I go to the door, scared and nervous and sweaty. I didn’t know what they wanted, I didn’t know what they could talk to me about. I mean, I’m like seven, you know? What do the cops want with a seven-year-old? So I go, and I’m wringing my hands in front of me, and it’s all dark outside and stuff, and there’s all these lights flashing and blazing and strobing through the street. And these two cops, with real serious faces and flashlights in their hands, and one hand on their guns, they start asking me when I saw Jason last.
And I’m thinking, while I’m freaking out and scared to death and about to pee my pants, I’m thinking what time it was, did I know the time when I came in the house? And I told them I played outside with him but I kind of got sick and needed to come in, ’cause that’s what I said to Jason. I mean, I couldn’t say I just got the heebie-jeebies and ran in, so I told them the same thing I told Jason, and said I didn’t feel too good and came in the house. And my mom, she’s got her arms around my shoulders, you know? She’s standing behind me with her arms around my shoulders, and asks if that’s when I came inside and slammed the door, and I say yeah, that was the time. So she holds me tighter and is kinda choking me some and tells the cops it was like four o’clock when that happened, and what’s going on?
Those two cops, though, they nod and look at each other, and they don’t answer my mom’s question. Then they ask me if I saw anyone I didn’t know around before I came in. Did I see any strangers on the street, you know? And I tell them I didn’t see anyone, we were just playing out there in the street and the ball got stuck in the grate. And when I tried to get it I got all sick and came in. I lied, and I know I shouldn’t’ve lied, but I was like seven, you know? I didn’t want anyone to know I ran away ’cause I got scared of the grate.
And my mom, she’s getting a little ticked now, a
nd she says the cops better tell her what’s going on or she’s not gonna let me talk to them anymore and she’ll call our lawyer. I didn’t know what that meant, really, but I knew it meant she wasn’t playing around anymore, and wanted an answer. But those cops, they just looked real serious and told her that Jason was missing. His parents couldn’t find him. They didn’t know where he was, or who he was with. I told them he was playing with me, and I know his mom knew that, but I guess she didn’t remember right away or something. And maybe she didn’t know my phone number, so she didn’t call. When he didn’t come home for dinner they got worried and started looking around, ’cause Jason was only, like, seven too. And when it got dark and they still didn’t find him they got really scared, you know? So they called the cops and his older sister — she was like twelve or something — she was going around on her bike and yelling for him. And some of their neighbors were helping them look. But nobody found him, and nobody knew where he was. Then, his mom remembered he was hanging out with me so she told the cops and that’s why they’re asking.
So, while they’re saying all this, my mom’s got this sort of bug-eyed look on her face, you know? The same kind of look she gets when she sees one of those funniest home video shows and they show somebody fall real hard and it looks like it hurts. Her mouth was open, but she held her hand over it, and was saying Oh my God, oh my God, those poor people, oh no, how could this happen, crap like that. And my old man, he just sort of came over by her and he holds her like he does at Christmas or for pictures, you know? With one hand around her shoulders and he’s kinda hugging her to his chest and stuff. I’m just staring at the cops, though, ’cause deep down, deep down inside, I know what happened to Jason.