CHAPTER 5

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"And where d'ya think you're goin'?" called JC's mother over the blaring Shopping Channel.

"Told'ja, Mom. Mr. B. called. I've got to run an errand for Mrs. B," yelled JC as she came down the hall, slinging her hoodie over her sweater and jeans. Clothes won't matter today. I'll be outside.

"I hope you're behavin'." Her mother cast a leery eye her way as she stubbed out a cigarette and rose from the sagging armchair. On the TV, a warning voice counted down the seconds. Her mother's eyes swung back to the screen. To the pretty blonde praising the jewelry polish.

JC jammed her feet into sneakers at the door. She straightened as her mother approached. Even let her smoothed the spiked black bangs, which JC then rooster-tailed with her five-finger comb as she turned. Messy is better in some cases. A police car pulled up at the curb and her mother gasped.

"S'okay, Mom. It's just my ride."

"If you ever go down that road again, I'll lacquer your arse. Permanent-like!" she snarled.

JC ducked out and sprinted to the cruiser. She jumped in the back seat behind the A-Hole.

"Morning," said the Stuffed Shirt of a police officer over her uniformed shoulder; her grey eyes clouded. "DeeDee wants you to tape. There's a video recorder." The Stuffed Shirt wagged her pointed chin at the small silver camera in the center of the bench seat. JC picked it up, flicked open the lens and panned the passing streets and houses as they made their way out of town. She noticed every sixth pole had a missing poster taped or stapled to it. That blonde boy with the smiling eyes was haunting the town. TV. Radio. The front page of the newspaper every evening. What next, billboards? Today, two separate searches were organized by friends and family. One to the north of town and the other through the woods to the east.

"Mr. Lee here, has had some time to contemplate the gravity of the situation and is more than willing to cooperate," SS continued, gesturing to the passenger in the front seat. The A-Hole just harrumphed as he nodded. JC noticed a bald spot on the back of his head that he must try hard to cover. She went back to the camera, zooming in and out as farm fields rushed past under slate-grey skies.

"Too windy last night with the rain, so the diving team will go first thing this morning." JC barely listened as SS continued, "Your job is to stay out of the way. So, shoot using your long lens and get as much detail as you can for DeeDee."

"I can do that," answered JC. What a cool toy, she thought, noticing the way the camera nestled into her palm. Look out, Steven Spielberg! This was better than hanging out at home doing chores or homework – not that she did much of either.

As they swung off the paved road on to the quarter line, JC noticed The A-Hole sink lower into his seat. He's shrinking. SS let the vehicle crawl past the white-washed church, the shabby convenience store and a cluster of cottages. No one wandered around outside. It was too early on a Saturday morning and November to boot. When they got to the Lakeview Drive house, JC saw four police cars and several panel trucks blocking the road.

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