Chapter 32: An Unexpected Visit
Mike’s mother had lied to Cindy and Ian. The police had dropped Mike off almost as soon as he was arrested. When they knocked on the door, Celia had been asleep but soon a light flicked on in the bedroom upstairs and footsteps began descending down. When Mike’s mother arrived at the landing, she opened the door to find two burly policemen standing on each side of her son. She tried to rub the sleep from her eyes but the policemen still stood there. One of the policemen explained where Mike had been and what he had done and also told her about how they were very concerned about Mike’s violence towards Bradley. Of course, they weren’t sure about the Bradley case but they told her that there would be a combined trial for both. Mike’s mother stood there speechless as the police explained this. She brought her son inside looking furious and bid the policemen goodnight. Once she had locked the door, she instructed Mike to shower and get ready for bed. She plugged her nose at the stench of him as she spoke. Mike obeyed without a word, feeling quite angry and embarrassed. No sooner had he pulled on his pyjamas and fallen into his comfy warm bed did he hear a key turn in the lock outside his door.
“I’m locking you in,” stated his mother, though Mike knew it was plainly obvious, “for your own safety. And don’t you dare try breaking a window in order to get out of this room. If you cross me Mike, you don’t want to know what will happen to you. You are just lucky that your father isn’t here to deal with you. He had an urgent business meeting in Vermont and he had to leave immediately. Goodnight.”
Mike heard footsteps leave his door as he stared up at the dark ceiling. He wasn’t planning on escaping. What he had done was foolish and he knew he was going to pay for his mistakes. It took many hours before Mike drifted off to sleep. He was so tired in fact that he slept well into the afternoon of the next day. When the phone rang, Mike was fast asleep so didn’t hear it. He never heard his mother lie to his friends. Celia hadn’t expected Cindy and Ian to arrive at the house but she knew that if they did she would have told them the truth. She didn’t want Mike to get in contact with anyone, especially his friends. When Mike’s friends didn’t appear, she drove down to Gold Cheetah and told the manager that she would pay for the damages. She knew that Mike would be compensating her for it, but right now she wanted to be on good terMs.. with the company so she didn’t appear in court as an irresponsible mother.
Mike woke up at around 5:00 P.M. and no sooner did he get out of bed, his mother rushed into his room. She sat on his wooden chair beside his desk and glared at him.
“What happened last night?” she demanded. Mike looked at the floor.
“You know mom,” he muttered. He brought the sheets up to his neck. It had suddenly gotten really cold.
“I know what the policemen told me but I want to hear it from you.” She sounded a bit calmer.
“Well I…” but it took Mike a while to get the words out. He told her how he had been feeling for the past weeks and what he had done. His mother didn’t utter a word and listened closely.
“Have you told the police about Bradley?” she asked after he had finished. Mike shook his head. “Well, you should. It’ll help your case.” Mike wasn’t so sure about that.
“I still robbed a store,” he pointed out. “The judge’ll think I’m a troubled youth who needs help.”
“Well you do, Mike.” Mike looked up at her. These were the last words he wanted to hear. “You’ve had a rough year it seeMs.., but the judge won’t dismiss you out of sympathy. You were motivated to shoot Bradley and rob a store, but those acts could have been prevented.”
“I shot Bradley to protect Cindy,” said Mike angrily.
“I know you did, honey, but no one threatened you to rob that store.”
“No,” Mike moaned.
“Speak truthfully during your trial. It’ll help the judge decide. We’ll get you a lawyer. And don’t worry, I won’t complain about the cost. However, you will be paying me back for the damage you did to that store.”
“About a thousand dollars.”
“A thousand dollars!” cried Mike, incredulously.
“I’m afraid so.”
“But mom, I only have about eight hundred in my bank account.”
“I know. You can choose how much you want to pay each month.”
“That’s ridiculous. I only stole a few things and broke the glass. It can’t cost eight hundred dollars to repair glass!”
“Glass is expensive, honey.”
Mike just stared at the floor again. $1 000. It would take him months, probably years to pay off his debt. His mother patted his leg.
“I’ll make some tea and then you should just rest in your room for a while. We’ll go find a lawyer tomorrow if you’re up to it.”
“Mom, what’s going to happen to me?”
“I don’t know, honey. We’ll let the judge decide.”
Mike listened as his mother descended the stairs and then stared at the wall. He was worried about his case. What would happen if he lost his trial? Would he go to jail? He couldn’t, he was too young. Maybe he’d be sent to one of those juvenile homes in order to fulfill his time. How long would that last? he wondered. Community service wouldn’t be so bad, he thought. He did admit he deserved some punishment. When his mother came back up with his tea, he drank it down almost instantly. The warm concoction soothed his throat and warmed up his body that he was soon drifting off back to sleep.
There was a knock on Ian’s door as he turned off the television. He knew the next day was Monday but he didn’t want to worry about schoolwork just then. He and Cindy had headed home right after they visited the police station. Ian was beginning to believe that maybe Mike was home. He didn’t think, after all Mike had been through, he would just run off again. He had thought of calling Mike’s house but had a feeling that even if Mike was home, Mike’s mother wouldn’t allow Ian to speak to him. Instead, he decided to turn on the television and watch a rerun of The Simpsons before deciding to risk calling Mike’s house. And now, someone was at the door.
Ian knew his parents weren’t supposed to arrive home for another hour and they usually were never early but usually late. He opened the door, curious. He was shocked to see a tall burly man wearing a navy blue uniform standing in the entrance.
“Good evening sir,” the policeman smiled down at him.
“Good evening,” said Ian trying to sound polite.
“Would I be correct in assuming that your name is none other than Ian Calarzo?”
Ian blinked but then realized that maybe there was an Ian Calarzo living in his neighbourhood. Relieved, he happily stated,
“No. My name is Ian Calarsco.”
“That’s what I meant,” stated the policeman firmly. He had a very deep voice that seemed to shake the house as he spoke.
“My name is Officer Nathan and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me?”
“It’s in regards to your friend Michael Roberts.”
Ian was confused. Why were the police visiting his house? He hadn’t even been involved in either case against Mike.
“I know you weren’t independently involved in either of the cases,” spoke the policeman as if reading Ian’s mind, “but being a friend of Mike’s, I would still like to ask you a few questions.”
Ian nodded and let the policeman enter his house. He couldn’t exactly deny the police access.
“How did you get my address?” Ian asked as he closed the door.
“Your teachers. Charming people, some of them are.”
Ian just nodded. The policeman was trying to talk to him as if was a friend rather than make him feel he was under investigation. Ian could see straight through the officer’s little game and decided to be careful when answering the policeman’s “questions”.
“How long have you known Mike?” the officer asked as he politely removed his boots and sat down in a chair in the living room. Ian was startled at the intrusion. He was hoping he wouldn’t be asked to serve the officer coffee next. That would really be intruding, he felt.
Ian sat down on the chair opposite the policeman acting as if it was perfectly normal for policemen to enter his house and fancy theMs..elves to sit in the living room without asking.
“Since public school,” Ian stated.
“Tell me a little bit about Mike. Were you always good friends?”
Ian wasn’t sure how truthful he wanted to be with the man in the blue uniform. He had been angry with Mike, but he didn’t think that would confiscate him as being a “good friend”. Ian just nodded his head again. “Did he ever seem the violent type?” Now Ian knew where this was going.
“No,” he said honestly. “He was always a great friend to me. I think he shot Bradley so he wouldn’t hurt Cindy. Mike never had any intention in hurting anyone.”
“What about in regards to criminal acts? Did he ever come off as mischievous?”
“No. Mike’s been bullied by Bradley since Grade One. I used to be that kid that Mike is; Bradley used to bully me. Mike stood up for me and Bradley has been taking revenge on Mike ever since.”
“I see,” said the police officer as he took out a notebook and pen from his breast pocket and began jotting down some notes.
Ian watched his pen movements thinking that what he had said might actually help Mike’s case. “So you believe that Mike shot Bradley in self defence?” asked the policeman turning his eyes on Ian and waiting for his reaction to the question.
“No,” said Ian. “He did it to protect Cindy. Don’t you know that Bradley threatened Cindy?”
“We have reason to believe this is true.” Reason to believe, thought Ian, what does that mean? “But if Mike shot Bradley in order to protect Cindy, why would he then run away?”
“Maybe because of the shock of shooting someone,” Ian let out before he could stop hiMs..elf.
The policeman nodded as he wrote down some more notes. “Well, he made matters worse for hiMs..elf by robbing that store.” Ian didn’t know what to say. He had also been wondering why Mike would have robbed that store. It seemed after Mike ran away, he just disappeared. If Mike had told him, Ian would have let Mike stay at his house until things calmed down or at least have helped him out of the mess. But Mike hadn’t wanted help from anybody. Then Ian remembered that he had been angry with Mike at the time so Mike would obviously not have felt comforted by contacting him. Mike didn’t even know that Ian forgave him. All these thoughts were streaming into Ian’s head as the police officer quietly wrote down some more notes. At the time that Mike ran away, Mike had no one. Cindy could have helped him, but then again she had been messed up in the whole case as well. It seemed quite obvious to Ian now that Mike had taken refuge by living on the street, which wasn’t really refuge at all. It suddenly dawned on him then why Mike would have robbed Gold Cheetah, but he didn’t disclose this information to the police officer. The officer had now noticed that Ian had gotten suddenly very quiet; he had now stopped writing.
“Tell me about Cindy,” said the officer breaking the silence.
“Well, she’s Mike’s girlfriend.”
“So do you believe that Bradley threatened Cindy in order to hurt Mike?”
“Yes,” said Ian a bit relieved. Maybe the police were on his and Cindy’s side.
“Then do you believe that Bradley would have killed Cindy if Mike hadn’t stepped in?” Ian wanted to look away from Officer Nathan but he was worried that he might give the policeman reason to believe he was hiding something. The question had completely slapped him in the face and he felt as if soon he would be grasping for words. He wasn’t so sure if the police believed his story. It seemed that if Bradley’s intention had not been to kill Cindy, Mike had been directed with the wrong motivation. But Mike had been confused and was afraid of Bradley. He couldn’t have known that Bradley wasn’t going to kill Cindy or did he? Ian didn’t know what to think anymore; the policeman was making him question hiMs..elf. This was dangerous. He really hoped he wouldn’t blurt anything else out that he would soon regret.
“Would you then believe that Bradley’s intention was never to harm Cindy, just provoke Mike?” the policeman continued.
“Well it worked, didn’t it?” Ian said a little too quickly.
The officer nodded, smiling for the first time.
“Well thanks for your time, Ian,” said Officer Nathan looking outside at the sky as the sun began to set. He extended his meaty hand towards Ian, which Ian obediently shook. He didn’t get up as the policeman let hiMs..elf out. When the front door closed, Ian stared at the wooden floor. Shit.