Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: Time Tracks
By L.M. Lee
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Jared jumped down from the chain link fence he was scaling. The plop of his tennis shoes’ soles echoed off the alley walls. He raised his hands over his head and turned to the sound of his impending arrest.
“Keep your hands up high where we can see them, son,” yelled Officer Thompson.
Jared’s dark almond eyes pierced the approaching cops from beneath his thick feathery eyelashes. “I ain’t your son,” he wised back to them.
“If you were,” shot back Thompson, “I wouldn’t be chasing you down this alley. I’d be schoolin’ ya on a court.”
The second cop, Officer Landry, grabbed one of Jared’s raised hands, yanked it down and in one swift motion pressed his face flat against the algae covered brick wall. Securing the second hand, he locked both hands tightly in cuffs and kicked his feet shoulder length apart with the instep of his shoe. Jared tasted the moldy green bricks.
“Teach ya that at the Academy?” needled Jared.
“Matter of fact they did,” smarted Landry. The officer performed the customary frisk for concealed weapons, Marandadized him and escorted him back to their patrol car. Jared knew better than to resist. He had taken this scenic cruise before.
At the station Jared plopped down into the rickety wooden chair next to the Thompson’s desk. Jared watched the officer go through the motions. He knew juvenile lock-up awaited him.
The police would attempt to track down his strung-out mom and finally give up when her pimp answered the emergency number listed on Jared’s records. They would lecture him about his potential. Chastised his wasteful lifestyle and finally bed him down for the night in an overcrowded cell. Slumping down further in the chair he yawned, bored with his life.
Thompson reviewed Jared’s lengthening rap sheet. He shook his head at the rut Jared was carving for himself. Disgusted with the obvious lifecycle, he wondered if Jared would ever break free. He glanced at Jared and back at the snapshot on his desk. Leaning his head back, he searched the ceiling tiles for an opening line.
“Doesn’t it get to you?” asked Landry as he approached the desk interrupting Thompson’s thoughts.
“Sure,” Thompson answered realizing Landry was completely ignoring Jared’s presence. “More than ya know. I guess that’s why Shelia and I keep a close watch my crew and their friends.”
“You got kids, mister?” interrupted Jared.
“Four,” said Thompson as he reached across his desk and handed Jared the framed snapshot from his desk.
Jared briefly scanned the faces. He chunked it back on the desk. Thompson returned the frame to its spot and watched Jared wrestle with his emotions.
“Got anyone else we can call?” Landry asked Jared.
“Nope,” he snapped and folded his arms. If possible, he slid even further down in the chair and struggled to maintain his attitude.
“Well, since you’re an old pro at this, Jared,” began Landry, “Let’s you and I cut to the chase so Thompson can get outta here. His kids gotta a basketball game tonight.”
“Whatever,” sighed Jared and rolled his eyes.
The officers went through the paperwork. A court appointed juvenile officer appeared to shuffle Jared back into the system. Two pairs of eyes followed Jared out the door. Both men wondered if there would ever be a time when they would only be arresting adults.
“Man, Thompson, I don’t know how you do it,” asked Landry.
“Whatcha mean?” Thompson asked.
“Sleep at night,” replied Landry. “Don’t you worry about your kids?”
“Sure do,” his partner smiled, “but I keep tellin’ myself, it’s better to be spendin’ time with ‘em, than watchin’ ‘em doin’ time.”
The two men laughed as they parted company.
“Catch ya mañana!” Landry waved.
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