It was decided: I would steal a phone. I would steal a phone to save my own skin from Jink Johnson. But even as I said good-bye to Vlad with a reassuring smile and walked back to my house, I couldn't help but ask myself, "How?"
Everything I had ever stolen had been less...expensive. So far I had stolen a snotty kid's blue ribbon, a shoe-string, a few tee shirts and some books. But that was it. I had never stolen something actually worth a good bit of money and if I were to be honest, I was freaking out.
What if I got caught this time? What if my good luck ran out? What would happen to me, and what would dad say when he found out?
The stairs up to my room couldn't have lasted long enough. I closed the door behind me quietly, as if I were scheming over the next big murder, then sat down on the edge of my bed. The clock downstairs ticked by, almost mocking me. It knew I had a huge problem to take care of, and it knew I was running out of time.
Why did time have to even begin or end? Couldn't it just freeze and let me figure out all my problems before continuing on?
And why the heck was I even in such a pickle? Jink barely recognized me at school and he was a full two grades ahead of me. The only time he would have ever seen me would have been in the cafeteria. Even then I chose my place to sit very carefully. I wouldn't sit anywhere out in the middle of the room. All the popular groups centered there. The corners weren't a good place to sit either. That's where all the outcasts hung out. The only place I ever found safety in was way down at the end of the room, behind the counters. Even still, I would go there at sporadic times in case he caught on to my hideaway.
So how had he zeroed in on me?
The clock downstairs chimed seven times. Dad would be home soon. I couldn't let him catch on. I'd just have to act my way through dinner and dish washing and figure it all out in the morning. If only tomorrow wasn't Saturday and his day off.
Through the night I tossed and turned in my bed, dreaming of Jink Johnson and his scarey pitbull, Frank. Many times I woke up with sweat pouring down my face only to discover that my dilemma was still unsolved.
The next morning I got up around six-thirty, bleary eyed and hot. The humidity probably hadn't helped my sleeping at all. In the cracked bathroom mirror I could see my feverish cheeks and the dark circles under my eyes.
After a sad cup of coffee and an unusually over-runny egg, I stepped out onto our front porch and took a seat in an old whicker lawn chair. Around me the chorus of morning birds filled the air and coincided with the rising sun. A sigh escaped my lips. I appreciated the birds' effort to cheer me up. Nothing could make me happier than to hear their sweet symphonies and watch the sun rise through a sea of pink and purple. But I couldn't enjoy it this morning. I couldn't see the beauty in the beginning of this new day. My dilemma was still looming over my head, and if I didn't find a solution, I'd be dead meat for sure.
Down the street some music began to play. The rhythm of a set of drums, the melody of a flute, the occasional burst of a tuba - this wasn't the normal music I heard everyday on the edge of a main street. Something was up.
I raised my head from its bent position and rested my gaze on the asphalt yards from my seat. No cars passed by. No motorcycles, no buses, or people. The road was completely empty. Where were they?
Through the trees something white caught my eye. I stood up on tip-toe to try to distinguish the bold writing scrawled across it and made out the word, "Fair." For a second my brain froze to interpret the four-letters, but then everything clicked. Images of tents packed full of people with a ferris wheel turning in the background flashed through my eyes. A cheshire cat smile spread across my face. I knew where I'd get a phone now. I knew how, when, and where. But most of all, I knew there was a good chance I'd be able to get it without getting caught.