corner and direct the ambulance this way,” he replied. Kyle rose
and raced to the corner. He could see red lights flashing a half mile away. It seemed
like an eternity before they finally approached. He frantically waved his arms and
pointed in the direction to where his father was. He then ran behind the ambulance
until it came to a stop.
He stood back and watched as the back door to the ambulance flew open. One
person hurried to the person on the ground while two medics pulled the gurney
from the rear door. Kyle moved around until he could get a better look at the
injured body. His father came over and threw his arm around his shoulder. He
gasped when the medic removed the bloody towels and wiped the person’s face.
His father looked down, pulled him closer and asked, “Do you know him?”
Kyle’s voice trembled as he replied, “He’s in my class at school.” The medics were
hovering over the body trying to stop the bleeding.
One of the medics hollered, “Get him on the gurney. Stat!” They quickly picked his
limp body off the road and placed him on the gurney. They then rushed him to the
back of the ambulance, lifted the gurney onto it. Two medics climbed in the back
while the third rushed to the driver’s seat. Within seconds, the ambulance raced
away with the siren blaring.
For the first time, Kyle noticed that the street was filled with police cars with their
lights flashing. One was blocking the street at the corner to avoid cars from
entering. Two policemen were cordoning off the area with yellow tape.
A large, burly officer approached Mr. Caldwell and asked, “Is this your car?”
“Yes, it is,” replied his father. The officer asked him to accompanying him. Kyle
watched as his father was taken to a police cruiser and helped into the back seat.
He almost vomited when he looked down at the street and saw large pools of blood.
“He’s got to be dead,” thought Kyle as his body began to tremble. Just the day
before, he had sat beside the injured boy in literature class and joked about his
loud snoring. Now, he was seriously hurt, perhaps even dying.
Kyle’s father got out of the back of the cruiser and motioned for him to come to
the car. “You told me that you knew the boy,” remarked his father.
“He’s in some of my classes,” replied Kyle nervously as an officer took notes.
The officer looked over and asked, “Do you know his name?”
Kyle replied, “No, Sir.”
“Do you have any idea why he was in the neighbor?” asked Mr. Caldwell. “He wasn’t
coming to see you?”
Kyle shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know why he would. We’ve never really
“Perhaps he was visiting someone else?” suggested the officer. “Do any other
students live in the neighborhood?”
Kyle looked over at Brad’s home. He noticed someone peeking from a curtain on
the second floor. “Only Brad,” replied Kyle as he looked at his father. “But I don’t
think that’s who he was visiting.”
The officer wrote something in his notebook and said, “I’ll have someone check it
out anyway. You never know. The kid was here for some reason.” He looked over
at Mr. Caldwell and said, “Thank you, Mr. Caldwell. I think we have enough
information right now. If anything else comes up, we’ll get in touch with you.”
Kyle’s father asked, “Should I contact an attorney?”
“I don’t think so,” replied the officer as he closed his notebook. “It appears this
was an accident from what you say.”
Kyle asked, “Do you think the boy will be alright?”
The officer appeared worried. “Let’s hope so. The medics said he was in pretty bad
shape.” Kyle’s father put his hand on his shoulder and they walked home. Since
the car was still surrounded by yellow tape, he was told it would be several hours
before he could remove it.
Kyle sat in the kitchen with his father and talked. His father was extremely upset
for hitting Buddy with his car. “I didn’t see him until it was too late,” he said. “He
stumbled into the path of my car before I could even swerve to miss him.”
“He’ll be okay,” insisted Kyle, even though he had no idea how badly Buddy’s
His father stopped speaking and stared at Kyle’s face. “What happened to you?”
he asked as he put his hand to the side of Kyle’s face.
Kyle winced and replied, “Melissa and I got into it again.”
His father asked excitedly, “She did that to you?”
Kyle hung his head and responded, “Yes, Sir. She’s going to have her girlfriends
tell everyone I was having sex with Brad.”
“What!” His father jumped from his chair and hurried from the room. A minute
later, Kyle could hear his father screaming at Melissa in her bedroom upstairs.
Fifteen minutes later, he returned to the kitchen. He was visibly upset with the
argument he had with Melissa. He looked over at Kyle and said, “You won’t have to
worry about your sister.” Just then, Melissa entered the room. She was looking
down at the floor, and her face was stained with tears.
She walked over before Kyle and mumbled, “I’m sorry.”
He jumped when his father barked, “He didn’t hear you!”
Melissa looked into Kyle’s face and said clearly, “I’m sorry, Kyle.”
His father said angrily, “And?”
Tears filled Melissa’s eyes as she continued, “And I’m not going to spread anymore
rumors about you.” She started crying and asked her father if she could go back to
“Alright,” he replied. “Remember what I said. One more incident with you, and I’m
sending you to live with your grandmother.” She nodded her head and hurried
from the room.
He looked over at Kyle and said, “Let me know if she gives you any more trouble.”
Kyle’s father shook his head sadly. “If she doesn’t get her act together, your
mother and I are sending her to live with your grandmother. We’ve taken about as
much as we can take.”
Kyle laughed and said, “Do you want me to go upstairs and pack her bags.”
They sat and talked for about a half hour about what had happened earlier. Mr.
Caldwell was still visibly shaken. He kept telling Kyle, “He was just your age. I’d die
if something like that happened to you.” It comforted Kyle to know that his father
cared so much about him.
Mrs. Caldwell arrived home after ten o’clock. She was upset because she had to
park her car down at the corner and walk the hill to their home. The police still had
the street cordoned off and wouldn’t let anyone enter.
She went into a rage when she noticed the cuts and scratches on Kyle‘s face. After
Kyle explained what had happened, she said that if things didn’t change soon, then
drastic measures would have to be taken. “I’m going to call a counselor tomorrow,
and we'll see if that will do any good,” she suggested. After a few minutes of
discussing the situation, Kyle’s parents agreed it would be the best course of
action to take. As a last resort, they would send her to live with her grandparents
for the remainder of the school year.
“Now,” she asked. “What happened down the street?” Mr. Caldwell explained about
Buddy stepping into the path of his car.
“Oh, Dear,” she remarked sadly. “I hope he’s alright. Maybe we should go by the
hospital and check on him.”
She became even more upset when Kyle told her that she had seen him at school.
“Remember the boy who backed into you at his locker?”
She asked, “The tall, attractive young man?” Kyle nodded his head. “Oh, Dear,” she
stated again. After talking about the incident for another twenty minutes, Kyle was
told to go to his bedroom and finish his homework. On the way to his room, he
decided to step outside and see what was happening. He stood and watched as
police walked around the Chambers’ house with flashlights. One officer had a dog
on a leash which he had pacing around the side of the house.
He sat down on a bench and watched the events that were occurring. Twenty
minutes later, Brad was taken to a police cruiser, placed in the backseat and driven
“What was that all about?” Kyle thought to himself as he got up and returned to
his bedroom. He stripped off his clothes and climbed into bed. It was several hours
before he fell asleep. He kept wondering if the boy his father hit was alive.
* * * * * *
Andre was babysitting his sister’s children. One was asleep on the floor, and the
other was lying beside him on the sofa. His mother had called earlier to inform him
she would be working late. The couple whose house she cleaned was having a
party, and they asked her if she would help the caterer serve food. His sister
worked second shift at a factory, and she didn’t usually pick up the children until
after one in the morning.
He was watching a movie when he heard a car door slam shut. The noise woke the
child sleeping beside him, and he picked her up and cradled her in his arms. He
started humming a song as he attempted to get her to go back to sleep. He
walked around the trailer a minute before going over to the kitchen window to look
outside. He figured it was Buddy’s mother returning from work with one of her
‘gentlemen’ friends. He had attempted to call Buddy several times to come over
and keep him company, but he had never returned home. He knew Buddy had
begun delivering drugs for Aubrey, and he would now be gone most nights. He had
tried to talk him out of it, but Buddy insisted he needed the money. As much as he
hated to admit it, Andre knew that it was probably the only way someone like them
could have cash in their pocket.
Andre was surprised to see a police cruiser parked outside. An officer was knocking
at Buddy’s trailer door. When no one answered, he walked around the trailer and
peeked inside with his flashlight.
Andre placed the baby back on the sofa, wrapped her in a blanket and then headed
outside. The officer flashed his light in his face when he approached. Andre asked
worriedly, “What’s wrong?”
The officer responded gruffly, “You know where Mrs. Ryder is?”
Andre asked, “Why?”
The officer replied angrily, “If I had wanted you to know, I would have told you.
Now, Kid, one more time,” he asked, “Do you know where she is?”
Andre started to panic, “Has something happened to Buddy?”
“You know him?” asked the officer as he flashed the light in his face again.
Andre held up his arm to block the light. “Yes, I know him,” he replied. “He’s my
best friend. Has something happened to him?”
“Yeah, Kid,” the policeman replied, “There’s been a bad accident. I need to talk to
Tears started to fill Andre’s eyes. “What kind of an accident? Is Buddy hurt?” He
grabbed the officer’s arm and pleaded, “Please tell me!”
The officer hesitated before say, “He was hit by a car over in the Forest Ridge area.
I need to tell his mother.”
Andre cried, “Is he dead?”
“He’s hanging on,” replied the officer. “But I really need to talk to his mother.”
“What hospital is he at?” pleaded Andre.
“They took him to City General,” replied the officer.
“Thanks,” said Andre as he rushed back to his trailer. He had to find someone to
watch the two children while he went to see Buddy at the hospital.
“Wait!” hollered out the officer. “You didn’t tell me where his mother is.”
Andre turned as he was entering the trailer and said sadly, “It won’t do no good.
She won’t care anyway.”
Go to Chapter 9