"Are you with me, child?" asked the bat, snapping her fingers in front of JC's face.

Hey... what's with the 'child' crap? Then calmly she replied, "Sure. Call. And ask for who?"

"That would be 'whom' and it would be news reporter Mary Murphy. We need that boy's name." The bat rolled her eyes and laid the back of her hand in a faux-faint over her forehead. Gimme a break, thought JC. "Then we'll check him against the St. Bart's class pictures online and go from there." The bat drained her tea with a slurp, scowled and rang the brass bell. As JC picked up her to-do list and eased out of her chair, the geezer opened the door, warm teapot in hand.

"We do try to avoid field trips," the bat rambled on. As JC raised her pierced eyebrow, the geezer jumped right in to explain.

"It means maneuvering a wheelchair. And then Bianca's Lexusadio nce rising from his dinnerfaded on the tray in her lap. The boyrence would arrive shortly with plates bearing lunch and ey...Lord, she's skittish about that paint job. My wife travels like a rock star, you know? With entourage! Complicated and tiring."

JC's mind went blank so she slapped a multipurpose smile on her face and bowed out of the conversation. Across the hall, she googled the station for a phone number, then reached for the cordless.

"Ugh," groaned Ms. Murphy on the other end.

She's either over-protective of her sources or she's just got a thing against kids, thought JC then took another stab. "Aw geez. My boyfriend recognized him on the TV. Used to be friends in like kindergarten or something. Just gimme a name. I'm not lookin' to marry or stalk the guy. I just want to surprise my boyfriend 'cause the dork can't remember his old friend's name. Is that too much to ask?"

There was a long sigh at the other end. "Cameron Byers."

"Thanks. Now he owes me!" JC clicked her tongue.

"Christ, you kids today," grumbled Ms. Murphy under her breath before hanging up.

"Score!" JC pulled up the school website. There's Cam in the same class as Dane. So, JC searched Cameron Byers and found his blog. A photo of seven soot-faced boys wearing camouflage gear, remotes in hand, graced the splash page. There's Cam. And there's Dane. Gaming buddies, decided JC.

She tapped on the bat's door. No answer. So she leaned against the frame and tried to think of reasons she should care...at all. Big deal that this kid had a fight with his parents. And he took off. Who gives a crap? And the fact that he has friends...that he's a gamer. No biggy, right? Today this stuff feels like a waste of energy.

Just then Gucci-Glam – GG – poked her fashion-model-face around the corner and pulled it back like a turtle. "Goodbye, Daddy," JC heard her say in the foyer. JC could just picture her making big production out of kissing the geezer on the cheek, all like the Queen or something. Yuck. So, JC knocked again, flicking the printed pages in her other hand.

"By all means, child, come, come" came a voice from inside. Enough of this shit. JC burst in, bracing fists on hips and leaning into her words.

"I'm not a child! Even my mother doesn't get away with that crap." She stopped. Dropped her attitude.

"Settle, my dear. My apologies. I won't make that mistake again. Okay?" The bat paused to watch her. "JC?"

JC gave a reluctant nod as she plopped down on the chair. She tossed the pages onto the bed. I guess I'm guilty of that too, she thought, calming herself. I just don't say it out loud. So, DeeDee and Mr. B. From now on it'll be DeeDee and Mr. B.

Game-BoyWhere stories live. Discover now