The night was clear and cool, but I was sweating. I needed to travel 4 blocks, without being seen. I stuck to the shadows, and flopped down whenever a car approached.
Some minutes later, I arrived at the inter-state. I was susprised at the traffic this time of night. I stood in the shadows and waited. After ten minutes, the traffic slowed enough for me to cross. Once across the Inter-state, I worked myself down the rock and weed incrusted slope to the edge of the river.The river was high and fast. I pulled the pj’s from under my hoodie. The bottoms I threw in the river, the top half I just gave a toss into the weeds.
In the darkness it was hard climbing up to the road. I slipped several times; I scraped my hand and banged my shin, but at last I was on the verge of the highway. I crossed the Inter-state and made my way back in the same cautious manner.
I made a quick stop at the dugout and retrieved the gems and the bogus stones. There were a lot of things I needed to do yet.
I awoke at 9:15 AM, with someone ringing the doorbell. I climbed out of bed and listened at my bedroom door. I could hear a male voice talking to my mom, but I couldn’t catch the words.
At breakfast, mom told me that the police were canvasing the neighborhood for a missing 13 year old. She ask me if I knew her. I told her that I knew of her, but didn’t know her. She warned me for the thousandth time not to talk to strangers.
I avoided the dugout for three weeks, then school started. During those three weeks it was hectic, with searchers, and Deardra’s picture on telephone poles, trees, and fences. A guy in a kayak found the pajama bottoms, and one of the searchers found the tops. It was assumed that she’d drowned.
During the following week, everynight, I went to the dugout and removed stuff, until it was empty of everything. Then I started gathering 2X4’s, and 2X6’s to shore up the roof of the dugout. I couldn’t afford for it to collapse, and give someone a reason to investigate it.
I abandoned the dugout, and my life of crime. I buckled down in school and went from a lazy B to an A. I was a Honor Student, and graduated in the top of my class. I went on to college, again graduating in the top 10% of my class.
Although it’s now been 41 years, Deardra has never been completely out of my mind. I have managed to push her back far enough that sometimes a whole week goes by without my thinking of her.
My parents wanted to sell the thirty acres of mesquite brambles, but I managed to talk them out of it. Then my dad died, and my stupid mother decided leasing was not the same as selling. So she leased the land to an oil field company.
Here I sit, in Washington, DC, reading my stupid mother’s letter, telling me that a road grader was cutting a road to the well site, and it’s front wheel fell into a big hole in the ground. The sheriff is investigating
The door to the Oval office opens, and Wilber Diehl, sticks his head in and says “Mr. President, your limo is waiting.”