After the long basketball practice, the team members cleaned up and headed to the parking lot. Their conversation focused on homework and video games, until...
"Hey! Where's my car?!?"
"What do you mean?" Luke asked, as the others grew silent.
"I mean, my car! It was right here!" Will pointed at the empty parking space.
Irritated, Josiah spoke up. "Are you sure you didn't park it somewhere else?"
Sighing, Will frowned. "Jo-Jo, come on! The parking lot isn't THAT big! Do YOU see it anywhere?"
Each boy looked, but the Ford Explorer was nowhere to be seen.
"Wow. What are you gonna do?" asked Cody, concerned for his friend.
"Call my mom! That's what!" Will whipped out his cell phone. A hush fell over the team.
"Gosh! Pick up!" Will fumed. However, the call went to voice mail, and Will slapped his phone shut.
"What's the problem, guys?" The coach asked, walking toward them.
"Will's car is gone!" came the chorus of responses.
Coach rolled his eyes. "Guys, come on!" He didn't have time for jokes or pranks tonight.
"No, seriously!" Cody replied. "He said it was parked right here, and, as you can see..."
Coach looked at Will. "Is this true?"
"Yeah! Gosh, my mom is gonna be so upset." Will ran his fingers through his hair in frustration.
"Have you called your mom?"
"Yes, sir, but she didn't answer."
"Well, call her again and leave a message. Surely she'll check for messages in a while."
As Will dialed, the other boys started talking amongst themselves. “Should we check the neighborhood? Maybe we should drive around and look for it.”
Not wanting a bigger problem, the coach addressed the other boys.
"You all go home. I'll stay here with Will until we get in touch with his mom, AND...." his voice authoritative, "no discussing this with anyone. Do you understand?"
"Yeah, we got it. Sure thing, Coach," came the replies as each boy turned toward his own vehicle.
Pretty soon the parking lot was empty, except for Coach's truck. Will sighed heavily again. What was he going to do?
Seeing the worry on his team member's face, Coach tried to encourage the young boy.
"It's all right, Will. Your mom isn't going to blame you! You had nothing to do with this." Pausing to listen to the sounds from the nearby neighborhood, he continued. "I'm sure you'll hear from her soon, and then you all can discuss-- "
A car slowly approached the building from the lower drive. The closer it came toward Will and Coach, the closer Coach moved toward Will, as a sense of uneasiness gripped him within.
But Will KNEW the car. He looked at Coach in bewilderment, and then turned to face the driver that was just getting out.
"Mom!" Will gasped. "How did you--" "When--" "Where--" Will took a deep breath to stop sputtering. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THE CAR???"
"Will? What's wrong with you?" his mother asked, looking first at her son and then at Coach.
"How could you have the car?? I drove to practice!! How did you end up with the car?? I have the keys!! SEE?!?" Will held up the keys he had in his hands.
Coach started to smile, standing behind Will.
"No," Will's mom said quietly. "You have YOUR keys."
"But... but... but.. I drove to practice!" Will moaned, suddenly feeling very confused.
Coach's smile broadened, though he didn't say a word. He just looked at the ground, and then back at Will's mom.
"No, son, you drove back here before school was out, so you could shoot some hoops while you waited on practice to begin. Then I took the car and drove home when your brother got out of class. Remember?"
"Oooohhhh...." Will responded thoughtfully. "Yeah, that's right..."
Will turned and gave his coach a sheepish look, which made Coach chuckle out loud. Stifling his laughter, Coach looked at Will's mom and stated, "He thought the car had been stolen."
"Stolen??" she exclaimed, amazed by the idea. "Oh, my goodness, son! Stolen?!?"
With the mystery solved, Coach walked toward his truck, chuckling the whole way. His laughter could be heard until his truck departed from the lower drive, into the night.
"I'll never live this down," Will groaned as he walked to the passenger's door.
Will's mom pondered the idea for a minute. “Well, you might.” Then smiling, she added, “But I doubt it."
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