Jerold walks up the ramp and onto the dilapidated porch and stares at the perfectly kept window box that looks odd being only about two feet off the ground and perfectly kept. It makes the house look even more broken down.
He rips the plants up and tears them apart, their petals and clods of dirt are falling debris on the porch.
The sound of rusty hinges sends Jerold running, and his brother watching him runs too. They don’t look back until they are both behind the line of shrubs bordering the lawn.
Hidden, they watch the grey head just above the leaning railing bobbing and they know she is crying.
“Hey, what’s wrong with you ?” his brother asks.
“Man, I dunno.”
“Well, that was just plain stupid. You don’t knock over no flowers of some ole’ lady in a wheelchair. I don’t care if she did tell you to stay off her lawn. You gonna end up in jail before you can drive.”
“I can drive.”
“Yeah right, a bumper car!” His brother runs off with Jerold chasing him.
Jerold tries to catch his him, but just as he is about to catch him, he trips on a skateboard lying on the sidewalk.
His brother jogs backwards laughing, “Slow poke”.
Jerold grabs the skateboard and throws it. It flies into the street almost hitting a squad car cruising the neighborhood.
“Why’d you go and do that for, fool. Run. Pig’s gonna get ya!”
The squad cars lights flash and the officer gets out of the car yelling at the boys. They run, but the officer easily catches Jerold. “Hey boy, that was dangerous.”…he yanks Jerold’s collar. Jerold looks up with his eyes lit up with anger.
“You just bought yourself a ride to the station.”
Jerold struggles, but the officer holds him easily. “Come on boy.” He reads him his rights as he drags him to the car. Jerold gets in. The officer turns the flashers off and heads for the station.
“What’s your name boy”, he asks.
“No name, that’s alright, we’ll figure it out when we fingerprint you.”
“Jerold”, Jerold stutters. “Jerold Brown.”
Alright Jerold, what’s eating you?”
Jerold stares at his shoes, saying nothing.
The Officer drives to the station and holds Jerold by his collar as they walk in.
“Hey John, what you got?” the lady asks.
I got Jerold Brown. You want to find his Mom? He won’t talk. Threw a skateboard at my car”
“Sit down boy and pay attention to Stella, hear me?”
Jerold sits. “Okay Jerold, what’s your phone number?”
“Hey John”, she yells,” There’s no answer.” What do you want me to do with him?”
“That’s alright Stella, I’ll take him.” He motions for Jerold.
Jerold shuffles into the office and slumps in a chair John points at.
“You know that was dangerous, don’t you?”
Jerold nods his head.
“Alright them, why’d you do it?”
Jerold starts jabbering. First a mumble, then high pitched and excited, and he doesn’t know what he is saying, but John hears more than he says.
“Jerold, I’m going to let you go, but I want you here tomorrow to make up for what could have happened.”
Jerold’s eyes widen, and he nod’s his head.
Jerold comes back the next day, and the next.
John smiles as Jerold walks in the third day. “You’re a good boy. We have a program. I want you to get your Mom to sign this paper.”
“It’s for camp. You will learn what’s it’s like to be a Police officer.”
“You tell your Mom it’s a Christian Camp. …and no sighing. You’ll like it.”
Jerold takes the paper home, and his Mom, through sleepy eyes signs it. “ You be good, hear me?”
Jerold goes, and never looks back, but he remembers.
Opening the door of his Squad car, he smiles, then frowns down at the boy who got in a fight at school.
“What’d you do that for, boy?”
“You are coming with me down town.” He takes hold of the boys shoulder and they walk toward his car.
Jerold smiles as he looks at the hand written paper from the boy he’d taken to the station not two months earlier. It’s a story he wrote for camp. He wrote about his hero that he wants to grow up to be just like—Jerold Brown.
Psalms 139:16…”All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
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