A witness to a crime must decide what to do.
|Jamie locked the door to the kitchen shop behind her. While she struggled with the deadbolt, a child cried out. She turned to see two teenagers pushing down a boy in the parking lot and pulling his backpack off. The boy was fighting for all he was worth, but the older boys were laughing as they punched him to the ground and ripped open the backpack. |
Jamie yelled, "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" The older boys looked at her. "Tommy? Tommy Rider?" He was in her son's Spanish class and over to the house at least once a week. His mother was Samantha who she'd known since high school and was running for city council.
Tommy dropped the bag, signaled to his friend and they jumped in a small pickup. Tires squealed as Jamie ran over to the boy. The truck slowed as it left the parking lot to enter the rush hour traffic. She glanced up: New Mexico plates, OJN 295. Small pickup, dark blue, beat up. It disappeared. The boy struggled to get up.
"You OK, honey?"
"I think so. Where's my backpack?" He was trembling and Jamie gathered him in her arms. He couldn't be over eight. When he finally stopped sobbing, she asked his name.
"Bobby Stacker. I really wanna go home."
"I'll take you, but we have to call the police first, OK? Come on. We'll call your Mom and Dad too. I'm sure they'll come get you. You think they'll be home?"
"Yeh," he wiped his hand over his face to brush away the tears.
Stacker, she thought. Why was that name familiar? She stopped half-way to the kitchen shop door. Steve Stacker was one of the people financing her husband's new bike shop. He would want to know who attacked his son. Any parent would.
She herded Bobby into the kitchen shop and looked up the Stackers in the phone book.
"Mr. Stacker? This is Jamie Nelson."
"Yes, Mr. Stacker, Michael's wife."
"Listen. Some boys attacked your son here in the Plaza parking lot. He seems to be OK, just shook up. Do you want to come get him? I can bring him home if you give me directions."
"See who it was? Well, let me think. He did look familiar, but I couldn't be sure."
"No, I was busy seeing to your son. He's OK, that's the important part, right?"
"Yes, yes, I understand. I'll call the police as soon as I hang up."
"OK, I'll see you in a few minutes."
Jamie hung up the phone and realized she was trembling. What was she doing? She knew damn well who it was, or at least one of them. The phone rang under her hand and she jumped back, bumping into Bobby staring up at her.
"Mrs. Nelson, this is Tommy Rider. I know you don't want anything to happen to that nice kitchen shop you just started up, so you didn't see anything today, am I right?"
The line went dead.
Jamie hung the phone up. Maybe she should call Samantha; what a mess this would be for Samantha's election if she reported it. End of that friendship. Maybe she should tell Mr. Stacker and let him decide. Maybe she should just shutup and go home. She looked at Bobby with his tear-stained face clutching his backpack as if it held life itself.
She picked up the phone and dialed 911.