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Chapter 12: Scene 44: They must've got him


       Finally lunch comes in on carts, and I bolt it down. Everybody's telling their favorite Tony story, like we were at his funeral.

       "You guys remember the Labor Day barbecue?" Doc says.

       Pat laughs. "Yeah, that's the day they brought girls over here from Meadow Springs School ."

       I snort. "Girls? They bring girls here? Nah." I don't believe this story already.

       "Sure. Meadow Springs is like Fire Oak, only it's for girls. They bring some of 'em over when special stuff's going on," Pat says. "Somebody in the Ad Building got the big idea of putting on a big barbecue here. They had TV guys with big cameras on their shoulders and reporters all over the place. Some high rollers from Portland made speeches and shook hands with everybody. Gonna show what nice guys they was, entertaining the poor, unfortunate delinquents ."

       Randy hollers over from the next table. "You're leaving out the good parts. There's this skydiver with a colored parachute jumping out of a airplane. Clowns juggling stuff. I never seen such a day." His squinty little eyes shine. "And a band. There's this big stage for the band to play on, two, maybe three feet off the ground, so's you could see 'em from all over. They had speakers so big..."

ThinkLink: How is this different from a party at your school?

       Pat growls. "Shut up, Randy. I'm telling this." He leans over to me. "That's when Tony and two girls dive under the bandstand. Oom-pa-pa! Oom-pa-pa!" Pat swings his arms like he's leading a band.

       "You're putting one over on me again, right? Besides, I bet you weren't even there. Didn't see a thing."

       " swear to God, it happened," Pat said, raising his right hand. "I wasn't exactly there, the band was too noisy for me, but I know guys who saw it."

       "Yeah? Who?" I try to pin him down.

       "Nobody that's here now. Nobody you know."

       "Yeah. Like they're going to bring girls over here and turn them loose so Tony can take 'em under a bandstand."

       " swear to God," Pat says, but he doesn't sound so sure now.

       Outside, I hear sirens wailing, then everything gets quiet. Everybody stops talking and listens.

       "I don't know," Pat whispers to me, his face all tragic . "No more sirens. Too soon for them to stop looking. They must've got him."

       Right after cleanup, Davis calls us back into the dayroom . "Everything's over. Go back to your regular schedule . And don't get in trouble yourself. If you have classes or a job at the school, line up with Mr. Ferguson by the front door."

       I shuffle along at the end of the pack. If Tony can't make it with all the times he's been on the run no use me thinking about it. All I can do is follow McGill's pro-o-gram.

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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