Chapter 34. Family Ties

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Sheriff Mondale's smile faded as he stepped through his office, the fluorescent light from the single ceiling lamp was blocked by the rim of his hat, covering his eyes' intentions.

As previously mentioned, well, I'm sure you remember, I was getting ready to die, awaiting the presence Sheriff Mondale had spoken to outside to reveal itself.

I should have drugged myself and fallen into deep slumber as Sam did, I bet he was comfortable.

With my eyes half-closed I saw the bony Sheriff stop in front of the bars, reaching for something in his belt. He was painfully slow; I wanted it to be over, zip, finito, I'd be gone, all that jazz, but at least I wouldn't have to worry anymore.

I wished myself back a handful of months, to when I didn't care enough about anything to get in trouble, to when I was merely floating through time, high and mellow. Why did I ever seek my way out of that? Surely the old Marcia would never end up in a situation like this; to Marcia was so passive she bordered on immortal.

When I closed my eyes, feeling a drop of water run down my face, I envisioned it as one of those scalding hot school days before summer break. At least. At least... I had accomplished something since then.

"Hey, kid," Sheriff Mondale said, my eyes were met by the sight of him waving his hands at me, "scram."


He had unlocked the jail cell, its door now wide open. The Sheriff crammed himself inside to poke the tip of his leather boots against Sam's torso, conclude his unconsciousness, and grab him by his hand.

"You're in luck. The fella outside is here to pick you up."

A fella? What fella? I had one fella and he was getting dragged across the floor of the stationhouse as of right now. This debunked the theory of Shadrach waiting outside unless of course, he was chivalrous enough bail us out. Very unlikely.

I anxiously followed right after, each step a little shaky, maybe it was the terror, maybe it was the hypothermia, who knows.

The Sheriff nearly tore off the door handle on our way outside, understandably angry we were rescued before he could whack us off.

The first thing I saw out on the street was my car strapped to the back of a tow car, how hospitable of the people of Peachbode. Parked behind it was a scrappy black Subaru, one I recognized as having blocked my driveway this whole week.

Next to it stood the man I soon had to thank for saving my life, the arms of his drenched, beige trench coat crossed, and feet gently tapping the ground as he waited.

"There they are!" Uncle Mal greeted, spreading his arms, "boy, have been looking all over for you two."

How on earth...

"As I said, Mr. Hazan," the Sheriff said, lifting Sam up by his shoulders on his way down the flight of stairs from the porch, "they were trespassing on private property, well aware of it, too. I had no choice but to bring them into custody."

"And you were probably well aware you locked these minors up without letting them call their parents, or, let anyone know they were out here all alone," Mal answered, keeping his firm, neutral eye-contact on the Sheriff, "which I'm sure you also know would not sit well in a court of law, that is if you even have one here."

"It must have slipped my mind, Sir."

Sheriff Mondale tipped his hat to him, humble in the presence of a lawman, or anyone eligible for spilling his secrets. He then shoved Sam in Mal's direction, causing the frail boy to land with his face first on the concrete. It wasn't a good day for him.

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