“Mom, remember Erik is coming home with me after school today,” twelve-year-old DJ yelled as he left the house to catch the school bus.
Yes, Mom remembered. Janet also remembered she had promised Doris Canley she would take her to Atkins to shop for a dress for her daughter’s wedding. Atkins was thirty miles away. She had planned to leave at ten. Doris was one person who couldn’t make up her mind easily, and Janet was concerned she might not be home by three to meet the boys after school. Well, she would try. She would just have to hurry Doris along.
But Doris would not be hurried. And, Doris could not find the “right” dress. Janet was becoming more and more frustrated. Looking at her watch repeatedly, she knew she was not going to make it home by three. “I hope DJ took his key,” thought Janet.
But DJ hadn’t.
At three o’clock, two excited boys bounded off the school bus and headed toward home. “What do you want to do Erik? Play video games? Shoot some hoops? You name it. Or maybe we should just have a snack first,” offered DJ.
Both boys ran to the front door and rang the doorbell.
DJ rang it again.
Still no answer.
Both boys pounded on the door.
“Well, where is she?” whispered DJ to himself. “She knew Erik was coming home with me.”
“What we gonna’ do now?” asked Erik.
“Hmmmm,” this from DJ. “Let’s look around, maybe we can find some way to get inside.”
The boys scouted out the house. Erik noticed a window on the back porch was open just a smidgen. “Do you think we could get that window open all the way and maybe…like …climb in?” Erik asked hopefully.
DJ eyed the window. Grabbing the picnic bench DJ pushed it under the window then stood on it to evaluate the situation. “Yes, I think this will work,” he said excitedly.
Together the boys pushed the window open far enough for DJ to climb in. Once inside, he opened the back door for Erik.
“Wow,” said Erik, “Makes you feel kind of like a burglar, doesn’t it.”
“Yeah, all we need is for the cops to come to the door,” and with that the boys broke into hysterical laughter.
Their elderly neighbor didn’t see anything funny in this situation. She was certain a thief, or two, had just entered the Manner’s home. She would have to do something about this.
Still chuckling over their adventure, DJ said to Erik, “Come on Erik, let’s get something to eat. You check the fridge, see what’s in there.”
“Eggs, cheese, bread – hey, do you know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches?” asked Erik.
“No problem,” DJ said with confidence.
The boys had just finished making their sandwiches, and were about to sit at the table to eat when someone knocked at the back door.
“I wonder who that is?” asked Erik.
“Shhhh,” said DJ. “Maybe they will go away.”
But they didn’t. They just kept pounding.
“OK, I’m coming, just a minute,” yelled DJ through the closed door.
Opening the door, DJ stood still with a shocked expression on his face. All color drained from his face. He looked as if he might pass out.
“Hey man, what’s wrong with you?” asked Erik. “You see a ghost?”
A policeman, in blue uniform with gun drawn faced DJ. “Okay kid. What you doing in this house?”
“We were making grilled cheese sandwiches to eat. I….I…..I live here.”
“Yeah right. And my name is Superman,” said the cop.
“No…. really. I really do live here sir. Please put your gun away. I’m no criminal. I forgot my key and couldn’t get it. My friend and I are just having a snack. I don’t know where my Mom is.”
“Well, your neighbor saw someone breaking into the house so she called the police. Since you say you live here, tell me what your neighbors name is.”
“It’s…..it’s…..gosh Mr., I can’ remember.” DJ was on the verge of crying.
At this moment Mrs. Grady came rushing over. Taking one look at DJ she let out a gasp. “Oh dear. That’s little DJ. Officer, I am so sorry but DJ lives here. I guess he must have gotten locked out of the house. I saw his mom leave earlier this morning and I knew she wasn’t home yet. Yes, officer, this is DJ and he does live here.”
DJ looked relieved.
Erik looked amused.
Mrs. Grady looked flustered.
The police officer seemed annoyed.
“Well, kid. You’re lucky this time. Next time you might not have such a nice neighbor to bail you out, so let me give you a piece of advice – make certain you have your key with you so you don’t have to do something crazy like this again.”
“Yes sir,” muttered DJ.
After everyone left Erik broke out laughing. He slapped his leg, gasping “That was great! Wait till I tell the kids at school tomorrow that we were busted by the cops. They are not going to believe this. You should have seen the look on your face.”
“You realize Erik we really could have been in a lot of trouble if old Mrs. Grady hadn’t come over. What would we have done then?”
“I can just see the headlines now, Erik said rather dramatically. ‘Two kids busted for making grilled cheese sandwiches. Neighbor comes to their rescue.”