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Chapter 3: Scene 12: Saying Good Bye


       Mr. Jackson stood up and snapped his briefcase shut. His eyes looked watery. "Did what I could," he muttered . I stared at him. Had to chomp on my tongue to keep from telling him he'd done almost nothing.

       "I'm sorry, John," he said and turned and walked out of the courtroom.

       My uncles started to leave, too, but Mom called after them. "Pete, Red, can't you do something?"

       Red went on through the door, ducking out like always, but Pete stopped to have the last word. "Now, Marilyn, this is probably for the best. Make a man of him."

       He started to walk out again, but Mom didn't let him get away with it like she usually did. She went over and grabbed hold of his elbow. "Don't say that. He was trying to help me. He just got mixed up."

       Pete snorted. "He's mixed up, all right. Just like his old man when he brought the whole bunch of you back to us. John'll probably turn out to be a loser, same as Johnny, and ruin our name clear across the county to boot."

ThinkLink: Do you think that what others think about you is important?

       That's all Pete cares about -- what folks like Roy Fletcher will think of him. He's right about everybody in the county , though. To them, I'll always be that no-good Hanson kid, son of lowlife Johnny Hanson.

       Pete stomped out and Mom walked back to the front of the courtroom, her shoulders slumped down. I checked out the sheriff and he shrugged, so I guessed it was OK to go over to her. I started to walk through the little gate in the fence but he put his hand on my shoulder. "Marilyn," he said, "if you'll come around here and sit at the table with John, I'll let you have a couple of minutes before he goes with my deputy ."

       Mom choked back her crying and walked around through the gate, watching me every minute like maybe if she looked away, I'd disappear. She put her arm around my shoulders and hugged me hard. "I didn't say it like that ... it wasn't the way the judge made it sound ... I never thought they'd ... I'll do something. I promise."

       Mom turned around to the sheriff . She went all through school with him, so she knew him pretty good. "Henry, would you go talk to the judge ? Tell him if he lets John come home with me, I'll keep him there all the time. I'll see he doesn't get in any more trouble." Her voice cracked. "We'll work things out."

        Sheriff Deetz shrugged. "Sorry. You haven't got the say over John anymore. The juvenile authorities have that now, Marilyn. Nothing I can do."

ThinkLink: Have you ever tried and make someone feel better, even though you were sad yourself?

       I tried to make her feel better. "Hey, I'll make out all right. And you get another lawyer for me, you hear? Jackson sure didn't do me any good." I tried to smile at her, but how could I, when I was scared to death myself?

       She wiped her nose and stuffed her handkerchief in her pocket. "I will. I'll go over to The Dalles or Hood River or maybe even into Portland to find a lawyer. I should never have let Pete talk me into getting that paper pusher Jerry Jackson. I'll ask Norman."

       The sheriff came over to the table and stood next to me. He pulled out handcuffs . Handcuffs.

       " Deputy's here, kid. Time to go." I tried to stand up, but my legs weren't working right. The sheriff pulled me up by one arm and told me to hold my hands out in front of me. He put the handcuffs , cold and hard, on my wrists and clicked them shut.

       "Henry, please," Mom said. "Do you have to do that?"

       "Afraid so, Marilyn. Regular practice. Kids squirm away sometimes if we don't." He pulled on my arm to make me go with him. I looked back, and the last thing I saw of Mom, she had a look on her face I'll always remember. Kind of like I died.


A key scrapes in the lock and Kelly opens the steel door. "Report to the dayroom , Hanson. It's time to eat."

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